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A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)

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

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Easily one of the cleverest sci-fi debuts I’ve read so far.

A Memory Called Empire is Arkady Martine’s debut novel and the first instalment in the Teixcalaan series. Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in Teixcalaan only to find out that the previous ambassador from the same mining station as hers has died. Contrary to her belief, nobody wants to admit that his death wasn’t an accident, and now it’s up to Mahit to uncover who’s behind the murder. At the same time, she also has to save the place where she came from—Lsel—from the Teixcalaan expansion. A Memory Called Empire at its core is a murder mystery story. If you start this book expecting tons of action, there’s a chance that you’ll be sorely disappointed. The main charm of the book lies in Mahit’s challenges in navigating the unfamiliar culture of Teixcalaan; it’s a book heavily centered on politics. In my opinion, this novel was a bit reminiscent of The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. The main difference between the two is that while I disliked The Traitor Baru Cormorant, I highly enjoyed reading this one due to a superb prose that clicked with me.

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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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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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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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The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle, #1)

The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle, #1)

The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ted Dekker will always have a very special place in my heart. His stories have inspired me and shaped my faith since I was a teenager, and I’ll always be grateful to them for the way they revealed truth to me in new and vibrant ways. His books will always have a shelf in my house. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear that Dekker was returning to the world of the Circle, the series that impacted my faith more than anything else outside of the Bible I’ve ever read.

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The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s no place like home. As long as that home isn’t trying to eat you.

This book proved true the idea that, sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction. I had no earthly idea before last week that this was (billed as) a nonfiction book. Seriously?! I’ve always had this fascination with the macabre and the unexplained, so I would’ve read this book long ago had I known that it wasn’t entirely fictional. (Yes, I’m aware that the book has since been proven to be only loosely based on the truth, but it’s way more fun to pretend that it’s true while reading it!) I think there’s a reason the fictional horror genre is so successful and draws so many readers and viewers; horror speaks to the fear we have of the unknown and the unexplainable. We like the thrill of watching or reading worst case scenarios while knowing that we are safe from them.

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Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)

Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)

Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imaginative and unique, think of City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett with a little touch of Sanderson’s magic system and you’ll get Three Parts Dead.

Three Parts Dead is Max Gladstone’s debut novel and it’s the first installment in his Craft Sequence series. Ever since I finished and loved The Divine Cities trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett, I’ve been craving for a similar kind of urban fantasy series to read. Readers and reviewers have directed me towards this series and I’m really glad they did. Three Parts Dead reminded me a lot of the vibe I found in City of Stairs and I highly enjoyed reading this gem.

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Gates of Stone (Lord of the Islands, #1)

Gates of Stone (Lord of the Islands, #1)

ARC provided by the publisher—Berkley Publishing Group (Ace)—in exchange for an honest review.

Gates of Stone by Angus Macallan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An Indonesian-inspired epic fantasy accompanied by Chinese, Japanese, and Indian influences; I’ve never read an epic fantasy with world-building like the one in Gates of Stone.

Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for Angus Donald, a historical fiction writer most well-known for The Outlaw Chronicles series. Gates of Stone, the first book in Lord of the Islands series marked his first foray into the fantasy genre. When I first stumbled upon this book on Twitter, I was utterly filled with joy and disbelief that someone actually wrote an epic fantasy inspired by my home country. And it’s real and not a joke; Macallan cleverly utilized his skills as an author of historical-fiction into creating a powerful beginning of an Indonesian-inspired epic fantasy series.

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The Prince of Cats

The Prince of Cats

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

The Prince of Cats by Daniel E. Olesen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Prince of Cats was an enjoyable new beginning to a planned trilogy with a self-contained story that worked absolutely well as a standalone.

Honestly, The Prince of Cats by Daniel E. Olesen was never in my radar at first. When the author asked me to review this book, I wasn’t completely sold yet and the pressing mountain of books to read and review made me certain that I won’t be reading this anytime soon. However, when an early impression by Mihir from Fantasy Book Critic—a friend and one of the very few professional SFF reviewers I trust—stated that it was “The Lies Of Locke Lamora in an Arabian Nights setting with a solid dose of mystery and espionage.”, it immediately got my attention; I accepted the book, read it in two days—could’ve done it in one day but The Haunting of Hill House ruined my schedule—and here I am.

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The Dark Half

The Dark Half

The Dark Half by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There will be light spoilers in this review, but I tried to keep them on par with what would be revealed by the synopsis of the book. There was simply no way for me to review this while keeping every detail concealed.

King crafted something both horrifying and utterly fascinating from his frustration over the loss of Richard Bachman. For those who aren’t familiar with Bachman, he was King’s pseudonym, under which he wrote Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man before accidentally outing himself in his fifth publication, Thinner.

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