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Book Review: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2)

Book Review: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2)

A Time of Blood by John Gwynne

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Of Blood and Bone  (Book 2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Published: 18th April 2019 by Pan Macmillan (UK) & 16th April 2019 by Orbit (US)


A fantastic sequel in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy, A Time of Blood is yet another testament to John Gwynne’s extraordinary ability to write incredible stories.

The tone and direction of the narrative stayed true to Gwynne’s approach of escalating the stakes, and ratcheting the tension to a penultimate cliffhanger ending that makes one go “Why are you doing this to me?”

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

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

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

Pages: 672 pages (UK hardback edition)

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


A Time of Courage is one of the best final books to a series I’ve ever read in my life. It was truly a bittersweet, satisfying, and masterfully crafted finale to conclude Of Blood and Bone and the entirety of The Banished Lands saga.

Permit me to start this review with words from Gwynne himself:

“So, finally we come to the end of this series, and with it, the end of the Banished Land’s tales. Although Of Blood and Bone is a trilogy that can be read as a standalone series, it is also the final chapter of a longer history that involves the four books from The Faithful and the Fallen series. When read together they form around a one-hundred-and-fifty-year history of the Banished Lands, and a sizeable chunk of my life. Roughly seventeen years have flown by, I think, since lifting my pen and writing down my first ideas. I hope that you’ve enjoyed your time spent here, and that this book feels like a fitting and satisfying conclusion to all that has gone before.”

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Book Review: Age of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5)

Book Review: Age of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5)

Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Legends of the First Empire (Book 5 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy, classic fantasy

Published: 4th February 2020 (Grim Oak Press)


Age of Death took an astounding turn in the direction of the overall story, and it was brilliant!

This book is aptly titled as it would be the death of me. We have yet another cliffhanger ending as the second arc of
The Legends of the First Empire series is shaping up to be one continuous story. It was excruciating to say the least, but I can empathise with Sullivan in struggling to find a suitable point to break off for each volume, short of releasing it as a single doorstopper.  A single volume wouldn’t work for physical printing purposes, especially if collectors of the hardcovers want to maintain the aesthetics of the books.  And if you’ve seen their covers and how the hardcovers look like, you’ll want that consistency.  They are stunningly beautiful.

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Book Review: The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)

Book Review: The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)

ARC received from the publisher, Orbit, in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow Saint by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Black Iron Legacy (Book 2)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy, dark fantasy

Published: 7th January 2020 by Orbit (US) & 9th January 2020 by Orbit (UK)


The Gutter Prayer had been constantly lauded as one of the best debuts of 2019. Hanrahan’s imaginative and extraordinary dark fantasy worldbuilding, as well as his unique voice, continued to impress in its sequel, The Shadow Saint.

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Book Review: Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Warbreaker (Book #1 of 2)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 688 pages (US mass market paperback edition)

Published: 29th December 2011 by Gollancz (UK) & 9 June 2019 by Tor Books (US)


A colorful, vibrant, and highly character-driven standalone fantasy.

If you haven’t seen the tenth-anniversary leatherbound edition of Warbreaker, I suggest you take a look now by clicking here: https://www.brandonsanderson.com/the-..

No, I don’t have one; I simply can’t afford it. However, staring at how gorgeous it is, it certainly solidified my decision to reread Warbreaker; this time with the annotated edition which I haven’t done before, and I will recommend reading this edition only if you’ve read the book before. It’s terrifying how fast time flies; I can’t believe that it has been three years since I first read this book. Warbreaker was the first book by Brandon Sanderson that I read after I finished his brilliant Mistborn trilogy. Back then, I didn’t even realize how important this standalone would become in the overarching magnitude of Sanderson’s Cosmere universe. Having read all of Sanderson’s Cosmere books and going back to this made me realize how much Sanderson has improved as an author, and how beneficial it would be to read Warbreaker first before you dive into The Stormlight Archives. Seriously, do it.

Picture: Siri and God King by Dan dos Santos

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Book Review: Blood of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #3) by Brian McClellan

Book Review: Blood of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #3) by Brian McClellan

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

Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Gods of Blood and Powder (Book #3 of 3), Powder Mage (Book #6 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Flintlock Fantasy

Pages: 688 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 5th December 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 3rd December 2019 by Orbit (US)


Six years after the first publication of Promise of Blood, it’s time to say goodbye to the Powder Mage universe.

Blood of Empire is the third and last book in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy. McClellan has also said that this will be the final novel in the Powder Mage universe, and there’s a chance there won’t be any new full-novel in this universe, at least not for years because McClellan has a new series—Glass Immortals—coming in 2022. So overall, was this a satisfying conclusion to the saga? I’ll say yes. I have a few issues with it that prevent me from giving it a full 5-stars rating, but overall I’m satisfied. There aren’t many things that I can say regarding the details of the plotline without going into spoiler territory, and I don’t want to do that, so I’ll get into what worked for me and a few things that in my opinion would’ve made this final book more awesome.

“Styke was willing to put up with all sorts of creeping things for the sake of an ambush. He would not, however, allow a man to piss on him.”

Every time I talk to readers and fans of McClellan’s work, the majority have agreed that McClellan is very well-known for his fast-paced and action-packed oriented storyline. Contrary to The Powder Mage trilogy, every installment in Gods of Blood and Powder adapts a slow-burn story that escalates towards a big explosive conclusion. Both Sins of Empire and Wrath of Empire uses the same method, and the situation is even more apparent in Blood of Empire where the big action sequences happened only at the final 15% of the novel. McClellan has spent a lot of time building the setup towards reaching the final confrontation set piece. In fact, out of all six novels in the Powder Mage universe, it felt like this is the one where action scenes happened the least. It’s different from the first trilogy but it’s not a bad thing per se. It may be slower relatively, but McClellan was still able to tell a compelling story without neglecting the high focus on characterizations, relationship developments, and politics. Cultural differences, greed, faith, responsibilities, loyalty, love, and learning from mistakes were some of the patent themes used effectively to enrich the narrative in Blood of Empire.

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Book Review: Wrath of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #2) by Brian McClellan

Book Review: Wrath of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #2) by Brian McClellan

Wrath of Empire by Brian McClellan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Gods of Blood and Powder (Book #2 of 3), Powder Mage (Book #5 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Flintlock Fantasy

Pages: 639 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 15th May 2018 by Orbit


Incredible character development given to Ben Styke and Michel; a bit conflicted regarding Vlora’s. Wrath of Empire sets up the stage nicely for the hopefully satisfying conclusion of the series.

I’ve mentioned in my review of Sins of Empire that the hype and the positive reviews for both Sins of Empire and Wrath of Empire were the main reason why I ended up giving this trilogy a go. Seeing that I absolutely loved Sins of Empire, I was excited to hear from everyone that Wrath of Empire, Brian McClellan’s highest-rated book so far, exceeded Sins of Empire in terms of overall quality. Admittedly, despite how much I enjoyed this book, I can’t agree with that notion.

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Book Review: Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) by Brian McClellan

Book Review: Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) by Brian McClellan

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Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Gods of Blood and Powder (Book #1 of 3), Powder Mage (Book #4 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy, Flintlock fantasy

Pages: 604 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 9th March 2017 by Orbit (UK) & 7th March 2017 by Orbit (US)


That was amazing. So glad I ended up giving this a go. What an explosive return to McClellan’s beloved Powder Mage universe.

It’s been two years since I finished reading the Powder Mage trilogy. Honestly, I felt satisfied with the ending I got in The Autumn Republic that I thought I would’ve been fine with not reading the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy. Thankfully, so many reviews and word-of-mouth have spread throughout the years, and they convinced me that this trilogy is even better than the first one. And it’s highly probable that they will be proven right. Just from the experience of reading this book, I know I would’ve made a grave mistake if I didn’t continue. I’ll go as far as saying that Sins of Empire alone is better than the first trilogy already.

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Book Review: Legacy of Ash (The Legacy Trilogy, #1) by Matthew Ward

Book Review: Legacy of Ash (The Legacy Trilogy, #1) by Matthew Ward

Achievement unlocked: This is the 100th ARC/Review Copy I’ve read and reviewed!

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

Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 784 pages (UK hardback edition)

Published: 5th November 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 9th April 2020 by Orbit (US)


Legacy of Ash is an epic fantasy debut aptly designed for well-seasoned epic fantasy readers, and I wouldn’t recommend newcomers to the genre starting to start their epic fantasy adventure here.

We all know how it goes; if it’s an epic fantasy debut, the particular book will immediately be advertised as A Song of Ice and Fire or Game of Thrones meets (insert another author/series/book here,) and Legacy of Ash isn’t excluded from that tradition. As much as I often find this kind of advertisement misleading most of the time, Legacy of Ash may have just done justice to this often-misleading claim. Legacy of Ash is an epic fantasy debut with many characters and names to remember, imbued with the hint of huge scope found in A Song of Ice and Fire and action sequences that bear a resemblance to Bernard Cornwell’s.

“The Tyrant Queen’s reign is done, but vigilance remains. For just as the shadows are strongest on the brightest of days, we are never more imperiled than when we think ourselves safe.”

Have you ever heard the argument that prologue sucked and unnecessary? I won’t lie, it’s an opinion that I can’t understand, or maybe I’m just lucky because I haven’t found any prologue that ends up becoming unnecessary to the main story. Prologues have the capability to set the tone, background, and premise of what’s to come in the main story, and Legacy of Ash, the first book in The Legacy Trilogy by Matthew Ward, did this wonderfully; it begins with a prologue that’s integral to the main conflicts that start fifteen years after the prologue.

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Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2.5) by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2.5) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle (Book #2.5 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 159 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 28th October 2014 by Gollancz (UK) & 28th October 2014 by DAW (US)


Atmospheric, bizarre, and absolutely enchanting.

Before you start reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things, please make sure you read the author’s foreword first and set your expectations accordingly. Rothfuss has mentioned it himself, this is a different kind of storytelling from his main series, and we won’t get a continuation to Kvothe’s story here; I didn’t listen to his advice on my first read, and it indeed stopped me from enjoying the novella to its fullest potential. I expected something different, found myself disappointed, and I also made the mistake of rushing through the novella on my first read because I decided to read it in the middle of reading The Wise Man’s Fear.

Don’t do what I did on my first read.

On this reread, I savored each page, paying proper attention to the beautifully composed structure of words that gives life to Auri, one of the most enigmatic characters in The Kingkiller Chronicle series; I’m blown away by how much I loved this book upon rereading it.

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