It is a good Monday for me as I don’t work Mondays or Tuesdays! Though, I will be getting up stupidly early on Wednesday and rocking a 12-hour shift on Christmas Eve as well as working Christmas Day! It going to be a week for sure!
Today I am reviewing Holly Tinsley’s debut book ‘We Men of Ash and Shadow’.
Here are a few things you can expect from We Men of Ash and Shadow :
Serious Gangs of New York Vibes;
An utterly fascinating world/city;
A unique and refreshing writing style;
Brilliant characters carved by a sinister world; and
A great start to this series.
On to the full review…
“We are men of ash and shadow. We endure the darkness so that others might see the dawn.”
This book came to my attention from the author, I’m sad to say that had Holly have not contacted me I’m not sure it would have come up on my radar! Thankfully, the totally polite and lovely Holly sent me the best review request I think I have had so it did, but this is not a review of Holly’s social etiquette this is a review of her grimdark fantasy We Men of Ash and Shadows…
As I think back to my reading of this book I find that I am quite fond of this tale and its characters. Holly writes in such a unique way, I don’t really know how to explain it. I’ll try, obviously, and I will hope my wittering does Holly’s distinctive and brilliant writing style the justice it deserves.
One thing that Holly really excels at in her writing is her dialogue, I enjoyed every conversation that this book offered, which seems like a really bizarre compliment but they all felt really authentic and representative of the character’s personality, even the side characters. The more and more I read of this book the more I came to agree whole heartedly with my above statement.
“Henriette stood. As she went to leave she placed a hand on Vanguard’s shoulder. “Be careful what you show her. She will see the world through rose-tinted glass and throw herself into a pit of snakes thinking it’s a flower bed. Girls like her die outside these walls. I should hate to have to kill you.”
As I said above Holly has a really unique way of writing, it’s almost 50/50 show me and tell me. Now I know books get slated for telling you something rather than showing you but Holly has managed to do this, twist and remake it into something unique.
Now, having said that I want it known that all of the above is all complimentary to her writing style, so don’t think for one instance think this book is lacking in detail because of it, it isn’t, this book plunges you into the depths of it’s world and has you fully absorbed. There was just such a ‘tell me’ vibe to Holly’s writing style. And you know what? I really fucking liked it. It felt utterly new. Like I said it isn’t lacking in description or world-building. Holly manages to make the smallest things such as the wearing a nightgown and robe relevant to the scene at hand. It’s the little details that add to the tone of the upcoming conversation and the words spoken.
I think my only real criticism, which is one constructive in nature, would be that there could have been a degree more fluidity. There were a lot of characters we had perspectives from but the rate at which they switched sometimes became a tad bit jarring.
With this being a shorter book it meant that some relationships could have been a little more, it wasn’t so much lacking in detail but it could have been made better by more time being spent with them. I would have loved to have seen this book a little longer with more emphasis on character relationships and general characterisation because the characters that filled this book were amazing!
It took me a little bit longer than usual to read this book considering it is less than 300 pages long, but that is nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my work schedule! I have to admit though, I’m a little thankful as I wouldn’t have noticed my next point had I not have read it the way I did.
We Men of Ash and Shadow felt like an old friend, weird praise I know but hear me out.
This book felt like an old friend in the sense that I could not read this book for a few days, a week or however long and when I went back to read it , it felt like I had only put it down an hour ago. We Men of Ash and Shadow is so incredibly easy to slide back into, I didn’t need a moment to reacquaint myself with the characters or the world at all. I read a few words and I was once again absorbed into this world.
We all know the pros’s and cons of a books cover, right? Well, Holly truly demonstrated this to me. Don’t get me wrong I know the uses of a cover but it wasn’t until We Men of Ash and Shadow that I truly understood that the cover is as much a part of the story for some books as the writing inside is. It’s the start of the journey, I went into this world with just the book cover and it’s blurb and as soon as I read the first page the world burst from it’s pages. There is such a sly, unfair and sinister feel to this world and Holly incorporates it into every aspect. It is in the world-building, the character interactions and well, just about everything. Holly has got the tone of this book down!
“There was a thin line between mercenary and soldier, and an even thinner one between mercenary and murderer.”
We Men of Ash and Shadow is a great book and the world that Holly has created very much reminded me of Gangs of New York just in Victorian England. It is filled with bloody crimes, sewer riddled districts and a bustling and territorial underworld. D’Orsee is a fascinating city and one I am eager to know the rest of its story.
I know I mentioned earlier that more characterisation and the relationships would have benefited from greater detail, but I also have to compliment those characters. It is something worthy of praise that I still loved the characters that filled this book despite my earlier criticism. Vanguard is such a compelling character and he is someone I am excited to see grow even more in any following books. He has such a rich and harrowing history and you can feel the emotions he feels, his tiredness and so much more. I also LOVED Mandego, and I would love to see more of him in the future.
“Mandego’s face changed. “You come into my home, with your hands dripping in the blood of my people and have the gall to insult me by telling me that you need my help?”
Every character in this book has been carved and defined by the world in which they reside and it has led to hardened people who have little choices in the direction their lives will go.
“They were both relics of the past trying to live in the new world.“
We Men of Ash and Shadow is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a great start to its following books. The characters are brilliant and while the plot is more of a setter-upper it is still a great read.
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I would happily pick this book up in its paperback form, I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely reread this book when it comes time to read the second. The cover is great and oh so appropriate.
Hello fellow book lovers and welcome back to KEEP IT OR CUT IT! As usual I am going to talk to you today about ten books that have been sitting on my Goodreads TBR for quite some time. The books in this weeks post were all added in August 2019, so 16 months ago. That’s a long time for a book to be sitting! Though, briefly looking some of these and I know a few of them have flickered back up on my radar through either purchasing the book or the audiobook so not totally unloved.
Last week my Keep It Or Cut It post evolved a little, changing ‘Reasons‘ to ‘Reasons & Thoughts‘. It wasn’t a huge change to the layout but it was a change none the less, and today the post is going to evolve a little more.
As you can see from the method below, I do some or all of the below checks, so I’m thinking of adding a few review comments from others, maybe a good opening to the book from the sample or a little information into why the blurb is an interesting one. Hopefully it ill make me a little more accountable for my decisions and also it may be fun for you. Who knows?!
For any who are unsure as to how I vet a book you can see below the checks I run through. I may only need to see the blurb to love it, I may want to check out a few reviews of those with similar tastes to me or I might read a little bit of the sample. I don’t always do all three but here they are, the method checks…
See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
Check out the reviews
Maybe read the sample
The Thousand Names (The Shadow Campaigns #1) by Django Wexler
While I added this on to my TBR around 16 months ago as I really love military fantasy fiction, it actually came back to my attention again in Feb 2020, around the time I had read and LOVED Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage Trilogy. It was strongly recommended as a book to read if you liked that flintlock fantasy.
This isn’t the first Django Wexler book on my TBR and I doubt it will be the last. Also, the whole woman dressed as a man trope, well, I kinda like it and that bit of the blurb honestly gives me Mulan vibes! Don’t laugh.
Petrik described it as “…A great explosive Flintlock/Military fantasy debut that left me begging for more by the end of it...”
The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley
This is another one of those books that was added some time ago but had quite recently popped back up in my mind. Though for a different reason. As some of you may be aware I have recently joined the many who love audiobooks, and on my mission to find a narrator I could listen to I stumbled across this. I remembered it was a book I had on my TBR and reread the blurb, it quickly had me wanting to read it and so I grabbed the audio with one of my credits! Though if it isn’t enough that this is narrated by Simon Vance, someones voice I quite like, it also sounds epic. It’s cover is stunning, its book title is intriguing and it blurb has you wanting…
A murdered emperor; an empire in turmoil; TRAINING MONTAGE; mercenaries; and court politics!
This is a book that has some quite amazing reviews and ratings too among the book community, so that is always a promising sign!
From what I have read this is a fairly complex book, its world building is highly praised and has a brilliant magic system that is integral to the story. While all of these praises make me want to read I, it is probably the idea of the magic system I want to experience the most. I haven’t, despite reading fantasy for a good while now, read all that many books with a complex magic system. I want to see one in action that honestly is Sanderson’s. That’s nothing against him, at all, I’ve not read his works but books that hyped are always tougher reads.
Mike said “…Im not selling you a bill of goods here, guys; I feel like Black Prism is the best book 1 of a fantasy series that Ive read in over a decade….“
Paternus: Rise of Gods (Paternus Trilogy #1) by Dyrk Ashton
To say how much I enjoy urban fantasy in TV and movies I haven’t actually read a lot in the genre. I have read PNR and shifter books that are still urban fantasy, and while I enjoy them, they are not really what I’m looking for in an adult urban fantasy story. So, to see a so widely loved urban fantasy is great and it had me buying this book, that and it obviously sounded cool!
Nick Borelli said “…Let me start off by saying, I am not a big fan of Urban Fantasy for those who know me. In fact, it’s my least favorite sub-genre of Fantasy. So when I say I was blown away in a good way by this book, it really is saying something about both the story and the author Dyrk Ashton…”
Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson
I don’t remember a thing about this book, but having just reread the blurb…It sounds bloody brilliant! I LOVE rebellions against oppression, and your hunter type books. Also, having just watched ‘The Boys’ this whole blurb reminds me a Frenchie, with his experiments to find a supe’s weakness and what not.
The Coycaterpillar Reads has sold this to me even more than the blurb. I am all about a books beginning, as some of you may know, so when Yvonne said “…It’s usually within pages that I will be able to determine whether a novel is going to submerge me within its world, whether I mould between its pages…I was a goner by page two…” I was done.
The Way of Kings, Part 1 (The Stormlight Archive #1, part 1) by Brandon Sanderson
For some reason this book keeps coming to mind, I really am going to have to read it! I have seen fan art for it a lot recently, new revises and general Sanderson talk. The world is telling me to start reading this book! Plus I already have this book on my shelves at home…
David sold it to me even more with his review comments “…you like beautifully intricate worlds, fun magic systems, and likable characters, I would definitely recommend this to you…”
My first ‘cut it’ of today’s post! I haven’t read any Gemmell and while I have every intention of doing so I won’t be begging my journey into his works with this one. It doesn’t sound like a bad story but nothing about it really grabs me either.
Beyond Redemption (Manifest Delusions #1) by Michael R. Fletcher
I like this cover. It almost reminds me of the covers for Brian McClellan’s Gods of Blood and Powder books, but that literally could just be the whole charging horses aspect…
A dark fantasy with a twisted and intriguing plot, peoples delusion twisting reality, that sounds crazy and quite interesting. Plus, when does the puppet god/king/leader plot ever go to plan?
The Tattooed Book Geek said “I was hooked from the first page all the way up until the last, great world building and great characters make this a quality read, fantasy at it’s darkest, deluded best, a unique read that I thoroughly enjoyed and would gladly recommend to everyone!”
Well, we cut the husband, let us see if we keep the wife..
Reasons & Thoughts:
I remember adding this book to my TR and to say it was added over 16 months ago I think that is quite a feat, even more so because I haven’t seen this token about in the book community at all. That is not to say I remember the full blurb, but I do remember being greatly interested in the whole idea of a waring city filled with tribal fighting and a mysterious leader.
I also already have this book on my shelves to read so it is a easy keep it book!
I was clearly digging the Gemmell’s during this phase of my Goodreads hunting…
A second chance, will Gemmell make the cut this time?
Reasons & Thoughts:
And now we have both Mr and Mrs Gemmell being kept this week on Keep It Or Cut It! This is another trope I really like to read, the retired veteran who has removed themselves from the world to live the rest of their days alone in some hut on a mountain storyline.
I think I like these storylines because they have the potential for such incredible characters, we are given a character who has already lived a life, so you are constantly wondering how much the character can still grow, how will their life experiences steer them in their new journey? What is going to happen?
Then throw in the whole last stand, the last remaining defence against a seemingly unstoppable force and you have a book I really want to read!
I actually really enjoy writing these posts because I am slowly but surely noticing more and more what tropes, storylines and more that I truly like. I am seeing clearer each time what I want to see in a book, what I want to experience. This feature is genuinely beneficial and I would recommend you guys doing your own.
One cut, nine kept!
This was nearly a full strike! Just one fell short but nine out of ten isn’t bad. or it is because the aim is to reduce the TBR but I’m not cutting books for the sake of it! Plus, I feel like I have learnt more about my own reading tastes in this weeks post so I would say that is a win!
What do you think are there any books I really should have cut or ones you cant believe I didn’t cut? Have I made any mistakes? How many did you guess correct?
Again, thank you to everyone who takes the tie to read my posts and engage with me over on Twitter, it is always such fu and I appreciate you all so much!
I finally joined the party. I finally read one of Joe Abercrombie’s famed and well loved adult books.
I have read his Shattered Sea Trilogy and I really enjoyed them but a lot of people reviewed it lower than his adult books and said it was a watered down version, I still really enjoyed them and for me it was a great introduction to his writing.
Here are a few things you can expect from The Blade Itself:
Flawed yet utterly loveable and compelling characters;
The most character driven book I think I have ever read;
A grumpy ass mage;
A slower pace; but
A seriously enjoyable book!
A little bit about the narration…
Firstly, I would like to say that Steven Pacey is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I didn’t overly love the sample when I first listened to it, it wasn’t bad but as a newb listener to audiobooks I wasn’t sure I could actually listen to it. I listened to the sample three times to try and get a feel for it. I don’t really know why I did, I guess I appreciated his voice and tone but wasn’t sure if it was for me. Alas, I decided to jus pick it up and I am really glad I did.
I have already demolished book two and I am currently maybe three hours or so into book three of this trilogy and I LOVE listening to Steven Pacey. I honestly cant fault anything with the narration and I really bloody hope he narrates all Abercrombie’s books!
On to the full review…
I was going to say I don’t really know where to start with this review because so many have already reviewed this and it will be hard to say much different than what I imagine has already been said, but I’m not one to pass up any opportunity to talk. I’m just not about that life, you know!
I’m going to start this review with the BEST thing about this book, it only seems right…
Logen Ninefingers. Bayaz. Sand dan Glokta. Jezal dan Luther. Collem West. Ardee West. The Dogman.
Abercrombie does a damn fine job of creating his characters. He focussed on the creation of his characters and it paid off! All of his charters are so well written and they are a pleasure to read! You are totally invested in everything they do, even when they are simply staring at themselves in a mirror relishing their good looks and spectacular man jaw.
I have no issue with a character driven books and find them to be my favourite reads when they are done well, and this book is done well. All of the characters are so well crafted that you don’t care that the plot is slow, you don’t care that what they’re actually doing is a little boring. I genuinely think I could read the most mundane and boring day in eternity if it was from Logen POV, he is incredible!
This is also the first grimdark book I have read, I have read books that have darker themes and those that toe the line of grimdark but this is my first legit grimdark. The grimness was there and the gore was there but as this is my first I don’t have much to compare it too, I certainly didn’t expect as much humour. I found myself chuckling a fair amount through this book be it a witty remark, a characters vein comments as to their beauty or the sarcasm but I laughed a hell of a lot in this.
Abercrombie’s prose…well they are spot on! His writing is expressive, captivating and easy to follow. Also, now I don’t know if this is in the writing or the narration but, you always know who you are reading before the writing even mentions a name to set the POV. It may have been both, Abercrombie has his characters voices well established and so does Pacey in his narration.
The world-building was incredibly well done too, Abercrombie writes it in a way that the characters almost make the world, more so than any elaborate descriptions do. The characters tell you enough about their surroundings to paint a vivid picture of their location, which are all different for most of the characters.
The Blade itself is definitely a foundational book, it sets up everything you need to know and more for the rest of your journey with Logen, Glokta and Jezel. It’s a pretty bold move too, in order for Abercrombie to have achieved such meticulous detail and fully establish his characters with such depth he inevitably had to slow things down and that can alienate a good few readers. For that however, I don’t think Abercrombie’s really gives a glittering shit! And rightly fucking so. Not much really happens and you still love the book, love the world, the characters and the whole bloody experience. If that isn’t one of the finer examples of talent then I don’t really know what is.
I don’t really know what else to say, this book is a great first book and it sets a solid foundation for what I expect to end up a brilliant series. It is home to some of the best characters I have had the pleasure of reading and it has a decent dose of humour.
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I always wonder how to rate a book when I listened to the audiobook because I will then continue to listen to the rest via audiobook because were I to read this book again I would again listen to it over reading it. Though saying that I do like having the option to bounce between them. So, i’m going to rate this as if I hadn’t listened to it via audiobook and tell you to BUY THE FREAKING HARDBACK.
I would grab this in hardback for several reasons, one of which is that the characters are amazing and they are one of the finest examples of what a character should be in a book. They come off the pages and take a seat in your thoughts even when you are not reading this book.
I have also read book two and I am a little way into book three, and I know how much I am enjoying them so that definitely influences this rating too.
I hope you are all well and dandy on this fine Sunday evening. I am dandy now that I have finished work and I am off for the next two days. I have been on the late shift all week and I always feel like I miss so much on these weeks, on Twitter, on Instagram and in the general book community.
Though thankfully, I will be on the early shift next week and can be as active as I like to be again. Yay!
I keep seeing lots of folk sharing their Goodreads Reading Challenge progress over the last few weeks and it got me checking mine out. I am currently sat pretty on 127 books, my goal is 150! Goodreads keeps yapping at me and telling me I am 15 books behind schedule! I mean the cheek of it, right?!
In attempt to maybe achieve this goal I have searched for some Fantasy or Science Fiction shorts to read! While I am not overly fussed for reaching this target, it would be nice. I’m still seriously impressed with what I have read already but, as many of us did, I set a goal and it is always nice when you meet a goal, right?!
This week in Sundays Seven I am thus going to share with you seven books that may help me and you reach your Goodreads goal.
THE ONES WHO WALK AWAY FROM OMELAS: A STORY BY URSULA K. LE GUIN
BOOK LENGTH: 32 PAGES
So, this book is one of those books that Goodreads doesn’t really give you a straight forward blurb! From what I can gather this is an elegantly written short about a utopian city in which all who reside there are filled with happiness and overflowing delight but with at what cost?
This sounds like quite a captivating concept, and it is also actually a great choice for me personally as I haven’t read any of Le Guin’s work and so it would be a nice taster to her work to see if I can read her other works.
This book caught my attention when it as making the rounds on Twitter. It is written by a multi award winning author and he has returned with a pretty fantastic sounding book, one I can’t wait to read. I pre-ordered this I was that excited after reading about it. Set in prohibition era Georgia and a fantasy twist on the KKK what’s not to like?!
I picked this up a few months back when I was looking into reading more science fiction books. It is about Binti she is offered a place at a university, one of the finest but at what cost? The elite institution trope, wars, costly decisions and more…it sounds bloody great.
I added this to my TBR late January, and still haven’t read it yet and I don’t know why because its short and sounds really cool. It is an Urban Fantasy read which revolves around miracle children, magical lands and a wayward home for them which in stricken by a tragedy…I should really get to reading it!
This is a book series that I have heard a great deal about, and one I would love to start reading. The only think that has really stopped me is the fact that these are quite costly books! But should a deal come along I would definitely pick them up or maybe I will check out the audio.
Some of you may know I absolutely LOVED Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy it was just bloody brilliant. Yet saying that I haven’t read any of the shorts, now Im not one to really read shorts in the same world because they aren’t usually about the same character but at least two of McClellans shorts are! This and Ghosts of the Tristan Basin are about Taniel’s time spent in Fatrasta prior to the events of the Powder Mage books! I cant believe I haven’t read them yet to be honest. Shame on me.
If the fact that Anthony Ryan wrote this and its beautiful cover don’t make you want to read this then I’m not sure what to say to you! Other than this story involves the destruction of a city by a mad god, a fabled blade and treachery…
I love Ryan’s writing, and have throughly enjoyed every book of his I have read sooo i’m going to read this. you should too!
There you have it, seven books that are not to long and may just help you move a little closer to achieving your Goodreads Goal! If I read all of these then I have reduced my ‘behind schedule’ number by half’ish and it wouldn’t even take that long. Short stories and novellas still count, as do graphic novels so why not get a few in before the year is up?! I know I will!
This was planned to be an earlier post considering I’m currently at work 🙈 but I forgot to post it before leaving like a dope. Thankful, while I am currently sat on my break eating the most amazing Lotus biscuits I remembered. Yay me. So here it is.
Today, as the post title suggests I will be reviewing Jacob Sannox’s fantasy novel Dark Oak! I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review but I also listened to this via audiobook to. I usually listen to non review books via audio and treat them as my personal reads but I was a little behind with reviews and honestly the audiobook sounded great.
A few facts about Dark Oak:
Title: Dark Oak
Author: Jacob Sannox
Narrated By: Nigel Peever
Series: The Dark Oak Chronicles (Book One)
Published by Jacob Sannox (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform)
Here are a few things you can expect from Dark Oak:
A high fantasy novel that is beautifully magical but with a darker core feel;
An intriguing and unique story concept;
INCREDIBLE creatures and magics;
Political intrigue; and
An incredibly raw and emotional punch from several aspects of this book.
A little bit about the narration…
This was a really good narration, it is the first narration I have ever listened to that has sound effects. Now, I know that for some the may not be a great thing but it really added to the story for me. I LOVED them. It wasn’t overbearing and it wasn’t disruptive my my listening experience. Well, for the most part, there was one single time that it became difficult to listen to, at the point when a group of Dryads were talking as one, pair that with the creaking of their wooden limbs and the throaty tone of their voices I genuinely didn’t know what was said. Luckily, I had the a physical copy so I was able to read that bit. Other than the once instance though I found I really liked the sound effects. They were, more often than not, subtle and only added to my listening experience.
As a narrator I found Peever to be quite good, his pace was easy to follow and his male voices were nicely distinct. Some of his female voices however sounded a like little old cackling witches…
Though saying all of the above, I will listen to the next book via audio narration. Thats how little it put me off.
Now on to the full review…
As I said above Jacob sent me a copy of Dark Oak in exchange for an honest review along with his two other books; The Ravenmaster’s Revenge and Agravain’s Escape. This book is currently sitting with 61 ratings and 25 reviews and has a decent rating of 3.67. I would love to see more people pick this book up as it deserves it, if you look on Goodreads it seems to have a bit of a mix of reviews so many people have loved and a good number haven’t but I would honestly give this book chance!
Dark Oak is a richly imagined world and one I really enjoyed journeying into, it is an incredible fantastical world that is very much in the traditional vein of high fantasy with creatures such as the Dryads, the water folk and even more wonderful elemental beings. Dark Oak gave me Lord of the Rings vibes in terms of its imaginative world!
Jacob does wonderfully at bringing his world to life through his writing and it is a story rich in detail and beautifully described. He brilliantly weaves in the magic that surrounds this world and showcases it impressively, especially the Dryad’s , yet all the while not making you feel as though they are infallible despite their evident power.
At the start of this book there is quite a bit of exposition, which is wholly appropriate and enjoyable. This isn’t the story of the battle that Queen Cathryn won that led our character to be where they are now but in order to fully understand the present you need to know the facts of the past. I really liked the exposition, it was magical and I felt like I was sat wrapped in a cozy blanket cradling a warm cup of tea in my ever cold hands while being told a grand old tale by a wisened old story teller! And that Is something I love.
Each of the characters you come across in Dark Oak are all really good, some I loathed but understood, others I saw the manipulation and others I was rooting for them with everything I had. Some of the character could have had a little more consistency and been a wee bit more well rounded but overall I really enjoyed all of them for some reason or another. While Dark Oak is very high fantasy to me, it has such a dark core to its world and its characters. I knew it had a darker tone before reading it but goodness I didn’t expect what I got! At all.
The Dryads…they are AMAZING! I was so impressed with them as a race, the things they can do, the power they hold and their origins were all so utterly interesting I loved every single moment in which a dryad appeared.
I think for me the strongest point of this book was Jacob’s ability to shock you so profoundly you are left in a state of both confusion and understanding. There are several sequences within this story that you do not see coming, even in the slightest, but once they do happen no matter how shook up you are you understand the reasoning behind it. Which is testament to Jacob’s ability to showcase his characters motivations and emotional states. In a world so vivid and creative the realness of his character and very human responses become all the more impactful, it is touching, sickeningly raw and quite intense at times.
There are times within this book that you see some inconsistencies in the characters voices, and it can at times feel a little jumpy from POV to POV. This book isn’t perfect and if you going in looking for little hiccups you will find them, as you would with many books, but if you are going in to experience a brilliant and imaginative world filled with REAL characters with REAL motivations you are in the right place. There is a rawness to this book and an emotional grittiness that you don’t see often in books and it was brilliant to experience it within Dark Oak’s pages.
You know the drill, on to the rating…
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I would definitely pick this up in its paperback form if I didn’t already have it and would strongly recommend the audiobook if you don’t have an issue with narrations accompanied by sound effects, I get that might be a hard no for some people, but im not one of them and I loved it! I actually want to find more with it in so yanno, its a winner to me!
Hey Everyone and welcome back to KEEP IT OR CUT IT! I cant believe it is week five of this series already, it seems to have been two minutes since I decided to do this! Though, technically it would be week six but I blobbed last week and calling it week six would just be confusing.
I have just quickly glanced at the next couple of books on my TBR list and I can honestly barely remember some of them. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing we but we shall see when it finally comes down to decision time. Don’t get me wrong, I remember some but other I couldn’t tell you a single thing about them other than they are likely to be fantasy!
Again a quick look at the method incase we have any newcomers to the series..
In order to find out if I wish to KEEP IT OR CUT IT I will do the following:
I have actually heard of Marie Lu and I’m pretty sure I watched one of her interviews at one point. She has written quite a few books, some being Legend, Warcross and The Young Elites. I am pretty sure they all fall heavily in the Young Adult genre of Science Fiction and I’m pretty sure they got a good reception on publication more often than not. However, despite this the blurb hasn’t really grabbed me, it seems like a fairly cool concept and a stunning setting but when weighed against the other books I have in my TBR it isn’t likely I will actually pick it up over many of them. Thus, this one is a CUT IT.
Ok, so I was legit torn with this book. Do I keep it or cut it? This book as it suggests in the blurb one inspired by Korean folklore, on the Kumiho (gumiho – or gumbo if I left the autocorrected word my laptop insists on changing it to). For those who don’t know, a Kumiho is not to different from the Japanese Kitsune (nine-tailed fox), it has similar in its characteristic though I believe the main difference between these is the fact that the Kumiho is a malicious creature rather than a mischievous one. Though don’t quote me, my monster knowledge is amateur at best. Ahh, what the hell…I’m going to keep it. I love a good romance and sometimes when I want a quick fun read to snuggly fit into my TBR I always go for a reread but I might just elect this one time.
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
I’m not going to lie I haven’t even reread the blurb for this book. I know I’m never going to read it. Nothing against it, I cant throw shade on a book or author I have never read before, but I know I just won’t read it. I haven’t read any of her other books despite having them on my shelves for a long time! I think my sister gifted me the boxed set one year, still haven’t read them, so I doubt i’ll make a move on her other works. So its an easy cut it this one.
Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin #1) by Bella Forrest
I have read and enjoyed a few books in which the main character is an empath, and it is a magic that I quite like. I like seeing how an author can create tension by alternate means when the MC can essentially sense a lie. I also like the idea of monsters and creatures possibly being influential in this book. Plus witches, I like witchy books.
Battle Mage (Battle Mage (2 volumes) #1A) by Peter A. Flannery
Dragonkind. Elite Training School. Despair. Underdog Trope….I’m not going to like that a good few boxes this book ticks, provided it is done well! But I won’t know unless I read it! I love a good triangle montage, they just do it for me! So, to be net this feels like quite and easy keep it! It is also rated pretty well on Goodreads, it is currently a 4.46 with over 7,000 ratings and 758 reviews. That honestly make me a little more inclined to give it a try. An epic fantasy with some decent potential with less than 1000 reviews…
Sailing to Sarantium (The Sarantine Mosaic #1) by Guy Gavriel Kay
The first thing I noticed about this book was the author, Guy Gavriel Kay, and I know a few trusted book reviewers who love his works, or at least one I know of. Looking through his works there is only one I am actually familiar with and that is Tigana (which is also on my TBR yet to be judged). The blurbs describes quite an intriguing setting, and one that could be quite fantastic but the blurb doesn’t really do much else for me.
Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1) by Max Gladstone
Dead gods always entice me as a reader, I love all the ways it can go when a likely devout people are no longer under the protection or control of their god. I am keeping this book on my list, it sounds quite imaginative and pretty unique to anything I have read before. Also, I think this may be a debut, and I have a thing about debuts! I love seeing what it takes to get your book published and experiencing an authors first book.
The Court of Broken Knives is a dark fantasy I do believe, and I haven’t read whole lot of dark fantasy. I bought this on eBay really cheap along with the other two books of this trilogy and I have every intention of reading it. Oh my days and it is another debut! Debuts are popping up everywhere!!
I have checked out a few reviews of this and there are quite a few good ones. Edward describes it “as a uniquely fascinating and entirely unpredictable read” and Justine said it was “an unyielding and opulent tale of the balance of extremes: living and dying, darkness and light, truth and lies all of life is a balancing act”. Many other reviewers have shared their love for it to and I am excited to read it!
A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1) by Joe Abercrombie
If any of you have seen my recent Twitter activity you will know I have recently delved into the works of Joe Abercrombie, namely his First Law Trilogy. I have read book one and I am about half way through book two, I am really enjoying Abercrombies style so I will definitely be checking out his other works! Maybe all of them.
There it is! So, this week I have cut 4 books and kept 6. I hope you enjoyed the post this week and maybe four a few more books to add to your own TBR. I actually had quite a bit of fun this week with this post. A few of these books have given me some good talking points!
What do you think are there any books I really should have cut or ones you cant believe I didn’t cut? How many did you guess correctly?
I have been really bad with the blog this week, I didn’t post my feature Keep It Or Cut It because I had a review to post and I was so busy on Sunday I didn’t manage to do my Sundays Seven post either! So, yes, this week I have been a massive let down!
So, before I go back to work tomorrow I thought that tonight I would get another review written up and out there! Thus, I will be sharing with you my review of Matthew Ward’s book Legacy of Ash, as the title of this post suggests.
Annnnd I have just realise how pointless these little paragraphs are because people definitely read the title and don’t need to be told twice! Oh well…
I picked Legacy of Ash up in a Kindle deal but I pretty much listened to it all via audiobook after listening to a sample of Hampton’s lovely narration.
Here are a few things you can expect from Legacy of Ash :
A BIG book that is huge in scope;
An incredible start (I think it’s my favourite prologue EVER);
An EPIC and masterfully complex plot;
Warring peoples with a history riddled with injustice and oppression; and
An incredible world with even better characters.
A little bit about the narration…
This was actually a narration that I wasn’t sure about upon listening to it initially. At the point of listening to this sample, each time I had listened to a sample I had either hated it straight away or loved it. However, with this one I actually had to listen to the full five minute sample because I wasn’t sure about it. So, if you listen to the sample give it a go. I did end up grabbing the audiobook of this and absolutely loved the narration by Hampton, to the point that I searched her name to see if she had done any others.
I later did this with Steven Pacey and now he is one of my favourite listens, though that could also be heavily due to the fact I am listening to Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy! But we aren’t talking about that book. So…
On to the full review…
Firstly, I want to start, well, at the beginning. The prologue of this book is cracking. It is actually this amazing start to the novel that is the narration sample text, and it played a heavy part in my picking this up as soon as I did. I listened to it and was instantly grabbed, I read the book within the next two days I think. I wanted to know what happened after, so well done to Ward for starting a book with a marvellous hook.
If you have read any of my reviews about Anthony Ryan‘s books, you may know how much I LOVE a good start to a book. If you hook me at the start, chances are (unless you do a massive screw up) you have me right to the end and Ward succeeding in catching me and keeping me from start to finish!
Legacy of Ash is a chunky boy of a book, it is in my top ten largest books! How do I know this? I just checked on my Goodreads, it’s my tenth largest read book. I think that is pretty impressive. Though, what is even more impressive is the fact that this didn’t feel like a big book. I am always game for a big book when it is done well, as I imagine is the case is for most people, because I want as much of it I can get.
As it is with many larger books, Legacy of Ash is inevitably slower in pace but it is necessary due to this books complexity. Though, having said that don’t think you will be bored, you won’t, this book has a solid plot that keeps you interested throughout with its characters (and there are quite a few), world building and magic system. Ward also combats the common problems one finds with a slower pace through many means, one of which is his plethora of characters as each one is filled with tension and intrigue.
The plot of Legacy of Ash in its most simplest of forms is one of several waring peoples. You have Tressia, the Southshires and the Hadari all thrown in and all with way too much history between them! In the middle of this melting pot of hostility you have a host of incredible characters. Ward did an incredible job of keeping each character distinctive in their personality and their motivations. Not only that, but despite the larger scope of characters in this book, all were relevant and had a significant role to play in the overall plot of the book.
I’m not going to go into detail about each of the characters, because as I have said there are a few of them. Just know you won’t be disappointed, least of all with Viktor. Gosh darn it do I love Viktor!
As my first Matthew Ward book I was very impressed with his prose, I found that I could visualise every aspect of this story. Everything was so well written, and beautifully weaved together. The world building was done magnificently, there was not a single point that I felt that he was to descriptive or his writing was over embellished. The word building is shown through the many character interactions and thoughts, it is naturally infused into all aspects of the story. I think what was most enjoyable was that Ward almost made it is mystery, he gives you just enough and leaves you to unravel the details of these peoples history yourself but without leaving you feeling lost!
I don’t want to harp on too much so I will end it with saying that Legacy of Ash is more than just an epic fantasy, it is a magnificent story with strong themes of overcoming the past, loyalty and friendship. It has memorable and incredibly written character all of which are living in an utterly enthralling world.
You know the drill, on to the rating…
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
You know, this is going to be a BUY THE HARDBACK! I think I put this as a 4 stars on Goodreads initially but after reviewing it and realising how much I really enjoyed this book and what a masterpiece it is, I will have to change it to FIVE!
It is that time again where I talk about the books I have read. I would usually say this month, but it is now December because I’m a little late with this post.
I have read eight books in November along with one or two little rereads but I don’t count them. The books I have read this month have been pretty chunky books so I am super pleased with this months reads, I definitely put Lockdown 2.0 to good use.
Oh my lord!! I have just worked it out and I read a whopping 4,656 pages in total this month across my eight books, but only ONE of those books can claim BOOK OF THE MONTH!
I have a feeling this month is going to be so hard! My hardest month yet I do believe, so many of these books have been such incredible reads each with their own strengths! Check out below to see what books I have read and understand the struggle I face…
I really enjoyed this book, the audiobook was great and it made for a really good listen. Legacy of Ash is pretty big in scope and has a lot going on with a number of characters but it had me from the beginning. I’m all about the hook and this book hooked me straight away!
It is a brilliant epic fantasy and one that the veterans of the genre will love!
Well, what can you say about these books? They are typical to the genre they are in, and are easy fun read. They are absolutely riddled with issues and honestly I could complain to the high heavens about them but you always end up wanting to read more.
I really enjoyed my experience with this book. I had actually started this book before but stopped reading but I am really glad I picked it back up. I started it again from the start and really enjoyed it. The characters are great and are totally worthy of the praise they get from the book community and the world was great too!
Abercrombie shows his talent as a writer numerous times in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite being significantly slower in the plot department.
BOOK 1 & 2 OF THE LAST WAR TRILOGY by MIKE SHACKLE
Oh my days! What an incredibly journey it was to read these books. I read them back to back and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Shackle’s world. He is such a talented writer. These books showcase bloody violence, incredible characters and outstanding world building. They are books NOT TO BE MISSED!
I really enjoyed this book and can happily tell you the audiobook is phenomenal too! Zack has given us an incredibly beautiful and well thought out world in Voice of War and one with an even cooler magic system! The characters are fab and the plot is one that has you always reading more!
I really truly loved this book, it is inspired by the mesoamerican history and was utterly refreshing to read. I love the topic of mesoamerica so I was chuffed to find this gem on NetGalley! Anna does not disappoint, her characters are brilliant and she has created an utterly realistic and well grounded world in which they reside ming for an incredible read.
Ok, so the bit of the post you actually wanted to read…
You know, I said that this month was going to be hard, and I guess in a sense it is because this month was an epic month of reading for me. Some of the books I have read have been incomparable and are winners in their own right. If I could, I would name more than one Book of the Month…but I can’t!
Although, in terms of a winner…any books of the same series will be counted as one seen as though that is the way I have set them up in this post!
Todays winner is going to be chosen based off of which one got an immediate response from me, a response that was stronger than the other books, you know? No, ok…
Well, while I was writing my thoughts for each one of these books, only one had me excited all over again just thinking about how I could describe what a joy this book was. I will always find several enthusiastic words to describe this author and their writings! There is no caveat with todays winner, I would recommend it to everyone, even people who don’t read the genre!
So, without further ado, this months BOOK OF THE MONTH goes to..
BOOK 1 & 2 OF THE LAST WAR TRILOGY BY MIKE SHACKLE
Well that’s is fellow book friends! Thank you for reading, feel free to comment here or on Twitter if you have read and loved/hated any of my reads this month. Also, let me know what your favourite read was this month.
How are we all doing today? I hope you are all freaking awesome.
Today I am thrilled to be one of the many incredible bloggers coming together this week to talk to you about Marcus Lee’s second book Tristan’s Folly. This tour is hosted by Storytellers on Tour, who I have had the pleasure of working with on a few previous occasions, so definitely check out their site!
I would also like to take this time to thank Marcus for sending me a physical copy of this book!
Before I get to the review I want to share with you the generous giveaway Marcus and the Storytellers are offering…
It’s both books and is open internationally, so don’t miss out!
Here are a few things you can expect from Tristan’s Folly:
A dark fantasy with a sprinkling of romance;
A visually stunning magic system;
A dystopia world filled with cracking characters; and
A unique and refreshing fantasy story!
On to the full review…
Today is day four of this book tour and thus my day, along with Rowena at Beneath A Thousand Skies, to share our thoughts on Tristan’s Folly. It still has another day to run, so head over to the Tour Schedule page to check out all amazing reviews already posted!
As I have said Tristan’s Folly is the second book of The Gifted and the Cursed series by Mr Marcus Lee, and it picks up right where Kings and Daemons left off. Tristan’s Folly does not mess around either, it is straight into the thick of it with so much to lose and even more to win! It is a great second instalment and I was not disappointed.
I praised the magic system in my review of Kings and Daemons and I will praise it again. It is such a lovely magic system. It gives your such a great level of variety throughout the book. It did feel very convenient at times but worry not Lee combats this superbly. One of our characters, Taran, was able to know the truth of an enemy’s words through his gift and that alone could have made many events within this book feel anti-climatic but it didn’t! It didn’t because Lee would always have other and more enjoyable sequences at play. Lee managed to create even more tension where Taran’s ability could have taken it away, the character’s reactions and the way they dealt with these revelations and truths after the fact was brilliantly done. To be honest it was refreshing, too often do you read a book that makes you just sit there and be like really, yes obviously take the bad guy at his word. There is no room for that in this book, so not only is the magic fun it’s a brilliant writing mechanism that shows Lee’s skill at changing the direction and bringing the tension that such events usually warrant a different way.
While Lee is a new writer with only two books out there for the world to see he shows such promise! This is his second book and it is already brilliant. I honestly think he can only get better as he goes on, and I for one am incredibly excited to see his style grow!
I found myself during this read constantly thinking ’oh you clever, clever man’. Again, Lee shows us he is a talented writer. At some points I was like ’mmmm well what happened then?’ because a POV would change and so would the tide of the battle. I swore I had just missed something at first only to soon see Lee reveal it in a far more spectacular way, one in particular point I was so smug and satisfied because of the way Lee wrote the sequence of events was just brilliant! As much as I would love to tell you in detail what and how Lee did this, I won’t because…SPOILERS! And you need to experience the joy of unravelling the events of this book yourself!
Having already met most of the characters in book one it was amazing to see the still growing and progressing. They didn’t plateau and were a joy to read.
I found that I liked Maya a lot more in this book, not that I didn’t like her before but you know how it is!
Now, I have said before but I shall say it again; a main character is only as good as those that surround them in my opinion. If you have a strong character but their interactions are with subpar characters they don’t shine, bu thankfully Lee doesn’t need to worry about this. Maya was such a good character to read because she was so layered and well rounded. She had deep and thought provoking conversations with Astren, but then she was soft and loving with Taran and yet comical and fiery with Drizt and Trop. IT was great to see how she changes with each person she is with!
I also really liked Daleth, I actually really likes his POV’s in book one and he doesn’t disappoint. He is a truly great character because you kind of like him. He is filled with manipulation and deceit (not so different to another character who is in the good side might I add 🤔) and yes its bad to manipulate those who serve him, yet he knows all the names of his men, he gifts them and treats them well. Yes, a good deal of their fire is based off a lie but that isn’t all they are fighting for, they are fighting for Daleth! He doesn’t lead by fear alone but through admiration and they respect and choose to follow him. He is such a brilliantly complex character that brings out much thought from the reader and not only from his own character but what he represents. Which is definitely another strength of Lee’s writing style. He shows you that not everything is as it seems, no one person is wholly bad or good!
Tristan’s Folly is a fast paced book, as I said it picks up right where it left off and it does not stop! This story is filled with action sequences and siege warfare and has you turning to the next page. Lee continues to raise the stakes in this book and sets up for what I expect is going to be a dramatic conclusion to this story. There is so much going on, though not cluttered and incoherent, and we see a lot more internal strife and deception in this book!
I really enjoyed this book as I did the first and I am excited to see Lee grow as a writer and what he has in store for us in book three!
You know the drill, On to the rating…
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I am happy to say that Tristan’s Folly is a BUY THE PAPERBACK! Yayyy
As I said in my review, this book is delightfully written, with its plot twists and refreshing way of writing! I am super happy to have this book on my shelves and will look forward to having the final book when it is out to make the set complete!
Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me…but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.
As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.
Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book. Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.
So, here we are. The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.
However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be my first of many. I genuinely hope so.
Who knows, now these creative juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.
Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and the Illiad as a seven-year-old. Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others.