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Month: November 2018

The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)

The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)

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

The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

I don’t think it’s too soon for me to say that The Gutter Prayer will be the best fantasy debut of 2019.

I have been anticipating this book ever since I first laid my eyes upon the gorgeous cover art by Richard Anderson. You see, I have this perception that any fantasy book with Richard Anderson’s art gracing its cover will most likely reflect that beauty with amazing content inside; once again I was proven right. In my opinion, Orbit is one of the best modern fantasy publishers these days. This is even more evident if we’re speaking about debuts released over the past two years, such as Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker. The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan has strengthened that notion.

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Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle, #2)

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle, #2)

Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rise of the Mystics truly elevates Dekker’s body of work, somehow both shattering and fulfilling the core of his Circle series. The issues that I had with The 49th Mystic, namely that the dialogue often felt stilted and that certain elements of Rachelle’s journey seemed too convenient, weren’t present here. I don’t know if there was a legitimate change or if I had just been reading starker prose than normal, but Dekker’s actual writing style seemed greatly improved, as well. There was a flow to his prose that has been missing for a while, and the plot seemed to flow more naturally instead of feeling forced to take a certain path. I also really appreciated that this book picked up exactly where the first book ended, and that Dekker provided a quick recap of important events from The 49th Mystic at the beginning. Both of these decisions show a thoughtfulness in regards to the reader that authors sometimes overlook, and I respect authors when they take the time to include things like recaps and casts of characters and glossaries.

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Shield of Thunder (Troy, #2)

Shield of Thunder (Troy, #2)

Shield of Thunder (Troy, #2)Shield of Thunder by David Gemmell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great read but might’ve worked better if I’m not binge reading it.

Shield of Thunder is the second book in the Troy trilogy by David Gemmell and in the case of this book, I think I’ll start my review with the parts I didn’t like. Binge reading this book immediately after the first book was quite an odd experience. Not only the book starts with the characters sailing to Troy again just like the first half of the first book, after all the time I’ve spent reading Helikaon and the other characters that I’m starting to get familiar with, the first of of the book—with the exception of Odysseus—had the narrative centered on two new main characters, Kalliades and Banokles. It took me quite a while to get used to Kalliades and Banokles and part one of the book honestly almost made me put the book to my DNF pile. I was honestly super bored with the first 120 pages and the sudden changes in the main characters reminded me a lot of The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett. Plus, there was also a non-explained time skip in which pivotal events have occurred off-screen.

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Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)

Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)

Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Lord of the Silver Bow is my first foray into David Gemmell’s work and I must admit, it was a golden read.

David Gemmell has been an inspiration for many modern fantasy authors these days, there’s even an annual Fantasy award named after him that has been established since 2009. It’s quite crazy that it took me this long to finally get to reading Gemmell’s book, especially after hearing from many authors whose books I’ve read and loved mention that Gemmell is one of their main inspiration.

“Be lucky, Xander, and be brave. You will find that bravery and luck are often bedfellows.”

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The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle, #1)

The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle, #1)

The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ted Dekker will always have a very special place in my heart. His stories have inspired me and shaped my faith since I was a teenager, and I’ll always be grateful to them for the way they revealed truth to me in new and vibrant ways. His books will always have a shelf in my house. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear that Dekker was returning to the world of the Circle, the series that impacted my faith more than anything else outside of the Bible I’ve ever read.

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The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s no place like home. As long as that home isn’t trying to eat you.

This book proved true the idea that, sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction. I had no earthly idea before last week that this was (billed as) a nonfiction book. Seriously?! I’ve always had this fascination with the macabre and the unexplained, so I would’ve read this book long ago had I known that it wasn’t entirely fictional. (Yes, I’m aware that the book has since been proven to be only loosely based on the truth, but it’s way more fun to pretend that it’s true while reading it!) I think there’s a reason the fictional horror genre is so successful and draws so many readers and viewers; horror speaks to the fear we have of the unknown and the unexplainable. We like the thrill of watching or reading worst case scenarios while knowing that we are safe from them.

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Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)

Jade City by Fonda Lee
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Incredible, the multiple nominees and awards this book has won are all well deserved.

Jade City, the first book in The Green Bone Saga series is also Fonda Lee’s adult fantasy debut. Ever since I knew about the existence of this novel, it has always been a book I wanted to read. As usual, the unbeatable TBR pile delayed me and I was so sure that I won’t be getting into this one until next year. However, after seeing the non-stop praises that Fonda Lee and the book constantly received, as an Asian and avid adult fantasy reader I knew that I couldn’t delay this any longer. I’m really happy that I gave this a read now because lately, I’ve been craving a fantastic Asian-inspired fantasy and Jade City delivered a spectacular Asian-inspired urban fantasy debut.

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Planetside

Planetside

Planetside by Michael Mammay
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Planetside was a very impressive military sci-fi debut.

I’m actually surprised that so few people I know (close to zero) are talking about Planetside this year. Seriously, Harper Voyager and reviewers really should’ve advertised this book more, it’s a fantastic debut and if it weren’t for my friend, Niki Hawkes, I wouldn’t have heard about this gem at all.

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Night Shift

Night Shift

Night Shift by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Night Shift is exactly what I have always expected to find in Stephen King’s work, but which I have only experienced sporadically in his novels; it was genuinely scary. Short story collections are generally pretty hit or miss for me. Even those I’ve enjoyed aren’t usually overwhelmingly successful, giving me a handful of stories sprinkled liberally with mediocre tales. Not so here. I honestly enjoyed every single story in this collection.

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