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The Forgetting Moon (The Five Warrior Angels, #1)

The Forgetting Moon (The Five Warrior Angels, #1)

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

The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A severely underrated epic fantasy debut.

The Forgetting Moon is Brian Lee Durfee’s debut and it has been published for almost three years now. Honestly, it’s quite sinful that this book has less than 500 ratings on Goodreads at the moment; not only this is THE biggest fantasy debut I’ve ever read so far, The Forgetting Moon is also one of the strongest beginnings to an epic fantasy series I’ve come across. I’m truly flabbergasted by how underrated this debut is. Gorgeous cover art by Richard Anderson, a beautifully drawn map by Robert Lazzaretti, high-quality floppy paperback (yes, this is a plus), and most importantly, amazing content. Why is no one talking about this book!? I seriously wish someone had recommended this book to me; I never heard about this series until the author himself sent a review request to me and I’m gratified that he did.

Picture: My signed copy of The Forgetting Moon (I have to share this. Check out the badass signature!)

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Last Bastion (FFO, #2)

Last Bastion (FFO, #2)

I received an advanced reading copy from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

Last Bastion by Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Bastion was supposed to mean safety.”

It seemed, however, that Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach decided that safety will be a bit boring for the fictional characters and the readers. Hence, they gave us a heart-pounding, fast-paced, action-packed and dangerously addictive MMORPG-style adventure in the world of Forever Fantasy Online with a great cast of characters.

The story picked up immediately from the ending of the first book. Our main characters, James and Tina, arrived at the city of Bastion to seek refuge and find some answers after the world of FFO was suddenly released from the Nightmare. A term used by the NPCs who are supposedly real people to describe their entrapment in the game environmen, the Nightmare is so named for the dreadful never-ending cycle ofreliving the quests the players undertake, oftentimes dying a painful death over and over again. What greeted the player characters, however, was a city on fire and laden with corpses. Not exactly their idea of a safe haven from the constant danger and fighting they’ve encountered in the past few days.

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The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time, #2)

The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time, #2)

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The man who called himself Petrik will now review The Great Hunt, the second book in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Everyone who’ve read the first book most likely knows what the title of this installment implies. The Great Hunt continues immediately from where the first book left off. Allow me to mention how ridiculously repetitive—and hilarious, I guess—the prologue of this book was. It starts with “The man who called himself Bors,” and within a single prologue, the exact phrase “the man who called himself Bors” was mentioned literally 34 times. The man who called himself Petrik could be wrong, but the man who called himself Petrik THINK that the man who called himself Bors, is in fact, the man who called himself Bors *gasp* *suspense* *CPR the man who called himself Petrik out of this SHOCKING revelation* The man who called himself Petrik was amazed by Jordan’s way of increasing his word counts by 170 words. Jordan could’ve just written “Bors” instead of “the man who called himself Bors” but he won’t, that 170 words is a matter of Light and Dark! The prologue became a firm reminder to the man who called himself Petrik that this will be a series—despite all the greatness—that is full of repetitive phrases; so far the man who called himself Petrik hasn’t been proven wrong.

Picture: The Great Hunt by Kekai Kotaki

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A Pilgrimage of Swords

A Pilgrimage of Swords

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

A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Anthony Ryan is back with a brand new novella in a completely new world.

It’s been two hundred years since the Kingdom of Alnachim was destroyed by The Mad God. Alnachim, now called the Execration, has become a wasteland full of monsters and terrors. For decades, pilgrimages to reach the center of the Execration were made by desperate people so they can meet the Mad God and have their wish granted; none ever returned. The story follows Pilgrim, a veteran warrior with an unknown past, and his six companions as they attempt a pilgrimage to have his wish for redemption granted.

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The Light Brigade

The Light Brigade

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Light Brigade is my first sci-fi read of the year (shocking, I know) and it’s also the first time I’ve read a book by Kameron Hurley; I assure you it won’t be the last.

“I suppose it’s an old story, isn’t it? The oldest story. It’s the dark against the light. The dark is always the easier path. Power. Domination. Blind obedience. Fear always works to build order, in the short term. But it can’t last. Fear doesn’t inspired anything like love does.”

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Fate Lashed (Ethereal Earth, #2)

Fate Lashed (Ethereal Earth, #2)

I received a copy of the audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Fate Lashed by Josh Erikson
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Josh Erikson does it again with his stellar narration in Fate Lashed, and this time with a faster-paced, action-packed and riveting plotline.

In the previous book, we got the origins story of Gabriel Delling – how he became intertwined with supernatural entities and ended up as a human with the ability to use magic (well, just somewhat at this stage). After losing the evil God from his head and spending time hiding out in a remote cabin to ruminate, he returned to civilization and in no time landed himself into trouble again. As fate would have it, the powerful inner circles of the Umbras are now contending to seek a ‘Key to the Universe’ which has revealed its existence just about the same time that Gabe got himself unwittingly embroiled in the affairs of these creatures from the Ether. That he survived what he did in Hero Forged, Gabe became a wildcard that fate has neither a read nor a hold on. In other words,  he is now the key much sought-after player in this quest for the Key, for better or for worse.

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The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1)

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1)

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Petrik’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Here it is, I’m riding the winds of time! Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Another massive fantasy series to finish, a new epic adventure to undertake. Like many modern fantasy readers, the last three books finished by Brandon Sanderson played a huge motivational drive in my attempt to start and finish The Wheel of Time. I honestly find this series to be even more intimidating than Malazan Book of the Fallen due to the sheer number of word counts in it. To give a bit of information on how intimidating this series is, the last two massive series I began and finished last year was The Realm of Elderlings (4.1 million words) by Robin Hobb and Malazan Book of the Fallen (3.3 million words) by Steven Erikson; the entirety of The Wheel of Time consists of 4.4 million words. That’s how gigantic this series is. If it weren’t because Sanderson is one of my top favorite authors of all time and the fact that I’ve completely run out of his adult fantasy books to read, I probably wouldn’t have started this series at all. That being said, no matter what the initial reason is, I’m really glad that I’ve taken the important first step towards conquering The Wheel of Time.

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Solace Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #1)

Solace Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #1)

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

Solace Lost by Michael Sliter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A brutally gripping story tinged with despair; Solace Lost is a character-driven grimdark fantasy debut that earned its title mercilessly.

Solace Lost is Michael Sliter’s debut; the first book out of five in the Pandemonium Rising series. Before I begin my review, I strongly urge that you read this novel only IF you’re a grimdark fantasy enthusiast. I don’t usually include content warnings in my review but I feel like this book truly warranted one; as it involved a minor spoiler, I’ll mention it at the end of my review.

The main story in Solace Lost follows four main characters: Fenrir, Merigold, Hafgan, and Emma. Ardia is on the brink of a civil war and these four distinctive characters will have their fates intertwined, for better or worse. As I mentioned before, this is utterly a character-driven story and its main strength lies mostly within the characterizations. Each main character has different personality traits, and the inner voices given by the author to these characters made them feel real. Living up to the grimdark genre, none of the main characters can simply be defined as good or bad. The only character that started out as good and kind-hearted was Merigold. That too, for only a while before atrocious things happened to her and she found her life completely turned upside down. I won’t go as far as saying that I loved these characters but I did find myself totally invested in knowing about their journeys. This was especially true for Fenrir and Merigold’s POVs; they dominated the plot of this book and I found their storyline to be the most engaging out of all the characters.

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A Hero Born (Legends of the Condors Heroes, #1)

A Hero Born (Legends of the Condors Heroes, #1)

ARC provided by the publisher—St. Martin’s Press—in exchange for an honest review.

A Hero Born by Jin Yong
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A Hero Born is the start to Jin Yong’s highly praised classic series but a lot of the promising quality of the book seems to get lost in translation.

I’m genuinely sad with my ratings for this one, but I have to be honest that I have mixed feelings towards this novel. When I was around 5 years old, I used to watch The Legends of the Condor Heroes a lot with my parents. When I missed an episode, my parents would tell me the story in detail; teaching me the meaning behind the actions of each character. This series, even though I’ve never read it until now, has a spot of nostalgia for me. That being said, it’s been more than 20 years and I honestly remember extremely little about it. What I do remember is that the story eventually grew significantly larger in scope and complexity than the coming-of-age tale we have in A Hero Born. I’ll divide this review strictly into what worked and what didn’t; let’s start with the parts that worked first.

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The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2)

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2)

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

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The newest rising queen of fantasy is back with her newest book, The Dragon Republic, and it managed to live up to my super high expectations.

Can we first appreciate just how damn gorgeous the cover of this book is? JungShan has created another spectacular cover-selling ink illustration and I’m confident that many readers will pick up the book/series even if they don’t know anything about it. The same situation as its predecessor, the quality of the content of the book did justice to the beautiful cover art and vice versa. I’m pretty sure practically everyone who knows me on bookish social media knows how much I loved The Poppy War. I even created a Twitter account just to wish the author a congratulatory message on her debut’s publication day. If you don’t know/remember, here’s a short snippet of what I said about the first book:

“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year… a book that will go down as one of the best grimdark/military fantasy debuts of all time. […] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.”

Yeah… suffice to say that I highly loved the first book. Since then, The Poppy War has also garnered well-deserved praises, nominations, and awards; my high expectations towards its sequel were inevitable and I’m glad to say that after reading this book, my worry was unfounded and Kuang entranced me once again with her newest installment.

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