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Tag: 5 stars

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1)

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1)

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A masterwork you don’t want to miss; it is with temerity that I declare Blood Song as one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.

Why do I love this book? The simple answer would be because this is a book that has everything I love in epic fantasy and that it hit all the right notes for me. I could practically end my review with that answer but that wouldn’t do justice to how great this book is. Now, it’s time for me to take on the role of the Chronicler and inform you why it’s essential for you to read Vaelin Al Sorna’s coming-of-age story.

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Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)

Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)

Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Deadhouse Landing was another fantastic novel in this prequel trilogy of two of the most notorious characters from the Malazan series.

This sequel continued to expand on the origins story of Dancer and Kellanved, by bringing us to the infamous Malaz Island – where it all began. For readers of Malazan, some of the names in the Dramatis Personae were enough to make one incredibly excited for what’s in store. It was so hard for me to write this review without giving away even the smallest detail, which might diminish the impact of the “Aha!” or the “OMG, it is HIM/HER!” moments. These names alone aren’t actually spoilers in its truest sense. Nonetheless, my take is that a Malazan fan will derive more delight from reading these prequel books without prior knowledge of whom among the Old Guard might be featured.

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The Hod King (The Books of Babel, #3)

The Hod King (The Books of Babel, #3)

The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Hod King is Bancroft’s best work so far; a novel that’s stunning in originality enhanced with suspenseful and exciting moments.

Before I start my review, I would like to mention that, if you need a detailed summary of the series so far as I did, check out www.bookseriesrecaps.com for their great plot overviews—tons of spoilers, of course—of both Senlin Ascends and Arm of the Sphinx. I finished reading Arm of the Sphinx in July 2017 and since then I’ve read and reviewed almost 200 novels. Saying that I needed a reread of the series or at least a memory refreshment is a massive understatement. A reread is always preferable but if you’re being crushed by your TBR tower—I know you are—and don’t have the time to reread the series at the moment, this website is your solution; without it, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate this book without rereading the entire series. For the sake of making this review as spoiler-free as possible, I’ll keep this review shorter than usual and there won’t be any in-world characters’ names mentioned.

“My sense of being, my identity, whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t reside in my parts. It lives in my past, and in the continuity of my present thoughts, and in my hopes for the future. I’m more afraid of losing a memory than a limb.”

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”

This book has always been so special to me. I know that a lot of people read it as children without knowing about the allegorical aspects, and that some of these people feel tricked or even betrayed when they learn of those elements as adults. These readers were there for the fantasy of the story, and for it alone. I came to Narnia for wholly different reasons.

This review is really going to be more of an exploration of my faith and how this book impacted it. While I definitely am not trying to preach at anyone, you might want to avoid the rest of this review if you’re triggered by or sensitive regarding overtly Christian topics.

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A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Merciless and brilliant.

This was unbelievably amazing. A Storm of Swords could actually be the height of George R. R. Martin’s writing career. I know I haven’t read A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, or the extra books of the series yet, but realistically speaking, it would be bloody difficult for Martin to top what he has achieved in this book.

Picture: A Storm of Swords by Marc Simonetti

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Never Die

Never Die

Never Die by Rob J. Hayes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In honor of its impending release, we wanted to remind everyone about Rob Hayes’ new standalone, Never Die. What better way to do that than reviewing it again?

Never Die is hands down the best book Rob Hayes has written to date, and this is coming from someone who has really enjoyed everything I’ve read from him. It’s been a while since a book was so addictive that it kept me up late into the night because I needed to read just one more chapter, and it was an experience I relished with this book. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Asian-inspired fantasies I’ve read, as well as one of the best self-published works I’ve come across. His title as winner of SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) 2017 is well deserved.

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Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)

Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)

Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

My first 5-star rating this year, and it’s a Malazan book.

I love the world of Malazan, and the Malazan Book of the Fallen stands as my favourite grimdark fantasy series. However, these are not books which one can pick up to read for ‘fun’. Not only were the worldbuilding complex and the cast of characters extensive, but the prose was also dense and philosophical. Moreover, the narrative frequently messaged dark and bleak themes. To be honest, it felt like work sometimes to read MBOTF, albeit work that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There are some lessons that must be written in scars.”

Grey Sister is an action-packed thrill ride that packs a heavy emotional punch. It’s everything a second book in a trilogy should be. So many writers miss that mark when it comes to a middle book, but not so with this series. There was not a single chapter that felt boggy or unimportant to me; I was entranced by every page. Lawrence took the story and relationships he crafted in Red Sister and managed to make them both more playful and more poignant and, most importantly, more powerful. I have never come across another fictional character to whom friendship is more important and personality-defining as it is with Nona Grey. I think this quote illustrates that importance beautifully:

“Those…are my friends and I would die for them. I would face a terror for them that I haven’t the courage to stand against on my own behalf.”

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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you love watching Game of Thrones, you’re most likely going to love reading A Game of Thrones.

Like countless readers around the world, I probably wouldn’t have known about A Song of Ice and Fire without its TV series adaptation, Game of Thrones. I’ve been following the TV series ever since the release of its first episode, I was completely captivated by the originality of the storyline and characters. Upon finishing the first season of the TV show, I immediately picked up this book and honestly? I DNF’ed it about a quarter into the book. It wasn’t that the book was bad, it was because the TV show—at least the first season—did a spectacular job of adapting the first installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. Something you have to know about me is that when my first entrance into a series is through a TV series/movies adaptation which I ended up loving, I tend to find the original material—usually novels—become super boring because I already know how it all will go down. It’s the biggest reason why I’m still not able to finish The Fellowship of the Ring. Unfortunately, it’s also the reason why I couldn’t finish this book back then. Now, years after my first try of reading A Game of Thrones, not only I was able to finish it, I loved it so much and I craved for more by the end of it.

“… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

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The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

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

The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars from start to finish for this exceptional Japanese-inspired military fantasy standalone. As of this moment, The Sword of Kaigen has become not only one of the four best self-published books I’ve ever read, but also my personal number one favorite self-published book.

This is one of those books where I just want to write “Please buy it and read it. It’s fucking amazing!” as my entire review. This book came out of nowhere and it totally stole my heart. If you’ve been following my reviewing progress, then you probably know that I like to keep and show my personal stats and facts on books I’ve read and reviewed. So here it goes. After The Mirror’s Truth by Michael R. Fletcher, We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson, and Never Die by Rob J. Hayes, The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang is currently the fourth self-published book that I’ve rated with a full 5 stars. I honestly didn’t expect to love this book that much but I was madly engrossed by every page. Trust me, you’ll want to pre-order this book right now. I already did, it’s only $0.99 at the moment on Amazon for god sake! (More info on the amazing bonuses that come with the pre-order at the bottom of this review.)

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