Book Review: Legacy of Ash (The Legacy Trilogy, #1) by Matthew Ward

Book Review: Legacy of Ash (The Legacy Trilogy, #1) by Matthew Ward

Achievement unlocked: This is the 100th ARC/Review Copy I’ve read and reviewed!

Review Copy provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Legacy Trilogy (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 784 pages (UK hardback edition)

Published: 5th November 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 9th April 2020 by Orbit (US)


Legacy of Ash is an epic fantasy debut aptly designed for well-seasoned epic fantasy readers, and I wouldn’t recommend newcomers to the genre starting to start their epic fantasy adventure here.

We all know how it goes; if it’s an epic fantasy debut, the particular book will immediately be advertised as A Song of Ice and Fire or Game of Thrones meets (insert another author/series/book here,) and Legacy of Ash isn’t excluded from that tradition. As much as I often find this kind of advertisement misleading most of the time, Legacy of Ash may have just done justice to this often-misleading claim. Legacy of Ash is an epic fantasy debut with many characters and names to remember, imbued with the hint of huge scope found in A Song of Ice and Fire and action sequences that bear a resemblance to Bernard Cornwell’s.

“The Tyrant Queen’s reign is done, but vigilance remains. For just as the shadows are strongest on the brightest of days, we are never more imperiled than when we think ourselves safe.”

Have you ever heard the argument that prologue sucked and unnecessary? I won’t lie, it’s an opinion that I can’t understand, or maybe I’m just lucky because I haven’t found any prologue that ends up becoming unnecessary to the main story. Prologues have the capability to set the tone, background, and premise of what’s to come in the main story, and Legacy of Ash, the first book in The Legacy Trilogy by Matthew Ward, did this wonderfully; it begins with a prologue that’s integral to the main conflicts that start fifteen years after the prologue.

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Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a delightful experience. Nonfiction isn’t anywhere near by genre of choice, but The Princess Bride is among my favorite movies of all time, so I decided to give it a go. Also, Carey Elwes is an absolute treasure. But even the fact that the book was the backstory of one of my favorite movies as told by its lead actor wasn’t enough to entice me into buying a copy of this book. Until I came across the audio version. Let me tell you, I jumped right on that, especially once I learned that Carey Elwes himself, along with the majority of his Princess Bride co-stars and those who were involved with filming, directing, writing, and producing the movie, narrated the audio. Getting to hear these people, whose work together has been delighting countless viewers for over 30 years, talk about their experience with the movie was a wonderful experience. It just made me appreciate even more this movie that has been so special to me for nearly half of my life. So many lines from this story have worked their way into my family’s vocabulary and, while that is in large part due to the brilliance of Goldman’s writing, the voices in which we heard them spoken are what have kept them in our heads for well over a decade.

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Cover Reveal: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

Cover Reveal: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here.

No long introduction from me; the title of this post is self-explanatory, and I’m sure it’s why you’re here. But for those of you who somehow don’t know, John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors and I will ALWAYS recommend his books to every epic fantasy reader. I’m simply gratified to be given the extraordinary honor of doing an exclusive cover reveal for A Time of Courage, the third—and final—book in Of Blood and Bone series. If you love epic fantasy with fantastic characterizations and phenomenal battle scenes, make sure to do yourself a favor and read ALL of Gwynne’s books. I truly believe that Gwynne is one of the greatest fantasy authors in the making; he already is one for me. Without further ado, here’s the epic cover of A Time of Courage!

Cover art by Paul Young

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Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2.5) by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2.5) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle (Book #2.5 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 159 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 28th October 2014 by Gollancz (UK) & 28th October 2014 by DAW (US)


Atmospheric, bizarre, and absolutely enchanting.

Before you start reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things, please make sure you read the author’s foreword first and set your expectations accordingly. Rothfuss has mentioned it himself, this is a different kind of storytelling from his main series, and we won’t get a continuation to Kvothe’s story here; I didn’t listen to his advice on my first read, and it indeed stopped me from enjoying the novella to its fullest potential. I expected something different, found myself disappointed, and I also made the mistake of rushing through the novella on my first read because I decided to read it in the middle of reading The Wise Man’s Fear.

Don’t do what I did on my first read.

On this reread, I savored each page, paying proper attention to the beautifully composed structure of words that gives life to Auri, one of the most enigmatic characters in The Kingkiller Chronicle series; I’m blown away by how much I loved this book upon rereading it.

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Book Review: Conqueror (Conqueror, #5) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Conqueror (Conqueror, #5) by Conn Iggulden

Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #5 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 512 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 27th October 2011 by Harper Collins (UK) & 21th December 2011 by Delacorte Press (US)


I have mixed feelings regarding the final book of Conqueror, one of my favorite historical fiction series.

I’m starting to think that there’s a real curse contained within five books series that haunts me. I don’t even know why or how this happens, but I’m never left completely satisfied by the concluding installment of all five books series I’ve read so far. Lightbringer by Brent Weeks, Heartstrikers by Rachel Aaron, The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler, and unfortunately, this series. All of them, somehow, felt plagued with the same issue that they either felt too long or unnecessary to be one whole book. That’s the thing with Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan, it felt more like a spin-off of the previous four books rather than a direct sequel or a concluding installment.

“What sort of a man would I be if I could just wipe out my errors with talking? A man has to live with his mistakes and go on. That is his punishment, perhaps.”

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Book Review: Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan (DI Zigic and DS Ferreira, #5)

Book Review: Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan (DI Zigic and DS Ferreira, #5)

 

 

Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published: 5th May 2020 (Raven Books)

Between Two Evils, the 5th instalment of the DI Zigic and DS Ferreira series, has Eva Dolan turning her searching gaze towards yet another significant social question: the multifaceted forms of racism and abuse experienced by immigrants to the UK. When a doctor is found dead in his home, his work in the local all-female detention centre provides an obvious avenue for investigation, especially when the detectives discover his role in whistle-blowing a culture of horrifying misconduct. But that’s not all the officers have on their plate. A violent serial rapist has been freed thanks to police malpractice and Zigic and Ferreira know that it’s only a matter of time before he attacks again. And this time it might be even closer to home…

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Book Review: Starsight (Skyward, #2)

Book Review: Starsight (Skyward, #2)

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

My rating:  5 of 5 stars

Series: Skyward (Book 2 of 4)

Genre: Science fiction, young adult

Published: 26th November 2019 by Gollancz (UK) and Delacorte Press (US)


Starsight proves once again that Brandon Sanderson is a masterful storyteller across genres and age groups, and who simply excels at writing sequels. 

I’m actually at a loss as to how to start or write this review without sounding like a broken record. As far as I’m concerned, Sanderson is a genius and he has never failed to deliver a captivating story, whether he was writing adult or young adult, fantasy or science fiction. And after reading so much from him and listening to him talk at signings and interviews, I honestly believed that it comes from his passion in just wanting to tell good stories. Notwithstanding the excellent worldbuilding and fantastic magic systems he is so well-known for these were, first and foremost, stories about people.

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Book Review: Khan: Empire of Silver (Conqueror, #4) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Khan: Empire of Silver (Conqueror, #4) by Conn Iggulden

Khan: Empire of Silver by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #4 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 416 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 2nd September 2010 by Harper Collins (UK) & 28th December 2010 by Delacorte Press (US)


An impressive penultimate installment. Who was more terrifying, Genghis Khan or Tsubodai?

“It was difficult not to look on Tsubodai with awe if you knew what he had achieved in his life. The army owed their success to him as much as to Genghis.”

I’m nearing the conclusion of this series now. Khan: Empire of Silver is the fourth and penultimate installment in the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden. I’ll try to keep this review as brief and spoiler-free as possible. In the previous three books, the title of each installment starts with the name “Genghis” at the front of their title; this one starts with “Khan.” That should give you a vague idea about what kind of stories you’re getting here. The previous three books focused on Genghis Khan’s life and conquest, Khan: Empire of Silver revolves more around the life of Temujin’s children and Tsubodai’s extraordinary conquest of Europe.

“If a man has gold, he lives with the terror that someone will take it away from him, so he builds walls around it. Then everyone knows where the gold is, so they come and take it. That’s the way it always goes, brother. Fools and gold, together.”

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Book Review: The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Book Review: The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow Saint by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Black Iron Legacy (Book #2)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Pages: 592 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 9th January 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 7th January 2020 by Orbit (US)


The Shadow Saint, the sequel to my favorite debut of 2019, is here and it successfully met my high expectations with so much energy.

Firstly, a shout out to one of my favorite artists, Richard Anderson, for creating another gorgeous cover art. Remember what I said at the beginning of my review of The Gutter Prayer? I tend to find the content of an SFF book with Anderson’s cover art to be as good as the cover, and this statement holds incredibly well once again. Secondly, if it’s been a while since you’ve read the first book, please remember that the author has a detailed recap (thank god!) of the previous book on his website. I finished reading The Gutter Prayer almost exactly a year ago. Back then, despite the book being released this year, I made a bold claim that The Gutter Prayer would be my favorite debut published in 2019, and seeing there are only five weeks left in 2019, I don’t see any possibility of this claim being proven wrong. I loved The Gutter Prayer so much, and with that in mind, The Shadow Saint managed to not only live up to my high expectation but also, once again, become one of my favorite reads of the year.

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Book Review: Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3)

Book Review: Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3)

 

Death’s End by Cixin Liu, (Translated by: Ken Liu)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Remembrance of Earth’s Past (Book 3 of 3)

Genre: Hard science fiction

English translation published: 2016 by Tor Books (US) and Head of Zeus (UK).


Death’s End is an incredibly epic conclusion to the insanely imaginative and unpredictable hard science fiction trilogy, Remembrance of Earth’s Past.

I’ve read the first two books of this trilogy more than a year ago. The reason why I did not read Death’s End till now was not because I didn’t enjoy these books. On the contrary, just on those two alone I was already touting Remembrance of Earth’s Past to be one of my favourites. It was due to how well the sequel The Dark Forest seemed to have wrapped up the story then that I didn’t immediately continue with the final book. Each book in the trilogy was so thought-provoking and full of creativity that I found myself needing time to absorb and digest what I’ve read. Death’s End is the ultimate entry in this incredible trilogy which utterly floored me with its mind-blowing ideas that employed real world theoretical and astrophysics in an all-out epic and fascinating narrative.

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