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Book Review: A War to End All (Manifest Delusions, #3) by Michael R. Fletcher & Clayton W. Snyder

Book Review: A War to End All (Manifest Delusions, #3) by Michael R. Fletcher & Clayton W. Snyder

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

Cover art illustrated by Andrew Maleski

A War to End All by Michael R. Fletcher & Clayton W. Snyder

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Series: Manifest Delusions (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 535 pages (Kindle edition)

Publish date: 18th September 2023 (Indie)


A War to End All is a philosophical and tepid conclusion to a brilliant grimdark fantasy series.

“The Old Gods were broken by wars and plagues of the mind, left reeling like the most bloodied veterans. Infected with horror at the cost of their actions, they retreated into dementia. Insanity as escape. Seeking to free themselves, they fled to a world of delusion, a world uncorrupted by jealousies and psychoses. And yet, in the end, even this they would pollute. So deep their need, so desperate their flight from their bitter past, they ignored the one truism all must bow before. Belief defines reality.”

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Book Review: The Silverblood Promise (The Last Legacy, #1) by James Logan

Book Review: The Silverblood Promise (The Last Legacy, #1) by James Logan

This review is a copy of the transcript of my video review on The Silverblood Promise.

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

Cover art illustrated by Jeff Brown

The Silverblood Promise by James Logan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Last Legacy (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Word Count: 163,000 words

Pages: 544 pages (eBook edition)

Published: 25th April 2024 by Jo Fletcher (UK) & 7th May 2024 by Tor Books (US)


Next year is not even here yet, but the potential of The Silverblood Promise becoming, at least, one of the best fantasy debuts of 2024 is guaranteed.

“You can’t escape the past, Lukan. It’s our lifelong companion, always at our side.”

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Book Review: The Sunlit Man (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: The Sunlit Man (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson

This review is a copy of the transcript of my video review of The Sunlit Man.

Cover art illustrated by Kudriaken

The Sunlit Man by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cosmere

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Word Count: 103,000 words

Pages: 447 pages (Kindle)

Published: 1st October 2023 by Dragonsteel Books (Kickstarter) & 10th October 2023 by Tor Books (US Ebook)/Gollancz (UK Ebook)


The Sunlit Man is a detailed exhibition of the bright future of Sanderson’s vision. Sooner or later, fans of the Cosmere must not miss reading this dedicated tribute novel from Brandon Sanderson to his readers.

“Ideals are like statues in the wind. They seem so permanent, but truth is, erosion happens subtly, constantly.”

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Book Review: Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, #8) by Robert Jordan

Book Review: Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, #8) by Robert Jordan

This review is a copy of the transcript of my video review on Path of Daggers

Cover art by Chris Rahn

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Wheel of Time (Book #8 of 14)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 669 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 20th October 1998 by Tor Books


This was a bit surprising. The eighth volume and the second infamous slog novel of The Wheel of Time, Path of Daggers, was not as bad as A Crown of Swords.

“On the heights, all paths are paved with daggers.”

Without going into too many details of the previous book, A Crown of Swords was a big downgrade for the series for me. I went into that book prepared for the beginning of the slog, and even then, I was still shocked by how significant the downgrade was from Lord of Chaos, my favorite book in the series so far. Compared to that, with repeated tempered expectations, I went into Path of Daggers after taking a five-month break from the series. And hey, unexpectedly, Path of Daggers was good enough. I will even go far enough to say… there were some scenes here that were straight-up incredible. But this isn’t to say the issues from the seventh book have disappeared. I do have mixed feelings about Path of Daggers. The reality is not that pleasant. But several factors, like Path of Daggers being the smallest novel—not counting New Spring prequel—in the entire series, I ended up finishing Path of Daggers faster than I expected. 18 days! A Crown of Swords took me 35 days to read. The longest I ever spent on reading a single book. I am thankful that slow reading time is not replicated here. For this review, I will share my thoughts regarding Path of Daggers by sharing my opinion on each main POV character’s storyline.

“Words could hurt as hard as fists, the wrong words, words you never meant, let loose in a temper.”

Elayne dominated the first quarter of Path of Daggers. Come to think about it, I am pretty sure she statistically has the most POV chapters in this book. And the first half of this book is where I struggled the most. Your miles may vary. But I could not bring myself to like Elayne. Not yet. In comparison, Nynaeve is one of the most thick-headed and infuriating characters I’ve ever read, but even then, I can still assess it as a distinct part of her character. But for Elayne, there hasn’t been anything about her personality that felt likable or distinct to me. It is so weird to me that she constantly blamed and ridiculed Nynaeve’s and Lan’s relationship, and yet there were moments in The Fires of Heaven where she wanted Thom Merrilin for herself. I don’t think she has the right to judge Nynaeve for her genuine feelings for Lan. But besides that, the majority of her POV chapters are filled with the weakness of the series. And that is the lack of distinct female characters. There were so many inconsequential names and female characters, and once again, all they did was bicker and mock each other all the time. Like always. It is a pattern of the series. That said, I must admit the battle that transpired in Elayne’s POV chapter at the end of the first quarter of Path of Daggers was quite tense.

If the first quarter of Path of Daggers is filled with Elayne’s POV chapters, why did I say the first half of this book was difficult and boring? Well, because after Elayne, we have to read Perrin’s portions. We are eight books into the series now, and I genuinely have no idea whether I will ever feel fully invested in Perrin Aybara. Certainly not yet, or maybe ever. We will see how it goes by the time I reach the end of the series. His relationship with Faile is a massive pain and slog to read, and he ceaselessly and immediately cowers or follows everything Faile says. This transforms Perrin into a weaker character than he already was spiritually. His mentor even told him he needed to stand up for himself here! It has been 8 books long, and although it is possible there is a rewarding character development waiting behind this, I have a feeling this is not going away anytime soon. Out of the Ta’veren, Perrin is the one that feels the least developed. His character’s development has been stagnant since The Shadow Rising. His storyline with the Prophet did not turn into something interesting until his last two POV chapters in Path of Daggers. I remember The Fires of Heaven sparked my interest to continue the series again, and I must say, one of the reasons why that book worked so well for me is because it has no Perrin’s appearance.

“No plan of battle survives first contact,”

As I said, Path of Daggers was a mixed baggage for me, and although I have been (mostly) negative about my thoughts so far, Egwene somehow became the biggest pleasant surprise of the novel. Some of the issues I mentioned in Elayne’s POV chapters, such as the uninteresting and incomprehensible Aes Sedai’s politics, are evident. I do not know whether any of you experienced this, but I was reading this book with my co-bloggers, and they agreed with me. Sometimes, when reading Robert Jordan’s prose, the writing style can make English feel like reading a new language. It is not even because the words are difficult. I read the English words, I know what they meant, and somehow, they are not registered in my head. This happened a lot in A Crown of Swords and Path of Daggers, mainly during Elayne and Egwene’s chapters. But thankfully, in the case of Egwene’s POV chapters, they are balanced with great moments. Egwene pulled off an impactful move in Path of Daggers, and it highly raised her rank in my list of likable Wheel of Time characters. After everything that happened, I am curious to see where her story will lead. Although I still think her character development proceeded relatively quickly because the events in this book are done in a matter of weeks, I still found her character development satisfying.

“A secret spoken finds wings.”

Lastly, as expected, Rand al’Thor’s POV chapters are my favorites. It was starting to test my patience that we got two chapters of Rand in chapters 13 and 14, and then after that, none of him until the last 35% of Path of Daggers. So yes, patience is needed if you are a fan of Rand and Mat like I am. Even more so if Mat is your favorite character because he did not appear in Path of Daggers. Not even once. It was unfortunate because I have no doubt his presence would’ve made this book more engaging. But anyway, back to Rand. Unlike many of the characters in The Wheel of Time, with the exception of the three wives plotline, I am fully invested in Rand’s storyline. His constant internal struggle with Lews Therin never felt uninteresting, and in the battles against Seanchan in Path of Daggers, we get to witness the blazing power of The Dragon Reborn. Lightning, flame, destruction, and death were conjured. The Prophecies of the Dragon demanded blood, and he fulfilled it. The dead bodies accumulated will stamp his name in history, for better or worse. And there is also the matter of Aes Sedai and Asha’man that Rand has to juggle. I loved it. And I wish we had more of Rand’s story here. Rand al’Thor and Matrim Cauthon, and Sanderson finishing the last three books, are the strongest motivators for me to conquer the slog of The Wheel of Time.

“He needs to be strong, and makes himself harder. Too hard, already, and he will not stop until he is stopped. He has forgotten how to laugh except in bitterness; there are no tears left in him. Unless he finds laughter and tears again, the world faces disaster. He must learn that even the Dragon Reborn is flesh. If he goes to Tarmon Gai’don as he is, even his victory may be as dark as his defeat.”

There aren’t too many things left to say. I know this is the smallest book in the entire series, but it still felt bloated, and somehow, there was minimal plot progression and character development. However, as far as the slog installment was supposed to go, Path of Daggers was not as underwhelming as I expected. There were some pivotal and epic moments that were crucial to the narrative. And even though it is true the magnificent and epic moments needed patience and perseverance to reach, the overall reading experience did not make me want to give up like it did in A Crown of Swords. I cannot believe I am more than halfway through the series now. And that means I still have two more slog novels to go before the series allegedly returns to being great again. I will endure and persevere. It is very likely I will read the ninth book in the series, Winter’s Heart, either in December or January. The wheel weaves as the wheel wills.

“When you die, people begin to forget, who you were and what you did, or tried to do. Everybody dies eventually, and everybody is forgotten, eventually, but there’s no bloody point dying before your time comes.”


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Book Review: Ascendant (Songs of Chaos, #1) by Michael R. Miller

Book Review: Ascendant (Songs of Chaos, #1) by Michael R. Miller

This review is a copy of the transcript of my video review on Ascendant

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

Cover art illustrated by Yigit Koroglu

Ascendant by Michael R. Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Songs of Chaos (Book #1 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Progression Fantasy

Pages: 532 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 1st September 2020 by Monolith Books (Self-published)


Filled with familiar tropes and fun to read, Ascendant is a dragon rider epic fantasy with heart and a hard magic system.

“If you love with your eyes, death is forever. If you love with your heart, there is no such thing as parting.”

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Book Review: The Ice (The Bound and the Broken, #3.5) by Ryan Cahill

Book Review: The Ice (The Bound and the Broken, #3.5) by Ryan Cahill

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

The Ice by Ryan Cahill

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bound and the Broken (Book #3.5 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 200 pages (Kindle edition)

Publish date: 23rd of September 2023 by Ryan Cahill (Self-published)


The Ice has the element to freeze and kill. That is not the trajectory of Cahill’s rapid-fire career. With another incredible novella under his belt, Cahill’s rise to fame in the fantasy landscape is unstoppable.

“All hope ever does is convince us to do things we know we shouldn’t. It isn’t worth dying for.”
“It’s one of the few things that is worth dying for, Ihvon.”

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Book Review: To Green Angel Tower (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #3) by Tad Williams

Book Review: To Green Angel Tower (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #3) by Tad Williams

This review is a copy of the transcript of my video review on To Green Angel Tower

Cover art illustrated by Michael Whelan

To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (Book #3 of 3), The Osten Ard Saga (Book #3 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Classic Fantasy

Pages: 1960 pages (eBook edition)

Word Count: 533,000 words

Published: 1st March 1993 by DAW Books


It is done… At 530k words long, To Green Angel Tower is the largest single-volume novel I’ve ever read. It is a mesmerizing slow-burn epic fantasy tome imbued with high-stakes pulse-pounding final chapters.

“Sorrow needed its brothers. Together they would make a music greater still.”

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Book Review: Aiduel’s Sin (The Illborn Saga, #2) by Daniel T. Jackson

Book Review: Aiduel’s Sin (The Illborn Saga, #2) by Daniel T. Jackson

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

Aiduel’s Sin by Daniel T. Jackson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Illborn Saga (Book #2 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 650 pages (Paperback Edition)

Published: 28th January 2023 by Troubador Publishing (Indie)


Aiduel’s Sin is filled with compelling narrative, debatable actions, violent battle scenes, and revelations that left me excited for the rest of the series.

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BOOK REVIEW: DRAGONFIRED (THE DARK PROFIT SAGA, #3) BY J ZACHARY PIKE

BOOK REVIEW: DRAGONFIRED (THE DARK PROFIT SAGA, #3) BY J ZACHARY PIKE

Dragonfired
Dragonfired (The Dark Profit Saga, #3)
by J. Zachary Pike
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Satire, Humor
Published: 1st September 2023, Gnomish Press


Dragonfired is J. Zachary Pike’s exhilarating final entry to the Dark Profit Saga, a fantasy satire that targets capitalism, racism, classism, role-playing games, and many other ripe topics. It concludes the hilarious, incisive, and moving tale of Gorm Ingerson and the Heroes of Destiny and their struggle to overthrow the evils that have corrupted the land of Arth.

It is perhaps the most serious of the trilogy, as it tackles heavy themes of love and redemption, duty and honor, and civil rights. Yet the mood is consistently counterbalanced with clever jokes, wordplay, and social commentary that mirrors our own society’s inadequacies. While it never strays too far from the central theme of how money corrupts, the book also successfully lampoons lawyers, business strategies, marketing, and evolving technologies. The commentary never feels forced or shoehorned; one of Pike’s greatest strengths is weaving these topics so tightly into the plot that they feel necessary and pertinent.

The characters are one of the book’s greatest strengths. Although there is a wide cast of characters and many points of view, each voice felt distinct and relatable. A silent character is written so well that he conveys some of the most emotional moments using only stares and body language. Almost all character arcs had powerful conclusions, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that one antagonist’s fate was a bit of a letdown. The trilogy seemed to be pointing toward a final confrontation between a Hero and this villain, but it went in a different direction.

One of my favorite aspects of the entire series is how well Pike consistently subverts tropes. At various times, I felt comfortable in thinking I knew where it was headed, only to be upended and proven wrong time and time again. There are some truly excellent bait-and-switch moments, many of them infused with laugh-out-loud humor, that made the book a joy to read. I snorted on one page, while being gutted on the next. Excellent stuff.

Having been a fan of Orconomics since it hit the SPFBO scene years ago, this has been one of my most anticipated series to finish. From the brilliant scene transitions – a series highlight – to the raw moments of Pratchett-like wisdom, Pike has crafted a witty and emotional conclusion to one of the most entertaining fantasy sagas I’ve read. If you’re looking for a series that is humorous, insightful, and pure fun on every page, then pick up the Dark Profit Saga.

Book Review: Stone of Farewell (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #2) by Tad Williams

Book Review: Stone of Farewell (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #2) by Tad Williams

Cover art illustrated by Michael Whelan

Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (Book #2 of 3), The Osten Ard Saga (Book #2 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Classic Fantasy

Pages: 703 pages (Hardcover edition)

Word Count: 282,750 words

Published: 7th August 1990 by DAW Books


Stone of Farewell is all about preparation for the grand conclusion.

“Old cities and old stories were now part of his very life. It was strange how the future seemed tied inseparably to the past, so that both revolved through the present, like a great wheel…”

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