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Author: Petrik Leo

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

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

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

Pages: 672 pages (UK hardback edition)

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


A Time of Courage is one of the best final books to a series I’ve ever read in my life. It was truly a bittersweet, satisfying, and masterfully crafted finale to conclude Of Blood and Bone and the entirety of The Banished Lands saga.

Permit me to start this review with words from Gwynne himself:

“So, finally we come to the end of this series, and with it, the end of the Banished Land’s tales. Although Of Blood and Bone is a trilogy that can be read as a standalone series, it is also the final chapter of a longer history that involves the four books from The Faithful and the Fallen series. When read together they form around a one-hundred-and-fifty-year history of the Banished Lands, and a sizeable chunk of my life. Roughly seventeen years have flown by, I think, since lifting my pen and writing down my first ideas. I hope that you’ve enjoyed your time spent here, and that this book feels like a fitting and satisfying conclusion to all that has gone before.”

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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: 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: 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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2nd Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

2nd Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today I’m bringing you a second interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, the author behind The Gutter Prayer and its recently released sequel, The Shadow Saint. I’ve read and reviewed The Shadow Saint since the end of last year and upon finishing it, I knew I have to interview the author AGAIN because I have a few things to ask his brilliant mind, so here we are.

You can check out my review of The Shadow Saint 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 second interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.

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Book Review: Valley of the Free (Pandemonium Rising, #0.5) by Michael Sliter

Book Review: Valley of the Free (Pandemonium Rising, #0.5) by Michael Sliter

Valley of the Free by Michael Sliter

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Pandemonium Rising (Book #0.5 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy

Pages: 128 pages

Published: 18th December 2019 by Dragyn Press (Indie)


Short, violent, and bloody; this is a good place for you to try Sliter’s writing.

Valley of the Free is a prequel novella to Mike Sliter’s grimdark fantasy series: Pandemonium Rising. The story follows Ferl’s quest for vengeance, and this little novella depicts the conception of the infamous Ferl’s Company. Having read—and loved—the two available books in the main series so far, I can safely vouch that no prior reading of the main series is required. You can enjoy Valley of the Free without any knowledge of the main series; excluding the main character—Ferl—only one or two other characters appeared briefly. In fact, I do honestly think that this is a very starting point for you to try Sliter’s work. Valley of the Free is not as dark/brutal as Sliter’s debut work, Solace Lost, and it’s good to familiarize yourself with his writing style and gritty content first. I would say that Valley of the Free is more attuned to Wisdom Lost in terms of content and quality, which, in my opinion, delivers a more balanced narrative and also encapsulates Sliter’s craft at his best so far.

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Book Review: Soulsmith (Cradle, #2) by Will Wight

Book Review: Soulsmith (Cradle, #2) by Will Wight

Soulsmith by Will Wight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #2 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 286 pages

Published: 26th September 2016 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


A great sequel that build upon the foundations laid in Unsouled.

Soulsmith is the second book in Cradle series by Will Wight. Continuing from where the previous book left off, Lindon has left the Sacred Valley in pursuit of advancement and accessibility to stronger powers. An ancient ruin has risen, and many sacred artists—Lindon included—gathers and they fight for the treasures inside. As I’ve mentioned in my review of Unsouled, it seems very likely that each sequel in this series will better than their respective previous installments, and Soulsmith is the first proof of that. Admittedly, I’m still not a huge fan of the main character himself, but Yerin and the new characters being introduced here—especially Eithan and Jai Long—were so entertaining to read.

“In his experience, practically anything became an adventure if framed properly.”

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Book Review: Unsouled (Cradle, #1) by Will Wight

Book Review: Unsouled (Cradle, #1) by Will Wight

Unsouled by Will Wight

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #1 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 294 pages

Published: 13th June 2016 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


A foundational start to a series that feels like the beginning of shonen anime in prose form.

I’ve promised many readers—my impatient co-bloggers included—that I’m going to read Cradle as soon as 2020 starts, and so here I am. I’ve been eyeing this series for quite a while now, it also has been recommended to me more than thirty times by more than thirty different readers. That number is not an exaggeration; I’ve received that many messages and recommendations from readers around the world telling me to read this series because they knew I’m going to love this series, and they weren’t wrong. I enjoyed reading Unsouled, and I know I’ll be binge-reading this series.

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Book Review: Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Warbreaker (Book #1 of 2)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 688 pages (US mass market paperback edition)

Published: 29th December 2011 by Gollancz (UK) & 9 June 2019 by Tor Books (US)


A colorful, vibrant, and highly character-driven standalone fantasy.

If you haven’t seen the tenth-anniversary leatherbound edition of Warbreaker, I suggest you take a look now by clicking here: https://www.brandonsanderson.com/the-..

No, I don’t have one; I simply can’t afford it. However, staring at how gorgeous it is, it certainly solidified my decision to reread Warbreaker; this time with the annotated edition which I haven’t done before, and I will recommend reading this edition only if you’ve read the book before. It’s terrifying how fast time flies; I can’t believe that it has been three years since I first read this book. Warbreaker was the first book by Brandon Sanderson that I read after I finished his brilliant Mistborn trilogy. Back then, I didn’t even realize how important this standalone would become in the overarching magnitude of Sanderson’s Cosmere universe. Having read all of Sanderson’s Cosmere books and going back to this made me realize how much Sanderson has improved as an author, and how beneficial it would be to read Warbreaker first before you dive into The Stormlight Archives. Seriously, do it.

Picture: Siri and God King by Dan dos Santos

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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists. Check out his portfolio, he’s brilliant.


Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2019)

Here we are, we’re reaching the end of 2019 very soon! This year, I’ve read and reviewed 115 books (96 traditionally published books + 19 indie books.)

It’s lower than the previous two years, but I must say that it’s been another incredible reading year for me. Putting the high amount of 4.5 and 5 stars books I’ve rated this year into consideration, I will be applying four rules into this list; doing this will help me give appreciation to more authors, and I’ll be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) rather than having only a few authors/books hoarding the list every year.

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • Unless specified, the books listed here are published this year.
  • Number one spot aside, none of these are in particular order. All have merit, and most have different strengths that make them stand out from each other; it’s too difficult for me to rank them accordingly.

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2019! (Full reviews of these books can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)


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