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

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

A Time Of Blood by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Oh man. I wish time travel was a thing so I could dart into the future and get my hands on the last book of this trilogy. I need the final installment immediately.

“We live our lives by Truth and Courage. Love and loyalty, friendship and honour are our guiding lights.”

I absolutely adored The Faithful and the Fallen. The entire quartet was insanely epic, and each book was better than the last. I was crazy excited to get my hands on A Time of Dread, the first book of Gwynne’s followup series Of Blood and Bone. As much as I enjoyed it, that book had more of a grimdark feel to it than the original series, which saddened me and kept me from loving it to quite the same extent, though I see now that it was a necessary writing decision. A Time of Blood more than made up for that. While still dark and definitely bloody, this second installment had more of the optimism that made TFatF so wonderful, shining a light into the darkness and fighting to overcome it. I was ecstatic to feel the return of that hopefulness even in the midst of dark and terrible times. Something that Gwynne does wonderfully well is balance sorrow with hope. We should mourn and avenge our fallen, but we should also preserve our memories of them and honor them by living life to the fullest.

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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: 4 of 5 stars

“Sometimes the only answer is blood and steel.”

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I loved getting to revisit the Banished Lands, which is among by favorite fantasy worlds. On the other, seeing the way this world has changed in the over a century since the events of The Faithful and the Fallen (TFatF) was painful. But that’s part of the point.

While Gwynne’s original series set in the Banished Land had a lot of warring and sadness and character deaths, I wouldn’t call it grimdark. There was a hopefulness to the story that in my opinion negated that genre. However, I would say that this first book of the followup series is undoubtedly grimdark. The brightness that managed to shine through in the first series isn’t present here, which made me sad. That said, I get the reasoning behind it. The world that the cast of TFatF fought for has been preserved, but at a high price. It has been undeniably altered, and not for the better. Looking back on the events of the first four books, this alteration saddens me because it makes the fight feel like it wasn’t worth the cost. But that’s not true, and I’m hoping that in the second installment of this followup series, we’ll see a bit more of the hope that defined TFatF.

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Wrath (The Faithful and the Fallen, #4)

Wrath (The Faithful and the Fallen, #4)

Wrath by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Masterpiece.

Mark my words, if this series ever gets adapted into a television series with the same production value given to Game of Thrones, it will create a myriad of fan bases all over the world. Watch out George R. R. Martin, while you’re waiting for the breeze from the Winds of Winter to come, John Gwynne has appeared out of nowhere and he has conquered the genre; the apprentice has become the master.

Wrath is, in my opinion, the best out of the four books in the series, which means the series always got better with each installment and with its completion I’ve decided to include John in my list of favorite authors of all time. That makes him one of my very few auto-buy authors; along with Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie, I’ll be content with buying every book they write.

“It will be a dark day, a bloody day, a proud day, for this is the day of our wrath.”

I’ll start off my review with two simple questions.

1. Does this series provide something new to the genre?

No, almost every single plot device here has been done before.

2. Is it good?

No, good is a really huge understatement. It’s damn near perfection for its genre.

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Ruin (The Faithful and the Fallen, #3)

Ruin (The Faithful and the Fallen, #3)

Ruin by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Intense, brutal, gory, poignant, epic, and filled with love and vengeance; John Gwynne simply can do no wrong

“Two for vengeance. One for Love.”

Ruin, the third book in The Faithful and the Fallen series is a great example of how a penultimate epic fantasy installment ought to be written. This was even better than its predecessors; making this the best book in the series so far.

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Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen, #2)

Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen, #2)

Valor by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘War has erupted in the Banished Lands as the race for power intensifies’ and with that eruption, comes a well deserved 5-stars rating.

I gave huge praises to Malice, it was impressive but Valor, the second book in John Gwynne’s debut series was incredibly better than its predecessor. I included both Malice and Valor in one of my all-time favorite lists; that’s two out of four books of the series already. Judging from the quality progression of the series, I strongly believe the second half of The Faithful and the Fallen will follow that notion.

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Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen, #1)

Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen, #1)

Malice by John Gwynne
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Do you ever have this feeling, just after you finished reading the first book of a series, you knew immediately there’s a huge potential for the series to become one of your favorite series of all time? Malice, the first book in The Faithful and the Fallen quartet by John Gwynne is one of those rare cases for me.

What started out as a simple classic tale of Good vs Evil ended up being not as simple as I thought. As the story progressed, the story evolved darker gradually while keeping the theme ‘Good vs Evil’ at its heart. Has this theme been done before in the past? Yes, more than a million times already. Will I ever get bored with it? No, never. It’s my favorite kind of story; it’s the essence of the majority of epic fantasy books, video games, and movies. What this theme requires to reach greatness has always been a touch of creativity, to make the story unique, make it the author’s own story to share and this, John Gwynne did phenomenally.

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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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Petrik Leo’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2018)

Petrik Leo’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2018)

Time really flies huh? Another year is coming to an end soon! This year I’ve read and reviewed 129 books. It’s been another fantastic reading year. Considering the high amount of 4.5 and 5 stars books I’ve rated this year, I’ll even say that this year miraculously ended up being my best reading year so far. There will be four 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.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.
  • Outside of the two top spots (for good reasons), none of these are in particular order. All have merit, and most have different strengths that make them stand out from each other; putting a rank on them feels odd to me, especially when every book in this list now resides on my ‘favorite books’ shelf.

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2018! (All full reviews of these books can be found on my Goodreads page; some are already available on this blog.)


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

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

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

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

A Time of Blood earned my absolutely undying praise for its impeccable, top-notch quality.

Currently, there are only three fantasy authors in the world who can compel me to drop every book in my reading plan and start their newest published work instead; John Gwynne is one of them. There will never be a shortage of praises I can give towards Gwynne’s books. I’m serious, I have insanely high expectations towards his books and yet somehow each of his newest works never fail to not only meet but also exceed my expectations. If you believe in my recommendations and somehow you still haven’t read any of Gwynne’s books, you need to redeem yourself immediately. A Time of Blood was such an incredible and riveting reading experience that I finished it in less than 24 hours; it made me totally ignore reality.

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Cover Reveal: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) by John Gwynne

Cover Reveal: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) by John Gwynne

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. I’ll keep this introduction brief. John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors of all time. Ever since I finished The Faithful and the Fallen series by him, it has become one of my top three most favorite series of all time. This January, Gwynne released A Time of Dread, the first book in his newest trilogy, Of Blood and Bone. Today, I want to bring you guys a cover reveal of the second book in Of Blood and Bone trilogy. Seriously, if you love epic fantasy and haven’t read any of Gwynne’s books, you’re missing out on one of the greatest fantasy series to grace our world. Without further ado, time to bless your eyes with this glorious cover reveal of A Time of Blood!

Cover art by Paul Young.

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