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Book Review: The Empire’s Ruin (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Staveley

Book Review: The Empire’s Ruin (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Staveley

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ARC provided by the publishers—Tor Books & Tor UK—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Richard Anderson

The Empire’s Ruin by Brian Staveley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Ashes of the Unhewn Throne (Book #1 of 3), Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne (Book #5 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 752 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 8th July 2021 by Tor (UK) and 6th July 2021 by Tor Books (US)


The Empire’s Ruin is a scintillating explosive epic fantasy with multiple legendary scenes that rivaled The Way of Kings.

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Book Review: The Hand of the Sun King (Pact and Pattern, #1) by J.T. Greathouse

Book Review: The Hand of the Sun King (Pact and Pattern, #1) by J.T. Greathouse

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

Cover art illustrated by: Patrick Knowles

The Hand of the Sun King by J.T. Greathouse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Pact and Pattern (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 416 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 5th August 2021 by Gollancz


An all-around marvelously crafted fantasy debut; The Hand of the Sun King has cemented its spot as the best fantasy debut of the year.

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Book Review: A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

Book Review: A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

Review copy received from the publisher, Random House UK, in exchange for an honest review

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Genre: Non-fiction, auto-biography, environmental/climate awareness & science

Published: 1st October 2020 by Ebury Press (Random House UK) and 6th October 2020 by Grand Central Publishing (Hachette Book)


Brilliance was what I’ve expected from Attenborough, and brilliance was exactly what I got.

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Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

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

Cover art illustrated by: Marcus Whinney

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bloodsworn Saga (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 6th May 2021 by Orbit (UK) and 4th May 2021 by Orbit (US)


The Shadow of the Gods is the new benchmark in Norse mythology-inspired stories. This is the fantasy I’ve been waiting for.

In all honesty, this book had as good a chance as possible of becoming a favourite of mine, for I am without a doubt an ardent reader and supporter of John Gwynne and his books, having read and loved all of his previous works. Both The Faithful and the Fallen and Of Blood and Bone are masterpieces in my estimation and occupy treasured spaces on my shelf and within my heart. Nevertheless, no book is a certain thing as writers are only human beings, but I could not contain my excitement when I read that this latest venture of Mr Gwynne was another epic fantasy story, this time with Norse ink in its veins. I believe that mythologies always appeal to a wide fan base, with Norse and Greek, in particular, being personal favourites. And while I am nowhere near well-read on the subjects, I squeed like any fan worthy of the title at the idea of a favourite author shaping a story from the fertile ground that is the Norse culture. On such a foundation The Shadow of the Gods had much to live up to and I tried to curtail my hopes a little. There was no need though. At the end of this story, I was once again in awe at witnessing a master completely comfortable in executing an epically captivating and exciting tale.

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One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2) by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2) by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves AnotherCover art by Anna Steinbauer

One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

My rating5 of 5 stars

Series: Heartstrikers (Book 2 of 5)

Genre: Urban fantasy

Published: 1st August 2015 (Aaron/Bach, self-published)


One Good Dragon Deserves Another is simply a sublime sequel.

I thoroughly enjoyed book one in The Heartstrikers series and was eagerly looking forward to more of the same with Rachel Aaron’s follow up book, One Good Dragon Deserves Another. Lucky for me, the author not only delivered on this expectation, but she also blew it out of the water! This book has every chance to be in my top ten at the end of the year! I LOVED IT.

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Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff


Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am completely blown away by this trilogy. Finding a series that I love all the way through is rare for me. And I just found one to add to that very exclusive list. There’s a bloody beauty to Mia’s story. A vulgar elegance, if you will. The world Kristoff created here managed to be both stark and lush in equal measures, and something about that dichotomy resonated strongly with me. As did Mia. Her heartache, her rage and fear and determination, all felt honest. I found her and her journey utterly captivating.

“I am a daughter of the dark between the stars. I am the thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. i am the vengeance of every orphaned daughter, every murdered mother, every bastard son. I am the war you cannot win.”

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Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

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

Cover art illustrated by: Marcus Whinney

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bloodsworn Saga (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 6th May 2021 by Orbit (UK) and 4th May 2021 by Orbit (US)


Reading The Shadow of the Gods is equivalent to witnessing a new brilliant legendary Norse-inspired epic fantasy series in the making.

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Book Review: Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover

Book Review: Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover

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Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Acts of Caine (Book #1 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark, Grimdark science fantasy, Dystopia

Pages: 627 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 21st July 1998 by Del Rey (US) and 27th May 2013 by Orbit (UK)


It’s unbelievable that this insanely terrific story is hidden behind this horrific cover art. Heroes Die was absolutely bloody and glorious.

“Does it matter? When you tell a story loud enough and long enough, a story that plays right into people’s worst fears of betrayal, it grows its own truth.”

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Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker


We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

We Begin at the End has been on my radar since my co-blogger Emma read it and loved it last year. Petrik and TS decided to pick it up as well, even though it’s not something within their usual genre wheelhouses. Again, they loved it. But they warned me that it was heartbreaking and, since I had been going through a particularly rough patch in my life, I held off until I felt like I was emotionally strong enough to handle it. I’m so glad I did, because I can say without a single qualm that it will be only my list of favorite books read in 2021, but the heart-wrenching emotion of it would have kept it from the same list last year. It really pays to wait until the right moment to read this type of book, and I’m glad I had friends to caution me in that regard.

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Book Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight book cover

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 448 pages (US hardback edition)

Published: 25th July 2016 by Harper Voyager (UK) & 9th August 2016 by St. Martin’s Press (US)


A deviously dark and thrilling tale, Nevernight is the first book I read by Jay Kristoff and I loved every murderous second of it.

The protagonist, Mia, is a girl bent on revenge, hoping to make the cut in a fabled assassin school called the Red Church. The story starts off with her making her first kill which will serve as a tithe to the Maw.

“…the Maw. Niah. The Goddess of Night. Our Lady of Blessed Murder. Sisterwife to Aa, and mother to the hungry Dark within us all.”

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