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Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

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

A Time of Courage by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Of Blood and Bone (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Published: 2nd April 2020 by Pan Macmillan (UK) & 7th April 2020 by Orbit (US)


A Time of Courage is a stunning masterpiece that proved yet again that John Gwynne is a force to be reckoned with; primed and poised to joined the ranks of the greatest fantasy authors.

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Book Review: The Brightest Shadow (The Brightest Shadow, #1) by Sarah Lin

Book Review: The Brightest Shadow (The Brightest Shadow, #1) by Sarah Lin

ARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Brightest Shadow by Sarah Lin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Brightest Shadow (Book 1)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression fantasy, Wuxia

Published: 6th March 2020 (self-published)


Eastern-inspired with great classic wuxia elements, The Brightest Shadow is a commendable fantasy entry with impressively thoughtful worldbuilding, and an interesting diverse cast of characters.

I grew up watching a lot of wuxia classics, the most famous being The Legend of the Condor Heroes. Sarah Lin paid homage to these great classics by incorporating cultural and martial arts elements which would feel very familiar to wuxia fans into her new fantasy series, The Brightest Shadow. The worldbuilding in this novel is really impressive and well thought out with multicultural people that although share some common traits are quite distinct from one another. Aside from physical looks, the differences could be demonstrated from the food they eat to the way martial arts are practised. Even the concept of sien (somewhat akin to qi in our world sense) differ from one people to another.

“A person who wants for nothing, who is at peace with themselves, cannot be seduced by simple stories.”

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Book Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy, #1)

Book Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy, #1)


The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Shadow of What Was Lost is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf for years. Islington is an author highly recommended not only to Sanderson fans but by Sanderson himself, so I picked it up on Kindle when it was still self-published and ended up purchasing physical copies of the entire Licanius trilogy before ever reading the first page. Not the smartest way to buy your books, I grant you, but it worked out this time! The Shadow of What Was Lost is a throwback to classic fantasy in the very best way. There’s a brightness and coziness to it even when the plot goes in dark directions. The characters and tropes are comfortably familiar without ever feeling derivative or tired. Best of all, Islington manages to take these tropes and characters and do some shockingly original things with them. I’ve heard this trilogy called ambitious and risky and, by the end of this first book, I could definitely see some of that ambition.

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Book Review: The Shadow King (The Raveling, #3) by Alec Hutson

Book Review: The Shadow King (The Raveling, #3) by Alec Hutson

The Shadow King by Alec Hutson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Raveling (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 506 pages

Published: 21st November 2019 by Alec Hutson (Indie)


A thoroughly wonderful classic fantasy story with a modern narrative.

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Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3)

Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3)

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

The Light of All That Falls by James Islington

My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Series:  The Licanius Trilogy (Book #3 of 3)

Genre:  Fantasy, Epic fantasy, High Fantasy

Published: 12th December 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 10th December 2019 by Orbit (US)


A breathtakingly audacious masterpiece of epic fantasy, The Light of All That Falls is an emotionally satisfying and flawless conclusion to the phenomenal Licanius Trilogy.

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Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3) by James Islington

Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3) by James Islington

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

The Light of All That Falls by James Islington

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series:  The Licanius Trilogy (Book #3 of 3)

Genre:  Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 864 pages

Published: 12th December 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 10th December 2019 by Orbit (US)


The Light of All That Falls is an absolute marvel, a prodigious finishing touch to an ingeniously plotted series.

Here’s a little statistic to give you an idea of how much I loved this book and series. If you look at my Goodreads profile, you can take a look at my list of favorite authors. Inside this list are authors who have written three or more books—that I’ve read, of course—to be included in my “favorites” shelf. Before today—out of approximately four hundred books I’ve read—there were eight authors on this list. With one trilogy, and without a shadow of a doubt, I’m going to include James Islington as the ninth author to join my list of favorite authors. Binge reading this trilogy for the first time blew me away, and I’m already looking forward to rereading it in the future. If you stumbled upon this review without having read the previous books in the trilogy, rest assured that this review will be spoiler-free; no details regarding the plot will be mentioned. There is, however, a better option for you, pick up The Shadow of What Was Lost and begin binge-reading this astounding series. Now.

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Book Review: The Silver Sorceress (The Raveling, #2) by Alec Hutson

Book Review: The Silver Sorceress (The Raveling, #2) by Alec Hutson

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The Silver Sorceress by Alec Hutson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Raveling (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 499 pages

Published: 2nd October 2018 by Alec Hutson (Indie)


A remarkable sequel, I really can’t get enough of reading Hutson’s writing.

“No matter where you go in the world, those with a little authority—but no real power—are all the same.”

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Book Review: An Echo of Things to Come (The Licanius Trilogy, #2) by James Islington

Book Review: An Echo of Things to Come (The Licanius Trilogy, #2) by James Islington

An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington

Petrik’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

TS’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series:  The Licanius Trilogy (Book #2 of 3)

Genre:  Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 752 pages

Published: 24th August 2017 by Orbit (UK) & 22nd August 2017 by Orbit (US)

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Book Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy, #1) by James Islington

Book Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy, #1) by James Islington

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

Petrik’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

TS’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series:  The Licanius Trilogy (Book #1 of 3)

Genre:  Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 736 pages

Published:  3rd August 2014 (self-published). 8th November 2016 by Orbit (US) & 10th November 2016 by Orbit (UK).

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Book Review: The Crimson Queen (The Raveling, #1) by Alec Hutson

Book Review: The Crimson Queen (The Raveling, #1) by Alec Hutson

The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Raveling (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 423 pages

Published: 28th November 2016 by Alec Hutson (Indie)


This book should’ve earned more fame and praise. A familiar and utterly well-written start to an epic fantasy series with prose redolent of Brian Staveley’s writing style; I loved it.

Back in 2017-2018, when I was still a reviewer for Booknest, I was one of the judges for SPFBO 3 held by Mark Lawrence. In that year’s SPFBO, The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson won the joint runner-up spot together with Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe. My ex-blog chose this novel as their pick for the best book of the competition. Admittedly, I didn’t get assigned to reading The Crimson Queen, I didn’t know how good it was, but Celeste, one of my co-blogger from back then (and now) did read it, and she occasionally reminded me to give this book a go because she loved it very much. Two years since SPFBO 3 has ended, here I am finally getting around to reading this book, and I will say this: my ex-blog made the right choice. I would’ve personally chosen The Crimson Queen as the top book for SPFBO 3 myself if I had read it back then.

“The arrogance of writing comes not from the finished creation, but from the very act itself. What hubris is required for a single mind to believe that its thoughts should populate the world? What unbridled arrogance is it to disperse ideas like the petals of a dandelion in the wind, allowing them to float free, to germinate in the minds of others like an invasive weed?”

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