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Category: Petrik’s Reviews

Book Review: Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover

Book Review: Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover

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Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Acts of Caine (Book #1 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark, Grimdark science fantasy, Dystopia

Pages: 627 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 21st July 1998 by Del Rey (US) and 27th May 2013 by Orbit (UK)


It’s unbelievable that this insanely terrific story is hidden behind this horrific cover art. Heroes Die was absolutely bloody and glorious.

“Does it matter? When you tell a story loud enough and long enough, a story that plays right into people’s worst fears of betrayal, it grows its own truth.”

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Book Review: She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker-Chan

Book Review: She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker-Chan

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

Cover art illustrated by: JungShan Ink

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Radiant Emperor (Book #1 of 2)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy

Pages: 416 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 22th July 2021 by Mantle (UK) and 20th July 2021 by Tor Books (US)


She Who Became the Sun has the bravery to pitch itself as The Song of Achilles meets Mulan and actually live up to it.

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Book Review: Dreams of the Dying (Enderal, #1) by Nicolas Lietzau

Book Review: Dreams of the Dying (Enderal, #1) by Nicolas Lietzau

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

Cover art illustrated by: Dominik Derow

Dreams of the Dying by Nicolas Lietzau

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Enderal (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Mystery

Pages: 826 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 28th October 2020 by Nicolas Lietzau (Self-published)


A new masterpiece is here. It is a cliché to say this, but Dreams of the Dying is seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read.

“The mind is a malleable thing. Soil, if you’re feeling poetic. Depending on the seed, anything will grow in it, from graceful gardens to idyllic meadows, from weedy forests to foggy swamps. Harmonious or chaotic, peaceful or perilous, healthy or ill—it’s all a matter of seeds.

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Book Review: Grievar’s Blood (The Combat Codes Saga, #2) by Alexander Darwin

Book Review: Grievar’s Blood (The Combat Codes Saga, #2) by Alexander Darwin

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

Grievar’s Blood by Alexander Darwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

eries: The Combat Codes Saga (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia, Martial Arts

Pages: 340 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 28th January 2020 by Insight Forge Press (Self-published)


Grievar’s Blood is a daring sequel to The Combat Codes. The cast is bigger and the stakes are higher than before.

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Book Review: The Lords of the North (The Last Kingdom, #3) by Bernard Cornwell

Book Review: The Lords of the North (The Last Kingdom, #3) by Bernard Cornwell

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The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Last Kingdom (Book #3 of 13)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 401 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 22nd May 2006 by HarperCollins


This was a good but slightly weaker volume compared to its predecessors. It’s so good to finally meet Sihtric and Finan for the first time, though.

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Book Review: The Helm of Midnight (The Five Penalties, #1) by Marina Lostetter

Book Review: The Helm of Midnight (The Five Penalties, #1) by Marina Lostetter

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

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Weber

The Helm of Midnight by Marina J. Lostetter

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Five Penalties (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 464 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 13th April 2021 by Tor Books


This is an incredible book. Character-driven and bloody thrilling; The Helm of Midnight has pretty much confirmed its spot in one of my favorite books of 2021 list.

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Book Review: The Forever Sea (The Forever Sea, #1) by Joshua Phillip Johnson

Book Review: The Forever Sea (The Forever Sea, #1) by Joshua Phillip Johnson

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

Cover art illustrated by: Marc Simonetti

The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Forever Sea (Book #1)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 464 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 26th January 2021 by Titan Books (UK) & 19th January 2021 by DAW Books (US)


Wonderful world-building and beautifully written, but unfortunately it’s a bit lacking in characterizations and pacing.

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Book Review: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

Book Review: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

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

Cover art illustrated by: Felix Ortiz

Cover art designed by: STK.Kreations

The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Combat Codes Saga (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia, Martial Arts

Pages: 410 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 31st October 2015 by Insight Forge Press (Self-published)


Fun, tense, and entertaining; The Combat Codes is an MMA-inspired sci-fi debut with heart and well-written combat scenes.

“A perceived weakness is strength, and a flaunted strength is weakness.”

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Book Review: The Pale Horseman (The Last Kingdom, #2) by Bernard Cornwell

Book Review: The Pale Horseman (The Last Kingdom, #2) by Bernard Cornwell

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The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Last Kingdom (Book #2 of 13)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 432 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 3rd October 2005 by HarperCollins


Another great installment about loyalty, power, faith, friendship, and ambition.

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Book Review: The Two-Faced Queen (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #2) by Nick Martell

Book Review: The Two-Faced Queen (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #2) by Nick Martell

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

Cover art illustrated by: Richard Anderson

The Two-Faced Queen by Nick Martell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Legacy of the Mercenary King (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 592 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 25th March 2021 by Gollancz (UK) & 23rd March 2021 by Saga Press (US)


Overall, The Two-Faced Queen a good sequel. Similar to its predecessor, the first half was a bit of a struggle for me, but the second half was great.

“To be forgotten feels more like death than death.”

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