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Month: May 2019

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

One word. INCREDIBLE.

The Winnowing Flame Trilogy has earned a perfect 5-star rating from me and deserved ALL of it. The Poison Song not only lived up to its astoundingly good prequels, but it also delivered an exquisitely emotional and satisfying conclusion.

I’ve always refrained from mentioning plot points in my reviews for concluding books to avoid inadvertent spoilers.  Instead, I will explain why I believed that Jen Williams’ sophomore trilogy is absolutely worth your time and money.

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The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Her silence was like a mirror—reflecting yourself back at you. And it was often an ugly sight.”

I feel that the domestic noir mystery novel has become almost cliche at this point. After Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl took the world by storm, a multitude of others poured forth that followed the same formula, whether by chance or purposeful emulation. I would consider The Silent Patient part of the same genre, but refreshingly different from many of its compatriots. The setting, the narrator, and the twists all felt unique, and combined in a way that actually surprised me. I especially enjoyed the psychology element, and the way the author ensured that we could see mental health issues and therapy from the points of view of both patients and doctors. Also, I appreciated the inclusion of an Ancient Greek play, and its importance to the plot; this addition felt very cultured, and made me immediately interested in learning more about said play.

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Kingshold (The Wildfire Cycle, #1)

Kingshold (The Wildfire Cycle, #1)

I received a copy of the audiobook from Tantor Media in exchange for an honest review.

Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.

An enjoyable classic fantasy romp with some modern touches, Kingshold is a commendable debut by D.P. Woolliscroft.

This first book of The Wildfire Cycle is heavy on politics as its major plotline is centred around the election of a new Lord Protector to the Kingdom of Edland. With the current King dead and after many generations of useless monarchs, the ancient wizard, Jyuth, who founded the kingdom refused to take any further responsibility in choosing the next one. Instead, an election was proposed and the story ensued with political scheming and assassinations (which are perfectly legal if performed under a contract).

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The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, #4)

The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, #4)

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I give up. Here’s where I say goodbye to The Wheel of Time.

The Shadow Rising is the fourth book in The Wheel of Time series, it’s been claimed by many fans of the series that installment is one of the better books—some even said it’s THE best–written by Robert Jordan before Brandon Sanderson takes over. I personally found this book to be the worst in the series so far.

Just like the extremely repetitive nature of the series, the only way I can explain why I found myself incredibly disappointed is, again, by repeating the cons that I’ve mentioned in my review of the previous three books. What I mean by this is that the story starts awesome, became extremely boring, and then a great conclusion again. Seriously, I read through the first 25% in a day, then it took me six days—with skimming Perrin’s story—to finish the remaining content. I won’t lie that a ridiculous amount of determination was self-forced on me in order for me to able to finish this.

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A Brightness Long Ago

A Brightness Long Ago

A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book electronically via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

“I knew, once, a woman diamond bright and two men I will not forget. I played a part in a story in a fierce, wild, windblown time. I do have that. I always will. I am here and it is mine, for as near to always as we are allowed.”

This is only the second book I’ve read from Guy Gavriel Kay, but I feel secure in stating that I’ve never come across another author who has his way with words. There’s something about his prose that is both breathtakingly lovely and oddly jarring. In A Brightness Long Ago, Kay paints with his words, writing something that is lush and poignant and real enough to touch. This novel is somewhere between historical fiction and low fantasy, and Kay straddles that divide with great finesse.

“Perhaps it is true of every life, that times from our youth remain with us, even when the people are gone, even if many, many events have played out between where we are and what we are remembering.”

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Interview with Michael Sliter

Interview with Michael Sliter

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today, I’m bringing you an interview with Michael Sliter, the author behind the incredibly underrated grimdark debut: Solace Lost. You can check out my review of Solace Lost on the blog or Goodreads. If you’re a grimdark enthusiast, try to buy and read it as soon as possible. Plus, the Kindle price is currently set at a massive discount of $0.99 for a week! Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Michael Sliter!


  1. Hi, Mike! Thank you for doing this interview with me! Firstly, please tell us about yourself and your debut, Solace Lost.

Thanks for having me! So… me. I’m a workplace psychologist by day—I do things like leadership assessment and development, training, and data crunching. I love my job; it’s always something different and new. Nuclear power? I met the person who finds the uranium. Environmental science? I’ve seen endless labs where they quantify how much pollution is too much. Astronauts? I’ve worked with the guys who build the rockets. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Aside from work, which keeps me pretty busy, I have a fantastic, horse-riding psychologist wife, an amazingly hilarious little two-year-old daughter, and a couple of tiny, broken dogs (one missing an eye and one with extreme anxiety). I play racquetball whenever I can, and I own a couple of swords. When not I’m doing any of the above, I’m reading and writing!

Solace Lost is a character-driven grimdark fantasy novel. A civil war is brewing, and the novel explores the lives of four common folk—a former guardsman-turned-criminal, a handmaiden to a great lady, a Wasmer attempting to assimilate into human society, and a young innkeeper’s daughter with a gift—as they are caught up in the plotting and politicking of the powerful. Their stories end up intertwined as they struggle for survival in their own ways. I’m stealing the below from the back of the book because I’ll never be able to say it this well again:

“A story of love lost and family destroyed, of bigotry and belonging, of suffering and strength, and of religion and magic, Solace Lost grows from a character-driven tale to something grand in scale…”

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The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

The Bitter Twins is a stunning sequel of staggering inventiveness and imagination.

I am in awe with the direction the story took after the unexpected turn of events at the end of The Ninth Rain. Instead of suffering from the middle book syndrome, The Bitter Twins continued to captivate me with its eldritch worldbuilding and engaging characterisation. I had to keep this review a bit shorter than usual, as there’s simply too much potential to accidentally spoil the numerous surprises that I kept encountering during my read.

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The Troupe

The Troupe

The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“What I’m going to do up here, kid, is tell you a story. Like all stories, it’s an attempt to make sense of something larger than itself. And, like most stories, it fails, to a certain degree. It’s a gloss, a rendition, so it’s not exact. But it’ll do.”

I’m going to see Paranormal Cirque this weekend and am insanely excited. In anticipation, I picked up The Troupe. While not about a circus, it is about a vaudevillian troupe, which is similar in feel. And though not exactly in the horror genre, I know from experience with his Divine Cities trilogy that Robert Jackson Bennett often weaves horror elements into his novels, and he does so deftly. I’m so incredibly glad I picked up this book. Because as excited as I am about seeing Paranormal Cirque, I already know that The Troupe will stay with me longer than any performance could. It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful story, and I read the last sixty or so pages through a haze of tears.

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Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

I received an advanced reading copy from Tor.com in exchange for an honest review.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

I wish to echo Ann Leckie and simply say “I love Murderbot!”

With Rogue Protocol, The Murderbot Diaries is indeed shaping up to be a fantastic series of novellas that tick all the right boxes, albeit in a smaller-sized package of excellent science fiction action and empathetic character development.

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Velocity Weapon (The Protectorate, #1)

Velocity Weapon (The Protectorate, #1)

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

Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An incredibly entertaining start to a new space opera series.

Velocity Weapon is the first book in The Protectorate series by Megan E. O’Keefe. This was my first experience reading O’Keefe’s work and I had a fantastic time with it. isn’t an easy book for me to review. It’s not because I found the book to be disappointing or not up to my preference, but I honestly think that many components of the storyline or what makes this book truly great can be considered a spoiler that the task of reviewing this book ended up being more difficult than usual.

“Being offended by facts is a long human tradition.”

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