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Category: Petrik’s Reviews

Book Review: The Lost War (Eidyn, #1) by Justin Lee Anderson

Book Review: The Lost War (Eidyn, #1) by Justin Lee Anderson

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

The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Eidyn (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Pages: 572 pages

Published: 30th August 2019 by King Lot Publishing (Indie)


Thrilling mysteries, powerful magic, tangible tension, and great characters to root for; The Lost War has it all.

I honestly had no idea what the book was about when I started it. I’ve never even heard of the author before, not until a few weeks ago where I stumbled upon Anna Stephens’, the author of Godblind trilogy, review of this novel on the Fantasy-Faction Facebook group. Stephens recommended it highly, and after I took a look at the cover art and synopsis, somehow everything about it just clicked with me. I decided to give it a shot based on instinct. This isn’t an easy thing for me to do because I’m more of a plan-oriented reader when it comes to reading through my ARC/review requests. However, giving this a go as soon as possible has paid off satisfyingly for me.

“People who are responsible for everyone eventually feel responsible for no one.”

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Book Review: Legacy of Ghosts (The Coraidic Sagas, #2) by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Book Review: Legacy of Ghosts (The Coraidic Sagas, #2) by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

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

Legacy of Ghosts by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Coraidic Sagas (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 672 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 30th November 2019 by Alicia Wanstall-Burke


Legacy of Ghosts is, without a doubt, a worthy successor to Blood of Heirs.

First of all, I’m going to repeat a bit of what I’ve said in my Blood of Heirs review. I’ve mentioned before that my ARC and review requests were out of control that I had to reject so many of them; this situation hasn’t changed, it only got worse. But considering the fact that Blood of Heirs was one of the biggest indie surprises I’ve read last year, I knew I had to accept the ARC request of this book and give it a go as soon as I can; I’m happy that Legacy of Ghosts ended up being another great read.

“Life isn’t about getting what you want, Lidan. It never has been. I thought you would have learned that by now. We get what we’re given, and it’s up to us to navigate the river or let it drown us.”

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Book Review: The Books of the South by Glen Cook

Book Review: The Books of the South by Glen Cook

The Books of the South by Glen Cook

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company (Book #3.5-5 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy, Military fantasy

Pages: 670 pages (Paperback)

Published: 10th June 2008 by Tor Books (US)


Great stories and character development for The Lady, but I still have mixed feelings towards Cook’s prose.

The Books of the South consists of Shadow Games, Dreams of Steel, and a spin-off called The Silver Spike. Same as the previous omnibus, I’ll be doing a short spoiler-free review for each book.

Shadow Games: 3.5/5 stars

The Books of the South begins with Shadow Games, which is the fourth installment in The Chronicles of the Black Company. The story continues with the member of the Black Company marching south to Khatovar, the place of the Company’s origin. During their mission, they’re chased and hounded by a new group of enemies called the Shadowmasters. Croaker is back once again as the main narrator, and honestly, although I’ve gotten used to reading his first-person narration, I also have to admit that I get tired from reading his POV quickly. His cynicism and sarcasm are fun in small doses but not for long. Just to give a bit of data, Shadow Games is 220 pages long in this omnibus, and it took me three days to read it; I usually read around 200 or 300 pages a day. I think what made this book a bit boring was the travelogues. Almost the entirety of the novel is The Black Company marching. That being said, I enjoyed reading the characters development in this book, especially for Croaker and The Lady. The last section of this book was filled with battle and eventually ends with a cliffhanger.

“Every ounce of my cynicism is supported by historical precedent.”

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Book Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Book Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Literary fiction, Historical fiction

Pages: 567 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 9th February 2017 by Doubleday (UK) & 22nd August 2017 by Hogarth Press (US)


The Heart’s Invisible Furies is beautiful, heartbreaking, dark, and occasionally humorous.

If you follow my reviews, you should know already that literary fiction isn’t my favorite genre to read; I probably read, at most, one or two literary fiction book per year. But when I finished A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne, which I enjoyed very much, at the end of last year, I knew that I had to give his most highly-praised work, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, a read and I’m glad I did.

“But for all that we had, for all the luxury to which we were accustomed, we were both denied love, and this deficiency would be scorched into our future lives like an ill-considered tattoo inscribed on buttocks after a drunken night out, leading each of us inevitably toward isolation and disaster.”

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Book Review: The Black Hawks (Articles of Faith, #1)

Book Review: The Black Hawks (Articles of Faith, #1)

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

The Black Hawks by David Wragg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Articles of Faith (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 429 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 3rd October 2019 by Harper Voyager


Entertaining, intense, and filled with great lines spoken by morally grey characters to root for.

If you’ve been following the adult fantasy market for the past two years, you’ll most likely realize that the cover art is quite similar to Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames—one of my favorite fantasy debuts of all time. The cover art is done by the same artist—Richard Anderson—and as always, he never fails to deliver a striking/distinctive artwork. Excluding the similarity in cover art, does the content actually provided something similar to Kings of the Wyld? It would have to be a no from me. The exposure and advertisements I’ve seen for The Black Hawks so far have led me to think that this is an overwhelmingly comedic and light-hearted book; I have to disagree with this notion. Sure there are some funny lines embedded into the narrative, such as this description about wolves for example:

“To think I left Clyden for this. Eaten by a fucken dog with a hairstyle.”

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Book Review: God of Gnomes (God Core, #1) by Demi Harper

Book Review: God of Gnomes (God Core, #1) by Demi Harper

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

God of Gnomes by Demi Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: God Core (Book #1 of ?)

Genre: LitRPG, Dungeon Core

Pages: 485 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 26th September 2019 by Portal Books


Harper’s LitRPG debut combines the resource management of Real-Time Strategy Games and the moral system of The Good Place into a fun, exciting, and wholesome reading experience.

God of Gnomes, the first book in God Core series by Demi Harper isn’t my first experience reading Harper’s work. Demi Harper is a pseudonym for Laura M. Hughes; a freelance editor, and also the author behind the dark fantasy novella: Danse Macabre. I loved Danse Macabre, and also enjoyed the two short stories written by her that I’ve read so far. I have always wanted the author to write a full-length novel, and as far as I know, God of Gnomes is the author’s first take on a full-length novel and the LitRPG genre. As expected, I enjoyed it; the novel which was written in a very different style compared to the author’s past work didn’t change the quality of her work. The story follows Corey as he finds himself reborn as a God Core that must protect and guide his worshippers—gnomes—to escape extinction. The story started off very light-hearted at first, and it gets more serious as the story progressed; I’m thankful for this. Although I do like reading light-hearted stories, a few serious and tense moments are necessary for me to enjoy a book.

“What you were before doesn’t matter. What matters is who you are now.”

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Book Review: The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song, #1) by Brian D. Anderson

Book Review: The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song, #1) by Brian D. Anderson

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

The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Sorcerer’s Song (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 432 pages

Published: 28th January 2020 by Tor Books


Simply exquisite, gripping, and tension-packed; The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson is an enthralling start to a series.

I’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t the premise of the book that got my attention; it was Felix Ortiz’s gorgeous cover artwork that grabbed me, and I’m truly grateful for it because the quality of the content in this book lived up to the exterior. I’m both blessed—because I get to read this early—and cursed—because I have to wait even longer for the next book—enough that the author and publisher sent me an early copy to review. Thank you and congratulations, Tor Books, you have found a winner here; consider giving The Bard’s Blade the same scale of promotion and advertisement you did for The Ruin of Kings.

“Never allow the wickedness of others to dictate who you are.”

The Bard’s Blade is the first book in The Sorcerer’s Song series by Brian Anderson. We follow the perspective of two main characters: Mariyah and Lem. Mariyah is a wine maker that loves her simple and casual life in Vylari, a land magically sealed with an impenetrable barrier from the outside world. Mariyah is betrothed to Lem, a super talented musician (bard) and they’re enamored with each other, believing that whatever comes their way, they’ll get through it if they face it together. A dangerous truth from Lamoria—the world outside Vylari—somehow managed to came through and it ended up changing their lives; dire circumstances force them to live in Lamoria and it’s a vastly different world compared to Vylari in almost every possible way. In a way, The Bard’s Blade sits in the middle of the classic—destiny, rumors of ancient evil resurfacing—and modern fantasy genres; it’s certainly comfortable and familiar territory that somehow also felt refreshing to read for me. Among many aspects, the factor that made reading this book so damn entertaining and engrossing were the incredible characterizations given to the characters in both main and supporting roles.

“Those in power in this age have fought and killed over nothing more important than to whom they offer their prayers.”

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Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 512 pages (Hardback)

Published: 5th September 2019 by Harper Voyager (UK) & 3rd September 2019 by St. Martin’s Press (US)


O’gentlefriends, Darkdawn concluded The Nevernight Chronicle trilogy on a bloody high note, and it’s not implausible for me to say that this has become my favorite book in the series.

“Don’t fuck with librarians, young lady. We know the power of words.”

Each installment within the series can be classified as Mia’s journey throughout her life; Nevernight as Mia’s book of birth, Godsgrave as Mia’s book of life, and Darkdawn as Mia’s book death. Don’t worry, if you’re reading this without any knowledge of the series, that’s not a spoiler; the first page within the first book of the series has mentioned that Mia died. Now, the specifics leading towards it, and whether Mia’s death is a lie or truth, I’ll leave that for you to find out for yourself. The Nevernight Chronicle, in a way, is Mia’s revenge story told by an unnamed narrator that the reader didn’t know, not until they’ve read Darkdawn anyway. I can’t tell you anything specific about the story in Darkdawn except that it continues immediately from where Godsgrave left off, and Darkdawn really finished Mia’s story. What I can tell you, however, is what made the book worked so well for me.

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Book Review: Dragonslayer (Dragonslayer, #1) by Duncan M. Hamilton

Book Review: Dragonslayer (Dragonslayer, #1) by Duncan M. Hamilton

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

Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Series: Dragonslayer (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 304 pages

Published: 2nd July 2019 by Tor Books (UK & US)


Dragonslayer is a typical and straight-forward dragon-slaying tale that’s been done countless times before.

There isn’t anything wrong with Dragonslayer. The book is well-written, the prose used was simple, the narrative flows well. However, everything about it seemed to not reach its maximum potential; every element lacked something crucial to elevate the book to be memorable in the current SFF market. To sum up my point easily, Dragonslayer played it way too safely by telling the same kind of overdone story without offering anything new in it that the content ended up being okay at best.

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Book Review: Smoke and Stone (City of Sacrifice, #1) by Michael R. Fletcher

Book Review: Smoke and Stone (City of Sacrifice, #1) by Michael R. Fletcher

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

Smoke and Stone by Michael R. Fletcher

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: City of Sacrifice (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy

Pages: 511 pages

Published: 1st November 2019 by Michael R. Fletcher (UK & US)


Utterly remarkable post-apocalyptic grimdark fantasy.

It’s surreal, but as it turns out, it’s been two years and approximately two hundred books since I’ve read anything new by Fletcher. It’s a serious shame that after all this time, Fletcher still hasn’t received the fame and recognition he deserves. When it comes to grimdark fantasy, I find that George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, and Steven Erikson tend to be the most often mentioned names; for many good reasons. However, I do strongly believe that Fletcher should be equally ranked as high as them. I am drowning in books to read, but when Fletcher asked me to read and review his newest book, I accepted, started, and finished reading it immediately within two days.

“The fifth age ended in catastrophe and the death of a world. We live now in the sixth age, the age beyond life, the age of apocalypse. We live a nightmare. We are damned souls, doomed to a slow and rotting demise.”—Loa Book of the Invisibles

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