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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: 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 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: Illborn (The Illborn Saga, #1) by Daniel T. Jackson

Book Review: Illborn (The Illborn Saga, #1) by Daniel T. Jackson

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

ILLBORN by Daniel T. Jackson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Illborn Saga (Book #1 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 714 pages (Paperback Edition)

Published: 19th March 2021 by Troubador Publishing (Indie)


By the Lord, this was amazing. Illborn is an absolutely compelling character-driven epic fantasy debut.

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Guest (Adam) Book Review: Empire of Shadows (The Coraidic Sagas, #3) by Alicia-Wanstall Burke

Guest (Adam) Book Review: Empire of Shadows (The Coraidic Sagas, #3) by Alicia-Wanstall Burke

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by Adam Weller

Cover art illustrated by: Pen Astridge

Empire of Shadows by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Coraidic Sagas (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 610 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 25th January 2022 (Self-Published)


Alicia Wanstall-Burke’s Blood of Heirs fashioned one of the more devious second-book cliffhangers in the trilogies I’ve read in recent years. Up until the last few chapters, the story of Lidan, Loge, Ran, Sellan, and others twisting the fates of the Northern and Southern empires was an entertaining saga with strong-willed characters you could get behind. But its last few chapters really stood out, as it set the story careening off into truly exciting territory, and I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Empire of Shadows to see how the final pieces were going to fall.

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Book Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Book Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Cover art illustrated by: Nico Delort

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Pages: 480 pages (US Hardcover Edition)

Published: 10th July 2018 by Del Rey (US) & Pan Macmillan (UK)


If Uprooted is my Hell, then Spinning Silver is my Heaven.

Five years. It’s been exactly five years since I’ve read Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Honestly speaking, I never intended to read Spinning Silver. I consider Uprooted one of the worst fantasy novels I’ve read, and I had no motivation in trying out more of Novik’s works for five years. However, after hearing from many readers—one of them being my friend, Elliot Brooks—who disliked Uprooted that Spinning Silver worked wonderfully for them, my curiosity was piqued. And then, another good friend of mine—Mary—who also disliked Uprooted decided to sent me a copy of Spinning Silver. She said that Spinning Silver is one of the best standalone novels she has ever read. So here I am, nodding my head and adding my opinion to their praises; they were all 100% right. Spinning Silver is one of the best standalone novels I’ve read. This high rating you’re seeing is not a fairytale. It’s well-deserved, and Spinning Silver rightfully deserves the gorgeous cover art (US edition) illustrated by Nico Delort.

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Book Review: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (The Atlas, #1)

Book Review: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (The Atlas, #1)

 

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Rating: 2 out of 5

Published: 3rd March 2022 (Tor)

What would you do if someone offered you knowledge? Power? The potential to be part of a secret society tasked with looking after the hidden (not lost) Library of Alexandria? I know what you’d say, because’s precisely the reason I picked up the book. Power, I could take or leave, but the books? Those I could never resist. And it is a good hook. Except… everything was promised and nothing delivered.

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Book Review: Leviathan Falls (The Expanse, #9) by James S.A. Corey

Book Review: Leviathan Falls (The Expanse, #9) by James S.A. Corey

Cover Illustration by: Daniel Dociu

Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Expanse (Book #9 of 9)

Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera

Pages: 543 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 26th March 2019 by Orbit


My last review of 2021 is for the conclusion to the first big space opera series of novels I’ve ever finished to its completion, and I’m glad it’s The Expanse.

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Book Review: War Lord (The Last Kingdom, #13) by Bernard Cornwell

Book Review: War Lord (The Last Kingdom, #13) by Bernard Cornwell

War Lord by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

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

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 333 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 15th October 2020 by HarperCollins


It’s over. I finally finished The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell, and it was an impressive conclusion.

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