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The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)

The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

With a new interest and determination, I have finally finished reading The Silmarillion.

I have failed this book twice and I was so sure that I won’t attempt reading it again. However, I have just finished re-watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy extended editions and reading the Three Great Tales of Middle-Earth that’s edited by Christopher Tolkien. I know this is not the recommended reading order but it’s only because of doing these two activities that I found a new interest, knowledge, and motivation to actually persevere and finish this book.

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The Fall of Gondolin

The Fall of Gondolin

The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here it is, the third and final Great Tales of Middle-Earth in its full form. Not really.

This was my first time reading The Fall of Gondolin and I must say it reminded me of the Trojan War. I’ll be honest that I don’t have a lot of things to say regarding this book. I can seriously copy paste my Beren and Luthien review with a few tweaks and it would describe my thoughts on the book appropriately.

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Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Unlike The Children of Hurin, unless you’re a lover of poetry or you’re a diehard Tolkien fans, I doubt the overall content of this book will be enjoyable to read.

The Children of Hurin has a novel format with a standalone story. The novel begins with a preface from Christopher Tolkien, then the story starts and continues until the end without break in prose form. It’s pretty much a standard standalone fantasy novel format with a self-contained story that can be read and enjoyed by anyone who loves fantasy novel. Beren and Luthien isn’t like The Children of Hurin. Although I’m super happy that I approached The Children of Hurin without knowing anything about it and ended up loving it, I wish I have known about the overall content of Beren and Luthien before I bought it; because I wouldn’t have bought it.

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The Children of Hurin

The Children of Hurin

The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I never expected Tolkien to write a story as dark and tragic as the one portrayed in The Children of Hurin.

First, a full disclosure that might anger Tolkien fanatics. Despite the fact that I’ve watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy more than ten times, I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t able to finish reading The Fellowship of the Rings because I was extremely bored with it. It’s most likely because the movie has tainted me with its fast pacing, I have no idea why but the book was so boring that it drowsed me to sleep several times, not even halfway. I also failed to finish The Silmarillion. Twice I almost made it halfway—the first time was more than ten years ago, the second time was just a few days ago—and twice I just can’t bare through it anymore. Throughout the years, I have asked some fans of Tolkien whether it’s absolutely necessary to read (not watch) the main trilogy and The Silmarillion first before attempting the three Great Tales of Middle-Earth. Some said as long that I have watched the movies and have the basic knowledge from the first half of The Silmarillion or some thorough Wikipedia research (which I did on both account), it should be enough. Heck, some even said it’s better to not read The Silmarillion first for maximum experience of going in blind. Of course, there were also some that weren’t kind—some even felt offended only Morgoth knows why—by the idea that I’m reading The Silmarillion or attempted this without actually reading the main trilogy first. Guess what? I’m going to offend them more because I finished this book without reading The Silmarillion or The Lord of the Rings trilogy and I super loved it.

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A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2)

A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2)

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

A Time of Blood by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Time of Blood earned my absolutely undying praise for its impeccable, top-notch quality.

Currently, there are only three fantasy authors in the world who can compel me to drop every book in my reading plan and start their newest published work instead; John Gwynne is one of them. There will never be a shortage of praises I can give towards Gwynne’s books. I’m serious, I have insanely high expectations towards his books and yet somehow each of his newest works never fail to not only meet but also exceed my expectations. If you believe in my recommendations and somehow you still haven’t read any of Gwynne’s books, you need to redeem yourself immediately. A Time of Blood was such an incredible and riveting reading experience that I finished it in less than 24 hours; it made me totally ignore reality.

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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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Chasing Graves (The Chasing Graves Trilogy Book #1)

Chasing Graves (The Chasing Graves Trilogy Book #1)

CG

Chasing Graves by Ben Galley

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

A big thanks to Ben Galley for providing an ARC of Chasing Graves, in exchange for an honest review.

Spoiler-free review. Please note that the quotes in this review are taken from the ARC edition and may change in the published edition.

When Ben Galley revealed the cover of Chasing Graves and after hearing that it was an Egyptian mythology-inspired fantasy, I knew I had to read the book. My only experience with Galley’s writing before CG was with The Heart of Stone and it was a book I very much enjoyed because of its writing, atmosphere, philosophy and the humanity and depth he insufflated in his not quite human main character. Knowing that, I had the feeling I would embark in a deep and atmospheric reading journey with Chasing Graves and I’m happy to say I wasn’t wrong.

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Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)

Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)

Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Forge of Darkness displayed Erikson at the top of his prose but unfortunately, the book was bogged down by too much too much too much TOO MUCH philosophies.

Before I get to that though, let me just say that it’s quite baffling that there’s a list that recommends starting Malazan from Forge of Darkness instead of Gardens of the Moon. I’ve read and loved the main series but this novel took the cake for being the most difficult to get into. If I haven’t read the main series, this would be at best a 2 stars read. I’m not kidding, the saving grace of this novel was Erikson’s prose and the knowledge on what the characters will do in the future, this is only possible if the reader has read the main series, Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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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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