The Collector Trilogy: Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews the first novel in The Collector Trilogy by Chris F. Holm, published by Angry Robot Books.

“A fantastic, page-turning and awesome début that certainly makes an impression. Highly recommended, and a must for any Urban Fantasy fans.” ~The Founding Fields

Dead Harvest, outside of The Dresden Files, is one of the few Urban Fantasy novels that I’ve read. And, whilst I don’t normally read novels in this particular sub-genre, (it usually takes something special, or a favourite author – to put out novels in this genre that I will read), I figured that I’d give Chris F. Holm’s very first novel a shot. Yes, you heard me, the spectacular Dead Harvest is a début. Which begs the question – why did it not feel like one when I was reading it? There’s a reason for that. Dead Harvest was utterly jaw-dropping. It impressed me, and has defiantly made it into one of my favourite novels (if not my favourite) of 2012 so far. Want to know why? Well, after a quick run-down of the plot, provided by the folks at Angry Robot Books, I’m going to tell you.

Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before.


File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Souled Out | Damned If You Don't | Collector Mania | On The Run ]

The novel had hooked me right from the moment that I read the blurb. I wasn’t going to initially read Dead Harvest, mind you – the cover art put me off a bit at first, until I read fellow TFF member djinn24′s review of the same novel, which can be found here, as well as other reviewers who praised Chris F. Holm’s first novel.

The pace in Dead Harvest, first off, is fast. You will find yourself flicking from page to page desperately wanting to find out what happens next, as the novel itself is far from predictable, with twist after twist which soon will have you knowing that nobody is safe, no matter how important they seem. That’s one of the ways in which Holm keeps the tension high, and one of the many reasons why I enjoyed the novel.

Dead Harvest had a little bit of everything in this book it seemed, romance, well-written action and much more which kept the book enjoyable for me, as a reader – and there was never a dull moment, never a bit where I felt like skipping a few pages to advance the story. The plot kept twisting and turning, and I really enjoyed it.

I haven’t read many novels within the author’s own setting that have anti-heroes as their main character, and I think the only one that I can recall from memory right now is Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. There seems to be a problem though with anti-heroes, you can’t really relate to them and therefore you don’t really feel sympathetic for them. Despite that though, I believe that Sam Thornton is a pretty likeable character. That’s just my opinion though, yours may change.

And, there’s a lot of flashbacks in Dead Harvest, that explore the origin of Sam, and how he became a Collector. It’s a tragic past, and at no point does it feel like the pace is either slowing down or the novel is not going anywhere. Each new flashback, we learn a bit more about Sam’s past, and nothing is wasted space.

Containing all the best elements of Urban Fantasy thrown into one, Dead Harvest is a novel that you’ll not want to miss, providing a refreshing break for veteran fans of the subgenre and a great starting point to newcomers.

Another thing that leapt out to me whilst I was reading Dead Harvest, I felt that this novel would make an awesome movie, with several awesome scenes that would translate really well onto the big screen, and I hope that somebody makes it happen soon – as If there is a movie of Dead Harvest, I’ll defiantly be going to see it.

Although Dead Harvest is Chris F. Holm’s first novel, he’s well established on the short story front and has written several – and has even been nominated for awards with his shorts, which I am defiantly going to look out for, as whilst reading Dead Harvest, I simply couldn’t put it down. It is a page-turner in every sense of the word.

Verdict: 5/5

The Collector Trilogy: Dead Harvest, The Wrong Goodbye (October 2012), (To be Confirmed).

Bane of Kings is one our most senior book reviewers here at The Founding Fields, based in England. He’s a prolific reviewer that has contributed to many things here and around the internet.


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