2018 · ARC · Long post · Review · Uncategorized

Review: Runebinder by Alex R Kahler

I caught on to this mainly because it had an interesting Viking and dystopian setting and it sounds very interesting. Plus, it has some LGBT+ characters which I enjoy having in my books.

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.


by Alex R Kahler


Synopsis by NetGalley

When magic returned to the world, it could have saved humanity…

But greed and thirst for power caused mankind’s downfall instead. Now once-human monsters called Howls prowl abandoned streets, their hunger guided by corrupt necromancers and the all-powerful Kin. Only Hunters have the power to fight back in the unending war, using the same magic that ended civilization in the first place.

But they are losing.

Tenn is a Hunter, resigned to fight even though hope is nearly lost. When he is singled out by a seductive Kin named Tomas and the enigmatic Hunter Jarrett, Tenn realizes he’s become a pawn in a bigger game. One that could turn the tides of war. But if his mutinous magic and wayward heart get in the way, his power might not be used in favour of mankind.

If Tenn fails to play his part, it could cost him his friends, his life…and the entire world. 

My Opinion



The magic system

The runes

The LGBT romance

The Story

The storyline was a straight line from pretty much from start to finish. There are not that many subplots but the book does change between present day and the past especially as Tenn’s magic is water which can drag up memories quite often. It brought a great insight to the past, how things came about and why these things are this way.

I felt Tenn had it easy sometimes. Somethings just fell into his lap, while other times he walked straight into it expecting it to fall into his lap and it didn’t. However, it would always sort itself out to his benefit.

Also, I’m not sure about the witches. I understand their importance in this world and with the magic system. But for Tenn’s purpose, they knew what he wanted and what he needed and gave it, without questioning of wanting anything in return. Too easy. So why are they there? Apart from that, I did like them as people. But the gap between how the twins acted and how the witches responded to them was miles long and deep.

World building

I needed a bit more world-building, to be honest. The world felt a bit small. There wasn’t much reference to outside of the US or of many other states.

As I said it felt a bit small, and I’m not sure how to explain that statement. It was limited, like a village instead of a city, if that makes sense.

Having said that, I really liked the idea of our world going under due to the presence of magic. It would have been nice with more info about how it affected technology and stuff. Again I enjoyed it but it was limited and smallish.

Magic system

I really enjoyed the magic system in this book with a mixture of runes and elemental magic. The detail of how it worked was well done with the different locations of the spheres for each elemental magic and the limitations. At the same time, I felt Tenn had it easy with magically knowing the runes without knowing them and also with the limitations of the magic not really applying to him, making him special. But that’s the purpose of the story. He did suffer a bit with is own elemental magic as it was a bit wild.

The Characters

Tenn is, firstly a great name for a wizard, and secondly a character I really liked. He’s not your typical hero. He is more of an emo nerd and a softer male character. I don’t often come across soft male heroes (apart from Newt Scamander and his fantastic beasts) so when I do I really enjoy it. Tenn is not a Newt Scamander, not a jock, but something in the middle. He is soft and caring, but brave and kills monsters without thinking too much about it. All he wants is for this nightmare world to end so he can get a husband and a log cabin somewhere in the woods. And Jarrett fits that bill.

Jarrett is the jock type guy, second in command at one of the outposts around Chicago. As the love interest, he sure knew he was and used Tenn as his escapism from the brutal monster-filled world they lived in. I haven’t made up my mind yet whether I like him or not, I need some time to think about it.


I read somewhere that there was some instalove in this book. I don’t really agree with that. Tenn and Jarrett have already met in the past and it never really gets serious in this book. However, it does go quickly from their first meeting to feeling normal around each other and discussing their nonexisting future. Of all the instaloves I have read about, this is not bad.


Only one time in the entire book was there any negative references to LGBT people. It came from a religious group (some sort of Christianity) promoting the end of the world being near or something, and their leader says ”oh the queer boy is back” as Jarrett comes into view. But that is it for negative comments. The characters decide to ignore them and basically, the whole book decide to ignore such attitudes.

The lack of explaining their orientation and the lack of negative attitudes towards them was really nice. It made it feel normal and natural which is how it should be. It was apparently a conscious decision by the author and it succeeded.


I didn’t have too many issues with the writing of this book apart from two things. One, there were a few areas where the writing jumps to conclusions before it’s ready. Two, the fast pace areas we’re too fast for me, too brief and too short. Those pieces of bone needed some meat.


I enjoyed this book. I really liked the LGBT romance and the magic system. But I’m not sure if I will continue with the series or the author at this point.

Have you read this? What did you think?

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2 thoughts on “Review: Runebinder by Alex R Kahler

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