Hello Bookish Folk!

Today I am happy to be reviewing one of the SPFBO Finalist’s this year, and that is The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin.

SPFBO Award Finalist for Best Fantasy Book (2020)

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Combat Codes
  • Author: Alexander Darwin
  • Series: The Combat Codes Saga (Book One)
  • Published by Insight Forge
  • Pages: 408


Add It To Your Goodreads!

“We fight, so the rest shall not have to.”

In a world where single combat determines the fate of nations, the Grievar fight so that the rest can remain at peace.

Cego is a mysterious Grievar boy forced to fight his way out of the slave Circles into the world’s most prestigious combat school. 

At the Lyceum, Cego will learn a variety of martial arts from eclectic teachers, develop deep bonds of friendship and fight against contentious rivals to climb the school’s rankings. 

But, Cego will find far more than combat studies at the Lyceum. He will find the mystery of his past unraveled by forces greater than he could ever imagine. 


Here are a few things you can expect from this book :

  • A martial arts inspired gem;
  • Excellent and raw fighting sequences;
  • Master and apprentice vibes;
  • Incredible military academy; and
  • Friendships and family.

Art By ryanbestart (Shop)

On to the full review…

I started reading The Combat Codes on January 1st and it was such a great book to start my reading year off with! I LOVE martial arts in all of its forms so to see such a great Jiu Jitsu inspired SFF novel was super cool.

My experience reading The Combat Codes was one of nostalgia, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was such fun! Every time a pointer was given or a stance adjusted I knew what the Cego was feeling, it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me to be honest. I remember having my hips wobbled and being told to get good and get strong or I would blow away like a leaf in the wind and that my stance wasn’t balanced, my arm was to low, firm taps to my elbows and wrists showing the weak points in my blocks! So this book hit a few great memories I have of Karate and MMA.

“We fight, so the rest shall not have to.”

And man do they fight! This book has some of the finest hand to hand combat I have read, you can totally see Darwin’s in depth knowledge and love of the art in his writing. It is like when you read John Gwynne’s books and you feel so many things in his writing because he has such a vast knowledge of battles and such due to his reenactments and such. So, yeah Darwin knows his shit!

I really loved the characters in this book, they were so well crafted. Cego and Murray are brilliant in their own rights but not only that, Darwin has created a world of fabulous characters even the ones that are not massive parts of the plot. They each add something different, they all had something they learnt from their own history that was imparted in someway onto our main characters. Each character, big or small, had a clear and distinguishable personality.

Another thing I really enjoyed in this book was the unraveling of Cego’s past, he is pretty mysterious at first and it was a joy to learn more about the role he has to play and where he has come from.

I think while this books world definitely feels more sci-fi in nature with it technological advancements but one of its keys components, the alloys, were so magical in my eyes. There were like a magic system in their own science-like way. Though, I don’t plan to say much in resect of these because they are such a joy to learn about.

There is quite a lot to this story, it has so many elements and little twists and it is enjoyable. Though, it did feel uneven at times. Yet the plot never stopped moving, it was always progressing and it was so fun to keep moving forward with such incredible characters but I sometimes felt like I lacked direction overall. Each section had its own direction but I felt the overall plot was slightly uneven.

The Combat Codes is an entertaining story, and its character are some of my favourite to read. Darwin has created a fascinating world and I will definitely be reading book two.



BUY THE PAPERBACK! This is an easy one for me, I read this on Kindle through my Kindle Unlimited subscription and will very soon be purchasing the PB of this book with its brand new amazing COVER!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


  1. Pingback: COVER REVEAL | THE SWORD IN THE STREET BY C. M. CAPLAN | _ The Book in Hand _

  2. Pingback: BOOK OF THE MONTH | JANUARY | _ The Book in Hand _

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s