Book Review: The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7) by Stephen King

Book Review: The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7) by Stephen King


The Dark Tower by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Dark Tower is the pentacle of Stephen King’s magnum opus, and I’ve been terrified to get to it. King isn’t known for nailing his landings, and this one is especially controversial. I was afraid that, after reading 8,781 pages, or 3,951,408 words, on my long road to the Tower, I would be left feeling woefully disappointed, and as if I had wasted my time. I’m here to tell you that, thankfully, that isn’t the case. After reading the final pages of The Dark Tower I can safely say that this is my favorite completed series of all time. I’ve never read anything else like it. The only series that I think will eventually surpass it is Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives, but it will be well over a decade before that is completed. In the meantime, The Dark Tower stands alone among completed series for me. As it should.

“The road and the tale have both been long, would you not say so? The trip has been long and the cost has been high… but no great thing was ever attained easily. A long tale, like a tall Tower, must be built a stone at a time.”


There will be some vague spoilers here, though I’ll not mention any name save Roland’s. I simply don’t know how else to discuss a final book in a series so large. Skip to the end or turn back now if you wish to go into or continue this series knowing as little as possible.

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Book Review: The Fall of Neverdark (The Echoes Saga, #4) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Book Review: The Fall of Neverdark (The Echoes Saga, #4) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

The Fall of Neverdark by Philip C. Quaintrell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #4 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 709 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 29th November 2018 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)


The Fall of Neverdark was a great start to the second trilogy in The Echoes Saga.

If you have been following my reading journey this year, you will see that I have enjoyed my time reading through one book in The Echoes Saga by Philip C. Quaintrell each month. The Fall of Neverdark signaled the beginning of the second trilogy in the nine-book series, and I think it’s a more solid start to a series compared to Rise of the Ranger. It is always a risky move to continue writing a new story in a series after it has reached its completion. But in the case of The Echoes Saga, as the author stated himself, he has planned the series to be nine books long divided into three trilogies since the first and second books of the series. And I am gladdened by this decision. The new storyline here felt seamlessly connected to the first trilogy; it never felt forced. Once again, similar to the previous three books, The Fall of Neverdark provided another entertaining reading experience.

The story in The Fall of Neverdark takes place thirty years after the end of The War for the Realm in Relic of the Gods. The Third Age of Verda might end soon with the rise of a new powerful race of enemies, the orcs, and the new generation of heroes will have to take a stand in this overwhelming fight. As you can probably guess if you have read the previous book, a time skip is needed for the rest of the series to shine more, and Quaintrell delivered what I wanted and more. Most of the storylines in this book featured new main characters taking the central stage, but the narrative is also balanced with plenty of returning characters from the first trilogy. Although I was immediately immersed with The Fall of Neverdark, I was slightly afraid the new story would end up feeling forced or like a cash grab. However, I’m glad this fear was unfounded after the first 35% of the novel. The Crow, the orcs, necromancy, and The Dragon Knight made the conflicts in The Fall of Neverdark so compelling. Seeing our new and returning characters doing their best to struggle against surprisingly overwhelming odds was the direction the new trilogy needed.

“As Dragorn, we carry the most precious gift and the most powerful weapon. With it, there is nothing we cannot accomplish… Can you not feel it, wingless one? It has passed down the generations of our order for thousands of years. We carry hope.”

Maybe it is not fair to compare the quality of writing to Rise of the Ranger, the first book in the series, but I feel it’s necessary to mention that as a new start to a new trilogy, the prose in The Fall of Neverdark is vastly superior. The author mentioned in the acknowledgment section that this is the book he first wrote after he transitioned into a full-time author, and I think the cohesive quality of the plot, battle scenes, and characterizations can be felt in it. The new characters, like Inara, Alijah, The Crow, Vighon, and more, can hold up their end against the returning characters. I admit I am not a fan of Alijah yet; he’s prone to anger, although understandably, and he’s the kind of character who keep secrets and feelings to himself while thinking that his actions are correct. But the direction that his story took was, without a doubt, intriguing. And the same can obviously be said for the returning characters, especially Master Dragorn, all the dragons, Galanor, and Doran Heavybelly. Doran Heavybelly, in particular, received a LOT of development which makes me happy because I’ve always liked his character since his first appearance in Empire of Dirt.

I am limited in what I can say in my review because, technically, this is the fourth book of the series, and many things or names I mentioned could end up being interpreted as spoilers. Overall, despite my doubts and the slow start to the novel, The Fall of Neverdark is an engaging fourth novel in The Echoes Saga series. It continued superbly from Relic of the Gods while also starting something new in the world of Veda without sacrificing its characterizations. Based on everything set up in the series so far and the literal cliffhanger of this novel, I feel like this is the last installment before The Echoes Saga escalates to a higher level in Kingdom of Bones. My time with the series so far has been, for sure, captivating, and I am looking forward to whether the halfway point of the series will be able to turn The Echoes Saga into something special for me.


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Book Review: The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty, #2) by Ken Liu

Book Review: The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty, #2) by Ken Liu

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Weber

The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Dandelion Dynasty (Book #2 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Silkpunk

Pages: 880 pages (Hardcover Edition)

Published: 4th October 2016 by Saga Press (US) & Head of Zeus (UK)


A mind-blowing masterpiece. The Wall of Storms is the best second book of a series I’ve read since Words of Radiance.

“Hope was the currency that never ran out, and it was the fate of the poor to toil and endure, wasn’t it?”

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Book Review: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

Book Review: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd


The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Cartographers is one of those books that I added to my most anticipated list as soon as the cover and blurb were released. A literary mystery revolving around maps and map-making, with a dose of magical realism to boot? That sounded so very much up my alley that I snatched it up as soon as Book of the Month announced it as a March pick, and have been very much looking forward to it. The fact that it was only in my house for a couple of months before picking up is saying something, as even highly anticipated have my massive TBR to compete with before I manage to get to them. But unfortunately, I think my experience with The Cartographers is a case of letting anticipation spoil whatever is being anticipated, because it fell quite flat for me.

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Blog Tour: She Who Became the Sun (Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker Chan

Blog Tour: She Who Became the Sun (Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker Chan

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. We, the team at Novel Notions, are very thrilled and honored that we have the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley parker Chan.  This is the first book in Radiant Emperor duology, and with its paperback release being imminent tomorrow, here’s once again my review on She Who Became the Sun and why you should read it soon if you haven’t read it!

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Book Review: Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

Book Review: Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

 

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not a lover of thrillers, especially domestic ones. I try, because they often sound so intriguing, but I almost without fail guess the twists so far in advance that I get frustrated with the characters for not seeing what I see. And speaking of the characters, the main “protagonist” is so often a troubled, unreliable female narrator who is billed as highly intelligent but who is constantly making stupid decisions, and I think it’s a trope that has been radically overdone and should be laid to rest. But after hearing Goodnight Beautiful described as brilliant by readers I trust, and being told to go in as blind as possible, I just couldn’t pass this one up when it was offered as a Book of the Month pick. Except, then I didn’t read it for a year and a half.

When I finally did pick up Goodnight Beautiful, I was pretty blown away.

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Book Review: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron

Book Review: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron

ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review

Cover Art by Luisa Preißler.

The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow by Rachel Aaron

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Crystal Calamity (Book 1)

Genre: Fantasy, historical fantasy, alternate history

Published: 1st June 2022 (self-published)


The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow was another effortless winner from Rachel Aaron, brimming with imagination, wonderful characters and captivating magic. 

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Book Review: Babel, or the Necessity of Violence: an Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang

Book Review: Babel, or the Necessity of Violence: an Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang

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

Cover art illustrated by: Nico Delort

Babel, or the Necessity of Violence: an Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Dark Academia

Pages: 560 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 23rd August 2022 by Harper Voyager


Babel was absolutely impressive, ambitious, and intelligently crafted. As unbelievable as it sounds, R.F. Kuang has triumphed over The Poppy War Trilogy—which I loved so much—with this one book.

“Language was always the companion of empire, and as such, together they begin, grow, and flourish. And later, together, they fall.”

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

Hello all!  Welcome back to my monthly wrap-up.

Amazingly, I found my Book of the Month for May right at the very beginning of the month, but that’s not to say that the books that came after that were not good.  Most of them were great reads (in fact, only one book disappointed me), and I’m happy to say that the series conclusion that I was looking forward to delivered very satisfactorily.   I did start to feel a slight burn-out from reading almost non-stop fantasy (albeit mostly Middle Grade) and ended the month with two crime/mystery thrillers.

NB. Books are rated within its genre.  For avoidance of doubt, rereads are not considered for Book of the Month.

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Book Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry


Book Lovers by Emily Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Sometimes, even when you start with the last page and you think you know everything, a book finds a way to surprise you.”

Book Lovers was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022, but it was also one of the books I was most nervous to read. I adored Beach Read and The People We Meet on Vacation, Henry’s two previous adult fiction novels, so a part of me was afraid that Book Lovers might not measure up. Also, romance isn’t a genre that I was very into until last year, when nearly half of my 192 reads for the year were romance. I felt like I had gorged on them so much that I was sick of them, and I feared that any romance I read this year would suffer through no fault of their own, but simply because I was burned out. Thankfully, neither factor effected my experience with Book Lovers. It was just as lovely as I could have hoped; different enough from Henry’s other novels to not feel redundant, and with enough plot outside of the romance itself to keep from feeling nauseatingly sweet.

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