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Category: Petrik’s Reviews

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

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

House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4) House of Chains by Steven Erikson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A huge downgrade after the masterpiece in Memories of Ice

Erikson started House of Chains, the fourth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, in an unprecedented step. Unlike the previous three books, House of Chains started as a totally character-driven book that focuses solely on a completely new character, Karsa Orlong. This made for an awkward start because at first the story didn’t feel like reading the same series and Karsa took a while to warm up to due to his primitive and savage culture. However, Karsa ended up being one of my favorite parts of the book because of his spectacular character development and how pivotal he became to the overall story.

Picture: Karsa Orlong by Sam Burley

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Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)

Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)

Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

A peerless and jaw-dropping epic installment; I consider myself damn lucky to have witnessed this powerfully evocative tale.

I’ve stated that it’s mandatory to read at least two books of the series in order to truly find out whether you’ll love this series or not. I retract that statement and change it to three books instead. Trust me, if you don’t love Memories of Ice, you might as well drop the series now. And that would be okay because no series can work for everyone. Honestly speaking, I had a bit of doubt about the series but this incredibly mesmerizing installment has convinced me to finally become a fan of the series.

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Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)

Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)

Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


Coltaine and the Chain of Dogs, enough said.

People told me that when you’re starting Malazan Book of the Fallen, it’s mandatory to read at least two or three books in the series before finally deciding on giving up on the series. One of the main reasons behind this is that Deadhouse Gates is considered one of the strongest installment within the series by the fans after Memories of Ice and The Bonehunters. Now that I’ve read Deadhouse Gates, I finally understand why people insist newcomers on continuing to the second book first. However, please do check your expectation. Despite how much I loved this installment, I’m actually slightly disappointed with how it turns out; more detail on this further down below.

Picture: Deadhouse Gates by Marc Simonetti

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Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here we go. This is my first review for Steven Erikson’s highly acclaimed epic fantasy series: Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Malazan has been in my TBR for one year seven months now. I’ve heard countless amazing things about the series but the sizes, the spreading words of mouth on the complexities, the need for extra focus, the commitment, and the elitist assholes of the series made me postpone starting it for a long time. Despite hearing amazing things about the quality of the series, it required me a promise to finally plunge myself into starting this grand tale. I told my girlfriend I will propose to her only after I finished Malazan Book of the Fallen; she has agreed to it and so here we are. It’s safe to say that my expectations for this series are unreasonably huge and no, I don’t plan to change that for many personal reasons. Did the first book live up to the expectation though? The masterpiece quality aspect remains to be seen but the scope truly lived up to it, especially remembering that Gardens of the Moon is just the introduction to the series.

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Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1)

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1)

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

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand #1)Kings of Paradise by Richard Nell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally got around to review Richard Nell’s highly acclaimed indie debut, Kings of Paradise. My verdict: an impressive grimdark debut.

I was first offered to review Kings of Paradise by Nell himself back in November 2017. Back then, Kings of Paradise had around 20 ratings and I simply didn’t have time to read it because I was swamped by ARCs, review copies, and Oathbringer’s release, which was also in November; I told Nell that I’ll give his book a read in 2018. I certainly didn’t expect that the book would garner 150 new ratings and many extremely positive reviews; I’m pretty sure there’s a Nell fan club being formed already. I won’t bother you with rearranging the synopsis into my own words, the blurb is spoiler-free and you should read that if you want to know what the plot is about. I’ll start off this review immediately with my favorite part of the book, Ruka’s storyline.

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We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)

We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)

We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A new gale of hope for self-published fantasy blows with all its might as Devin Madson summons a new triumphant tornado in We Ride the Storm.

Open up your thesaurus and look up the word “underrated.” Devin Madson’s name truly belongs there. I bloody loved this book, even more than all of Madson’s previous works which were great themselves. You can check my review history and you’ll see that for self-published/indie books that I’ve read and reviewed so far, I’ve given a full 5 stars rating (without rounding up on Goodreads) to literally only one book, The Mirror’s Truth by Michael R. Fletcher. We Ride the Storm is the second occurrence.

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The Grave at Storm’s End (The Vengeance Trilogy, #3)

The Grave at Storm’s End (The Vengeance Trilogy, #3)

The Grave at Storm's End (The Vengeance Trilogy, #3) The Grave at Storm’s End by Devin Madson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The storm of vengeance ends here and the graves have been filled. The result? An emotional and satisfying conclusion that fits the tone of the series.

Let me first say that the statistics for this book are mind boggling. The book has been out for almost two years and there are only 15 ratings and 5 reviews on Goodreads; that’s ridiculous! Not only is this trilogy better than a lot of grimdark series out there, Madson has done everything right as a self-published author. Amazing cover? Check. Great content? Check. Admirable professionalism? Check. The only thing this trilogy lacks is exposure and words of mouth. I’m not Mark Lawrence; I don’t have enough followers or friends on my list to bring as much exposure as he did for Senlin Ascends. I can only do what I do best and that is to provide my honest review/opinion and hopefully, it will help Madson’s work get the exposure it deserves.

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The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)

The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)

The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)The Gods of Vice by Devin Madson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No sophomore slump here; this was another great installment for The Vengeance Trilogy.

The battle for the Crimson Throne has split Kisia and it’s time for the characters to choose sides. Prepare for shifting allegiances, betrayal, and revelations. The plot in The Gods of Vice continues immediately after the end of the first book and once again, vengeance and the deadly magic—Empathy—become the central theme. If you’ve read the first book and haven’t read the novella, In Shadows We Fall yet, I strongly urge you to read it now; it’s only 100 pages long anyway. The novella, despite being very short, provides a lot of backgrounds information that is still pertinent to this installment. For example, Empress Li won’t just be a simple name you read; you’ll know so much more about her each time her name gets mentioned. This of course doesn’t mean that you HAVE to read the novella to understand the events in this book, but it will certainly be beneficial in enriching your experience. So why not? It’s fantastic and it will only take two hours (at max) to read.

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The Blood of Whisperers (The Vengeance Trilogy, #1)

The Blood of Whisperers (The Vengeance Trilogy, #1)

The Blood of Whisperers (The Vengeance Trilogy, #1)The Blood of Whisperers by Devin Madson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A thoroughly engaging Asian-inspired fantasy and a super underrated debut.

I’m a man of habit; I usually always plan my TBR. But Devin Madson’s books shot up my TBR and ruined my plans immediately the moment I finished her award-winning novella, In Shadows We Fall, three weeks ago. From the moment I finished the novella, I knew I simply needed to read more set in this world and I’m damn pleased I followed that notion.

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The Ember Blade (The Darkwater Legacy, #1)

The Ember Blade (The Darkwater Legacy, #1)

ARC provided by the publisher—Orion Publishing Group (Gollancz)—in exchange for an honest review.

The Ember BladeThe Ember Blade by Chris Wooding
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Wooding strikes a magnificently fine balance between classic epic fantasy and grimdark fantasy, making this a new amazing start to a new trilogy.

To be honest, I feel like the love for classic fantasy has started to dwindle these days and has been replaced with a thirst for grimdark or fantasy with darker tones; most likely due to the fame garnered by the Game of Thrones TV show. This isn’t actually a bad thing, and I have to say that I kind of feel the same. The reason behind this is that classic fantasy is starting to feel too familiar with the majority of books following the same kind of good versus evil structure that’s getting more and more predictable. Reading classic fantasy now is in my opinion like coming home to something incredibly well known; it’s always comfy and you’re highly familiar with it. Readers want new adventures, something unpredictable and fresh, not the same kind of adventures they’ve already experienced time and time again. This is where The Ember Blade will come in and change your mind. Rooted heavily in classic epic fantasy but imbued with the element of the morally grey character found in grimdark Wooding has created a hybrid in this book and the result was amazing. Imagine coming home and there are pleasant surprises to be found; you open your fridge, crack open an egg and you get two yolks instead of one. That’s how it felt reading this book.

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