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Month: June 2023



Combat Codes (The Combat Codes, #1) by Alexander Darwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Martial Arts
Pages: 484 pages (paperback)
Published: 13th June 2023, Orbit

Combat Codes is a fun, immersive, and exciting genre mashup of martial arts, science fiction, and magic-school fantasy. The story is set in a dystopian future where the world is divided into powerful corporations that settle their grievances by hiring Combatants to engage in single combat. (“We fight so that the rest shall not have to.”) There is no use for large-scale military battles when the fate of trade routes and border expansions rests on the fighting prowess of a lone warrior. The high stakes create tension and excitement with each showdown, and Darwin’s commitment to writing realistic fighting styles had me engaged throughout the story. The combat scenes are expertly choreographed – a certain highlight of the book – as well as a nicely budding father/son, mentor/student relationship between its two leads.

Cego is a young, blind, gifted fighter that is trying to make a name for himself in the streets. His disability is overshadowed by his rare martial arts talent, allowing him to understand his environment at an elevated level. He reminded me of a teenage Daredevil as his extraordinary skills helped him rise to meet the challenges of his handicap. Cego eventually encounters Murray, an ex-Combatant who runs freelance jobs to make ends meet, and Murray quickly realizes the potential in this protégé. But Cego’s past hides many far-reaching secrets that will present a heap of trouble for Murray, and the world at large.

The dichotomy of Cego’s innocence combined with Murray’s stoicism and brute tactics make them an interesting pair. Both are unwavering and determined in their actions, and it was easy to root for them. While their bond and the ensuing battle scenes are well-written and imaginative, there’s much more to Combat Codes than what lies on the surface. There are various thought-provoking themes the story presents, including the morality of a corporate-controlled system, and the personal costs of war.

Overall, Combat Codes is an entertaining science fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of martial arts, a dystopian setting, and interesting world-building. It sets the table for the sequel in many exciting ways, and luckily we won’t have to wait too long for it to drop.

Book Review: The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi (Amina al-Sirafi, #1) by Shannon Chakraborty

Book Review: The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi (Amina al-Sirafi, #1) by Shannon Chakraborty

This review is a copy of the transcript of my video review on The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi.

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

Cover art by Ivan Belikov

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty

My rating: 3.5  of 5 stars

Series: Amina al-Sirafi (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy

Pages: 483. pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 28th February 2023 by Harper Voyager

I gave in to the hype. I finally read Chakraborty’s book for the first time, and it certainly will not be the last.

“Exaggerations, but the truth scarcely matters when it comes to a good tale.”

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Book Review: Ruination (League of Legends) by Anthony Reynolds

Book Review: Ruination (League of Legends) by Anthony Reynolds

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

Ruination: A League of Legends Novel by Anthony Reynolds

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: League of Legends (Book #1)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 448 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 6th September 2022 by Orbit Books

Surprisingly better than I expected. Ruination is a fast-paced and compelling standalone novel in the universe of League of Legends.

“A fool with power is a dangerous thing. And we live in a world overflowing with fools and power. —Extract from “The Helian Primer of Light”

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