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: Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1) by Tamsyn Muir

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1) by Tamsyn Muir

ARC & Review copy provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Locked Tomb (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery

Pages: 448 pages

Published: 10th September 2019 by Tor.com


Gideon the Ninth is a damn fine example of why readers’ reviews are incredibly important.

If you have been active on bookish social media, you should know by now that Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir’s debut and the first installment in The Locked Tomb (or The Ninth House in the past) Trilogy, has been tor.com’s most hyped book of the year. The buzz and praise for Gideon the Ninth has been immense to say the least. Knowing nothing other than the fact that “Lesbian necromancers in space” was stamped on the front of the gorgeous cover art (illustrated by Tommy Arnold), I gave the ARC a try a few months ago only to find myself disappointed by how much it didn’t work for me back then. If I may be brutally honest, I DNFed the novel around 120 pages in on my first read-through. Since then, readers’ reviews have started pouring in, usually resulting in absolute love or disappointment; there’s almost no in-between. But there’s one common consensus shared by both factions: the second half improved significantly. After receiving another copy of this book, a limited edition with black sprayed edges and many goodies, it was only fair that I give it one more try. The result? I enjoyed it remarkably more than I did on my first try. I truly believe that knowing the right things to expect out of this book ahead of reading it will improve the reader’s enjoyment so much more.

Picture: The book and the goodies I received!

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Novel Notions Classics Club Reads: Rebecca

Novel Notions Classics Club Reads: Rebecca

Isn’t it amazing how much smaller the internet has made our world? This little blog, started a bit over a year ago, has become a shared home for readers from Indonesia, Malaysia, France, the UK, and the United States. The ladies of the blog have decided to start a cyber book club, reading through the classics together. This book, Rebecca, was our second selection. Whether the novel was new to us or a favorite we were revisiting, it was a wonderful experience to share. Here are some of our thoughts on what we read:

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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: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1)

Book Review: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1)


A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, Veronica. You’re the sassiest, most self-confident female protagonist I’ve ever come across in a Victorian setting, and I loved every minute of your snark. This was indeed A Curious Beginning to your story. I’m already excited to visit with you again in the future, and to see what further adventures you stumble your way into further along in the series.

“I abhorred weakness of any kind but most particularly in my tea.”

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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: 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: La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)

Book Review: La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)


La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

La Belle Sauvage is an interesting revisiting of Lyra’s world as developed in Pullman’s original series, His Dark Materials. Instead of continuing the story from where it left off at the end of The Amber Spyglass, we go back to the very beginning. Lyra’s beginning. We see that the wild adventure of her life didn’t start in The Golden Compass, but mere months into her life. The events that befell her before she had even spoken her first words are enough to put most adults in therapy.

“Words belong in contexts, not pegged out like biological specimens.”

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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 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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