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Category: Petrik’s Reviews

Book Review: Blood of an Exile (Dragons of Terra, #1) by Brian Naslund

Book Review: Blood of an Exile (Dragons of Terra, #1) by Brian Naslund

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

Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Dragons of Terra (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 416 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: August 8th, 2019 by Tor (UK) & August 6th, 2019 by Tor (US)


Blood of an Exile has dragons and dragonslayer, if you love a great fantasy debut with dragons, I doubt you’ll be reading the rest of this review.

And yet I will still write one. Blood of an Exile is Brian Naslund’s debut. It’s the first book in the Dragons of Terra trilogy. The story follows the Silas Bershad the Flawless, an exile who was supposed to die after he was caught trying to assassinate a noble. Bershad, the most famous and successful dragonslayer in the world, receive a task from the man who exiled him in the first place. The mission is to kill a king and save an innocent child in captive, only then he’ll be pardoned from his crime. With that kind of nickname, the premise led me to believe that this would be an ultimate Gary-Stu story but what I got was something more in-depth and empathizing. Without giving spoilers, there’s a rule to Bershad’s rumored “immortality” and “strength”; he’s not always immortal and full of strength 24 hours, and I found the mystery behind his power to be one of the main driving force of the narrative.

“Heroes and villains morphing out of the same people based on rumors and reputations and the simple passage of time.

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Book review: Jade War (The Green Bone Saga, #2) by Fonda Lee

Book review: Jade War (The Green Bone Saga, #2) by Fonda Lee

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

Jade War by Fonda Lee

Petrik’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

TS’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Green Bone Saga (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 624 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: July 25th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & July 23rd, 2019 by Orbit (US)


Petrik’s Review

Absolutely amazing; Jade War was a brilliantly compelling sequel filled with skillfully-written characterizations and tension-packed action scenes.

I buddy read this novel with four other readers of different ethnicities—TS, Emma, Jenia, and Nils—living in different parts of the world and all of us pretty much agreed that we were both in love with and terrified by the events in Jade War. I find it equally satisfying and astonishing that Lee was able to create a sequel that outshone the stunning quality found in Jade City, which won many readers’ hearts and the World Fantasy Award trophy last year. But Fonda Lee did it spectacularly; Jade War was unbelievably better than the first book. The fantasy genre needs more urban fantasy as refreshing and great as this series.

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Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) BY R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) BY R.J. Barker

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

The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: September 26th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 24th, 2019 by Orbit (US)


Highly imaginative world-building with a large focus on sea voyages and naval warfare.

Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of Barker’s debut series: The Wounded Kingdom trilogy. I gave each installment in the trilogy a 4.5 stars rating and ever since I finished King of Assassins, The Bone Ships has been on my list of priority books to read ASAP. This is why I’m genuinely sad that I have to give this book a below 4 stars rating, but I have to always be honest with my review. I still had a great time with the book but The Bone Ships is a totally different sort of beast—that’s sadly not too suitable for me—compared to The Wounded Kingdom and I had expected to love this book more. RJ, if you stumbled upon this review, please don’t read it.

“No sane woman or man wishes for war, and those that do never would if they thought it would leave paint on their doorsteps.”

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Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

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

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Pages: 384 pages

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


Gorgeous and magical; it’s not a stretch to call The Ten Thousand Doors of January a magnificent physical manifestation of a grimoire.

Orbit did it again. The Ten Thousand Doors of January has shot to the top of my TBR since the moment I saw the cover and heard about the premise; I was charmed and can safely say that I don’t think I’ve read many books as beautifully written as this novel. I’ve been saying this over and over again for a while now; when it comes to modern SFF debuts, just read everything that Orbit publishes. SFF books published by Orbit these days has a strong chance to satisfy your reading preferences and this novel amplified that notion. I would also like to give a shout out to Emily Byron, who made sure this book reached me for my review, and Maddie Hall, the one in charge of the design behind the ARC packaging of this book; easily the most beautiful ARC package I’ve ever received.

Picture: My ARC of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chris Evans highly recommended this book. When Captain America says so, you listen.

It’s been almost three years since I joined Goodreads and this is literally the second non-fiction book I finished reading. The last time I read a non-fiction book was in December 2016, it was an autobiography titled In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park. Anyone who knows my reading taste should know that I don’t read non-fiction, not only I found the majority of them to be boring, the main reason behind why I read is escapism and the best genre to offer me the best escapism experience lies in SFF. I don’t even know how to rate and review this book because it always made me feels awkward to give a rating to a non-fiction work, especially if it’s an autobiography, which luckily this book is not. Please remember that my rating—as always—speaks mostly for my reading enjoyment, not the technicality of the book.

“Nothing captures the biological argument better than the famous New Age slogan: ‘Happiness begins within.’ Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.”

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The Emperor’s Soul

The Emperor’s Soul

(I read this in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection)

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely incredible novella. Apparently, 105 pages are sufficient for Sanderson to craft a fantastic story with a strong beginning, wonderful characterizations, memorable climax scene, and a satisfying conclusion. The Emperor’s Soul has become my favorite novella of all time; it has qualities that surpassed a lot of other fantasy novels I’ve read.

I won’t go into any details on what the plot is, it’s only 100 pages long, try to jump into this story without knowing anything about it as I did. The plot dances upon several themes such as the nature of humanity and what truly defines art. There was a lot of beautiful philosophical contemplation to be found here and the novella was utterly well-paced. The Emperor’s Soul doesn’t waste any time getting into the plot; there’s no info dump, the magic system and world building were introduced gradually together with the plot and character development. Have I mentioned that the main character Wan ShaiLu (or Shai in short) is a lovable and intelligent heroine?

“There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person’s life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn’t take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn’t led you better.”

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Empress of Forever

Empress of Forever

Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Praise-worthy imagination and world-building, but sadly, it’s time to admit that Max Gladstone’s books aren’t suitable for me.

Empress of Forever has been on my TBR ever since I first heard about it. Judging from the blurb alone, I was immediately intrigued. Just read the blurb, seriously, it sounds so cleverly insane and my god, Gladstone delivers completely on this; stunningly original and cool world-building to witness. That’s exactly what I found to be brilliant from Gladstone’s books, his world-building, action scenes, prose, and ideas always feel refreshing and unique. I’ve read only two books in his Craft Sequence series and the things that worked for me there is even more evident here. I won’t lie that there were a lot of moments from this book that made me truly flabbergasted because it’s extremely imaginative. Time travel, an ancient Empress that could destroy a planet with a single thought, character literally sitting on a freaking comet flying through space, sentient machines, dead planets, and many more insanity that’s crazier than the one I just mentioned; there’s no shortage to Gladstone’s ambitious imagination in creating this novel.

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Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire, #1)

Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire, #1)

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Fortune’s Fool by Angela Boord
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb surmised this first-person character-driven debut nicely; spies, smugglers, vengeance, war, and love, this hefty book has them all.

Fortune’s Fool is Angela Boord’s debut and it’s the first book in Eterean Empire series. The story revolves around Kyrra d’Aliente as she seeks vengeance for the harshness inflicted towards her in her past while masquerading herself as a man. Fortune’s Fool is undeniably a character-driven fantasy. The author did a fantastic job of telling Kyrra’s story, the plot juggles between two timelines: the present and the past. One of the things that made the narrative relatively refreshing to read was the changes in tenses between the two timeframes; the past is told in first-person past tense narration, the present is told in the first-person present tense narrative. Truthfully speaking, I’m not a big fan of tenses shift within the same book, but the author did a great job in making sure the flow of her story remains undisrupted throughout.

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Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)

Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)

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

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An outstanding grimdark sequel. Feel free to consider me a huge fan of this low-fantasy series now.

At the moment, I honestly don’t know whether I should be happy or sad about the fact that I finished this book already. In less than two weeks, Priest of Lies will officially be published, and I’m truly glad that I have the privilege to read this book earlier than its publication, but oh my lord, I’m in dire need the next book NOW and I’m sad that it’s nowhere in sight yet! Priest of Lies, the second book in the War for the Rose Throne by Peter McLean, is a huge step up from its predecessor; that’s saying a lot because I had a terrific time reading Priest of Bones.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

—Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

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Recursion

Recursion

Recursion by Blake Crouch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recursion has become the first sci-fi standalone to be included in my favorite shelves.

As many readers probably did, my first experience with reading Crouch’s work was for Dark Matter. I was super impressed by it and after hearing that the author has a new sci-fi thriller that’s highly recommended for readers who loved Dark Matter gave me so much joy; it would be insane for me to not take a look at Recursion. Do note that taking a look at Crouch’s novel can be surmised as reading the novel non-stop until completion. This book was undoubtedly exceptional; it was so good that it made Dark Matter—which I loved and rated 4.5/5 stars—felt like a practice novel so that Crouch has the skill to unleash the full capacity of his brain towards the creation of this cleverly crafted insanity.

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