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Month: March 2019

Wild Country (The World of the Others, #2; The Others, #7)

Wild Country (The World of the Others, #2; The Others, #7)

Wild Country by Anne Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We are here. We are different but we stand united to protect our home. We are different but we protect our families by blood or by heart. We are different but not alone. Never alone.

We are here.”

Wild Country is a fun return to a world I came to love years ago, but from a side that felt fresh and new and even more dangerous than the original series. It was more vicious than preceding books, though it still maintained the simplicity that first made this world so appealing. However, the brutality and setting hardened some of the softness that made the original series so intriguing, and the inclusion of more sex and language than was used in previous books gave this new community a more jaded and less trusting level of interaction than the Courtyard that so entranced me in Meg Corbyn’s story.

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The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Simply phenomenal; The Sword of Kaigen is a stunning achievement of empathetic and masterful storytelling.

Every once in a while, a book comes along that sinks its hooks and claws into your very soul. It transcends beyond what a 5-star book usually means to me. It is a book that I will plead, beg and maybe even force everyone to read, so that they can experience the same awe and emotions as I did.  Thus far, I have not gone down the road of awarding 6 stars to some of my favourites, but there are several that I could easily place in that category. Namely The Stormlight Archive, a few titles from Malazan Book of the Fallen, and Heir of Novron, the final omnibus of The Riyria Revelations. Now, this extraordinary stand-alone fantasy novel, which is a rarity in itself, has earned itself a well-deserved spot among these masterpieces.

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Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)

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

This is the start, just the turning of leaves. Winter is still on its way.

Michael J. Sullivan is one of the authors on my auto-buy list. Ever since I’ve finished his Riyria series (both Revelations and Chronicles), I’ve been recommending them to my family and friends either as a gateway to fantasy or as a breath of fresh air amidst all the grimdark fantasy. And in just a short space of a year, I’ve reread all of Riyria and was hungry for more of his stories. Age of Myth was more than up to the task of satisfying my longing. Set in the same world 3,000 years ago, the Legends of the First Empire series is the actual account of the historical events that will eventually lead to the story of our two favourite thieves.

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Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I had no plans to pick this book up because I was so disappointed in Mr. Mercedes, the first book in the trilogy. (You can read my Goodreads review of that book here.) My major complaint with that book was its blandness; it just felt incredibly forgettable to me. Not so with Finders Keepers. In this story we have a much more multifaceted plot and, even better, a plot that revolves around books!

I’m a huge sucker for books about books. Even though Finders Keepers is at its core a suspense and a crime drama, fiction played a huge role in the story. A Salinger-esque author has hidden himself from the world, but continues to handwrite more stories and poems and essays, locking the notebooks away in his safe instead of sharing them with the public. When he’s murdered and the notebooks go missing, the author becomes even more cloaked in mystery.

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The Perfect Assassin (The Chronicles of Ghadid, #1)

The Perfect Assassin (The Chronicles of Ghadid, #1)

I received an advanced reading copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

A decent debut, The Perfect Assassin impressed me most with its fascinating worldbuilding.

It is refreshing to see more and more fantasy releases of late not relying on the more traditional Europe-centric medieval setting for its worldbuilding. In The Perfect Assassin, the setting was decidedly Middle Eastern with an interesting twist. Ghadid was a city built hundreds of feet above sand dunes, made up of numerous connected platforms balanced on top of pylons. As the spirits of the deceased roam the sand dunes seeking for new bodies, such construction of the city was meant as a form of protection. The possession of such spirits can render a person mad, and sometimes even kill. My favourite element in the worldbuilding was the currency of water, which fit well into the desert scenario. The commodity was not only precious for sustaining life, it also powered miraculous healing and the magic needed to control the deadly spirits. As such, the deliberate act of wasting water can bring about a death sentence.

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Balam, Spring

Balam, Spring

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

Balam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A serene and enjoyable slice-of-life fantasy with whodunit element.

When I was first offered Balam, Spring to review by the author, I wasn’t sure when I was going to read it. However, hearing that Final Fantasy IX (Final Fantasy is one of my top favorite gaming franchise of all time) was the main inspiration for this book, I immediately pushed this to become one of my priority read. Balam, Spring belongs heavily in the slice-of-life fantasy genre. For those of you who don’t know about this genre, you can search the meaning online but I usually relate slice of life to the depiction or exploration of characters normal life; most of them dealing with daily or uneventful activities. Although I’m quite a fan of this genre in anime format, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I attempted reading a slice of life novel. Because of this, I feel like the only way I can explain my feelings about this book properly is by dividing my review clearly into what worked and didn’t; by correlating my experience of reading/watching a slice-of-life story.

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Bloody Rose (The Band, #2)

Bloody Rose (The Band, #2)

Nicholas Eames
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

The world is big, the young are restless, and girls just want to have fun.

Bloody Rose made me feel all of the feelings; I want to follow Tam’s lead and sing its praises from the rooftops. Kings of the Wyld was incredibly fun, and I expected the same from its followup, but Eames managed to pull on my heartstrings with Bloody Rose in ways that his first novel did not. I picked up Bloody Rose excited to embark on an Easter egg hunt for classic rock and other pop culture references. While I found what I was looking for in spades, Eames delivered so much more than that. I read the last twenty pages or so through a veil of tears, which is the opposite of what I expected going in.

“Glory fades. Gold slips through our fingers like water, or sand. Love is the only thing worth fighting for.”

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The Rage of Dragons (The Burning, #1)

The Rage of Dragons (The Burning, #1)

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Rage of Dragons is a blazing African-inspired epic fantasy debut that was so possessive of my attention, it simply wouldn’t allow me to read anything else until I finished it.

This book was originally self-published and released in September 2017. Honestly speaking, I have seen and known about this book since then but the book wasn’t able to move up the monstrosity that is my TBR tower for some reason. However, its acquisition by Orbit, which resulted in a brand new gorgeous cover art done by the ingenious Karla Ortiz, is a total cover seller—look at the Zulu shield and the intricately apt mural in the cover!—that practically screamed “Buy and read me now” to me, and so that’s what I did.

“I’d rather live with a thing done poorly than do nothing and always wonder how things could have been.”

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The Mist

The Mist

The Mist by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mist is another of King’s works that, like Carrie, has become such an integral part of society’s collective consciousness regarding fear that it’s become almost cliche. And, as with Carrie, my visit to the Mist completely altered my perception of a story I thought I knew. In my opinion, it went a long towards explaining why King chooses to end stories the way he does, which I’ll get into later. All that being said, The Mist is a quick little journey into the frightened mind, a dissection of mob mentality and the way fear plays itself out within a group of strangers who are thrown together by sudden and unexplained danger. It’s disturbing and thoughtful and does a fantastic job of putting readers in the shoes of its characters.

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Underlord (Cradle, #6)

Underlord (Cradle, #6)

Underlord by Will Wight
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Such insane power. Such insane fun. That, in a nutshell, is the Cradle series, and Underlord is its current pinnacle.

Underlord was everything that its title promised adoring fans (including yours truly), and so much more. The Prologue was so ridiculously epic it gave me goosebumps, and all the awesomeness that was the Cradle series came crashing down on me again. I tried to prolong the enjoyment by keeping myself occupied with things to do, to avoid finishing the book too quickly. Alas, it barely lasted 36 hours from the time I received the download from my pre-order.

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