Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Legion, #1-3)

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Legion, #1-3)

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun and thrilling to dark, poignant and intimate, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds have them all.

This omnibus was my second venture into Sanderson’s non-Cosmere book/trilogy; the first one being Snapshot. Once again, Sanderson didn’t disappoint. Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is an omnibus that encapsulated Sanderson’s Legion trilogy into one volume, specifically, Legion, Legion: Skin Deep, and Legion: Lies of the Beholder. If you haven’t read any of the trilogy, I strongly suggest you get this edition.

“My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.”

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Top 10 Self-Published Books I’ve Ever Read (As of November 28th, 2018)

Top 10 Self-Published Books I’ve Ever Read (As of November 28th, 2018)

Photo on the left: All the self-published physical books (except Beyond Redemption) that I own right now.

The title of this article is pretty self-explanatory already. As of November 28th, 2018, I’ve read and reviewed 52 self-published books; this number includes indie books that were originally self-published and now have been traditionally published. I’m making this post because some of my friends and followers on Goodreads have asked me to make one. But, more importantly, I’d like to stress the importance of two things before I get to the list. Feel free to skip this if you just want to go to the list immediately.

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Chasing Graves (The Chasing Graves Trilogy Book #1)

Chasing Graves (The Chasing Graves Trilogy Book #1)

CG

Chasing Graves by Ben Galley

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

A big thanks to Ben Galley for providing an ARC of Chasing Graves, in exchange for an honest review.

Spoiler-free review. Please note that the quotes in this review are taken from the ARC edition and may change in the published edition.

When Ben Galley revealed the cover of Chasing Graves and after hearing that it was an Egyptian mythology-inspired fantasy, I knew I had to read the book. My only experience with Galley’s writing before CG was with The Heart of Stone and it was a book I very much enjoyed because of its writing, atmosphere, philosophy and the humanity and depth he insufflated in his not quite human main character. Knowing that, I had the feeling I would embark in a deep and atmospheric reading journey with Chasing Graves and I’m happy to say I wasn’t wrong.

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Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)

Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)

Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Forge of Darkness displayed Erikson at the top of his prose but unfortunately, the book was bogged down by too much too much too much TOO MUCH philosophies.

Before I get to that though, let me just say that it’s quite baffling that there’s a list that recommends starting Malazan from Forge of Darkness instead of Gardens of the Moon. I’ve read and loved the main series but this novel took the cake for being the most difficult to get into. If I haven’t read the main series, this would be at best a 2 stars read. I’m not kidding, the saving grace of this novel was Erikson’s prose and the knowledge on what the characters will do in the future, this is only possible if the reader has read the main series, Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Fall of Kings (Troy, #3)

Fall of Kings (Troy, #3)

Troy: Fall of Kings (Troy, #3)Troy: Fall of Kings by David Gemmell and Stella Gemell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The end of the Trojan War is here, did Gemmell delivered a satisfying conclusion in his final work?

The answer to that be mostly yes, and a few sections of no. I’m honestly quite conflicted about Fall of Kings. This is the last book in the Troy trilogy by David Gemmell, it’s also his final work before he passed away that ended up being finished by his wife, Stella Gemmell. Because this is his final work, there’s a part of me that really want to give this book a full 5 stars but I can’t due to a few problems I had with it. I’ll divide this review into two simple parts: parts that worked first and then parts that didn’t.

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The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)

The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)

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

The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

I don’t think it’s too soon for me to say that The Gutter Prayer will be the best fantasy debut of 2019.

I have been anticipating this book ever since I first laid my eyes upon the gorgeous cover art by Richard Anderson. You see, I have this perception that any fantasy book with Richard Anderson’s art gracing its cover will most likely reflect that beauty with amazing content inside; once again I was proven right. In my opinion, Orbit is one of the best modern fantasy publishers these days. This is even more evident if we’re speaking about debuts released over the past two years, such as Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker. The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan has strengthened that notion.

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Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle, #2)

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle, #2)

Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rise of the Mystics truly elevates Dekker’s body of work, somehow both shattering and fulfilling the core of his Circle series. The issues that I had with The 49th Mystic, namely that the dialogue often felt stilted and that certain elements of Rachelle’s journey seemed too convenient, weren’t present here. I don’t know if there was a legitimate change or if I had just been reading starker prose than normal, but Dekker’s actual writing style seemed greatly improved, as well. There was a flow to his prose that has been missing for a while, and the plot seemed to flow more naturally instead of feeling forced to take a certain path. I also really appreciated that this book picked up exactly where the first book ended, and that Dekker provided a quick recap of important events from The 49th Mystic at the beginning. Both of these decisions show a thoughtfulness in regards to the reader that authors sometimes overlook, and I respect authors when they take the time to include things like recaps and casts of characters and glossaries.

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Shield of Thunder (Troy, #2)

Shield of Thunder (Troy, #2)

Shield of Thunder (Troy, #2)Shield of Thunder by David Gemmell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great read but might’ve worked better if I’m not binge reading it.

Shield of Thunder is the second book in the Troy trilogy by David Gemmell and in the case of this book, I think I’ll start my review with the parts I didn’t like. Binge reading this book immediately after the first book was quite an odd experience. Not only the book starts with the characters sailing to Troy again just like the first half of the first book, after all the time I’ve spent reading Helikaon and the other characters that I’m starting to get familiar with, the first of of the book—with the exception of Odysseus—had the narrative centered on two new main characters, Kalliades and Banokles. It took me quite a while to get used to Kalliades and Banokles and part one of the book honestly almost made me put the book to my DNF pile. I was honestly super bored with the first 120 pages and the sudden changes in the main characters reminded me a lot of The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett. Plus, there was also a non-explained time skip in which pivotal events have occurred off-screen.

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Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)

Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)

Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Lord of the Silver Bow is my first foray into David Gemmell’s work and I must admit, it was a golden read.

David Gemmell has been an inspiration for many modern fantasy authors these days, there’s even an annual Fantasy award named after him that has been established since 2009. It’s quite crazy that it took me this long to finally get to reading Gemmell’s book, especially after hearing from many authors whose books I’ve read and loved mention that Gemmell is one of their main inspiration.

“Be lucky, Xander, and be brave. You will find that bravery and luck are often bedfellows.”

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