Browsed by
Author: Petrik Leo

Book Review: Genghis: Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, #3) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Genghis: Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, #3) by Conn Iggulden

Genghis: Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #3 of 5)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 434 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 1st September 2008 by Harper Collins (UK) & 24th March 2009 by Delacorte Press (US)


A seriously astounding piece of historical fiction that left me speechless in many ways.

“We are not here to earn riches with a bow. The wolf does not think of fine things, only that his pack is strong and no other wolf dares to cross his path. That is enough.”

I can’t help but start this review by saying that I’m thoroughly impressed by Iggulden’s talent for the creation of this series. Genghis’ conquest on its own, even if they’re written or told in a textbook manner, are very attention-grabbing already, but Iggulden successfully elevated the quality of Genghis’ legend so that it became much more engaging and emotional. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is the third book in the Conqueror series, and it—along with the first installment—are my favorites in the series so far. In the previous book, the story focused on Genghis’ conquest of The Chin; this book centered on Genghis’ breathtaking conquest of the Arabs. I must remind you, this series—especially this book—isn’t for the weak of heart; the atrocities and devastations committed in this war were terrifying in every sense of the word. I’m talking about wars with casualties that reached more than hundreds of thousands of deaths; innocents were instantly marked for the afterlife just for living in the opposing city. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is a bleak, intense, and also bittersweet book; it’s heavily centered around war, death, loyalty, heritage, achievements, and what truly matters in life and what legacies will continue after death.

“All men die, Genghis. All. Think what it means for a moment. None of us are remembered for more than one or two generations.” He raised a hand as Genghis opened his mouth to speak again. “Oh, I know we chant the names of great khans by the fireside and the Chin have libraries running back for thousands of years. What of it? Do you think it matters to the dead that their names are read aloud? They don’t care, Genghis. They are gone. The only thing that matters is what they did while they were alive.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: Genghis: Lords of the Bow (Conqueror, #2) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Genghis: Lords of the Bow (Conqueror, #2) by Conn Iggulden

Genghis: Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #2 of 5)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 547 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 2nd January 2008 by Harper Collins (UK) & 25th March 2008 by Delacorte Press (US)


A compelling, brutal, informational, and terrifying depiction of Genghis’ conquest of Yenking.

“Some words can be a cruel weight on a man, unless he learns to ignore them.”

Genghis: Lords of the Bow is the sequel to Genghis: Birth of an Empire; it’s the second book in the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden. The story takes place approximately eight years after the end of the first book. Temujin, now called Genghis Khan, is 26 years old and the entirety of the book is about Genghis and the Mongol’s invasion of Yenking (Beijing today.) Genghis: Lords of the Bow was almost as good as the first book; the large-scale action scenes—more on this later—was definitely better. I felt like a lot of what makes Conqueror so enjoyable to read was because of Iggulden’s writing style that still follows the same engaging head-hopping narrative that he utilized in the first book, and I personally believe that many authors who use the same storytelling style could learn a thing or two from Iggulden here. As I’ve mentioned in my review of the first book, I never felt lost with the narration; Iggulden makes head-hopping narrative—which I usually despise—very easy to follow and instead of confusing the readers, his writing style made every scene full of emotions due to the constant exchange of dialogues accompanied by the speaker’s thoughts and feelings. I found all of these to be an incredibly positive point in my read.

“If you are asking if my family will take what they want, of course they will. The strong rule, Chen Yi. Those who are not strong dream of it.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: Genghis: Birth of an Empire (Conqueror, #1) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Genghis: Birth of an Empire (Conqueror, #1) by Conn Iggulden


Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #1 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 403 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 2nd January 2007 by Harper Collin (UK) & 1st May 2007 by Delacorte Press (US)


Unbelievably good; this marked the first time I finished reading Iggulden’s work, and it’s VERY promising that this will become one of my favorite series.

Conn Iggulden isn’t exactly an unfamiliar name to me; despite the fact that he’s most well-known for his historical fiction works, Iggulden’s blurbs have been featured on some of my favorite fantasy books such as The Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne and The Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb, to name a few. For years I’ve been interested in reading his books, and from what I’ve gathered, his Conqueror series seems to be the most often regarded as his best works by his readers. And so here we are and my god, I seriously didn’t expect it to be this great.

“Mongolia is an unforgiving land. The boy, Temujin, was never cruel, and there is no record of him ever taking pleasure from the destruction of his enemies, but he was capable of utter ruthlessness.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga, #1) by Paul Krueger

Book Review: Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga, #1) by Paul Krueger

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

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Steel Crow Saga (Book #1)

Genre: Fantasy, Asian-inspired Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 528 pages (US hardback edition)

Published: 26th September 2019 by Gollancz (UK) & 24th September 2019 by Del Rey (US)


Multi-cultural, diverse characters & superbly character-driven narrative; Steel Crow Saga is a brilliant Asian/anime-inspired fantasy.

As an Asian who loves watching anime and reading mangas and SFF novels, Steel Crow Saga is a novel that felt as if it was written for me. Steel Crow Saga has been published for more than a month now, and I feel like I’ve sinned—Sloth—for postponing reading this book. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of my favorite anime of all time (seriously, watch the anime if you haven’t) and I also love Pokemon and Avatar: The Last Airbender; these three are the most dominant anime inspirations imbued into Steel Crow Saga. I REALLY would’ve read this book months ago, and I did have the chance to do that because I received the eARC from Gollancz in August. But here’s the thing, the eARC I received was so terribly formatted—it didn’t even include the entire prologue, for one—that I had to give up reading through it 15% in. Thankfully, what I’ve read so far back then was enough to solidify my decision to wait and read the finished copy instead. I’m super pleased that I made this decision; the wait was worth it because this is an amazing Anime/Asian-inspired fantasy book that’s worth reading without any hindrance.

“All the books in the world will never convey the technical realities of a procedure.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates, #1) by A.K. Larkwood

Book Review: The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates, #1) by A.K. Larkwood

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

The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Serpent Gates (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy, Science-fiction, Space Opera

Pages: 496 pages (UK hardcover edition)

Published: 20th February 2020 by Tor (UK) & 11th February 2020 by Tor Books (US)


The Unspoken Name is a terrifically-written debut that merged science fiction, space-opera, and high fantasy into one inventive book that’s incredibly suitable for SFF enthusiast.

One look into the striking cover art by Billelis, and I already wanted to speak about this book. My urge to read this book increased when both Nicholas Eames—the author behind The Band series— and Dyrk Ashton—the author behind Paternus trilogy—recommended the book to me. Then I found out that Lindsey Hall, the editor behind two books—Kings of the Wyld and the upcoming The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson—I truly loved edited this book too, suffice to say that The Unspoken Name has attained all the package that made it a necessity for me to read; I’m glad I did.

“Csorwe had spent a lifetime readying herself to die, not to talk to strangers.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Burning White (Lightbringer, #5) by Brent Weeks

Book Review: The Burning White (Lightbringer, #5) by Brent Weeks

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


The Burning White by Brent Weeks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Lightbringer (Book #5 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 992 pages (Hardback edition)

Published: 24th October 2019 by Orbit (UK) and 22nd October 2019 by Orbit (US)


Epic, engaging, well-written, and surprisingly full of theology.

Here we are, nine years since The Black Prism was first published, The Burning White—the fifth and final installment in the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks—is finally out and with it, the Lightbringer pentalogy is officially over. This is one of my—along with many fantasy readers—most anticipated books of the year, to make sure that I’ll be able to appreciate it fully, I even binged reread the series from the beginning—something I rarely do—in preparation. Now that I’ve read it, I have to say that I’m both satisfied and also disappointed with it. Don’t get me wrong, as far as enjoyment goes I’m still giving this book a 4 stars rating; I was engrossed, wasn’t bored, and I finished this 392,000 words tome within five days. However, although I had a wonderful time with this book and series, I can’t deny that I had issues with the way Weeks resolved the series; allow me to dive into that later, but first, I want to elaborate on the parts that I loved as spoiler-free as possible.

“Of all the things that die, hope is the most easily resurrected.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons, #2) by Jenn Lyons

Book Review: The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons, #2) by Jenn Lyons

ARC & Review Copy provided by my friend—Traveling Cloak—and the publisher—Tor UK—in exchange for an honest review.

The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: A Chorus of Dragons (Book #2 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 592 pages (UK hardback edition)

Published: 31th October 2019 by Tor (UK) and 29th October 2019 by Tor (US)


The Name of All Things is vast, complex, and engrossing; a wonderful improvement over its predecessor.

It’s quite surreal to think that Jenn Lyons released her debut, The Ruin of Kings, at the beginning of this year and a week from now its sequel, The Name of All Things, will be published to the world as well. Some of you may be familiar with The Ruin of Kings; it was Tor’s biggest and most advertised debut of the year. If you’ve read my review on The Ruin of Kings, you would know that I’ve had my share of mixed feelings with Lyons’s debut. It wasn’t that it was a bad book per se, but more like it could’ve been an even more incredible debut if it wasn’t due to the storytelling style that in my opinion felt too unnecessarily convoluted; whether you loved it or not though, I don’t think there’s any doubt that The Ruin of Kings was a super memorable debut with a unique narrative style. I can assure you that The Name of All Things is a great sequel that retains the series’ unique storytelling style but it was told in a much less convoluted manner which ends up elevating the book to triumph over its predecessor.

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4) by Brent Weeks

Book Review: The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4) by Brent Weeks

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Lightbringer (Book #4 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (US hardback edition)

Published: 27th October 2016 by Orbit (UK) and 25th October 2016 by Orbit (US)


A prelude novel to the—hopefully—incredible conclusion.

Since the start of this month, I’ve been binge rereading Lightbringer from the beginning non-stop, and I’d say that my reread experience for the previous three books has been rewarding. The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife were even better on reread; The Broken Eye more or less on the same quality. Unfortunately, I have to say that rereading The Blood Mirror gave me an inferior reading experience compared to the first time I read it. There were two glaring main issues that, somehow, weren’t noticeable on my first read: one of them being that The Blood Mirror felt almost like a filler (more on this later) and the other being Kip’s POV that was just utterly full of sexual innuendo and frustrations.

Picture: The Blood Mirror by breath-art (Jian Guo)

Read More Read More

Guest (Adam Weller) Post: In Defense of Elitism by Joel Stein book review

Guest (Adam Weller) Post: In Defense of Elitism by Joel Stein book review

Today, Novel Notions is hosting a guest post by Adam Weller aka Swiff from Fantasy Book Review.  Adam will be reviewing an upcoming non-fiction political humour book by Joel Stein.


In Defense of Elitism: Why I’m Better Than You and You Are Better Than Someone Who Didn’t Buy This Book by Joel Stein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Non-fiction, Politics

Pages: 336 pages (Hardcover)

Published: 22nd October 2019 by Grand Central Publishing


Twenty-nineteen America: some of the country wonders what the hell happened, and how the hell we got to this point. Others wonder what took so damn long. ‘The real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans, but between the mainstream American… populists and the ruling political elites,’ argues humorist and journalist Joel Stein in his new book, In Defense of Elitism: Why I’m Better Than You and You’re Better Than Someone Who Didn’t Buy This Book. It is a smart, incisive, and very funny collection of Stein’s adventures and revelations as he attempts to bridge the gap between the country’s divided parties while shedding light on the values that fuels each side.

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3) by Brent Weeks

Book Review: The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3) by Brent Weeks

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Lightbringer (Book #3 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 864 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 26th August 2014 by Orbit


The Broken Eye is an installment filled with an intense focus on secrecy, revelations, politics, and world-building.

The Broken Eye is the third—and the second largest—book in the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks; it’s quite crazy to think that this is the third book already and yet I still found myself constantly surprised by the revelations, plot twists, and developments. I’ve mentioned this before, there aren’t many high-fantasy series with a plotting level that reached what Weeks achieved with this series. On my reread, the benefit of hindsight allowed me to witness the hidden breadcrumbs planted into the previous two books that weren’t possible on my first read. I can’t stress this highly enough, as far as the expansion to the plotline and lore of the series goes, The Broken Eye contained a lot of crucial information surrounding the mythology and secrets that have been mentioned several times in the previous two books. The prophecy of the Lightbringer, Diakoptes, Orholam, the Nine Kings, the Order of the Broken Eye, Paryl drafting, & the Blinding Knife; all of these are wonderful and, honestly, needed additions to the series which I’m sure will end up being super important for the remaining of the series.

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: