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The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2)

The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2)

The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was more or less on the same quality of fun and entertainment of Retribution Falls; except that it was imbued with great characterizations right from the start.

The Black Lung Captain is the second book in the Tales of the Ketty Jay quartet by Chris Wooding. A year since the events of the last book has passed and the plot began with Frey being offered a mission that will make him extremely wealthy and as usual, the mission immediately went completely wrong. Sounds familiar? Yup, I practically copy pasted my plot description of the first book. In terms of storytelling structure, there was close to zero differences with the first book. This doesn’t mean that the book wasn’t entertaining or fun to read, because they were. However, if you’re binge reading the series as I did, you’ll notice even more just how similar the structure of the story was and at times it can felt a bit draggy. The plot and actions were still engaging overall but moving forward, I really hope Wooding offers something new to the series rather than just similar storytelling structure rehashed with different names and places.

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Vigilance

Vigilance

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

Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful and terrifyingly necessary novella; I sincerely hope that it’s not prophetic.

Gun violence and mass shooting, we’ve all heard about it; it has happened way too many times for the past couple of years. I’m not American, I never lose someone close to me to gun violence or mass shooting. Even then, I found that this book was dark, terrifying, and powerful because looking at the state of the world now, I can’t dispute the chance that Vigilance would never happen. I envision this book will be even more terrifying for American or anybody who has lost someone to gun violence or mass shooting. There’s a lot of violent and strong content here. Please remember, this is a work of fiction. Try to be open-minded and let it be a wakeup call instead.

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Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #1)

Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #1)

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An entertaining and fun beginning to a steampunk fantasy series filled with great characters.

A few months ago when I finished Wooding’s newest book, The Ember Blade, my review was flooded with comments along the line of “I can’t wait for this one. I loved his Tales of the Ketty Jay series!” and because I absolutely loved The Ember Blade, knowing that there’s so much love for Wooding’s previous series immediately seal the deal that I MUST give this series a try; and I’m glad I gave it a go.

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The Test

The Test

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

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Test is simple in concept and smart in execution.

I’m not a stranger to Neuvel’s work. I loved Neuvel’s Themis Files trilogy and I found the last book of that trilogy, Only Human to be highly enjoyable due to the philosophical discussions that Neuvel implemented. I’m glad to find that The Test retained his relatable and thought-provoking philosophical discussions. I didn’t know anything about this book when I received it, I was only going to take a peek, and I ended up reading through it in one sitting because it was so hard to put down.

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Needful Things

Needful Things

Needful Things by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention, please!
Come in close where everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell, it isn’t gonna cost a dime!
(And if you believe that,
we’re gonna get along just fine.)”

Are you a seasonal reader? I sure am. Winter is for classics and childhood favorites and romances. Spring is for fiction that builds my faith and fantasies that build intricate worlds in my mind. Summer is for rereads when I’m feeling lazy and new-to-me realms of fantasy when I’m not. But autumn is without a doubt the season that dictates my reading the most. For the past few years, October has been for horror in general and Stephen King in particular. This year, I kicked my King-a-Thon off a little early. And I’m happy to report that I started it off with a bang.

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Reaper’s Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)

Reaper’s Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)

Reaper's Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Reaper used his scythe to chop onions in an attempt to bring tears to my eyes. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed.

By this point of the series, I think it’s safe to say now that Malazan Book of the Fallen will never break my heart the way it did a lot of readers. People always told me that Erikson was more brutal towards his characters more than George R. R. Martin or all the conclusion of his books will leave my soul crushed; I strongly disagree with these as I found none of the books in the series so far to ever move me to the point of making my soul crushed or on the brink of tears. This series is amazing in many other aspects but for characterizations (which is the most important aspect of any story for me), in my opinion there are several authors who did it better.

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Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here we go. This is my first review for Steven Erikson’s highly acclaimed epic fantasy series: Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Malazan has been in my TBR for one year seven months now. I’ve heard countless amazing things about the series but the sizes, the spreading words of mouth on the complexities, the need for extra focus, the commitment, and the elitist assholes of the series made me postpone starting it for a long time. Despite hearing amazing things about the quality of the series, it required me a promise to finally plunge myself into starting this grand tale. I told my girlfriend I will propose to her only after I finished Malazan Book of the Fallen; she has agreed to it and so here we are. It’s safe to say that my expectations for this series are unreasonably huge and no, I don’t plan to change that for many personal reasons. Did the first book live up to the expectation though? The masterpiece quality aspect remains to be seen but the scope truly lived up to it, especially remembering that Gardens of the Moon is just the introduction to the series.

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Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1)

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1)

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

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand #1)Kings of Paradise by Richard Nell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally got around to review Richard Nell’s highly acclaimed indie debut, Kings of Paradise. My verdict: an impressive grimdark debut.

I was first offered to review Kings of Paradise by Nell himself back in November 2017. Back then, Kings of Paradise had around 20 ratings and I simply didn’t have time to read it because I was swamped by ARCs, review copies, and Oathbringer’s release, which was also in November; I told Nell that I’ll give his book a read in 2018. I certainly didn’t expect that the book would garner 150 new ratings and many extremely positive reviews; I’m pretty sure there’s a Nell fan club being formed already. I won’t bother you with rearranging the synopsis into my own words, the blurb is spoiler-free and you should read that if you want to know what the plot is about. I’ll start off this review immediately with my favorite part of the book, Ruka’s storyline.

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The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)

The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)

The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)The Gods of Vice by Devin Madson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No sophomore slump here; this was another great installment for The Vengeance Trilogy.

The battle for the Crimson Throne has split Kisia and it’s time for the characters to choose sides. Prepare for shifting allegiances, betrayal, and revelations. The plot in The Gods of Vice continues immediately after the end of the first book and once again, vengeance and the deadly magic—Empathy—become the central theme. If you’ve read the first book and haven’t read the novella, In Shadows We Fall yet, I strongly urge you to read it now; it’s only 100 pages long anyway. The novella, despite being very short, provides a lot of backgrounds information that is still pertinent to this installment. For example, Empress Li won’t just be a simple name you read; you’ll know so much more about her each time her name gets mentioned. This of course doesn’t mean that you HAVE to read the novella to understand the events in this book, but it will certainly be beneficial in enriching your experience. So why not? It’s fantastic and it will only take two hours (at max) to read.

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City of Lies (Poison Wars, #1)

City of Lies (Poison Wars, #1)

City of Lies (Poison Wars #1)City of Lies by Sam Hawke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

An alluring debut imbued with a perpetual threat of lies and treachery.

City of Lies is Sam Hawke’s debut novel and the first book in the Poison Wars series. For the same reason as one of my most anticipated debuts of the year—The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang—I was intrigued by this one because of the amazing cover. Yes, I’m a sucker for a book with great cover art and I’m not ashamed of it. The main difference though is that I’ve waited for this one for so much longer than The Poppy War; since last September to be exact, when the cover was first revealed. Other than that, I seriously knew nothing about the book except the fact that two of my favorite authors of all time—John Gwynne & Robin Hobb—have already praised this debut. Now that I’ve read it, I have to agree with them that this is a great debut, but at the same time, it’s certainly different from my usual fantasy read.

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