The Harvester Series: The Reap Begins by Johnathan Vargo begins with an author’s note telling us this is the second novella in the series. I did not look for the first one. For the most part, this very interesting novella stands on its own unless you are bothered by cliffhangers. There is one (and this is not a spoiler). After Cain performs many tasks toward completing his self-defined mission, he disappears. That is just to set the stage for sequels. What the reader is not sure of is the mission of Cain, also known as the Reaper. How did he acquire such a mission? The reader is not even sure if Cain is human, although Cain can be and has been seriously physically damaged in some of his fights.
It seems Cain is an instrument of vengeance. He is out to kill all who are evil. In this novella, he does so in the town of Leon. Cain does not determine who is evil; he requires an instrument to identify those deserving death. Angela, perhaps an innocent do-gooder, will help Cain identify those who should die. Angela helped an aged drifter, a person who was down and out. After she had given him a glass of water, the two were attacked by two men. The drifter was killed and Angela was beaten and raped. The two guilty men were arrested and should have been found guilty and possibly executed. They were found guilty but Judge Carver only sentenced them to two weeks in stocks where they would be publicly humiliated. It seems like the fix was in and a powerful local ruler named Marcus was probably behind it.
Victim Angela has been having dreams. Her dreams seem connected to the dreams of Cain; they may have summoned Cain to Leon on a vengeance mission. Cain convinces Angela that she is the source of information as to who is guilty and who must die; Cain is the executioner who will deliver revenge as well as help to find a solution to the riddle of shared dreams.
This is an interesting story well told as far as pacing. The characters develop as the story goes along, not in a way I like but they hold reader interest. I read this story through to the end despite many, many areas that should have attracted the attention of an editor. I was surprised to find an “Afterword” in which the author apologized for the many editing errors in an earlier work. Vargo mentioned that he had hired a professional editor for this work. He was cheated. An editor who did not catch the blatant errors in this short story should remove the word “professional” from a CV or resume. The errors are wide ranging. How can an editor miss the first person singular pronoun not being capitalized? My WordPerfect spell and grammar check will catch this. What kind of an error is “indrescript,” (loc 170) spelling, word choice, word form (or all three)?
However, I recommend this book as a good read with some interesting ideas that will probably be explored in several sequels.
I decided to read this novella after reading the following review. It was not that the review made me interested in the book. It was that I could not understand the review. After reading the Amazon supplied sample, I was intrigued enough to buy the novel. Despite the need for editing, I am happy with my purchase; it is a good story. But the review I found kept nagging at me. I include it below. I suspect, and my humble opinion is only a suspicion, that the review was written by either the author or the editor. It contains areas requiring editing much like the novella. Grammarly agrees.
Multilayered parable, full of enigmas & thrilling quest.
‘The Harvester Series: The Reap Begins’ is an entertaining short sequel from ‘The Harvester Series’ that continues strong with vivid detailed settings intertwined with intricately developed plot to create an exceptionally immersive reading experience relayed by charismatic, multidimensional characters masterfully introduced by the author.
A hidden intention brings mysterious stranger ‘Cain’ to small town of Leon, Kansas with a mission to harvest social ugliness, corruption and crime engulfing American Midwest. Author Johnathan Vargo leads his readers through profound yet intriguing aspects of exploration of life demonstrated by characters that dominate this dense-deep novel bringing out a wise but sad coming of age story showcasing how people are shaped by their losses and brutal sufferings.
‘The Reap Begins’ is a fast paced read that is highly capable of engrossing readers into a smartly narrated cliffhanger proving author a worthy successor to carry on the series effectively till another awaited sequel is out. ‘The harvester Series: The Reap Begins’ is definitely a multilayered parable full of thrilling quests and enigmas that is sure to enchant adults and young readers. Highly Recommended.