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(Darkhurst #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  53 reviews
The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king's favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost. Corran, Rigan, and Kell V ...more
Paperback, 559 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Solaris
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Gail Z. Martin’s newest novel Scourge is a fantasy version of Supernatural. This story combining the familial relationship of brothers with monster hunting and more than a dash of political machinations and vile blood magic to craft yet another fine fantasy from this prolific writer. And while it does contain quite a bit of world building, it is sure to satisfy Martin’s fans and create more than a few new ones.

The linchpins of the tale are the Valmonde brothers
BAM the enigma
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Many thanks to Gail Z. Martin, Solaris Books, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I'm going a bit off the beaten path. I'm not going to summarize the plot. I have so many composition issues I feel I must share that take precedent.
The story takes place in the village of Ravenwood, some sort of suburb of Darkhurst. This is the FOURTH fantasy book I've read in the past six months that has used the term Ravenwood to stand for something. It's a bit washed
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc-s
Damn Aliyev and Gorog. Damn the Guilds. Damn Toloth and the Elder Gods, and damn Ravenwood. If I can't save myself, then I will burn and the world will be my pyre

1 / 5

It gives me no pleasure to say it, but Scourge was a tedious read. It was repetitive, I could barely differentiate between the three brothers, and I had very little emotional investment the whole way through. Whilst I did appreciate Martin's creativity with the monsters (the skin-burrowing ones really freaked me out), I wasn't a
Iryna KL
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc
[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy ARC of this book from NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers!]

1.5 Stars

The Scourge follows a story of three young brothers, undertakers, who live in Ravenwood - a town riddled with monsters, mystery, murder and magic. The three brothers are orphans, with their father killed in mysterious circumstance and their mother mauled by a monster. They do their best to survive the monsters, the city guards, make enough money to pay the bribes to stay safe, eat and liv
Susana Zemlyakova
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Scourge had an interesting premise that was almost lost in the incredibly slow execution. The story focuses on three brothers, undertakers, who prepare and send off the dead before they become vengeful spirits in addition to fighting the hordes of demons plaguing Ravenwood. From the get-go the plot reminded me a little of Supernatural and I kept drawing parallels between Rigan and Sam, Corran and Dean. Like Sam, Rigan is a quiet intellectual with powers inherited from his mother. He uncovers a ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Valmonde brothers are undertakers. Not only do they bury the dead, their rituals also prevent the spirits from coming back as ghosts, or worse, ghouls. I liked the idea for the book, and the brothers, but it just didn't come together for me. I received a copy from Net Galley. ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
[This is a review of an ARC via NetGalley. I strove to be honest and earnest.]

I'll admit, I originally outlined a very short and curt disappointment-flavored review while trying to get through the first two chapters. Reading the summaries on both NetGalley and on Goodreads hyped me up a lot--rival guilds! merchant princes! blood witches! or also known as, in my opinion, some of the coolest ideas in fantasy?--but the first two chapters pretty much knocked down of that initial excitement, and whil
Paul Metheney
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Imagine the TV show 'Supernatural' mated with 'The Game of Thrones'. Don't work too hard at it. Just read Scourge by Gail Z. Martin. It feels medieval, but could be some far-off, dystopian future. And frankly, it doesn't matter to me which it is. It is definitely epic fantasy. And some of its best.

Three brothers inherit the family business (so far so good), in this case, undertakers, who battle ghosts, monsters and other demons. Part of their tasks are to summon the spirits, hear their confessio
V. Hartman
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Undertakers as heroes?
Well, undertakers deal with the dead – so why not the undead?
When two brothers have everything taken from them, their home, their loved ones, their status in the community – everything except the capacity to care about each other and those who survive around them – they pledge to continue their work with the dead and the monsters that come from magic worked on those who have passed on.

This is the first novel in a series set in Darkhurst, a world with magics large and smal
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was supplied a copy of "Scourge" in exchange for an honest review.

"Scourge" by Gail Z. Martin is an excellent edition to her catalogue of fantasy. This particular first entry into "Darkhurst" could almost be considered grimdark as we follow the three undertaker Valmonde brothers. Each has their struggles as living in Ravenwood is not to be taken lightly. Not only are the town guards too busy harassing the locals to protect them, but there are nightly monster attacks that the average citizen is
May 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Meh. A lot more telling than showing, paper cutout characters, no real or compelling dialogue, and a structure that feels disconnected (this happened, then this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened....).

Also, a complete lack of women - all the women are mothers, dead girlfriends, possible girlfriends, or being taken advantage of. 50% of the world population is women, you think maybe they could have roles in our stories other than cooking and cleaning?
Dave-Brendon Burgh
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Scourge follows the stories of three brothers and an assortment of other characters, all equally important to the narrative, and is set in a world in which magic, monsters, and politics all collide while giving the reader glimpses of a larger and equally intriguing world beyond the tale’s focus.

The three brothers are Corran, Rigan and Kell Valmonde – they are undertakers, and their duty is to fetch and bury the dead according to the different customs which govern how the dead are treated. These
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 stars. There were some elements I liked in this fantasy, but it failed to come together for me the way I hoped. I liked the three brothers, but couldn't quite believe in the world of the Ravenwood city-state. The lengthy political/economic sections were unnecessary and dull. In this political realm that the mayor was so wrapped up in there are dozens of names that had little to do with the plot. These sections were long interruptions that affected the pace of the novel. And there were too ma ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I haven't read a book by this author before, but after spotting this on GoodReads and reading the synopsis...I had to read it. I mean....brothers....supernatural monsters...I'm envisioning Supernatural: Fantasy edition right off the bat and I wasn't very far off to be honest.

Scourge has a lively opening and I was immediately hooked in. I wanted to know more about the world, the characters and what the brothers could do. They're undertakers sure, but they can dispel ghosts and help them cross ov
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is book one of the series and has three brothers, Corran, Rigan and Kell, who work as undertakers struggling to earn their way in the city of Ravenwood. Their father was killed by the city guards and their mother slain by a monster. The city is beset with monsters of numerous varieties, which seem to only target the poorer parts of town. As undertakers, the brothers have to pay protection money to the city guard, to keep their family business going, and also fees to their Guild (of undertak ...more
Sep 03, 2022 rated it really liked it
Few authors can pull off the delicate combination of horror and fantasy. It's something of an awkward dance of genres, even when you're stretching the definition of fantasy with something like the grimdark movement. When you're talking heroic/epic fantasy, it becomes even more of a challenge, and yet Gail Z. Martin has done it again.

Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel is a book that opens with the exorcism of a violent, vengeful spirit, and then immediately leaps into a lynch mob extermination of a nest
Neil McGarry
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Barwell
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the premise of this story, with the heroes being undertakers who, in this world, do far more than just bury the dead. I fell in love with the Valmonde brothers as soon as I started reading, and I also loved their abilities. Although this story is a fantasy and has a high fantasy backdrop, it also gave me an urban fantasy vibe. I loved the combination of the two, and thought they worked well together.

The world building is fabulous, and I had a clear visual as I was reading. I loved the de
Jordan (Forever Lost in Literature)
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

If you are looking for some fast paced, action-packed, monster-filled fantasy then stop where you are, because Scourge is the book for you.

Scourge is an unexpected combination of the undertaker profession, monster hunting, and a strong focus on the bonds of brotherhood. The story centers around the Valmonde brothers -- Kell, Rigan, and Corran -- as they take over their family business as undertakers after the deaths of both of their parents. The
Deanna Scutt
Feb 09, 2022 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Scourge is a dark fantasy novel, and with its wealth of monsters, monster hunters and sketchy blood sorcery, it could almost be mistaken for a Bloodborne fanfic. Witchy, gory, and a little bit gothic, I cannot deny that it caters to my reading tastes, despite its pulpy prose.

Brothers in the undertaker trade, Corran, Rigan and Kell Valmonde serve the dead of Ravenwood, preparing corpses for burial as well as using their inherited grave magic to help lingering spirits pass into the afte
Judith Moore
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Full review up on my blog: https://chaininteraction.wordpress.co...

I’ll kick off with the positives: the monsters in this book are really cool. If you’re not a fan of gore (or in one instance insects) then I would steer clear because these creatures creeped the heck out of me. The scary, supernatural elements of this book are the best parts without a doubt, they’re where you find the most evocative writing and, unsurprisingly, the most action.

The division of the three brothers was also, for the
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
I think fans of Supernatural will really enjoy Scourge. The bond between the Valmonde brothers reminds me so much of the Winchesters and just how far they are willing to go to protect their family.
I always enjoy Martin's take on Gods and magic and I did so here also. She can spin some seriously interesting mythology and magic into her tales,particularly when it comes to Gods and Death.
Throughout this story we get to see the brothers learn to hone their strengths as hunters of monsters and magi
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Scourge is one of those books that pulls you in with some interesting concepts and a badass beginning but about halfway through you’re hoping that it gets better. Then you get 3/4 of the way in and you’re just hoping that the ending will make it all worth it, spoiler alert, it doesn’t.
I don’t have much positive to say about this novel so I’ll get the bad outta the way first so as to end on a positive note. First off, the politics. The political structure that Gail Z Martin has set up in this w
Candice Carpenter
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just when I think I've found my favorite piece of work from Gail, she writes something I enjoy even more.

From the moment I got my hands on Scourge, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride.

For starters, the story is bound in an incredible cover. The blood spattered crest of Ravenwood beckons the reader to open its pages. I've been gushing over the cover since it was debuted and it's one of the top book covers I own. It's so simple but compelling.

The story itself follows the brothers Valmonde and
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Ravenwood, we find three brother undertakers (one of the many guild trades). The monsters are back, and the guard is doing nothing about it, leaving it up to the hunters to rid their town of the problem. Corren, Rigan, and Kell have all suffered loss at the hands, or rather teeth and claws of these monsters, and Corren joins a group of local hunters to have his revenge and keep his brothers safe. With a hero must come a villain. Aside from his questionable closed door practices, Lord Mayor ap ...more
Steven Wendell
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dark world needs heros...

I found this book the be very good. We are introduced to a dark gritty world where monsters stalk the streets and the leaders who are supposed to protect the common people are only interested in themselves, their profits, and their machinations. The story develops quickly with lots of action, sorcery and intrigue in true Martin style. Personally her Chronicles of the Necromancer Series has been my favorite series of hers, but given the setting and two main characters t
Jess Crafts
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This story is absolutely packed full of Magic and monsters. It's an epic fantasy following three brothers who are all likeable and face their own problems. I liked all three brothers, and enjoyed reading about them. There was plenty of action but I felt like some of the monster attacks and and the guard showdowns started to feel quite repetitive in the middle. On top of that one of the POV's is very slow. I actually ended up skimming pretty much all his chapters and I honestly don't think I miss ...more
Ashley McGee
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing read, as always! Gail Z. Martin shines again in one of her Grimmest, Darkest novels yet! Get ready for a pop-corn popping page turner with something for everyone! Political intrigue, vicious monsters, forbidden magic, and a cast of endearing (and monstrous) characters typical of Martin yet so lacking in a genre that is traditionally determined to be driven by elaborate displays of power than real character development. Martin is amazingly refreshing and stands out in the onslaught of swo ...more
Maya Preisler
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gail Martin has once again captured my imagination with another amazing fantasy novel. I was laughing, crying, and even screaming at the characters out loud. Her unusual protagonists (undertakers) are so endearing that I was rooting for them from the very beginning, especially young Kell. Between horrific monsters and convoluted politics, every detail of Martin's world is fully fleshed out in perfect detail. Her magic has sound and consistent rules as well as a cost. Her choice of multiple POV n ...more
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Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wroteat age fivewas about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer.

She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites. She is married and has three childr

Other books in the series

Darkhurst (2 books)
  • Vengeance: A Darkhurst Novel

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