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The Gods of Men (Gods of Men, #1)

The Gods of Men (Gods of Men, #1)

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

The Gods of Men by Barbara Kloss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been having the most awful reading streak in my favorite genre—adult fantasy—this month, The Gods of Men is a new adult fantasy that might have just saved me from an encroaching fantasy slump.

Thank you, Barbara Kloss, for offering your book to me. If you’ve been following my reading progress for this month of May, you’ll probably notice that I’ve been having one of the worst reading months of my life; only one book I finished—that isn’t a reread—this month was able to earn a 4 stars rating, and this was for a sci-fi novel; all my fantasy read ranged disappointingly between the rating of 1-3 stars. The Gods of Men by Barbara Kloss recently just won the runner-up spot in this year’s SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off) competition that’s held annually by Mark Lawrence. That being said, I didn’t actually expect to read The Gods of Men this soon, not when there’s already a stack of ARC/review requests I haven’t finished yet. However, finishing the prologue immediately made me want to continue reading and I ended up finishing the book within two days.

“I take people as they are,” Tolya had always said. “Not who they’ve been or who they want to be. The pat and future are for the Maker. The present is for us.”

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Queen of Fire (Raven’s Shadow, #3)

Queen of Fire (Raven’s Shadow, #3)

Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

I’m in utter disbelief, I can’t believe this…

Queen of Fire is the third and last book in Anthony Ryan’s Raven Shadow trilogy that began with the incredible Blood Song. By now, if you’ve heard about this trilogy, you’ll most likely have heard from several readers that the series didn’t end as good as the first book. I, unfortunately, have to agree with them completely. Anthony Ryan himself is great as an author and person, it seriously pains me to give this or any of his book a low rating but I really have to be honest that I didn’t enjoy reading Queen of Fire at all. I’m not angry at this book, but I’m genuinely sad and disappointed. How is it even possible that a series that began so brilliantly can derail this much? Even coming into this with the lowest of expectation, I still found myself disappointed at the final product of this tome.

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Tower Lord (Raven’s Shadow, #2)

Tower Lord (Raven’s Shadow, #2)

Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

On its own, Tower Lord is not a bad book. But as a sequel, it was disappointing.

The first time I finished reading Blood Song, it was in 2017. Since then, I honestly haven’t mustered the courage to continue past it due to the infamous negativity—I honestly never see the last installment of a series being called disappointing as often and widely as Raven’s Shadow trilogy—surrounding the sequels. I love Blood Song very much, I just finished rereading it a few weeks ago and I still think of it as one of the best fantasy debuts of all time; the idea that the sequels have the potential to ruin it scared me. Now that I have an ARC of The Wolf’s Call in my hand, I’ve decided to finally take the plunge and continue reading the series. If I ended up being disappointed by Queen of Fire, at least I know there’s a continuation after it that could—hopefully—bring the glory of Blood Song back.

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The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

One word. INCREDIBLE.

The Winnowing Flame Trilogy has earned a perfect 5-star rating from me and deserved ALL of it. The Poison Song not only lived up to its astoundingly good prequels, but it also delivered an exquisitely emotional and satisfying conclusion.

I’ve always refrained from mentioning plot points in my reviews for concluding books to avoid inadvertent spoilers.  Instead, I will explain why I believed that Jen Williams’ sophomore trilogy is absolutely worth your time and money.

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Kingshold (The Wildfire Cycle, #1)

Kingshold (The Wildfire Cycle, #1)

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

Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.

An enjoyable classic fantasy romp with some modern touches, Kingshold is a commendable debut by D.P. Woolliscroft.

This first book of The Wildfire Cycle is heavy on politics as its major plotline is centred around the election of a new Lord Protector to the Kingdom of Edland. With the current King dead and after many generations of useless monarchs, the ancient wizard, Jyuth, who founded the kingdom refused to take any further responsibility in choosing the next one. Instead, an election was proposed and the story ensued with political scheming and assassinations (which are perfectly legal if performed under a contract).

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The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, #4)

The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, #4)

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I give up. Here’s where I say goodbye to The Wheel of Time.

The Shadow Rising is the fourth book in The Wheel of Time series, it’s been claimed by many fans of the series that installment is one of the better books—some even said it’s THE best–written by Robert Jordan before Brandon Sanderson takes over. I personally found this book to be the worst in the series so far.

Just like the extremely repetitive nature of the series, the only way I can explain why I found myself incredibly disappointed is, again, by repeating the cons that I’ve mentioned in my review of the previous three books. What I mean by this is that the story starts awesome, became extremely boring, and then a great conclusion again. Seriously, I read through the first 25% in a day, then it took me six days—with skimming Perrin’s story—to finish the remaining content. I won’t lie that a ridiculous amount of determination was self-forced on me in order for me to able to finish this.

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A Brightness Long Ago

A Brightness Long Ago

A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book electronically via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

“I knew, once, a woman diamond bright and two men I will not forget. I played a part in a story in a fierce, wild, windblown time. I do have that. I always will. I am here and it is mine, for as near to always as we are allowed.”

This is only the second book I’ve read from Guy Gavriel Kay, but I feel secure in stating that I’ve never come across another author who has his way with words. There’s something about his prose that is both breathtakingly lovely and oddly jarring. In A Brightness Long Ago, Kay paints with his words, writing something that is lush and poignant and real enough to touch. This novel is somewhere between historical fiction and low fantasy, and Kay straddles that divide with great finesse.

“Perhaps it is true of every life, that times from our youth remain with us, even when the people are gone, even if many, many events have played out between where we are and what we are remembering.”

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The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

The Bitter Twins is a stunning sequel of staggering inventiveness and imagination.

I am in awe with the direction the story took after the unexpected turn of events at the end of The Ninth Rain. Instead of suffering from the middle book syndrome, The Bitter Twins continued to captivate me with its eldritch worldbuilding and engaging characterisation. I had to keep this review a bit shorter than usual, as there’s simply too much potential to accidentally spoil the numerous surprises that I kept encountering during my read.

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The Troupe

The Troupe

The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“What I’m going to do up here, kid, is tell you a story. Like all stories, it’s an attempt to make sense of something larger than itself. And, like most stories, it fails, to a certain degree. It’s a gloss, a rendition, so it’s not exact. But it’ll do.”

I’m going to see Paranormal Cirque this weekend and am insanely excited. In anticipation, I picked up The Troupe. While not about a circus, it is about a vaudevillian troupe, which is similar in feel. And though not exactly in the horror genre, I know from experience with his Divine Cities trilogy that Robert Jackson Bennett often weaves horror elements into his novels, and he does so deftly. I’m so incredibly glad I picked up this book. Because as excited as I am about seeing Paranormal Cirque, I already know that The Troupe will stay with me longer than any performance could. It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful story, and I read the last sixty or so pages through a haze of tears.

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The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, #3)

The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, #3)

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Not much actually happened in The Dragon Reborn but it was more engaging than the previous two books.

The Dragon Reborn is the third book in The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. The title of this novel may be The Dragon Reborn, this title implies that Rand will take the central role again, but the main characters of this book were actually Mat, Perrin, and Egwene. If I’m not mistaken, Rand has only like three or four small POV chapters. This doesn’t mean that Rand wasn’t important to the main story, the storyline still heavily revolved around him.

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