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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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)

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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.

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Book Review: The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2) by Brent Weeks

Book Review: The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2) by Brent Weeks

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Lightbringer (Book #2 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 11th September 2012 by Orbit (US) & 13rd September 2012 by Orbit (UK)


Gavin Guile has said that he has seven great purposes to fulfill in his lifetime; one of those is to write a seven paragraphs spoiler-free review so that people will read The Blinding Knife and I’m here to help him achieve that.

The Blinding Knife, the second installment in Weeks’s Lightbringer series, successfully excelled over the previous book. On my first read, I remember that I chose The Blinding Knife as my favorite installment of the series; it seems like I’m going to stand by this notion on my reread. There are many reasons to love The Blinding Knife; multi-layered intrigues in its politics, superb pacing, incredible character developments and intricate expansion to its world-building, to name a few. In the first book, there was quite a lot of pages—necessarily—spent towards the purpose of making sure the reader truly understands the mechanism behind the complex magic system; that info-dumpy section is gone now, everything flows naturally in The Blinding Knife because the concept and rules of the magic system has been established clearly in the previous book. Weeks took every foundation firmly planted in The Black Prism and gradually built upon them wonderfully here.

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Book Review: The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1) by Brent Weeks

Book Review: The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1) by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Lightbringer (Book #1 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 688 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 25th August 2010 by Orbit


An incredibly original and entertaining start to a memorable high fantasy series.

The Black Prism, the first book in Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, was one of my first forays into an adult high-fantasy novel. I can’t honestly say that I’ve been a devout follower of this series since its conception; The Black Prism was first published in 2010 and I started this series almost exactly three years ago, all the way back in October 2016; it was near the release date of the fourth book of the series: The Blood Mirror. Now that the fifth and final book of the series, The Burning White, is coming out in less than three weeks, I figure that it’s about time I finally reread this series that I loved before from the beginning again. Why? Because I’ve forgotten TONS of details about it and this reread strongly proved it.

“All power is a test.”

Rereading is always a fascinating experience for me; I won’t lie that I have my share of issues—mostly due to overwhelming TBR and unfinished series I’m stuck in—with the idea of rereading just for the sake of refreshing memories in order to be able to appreciate the next/last book of a particular series. However, statistically speaking, rereading a book/series actually deliver a superior reading experience compared to my first read-through more often than not; The Black Prism is another great example of this situation, and it makes me wish I have more time to re-read many books that I’ve read before.

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