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Month: October 2018

Skullsworn (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #0.5)

Skullsworn (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #0.5)

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely marvelous. Not only Skullsworn is Staveley’s best work so far, it’s also one of the most well-written books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Skullsworn is a standalone prequel to Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy; focusing on Pyrre Lakatur—one of my favorite characters from the main trilogy—as she faces her final trial to become the Priestess of Ananshael, the god of death. To pass her trial, Pyrre has fourteen days to kill the seven people depicted in an ancient song, including the one she loves / someone who will not come again. The main problem in this trial for Pyrre isn’t the killing itself, but love; she isn’t sure if she’s ever been in love or whether she knows what love is. If she fails to find someone to love—and then kill—she will fail the trial and die in the hands of the Priests of Ananshael. Pyrre isn’t afraid of death but she hates failing, and hence, she returns to the city of her birth, Dombang, in the hope of finding love and ending it with her blade.

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Interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here! Today, I’m bringing you an interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke, the author behind the recently released debut, Blood of Heirs. Blood of Heirs is easily one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. It was a book that I decided to read simply based on instincts without knowing anything about it. If you’re still not sure about the book, you can check out my review of the book on the blog by clicking this link. Done? Yeah, suffice to say that I was deeply impressed and I highly enjoyed reading the novel. I hope my review and this interview will spark your interest to give the debut a read. Without further ado, here is my interview with Alicia Wanstall-Burke.

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Supraphysica

Supraphysica

Supraphysica by Drew Boudreaux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an electronic copy of this novel from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Christian fantasy and science fiction tend to be very hit or miss for me. While I try my best to support the genres because I really want to see them grow, some the novels tend to feel unoriginal and poorly written. I have read many works of Christian speculative fiction that left me frustrated and underwhelmed. In my opinion, Christian art of any kind, be in fiction or music or visual media, should hold itself to a higher standard than its secular counterparts in order to more powerfully proclaim the message Christians are sent out into the world to share. There are indeed novelists and poets and musicians that hold themselves to said standard, but this is far from the norm.

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The Prince of Cats

The Prince of Cats

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Prince of Cats by Daniel E. Olesen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Prince of Cats was an enjoyable new beginning to a planned trilogy with a self-contained story that worked absolutely well as a standalone.

Honestly, The Prince of Cats by Daniel E. Olesen was never in my radar at first. When the author asked me to review this book, I wasn’t completely sold yet and the pressing mountain of books to read and review made me certain that I won’t be reading this anytime soon. However, when an early impression by Mihir from Fantasy Book Critic—a friend and one of the very few professional SFF reviewers I trust—stated that it was “The Lies Of Locke Lamora in an Arabian Nights setting with a solid dose of mystery and espionage.”, it immediately got my attention; I accepted the book, read it in two days—could’ve done it in one day but The Haunting of Hill House ruined my schedule—and here I am.

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War Cry

War Cry

Review copy provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

War Cry by Brian McClellan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

War Cry was good but in my opinion it would’ve worked so much better as a full novel.

Teado, a Changer, a shape-shifting military asset used for military purposes. He and his platoon have been stranded on the Bavares high plains for years. Desperate, he and his platoon jumped at the chance for a super risky resupply mission. This was a very quick read, not only the length of the novella is short, the story itself was very fast-paced and action-oriented; it took me approximately one hour to finish the book in one sitting.

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The Dark Half

The Dark Half

The Dark Half by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There will be light spoilers in this review, but I tried to keep them on par with what would be revealed by the synopsis of the book. There was simply no way for me to review this while keeping every detail concealed.

King crafted something both horrifying and utterly fascinating from his frustration over the loss of Richard Bachman. For those who aren’t familiar with Bachman, he was King’s pseudonym, under which he wrote Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man before accidentally outing himself in his fifth publication, Thinner.

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The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)

The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)

The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Ace of Skulls gave mostly a satisfying ending to the Tales of the Ketty Jay but as a volume, this was a slight step back in quality.

Tales of the Ketty Jay has always been consistently good from the first book; the third and penultimate book was a huge step up for the series in which almost every element from the previous books was improved efficiently. That’s why it saddened me to say that even though I still loved this one, I didn’t enjoy reading the majority of this book as much as I did before with the previous three books.

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The Twilight Pariah

The Twilight Pariah

Review copy provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

The Twilight PariahThe Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford has an interesting premise and ideas but unfortunately they were quite poorly executed.

In their last college vacation, Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted to get drunk and play archaeologist in a mansion located in the woods outside of town. During their excavation, the found a disturbing skeleton of a horned child which lead to their lives becoming a living hell wherever they go. Sounds quite good right? But in my opinion, the writing didn’t deliver any of the suspense and creepiness that books in the horror genre delivers.

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The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #3)

The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #3)

The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Iron Jackal greatly built upon the foundations that have been well-established in the first half of the series.

Despite having enjoyed the first half of the quartet, I was getting a bit scared that the fun and enjoyment of the series would start to dwindle in the third and penultimate installment of the series. I’m so glad to be proven wrong, The Iron Jackal ended up being the most fun book in the series so far. Unlike the storytelling structure in the previous two books, The Iron Jackal progressed a bit differently and it’s something I immensely appreciate. Where the first two books were about getting a mission to gain wealth, this book was more of a race against time to save Frey’s own life. It was more intense, more action-packed without neglecting the crucial and great characterizations, and I highly enjoyed reading the book. Don’t get me wrong, as far as predictability, the story was still highly predictable despite the higher stake; no argument from me there. However, everything was just so well-written and well-executed that I just want to continue reading regardless of knowing the outcome.

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