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Tag: Fantasy

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“All things have a value. Sometimes the value is paid in coin. Other times, it is pain in time and sweat. And finally, sometimes it is paid in blood.

Humanity seems most eager to use this latter currency. And we never note how much of it we’re spending, unless it happens to be our own.”

Foundryside is radically different from Bennett’s Divine Cities series, which served as my introduction to his work. There was an almost flippant lightness to this book, whereas the Divine Cities novels had a philosophical weight to them that gave them immense power and a lasting presence in my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed Foundryside, but it’s not a book I’ll still be mulling over weeks or months from now.

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

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

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

We shall never forget.

And how could I ever forget? A Time of Dread served as a brutal and stunning reminder that Gwynne is one of the greatest modern fantasy writers.

The Faithful and The Fallen (“TFaTF”) was a superb epic fantasy series with one of the most well-written stories about prophecies and good vs evil that I’ve read in a very long time. And judging from what I’ve read in this book, I believe Gwynne is on track to surpass what he did in the earlier series. AToD is the stamp of a great writer that never stops learning and always keeps improving. While Malice was a great debut that any author would and should be proud of, AToD demonstrated that Gwynne has once again upped his game.

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Soulkeeper (The Keepers, #1)

Soulkeeper (The Keepers, #1)

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

Soulkeeper by David Dalglish
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Soulkeeper captivated my attention with its seductive storytelling. My inner bookworm is gratified to find another fantasy author’s backlog to go through; I can’t say the same for my bank account.

David Dalglish is not an unfamiliar name to me. For the past two years, I’ve occasionally seen his Shadowdance and Seraphim series being reviewed with positive ratings on bookish social media. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get around to any of his work despite being interested in them—especially Shadowdance. Soulkeeper, the first book in The Keepers trilogy, is my first experience reading Dalglish’s work; I loved it, so I know it definitely won’t be the last.

Devin Eveson is a Soulkeeper, a priest and a healer who travels through remote villages. When a mysterious and deadly black water appears and washes over the land of Cradle, the veil between worlds is torn, causing a return of ancient magic and forgotten races. The story revolves around Devin and his unlikely new companions as they try their best to adapt and survive the changes caused by all the new unprecedented dangers and situations. Here’s the good news I’m sure you want to hear: the execution of the story is even better than the premise. From the first chapter, I was immediately pulled into the solemn, melancholy, and dark mood of this world. The narrative has a voice that’s so compelling and addictive, imbued with resonating topics such as the nature of humanity, death, afterlife, and faith; all of these elements combined in a way that made it difficult for me to put the book down.

“I have studied history extensively, Tommy. Any force for good, if capable of evil, will inevitably be used for evil. It’s just the nature of humanity.”

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Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)

Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Age of Swords is a great sequel in developing the characters that I’ve grown to love in Age of Myth.

I could appreciate why the author named this as his favourite book of the series, even at this early stage. Every author should be fond of the characters that they have created, and writing that one book that brought most growth had to be the most fulfilling.

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Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1)

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1)

PoB

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Promise of Blood was a compelling and pretty good debut. But despite bringing together amazing Fantasy elements and magic systems, Promise of Blood didn’t blow my mind and there were some details that bothered me a bit (and that I will list below). 
Six Sacred Swords (Weapons and Wielders, #1)

Six Sacred Swords (Weapons and Wielders, #1)

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

Six Sacred Swords by Andrew Rowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Continuously fun and light-hearted in tone, Six Sacred Swords was a great beginning to a new spin-off series by Andrew Rowe.

Six Sacred Swords is the first book in Weapons and Wielders series by Andrew Rowe. It is unknown at the moment how many books are planned for this series, but one thing for sure that you should know is that this series serves as a prequel to Rowe’s Arcane Ascensions series; a series I highly enjoyed. Some of the most dominant elements in Arcane Ascensions are the intricate magic system, the magic school setting, the tests, and the dungeon crawlers. Six Sacred Swords is both different and similar to Arcane Ascension by excluding the magic theory and magic school setting; focusing the narrative on the fun adventure, video games dungeon-crawler aspect, and anime-esque battle scenes. At the same time, this series serves also as a sequel series to Rowe’s War of Broken Mirrors; I haven’t read this one. That being said, rest assured that you can definitely start your journey into Rowe’s imagination by starting with this book.

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Spellslinger (Spellslinger, #1)

Spellslinger (Spellslinger, #1)

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Spellslinger is delightfully fun and engaging read with some serious themes that fit the young adult genre.

I would probably sound like a broken record, but I reiterate that I’m generally not a reader of YA books. So far, the ones that I’ve enjoyed are those written by authors who’ve already carved a name for themselves writing adult fantasy books. One of these authors is Sebastien de Castell; his adult fantasy series, Greatcoats, was one which I loved. In Greatcoats, he balanced a dark and personal tale of a broken man caught up in his past with humour and wonderful characters. For Spellslinger, the tone was somewhat similar but clearly targeted at a younger audience.

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Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the start, just the turning of leaves. Winter is still on its way.

Michael J. Sullivan is one of the authors on my auto-buy list. Ever since I’ve finished his Riyria series (both Revelations and Chronicles), I’ve been recommending them to my family and friends either as a gateway to fantasy or as a breath of fresh air amidst all the grimdark fantasy. And in just a short space of a year, I’ve reread all of Riyria and was hungry for more of his stories. Age of Myth was more than up to the task of satisfying my longing. Set in the same world 3,000 years ago, the Legends of the First Empire series is the actual account of the historical events that will eventually lead to the story of our two favourite thieves.

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The Perfect Assassin (The Chronicles of Ghadid, #1)

The Perfect Assassin (The Chronicles of Ghadid, #1)

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

The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

A decent debut, The Perfect Assassin impressed me most with its fascinating worldbuilding.

It is refreshing to see more and more fantasy releases of late not relying on the more traditional Europe-centric medieval setting for its worldbuilding. In The Perfect Assassin, the setting was decidedly Middle Eastern with an interesting twist. Ghadid was a city built hundreds of feet above sand dunes, made up of numerous connected platforms balanced on top of pylons. As the spirits of the deceased roam the sand dunes seeking for new bodies, such construction of the city was meant as a form of protection. The possession of such spirits can render a person mad, and sometimes even kill. My favourite element in the worldbuilding was the currency of water, which fit well into the desert scenario. The commodity was not only precious for sustaining life, it also powered miraculous healing and the magic needed to control the deadly spirits. As such, the deliberate act of wasting water can bring about a death sentence.

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Balam, Spring

Balam, Spring

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

Balam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A serene and enjoyable slice-of-life fantasy with whodunit element.

When I was first offered Balam, Spring to review by the author, I wasn’t sure when I was going to read it. However, hearing that Final Fantasy IX (Final Fantasy is one of my top favorite gaming franchise of all time) was the main inspiration for this book, I immediately pushed this to become one of my priority read. Balam, Spring belongs heavily in the slice-of-life fantasy genre. For those of you who don’t know about this genre, you can search the meaning online but I usually relate slice of life to the depiction or exploration of characters normal life; most of them dealing with daily or uneventful activities. Although I’m quite a fan of this genre in anime format, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I attempted reading a slice of life novel. Because of this, I feel like the only way I can explain my feelings about this book properly is by dividing my review clearly into what worked and didn’t; by correlating my experience of reading/watching a slice-of-life story.

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