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Month: January 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : January 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : January 2022

Hi everyone!

I’m trying something new this year as my review mojo (whatever there was left of it) seemed to have finally vanished into oblivion.  Instead of writing individual book reviews, I’ll be posting a monthly wrap-up post on what I’ve read for the month.  I still do write short reviews and thoughts on my Goodreads profile, so this post will be sort of an summary and reflection upon the month that was.

I’ve read 6 books and several short stories in the month of January, most of them are buddy reads with my co-bloggers.

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Book Review: Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham (Kithamar, #1)

Book Review: Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham (Kithamar, #1)

 

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Publish date: 15th February 2022 (Orbit)

 

Alys is just another nobody from Longhill, a gutter rat relying on ‘pulls’ to survive. Each theft wins her little more than enough to keep a roof over her head and food in her belly, the spoils shared between disparate players, together only for the sake of the job. Her big brother Darro, on the other hand, is running far bigger plays. The high-stakes kind that might help him escape this low-born world. That brings in gold. That gets him killed. Losing the only family she cares about puts Alys on a path of revenge. Desperate to find out who killed him and why, she finds herself playing a very dangerous game with people who know far more about the city than she does. As she starts to lose herself to the chase, Alys must decide how far she’s willing to go to avenge her dead brother, especially when she’s not the only one who’ll be paying the price for her success…

 

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BOOK REVIEW: DAUGHTER OF REDWINTER (THE REDWINTER CHRONICLES, #1) BY ED MCDONALD

BOOK REVIEW: DAUGHTER OF REDWINTER (THE REDWINTER CHRONICLES, #1) BY ED MCDONALD

Daughter of Redwinter

Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Redwinter Chronicles (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 352 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 28th June 2022 by Tor (US) & 30th June 2022 by Gollancz (UK)


Mysterious, honest, and exciting from start to finish, Daughter of Redwinter has the goods.

As a fan of Ed’s Raven’s Mark series, I had been looking forward to seeing what he had in store next. I’m happy to say that Daughter of Redwinter hits the bullseye in many satisfying ways.

Raine is a engaging character, with a strong and singular voice. She’s only seventeen, so she makes some dumb teenager mistakes that are relatable and honest. But she also has a heart of stone and a peerless resolve, which makes her very easy to root for. She has an extremely cool curse/power she was born into, and it gets more and more interesting as the story progresses. I enjoyed how it plays a key role in shaping the core of her worldview instead of simply augmenting it.

Another source of enjoyment was how unexpectedly different the writing was from Raven’s Mark. Ed writes a tight, clean prose and this felt especially well-edited and polished. Not a page or paragraph wasted; every passage was pertinent and compelling and drove the plot forward while developing the characters further. Raven’s Mark was grim, but I would not classify Daughter of Redwinter as a grim story, though it does have some dark moments and heavy themes. Altogether this book felt like a tightly-packaged, well-produced, very well-written story, start to finish. My only complaint is that I’m not a huge fan of the cover. The font and colors feel off-tone to what the story portrays.

This was less of a classical hero’s quest or a rousing good vs. evil story. More than anything, this book had the structure of a good, dark mystery novel. All grey characters whom you didn’t know what side they were on until they end, some good surprise reveals and misdirections, and some well-developed toxic relationships that are unfortunately all too tangible.

I could go on about the interesting magic system in the world, or the religion and lore, but it’s best to go into most of it blind. All in all, this was a real page-turner, one that kept me guessing, and pulling the rug out from under me. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but tensions are kept high while new questions kept rolling in. This is an exciting entry to a new series and I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel.

Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5) by Stephen King

Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5) by Stephen King


The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The stories we hear in childhood are the ones we remember all our lives.”

The Wind Through the Keyhole is a story within a story within yet another story. It’s a Russian nesting doll of a book of the highest class. No, the highest caliber is a more fitting description, I suppose, for this gunslinger’s fairytale. I loved it in the same way I loved The Eyes of the Dragon, but perhaps even more fervently. Actually, I did something I don’t recall ever doing before; I left a bookmark right at the beginning of the fairytale portion when I re-shelved the book, so I could flip it open and read just that section whenever I choose.

“Sometimes I feel the world has come loose of its moorings.”
“It has,” I said. “But what comes loose can be tied tight again…”

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Book Review: Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art is done by: Larry Rostant

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Revelations (Book #1-2 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 694 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 23rd November 2011 by Orbit


It’s been five years (January 2017) since I first read through The Riyria Revelations, and I honestly didn’t expect I would ever read through this series again. That changed after last year. Last year, out of nowhere, I suddenly missed Royce, Hadrian, and the characters of The Riyria Revelations. And I ended up reading through The Riyria Chronicles, the prequel series to The Riyria Revelations, which I enjoyed immensely. After I finished the first two books in The Riyria Chronicles, I immediately knew I MUST read The Riyria Revelations again because I knew that my experience of it will be improved significantly. And just from reading Theft of Swords, the first omnibus in The Riyria Revelations, I can already confirm the accuracy of my prediction. This review will be different and longer than usual. I will keep my thoughts on my first read intact for newcomers to the series, and I will also elaborate on why things worked so much better on reread.

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Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz


The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I was drawn to The Plot by the cover. I try not to judge books by their covers, but the double entrendre of this one, with the book on the book cover and a burial plot in the background of the title, immediately captured my attention. And I did very much enjoy the layers of this story within a story, this nesting doll of layers that Korelitz presents here. But when the premise revolves around the writing of a book with a completely unique plot, one which is not a variation of the same handful of plots we’ve told and retold since before written language came to be, you don’t expect to guess the twist. Alas, that was my experience. The Plot sets out to deliver something new, and does to an extent, but I feel that it promised more than it was able to deliver.

“Good writers borrow, great writers steal. —T. S. Eliot (but possibly stolen from Oscar Wilde)”

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Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy

Pages: 370 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 10th January 2017 by Del Rey (US) & 12th January 2017 by Del Rey (UK)


I enjoyed reading this debut. The Bear and the Nightingale is an atmospheric read with a likable main character.

Similar to Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, one of the reasons I wanted to read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is because I want to imagine how it feels to live in the wintery season. Actually, on that note, if you love Spinning Silver, I think you should give this novel a try as well; there are a lot of similarities between the two books, though I liked Spinning Silver more. But back on point. As someone who lived in a tropical country all his life, winter, snow, or cold seasons are pretty close to being fantasy weather for me. I wanted to read a fantasy book that will make me feel this experience, and with the combination of cold air conditioners, I got what I wanted from reading The Bear and the Nightingale.

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Book Review: Rise of the Ranger (The Echoes Saga, #1) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Book Review: Rise of the Ranger (The Echoes Saga, #1) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

Rise of the Ranger by Philip C. Quaintrell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #1 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 538 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 5th May 2017 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)


Rise of the Ranger is a promising beginning to another classic fantasy series told with a modern voice.

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Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Exquisite. That is the first word that comes to mind as I consider The Song of Achilles. Miller is a truly gifted author. The ways in which she was able to breathe new life and depth into characters who have been part of our collective consciousness for millennia is awe-inspiring. The story of Achilles and the Trojan War is one I have consumed in a plethora of formats and reiterations, but the way Miller tells the tale is without comparison.

“I am made of memories.”

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Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4) by Sarah J. Maas


A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, I am absolutely shocked by how much I adored this book. While I loved A Court of Mist and Fury fiercely, I felt that A Court of Wings and Ruin didn’t quite measure up in comparison, and that A Court of Frost and Starlight was weak and forgettable compared to the rest of the series. I had just about decided that I would end my experience with the series there, but my brother changed my mind. He just binge-read all of ACOTAR and told me that ACOMAF had been his favorite until he read this one, which he thought was by far the strongest of the series. I didn’t really see how it could measure up to ACOMAF, but we rarely disagree when we read the same books. And he was so right. A Court of Silver Flames is just badass in every way. While not quite as romantic as A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Silver Flames surpasses it in girl-power, intensity, and spice level. I read furiously and enjoyed every minute.

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