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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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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 Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)

The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Epic, masterful, and scintillating in every sense of these words; The Crippled God is an unforgettable magnum opus that concludes Steven Erikson’s genre-defining series: Malazan Book of the Fallen.

11,216 pages (Bantam paperback edition) and 3.3 million words read in exactly two months and two weeks; I’m done, it’s finally over. The entire ten-volume of Malazan Book of the Fallen has been in my TBR pile for almost two years long, and now it has been read, dusted and shelved. Erikson has raised the benchmark for Epic/military fantasy ridiculously high with what he created in this series. Together with Wrath by John Gwynne and Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb, The Crippled God stands among the top of the best final book of a series I’ve ever read, and there’s a definite probability that it will always stay on that list.

“I have enjoyed our long conversation. What’s three and a half million words between friends?” – Steven Erikson

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Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)

Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)

Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Against all odds, Toll the Hounds blew my mind away and became one of my favorite installment within the series.

Toll the Hounds, just like House of Chains, is one of the installments which I heard plenty of mixed things about; they’re there for valid reasons. However, unlike House of Chains which disappointed me a lot, I actually found Toll the Hounds mesmerizing, a treasure trove for philosophies, and also one of the most rewarding books in the series so far. The story of the novel focused on the characters in Darujhistan and the Tiste Andii race. That’s right, we’re finally back in Darujhistan after seven books and we finally get to see the story focusing almost completely on the Tiste Andii.

Picture: A fanart of Anomander Rake by artsed-d8joaqa

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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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A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

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

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

A Time of Dread is a work conceived in the mind of a genius.

Simply amazing and almost impossible to put down, A Time of Dread is truly a masterful start to a trilogy which I envision will be crowned as one of the best series I’ve ever read by its end. John Gwynne has proven himself once again to be the constant harbinger of superlative epic fantasy that only the greatest of authors can achieve.

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City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3)

City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3)

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

City of Miracles is a stunning accomplishment; it is a marvelous ending to what I now consider my favorite trilogy, and a fast-paced, addictive story in its own right.

“One should not seek ugliness in this world. There is no lack of it. You will find it soon enough, or it will find you.”

Sigrud je Harkvaldsson was one of my favorite side characters in both City of Stairs and City of Blades, and I was both incredibly excited and more than a little nervous to read his story. Sometimes when a side character becomes the focal point of the story, they seem to lose a bit of their appeal for some reason. That was definitely not the case here. Sigrud has a wealth of experiences under his belt, most of them not good ones. Those experiences have shaped him into the man he is today, for better or for worse. He feels that he really only excels at one thing: violence. Once again, he finds himself in a position calling for violent action, and he revels in it. Until he doesn’t. Sigrud grows so much throughout this book, and I loved seeing him learn from past mistakes and struggle with his past and who that past made him.

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The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)

The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)

The Bonehunters (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant is an understatement, The Bonehunters is a leviathan of a masterpiece in convergence.

With this installment, Steven Erikson has cemented himself as an irreplaceable author for the genre of epic and military fantasy. This is the already the sixth book in the series and it’s simply unbelievable how he was able to keep producing such an amazing book. I thought Memories of Ice would end up being the absolute best installment of the series but as it turns out, The Bonehunters ended up being another best of the series so far; it’s truly up to the masterpiece quality of Memories of Ice and I can’t decide which one I loved more between the two. Let’s just say I’m honestly shocked by how incredible this installment was. It took six books of the series but I’m extremely confident about putting Erikson into my list of favorite authors of all time now.

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Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, #1)

Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, #1)

Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, #1)Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Just like the main series, I was determined to finish the Malazan Empire this year but I may have to rethink that decision after my experience of reading this book.

Night of Knives is the first book in the Malazan Empire series, a spin-off to the main series that’s written by the other creator of the Malazan universe, Ian Esslemont. A lot of people mentioned that Esslemont is not Erikson (these four words must’ve haunted Esslemont for years by now) and usually, I’ll say that it’s really not really fair for everyone to endlessly compare these two; it’s obvious that every author has a different style. But in this special situation, I must say that the comparison is really well deserved because both of them write canon stories in the same universe which they created together.

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Bloody Rose (The Band, #2)

Bloody Rose (The Band, #2)

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

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Attention avid fantasy readers; it’s time for me to ask for your consideration once again. Nicholas Eames did it again. As of now, I’m calling Bloody Rose one of the best sequels of all time.

Last year, Kings of the Wyld made it into my small “favorite debuts of all-time” list. Since then its sequel, Bloody Rose, has easily become my most anticipated new release of the year. Expectations were high, and a fear of disappointment was certainly there, but as it turns out I needn’t have worried. It is with a heart full of joy that I proclaim Bloody Rose’s tour to be another successful tale; this is truly an excellent sequel to Kings of the Wyld, which was already amazing on its own. Those who follow my reviews should know by now that I’m a devoted series binge reader. When I started a new series to read and review, I usually finish every book available in the series first before moving to a different series or standalone. Bloody Rose however was one of the incredibly rare exceptions where I simply had to drop everything in my TBR pile immediately; it was completely irresistible.

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