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Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)

Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Kings of Ash by Richard Nell
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Kings of Ash triumphed over its predecessor in almost every possible way.

Kings of Ash is the second book in Richard Nell’s Ash and Sand trilogy. It’s the sequel to the highly praised Kings of Paradise, but the fans of the previous book don’t need to worry about stumbling into the infamous middle book syndrome here. Kings of Ash surpassed the previous book’s quality and it can all be boiled down to one reason: this is Ruka’s book. I mentioned this in my review of Kings of Paradise: “Ruka’s POV was easily one of the best anti-heroes POV I’ve ever read in grimdark fantasy,” and I stand by my words, even more so after reading this installment. Kings of Ash is a different kind of book from its predecessor; it’s much more character-driven. Almost the entire narrative was told from Ruka’s POV and I’m incredibly satisfied by this decision. Nell offers a deep exploration of Ruka’s character and it makes the storyline feel more intimate. More importantly, this storytelling style shows Nell’s greatest writing strength as an author – his characterizations.

“A lioness cares nothing for the shriek of jackals, old woman. Now hear this, and hear it well—if she had raised me to hate, I would kill you and all your kin, and no man or god could stop me.”

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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you love watching Game of Thrones, you’re most likely going to love reading A Game of Thrones.

Like countless readers around the world, I probably wouldn’t have known about A Song of Ice and Fire without its TV series adaptation, Game of Thrones. I’ve been following the TV series ever since the release of its first episode, I was completely captivated by the originality of the storyline and characters. Upon finishing the first season of the TV show, I immediately picked up this book and honestly? I DNF’ed it about a quarter into the book. It wasn’t that the book was bad, it was because the TV show—at least the first season—did a spectacular job of adapting the first installment of A Song of Ice and Fire. Something you have to know about me is that when my first entrance into a series is through a TV series/movies adaptation which I ended up loving, I tend to find the original material—usually novels—become super boring because I already know how it all will go down. It’s the biggest reason why I’m still not able to finish The Fellowship of the Ring. Unfortunately, it’s also the reason why I couldn’t finish this book back then. Now, years after my first try of reading A Game of Thrones, not only I was able to finish it, I loved it so much and I craved for more by the end of it.

“… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

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The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars from start to finish for this exceptional Japanese-inspired military fantasy standalone. As of this moment, The Sword of Kaigen has become not only one of the four best self-published books I’ve ever read, but also my personal number one favorite self-published book.

This is one of those books where I just want to write “Please buy it and read it. It’s fucking amazing!” as my entire review. This book came out of nowhere and it totally stole my heart. If you’ve been following my reviewing progress, then you probably know that I like to keep and show my personal stats and facts on books I’ve read and reviewed. So here it goes. After The Mirror’s Truth by Michael R. Fletcher, We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson, and Never Die by Rob J. Hayes, The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang is currently the fourth self-published book that I’ve rated with a full 5 stars. I honestly didn’t expect to love this book that much but I was madly engrossed by every page. Trust me, you’ll want to pre-order this book right now. I already did, it’s only $0.99 at the moment on Amazon for god sake! (More info on the amazing bonuses that come with the pre-order at the bottom of this review.)

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Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My review probably won’t be able to do this book justice. Well, justice is dead but I’ll see what I can do.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that my expectations regarding Oathbringer were extremely hard to contain. I had heard a lot of fantastic things about this series the first time I went through The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance last year, but I read through them many years after their original release dates. Oathbringer is a different experience in terms of environment and surrounding hype; this time I’m actually in the midst of all the hype, praises, and excitement everywhere. Because of this my expectations were Skybreaking high; especially after reading one of my favorite books of all time: Words of Radiance. Despite my irrational expectations, I’m gratified to say that Sanderson managed to meet my expectations because Oathbringer ended up being another masterwork installment in The Stormlight Archive series.

“This book, the third in the Stormlight Archive, is the most intimate, most tightly woven, and most eclectic book I’ve ever written—all wrapped up into one… I like this book. I really, really like this book.” –Brandon Sanderson

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Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this is finally happening. I’m ranking The Stormlight Archive as my number one favorite book series of all time, overtaking the throne previously held by Mistborn trilogy, and I don’t think this will change anytime soon. The Gods of the Cosmere knows how much I love the original Mistborn trilogy but Brandon Sanderson really raised the bar for the epic fantasy genre sky high with this series.

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The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Incredible, impressive or fantastic, all these words are an understatement to the quality this book holds. The Way of Kings is the beginning of a masterpiece series in epic fantasy. It is now my life goal and a new addition to my bucket list to obtain and read the entire series of The Stormlight Archive, which will probably take at least another 20 years from now to complete.

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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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The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)

The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)

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

The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

I don’t think it’s too soon for me to say that The Gutter Prayer will be the best fantasy debut of 2019.

I have been anticipating this book ever since I first laid my eyes upon the gorgeous cover art by Richard Anderson. You see, I have this perception that any fantasy book with Richard Anderson’s art gracing its cover will most likely reflect that beauty with amazing content inside; once again I was proven right. In my opinion, Orbit is one of the best modern fantasy publishers these days. This is even more evident if we’re speaking about debuts released over the past two years, such as Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker. The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan has strengthened that notion.

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Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)

Jade City by Fonda Lee
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Incredible, the multiple nominees and awards this book has won are all well deserved.

Jade City, the first book in The Green Bone Saga series is also Fonda Lee’s adult fantasy debut. Ever since I knew about the existence of this novel, it has always been a book I wanted to read. As usual, the unbeatable TBR pile delayed me and I was so sure that I won’t be getting into this one until next year. However, after seeing the non-stop praises that Fonda Lee and the book constantly received, as an Asian and avid adult fantasy reader I knew that I couldn’t delay this any longer. I’m really happy that I gave this a read now because lately, I’ve been craving a fantastic Asian-inspired fantasy and Jade City delivered a spectacular Asian-inspired urban fantasy debut.

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