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Book Review: The Last Wish (The Witcher, #1)

Book Review: The Last Wish (The Witcher, #1)

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Series: The Witcher (Book 1 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy

First English translation published: 2007 (Gollancz), 2008 (Orbit)


The Last Wish was more than up to task in satisfying my burning curiosity about The Witcher with its compelling eponymous protagonist, Geralt of Rivia.

I abandoned my gaming self a long time ago and as such, have not heard about The Witcher until someone mentioned that the Anomander Rake reminded her of Geralt of Rivia from the video game. That piqued my interest immediately, for Anomander Rake from the Malazan Book of the Fallen series is one of my favourite grimdark characters of all time. And thus, I promptly checked out the cinematic game trailers – the ones for The Witcher III were exceptionally good. I subsequently found out that the game was adapted from a book series by a Polish author and that The Witcher is also soon to be a new series on Netflix. Ah, this is indeed a marvellous time to be a fan of the fantasy genre.

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Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone, Middle-Earth Universe

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Classic Fantasy

Pages: 322 pages (75th Anniversary edition)

Published: September 21st, 1937


The Hobbit probably would’ve been more enjoyable if I were reading it at least 15 years ago.

I have an odd relationship with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings due to my feelings of the movie adaptations. For Lord of the Rings, I haven’t been able to finish Fellowship of the Ring because I loved the movies so much and I ended up finding the book incredibly boring; I will try again next year. As for The Hobbit, I was reluctant to read the book because I disliked the movie adaptation. After finally reading this for the first time, I can safely say that I still dislike the movies, and I felt more or less indifferent about the book.

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Book Review: Blood of an Exile (Dragons of Terra, #1) by Brian Naslund

Book Review: Blood of an Exile (Dragons of Terra, #1) by Brian Naslund

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

Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Dragons of Terra (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 416 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: August 8th, 2019 by Tor (UK) & August 6th, 2019 by Tor (US)


Blood of an Exile has dragons and dragonslayer, if you love a great fantasy debut with dragons, I doubt you’ll be reading the rest of this review.

And yet I will still write one. Blood of an Exile is Brian Naslund’s debut. It’s the first book in the Dragons of Terra trilogy. The story follows the Silas Bershad the Flawless, an exile who was supposed to die after he was caught trying to assassinate a noble. Bershad, the most famous and successful dragonslayer in the world, receive a task from the man who exiled him in the first place. The mission is to kill a king and save an innocent child in captive, only then he’ll be pardoned from his crime. With that kind of nickname, the premise led me to believe that this would be an ultimate Gary-Stu story but what I got was something more in-depth and empathizing. Without giving spoilers, there’s a rule to Bershad’s rumored “immortality” and “strength”; he’s not always immortal and full of strength 24 hours, and I found the mystery behind his power to be one of the main driving force of the narrative.

“Heroes and villains morphing out of the same people based on rumors and reputations and the simple passage of time.

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Book review: Jade War (The Green Bone Saga, #2) by Fonda Lee

Book review: Jade War (The Green Bone Saga, #2) by Fonda Lee

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

Jade War by Fonda Lee

Petrik’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

TS’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Green Bone Saga (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 624 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: July 25th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & July 23rd, 2019 by Orbit (US)


Petrik’s Review

Absolutely amazing; Jade War was a brilliantly compelling sequel filled with skillfully-written characterizations and tension-packed action scenes.

I buddy read this novel with four other readers of different ethnicities—TS, Emma, Jenia, and Nils—living in different parts of the world and all of us pretty much agreed that we were both in love with and terrified by the events in Jade War. I find it equally satisfying and astonishing that Lee was able to create a sequel that outshone the stunning quality found in Jade City, which won many readers’ hearts and the World Fantasy Award trophy last year. But Fonda Lee did it spectacularly; Jade War was unbelievably better than the first book. The fantasy genre needs more urban fantasy as refreshing and great as this series.

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Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) BY R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) BY R.J. Barker

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

The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: September 26th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 24th, 2019 by Orbit (US)


Highly imaginative world-building with a large focus on sea voyages and naval warfare.

Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of Barker’s debut series: The Wounded Kingdom trilogy. I gave each installment in the trilogy a 4.5 stars rating and ever since I finished King of Assassins, The Bone Ships has been on my list of priority books to read ASAP. This is why I’m genuinely sad that I have to give this book a below 4 stars rating, but I have to always be honest with my review. I still had a great time with the book but The Bone Ships is a totally different sort of beast—that’s sadly not too suitable for me—compared to The Wounded Kingdom and I had expected to love this book more. RJ, if you stumbled upon this review, please don’t read it.

“No sane woman or man wishes for war, and those that do never would if they thought it would leave paint on their doorsteps.”

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Book Review: The Poppy War

Book Review: The Poppy War

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series:  The Poppy War (Book 1)

Genre: Fantasy, military fantasy

First published: 1st May 2018 by Harper Voyager (US) & 3rd May 2018 by Harper Voyager (UK)


I wanted to love The Poppy War quite desperately given its inspiration (and gorgeous cover).

The Poppy War is firstly a welcome change to the standard western Europe medieval setting and secondly, it is an allegory to the history of China. The narrative casts a harsh light on the brutal history of early 20th century China, specifically the genocide of the Nanjing Massacre. The mythology and culture present in the story are also so closely depicted that the novel almost reads like historical fiction, albeit in a secondary world.

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Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

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

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Pages: 384 pages

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


Gorgeous and magical; it’s not a stretch to call The Ten Thousand Doors of January a magnificent physical manifestation of a grimoire.

Orbit did it again. The Ten Thousand Doors of January has shot to the top of my TBR since the moment I saw the cover and heard about the premise; I was charmed and can safely say that I don’t think I’ve read many books as beautifully written as this novel. I’ve been saying this over and over again for a while now; when it comes to modern SFF debuts, just read everything that Orbit publishes. SFF books published by Orbit these days has a strong chance to satisfy your reading preferences and this novel amplified that notion. I would also like to give a shout out to Emily Byron, who made sure this book reached me for my review, and Maddie Hall, the one in charge of the design behind the ARC packaging of this book; easily the most beautiful ARC package I’ve ever received.

Picture: My ARC of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

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Petriks’ Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

Petriks’ Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 List. (More info on this at the end of the post.)


Between January 1st, 2019 and June 30th, 2019, I’ve read and reviewed 61 books (33.6k pages). So far, it’s been an incredible reading year. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. The rules are:

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.

Do note that although this time there’s a rank to this list, I highly recommend every book listed below because I loved all of them immensely and they received a rating of 4.5 (rounded up on Goodreads) or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here we go! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)


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The Emperor’s Soul

The Emperor’s Soul

(I read this in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection)

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely incredible novella. Apparently, 105 pages are sufficient for Sanderson to craft a fantastic story with a strong beginning, wonderful characterizations, memorable climax scene, and a satisfying conclusion. The Emperor’s Soul has become my favorite novella of all time; it has qualities that surpassed a lot of other fantasy novels I’ve read.

I won’t go into any details on what the plot is, it’s only 100 pages long, try to jump into this story without knowing anything about it as I did. The plot dances upon several themes such as the nature of humanity and what truly defines art. There was a lot of beautiful philosophical contemplation to be found here and the novella was utterly well-paced. The Emperor’s Soul doesn’t waste any time getting into the plot; there’s no info dump, the magic system and world building were introduced gradually together with the plot and character development. Have I mentioned that the main character Wan ShaiLu (or Shai in short) is a lovable and intelligent heroine?

“There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person’s life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn’t take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn’t led you better.”

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Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire, #1)

Fortune’s Fool (Eterean Empire, #1)

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

Fortune’s Fool by Angela Boord
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb surmised this first-person character-driven debut nicely; spies, smugglers, vengeance, war, and love, this hefty book has them all.

Fortune’s Fool is Angela Boord’s debut and it’s the first book in Eterean Empire series. The story revolves around Kyrra d’Aliente as she seeks vengeance for the harshness inflicted towards her in her past while masquerading herself as a man. Fortune’s Fool is undeniably a character-driven fantasy. The author did a fantastic job of telling Kyrra’s story, the plot juggles between two timelines: the present and the past. One of the things that made the narrative relatively refreshing to read was the changes in tenses between the two timeframes; the past is told in first-person past tense narration, the present is told in the first-person present tense narrative. Truthfully speaking, I’m not a big fan of tenses shift within the same book, but the author did a great job in making sure the flow of her story remains undisrupted throughout.

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