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Month: January 2020

Book Review: Stormblood (The Commons, #1) by Jeremy Szal

Book Review: Stormblood (The Commons, #1) by Jeremy Szal

ARC provided by the author and publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

Stormblood by Jeremy Szal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Common (Book #1)

Genre: Sci-fi, Military sci-fi

Pages: 432 pages

Published: 4th June 2020 by Gollancz


Milestone achieved: This is my 400th review!

A captivating military sci-fi debut. Stormblood tells a splendid story about two brothers divided by war that is full of comradeship, actions, and conflict.

Here’s an ugly truth, I haven’t been reading a lot of sci-fi lately. I was able to read 115 books in 2019, and only eight of those books were sci-fi novels. For this year’s priority sci-fi TBR pile, I have only ten sci-fi books on my list; nine of them belong to the entirety of The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey, the other one is Stormblood, Jeremy Szal’s debut. I came to know about this book because the author—same as me—is a huge fan of Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown and Mass Effect video game franchise, and after reading this book, I can say that both inspirations are evident in his novel. I definitely would suggest anyone who’s a fan of either one of them, even better if both, to check this debut out.

“People compare overcoming addiction to climbing a mountain, but that assumes there’s a peak to climb towards. Stormtech was more like swimming in an endless, churning sea. You never truly beat it. You just found temporary ways not to drown.”

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Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m going to be honest: I never intended to read this book. I have a terrible case of reverse snobbery that causes me to inwardly sniff in distain at any book presented by Oprah or Reese Witherspoon or any other celebrity as exceptionally worth reading. However, since I’m aware of this tendency within myself, I’m making an effort to not write something off just because it has an Oprah’s Book Club sticker on the front, though I’ll never be a reader that decides to pick up a book based on the same sticker. I’m very glad I made myself look past its popularity and pick it up, because An American Marriage gutted me. The characters it portrays are stunningly, viscerally real. And the situation in which they find themselves is heartbreakingly, infuriatingly believable.

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Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

I received an ARC of A Time of Courage from the publisher (Pan Macmillan) in exchange for an honest review.

A Time Of Courage book cover

A Time of Courage by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Of Blood and Bone (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Published: 2nd April 2020 by Pan Macmillan (UK) & 7th April 2020 by Orbit (US)


Flawless!

No word better describes the result of the time and effort John Gwynne has put into A Time of Courage, the finale of the Of Blood and Bone series. It is a monumental achievement to have wrapped up this series so perfectly and speaks to the care and dedication that the author has put into this work, the love for it permeating every page.

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Book Review: Underlord (Cradle, #6) by Will Wight

Book Review: Underlord (Cradle, #6) by Will Wight

Underlord by Will Wight

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #6 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 308 pages

Published: 1st March 2019 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


The release of Underlord last year marked the exact moment I decided I have to read Cradle this year, and I can agree that this is the best of the series so far.

To elaborate upon what sparked my curiosity further, Underlord has a consistent and insanely high rating ever since its publication day. During the time of posting this review, the average rating of Underlord on Goodreads sits at 4.69 out of 6,450 ratings; on Amazon (US) it has an average rating 4.9 out of 1,049 ratings, and no one rated it below 3 stars on Amazon. These numbers and the barrage of personal recommendations from other readers were the two sole reasons why I ended up giving this series a go earlier than planned. What made Underlord even more awesome? A lot, but if I were to narrow it down to one main feature, it’s the significant characterizations and development given to the main characters.

“The baby squirrel had finally left the nest and grown into a…well, squirrels never turned into anything scary. Call it an ancient sacred squirrel.”

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Book Review: Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

Book Review: Asperfell by Jamie Thomas


Asperfell by Jamie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t know what exactly I was expecting from Asperfell, but those expectations were far surpassed. This debut novel is a bit of a slow burn, but it’s incredibly well written. The grammar and formatting are positively immaculate, which speaks highly of Thomas’s professionalism as an author; it’s obvious that she invested a lot of time in editing and perfecting Asperfell before introducing it to the world. And her way with words is impeccable. Actually, I would even say that the setting and writing reminded me the tiniest bit of Guy Gavriel Kay, who is a phenomenally talented craftsman of an author. It also had a Regency tone and flair to it. If Guy Gavriel Kay and Jane Austen teamed up to write a young adult fantasy novel, it would look something like Asperfell.

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Book Review: Blight Marked (Ethereal Earth, #3) by Josh Erikson

Book Review: Blight Marked (Ethereal Earth, #3) by Josh Erikson

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

Blight Marked by Josh Erikson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Ethereal Earth (Book #3)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 390 pages

Published: 11th March 2020 by Josh Erikson (Indie)


This series is pure entertainment, get on this as soon as you can!

“Deep down we all believe we’re frauds. But it’s only when we stop believing that it actually becomes true.”

Hero Forged was good, Fate Lashed was incredible, and thankfully the second book wasn’t a fluke. Blight Marked, the third book in the ongoing Ethereal Earth series by Josh Erikson, retained the overall quality displayed in Fate Lashed. At the same time, Erikson also managed to include more of the fun and entertaining dialogues from Hero Forged into this book. Several readers have said that Fate Lashed was relatively more serious in tone, although I grew to loved the series because Erikson did that, there were times where I missed the fun and, at times, hilarious dialogues in the first book. One out of many examples, you can’t say that you don’t like good banter with a pun like this right? RIGHT?

“I feel like you’re setting yourself up for some kind of elevation pun, and I’m not really—“
“Though I suppose it’s more of a ladderal move,” he cut in.”
She nodded sadly and bent to start down the hole. “Yep. Good lord.”

Ehem.

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Book Review: Ghostwater (Cradle, #5) by Will Wight

Book Review: Ghostwater (Cradle, #5) by Will Wight

Ghostwater by Will Wight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #5 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 310 pages

Published: 31st May 2018 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


Started a bit stale for me but it ended up being a gripping and entertaining story with Dungeon Crawl element.

For this review, let’s start with why I haven’t given any books in the series a full 5 stars rating, shall we? If you want to know what the premise is about, read the official blurb at your own risk. Ghostwater is the fifth book in the Cradle series, and it didn’t start off as smoothly as I hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the series very much and I continue to do so; my rating for each installment pretty much speaks for themselves. However, I want to love it more, if I were to be brutally honest, Cradle has been missing one crucial aspect that’s, more often than not, is very necessary for me to love a book even further: an empathizing main character. Up until now, the side characters—Yerin, Eithan, Orthos, Jai Long, Little Blue—were the characters that made the series shine for me. This notion of mine was proven even further with the inclusion of a new character in Ghostwater, an A.I named Dross which I loved ever since its first appearance. I don’t think I need to explain further how much I loved Eithan, Yerin, Mercy, Orthos; I have enjoyed reading about all the side characters more than I enjoyed reading about Lindon.

“And I can see your face so much clearly now! It’s…well, at least you have a wonderful spirit. Yes, indeed. That spirit of yours, wow.”

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Interview With Jen Williams

Interview With Jen Williams

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today is an exciting day, because I’m bringing you an interview with Jen Williams, the author of The Copper Cat trilogy and The Winnowing Flame trilogy. Although I haven’t read the author’s first series, I’ve read and reviewed The Winnowing Flame trilogy last year. It was one of the best trilogy I’ve read so far, and I’ll certainly be reading The Copper Cat this year as I wait for the author’s newest book to come out.

You can check out my review of The Winnowing Flame trilogy on the blog, and I hope it will convince you to order it if you haven’t already done so. Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Jen Williams.

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Book review: The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song, #1) by Brian D. Anderson

Book review: The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song, #1) by Brian D. Anderson

bard's blade

The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson

My rating : 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Sorcerer’s Song 

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

To be published: January 28th, 2020 by Tor books

 

I would like to thank the publisher, Tor books, for providing an early copy in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and the quotes included may change in the released copy.

The Bard’s Blade was a winning bet! This is the 2nd book I started on a whim last year based solely on a recommendation from Petrik and it worked superbly. Gripping and moving, the first installment of Brian D. Anderson’s newest series made me ridiculously ecstatic and sat proudly in my top 3 reads of 2019.

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Book Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City (Fetch Phillips Archives, #1) by Luke Arnold

Book Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City (Fetch Phillips Archives, #1) by Luke Arnold

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

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Fetch Phillips Archives (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 352 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 6th February 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 2nd February 2020 by Orbit (US)


A well-written urban fantasy with a wonderful take on the premise of “what happens when magic runs out?”

The Last Smile in Sunder City is Luke Arnold’s debut, it’s the first book in an urban fantasy series titled Fetch Phillips Archives. I think I’m speaking on behalf of many readers that we have come to know the name Luke Arnold from his role as “Long” John Silver in the Black Sails TV series. Admittedly, I didn’t finish watching the TV series until I saw Orbit’s announcement of Arnold’s debut, which frankly intrigued me. He did an incredible job there on the TV series, but how about his debut as a fantasy author? Well, there’s nothing to worry about, this was a great read, and I think if you know what you’re getting into, you’ll find that there’s plenty of things to love within this short book.

“I like books. They’re quiet, dignified and absolute. A man might falter but his words, once written, will hold.”

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