KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK SEVEN

Hey Everyone and welcome back to KEEP IT OR CUT IT!

As you can likely guess it isn’t really week seven, as I had time off over Christmas, but it is the seventh Keep It Or Cut It. You feel me?!

This will be my first Keep It Or Cut It of 2021! All of my books this week are from August 2019! So we are still in the depths of my TBR despite being seventy books in.

In case I have somehow managed to convince others to come to my little corner of the blogosphere the Keep It Or Cut It feature is a bid to reduce my TBR by checking out ten books from my TBR. I go in date order so have been culling the earlier added books.

The Method

In order to find out if I wish to KEEP IT OR CUT IT I will do the following:

  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews
  • Maybe read the sample

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

Blackdog (Gods of the Caravan Road #1) by K.V. Johansen

Goodreads Link

Long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, there were seven devils…In a land where gods walk on the hills and goddesses rise from river, lake, and spring, the caravan-guard Holla-Sayan, escaping a bloodily-conquered lakeside town, stops to help an abandoned child and a dying dog. The girl, though, is the incarnation of Attalissa, goddess of Lissavakail, and the dog a shape-changing guardian spirit whose origins have been forgotten. Possessed and nearly driven mad by the Blackdog, he flees to the desert road, taking the powerless avatar with him.

And long ago, after the days of the first kings in the north, the seven devils, who had deceived and possessed seven of the greatest wizards of the world, were defeated and bound with the help of the Old Great Gods…

Necromancy, treachery, massacres and rebellions, gods dead or lost or mad, follow hard on the devils’ heels. But it is Attalissa herself who may be the Blackdog’s — and Holla-Sayan’s — doom.

And perhaps some of the devils are free in the world, and perhaps some are working to free themselves still.

Reasons & Thoughts:

This Epic Fantasy has gods massacres, treachery and more sounds pretty damn interesting. It was published by Prometheus Books in 2011, not a publisher I know, but that doesn’t really mean anything.

I was a little on the fence about this one, so thought to check out the sample…only I cant find one! And this book apparently is way hard to get a hold of a physical copy, and the eBook is near a tenner 😮 but I leaning towards keeping it. It has less than 1000 ratings and still has a fairly solid 3.64 rating.

“…KV Johansen has crafted a captivating world of gods, demons, wizards and warriors. Enriched by a keen eye for character and masterly, lyrical prose this is an insightful look at the corrosive nature of power on the human soul, not to mention featuring some of the best sword fights I’ve ever read..”

Anthony Ryan (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #2

Talion: Revenant by Michael A. Stackpole

Goodreads Link

The man he is sworn to protect is the man who butchered his family.

Justices–the select of the Talion, endowed with fearsome magick and lethal martial skills–roam the Shattered Empire, crushing the lawless and championing the oppressed. Their word is law and their judgement binding on highborn and low.

Nolan is a Justice born in what once was the free nation of Sinjaria. Orphaned in the war of conquest with the nation of Hamis, he traveled to far Talianna and secured the right to become a Justice. Now, years later, the Master of all Talions has a dangerous assignment for Nolan: He is to guard the life of the king who destroyed Sinjaria and slaughtered his family. Alone, Nolan ventures into the political maelstrom that is the court of Hamis to stop an assassin even his Masters think cannot be slain. . . .

Reasons & Thoughts::

So, this was actually the 100th book on my previous post 100 FANTASY BOOKS FOR THE BUCKET LIST! which I am still in the SLOW process of making. This book sounded good when I made that list soo…

Plus, an instant win point is that this book is standalone, a rarity one must cherish when found.

“If you are tired of reading trilogies and you want a solid single-volume fantasy to read, this one is excellent. Pretty traditional fantasy story but with a lot of action and intrigue.”

Nick Borelli (Rated 4 Stars)

BOOK #3

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher

Goodreads Link

For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. 

But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon. 

Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine. 

Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

Reasons & Thoughts::

Ok, so straight off the bat this book is not looking good! It is NOT rated well on Goodreads. A lot of reviewers I have utter faith in have barely rated it a 3*, some DNF’s and even a few 1* reviews and that says a lot, especially when many of Jim Butchers other books are well received.

Call me a follower but we read reviews of those we have similar tastes with to avoid reading a book we may not like…

BOOK #4

Shaman’s Crossing (The Soldier Son #1) by Robin Hobb

Goodreads Link

Nevare Burvelle anticipates a golden future. He will follow his father into the army; to the frontier and thence to an advantageous marriage.

Over twenty years the army has pushed the frontiers of Gernia as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the enigmatic Speck people, who retain the last vestiges of magic in a progressive world. Exotic and misunderstood, they are believed to spread a sexual plague which has ravaged the frontier, decimating entire regiments. 

Such beliefs will affect Nevare’s military training at the Academy, where he will experience injustice and foul play. But his world view will also be challenged by his unconventional cousin Epiny. And on Dark Evening, when the carnival comes to Old Thares, it will bring with it the first Specks Nevare has ever seen…

Reasons & Thoughts::

Oh, this very nearly had a default removal! I wasn’t sure if it fell within Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings books at first and as I haven’t finished Farseer books yet it would get removed until I was closer to that book as per the order of the RotE. Alas, it is not and is a whole other world.

It is sounding good so far, following in a father’s footstep, a good plot line which can give some serious tension and emotional punches. A magic people…military training academy…sounds promising and it is rated well among many reviews I like!

BOOK #5

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Goodreads Link

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Reasons & Thoughts::

So…I kind of already own this book so I think that says all that needs to be said! Also, the cover is so beautiful and the story sounds great.

“In sum, Priory of the Orange Tree is one of the best books I have ever read. I never thought I would get through 800+ pages and leave wanting more, but that is exactly what happened to me.”

Travelling Cloak (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #6

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine

Goodreads Link

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

Reasons & Thoughts::

I haven’t read all that much sci-fi, in my life as a reader, much to my own disappointment but A Memory Called Empire was still added to my TBR in 2019! It sounds fab and if the reviews are correct is such a clever and complex read.

“A Memory Called Empire is by far the cleverest and poignant debut I have had the pleasure of reading.”

The Coycaterpillar Reads (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #7

The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy #1) by James Islington

Goodreads Link

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs—once thought of almost as gods—were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought—and lost—before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. 

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

Reasons & Thoughts::

Another I already have a physical copy of and I also have the arc for the third book in the series! I actually plan on reading this book this year along with many others.

“The book builds and builds, a fantastic example of character driven fantasy – a low key magic system that develops and builds through the book, an amazing world unfolds and some memorable and well defined characters and secondary characters.”

Peter The Swordsmith (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #8

The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

Goodreads Link

Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.

Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.

What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

Reasons & Thoughts::

I have read The Bird and the Sword, another book by this author and I did enjoyed it but I also remember not being to fussed about going onto the other books of the series. Now, that isn’t to say tis book won’t be good, and the concept is quite cool but I know I have a lot of other books better suited to my current tastes that will come before this, so do I leave it on and see or just bite the bullet and cut it. Hmmmm.

BOOK #9

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Goodreads Link

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. 

Reasons & Thoughts::

Hmm, why do I know that name? Ahhhh! The Once and Future Witches! Ok, that gives me more good feels for this book. I was actually starting off feeling I would drop this and I’m not overly sure why. The name is cool, being my birthday month and the cover is beautiful. Odd…

I think this is such a cool premise and allows for a good deal of variety and beauty in this tale. Though, likely one I will have to be in the mood for.

“Alluring passages comprising meticulously chosen words were conjured and evident in every page; Harrow exhibited storytelling skill that gives justice to the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is one of the most beautifully-written debuts I’ve ever read…”

Petrik (Rated 4.5 Stars)

BOOK #10

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks

Goodreads Link

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist. 

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death. 

Reasons & Thoughts::

Oh nice! Looking at this on Goodreads it has some good reviews, some average and some that love it. Good start, and while some of the reviews on this book mention it s being a bit average it has its good points to.

I am not so well-versed in the Dark Fantasy genre so I do want to make a point of reading more. I like the savage and gritty feel the genre tends to give you.

But a big selling point for me is assassins, I love me some assassins.

“..There’s as much action as any reader could want, varied and interesting magic, tight plotting from a good number of interesting points of view…”

Mark Lawrence (Rated 5 Stars)

There it is! The first Keep it or Cut It of the year and a pretty successful one, or unsuccessful…depends how you want to look at it! This week I have cut TWO books and kept EIGHT and managed to get excited over a few of these which I plan to read soonish.

What do you think are there any books I really should have cut and didn’t or are you screaming at me internally because of the ones you cant believe I cut..

Thank you for reading, as always, I hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment or have a natter with me over on Twitter.

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