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Past Life Strife (Rise of the Discordant)

(Rise of the Discordant #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Blackbird may seem like any other small Midwestern town, but the bland and unremarkable façade hides a dark and deadly secret. The Discordant, creatures from the realm of Chaos, lurk in the shadows, preying upon the souls of Blackbird’s unsuspecting residents.
As an Observer, Seth is tasked with identifying the lost before they fall victim to the Discordant. An unenviable
Paperback, 162 pages
Published November 20th 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published November 19th 2014)
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  59 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seth has been an Observer for less than two hundred years (still wet behind the ears really) and the events about to engulf him in the Midwestern town of Blackbird may be more than an inexperienced supernatural can handle. First Abbey, his Guardian, suddenly quits; then Amara, the love of his life (or rather, of his former life as a mortal, hence the book's title) shows up again after an absence of a century and a half - and she's very bad news, believe me. Meanwhile, and most worryingly of all, ...more
Ann Andrews
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that I had no trouble diving into -- and I enjoyed every moment - every awkward moment. The characters are well written, providing a group of individuals that I would love to sit down and have a few drinks with, while the plot is one that I've never stumbled across before. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
J. Daniel Layfield
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great beginning to a series I have already purchased the remainder of. I'm all in, as they say. I can't wait to see the characters McMullen has introduced continue to grow and am anxious to see what happens as new ones come into play. Believe the hype - Bogie is a unique and memorable character that I imagine was as much fun to write as he is to read.

Past Life Strife is fun, fast, and unexpected, unless you've read some of McMullen's other works, and you know to expect the unexpected. Still, t
Chris Jags
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Mild spoilers)

Of all the tales I've read by Christina McMullen thus far, this is most definitely my favorite! This hit all the right notes for me. The prose draws you right in. A unique take on religions (the 'Creator' can take the form of any deity it pleases, including a couple of amusing pop-culture references), likable characters, and a ton of mythological creatures make for a great ride! I devoured it in two sittings, and it would've been one if it hadn't been for work.

If you're reading th
Susan Catalano
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-challenge
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the viewpoints of the three main characters--Seth the Observer, Desmond the Warrior, and Bogie the Demon (with a conscience-ha!). They were well-drawn characters, and I'm looking forward to their growth and antics in the next book. I also thought the whole Creator, Order, and Chaos theory was a fun and intriguing take on how this thing called life works. Lastly, the title is awesome.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was a lot of fun to read, with a great story and relatable well-developed characters, but the writing was by far my favorite part. Christina McMullen has a real talent for clever, understated humor that gets directly to the point, and her evocative descriptions really sold me on not just what the town of Blackbird looks like, but what it feels like to be there. Looking forward to continuing this series!
S. Usher Evans
For starters, the cover of this and the entire series makes me want to read them. I know that's not a good way to start a review, but really, #coverenvy.

The plot itself was intriguing. McMullen has created a world split into good people and deatheaters and bad. The former work for The Order, who keep the yang, The Discordant, from destroying humanity. Souls are cycled through when they die (basically reincarnation) with no memory of their previous life. Seth and Desmond are charged with keeping
Sue Perry
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review covers all five books in the series. Now that the series is done I had the luxury of reading straight through, start to finish, and I thoroughly enjoyed all five novels.

McMullen makes a lot of difficult-to-write stuff seem easy. This world-building is terrific: an alternate version of our modern society that is rich, vivid, and complicated, yet always clear and straightforward. McMullen knows how much to tell us, when, so we pick up a lot but never in painful bursts of exposition. Fo
Caffee K.
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Post apocalyptic readers, fantasy readers, anyone who likes a good tale
Shelves: mcmullen
When you open this book, it has a slight feel of the (now) popular "The world has ended, now what?" feel to it. However, that lasts for all of about the first two paragraphs.

Christina quickly sucks you into a fun tale of things gone wrong. All of her characters have their own unique flavor, which adds to the wonderful heady brew making up the texture of this story, and the setting helps keep things at a low boil throughout.

Speaking of the main characters...

Each of them has their own unique voic
Andreas Laurencius
This is the first book by Christina McMullen that I read. I love it and I really think I will love the sequels even more. This book should accompany you on your graveyard shift, be readily tucked under your pillow when it's night and raining outside so you can quickly grab it and delve into it. The world of The Rise of The Discordant is Sin City without the savage slaughters and explicit sex scenes featuring a protagonist with a hallowed cause.

You will not find this story elsewhere and you will
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is unique. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the characters in this book and how it was written. I think the author did very well with the detail with the characters in this book. It was a fun book for me to read. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
S.K. Wee
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s unbelievable that I’ve owned this book for over a year and waited this long to read it! It is the beginning of an amazing series. Our main character, Seth, is an agent of Order, his position as Observer means he is constantly bombarded with the emotions of the people around him. This empath trait gives him the ability to find those in danger of losing their souls and therefore susceptible to the various Discordant that populate the small city of Blackbird. Along with the Guardian, Abbey, th ...more
This is the third book I read from author McMullen and all three couldn't be more different. If you're afraid of reading books from the same author and feel like you're re-reading the same stories, fear no more.

Past life strife is an urban fantasy written mostly in first person POV from three different characters: Seth the Observer, Desmond the Warrior, and Bogie the lesser demon. All three have their distinct voices, but the one I preferred without a doubt was Bogie's. While he's an entirely d
Dwayne Fry
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fun little romp in the town of Blackbird where just about any mythological creature can and probably will make an appearance.

Not so much a tale of good vs. evil like one often finds in this genre, but a tale of agenda vs. agenda, which makes the whole thing refreshing and interesting.

The narrators are three swell guys you'll love go get to know: Desmond the Warrior, Seth the Observer and Bogie -- heh I love Bogie -- the lesser demon.

A fast paced page turner that any fan of fantasy should check
Donna Foster
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
* Received this book in exchange for my review *

A imaginative story with a battle for balance between good and evil, spirit and soul.
Jon Nikrich
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I originally bought this book because I enjoy following Christina on Twitter.
As to the book itself, my simple review is that I read book 1 and, based on that, I look forward to reading book 2.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This novel builds a great world that could pass for urban fantasy based around the opposing forces of Order and Chaos. The book thrusts the reader into the lives of two agents for Order introducing the concepts for each identity and the driving power they weild together whilst fighting against the myriad of diverse identities of the demons of Chaos. Chaos runs the gamut of demons including vamps, succubae, and sirens to name a few.

This is a fine read and I'm directly on to the next book
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
“Past Life Strife” is a superbly written story, quickly engaging, beginning with a backdrop of the tainted world at large, then introduced to the modern day city of “Blackbird.”

Seth has been sent to the Five Penny bar. His role as Observer is to aid those in peril from slipping further into darkness, and combat the forces behind their demise. In Blackbird, magic resonates, drawing an array uniquely gifted aberrant characters, each with their own agenda.

The author does an excellent job conveying
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great read with an interesting take on angels, demons, and everything in between! Though a bit slow in places, I was drawn into this story and it's characters immediately. A wonderful start to a series.
JAKe Hatmacher
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unusual read for me!

I don't believe I've ever read anything close to Past Life Strife. Since I haven't, it took me awhile to understand the roles of the characters. It also took me a few sentences, even a couple of paragraphs, in each chapter to figure out which character's point of view was being portrayed. That was another first for me. Don't get me wrong, it was a distraction, but not that much of a distraction.
Overall, the story was intriguing although there were times when I found it diffi
J.K. Norry
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
‘Past Life Strife’, by Christina McMullen, is the first book in the ‘Rise of the Discordant’ series. This is quite a beginning; welcome to Blackbird, indeed! It’s a town crawling with mysterious characters, many of them in the ‘highly unsavory’ category. Luckily, they have an Observer, to watch over the more mystical goings-on in town; Seth is a great guy, and he seems able to do a lot to help folks with the aid of his…wait, she’s gone? And what was her name again? And who’s this new guy? Oh, it ...more
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
This is a clever book. It has an innovative and fresh plot. It is populated with interesting and well written characters. The story moves along at a fast pace. It leaves you wanting to know what is up next in this story. What more can you want in a good fantasy?
Must just be me, but the writing seemed rather clinical to me, lacking emotion, for quite a bit of the book. The past relationship between two of the characters was easy to figure out. I will give the second book a try at some point.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A really fun read! A solid beginning to an urban fantasy series with s couple of interesting twists that I'm not going to reveal in order not to spoil the surprise. Quick without feeling rushed or skimpy.
Ben Mariner
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soooooooooo much fun. An interesting take on the standard concepts of vampires, demons, witches, and the like. Christina McMullen is a great, quirky voice that everyone needs to read whether they like this genre or not. Can't wait to read book 2-5!!!!
C.F. Villion
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this and got the box set. Looking forward to reading the rest.

Finished this a while back but didn't add it to my shelves...will be catching up for a while.
Rob Alspaugh
rated it it was amazing
Jan 23, 2018
rated it liked it
May 12, 2016
Jane Jago
rated it really liked it
May 06, 2017
rated it really liked it
May 02, 2016
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Christina McMullen is a sci-fi and urban fantasy author who dreams of jetpacks and electric sheep.

Christina enjoys travel, vegan cooking, modern and classic art, and championing the progressive nature of ebooks and independent authors. She is obsessed with robots and the internet, and revels in the fact that she was fortunate enough to have been born in an era where she was able to witness the 'fu

Other books in the series

Rise of the Discordant (5 books)
  • Splitsville (Rise of the Discordant Book #2)
  • You Wish (Rise of the Discordant Book #3)
  • Friends without Benefits (Rise of the Discordant Book #4)
  • Frack You (Rise of the Discordant Book #5)