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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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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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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Literary fiction, Historical fiction, Mystery

Pages: 384 pages

Published: 17th January 2019 by Corsair (UK) & 14th August 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons (US)


Where the Crawdads Sing is a book that’s massively praised worldwide, and it lives up to all the hype.

It doesn’t matter whether you read literary fiction or not, if you’ve visited Amazon or a bookstore in 2019, it’s quite likely that you’ve heard about Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens’s FIRST novel that’s praised and hit bestseller everywhere. Honestly, I didn’t expect to read this one; my girlfriend and my co-blogger—Celeste—highly recommended it to me even though they know that it’s well outside my usual genre—SFF—of novels to read. However, the immensely high average ratings made the book a must-try for me. At the time of writing this review, it has an average of 4.5 stars out of 463k ratings on Goodreads, and on Amazon US it has an average rating of 4.8 out of 27.3k ratings/reviews! To make things even crazier, this is the author’s FIRST novel, and everything about it lives up to the hype.

“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”

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Book Review: Blood of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #3) by Brian McClellan

Book Review: Blood of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #3) by Brian McClellan

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

Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Gods of Blood and Powder (Book #3 of 3), Powder Mage (Book #6 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Flintlock Fantasy

Pages: 688 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 5th December 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 3rd December 2019 by Orbit (US)


Six years after the first publication of Promise of Blood, it’s time to say goodbye to the Powder Mage universe.

Blood of Empire is the third and last book in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy. McClellan has also said that this will be the final novel in the Powder Mage universe, and there’s a chance there won’t be any new full-novel in this universe, at least not for years because McClellan has a new series—Glass Immortals—coming in 2022. So overall, was this a satisfying conclusion to the saga? I’ll say yes. I have a few issues with it that prevent me from giving it a full 5-stars rating, but overall I’m satisfied. There aren’t many things that I can say regarding the details of the plotline without going into spoiler territory, and I don’t want to do that, so I’ll get into what worked for me and a few things that in my opinion would’ve made this final book more awesome.

“Styke was willing to put up with all sorts of creeping things for the sake of an ambush. He would not, however, allow a man to piss on him.”

Every time I talk to readers and fans of McClellan’s work, the majority have agreed that McClellan is very well-known for his fast-paced and action-packed oriented storyline. Contrary to The Powder Mage trilogy, every installment in Gods of Blood and Powder adapts a slow-burn story that escalates towards a big explosive conclusion. Both Sins of Empire and Wrath of Empire uses the same method, and the situation is even more apparent in Blood of Empire where the big action sequences happened only at the final 15% of the novel. McClellan has spent a lot of time building the setup towards reaching the final confrontation set piece. In fact, out of all six novels in the Powder Mage universe, it felt like this is the one where action scenes happened the least. It’s different from the first trilogy but it’s not a bad thing per se. It may be slower relatively, but McClellan was still able to tell a compelling story without neglecting the high focus on characterizations, relationship developments, and politics. Cultural differences, greed, faith, responsibilities, loyalty, love, and learning from mistakes were some of the patent themes used effectively to enrich the narrative in Blood of Empire.

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