Browsed by
Tag: self-published

Book Review: The Exile (The Bound and The Broken, #2.5) by Ryan Cahill

Book Review: The Exile (The Bound and The Broken, #2.5) by Ryan Cahill

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

Cover art by: Books Covered

The Exile by Ryan Cahill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bound and the Broken (Book #2.5 of 4 or 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 184 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 19th May 2022 by Ryan Cahill (Self-published)


Incredibly action-packed, engaging, and surprisingly emotional, The Exile is hands down the best installment in The Bound and The Broken series so far.

“War is no different to peace. It is simply more honest. Do not hesitate, do not contemplate mercy. Remember everything I have taught you.”

I know that sounds crazy, especially considering how relatively small The Exile is compared to the main novels. But I have to give my praises to Cahill on this. He’s one of the few fantasy authors I know who can pull off not writing not only big-sized novels but novellas as well. Technically, at almost 200 pages long, The Exile can be considered a short novel. But regardless, I stand by my point. The Exile is an impressive novella about Dayne, my favorite character in the series that appeared for the first time in Of Darkness and Light, and he immediately left an impact on me. In a way, it’s even more impressive that Cahill could pack this much content and emotions as efficiently and effectively into a novella. After reading Of Darkness and Light, I wanted more of Dayne, and I certainly got what I wanted here. This isn’t me saying I don’t want more of him, though. If The Exile became a novel, I won’t complain. But for now, I’m content with this until Of War and Ruin is released.

“We will always want for time, Dayne. That is the human way.”

The story in The Exile revolves around Dayne’s vengeance against those responsible for taking everything from him. His family, his home, his people. The Lorian Empire took them from him, and Dayne is determined to carve a bloody path through Epheria to kill the perpetrators. By blade and by blood. In Of Darkness and Light, the beginning of Dayne’s story revolves around him coming home to Valtara after being away for twelve years. In that novel, we never know the details of what happened to him. The Exile tells the main points of Dayne’s exploits and journey in these twelve years. And yes, twelve years is a long time. It was never possible for the narrative to tell all of Dayne’s past in one novella or even one novel. I mean, his story could’ve easily worked as a trilogy! And I will not complain about it if that end up happening. However, I think Cahill did a great job telling the main points of his exploits by dividing the novella into four parts with different timelines.

“He had not found peace in a single death, not even the slightest of joys. Though any man who took joy in killing was a man worth killing.”

Dayne instantly became my favorite character in the series despite his relatively brief appearances in Of Darkness and Light. Obviously, it’s easy to say that it goes without question that Dayne was the highlight of the novella for me. Seeing the tragedy that visited him changed him dramatically has made me care for him even more. And yet, he still tries his best to stay true to his ideal of justice and virtue. Kindness for the innocents and his loved ones, no mercy for his enemies. But although this novella kinda works as an origin story for Dayne, it will be a mistake to think that you can just jump into The Exile without reading the other books in the series first. As the author mentioned, this is a companion novella, and it will be hugely beneficial for you to read the other two novels and one novella first before reading it. This is to get you interested in Dayne first, and more importantly, important supporting characters from the main series appear in The Exile. If you haven’t read the other books first, I think their appearance here will lose their impact.

“Part of me did die that day. Unfortunately for you, it was the kinder part.”

Cahill is an author that keeps getting better with each book. And one of the ways he exhibited this is through how fast he hooks his readers into being attached to a new character. It’s true that Cahill’s action scenes improved significantly from the time of The Fall and Of Blood and Fire. His action scenes felt vivid, brutal, and fast-paced. He’s not there yet, but at the fast rate he’s improving his craft, he might even reach John Gwynne’s and Joe Abercrombie’s level. But personally, it’s worth noting that great combat scenes lack substance if an author fails to make their readers care about the characters, especially the ones involved in the combat, first. And this, similar to what occurred to Dayne in Of Darkness and Light, is what I experienced again in The Exile for the new character named Belina.

“What idiot isn’t afraid of the dark? Did you not hear me? Nothing good happens after dark. You’re a storyteller. You, of all people, should know this. Tell me one happy story that takes place on a mountainside at night in an abandoned fortress.”

The passage above is spoken by Belina, and I won’t even be surprised if fans of the series think of her as their favorite character. Belina is a riot; not only hilarious but having her in the novella gave Dayne’s story opportunities for more emotional displays other than wrath, rage, and killings. Plus, I genuinely think Dayne and Belina have one of the best friendships I have ever read in a fantasy novel. This kind of thing is what made this revenge-centered novella even more powerful. The themes of family, justice, grief, love, and friendship drove the narrative. They act as the oil that powers the vehicle of Dayne’s vengeance. Similar to Abercrombie’s famous “You can never have too many knives.” Belina told Dayne that you can never have too many blades. But we’re also accompanied by beautiful passages about love and grief. For example, this lovely quote about love reminded me of the famous quote from The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. You will know what it is if you have read The Wise Man’s Fear.

“Love, my son, cannot be quantified by how and why. It is the intangible tether that connects your heart to others. It holds no conditions or rules, for if it did, it would not be love, but simply convenience. It is not found in the ‘because’, it is found in the ‘and yet’. Your father is strong, compassionate, and understanding, but it is not because of those things that I love him. Rather, they are why I admire him. He is also foolhardy, pig-headed, and he always says the wrong things. And yet, I love him anyway.”

As a novella, The Exile is easily one of the best fantasy novellas published. With this, I am finally caught up with all of Cahill’s published works, and I can safely say Cahill is on his way toward becoming one of my favorite authors. On top of telling a heartfelt and epic story in the series so far, he has laid a lot of groundwork for an epic convergence in the third main novel of the series, Of War and Ruin, and I am seriously excited to find out how he will execute it. If he succeeds in transforming Of War and Ruin into a book that top Of Darkness and Light and The Exile, then you will see me praising him as one of my favorite authors. Honestly, though… it’s only a matter of time until that day transpired. If you have not read The Bound and The Broken series, get to it ASAP! By the time I have access to the ARC of the next book, I will be reading it immediately.

“It is never weak to grieve for the ones you love… To hide your tears is to do them a disservice. They have earned your love. Let them have it.”


You can order this book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US

I also have a Booktube channel

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Andrew, Andrew W, Amanda, Annabeth, Ben, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Elias, Ellen, Ellis, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Luis, Lufi, Melinda, Meryl, Mike, Miracle, Nanette, Neeraja, Nicholas, Reno, Samuel, Sarah, Sarah, Scott, Shawna, Xero, Wendy, Wick, Zoe.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Of Darkness and Light (The Bound and The Broken, #2) by Ryan Cahill

Book Review: Of Darkness and Light (The Bound and The Broken, #2) by Ryan Cahill

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

Cover art by: Books Covered

Of Darkness and Light by Ryan Cahill

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bound and the Broken (Book #2 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 710 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 31st December 2021 by Ryan Cahill (Self-published)


Of Darkness and Light is a vastly superior sequel to Of Blood and Fire

“There is nothing more important in the darkness than a ray of light.”

Read More Read More

Cover Reveal: The Blood of Outcasts (The Bane Sword Saga, #1) by D.A. Smith

Cover Reveal: The Blood of Outcasts (The Bane Sword Saga, #1) by D.A. Smith

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here.

After yesterday, we have another exciting post today. Yes, it’s another cover reveal! Novel Notions will be hosting the cover reveal to The Blood of Outcasts by D.A. Smith! Or to be more precise, this is a cover re-reveal. Knowing the importance of beautiful cover art, especially in self-publishing, the author decided to rebrand his debut novel with a brand new look. This is the first book in The Bane Sword Saga, a gritty samurai-inspired fantasy novel!

Without further ado, here’s the cover reveal to The Blood of Outcasts by D.A. Smith!

Cover art illustrated by Martin Mottet

Read More Read More

Book Review: Relic of the Gods (The Echoes Saga, #3) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Book Review: Relic of the Gods (The Echoes Saga, #3) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

Relic of the Gods by Philip C. Quaintrell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #3 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 526 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 1st June 2018 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)


An epic and action-packed conclusion to the first arc of The Echoes Saga.

“I will teach you what I can in our time together but, ultimately, it will be your actions that define you, that guide you to your place in the world.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Book Review: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

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

Cover art illustrated by: Carson Lowmiller

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Slice-of-Life

Pages: 318 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 22nd February 2022 by Cryptid Press (Self-Published)


Legends and Lattes is the wholesome and cozy fantasy you didn’t know you need.

For those of you who don’t know, Travis Baldree has been well known for his role as the audiobook narrator behind Will Wight’s Cradle series. And many other series, really. Legends and Lattes is his debut novel, and I do think Baldree should now be known for his fantasy novel, too. I wouldn’t have known about Legends and Lattes if it weren’t for Twitter. Most of you probably know already, almost all of my favorite novels and stories are intense, emotional, dark, and serious in tone. But I do love slice-of-life as a genre as well. When I saw the cover art—illustrated by Carson Lowmiller—to Legends and Lattes on Twitter, with the premise indicating this is a high fantasy novel with low stakes, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with my expectations entering this book. I knew immediately I should read this when I’m in the mood for something short, cozy, and wholesome. Despite loving slice-of-life in other storytelling mediums such as manga, anime, and TV shows, I seem to struggle to find a terrific slice-of-life fantasy novel. But I got what I wanted here. Legends and Lattes is the slice-of-life fantasy novel I craved and received.

Read More Read More

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.

Read More Read More

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.

Read More Read More

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.

Read More Read More

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2021)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2021)

This list is also available on my Booktube Channel if that’s what you preferred: https://youtu.be/wZY-JG9HUgQ

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)

It’s that time of the year again, y’all. 2021 is ending in a week. This year, I managed to read 130 books. This number includes 72 traditionally published books, 21 self-published/indie books, 37 manga volumes (I’ve read so many more manga volumes but I’ve decided to only include 37 here.)

In comparison to the previous years, whether it’s by pages count or the number of books, this is my lowest reading performance so far. There are details behind this reason, but really when it comes down to it, it’s because this is the first full year I became a Booktuber. In addition to reading and writing reviews, now I also record, edit, and upload videos to my YouTube Channel. My reading “performance” definitely suffers because of it, but not going to lie, I’m happy to make that sacrifice. As for the quality of the books I read, this is another incredible reading year, so let’s get to it immediately. As usual, I will be applying a few rules into this list:

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 20 books I’ve read in 2021! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page

Read More Read More

Book Review: Of Blood and Fire (The Bound and the Broken, #1) by Ryan Cahill

Book Review: Of Blood and Fire (The Bound and the Broken, #1) by Ryan Cahill

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

Cover art by: Books Covered

Of Blood And Fire by Ryan Cahill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Bound and the Broken (Book #1 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 494 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 20th March 2021 by Ryan Cahill (Self-published)


Of Blood and Fire may not bring anything new to the genre, but it’s certainly another great modern take on classic fantasy.

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: