The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Blade Itself is exactly why I believe in second chances. When I first read this book four years ago, I had very little adult fantasy under my belt. I had read Elantris, Mistborn, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Kingkiller Chronicle. That’s pretty much it. I think I just wasn’t mentally prepared for something like The Blade Itself. Even ASoIaF, by far the darkest of the fantasy novels I had read up to that point, had a number of characters who were mostly moral. Even if I wasn’t sure how long said characters would live, I knew that there was good even in this dark world. Then Abercrombie entered. While even on my first reading I appreciated how fleshed out and unique his characters were, there was a part of me that was horrified to find a core of darkness within those I had thought were basically good. My little brain didn’t cope well with that.
“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”
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ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
The newest rising queen of fantasy is back with her newest book, The Dragon Republic, and it managed to live up to my super high expectations.
Can we first appreciate just how damn gorgeous the cover of this book is? JungShan has created another spectacular cover-selling ink illustration and I’m confident that many readers will pick up the book/series even if they don’t know anything about it. The same situation as its predecessor, the quality of the content of the book did justice to the beautiful cover art and vice versa. I’m pretty sure practically everyone who knows me on bookish social media knows how much I loved The Poppy War. I even created a Twitter account just to wish the author a congratulatory message on her debut’s publication day. If you don’t know/remember, here’s a short snippet of what I said about the first book:
“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year… a book that will go down as one of the best grimdark/military fantasy debuts of all time. […] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.”
Yeah… suffice to say that I highly loved the first book. Since then, The Poppy War has also garnered well-deserved praises, nominations, and awards; my high expectations towards its sequel were inevitable and I’m glad to say that after reading this book, my worry was unfounded and Kuang entranced me once again with her newest installment. …
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