The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it’s insane that Jen Williams still doesn’t have a US publisher.

The Bitter Twins is the second book in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. I enjoyed the first book, The Ninth Rain, very much, and although admittedly I loved the first book more, The Bitter Twins didn’t disappoint in delivering another great installment with high focus on characterizations, discovery, explorations, and revelations. The story picks up immediately from where The Ninth Rain left off. I’ve mentioned that in the first book it took me 25% to find myself fully engaged with the book, this one—unfortunately—took me even longer because the pacing felt even slower. The first half of the book was mostly setup sections as Williams introduced new characters and establish their distinctive voices. This new setup was necessary in order to expand the scope of the world and to have more variety of casts to the series, and the first half pays off wonderfully in the second half. Connections, family, and bonds were some of the many important themes that can be found in this installment.

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Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox, #1)

Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox, #1)

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

This is a full trilogy review for Paradox including the 2nd and 3rd titles, Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen.  

The one thing I’ll always credit Rachel Bach/Aaron with is her ability to thoroughly entertain me with her stories, and the Paradox trilogy is yet another proof of that.

By now, most of you will already know that I swear by Rachel Aaron’s books. They are go-to comfort reads; I’ve never picked up one of her books and not found it enjoyable. Her knack of creating great characters is matched by her ability to create worlds which at first glance seemed familiar but is packed with imagination. It’s as if her love of all things geeky brought together some pretty cool influences in her worldbuilding.

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The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blade Itself is exactly why I believe in second chances. When I first read this book four years ago, I had very little adult fantasy under my belt. I had read Elantris, Mistborn, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Kingkiller Chronicle. That’s pretty much it. I think I just wasn’t mentally prepared for something like The Blade Itself. Even ASoIaF, by far the darkest of the fantasy novels I had read up to that point, had a number of characters who were mostly moral. Even if I wasn’t sure how long said characters would live, I knew that there was good even in this dark world. Then Abercrombie entered. While even on my first reading I appreciated how fleshed out and unique his characters were, there was a part of me that was horrified to find a core of darkness within those I had thought were basically good. My little brain didn’t cope well with that.

“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”

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The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #1)

The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #1)

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Ninth Rain won the Best Fantasy Novel trophy in British Fantasy Awards 2018; this is a totally well-deserved victory.

On Goodreads, you’ll see that I put my co-blogger’s name as the one who recommended this book to me; do know that for the past two years, there were actually many readers who have told/asked me to read and review not only The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, but also William’s debut series: The Copper Cat trilogy. I’ll get to reading The Copper Cat eventually, but for now I’m so into this series, and let me just say that from the experience of finishing this book alone, I already know I’ll be reading any book that Williams published. This book is approximately 550 pages long and I finished it within two days; it’s been months since I felt this compelled to read a high fantasy novel at this pace.

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Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephen King is such a master storyteller. I’ve come to love him over the past few years, and I now count him among my favorite authors. I have to agree with the masses, however; King tends to fall flat when it comes to endings. Thankfully, that’s not really an issue when it comes to short stories. They’re not supposed to really end, which I think is a huge boon in King’s favor. As with Night Shift, the first of King’s short story collections I read, Skeleton Crew was chockfull of the interesting, terrifying, and uncomfortable. While not every story was a resounding success, there were far more hits among these twenty two installments than their were misses, and a handful of these stories will be staying with me for a good long while.

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Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2)

Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2)

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Wisdom Lost by Michael Sliter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Wisdom Lost strengthened the idea that Pandemonium Rising is one of the most underrated character-driven grimdark series in the market right now.

I’m very close to loving this series as much as I loved Richard Nell’s underrated Ash and Sand series. It is that good. Wisdom Lost is the second book in the Pandemonium Rising quartet by Michael Sliter. Told in the same multi-perspective character-driven narration as its predecessor, the story picks up immediately from where the previous book left off. Although I did give a content warning for the first installment, I don’t think Wisdom Lost merits a specific content warning. This doesn’t mean that this book doesn’t fall into the grimdark genre; it still does undeniably. However, I personally found it to be not as depressing or mentally brutal; I believe everyone’s acquainted to the genre will find this one easier—if I can call it that—to read for the heart. In Solace Lost, Sliter prepared the foundation for every main character’s background and personality; at the same time breaking one or two of the POV characters in both physical and mental aspect brutally. Wisdom Lost focuses on how the characters coped and developed from them.

“Part of understanding emotions in others was seeing what emotions they elicited within the self. One cannot truly understand rage or depression simply as an observer, bereft of empathy.”

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The Wolf’s Call (Raven’s Blade, #1)

The Wolf’s Call (Raven’s Blade, #1)

ARC provided by the publisher—Ace Books—in exchange for an honest review

The Wolf’s Call by Anthony Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wolf’s Call is Anthony Ryan’s best work since the release of his incredible debut.

First of all, because a lot of people have asked me on this matter, do not read this book if you haven’t read the first trilogy. Although technically you can understand the main story in this book, it will be impossible to understand the depth of the characters’ background and recollections of their past if you haven’t read the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. In my opinion, one of the greatest parts about the book lies in Vaelin’s and the other characters’ reminiscences of their bittersweet pasts and how war has harshly affected them; the events being recalled will definitely lose their emotional weight if you jump into this with no knowledge of the previous trilogy. Reading The Wolf’s Call without reading Raven’s Shadow trilogy is equivalent to reading Robin Hobb’s Tawny Man trilogy without reading her Farseer Trilogy or reading Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold without reading his Red Rising trilogy first. At the very least, if you’re really pressed on time and just want to dive into this ASAP, make sure you read Blood Song and Tower Lord; these two are must reads if you want to fully immerse yourself in this book, and then maybe read a summary of Queen of Fire on the net.

“An old love, born in youth, but now stained by bitterness and regret. The wounds left by betrayal never truly heal.”

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Cover Reveal: Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2) by Michael Sliter

Cover Reveal: Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2) by Michael Sliter

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. You’re here for the cover art, I’ll keep this introduction very brief.

Today, we’re here to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for Wisdom Lost, the second book in the Pandemonium Rising series by Michael Sliter. I’ve read the first book in the series, Solace Lost, a few months ago and I’ve been repeatedly saying that this is seriously an underrated grimdark book. Joe Abercrombie is one of the main inspirations behind the author’s work, if you love grimdark reminiscent of First Law trilogy, I strongly suggest checking this series out! Without further ado, here’s the cover reveal to Wisdom Lost.

Cover art: Rene Aigner

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

“Listen, not every story is made for telling. Sometimes just by telling a story you’re stealing it, stealing a little of the mystery away from it.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is quite possibly the most achingly beautiful novel I’ve ever read, and I find it mind-boggling that anything this lovely could possibly be a debut novel. There are a scant handful of novels I’ve experienced in my life (The Name of the Wind, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, and The Night Circus come to mind) that were breathtaking debuts of this caliber, and they remain my very favorite books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I’m so incredibly happy to add Alix E. Harrow’s novel to that list.

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Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book way more than I actually did. There were elements that I really enjoyed, don’t get me wrong. The premise was great, and the writing was masterful. It just didn’t land, unfortunately. While I didn’t hate this book, neither was I able to love it. It wasn’t bad; it was merely forgettable.

“We are so brief. A one-day dandelion. A seedpod skittering across the ice. We are a feather falling from the wing of a bird. I don’t know why it is given to us to be so mortal and to feel so much. It is a cruel trick, and glorious.”

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