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Book Review: The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

Book Review: The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

 

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Published: 03 October 2019 (HQ)

Bad people win. They win all the time.

Rain Winter was outraged by the not-guilty verdict that allowed Steve Markham to get away with killing his wife and their unborn child. Her investigation of the murder had left her with no doubts about his guilt, the injustice of his freedom and the inevitable media circus that gifted him the celebrity spotlight leaving her feeling sickened and powerless. Taking time out from journalism to care for her husband and baby seemed like a welcome and necessary step, a break from all the madness. But now Markham’s dead. Butchered by the same method he used to get rid of his family. And word is that it’s not the only time this vigilante has acted. That the first was actually Eugene Kreskey, the man who tried to abduct her as a child. The man who killed one of her friends and tortured the other.

If there’s a link, a story, she needs to find it. All of a sudden, she’s right back in, bringing to light all kinds of secrets that should have stayed buried. Especially her own.

 

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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: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5) by Pierce Brown

Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5) by Pierce Brown

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Red Rising Saga (Book #5 of 6)

Genre: Science fiction, Space Opera, Dystopia

Pages: 800 pages (UK Hardback edition)

Published: 30th July 2019 by Hodder (UK) & 30th July 2019 by Del Rey (US)


Gory (literally) damn insane, violent, bleak, and ruthless. Helldivers, prepare your soul to be hell-drilled by Dark Age’s brutality.

“During war, the laws are silent.”—Quintus Tullius Cicero

Two things first. If it has been a long time since you’ve read Iron Gold or Red Rising Saga, I strongly recommend you to reread the entire series before you read Dark Age. I didn’t do this and I truly believe that my reading experience of this book suffered from it. Secondly, throughout the years since Red Rising publication, many people still insist that this series is for YA audience; by the time you read this book, you’ll probably be traumatized or maybe even loathe this book for its extreme darkness. Seriously, Dark Age is one of the darkest, bleakest, and goriest novel I’ve ever read in my life; the humor and heartwarming aspect of the series that’s usually common to find are close to non-existent in this installment. I will edit this review in the future when I’ve reread the series from the beginning in preparation for the sixth and—maybe—last book of the series, but for now, this is my thoughts and opinions on my first read-through Dark Age.

“With every new endeavor, there’s always the hope that you will find happiness, be less lonely.”

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Book Review: Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Book Review: Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of the Black Company (Book #1-3 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (US Omnibus edition)

Published: 18th September, 2018 by Gollancz (UK) & 13th November 2017 by Tor Books (US)


The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook is a series that Steven Erikson has praised intensely for a long time now, it’s even considered to be his inspiration for Malazan Book of the Fallen and after reading this omnibus, I can certainly see why.

There were many aspects that displayed them; similarities between the Bridgeburners and the Black Company, a storytelling style that drops readers into the midst of the plot without any clear explanation, just to name a few without spoilers. The differences between Erikson and Cook would be that Erikson’s series is gigantically more massive in scope and difficulty. Chronicles of the Black Company omnibus comprises of the first three books in the series: The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose. These three made up for the first story arc in the series: Books of the North story arc. Same as my review for Riyria Revelations omnibuses, I won’t be writing a full review for each book but I’ll write a mini-review for each book in this volume instead.

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Book Review: Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, #2)

Book Review: Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, #2)

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Witcher (Book 2 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy

First English translation published: May 2015 (Gollancz), Dec 2015 (Orbit)


The compelling characterisation of Geralt and imaginative world of Slavic lore and fairy-tale retellings continue in Sword of Destiny, the second collection of prequel short stories in The Witcher series.

Sword of Destiny was published after the first three full-length novels of The Witcher series. As a new reader to the series, however, I was able to read the books in chronological order which is quite essential as this instalment served as the bridge between The Last Wish and Blood of Elves.

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Book Review: The Dry (Aaron Fawk, #1)

Book Review: The Dry (Aaron Fawk, #1)

The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

If I were asked to describe this book in one word, I would reply with a single syllable: meh. The Dry is a lauded debut with a respectably high rating, but I was obviously missing something. It wasn’t a bad book, I just couldn’t quite manage to connect.

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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 R.J. Barker

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (UK paperback edition)

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


Highly imaginative world-building with a large focus on sea voyages and naval warfare.

Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of Barker’s debut series: The Wounded Kingdom trilogy. I gave each installment in the trilogy a 4.5 stars rating and ever since I finished King of Assassins, The Bone Ships has been on my list of priority books to read ASAP. This is why I’m genuinely sad that I have to give this book a below 4 stars rating, but I have to always be honest with my review. I still had a great time with the book but The Bone Ships is a totally different sort of beast—that’s sadly not too suitable for me—compared to The Wounded Kingdom and I had expected to love this book more. RJ, if you stumbled upon this review, please don’t read it.

“No sane woman or man wishes for war, and those that do never would if they thought it would leave paint on their doorsteps.”

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Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire, #1)

Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire, #1)

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

Fortune’s Fool by Angela Boord
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb surmised this first-person character-driven debut nicely; spies, smugglers, vengeance, war, and love, this hefty book has them all.

Fortune’s Fool is Angela Boord’s debut and it’s the first book in Eterean Empire series. The story revolves around Kyrra d’Aliente as she seeks vengeance for the harshness inflicted towards her in her past while masquerading herself as a man. Fortune’s Fool is undeniably a character-driven fantasy. The author did a fantastic job of telling Kyrra’s story, the plot juggles between two timelines: the present and the past. One of the things that made the narrative relatively refreshing to read was the changes in tenses between the two timeframes; the past is told in first-person past tense narration, the present is told in the first-person present tense narrative. Truthfully speaking, I’m not a big fan of tenses shift within the same book, but the author did a great job in making sure the flow of her story remains undisrupted throughout.

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One Word Kill (Impossible Times, #1)

One Word Kill (Impossible Times, #1)

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

One Word Kill is my first experience with Lawrence’s science fiction and, while it didn’t resonate with my soul as deeply as his Book of the Ancestor, it was a solid, fun, fast-paced read that I very much enjoyed. Here we have a nerdy group of friends, similar in dynamic to the crew that has taken the world by storm in Netflix’s Stranger Things. This group finds themselves facing external strife through contact with a plot that could have come straight from the pages of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter. But just as harrowing is their internal turmoil as they learn that one of their number is currently in a battle for his life against the grimmest of foes: cancer.

In hospital they ask you to rate your discomfort on a scale of ten. I guess it’s the best they can come up with, but it fails to capture the nature of the beast. Pain can stay the same while you change around it. And, like a thumb of constant size, what it blocks out depends on how close it gets to you. At arm’s length a thumb obscures a small fragment of the day. Held close enough to your eye it can blind you to everything that matters, relegating the world to a periphery.

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