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Month: March 2019

Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen, #1)

Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen, #1)

Malice by John Gwynne
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Do you ever have this feeling, just after you finished reading the first book of a series, you knew immediately there’s a huge potential for the series to become one of your favorite series of all time? Malice, the first book in The Faithful and the Fallen quartet by John Gwynne is one of those rare cases for me.

What started out as a simple classic tale of Good vs Evil ended up being not as simple as I thought. As the story progressed, the story evolved darker gradually while keeping the theme ‘Good vs Evil’ at its heart. Has this theme been done before in the past? Yes, more than a million times already. Will I ever get bored with it? No, never. It’s my favorite kind of story; it’s the essence of the majority of epic fantasy books, video games, and movies. What this theme requires to reach greatness has always been a touch of creativity, to make the story unique, make it the author’s own story to share and this, John Gwynne did phenomenally.

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All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

All Systems Red by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The introduction to The Murderbot Diaries is simply great fun! All Systems Red is a refreshing and diverting sci-fi novella with wide appeal; a marvellous package of wry humour, suspense and a healthy dose of compassion.

As much as I love science fiction, I don’t consider myself as a hardcore reader of the genre, and there are a lot of popular series or “required reading” which I have yet to catch-up on. In this respect, I find this book to be original; it is not a space opera, cyberpunk and it is not about an alien invasion. This is a first-person perspective narrative of a humanlike bot, a construct of both organic and inorganic parts, who finds it/him/herself becoming weird and messed up with increasing ‘emotions’ while dealing with her human clients even though the bots are not programmed as such. (Okay, I am going to call the bot a ‘her’ because even though it is technically genderless, I can’t help picturing it as a female. The voice of her first-person perspective just sounds feminine, in my opinion).

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Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“All things have a value. Sometimes the value is paid in coin. Other times, it is pain in time and sweat. And finally, sometimes it is paid in blood.

Humanity seems most eager to use this latter currency. And we never note how much of it we’re spending, unless it happens to be our own.”

Foundryside is radically different from Bennett’s Divine Cities series, which served as my introduction to his work. There was an almost flippant lightness to this book, whereas the Divine Cities novels had a philosophical weight to them that gave them immense power and a lasting presence in my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed Foundryside, but it’s not a book I’ll still be mulling over weeks or months from now.

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A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We shall never forget.

And how could I ever forget? A Time of Dread served as a brutal and stunning reminder that Gwynne is one of the greatest modern fantasy writers.

The Faithful and The Fallen (“TFaTF”) was a superb epic fantasy series with one of the most well-written stories about prophecies and good vs evil that I’ve read in a very long time. And judging from what I’ve read in this book, I believe Gwynne is on track to surpass what he did in the earlier series. AToD is the stamp of a great writer that never stops learning and always keeps improving. While Malice was a great debut that any author would and should be proud of, AToD demonstrated that Gwynne has once again upped his game.

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Soulkeeper (The Keepers, #1)

Soulkeeper (The Keepers, #1)

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

Soulkeeper by David Dalglish
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Soulkeeper captivated my attention with its seductive storytelling. My inner bookworm is gratified to find another fantasy author’s backlog to go through; I can’t say the same for my bank account.

David Dalglish is not an unfamiliar name to me. For the past two years, I’ve occasionally seen his Shadowdance and Seraphim series being reviewed with positive ratings on bookish social media. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get around to any of his work despite being interested in them—especially Shadowdance. Soulkeeper, the first book in The Keepers trilogy, is my first experience reading Dalglish’s work; I loved it, so I know it definitely won’t be the last.

Devin Eveson is a Soulkeeper, a priest and a healer who travels through remote villages. When a mysterious and deadly black water appears and washes over the land of Cradle, the veil between worlds is torn, causing a return of ancient magic and forgotten races. The story revolves around Devin and his unlikely new companions as they try their best to adapt and survive the changes caused by all the new unprecedented dangers and situations. Here’s the good news I’m sure you want to hear: the execution of the story is even better than the premise. From the first chapter, I was immediately pulled into the solemn, melancholy, and dark mood of this world. The narrative has a voice that’s so compelling and addictive, imbued with resonating topics such as the nature of humanity, death, afterlife, and faith; all of these elements combined in a way that made it difficult for me to put the book down.

“I have studied history extensively, Tommy. Any force for good, if capable of evil, will inevitably be used for evil. It’s just the nature of humanity.”

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Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)

Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Age of Swords is a great sequel in developing the characters that I’ve grown to love in Age of Myth.

I could appreciate why the author named this as his favourite book of the series, even at this early stage. Every author should be fond of the characters that they have created, and writing that one book that brought most growth had to be the most fulfilling.

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Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1)

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1)

PoB

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Promise of Blood was a compelling and pretty good debut. But despite bringing together amazing Fantasy elements and magic systems, Promise of Blood didn’t blow my mind and there were some details that bothered me a bit (and that I will list below). 
Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m going to be honest; this isn’t a book I really intended on reading. Contemporary and chick lit aren’t genres that I visit very often, unless they’re written by Nora Roberts. The only reason I decided to pick this up is because I want to watch the HBO series, and I have this thing about not watching a show or movie until I read the material that inspired it. Whatever my reason for giving it a try, I’m very glad I did. I would have been missing out. Big Little Lies is fun and insanely addictive, perfect for reality television junkies or anyone who loves watching train wrecks and happily ever afters in equal measure.

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Six Sacred Swords (Weapons and Wielders, #1)

Six Sacred Swords (Weapons and Wielders, #1)

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Six Sacred Swords by Andrew Rowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Continuously fun and light-hearted in tone, Six Sacred Swords was a great beginning to a new spin-off series by Andrew Rowe.

Six Sacred Swords is the first book in Weapons and Wielders series by Andrew Rowe. It is unknown at the moment how many books are planned for this series, but one thing for sure that you should know is that this series serves as a prequel to Rowe’s Arcane Ascensions series; a series I highly enjoyed. Some of the most dominant elements in Arcane Ascensions are the intricate magic system, the magic school setting, the tests, and the dungeon crawlers. Six Sacred Swords is both different and similar to Arcane Ascension by excluding the magic theory and magic school setting; focusing the narrative on the fun adventure, video games dungeon-crawler aspect, and anime-esque battle scenes. At the same time, this series serves also as a sequel series to Rowe’s War of Broken Mirrors; I haven’t read this one. That being said, rest assured that you can definitely start your journey into Rowe’s imagination by starting with this book.

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Spellslinger (Spellslinger, #1)

Spellslinger (Spellslinger, #1)

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Spellslinger is delightfully fun and engaging read with some serious themes that fit the young adult genre.

I would probably sound like a broken record, but I reiterate that I’m generally not a reader of YA books. So far, the ones that I’ve enjoyed are those written by authors who’ve already carved a name for themselves writing adult fantasy books. One of these authors is Sebastien de Castell; his adult fantasy series, Greatcoats, was one which I loved. In Greatcoats, he balanced a dark and personal tale of a broken man caught up in his past with humour and wonderful characters. For Spellslinger, the tone was somewhat similar but clearly targeted at a younger audience.

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