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Author: Petrik Leo

Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)

Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)

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

Kings of Ash by Richard Nell
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Kings of Ash triumphed over its predecessor in almost every possible way.

Kings of Ash is the second book in Richard Nell’s Ash and Sand trilogy. It’s the sequel to the highly praised Kings of Paradise, but the fans of the previous book don’t need to worry about stumbling into the infamous middle book syndrome here. Kings of Ash surpassed the previous book’s quality and it can all be boiled down to one reason: this is Ruka’s book. I mentioned this in my review of Kings of Paradise: “Ruka’s POV was easily one of the best anti-heroes POV I’ve ever read in grimdark fantasy,” and I stand by my words, even more so after reading this installment. Kings of Ash is a different kind of book from its predecessor; it’s much more character-driven. Almost the entire narrative was told from Ruka’s POV and I’m incredibly satisfied by this decision. Nell offers a deep exploration of Ruka’s character and it makes the storyline feel more intimate. More importantly, this storytelling style shows Nell’s greatest writing strength as an author – his characterizations.

“A lioness cares nothing for the shriek of jackals, old woman. Now hear this, and hear it well—if she had raised me to hate, I would kill you and all your kin, and no man or god could stop me.”

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Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today I’m bringing you an interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, the author behind the recently released debut, The Gutter Prayer. I have read and reviewed The Gutter Prayer since last year and upon finishing it, I immediately claim that it will be the best fantasy debut of 2019 and I’m sticking by my words. It was really that good if you stick through it. I decided then that I simply have to interview the author so here we are.

You can check out my review of The Gutter Prayer 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 Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.

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A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A Clash of Kings was a brilliant sequel that brought the spotlight of the series to one of the most well-written characters in fantasy: Tyrion Lannister.

A Clash of Kings is the second book in A Song of Ice and Fire saga by George R. R. Martin. The main story in this sequel mainly revolves around the multiple kings of Westeros battling in full force for the right to sit in the Iron Throne. This, however, is just scratching the surface of the story. Martin built upon everything he has established in the first wonderfully and with that, the scale of the story has become much bigger than before that I found it quite a difficult task to review this tome without spoiling anything, but spoiler-free review as always it is. Just like my review on A Game of Thrones, I’ll be doing some qualities comparison between the book and its TV series (Season 2) adaptation.

Picture: A Clash of Kings by Marc Simonetti

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Seraphina’s Lament (The Bloodlands, #1)

Seraphina’s Lament (The Bloodlands, #1)

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

Seraphina’s Lament by Sarah Chorn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A brutally remarkable and captivating Holodomor-inspired fantasy debut.

Seraphina’s Lament is Sarah Chorn’s debut and it’s the first book in The Bloodlands trilogy. For the purpose of targeting the right reader for this book, I’ll start by saying that if you’re not a grimdark enthusiast, you might either want to skip this, or at least prepare yourself for some dark and heavy moments. As for its premise, check out the official blurb on Goodreads/Amazon, the author did a great job setting the stage without spoiling anything.

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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you love watching Game of Thrones, you’re most likely going to love reading A Game of Thrones.

Like countless readers around the world, I probably wouldn’t have known about A Song of Ice and Fire without its TV series adaptation, Game of Thrones. I’ve been following the TV series ever since the release of its first episode, I was completely captivated by the originality of the storyline and characters. Upon finishing the first season of the TV show, I immediately picked up this book and honestly? I DNF’ed it about a quarter into the book. It wasn’t that the book was bad, it was because the TV show—at least the first season—did a spectacular job of adapting the first installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. Something you have to know about me is that when my first entrance into a series is through a TV series/movies adaptation which I ended up loving, I tend to find the original material—usually novels—become super boring because I already know how it all will go down. It’s the biggest reason why I’m still not able to finish The Fellowship of the Ring. Unfortunately, it’s also the reason why I couldn’t finish this book back then. Now, years after my first try of reading A Game of Thrones, not only I was able to finish it, I loved it so much and I craved for more by the end of it.

“… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

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The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

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

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

5 stars from start to finish for this exceptional Japanese-inspired military fantasy standalone. As of this moment, The Sword of Kaigen has become not only one of the four best self-published books I’ve ever read, but also my personal number one favorite self-published book.

This is one of those books where I just want to write “Please buy it and read it. It’s fucking amazing!” as my entire review. This book came out of nowhere and it totally stole my heart. If you’ve been following my reviewing progress, then you probably know that I like to keep and show my personal stats and facts on books I’ve read and reviewed. So here it goes. After The Mirror’s Truth by Michael R. Fletcher, We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson, and Never Die by Rob J. Hayes, The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang is currently the fourth self-published book that I’ve rated with a full 5 stars. I honestly didn’t expect to love this book that much but I was madly engrossed by every page. Trust me, you’ll want to pre-order this book right now. I already did, it’s only $0.99 at the moment on Amazon for god sake! (More info on the amazing bonuses that come with the pre-order at the bottom of this review.)

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A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

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

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An important post-apocalyptic story that teaches us to always be kind, loyal, and hopeful.

With countless books being published every single day, the cover art quality of a book published by an author I haven’t heard of is very crucial in grabbing my interest; that’s not exactly what happened with this book. Don’t get me wrong, the cover art is certainly pretty but what grabbed my attention immediately was something of a rarer occasion: the title of the book. After that, I heard that the novel is perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts, I haven’t read the latter but I’ve read and loved Station Eleven last year, and I just knew that I have to read this book as soon as I can. Plus, I find it adorable that there’s a warning on spoiler stated at the beginning or the back cover of the ARC. No need to worry, just like always, I’ll make sure to take extra care in my review to make sure it’s spoiler-free.

“And those that remain are still with us now, here at the end of the world. And there may be no law left except what you make of it, but if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you. If we’re not loyal to the things we love, what’s the point? That’s like not having a memory. That’s when we stop being human. That’s a kind of death, even if you keep breathing.”

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The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons, #1)

The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons, #1)

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

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Convoluted and complex are probably understatements, but I don’t have any other words to describe the main attributes of this debut.

For those of you who don’t know, The Ruin of Kings have been the fantasy debut that Tor has been promoting heavily for several months now. This novel has been advertised as the debut of the year that’s targeted “For fans of George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfuss”. I’ll be completely honest here, if any publisher or author decides to put all of these giant, super high profile fantasy authors’ references into a debut work by an unknown author, it seriously better be a masterpiece. I’m one of those readers who had their interest for this book sparked by that bold claim, and I jumped at the chance of reading and reviewing it early; expecting it to be a debut that will go down into my ‘best of all time’ lists. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Although I liked spending time with this book, I didn’t love it. And honestly speaking, despite the chaos and questions which arose from the ending sequences, I doubt I’ll be continuing with the series.

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Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My review probably won’t be able to do this book justice. Well, justice is dead but I’ll see what I can do.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that my expectations regarding Oathbringer were extremely hard to contain. I had heard a lot of fantastic things about this series the first time I went through The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance last year, but I read through them many years after their original release dates. Oathbringer is a different experience in terms of environment and surrounding hype; this time I’m actually in the midst of all the hype, praises, and excitement everywhere. Because of this my expectations were Skybreaking high; especially after reading one of my favorite books of all time: Words of Radiance. Despite my irrational expectations, I’m gratified to say that Sanderson managed to meet my expectations because Oathbringer ended up being another masterwork installment in The Stormlight Archive series.

“This book, the third in the Stormlight Archive, is the most intimate, most tightly woven, and most eclectic book I’ve ever written—all wrapped up into one… I like this book. I really, really like this book.” –Brandon Sanderson

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Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this is finally happening. I’m ranking The Stormlight Archive as my number one favorite book series of all time, overtaking the throne previously held by Mistborn trilogy, and I don’t think this will change anytime soon. The Gods of the Cosmere knows how much I love the original Mistborn trilogy but Brandon Sanderson really raised the bar for the epic fantasy genre sky high with this series.

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