Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. We, the team at Novel Notions, are very thrilled and honored that we were asked by Michael S. Jackson to participate in the blog tour for the The Path and the Way, the first book in Ringlander series. On this interview, we asked Jackson a few questions related to his writing and debut. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Michael S. Jackson!
The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Dagger and the Coin (Book #5 of 5)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 519 pages (Kindle edition)
Published: 8th March 2016 by Orbit
The best of the series; The Spider’s War is an unconventional and incredibly satisfying conclusion to an underrated fantasy series.
“The world has never been fair. Often beautiful. Sometimes kind when kindness was not deserved. But never fair.”
Jennifer Saint penned a lovely, if depressing, novel in Ariadne. It will definitely appeal to the same audience that loved Madeline Miller’s Circe. However, there was some magic imbued into Miller’s work, some fierce beauty behind the pain, that wasn’t present in this novel. It felt like viewing a work of art through a fog instead of clear glass. While it was a very well written mythological retelling, I couldn’t quite love it. …
Cover art designed by: Books Covered
The Fall by Ryan Cahill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Bound and the Broken (Book #0.5 of 4)
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Pages: 95 pages
Published: 1st November 2020 by Ryan Cahill (Self-published)
This review was written on the 29th of June 2017
Cover art by: Ian Leino
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Books of Babel (Book #1 of 4)
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk Fantasy
Pages: 371 pages (US Kindle edition)
Published: 18th February 2013 by Josiah Bancroft (Self-published) & 22nd August 2017 Orbit Books
If you need extra proof that a self-published fantasy can be on par/superior compared to traditionally published fantasy books, Senlin Ascends is it. …
City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Divine Cities (Book 3 of 3)
Genre: Urban fantasy, fantasy, post-apocalyptic
Published: 2nd May 2017 by Broadway Books (US) & 4th May 2017 by Jo Fletcher Books (UK)
With its stunning denouement in City of Miracles, Robert Jackson Bennett’s masterful genre-redefining trilogy is now one of my all-time favourites.
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, HighBridge Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I had few expectations of Night Came with Many Stars when I received the ARC on NetGalley. It’s not a book that had been on my radar at all; I hadn’t heard it mentioned on any of the sites and podcasts I follow for book news. I was immediately and completely captivated by the prose. But that’s not to say that said prose outshone the story itself, which was equally engaging. I knew very little about this book going in, and was pleased to discover that it was actually a multi-generational family saga. However, it’s a family saga presented in a way that felt fresh and unique. I ended up loving everything about it, and am so thankful for whatever serendipity brought it to my attention.
The writing style, especially in the first few chapters, is breathtakingly pretty, and very unique. I was reminded of Where the Crawdads Sing, but only slightly. The further the story progressed, the more clearly original it revealed itself to be. The author employs some truly unique metaphors and similes that had me going back and rereading (and re-listening) to lines, just to get my head completely wrapped around the comparisons. Every single one of them worked, even though I would never have come up with them myself.
I love the juxtaposition in perspectives and time periods. Life was so radically different for a thirteen year-old girl in the 1930s than it was for a boy of the same age in the 80s. This is a fact that anyone would know if they took a moment to think about that scenario, but the back-to-back jumping between the two drove that truth home on a far deeper level.
I also loved how the author kept pace as he swapped between these two perspectives. We see Carol and Samuel alternatively at similar ages and stages of life, which just further drives home how different their lives were based on gender and time period. And yet there were some beautiful parallels, as well. I very much enjoyed watching both of them grow.
What makes a family? Does shared blood mean more or less than love developed over the course of years? Watching Carol slowly build herself a family without noticing, and watching Samuel grow to appreciate his own family more and more, was absolutely lovely. The side characters in this story were just a beautifully full of life as the main characters, with a couple of notable exceptions. I found anyone with a villainous role in the novel to be a bit two-dimensional, but even that decision served the story well. While I loved all of the supporting cast, I developed a serious soft spot for Eddie and Joe, in particular.
Night Came with Many Stars is a hopeful, beautifully written story with a lot of depth and even more heart. I didn’t expect to be adding it to my list of favorite books of the year, but that’s exactly where it landed. Also, I can’t recommend the audio version highly enough. I’ll definitely be buying myself a physical copy in the near future. This is a book that deserves a place on my favorites shelf.
You can purchase this book from: Blackwell’s | Bookshop.org (Support Independent Bookstores) | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible | Libro.fm (Another way to support independent bookstores!) | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide!)
ARC provided by the publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.
Cover illustration by: Tomas Almeida
The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Age of Madness (Book #3 of 3), First Law World (Book, #10 of 10)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy
Pages: 529 pages (UK Hardback)
Published: 14th September 2021 by Gollancz (UK) & Orbit (US)
Joe Abercrombie is a genius storyteller. The Wisdom of Crowds is one of the best books of the year, a masterfully crafted conclusion to The Age of Madness trilogy.
“What is the point of gathering knowledge if one does not pass it on? What is the point of growing old if one does not try to shape the future?”
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Aching God by Mike Shel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: Iconoclasts (Book #1 of 3)
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 602 pages (Paperback edition)
Published: 9th April 2018 by Mike Shel (Self-published)
Aching God started off nicely and ended great, but I have issues with the overall pacing. …
I have always been fascinated by fairy tales. From an early age, any book I could find filled with fairy tales or fables, myths or legends or fables, immediately drew me in like a moth to flame. I have well over two dozen collections of such stories in my physical library, and I’m scared to even count those on my Kindle. Something about these stories, from the morals they attempt to convey to the questions they seek to answer. about the ways in which the world works, tells readers just as much about the society they come from as an historical text. And I’ve always had a soft spot for more modern tales inspired by these stories. Because of this, I’m not really sure why it took me so long to pick up The Book of Lost Things, but it was every bit as whimsical and melancholy and lovely as I hoped it would be. Some fairy tale retellings, or stories inspired in some way by fairy tales, can come across as too saccharine, but that was certainly not the case here. There was a charm to the story, for sure, but it was by no means sweet. …