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Book Review: Blacklight Born (The Combat Codes Saga, #3) by Alexander Darwin

Book Review: Blacklight Born (The Combat Codes Saga, #3) by Alexander Darwin

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

Cover art illustrated by: Felix Ortiz

Cover art designed by: STK.Kreations

Blacklight Born by Alexander Darwin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Combat Codes Saga (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia, Martial Arts

Pages: 379 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 14th July 2021 by Insight Forge Press (Self-published)


To my own bafflement, I finally finished reading a series for the first time this year.

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Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-30th June 2021)

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-30th June 2021)

Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read so far this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2021)

Between 1st January 2021 until 30th June 2021, I’ve read and reviewed 51 books (25k pages).

Please read this first. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. These rules allow me to highlight more authors, and at the same time, I’ll also be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) that I read within this year.

  • Rereads aren’t included.
  • One book per author.
  • The books listed here are not all exclusively published this year; the list consists of the top books I read for the first time within this year. Non-2021 published books on this list will have their first date of publication included.

Do note that although there’s a rank to this list, I HIGHLY recommend every book/series listed below because I loved all of them immensely, and they received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 10 books I’ve read this year so far! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)

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Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

ARC provided by Goodreads & the publisher—Scribner—in exchange for an honest review.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical fiction, Science fiction, Literary fiction

Pages: 656 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 28th September 2021 by Scribner


Cloud Cuckoo Land is more ambitious and complex than All the Light We Cannot See in every possible way.

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Book Review: The Last Watch (The Divide, #1) by J.S. Dewes

Book Review: The Last Watch (The Divide, #1) by J.S. Dewes

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

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

The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Divide (Book #1 of 2)

Genre: Science fiction, space opera

Pages: 472 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 20th April 2021 by Tor Books


The Last Watch was good, but I believe it would work better as a movie than a novel.

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Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

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

ARC provided by Goodreads and the publishers—Ballantine Books, Cornerstone—in exchange for an honest review.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Science fiction, Space Opera, Hard Sci-fi

Pages: 496 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 4th May 2021 by Ballantine Books (US) and Del Rey (UK)


Andy Weir is back with a new novel suitable for fans of The Martian.

“Stupid humanity. Getting in the way of my hobbies.”

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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

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

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: Grievar’s Blood (The Combat Codes Saga, #2) by Alexander Darwin

Book Review: Grievar’s Blood (The Combat Codes Saga, #2) by Alexander Darwin

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

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

Grievar’s Blood by Alexander Darwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

eries: The Combat Codes Saga (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia, Martial Arts

Pages: 340 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 28th January 2020 by Insight Forge Press (Self-published)


Grievar’s Blood is a daring sequel to The Combat Codes. The cast is bigger and the stakes are higher than before.

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Book Review: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

Book Review: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

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

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

Cover art illustrated by: Felix Ortiz

Cover art designed by: STK.Kreations

The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Combat Codes Saga (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia, Martial Arts

Pages: 410 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 31st October 2015 by Insight Forge Press (Self-published)


Fun, tense, and entertaining; The Combat Codes is an MMA-inspired sci-fi debut with heart and well-written combat scenes.

“A perceived weakness is strength, and a flaunted strength is weakness.”

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Book Review: Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2) by Tamsyn Muir

Book Review: Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2) by Tamsyn Muir

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

Review copy provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover illustrated by: Tommy Arnold

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Locked Tomb (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fantasy, Space Opera

Pages: 512 pages (Hardback)

Published: 4th August 2020 by Tor.com


Harrow the Ninth was insanely confusing, and I am both annoyed and impressed at the same time.

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Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

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

This is my 500th review!

Cover designed by: Eric White

The Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Sci-fi

Pages: 384 pages (Hardcover)

Published: 11th February 2014 by Crown (US)


I have to admit, I didn’t expect I would have such a great time reading this book, but The Martian, somehow, became one of the most enjoyable sci-fi books I’ve ever read.

“I guess you could call it a “failure”, but I prefer the term “learning experience”.”

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