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Category: TS’s Reviews

Book Review: Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)

Book Review: Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)

Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

My rating: 6 of 5 stars.

Series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 3 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2001 by Bantam (UK) and 2006 by Tor (US)


The harder the world, the fiercer the honour.

This in-world quote succinctly explained why Memories of Ice is one of my favourite volumes of my favourite grimdark epic fantasy series.  It is the reason why I even read grimdark in the first place, given that I am so easily assailed by emotions that one wonders why I willingly put myself through such heartbreak. So bear with me throughout this series when I keep waxing lyrical about how humanity manifests its most awe-inspiring qualities in the face of relentless hardship and horrors of a world ravaged by conflict.

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Book Review: Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

Book Review: Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Book of the Ancestor (Book 3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy

Published:  4th April 2019 by Harper Voyager (UK) and 9th April 2019 by Ace (US)


Incredibly satisfying, Holy Sister is a powerful conclusion to a remarkable trilogy that shines most brilliantly with its superb characterisation.

I am truly impressed with Mark Lawrence’s ability to write such realistic and relatable female characters, and to achieve that across such a wide range of age, backgrounds and personality of all the nuns and novices. I loved how he managed to make each and every one of them shine in different ways. To top it all off, it was the amazing portrayal of friendship, love and bonds between these characters that tied it all together in a most emotionally captivating narrative of sisterhood.

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Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Wayfarers (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction

Published: 2015 by Harper Voyager (US) and Hodder & Stoughton (UK)


This is one of the most endearing and charming novels that I’ve ever read.

I’ve had this book for quite a while but never got around to reading it. From all the reviews I’ve seen, I got the idea that it is one of those stories which the focus is around the characters instead of the plot and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that. Perhaps I happened to pick this up at the right time, because I absolutely adored this captivating story of individuals just interacting with each other, and as a tight-knit multi-species crew they are as a whole much bigger than the sum of its parts.

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Book Review: Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)

Book Review: Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)

Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 2 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2000 by Bantam (UK) and 2005 by Tor (US)


For those who have read Gardens of the Moon and thought it was relatively tame for a grimdark fantasy series, Deadhouse Gates will change your mind. This sequel took the series to new heights and was also when I begun to wholly understand Erikson’s opening quote in the debut. The grimness, violence and brutality in this book made me rethink of how I viewed A Song of Ice and Fire.

The events at the end of Gardens of the Moon saw the Bridgeburners splitting up, with the bulk of squad remaining on Genabackis with Dujek Onearm and Whiskeyjack to face the threat of the Pannion Domin. Meanwhile Fiddler and Kalam headed off to Seven Cities, where the Bridgeburners were forged, and which is on the brink of rebellion as the Seventh Year of Dryjhna, the Apocalypse, approaches. When the Book of Dryjhna is delivered into the hands of the Sha’ik, the spirit of the goddess will embody this prophetess and the Whirlwind together with the rebellion will rise.

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Book Review: Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Book Review: Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 1 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  1999 by Bantam (UK) and 2004 by Tor (US)


Gardens of the Moon is the grand overture to The Malazan Book of the Fallen, providing just a glimmer of what this massive, grimdark epic fantasy tale has to offer, which is best described below in the author’s own words.

“Now these ashes have grown cold, we open the old book.
These oil-stained pages recount the tales of the Fallen,
a frayed empire, words without warmth. The hearth
has ebbed, its gleam and life’s sparks are but memories
against dimming eyes – what cast my mind, what hue my
thoughts as I open the Book of the Fallen
and breathe deep the scent of history?
Listen, then, to these words carried on that breath.
These tales are the tales of us all, again yet again.
We are history relived and that is all, without end that is all.”

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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 by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Tide Child (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

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


Bold and inventive, R.J. Barker sailed through new, uncharted waters with The Bone Ships and emerged with a brilliant tale of seafaring adventure and deeds of derring-do.

With The Bone Ships, Barker’s sophomore series is quite a departure from the tone and style in his debut The Wounded Kingdom, which I loved, but the most important that remained is his engaging voice. Let me first state this pertinent fact – I am not typically a fan of seafaring stories – be it in the medium of books or movies. To set some context before I proceed, I have not read The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobbs and not seen the movie, Master and Commander. Why? Because ships. Throughout my many years of reading, whether it’s fantasy or otherwise, I usually dreaded the part of the story where the main characters had to undertake a sea voyage, always hoping that it’ll be as short as possible. There had been exceptions where I’ve found it to be more than just agreeable, but these were rare and usually do not make up the bulk of the narrative.

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Book Review: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Book Review: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 6 of 5 stars.

Series: The Stormlight Archive (Book 2 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, high fantasy

First published: March 4th 2014 by Tor Books


Words. Of. Radiance.
– End of review –

Jesting aside, the title of the book does pretty much sum up the magnificence of this sequel to The Way of Kings. Words of Radiance should be the paragon of excellence by which all sequels should hold themselves to as it was the best second book of a series that I’ve ever read.

If you have read my love letter to The Stormlight Archive, you would know that I pretty much adore everything about The Way of Kings – the characterisation, the worldbuilding, and even the minimal plot progression, given the significant portion of the book dedicated to the former. Words of Radiance took every element which I loved in the first book and enhanced it beyond my imagination.

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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

TS’ rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haïfa’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

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


TS’s Review

ARC provided by the publisher, Orbit.

Incredibly lush, exquisite and enchanting, The Ten Thousand Doors of January has all the makings of a classic. One which I’m certain will be well-loved and much-read. And I dare say not only by those who enjoy fantasy, for this novel is pure joy in literary form that is a tribute to almost every reader out there.

Do you love books? This book is for you.

Do you love the written word? This book is for you.

Do you love stories and escapism? This book is for you.

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Book Review: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

Book Review: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 6 of 5 stars.

Series: The Stormlight Archive (Book 1 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, high fantasy

First published: August 31st 2010 by Tor Books


The Stormlight Archive is Brandon Sanderson’s “love letter to the epic fantasy genre”. His magnum opus. From my perspective, he had lovingly and painstakingly crafted a masterpiece that was not just his greatest but one of the greatest of all time.  And thus, this is my love letter to The Stormlight Archive and I hope it can do some justice to this favourite series of mine.

There are many great fantasy books out there; some have a compelling story to tell supplemented with great characters; some have awesome magic and epic battle scenes, and some come with an interesting world that was richly imagined and detailed.  The Way of Kings is a huge opening act to The Stormlight Archive which took every single one of these elements of a good fantasy story and elevated the art of storytelling to a different league. You might think that “Yeah, you say that because you’re a Sanderson addict”. Then let me say that I’ve read The Way of Kings before I became addicted to his books. Or to phrase it the other way, I became an addict because of it.

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Book Review: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Book Review: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Sparrow (Book 1 of 2)

Genre: Science fiction, literary fiction

Published: 20th anniversary edition, 2016 by Ballantine Books (first published in 1996)


“Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine: Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

“But the sparrow still falls.”

The Sparrow is a multi-award-winning science fiction novel about first contact. After reading it, I could understand why. I came across this title over two separate occasions. First was when a friend recommended it to me many years ago, but I’ve forgotten about it. And then it was mentioned in the Great Course audiobook for How Great Science Fiction Works, which I’ve recently finished, under the sub-topic of ‘Religion in Science Fiction’. The context in which The Sparrow was discussed in that Course finally tipped me over to pick it up.

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