Inferno is a Heroic Fantasy series written by the pseudonymous A. Kat. An indie series, it is influenced by High Fantasy books and games, but also the comic books and syndicated TV shows of the 80s and 90s. The world of Inferno is defined by the Ritual, a monthly ceremony that requires certain people to be sacrificed to satisfy Earth's hunger. This occurs under the auspices of the Order of Pure and Cleansing Inferno, a seemingly ubiquitous group that provides a comforting ideology to make the Ritual, and everything else in life, more palatable. Their followers in the general population are known as the faithful.
If the Ritual is not carried out properly, it would mean the End of Days. However, a noblewoman named Cassandra, who has occasional visions of the future, sees a world without the Ritual and decides that it is possible to end it safely. She sets out to find the man she saw in her vision, a bounty hunter who calls himself Moose and makes a living bringing those chosen for the sacrifice to the Order.
So far, the following installments have been published:
- Cassandra's Call (2018)
- In Elven Woods (2019)
- The Shadow Alliance (2020)
This series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Gwynn Ella Ashbow, the half-elf warrior that joins Cassandra's group in the second part. She demonstrates skill with a bow, fights at close range with a sword, and volunteers to lead her new companions into the deadly caves.
- Subverted with Lady Cassandra. While she can defend herself with her crossbow, she is not a fighter. Instead, she convinces others to do her dirty work for her.
- The Big Guy: Despite Alex's frequent references to him as this, Moose is a subversion. The fact that he designed and made custom mechanical weapons and armor out of an impossible alloy and seems able to match wits with Lady Cassandra implies he is more of a genius bruiser.
- Bounty Hunter: Bounty hunters, not members of the Order, capture the people chosen for the sacrifice. Moose claims to be the best of them all.
- Broken Ace: What the hell happened to Moose?
- The Cassandra: Averted in the case of the first part's titular character. While Moose is initially skeptical, he comes to believe that Cassandra's visions might be true, especially when she reluctantly accepts Alex into the group because she 'sees' him in their future.
- Celibate Hero: Moose, Cassandra, and Alex incorrectly interpret Gwynn's declaration that she will let no man touch her to mean she is this. Turns out there is something else going on...
- The Chessmaster: Cassandra is the mastermind behind the plan to end the Ritual once and for all. She shows a propensity for scheming from the beginning, tricking her own cousin into taking the blame for the trouble she and Moose caused in Dacean.
- Cool Horse: Both Moose and Cassandra have one. Moose's stallion, Skyrider, is white, whereas Cassandra's stallion Eclipse is black. Each has a close bond with the owner and a bad habit of injuring anybody else.
- Crapsack World: Everyone in the world, or at least every human, faces the possibility of being sacrificed. Aside from the Ritual, there are homeless kids on the street, wars brewing between opposing nations and peoples, and a general stifling of thought and progress by the Order. Plenty of suffering and death to go around.
- Disappeared Dad: Gwynn's father abruptly left the Elven Woods twenty years before the events of the second book. She believes that he's still alive somewhere, a prospect that unsettles Cassandra once she finds out who he is. The flashback at the end of the third book implies that he didn't do it for nothing: Edgar set out to find his human son from his first marriage and succeeded.
- Family of Choice: The Black Cats to Alex, before they cast him out for defending Moose and Cassandra in the alley.
- Fantasy Metals: Moose's helmet, plate boots, and chainmail shirt are described as being an ultra-light, ultra-strong alloy. It is unclear if the nearly-white armor the paladins wear is this or just incredibly well-polished regular metal.
- Giant Spider: There are apparently roaming packs of them in the caves under the elf village. The drow don't worship them or even particularly care for them...turns out they boil the abdomens for soup.
- Hurting Hero: Are any of the main cast not this? So far, Moose seems to have it the worst.
- Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Alex shares his first kiss with Gwynn, literally sitting in a tree. He is then unceremoniously knocked out of that tree, and she warns him never to touch her again.
- Knight Templar: The Order's paladins, naturally.
- Meaningful Name: What do you call a woman who's desperately loved by someone who can't be with her? Ah, right.
- Subverted with Moose, as he is slender, blond, and not particularly evocative of an ungulate.
- My Eyes Are Up Here: Cassandra to Moose at their first meeting.
- Mysterious Employer: Averted with Cassandra, as she accompanies the group she's assembled on all of their adventures.
- Our Elves Are Better: Examples abound during the Elf Saga, with the elves of Homestead falling into the "wood elf" category and the drow falling into the "dark elf" category. Gwynn is the last half-elf, and Word of God is that she was created with the biological phenomenon of "hybrid vigor" in mind.
- The Sneaky Guy: Alex is introduced as a thief, follows Moose from the rooftops without being noticed, and plays up his usefulness as a scout when his place on the team is questioned.
- Street Urchin: Alex the Brawler. When he first meets Cassandra and Moose, he is a thief in a street gang.
- Swiss Army Weapon: Moose's clubs. Though perfectly serviceable as bludgeons, they can also become a bladed weapon or a short staff. Moose says they are "full of surprises".
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Moose and Cassandra, towards each other.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The elves are described as having blue hair that is lighter or darker depending on the individual. Gwynn has green hair, which is apparently unique.