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Month: January 2020

Book Review: Age of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5)

Book Review: Age of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5)

Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Legends of the First Empire (Book 5 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy, classic fantasy

Published: 4th February 2020 (Grim Oak Press)


Age of Death took an astounding turn in the direction of the overall story, and it was brilliant!

This book is aptly titled as it would be the death of me. We have yet another cliffhanger ending as the second arc of
The Legends of the First Empire series is shaping up to be one continuous story. It was excruciating to say the least, but I can empathise with Sullivan in struggling to find a suitable point to break off for each volume, short of releasing it as a single doorstopper.  A single volume wouldn’t work for physical printing purposes, especially if collectors of the hardcovers want to maintain the aesthetics of the books.  And if you’ve seen their covers and how the hardcovers look like, you’ll want that consistency.  They are stunningly beautiful.

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Book Review: Skysworn (Cradle, #4) by Will Wight

Book Review: Skysworn (Cradle, #4) by Will Wight

Skysworn by Will Wight

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #4 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 292 pages

Published: 30th September 2017 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


Wei Shi Lindon may not have any advancement happening to him in this book, but the series did. Skysworn, just like each respective previous books, once again upgraded the overall quality of the Cradle series.

I honestly think that Skysworn was even better than Blackflame; imagine my surprise when I found out that many readers thought of this one as a downgrade for the series. I respectfully disagree. What happened in Skysworn is the direction that the series needs, although I highly enjoyed Blackflame, I didn’t have that uncontrollable urge to continue with the series. But now? I might be having nightmares if I don’t continue with the series.

“I don’t have any love for the Jai clan, but as for you, if I saw you on fire I’d hold an umbrella for you so the rain didn’t put you out.”

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Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve discovered that I have a thing for memoirs about wild, unbelievably difficult childhoods and the children who grow up to overcome them. Educated was one of my favorite books of 2019, and I quite honestly didn’t expect to find anything else in its genre to rival it, especially not so soon. The Glass Castle, which is kind of the OG of the rough childhood, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps type of memoir, proved to be just as compelling as Educated. I don’t know why I put off reading it for so long, as I’ve owned a copy for years. Whatever led to that wait, I’m so glad that the wait is over. The Glass Castle was brilliant and beautiful and made me incredibly thankful for the type of upbringing I had and the (very stable) parents who raised me.

“I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.”

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

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

ARC received from the publisher, Orbit, in exchange for an honest review. 

 

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Fetch Phillips Archives (Book 1)

Genre:  Urban fantasy, mystery, noir

Published:  6th February 2020 (Orbit UK) & 25th February 2020 (Orbit US)


The Last Smile in Sunder City was an impressive debut by Luke Arnold; a dark urban fantasy that enraptured me with its stellar worldbuilding and writing style.

Firstly, I’ve never been exposed to much noir elements in my reading so far, so I won’t be able to make any comparisons. However, I can still safely say that this book accurately captured that feel in its worldbuilding and the characterisation of its main character, Fetch Phillips. In a world where magic was destroyed, creatures or beings dependent on magic for their existence suffered delibitating effects. The setting has a truly bleak, post-apocalyptic feel.  Sunder City couldn’t be more appropriate a name for a progressive city where all hopes and dreams have been torn asunder when magic was lost.

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Book Review: The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song)

Book Review: The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song)


The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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

“Fate often provides what we need, even when we are denied the things we want.”

When three of your co-bloggers insist that you’ll love a book, you have to read it. Especially when those friends know your reading life incredibly well and understand your love for music, both in literature and reality. And while I didn’t fall as head-over-heels for the story as they did, they were right; I very much enjoyed it. The Bard’s Blade is a compelling introduction to a world that’s lovely at first glance but is teeming with dark forces and hypocritical religion and unforeseen magic below its surface.

“Never allow the wickedness of others to dictate who you are.”

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Book Review: Fate Lashed (Ethereal Earth, #2) by Josh Erikson

Book Review: Fate Lashed (Ethereal Earth, #2) by Josh Erikson

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

Fate Lashed by Josh Erikson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Ethereal Earth (Book #2)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 401 pages

Published: 7th February 2019 by Josh Erikson (Indie)


I’m so exultant that I followed my instinct and took another chance on this urban fantasy series.

It’s been a year since I’ve read Hero Forged, Josh Erikson’s debut and the first book in his Ethereal Earth series. I enjoyed reading the first book, Hero Forged was good, not amazing, but it showed glimpses of the potentials of better things to come for the series. I promised the author back then that I would come back to the series when I feel like I’m in the right mood, honestly speaking, though, I didn’t plan to read Fate Lashed, the sequel to Hero Forged, this soon, it’s not until my co-blogger, Emma, told me that the upcoming third book of the series— which is releasing soon—is shaping up to be so amazing that I contacted Erikson immediately telling him that I’m ready to jump back into the series. However, I certainly didn’t expect to be this impressed by the significant improvement poured into the series. I gave Hero Forged a 3.5 out of 5 stars rating, and I’m going to give Fate Lashed a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating.

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Book Review: House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)

Book Review: House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)

House of Chains by Steven Erikson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 4 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2002 by Bantam (UK) and 2006 by Tor (US)


There will be slaughter. Yet another apocalypse on Raraku’s restless sands. It is as it should be.

Retribution is at hand for the rise of the Seven Cities rebellion as the new Adjunct to the Empress arrives to lead the Malazan army to face Sha’ik and her Army of the Apocalypse. The Holy Desert of Raraku continues to emanate despair, even more so now than ever after the Chain of Dogs left in its trails the miasma of vengeance and grief.

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Book Review: Blackflame (Cradle, #3) by Will Wight

Book Review: Blackflame (Cradle, #3) by Will Wight

Blackflame by Will Wight

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #3 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 370 pages

Published: 30th April 2017 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


The dragon advances; Blackflame advances Cradle into an addictive series to read.

If I were to defined Unsouled as an invitation to Cradle, Soulsmith would be the appetizer, and Blackflame would be where the main course begins. Don’t get me wrong, the first two books were fun, they were great, and they were necessary installments full of proper foundations that made the ravaging Path of the Blackflame so compelling to read, but it truly felt like the meat of the story begins here. The cast of characters has been expanded, and the protagonists and antagonists are clearer now.

“The Path of Black Flame was stolen from ancient dragons. It is the art of pure destruction.”

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Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard amazing things about I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. One of my resolutions for 2020 is to read more nonfiction that I find interesting, and true crime is a topic that is endlessly fascinating to me. I expected to be caught up in the chase for an elusive killer. What I didn’t expect was breathtaking, engaging prose dripping with compassion and empathy for the victims. Beautifully written and deeply insightful, this book was an experience unlike any other I’ve yet found in the genre.

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Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

A review copy received from the publisher, Orbit UK, in exchange for an honest review.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, mystery

First published: 23rd July 2019 by Redhook (US) and Orbit (UK)


How many of us readers have experienced the kind of immersion and connection to a story, its setting or its characters, which made us wish that it could be real? I’d gander a guess that it covers pretty much all of us. H.G. Parry’s marvellous debut novel, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, perfectly illustrates the magic of stories and words on a page.

“That’s how the story works, the way the sentence and metaphor and reference feeds into the other to illuminate something important. That explosion of discovery, of understanding, is the most intoxicating moment there is. Emotional, intellectual, aesthetic. Just for a moment, a perfect moment, a small piece of the world makes perfect sense. And it’s beautiful. It’s a moment of pure joy, the kind that brings pleasure like pain.”

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