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Book Review: The Hunger of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #2) by John Gwynne

Book Review: The Hunger of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #2) by John Gwynne

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

Cover art illustrated by: Marcus Whinney

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bloodsworn Saga (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 656 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 14th April 2022 by Orbit (UK) and 12th April 2022 by Orbit (US)


The Hunger of the Gods tempestuous final chapters have successfully prepared readers for the grand conclusion to come.

So here we are again, another year and another book by John Gwynne, one of my top favorite authors of all time. The Shadow of the Gods was one of the best books released in 2021 for me. The Hunger of the Gods, the second book in The Bloodsworn Saga, is my second most anticipated books—the first one belongs to The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson—of 2022. Before I talk about what worked so well for me in this continuation, it is mandatory for me to give my praises towards the publisher—Orbit Books—and the cover artist: Marcus Whinney. If you somehow haven’t seen the cover art of The Shadow of the Gods and The Hunger of the Gods, do it now. Orbit Books and Whinney has created another epic and distinctive cover seller. The scope of Lik-Rifa and Ulfrir in the cover arts is massive, and the realism looks downright stunning

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Book Review: Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art is done by: Larry Rostant

Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Revelations (Book #3-4 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 802 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 8th April 2010 by Orbit


It’s safe to say now that with each installment, each book in the The Riyria Revelations series consistently gets better and better in quality. The second omnibus in The Riyria Revelations titled Rise of Empire consists of the third book, Nyphron Rising, and the fourth book, The Emerald Storm, of the series. Whether on the first or second read, Rise of Empire is overall a superior collection of novels compared to the previous omnibus: Theft of Swords. Similar to my Theft of Swords review, I’ll start my review by showing you another beautiful cover art of the series done right by Marc Simonetti, and also a beautiful fanart of a scene in The Emerald Storm.

“Power rises to the top like cream and dominates the weak with cruelty disguised as — and often even believed to be — benevolence.”

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Book Review: Empire of Dirt (The Echoes Saga, #2) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Book Review: Empire of Dirt (The Echoes Saga, #2) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

Empire of Dirt by Philip C. Quaintrell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #2 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 480 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 27th November 2017 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)


Empire of Dirt is better than Rise of the Ranger in practically every aspect, and it seems promising that the steady increase in quality within each book is unstoppable now.

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Book Review: The Bladed Faith (The Vagrant Gods, #1) by David Dalglish

Book Review: The Bladed Faith (The Vagrant Gods, #1) by David Dalglish

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

Cover art illustrated by: Chase Stone

Cover designed by: Lauren Panepinto

The Bladed Faith by David Dalglish

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Vagrant Gods (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 582 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 5th April 2022 by Orbit


The Bladed Faith is a familiar and action-packed revenge story executed magnificently.

“People say it is in the daylight that things are laid bare, but I’ve found truths are best revealed when the moon is high.”

Every time I think about how many books David Dalglish has published to this day, I always feel like I have a LOT to catch up on. I’m serious. The Bladed Faith, the first book in The Vagrant Gods trilogy is Dalglish’s 29th published novel, and prior to this novel, I’ve read only The Keepers trilogy. I have mentioned several times that The Bladed Faith is one of my most anticipated books of 2022. True; one of the reasons behind this anticipation is because I enjoyed The Keepers trilogy. But more importantly, what made me so excited for this release is how passionate Dalglish has been towards his work the past two years. And fortunately, not only did I receive the honor to host the stunning cover art reveal (illustrated by Chase Stone and designed by Lauren Panepinto) for this book, but I also got the blessing to read this early. I am not disappointed by this. The Bladed Faith is a great first book to a trilogy, and it shows promises that the sequels will be more explosive and larger in scope. Check out what David Dalglish has to say about The Bladed Faith:

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Book Review: The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time, #5) by Robert Jordan

Book Review: The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time, #5) by Robert Jordan

Cover art illustrated by: Dan dos Santos

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Wheel of Time (Book #5 of 14)

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

Pages: 926 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 15th October 1993 by Tor Books


You’re not in Tel’aran’rhiod. The flaming ta’veren has indeed pulled me back into this series.

“Mat had not learned the lesson that he had. Try to run away, and the Pattern pulled you back, often roughly; run in the direction the Wheel wove you, and sometimes you could manage a little control over your life. Sometimes. With luck, maybe more than any expected, at least in the long haul.”

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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: 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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TS’s Best Reads of 2021

TS’s Best Reads of 2021

This is my journey in books for 2021!

Hi everyone, TS here!  Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that I’ve been inconsistent in my blogging/reviewing on Novel Notions this year.   I couldn’t find the energy or will or brain-power as I found myself in a new expanded role at work that has a challenging learning curve, and discovered that I enjoy cooking and baking (even embarked on sourdough) so much that I started spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

I did manage to meet my reading challenge of 100 books this year regardless, and it’s probably the most diverse year of reading that I’ve had in my entire life.   While fantasy remains my favourite genre for its sense of wonder, I found myself gravitating a lot towards mysteries this year, and also reading a lot more non-fiction.

I’ve decided to organise my best reads of 2021 a bit differently from prior years, somewhat thematically instead of the usual parameters and rankings.

And we’ll start with….

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