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Book Review: The Garden of Empire (Pact and Pattern, #2) by J.T. Greathouse

Book Review: The Garden of Empire (Pact and Pattern, #2) by J.T. Greathouse

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

Cover art illustrated by: Patrick Knowles

The Garden of Empire by J.T. Greathouse

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Pact and Pattern (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 446 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 5th August 2021 by Gollancz


The Garden of Empire did not live up to The Hand of the Sun King, but it is a good sequel—with issues—that also promises incredible things to come in the third and final book of the trilogy.

‘Ambition is only a failing if one cannot live up to it,’

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Book Review: The Battle that was Lost (Ringlander, #0.5) by Michael S. Jackson

Book Review: The Battle that was Lost (Ringlander, #0.5) by Michael S. Jackson

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

Cover art illustrated by: John Anthony di Giovanni

The Battle that was Lost by Michael S. Jackson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Ringlander (Book #0.5)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 104 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 13th October 2022 (Self-published)


An action-packed one-sitting read, The Battle that was Lost is an introductory novella to the Ringlander that shows glimpses of Jackson’s skill at writing actions and a fast-paced story.

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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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Book Review: Darling Girl by Liz Michalski

Book Review: Darling Girl by Liz Michalski

Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan by Liz Michalski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Darling Girl sounded like something that would be incredibly up my alley. A dark retelling of Peter Pan? Yes, please. However, I found myself pretty disappointed with the book overall. While I didn’t hate it, I found that the tale and the structure and especially the characters left much to be desired.

“Once the forbidden fruit has been tasted, there’s no going back to paradise. For anyone. Even Peter Pan, it seems. Innocence, once lost, is impossible to regain.”

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Book Review: In The Shadow of Lightning (The Glass Immortal, #1) by Brian McClellan

Book Review: In The Shadow of Lightning (The Glass Immortal, #1) by Brian McClellan

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

Cover art illustrated by: Dan Burgess

In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Glass Immortals (Book #1)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Flintlock Fantasy

Pages: 576 pages (Hardcover Edition)

Published: 21st June 2022 by Tor Books


Brian McClellan’s return to the epic fantasy scene is a good one, but it didn’t feel as explosive as his Powder Mage universe.

In the Shadow of Lightning, the first book in The Glass Immortals series, was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022. It has been three years since Brian McClellan concluded his Powder Mage universe series with Blood of Empire, the third and final book in his God of Blood and Powder trilogy. I have read the entirety of the Powder Mage universe, and since then, I have wondered what kind of series and world will McClellan create next. When I saw the cover art to In the Shadow of Lightning being revealed, the illustration done by Dan Burgess, my interest in it was sparked immediately. Plus, Brandon Sanderson, Fonda Lee, and James Islington (all three are some of my favorite authors) gave their praises for this book made me even more excited to read this. Sanderson even said this is McClellan’s best work to date! Unfortunately, I have to disagree with him. The book didn’t click as much as I expected it would.

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Book Review: The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning

Book Review: The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning


The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Shadow Glass is a love letter to kitschy fantasy movies from the 80s. If you’re a lover of movies like Willow, The Never-Ending Story, Labyrinth, and especially The Dark Crystal, then you need to get your hands on this book. Its pages are populated with puppets come to life, a quest to save a dying fantasy realm, and a ton of pop culture references. While I loved the idea behind it, the actual execution of this story left me a bit unsatisfied, but it’s a book that I think is going to make a lot of my fellow nerdy 80s babies extremely happy.

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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: The Flame Bearer (The Last Kingdom, #10) by Bernard Cornwell

Book Review: The Flame Bearer (The Last Kingdom, #10) by Bernard Cornwell

The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Last Kingdom (Book #10 of 13)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 305 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 6th October 2016 by HarperCollins


The Flame Bearer has a strong start and concluding chapter, but this series has run its course, and I can’t believe there are still 3 books to go.

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Book Review: Aching God (Iconoclasts, #1) by Mike Shel

Book Review: Aching God (Iconoclasts, #1) by Mike Shel

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.

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Book Review: Revival Season by Monica West

Book Review: Revival Season by Monica West


Revival Season by Monica West
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Revival Season is not the kind of story I can read completely objectively. My faith is a huge part of my identity. I’m a Christian, and I’ve attended Baptist churches my entire life. When something is so integral to who you are, it’s difficult to remove yourself from a story that centers so profoundly around that trait or belief. And that was one of my biggest problems with this book. There were so many religious red flags that I wanted to take the whole fictional family to counseling. This was a twisted, maimed version of my faith staring back at me from the page, a funhouse reflection of what I believe.  I just wanted to look away.  I didn’t.  I finished the book.  But it was a struggle for me.

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