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Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep


The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit US/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review.

It’s.
Not.
Fair.
I know that life isn’t.
But stories are. Or if they’re not fair, they’re not fair with purpose.
I wish I could tell better where stories end and life begins.

Sometimes you just need to escape into a good book. But if you’re Charles Sutherland, sometimes you inadvertently facilitate the escape of fictional characters into the real world. Imagine being able to read out your favorite character from a story and have an actual conversation with them. That sounds like a dream come true for most bookworms, but it’s been a nightmare that Rob, Charley’s big brother and our first person perspective character, has spent his life trying to avoid. He’s had to clean up Charley’s fictional messes a multitude of times throughout his life, but the current fictional mess they find themselves in is the zaniest and more far reaching, and frankly the most dangerous, that the Sutherland family has ever faced. Their world is going to be changed forever if they can’t figure out a way to thwart what’s coming.

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Book Review: The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie


The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The First Law (Book #1 of 3), First Law World (Book, #1 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Pages: 544 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 4th May 2006 by Gollancz (UK) & 8th September 2015 by Orbit (US)


The Blade Itself was my first entry into a grimdark fantasy novel that I highly enjoyed; on this reread, I loved it even more.

“Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it.”

Back in October 2016, the only reason I stumbled upon this bloody marvelous trilogy was that, as many other readers did, I was looking for a reading experience that could offer me the kind of unpredictability and morally ambiguous characters that the Game of Thrones TV show did. I haven’t read A Song of Ice and Fire back then, fans of Game of Thrones weren’t so divisive in their opinion yet too, but suffice to say I was surprised that I got what I was looking for in this series, and more. I’ve read many grimdark novels since then, and it’s baffling that I haven’t encountered many grimdark characters with characterizations level as high as Abercrombie. Seeing that Abercrombie’s newest novel in the world of First Law is coming out in a month, I figured it’s about time for me to actually refresh my memory and check whether it was my nostalgia goggles playing trick on me; it wasn’t, I actually loved my reread experience more than my first read.

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Book Review: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Book Review: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Sparrow (Book 1 of 2)

Genre: Science fiction, literary fiction

Published: 20th anniversary edition, 2016 by Ballantine Books (first published in 1996)


“Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine: Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

“But the sparrow still falls.”

The Sparrow is a multi-award-winning science fiction novel about first contact. After reading it, I could understand why. I came across this title over two separate occasions. First was when a friend recommended it to me many years ago, but I’ve forgotten about it. And then it was mentioned in the Great Course audiobook for How Great Science Fiction Works, which I’ve recently finished, under the sub-topic of ‘Religion in Science Fiction’. The context in which The Sparrow was discussed in that Course finally tipped me over to pick it up.

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Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

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

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Pages: 384 pages

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


Gorgeous and magical; it’s not a stretch to call The Ten Thousand Doors of January a magnificent physical manifestation of a grimoire.

Orbit did it again. The Ten Thousand Doors of January has shot to the top of my TBR since the moment I saw the cover and heard about the premise; I was charmed and can safely say that I don’t think I’ve read many books as beautifully written as this novel. I’ve been saying this over and over again for a while now; when it comes to modern SFF debuts, just read everything that Orbit publishes. SFF books published by Orbit these days has a strong chance to satisfy your reading preferences and this novel amplified that notion. I would also like to give a shout out to Emily Byron, who made sure this book reached me for my review, and Maddie Hall, the one in charge of the design behind the ARC packaging of this book; easily the most beautiful ARC package I’ve ever received.

Picture: My ARC of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

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Ghosts of Gotham

Ghosts of Gotham

Ghosts of Gotham by Craig Schaefer
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Ghost of Gotham is my first book by Craig Schaefer, and it definitely will not be my last.

I’ve heard a lot about the Daniel Faust series by Craig Schaefer. When I saw that he has a stand-alone released recently, I thought that this book will be a good sampler of just what the author offers. And I proceeded to devour Ghosts of Gotham in two days. I really developed an almost compulsive addiction to crime thrillers – when I start, I find it very hard to stop binging. This book gave me that heady and thrilling concoction with an urban fantasy setting, in New York City!

New York City, the original inspiration for Gotham City, is such an appropriate backdrop for a crime noir story touched with the supernatural. A lot of supernatural in this case. The evocative and vivid portrayal of this old and sprawling city that never sleeps lends a hectic yet atmospheric and gothic backdrop that just simply enhances the narrative to another level of intensity.

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The Exiled

The Exiled

The Exiled by David Barbaree

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

 

According to Suetonius, Emperor Nero committed suicide on hearing the troop of cavalry who were coming to arrest him arrive at the villa in which he was hiding: ‘Hark to the sound I hear! It is the hooves of galloping horses‘.

Their orders: take him alive.

But it was too late.

A letter, which had arrived moments before the soldiers, informed Nero that he had been declared a public enemy by the Senate and was to be punished in the ‘ancient style’ (stripped naked, head thrust into a wooden fork, flogged to death with sticks). And so, to avoid that dire fate, Nero:

‘with the help of his secretary Epaphroditus, […] stabbed himself in the throat and was already half-dead when a cavalry officer entered […] he died, with eyes glazed and bulging from their sockets, a sight which horrified everybody present’ (Suetonius, Nero, 49).

Now that’s all well and good, perhaps true or perhaps not, but either way David Barbaree is having none of it. His Nero is taken that day, and tortured, but remains alive…

It’s an idea with a long tradition, with men proclaiming themselves ‘Nero’ almost from the moment of the emperor’s death in 68 CE. A rather problematic issue for the new dynasty, as you might imagine. And it’s precisely this that forms the basis of the book. Here, the rise of a False Nero complicates an already dangerous civil war in Parthia, the deadly threads of these plots weaving through the highest echelons of Roman politics.

This is a world of prophesy, conspiracy, and secrets. Danger abounds. But they don’t know what we know, that the real Nero lives… and still has moves to make. Let the games begin.

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UR by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I don’t know that I’ve ever yearned from something as terrifying as Wesley’s pink Kindle.

“A crazy certainty had arisen in his mind: a hand – or perhaps a claw – was going to swim up from the grayness of the Kindle’s screen, grab him by the throat, and yank him in.”

Imagine a world ten years in the past. Electronic books and e-readers are just beginning to take the world by storm. Wesley Smith is a college English literature professor who, after a nasty breakup partially over his distaste for the new trend of reading on a device, has decided to bite the bullet and purchase his first ever Kindle from Amazon. It arrives sooner than it should, sans instructions and sporting an odd pink color instead of the white of all other Kindles. Also unusual is the fact that, under the ‘Experimental’ section is a handful of subsections called Urs. Ur is evidently representative of alternate realities in which authors lived longer or died younger, attached themselves to different genres or penned more and greater works than are present in our reality. If this doesn’t sound like an incredible and awe-inspiring addition to the Kindle store, you and I view the world very differently.

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Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne, #1)

Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne, #1)

Priest of Bones by Peter McLean
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Peeky fookin bloindah with a powerful one more chapter syndrome.

A confession first, I’m not a fan of the TV show Peaky Blinders. Despite the well-acted performance of the casts, I gave up watching the TV series in the midst of season 2 because I was insanely bored with the snail-pacing. Yes yes, heresy right? Feel free to mock me with no fighting no fooking fighting meme. Hearing that Priest of Bones is inspired by the TV series was honestly the main reason why I haven’t given this book a go until now. Don’t get me wrong, what they’ve said about this being similar to Peaky Blinders is true; the similarity and inspirations were myriad and some elements did felt a bit too similar, especially in the first half. However, Priest of Bones, to my mind, has a significantly superior package compared to what I’ve seen so far in Peaky Blinders.

“When people have run out of food, and hope, and places to hide, do not be surprised if they have also run out of mercy.”

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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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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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