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Book Review: Ash and Bones (City of Sacrifice, #2) by Michael R. Fletcher

Book Review: Ash and Bones (City of Sacrifice, #2) by Michael R. Fletcher

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

Cover illustration by: Felix Ortiz

Ash and Bones by Michael R. Fletcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: City of Sacrifice (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy

Pages: 661 pages

Published: 1st August 2020 Michael R. Fletcher


Ash and Bones is a sequel filled with battles, narcotics, magic stones—especially obsidian—and moral dilemmas.

“There are two means of convincing a population to police itself: Religion, and Economy. Faith and greed.”

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Book Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

Book Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

ARC received from the publisher, Tor, in exchange for an honest review

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery

Published:  23rd June 2020 by Tor Books


The Angel of the Crows was a decent and fun read, though not at all what I was expecting from the blurb. This book is Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction written in the subgenre of wingfic, where some of the characters have wings (in this case, they are angels).

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Book Review: The Kingdom of Liars (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #1) by Nick Martell

Book Review: The Kingdom of Liars (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #1) by Nick Martell

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

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Legacy of the Mercenary King (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Mystery

Pages: 608 pages (US hardcover edition)

Published: 7th May 2020 by Gollancz (UK) & 5th May 2020 by Saga Press (US)


Kingdom of Liars was one of the most hyped up debuts in 2020, and I believe it’s partly due to Sanderson’s blurb.   It is a commendable debut, but while I’m not disputing what Sanderson said about this book, the enjoyment I derived from reading it was a whole lot more mixed than his blurb would suggest.

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Book Review: The Sisters of the Winter Wood

Book Review: The Sisters of the Winter Wood


The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Sisters of the Winter Wood was incredibly promising. It’s a heavily Jewish book with lovely fantasy overtones. There are shapeshifters and mysterious newcomers peddling forbidden fruit and a deeply atmospheric forest, as well as a central sibling relationship and deep religious questions to ponder. It sounded made for me. So made for me that I ignored the fact that it’s YA. I should’ve known better. While I enjoyed the plot and the structure, the usual YA all-consuming romances and the characters’ inner struggles with coming to know and accept themselves were cloyingly overabundant and negatively impacted my reading experience. However, I feel like this is on me, not the book. I should know by now that YA usually doesn’t work for me. I was almost as disappointed by this book as I was by Uprooted, which I think is comparable in setting and atmosphere.

“To love means to sacrifice everything that you are.”

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Book Review: Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher

Book Review: Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Dresden Files (Book #2 of 25)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 432 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 4th March 2010 by Orbit (UK) & 1st January 2001 by Roc (US)


Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden has a new case to solve: The werewolves are here.

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Book Review: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

Book Review: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I so wanted to like this book. I appreciate and respect it, but it left me cold.

The enslavement of African Americans in the United States and the horrific ways in which they were treated is one of the two most heinous sins (alongside our treatment of Native Americans) in our national past. I have never been able to fathom how people could treat others as less than human over such a minor difference as skin color. And the fact that these slave owners viewed themselves as good and kind and “Christian” is one of the most appalling and ludicrous things I’ve ever heard. The systematic oppression and abuse of any subset of humanity, whether they are set apart by gender or religion or sexuality or something as simple as a different pigmentation, is so opposed to the teachings of Jesus that I am baffled by how anyone who considers themselves to be one of His followers can possibly rationalize it.

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Book Review: Conqueror (Conqueror, #5) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Conqueror (Conqueror, #5) by Conn Iggulden

Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #5 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 512 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 27th October 2011 by Harper Collins (UK) & 21th December 2011 by Delacorte Press (US)


I have mixed feelings regarding the final book of Conqueror, one of my favorite historical fiction series.

I’m starting to think that there’s a real curse contained within five books series that haunts me. I don’t even know why or how this happens, but I’m never left completely satisfied by the concluding installment of all five books series I’ve read so far. Lightbringer by Brent Weeks, Heartstrikers by Rachel Aaron, The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler, and unfortunately, this series. All of them, somehow, felt plagued with the same issue that they either felt too long or unnecessary to be one whole book. That’s the thing with Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan, it felt more like a spin-off of the previous four books rather than a direct sequel or a concluding installment.

“What sort of a man would I be if I could just wipe out my errors with talking? A man has to live with his mistakes and go on. That is his punishment, perhaps.”

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Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager


Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me over a week to read the first 150 pages of this book. Then I read the last half in an evening. While it took a while for the story to really get off the ground, the back half of the book was truly addictive and I couldn’t stop reading. Even when I should have been asleep.

From the beginning, we know things have gone horribly wrong for our narrator, who has been apartment sitting in the most illustrious residence in New York City. The Bartholomew is insanely famous, having been the home of countless celebrities over the decades. When recently unemployed Jules stumbles across an opportunity to live in the glamorous building while she gets back on her feet, and actually get paid a thousand dollars a week to do so, it’s too good a chance to pass up. But the Bartholomew isn’t what it seems, and the learning the truth behind the famous gargoyled facade could prove dangerous. Or even fatal.

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Book Review: Up To The Throne (The Dark Renaissance, #1)

Book Review: Up To The Throne (The Dark Renaissance, #1)

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Up To The Throne by Toby Frost

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Dark Renaissance (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, political fantasy

Published: December 18th 2018, independently published


If you’re looking for political intrigue and a badass female main protagonist, Up To The Throne might just suit your fancy.

The setting is inspired by the Italian Renaissance, albeit in a world enhanced by magic and alchemy. There was even a nod to Leonardo da Vinci in the narrative, while referencing to an inventor in this world whom the church considers as a madman. Also similar to our own history of the Catholic Church, this was also a time of the Inquisition who was determined to wipe out ‘heretic’ magic-users.

The story is centred around a revenge plot. Giulia Degarno, our main protagonist, was a female thief who has been severely scarred and left for dead 6 years ago on the orders of a master criminal, Publius Severra. Giulia returns to Pagalia after spending years honing her skills to bring her plans of assassinating Severra to fruition. However, during the course of those long years, Severra has also built significant political strength and is no longer a mere criminal.  Strong enough to be in position as one of the three contenders to seize the throne of Pagalia, with the very ill incumbent Prince expected to die pretty soon.  With his stronghold over many of the guilds in the city and living in a house that rivals a fortress, how would Giulia ever get close enough to assassinate Severra?

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Book Review: The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4) by Brent Weeks

Book Review: The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4) by Brent Weeks

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Lightbringer (Book #4 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (US hardback edition)

Published: 27th October 2016 by Orbit (UK) and 25th October 2016 by Orbit (US)


A prelude novel to the—hopefully—incredible conclusion.

Since the start of this month, I’ve been binge rereading Lightbringer from the beginning non-stop, and I’d say that my reread experience for the previous three books has been rewarding. The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife were even better on reread; The Broken Eye more or less on the same quality. Unfortunately, I have to say that rereading The Blood Mirror gave me an inferior reading experience compared to the first time I read it. There were two glaring main issues that, somehow, weren’t noticeable on my first read: one of them being that The Blood Mirror felt almost like a filler (more on this later) and the other being Kip’s POV that was just utterly full of sexual innuendo and frustrations.

Picture: The Blood Mirror by breath-art (Jian Guo)

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