BOOK REVIEW | THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE BY EVAN WINTER & NARRATED BY PRENTICE ONAYEMI

Hello, Bookish Folk!

It is about time I reviewed this book, I finished reading The Fires of Vengeance at the end of December. I read it in a total of four days and I listened to a good chunk of this book via the audiobook. This is one of those books I cant really read myself. I know that sounds odd but Prentice does such an incredible job at narrating this book and book one that even when I am reading the physical book I hear his voice, but then it becomes some weird fucked up version (I suck at accents) in my own head and it no longer feels authentic to me.

A massive thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for approving my request for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Fires of Vengeance
  • Author: Evan Winter
  • Narrated By: Prentice Onayemi
  • Series: The Burning (Book Two)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 400
  • Narration Length: 15 Hours 30 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to survive the coming onslaught.

Audible.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from :

  • A worthy and remarkable sequel;
  • A deeper look into all the things you loved about book one;
  • Characters you cant help but become utterly invested in; and
  • Incredible duels, graphic and intense action and epic battles;

The Audiobook…

I said it in my review of The Rage of Dragons Prentice Onayemi is amazing. Both of the audible narations for the The Burning books are the BEST I have listened to. I have probably listened to maybe thirty audiobooks so far but none have yet claimed the title of my favourite audiobook over these books. THEY ARE AMAZING.

On to the full review…

Evan Winter has done it again.

His debut novel The Rage of Dragons blew me away like never before, and I can easily say Fires of Vengeance has done the exact same. I think it takes a truly talented writer to produce a second book in a series that is equal to if not superior to book one.

The Fires of Vengeance picks up where The Rage of Dragons left us, and it has continued to build on an already spectacular foundation. While there is still a lot of focus on Tau’s revenge it also becomes so much more. We delve deeper into this amazing world Winter has created, into its history, its lore and we see so much more of what drives not only Tau but Tsiora and her people.

I really liked the deeper look into Isihago, I don’t want to say much by way of this but know it is thrilling to read and is the place where one of my FAVOURITE fights take place.

As with book one we experience this story mainly through Tau’s POV with little glimpses into a few other peoples minds and each one brings out such an emotional response from the reader. You feel their determinations, steel, heart and so much more. Every action shows you a little more of these characters and what drives them.

I love Tau, I loved him in book one despite his single-mindedness and I grew to love him so much more in this book, he becomes more. He is no longer set to his own singular purpose but also the aims of those around him, those he has bonded with even more and slowly begun to realise that he isn’t on his own.

The increase in attention on the other characters that surround Tau are also fabulous, each brings their own flare and complexities. You truly see the impact of those surrounding Tau and how this isn’t just his fight anymore, it is all of theirs too.

Winter is such an incredible writer it is pure joy to visit the world he creates, I said in my review of The Rage of Dragons he is a superb writer and he continues to shine in this book. He is such an emotional and powerful writer, you feel the oppression, the injustice and the hurt that it causes.

As with book one, The Fires of Vengeance feels relatively fast paced though not in an action after action after action sense, but in a tense, page-turning way. The players are always moving, something is always happening and you literally can not stop wanting to read more.

Knowing that there is to be another two books in this series makes me so happy, I don’t think three would be sufficient. I am so excited to see where Winter goes with the following books and how everything we are teased with in the series so far will come into effect!

The Fires of Vengeance is an incredible book that does not stumble or bow down to the other books in this genre, it stands strong and so so proud. It is two books in and an ultimate favourite of mine. So, a MASSIVE thank you to Evan Winter for writing this masterpiece and allowing us to experience such an incurable book!


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

Easy. Easy. Easy…BUY THE HARDBACK!

I said it earlier this book is fast becoming an all time favourite and it still has two books to go! Grab the audiobook too. Just saying.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED & LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS BY JOE ABERCROMBIE

Hey Bookish Folk!

I am finally back, I feel like I haven’t written a review or one of my features in such a long time! But hey, a girl has to have some time off over the holidays, right?! Lord knows I didn’t get it at work.

Today I am going to be reviewing not one but two books. I always find it hard to review books the further into the series I get because a lot of the time the same praises from book one still stand and so I just end up repeating myself. So, to avoid that I am going to review book two and three of the First Law Trilogy together and it will likely be a wee bit shorter. Maybe.

A few facts about Book Two and Book Three of The First Law Trilogy:

  • Titles: Book Two | Before They Are Hanged & Book Three | Last Argument of Kings
  • Author: Joe Abercrombie
  • Published by Gollancz
  • Pages: Book Two | 441 & Book Three | 536

Synopsis:

Add Them To Your Goodreads!

Before They Are Hanged | Amazon.co.uk OR Audible Audiobook

Last Argument of Kings | Amazon.co.uk

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from these two books:

  • Books that live up to the hype;
  • Dry and witty humour;
  • Remarkable characters you can’t help but root for despite their lack of morality;
  • Exceptional storytelling; and
  • Epic bloody battles.

On to the review…

I finally made my way to this series, and I finished it. Shit, folks, I gobbled this up like a woman starved.

I’m so glad I listened to the audiobooks, I have so many books I HAVE to read that I allow audiobooks to be MY books and because of that I was able to go through the trilogy one book after another!

Both Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings are such good books. Abercrombie set up an incredible set of characters in The Blade Itself and they continue to shine in the following books and remain so captivating. They have so many positives and they are so well crafted, none seem out of place in the world Abercrombie creates including the tone of the book too, while not coming across as copies of each other or too dark. He teases you with a glimmer of hope for al of his characters, whether they get it or not is a whole other kettle of fish.

The plot in books two and three certainly picks up, and shows a good degree more progression than book one. It takes unpredictable turns and stays true to its gritty and darker tone while still keeping one of my favourite aspects…the humour. I was chatting in a forum about The First Law the other day and got to talking about the British feel to Abercrombie’s writing and it is true for the humour too. It is that dry and witty humour the I just cannot get enough of!

Something Abercrombie really excels at in this trilogy is his ability to write brilliant action. I have seen so many YouTube videos about ‘action packed’ books and Abercrombie always popped up. Though, having not read them I was like ‘mmm, can it be that good’…

So, yeah. It is that good. From the larger battles to the close quarters combat, he does it so well. It is vivid and terrifying and done oh in such a brilliant way the action jumps from the pages.

From book one right through to book three you see such growth. Book one is arguably my favourite and it is such a foundational book. Book two moved forward with such amazing relationship building and character depth and the book three solidly concludes everything, it ties up all little threads superbly.

I’m not really sure if I can say anything beyond what the masses have already said for book one, two or three! Just know Abercrombie is a fab writer, he is stupidly talented and these books are simply brilliant.


FOR ANYONE INTERESTED I WROTE A FULL BOOK RECAP OF THE BLADE ITSELF AND BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

As with The Blade Itself I would, had I not LOVED the audiobook so much, picked this up in HARDBACK!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK RECAP | THE BLADE ITSELF BY JOE ABERCROMBIE

EVERYTHING IN THIS POST IS A SPOILER!!

My Review to this book can be found here.

If you haven’t already got your copy of this book then you can pick one up here.

A few facts about THE BLADE ITSELF:

  • Title: The Blade Itself
  • Author:  Joe Abercrombie
  • Published by Gollancz
  • Pages: 515

IN SHORT:

Logen is separated from his crew, he is guided by the spirits to meet Bayaz. He does, they piss off Bethod and journey to Adua. Jezal is training for a fencing contest, meanwhile getting down and dirty with his friend Collem West’s sister. Glokta is off on a merry adventure eliminating all the people who prevent Arch Lector Sult from gaining power. Jezal wins his contest, he is awarded by being sent on a mission with Bayaz, Logen and Malacus.

Add The Blade Itself to your Goodreads or to see a book summary.

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BLADE ITSELF?

The Blade Itself opens with Logan Ninefingers plunging through the Northern Hinterlands, after being split from his crew whom he assumes are all dead. He is fleeing from Shanka, after fighting one successfully he is then up against another in which heat the Shanka fall over the edge of a cliff.

PART ONE:

Then we meet Glokta, cripple and torturer, a real fine chap. He is going about his day torturing and questioning Rews when he is interrupted and given a task by Arch Lector Sult. He is to add the name of the Master of the Royal Mints to his current guest’s confession. Leading him to his next job, getting a confession from the Master of the Royal Mints too.

Having survived his encounter with the Shanka, and survived his cliff fall Logan speaks with the spirits (something maybe only he can still do, though not for long as the spirits are dwindling) they inform him that Bayaz, the first of the magi, is looking for him.

Then we meet the fine Jezal dan Luther, the rich and arrogant nobleman, he is hustling his friends out of their money until he remembers he has fencing practice for his upcoming fencing contest. He practices, poorly, and then leaves to drink, not so poorly. At his next practice his close friend West enlists his help with his sister, Ardee West, who upon meeting Jezal is soon smitten with despite his initial judgments of her.

Meanwhile in the Hinterland Logan meets Malacus Quai, an apprentice of Bayaz, and they set off together to meet Bayaz.

Having all the confessions needed Arch Lector Sult has consolidated his power somewhat and has moved his pawns in the longer game plan. He enlists the help of Glokta, and asks that he take down the Guild of Mercers in a bid to increase his own power and reduce the strength of the loathsome nobles.

Logan and Malacus finally reach their destination and meet Bayaz, nearly straight away their introduction is interrupted by the arrival of Bethod’s son who Bayaz dismisses. Bethod soon arrives himself to seek Bayaz’s help in his upcoming war, Bayaz refuses his help and the two part way no longer allies but enemies.

Back in Adua, Glokta is still doing Arch Lector Sult’s bidding, though it is no easy task as all his leads are dead on his arrival. Bethod has sent a delegation to Adua to talk of peace, only the peace is conditional. In open council word has arrived that Bayaz will make his way to Adua and Bethod’s delegation challenge the Aduan council to a duel, refused they go their separate way.

Back in the North we are introduced to The Dogman and Logan’s not so dead crew. After an encounter with more Shanka, The Dogman and his crew realise things are worse I the North than they thought and decide they have to warn people of the Shanka’s presence.

Glokta soon has what he needs by way of a confession, legally obtained through no means of deceit and lies. Right, because that is the truth. Anywho, Glokta’s current detainee has agreed to testify in open council.

After making an enemy of Bethod, Logan, Malacus and Bayaz set off south. It isn’t long before they are under attack from some of Bethod’s men, not one to take their previous insult lightly, he has them ambushed. Bayaz however, has other plans in mind and deals with their attackers by using his magic.

PART TWO:

Part two of The Blade Itself opens with a new character introduction, and we meet Ferro Maljinn, an escaped slave of the Gurkish. Ferro is then found by Yulwei, another magi. After much posturing the two set off together evading the Gurkish as they go to Adua. Though on their travels Yelwei notices many Gurkish ships and speeds up considerably.

In Adua, it is time for a meeting of the open council, most of the main players are present and shit is about to hit the fan. Arch Lector Sult accuses the Guild of Mercers of evading the kings taxes and the whole meeting ends in an uproar with many worried for their own purses and their noble arses which are now on the line. Glokta soon enters with his recent detainee whom, after much torture and conditioning, reports on the guilds activities giving Arch Lector Sult just what he needs. The guild of Mercers is found guilty of treason. Glokta and the soldiers are then tasked with arresting the higher ups of the guild. One particular higher up would rather die than fall into the hands of Glokta, though just before topping himself he implicates the Bank of Valint and Balk, the Council and the University.

Since Ardee made Jezal look like the arse he truly is and calling him out on his petty self-centred bullshit he has vastly improved his fencing, now showing promise and not being the lazy arse we all know him to be. He might actually have a chance at winning the upcoming contest. West is also going up in the world and is promoted by Lord Marshal Burr to his personal staff for the upcoming war.

Logan, Bayaz and Malacus soon arrive in Adua, though not exactly looking the part, so the three fit themselves with some new more appropriate attire and go about their intended tasks. Though, despite the new attire the council doesn’t exactly give them the warmest of welcomes.

After all his hard work, Glokta is still not really winning in life. I mean stairs are his worst enemy and he routinely shits himself, so he is never really winning but the guy has worked his little ass off for Sult only to have his previous superior, one he detests promoted over him. Glokta soon enquires as to the last minute accusations against the Bank of Valint and Balk only to be shut down immediately by Sult and told to leave it alone. He is however told to start an investigation into none other than Bayaz and his companions.

Busting for a piss, Logen gets up in the middle of the night searching for a place to relieve himself. During this mini expedition he comes across an apparition of his long dead wife and is right quite shocked and confused. Not one to mess around, and knowing what exactly the apparition was, Bayaz erupts in a fit of magic banishing the apparition and putting a mighty big hole in wall of their rooms.

The following morning Glokta is made aware of Bayaz and Logen’s late night encounter and sets off to investigate and finally meet Bayaz, someone he believes is nothing but a pretender.

After ignoring Ardee now for some time, as a result of West’s little outburst, he is surprised to see a note from her requesting a late night secret meeting. Not the wisest time to have her on the mind though as it is time for the first fights of the fencing contest. Jezal is not ready for the Contest and is quite nervous despite his usual arrogance, though once he gets into the grove of his matches he finds he had no reason to be nervous and proceeds to win against his competitors. To which he buggers off to celebrate with his friends, though he soon realises he want to get himself a little nooky! So, despite being quite late sets off to meet Ardee. Surprisingly, she is still there and the two begin to flirt and before long the two are kissing like porn stars.

Back in the North Threetrees and the crew are still making their way south, though they come up with a bright idea to seek out Bethod to warn him of the Shanka presence seen as though he is the only viable option to defend the North.

During Glokta’s investigation into Bayaz he is told of Bayaz’s history, his involvement in the fall of Kanedias and something called the Seed. Not so long after, Glokta comes across a body, it appears as though the body has been eaten, but Glokta’s new superior says it was an animal attack and demands the matter be left alone.

It is not long before Jezal is in the final match of the contest. He is up against Gorst, the expected winner of the contest.

Watching the contest Bayaz, Logan and Malacus make their observations as to the fighters. Logen thinks Gorst will win and Bayaz thinks Jezal will win, the two place bets. Though, Malacus is quick to advise against such foolish things, no one wins against a magus.

Everyone is seemingly in attendance, Glokta is watching the contest the same as Bayaz and Logen, and Jezal is a participating in the contest and getting his ass beat by Gorst.

Not one to lose a bet Bayaz uses his magic to help Jezal win.

At the champions dinner everyone is uncomfortable in some way or another and it is only made worse by Arch Lector Sult quizzing Bayaz. Bayaz then exclaims, after being pushed by Sult, that he is to enter the House of the Maker with none other than Jezal and Glokta. He also uses his magic to embarrass Sult and vanishing the chair he is sat on.

Bayaz, Jezal and Glokta make their way to the House of the Maker within the University. They search the house to which Bayaz, much to Glokta’s displeasure, shows a wide knowledge of the House and its history. Before long, and after much walking, the group leave the house.

After their encounter with the eaters and much travelling Ferro and Yulwei arrive in Adua and meet Bayaz. The initial meeting doesn’t go swimmingly and Ferro cracks Bayaz, for being a shit, despite this she soon agrees to work with him.

After having beaten this shit out of his sister, Collem West makes his way to Glokta’s home, the only person he feels he can trust with his sisters care while he is away fighting in Angland. Glokta initially refuses to help West in any way as he never made an effort with him after his return, after two years of being tortured. West soon explains he did, Glokta’s mother sent him away too many times. Somewhat shocked and awed by this new found news Glokta agrees to care for Ardee while West is away at war.

Soon, Dogman’s crew make the decision to send Forley the weakest of their crew to warn Bethod. It doesn’t go to plan, he is beheaded by Bethod’s men and the crew decide they will join whoever is against Bethod, which just so happens to be the Union.

Jezal, along with his comrades, are ready to set sail to Angland and make a name for himself in the coming war. Though, not for long a herald soon orders him to a meeting with the High Justice. Jezal is confronted by many high ranking officials and is told of a great journey he is to go on, with none other than Bayaz.

HOW DID THE BLADE ITSELF END?

Just as Jezal, Bayaz, Malacus, Brother Longfoot, Logen and Ferro are to set off on their journey Ferro is nowhere to be found. Shocker. Logen sets out to bring her back only to find she is being bothered by three practicals. A fight breaks out and soon Ferro and Logen are fighting and running for their lives, during this we see Logen’s other half, his alter-ego…the bloody nine. He is a monstrous killing machine who doesn’t know friend from foe and it isn’t long before they are surrounded by blood and gore of all his victims. They make it back to the ship but are pursued again. Bayaz bollock naked and not to impressed at being interrupted literally blows up one of the practicals.

Meanwhile Glokta has been sent on a new errand in which he has been promoted to Superior but not of Adua, of Dagoska.


There we have it guys and gals my very first book recap, and a fairly details one at that! This took its sweet merry time but I actually quite enjoyed reliving the book again even though I have only just read it! Watch out for more recaps, I will be sure to finish this series off!

Thank you for reading and please, as this is my first recap, let me know if you have any constructive criticism. If your going to be a dick though…keep it to yourself!


BOOK OF THE MONTH | DECEMBER

Hey All!

I hope you all had a great and safe New Years Eve. Well, it is the first day of the new year and what a year 2020 was.

Ok, so this month was my last stand against my Goodreads Challenge! I was so sure I wasn’t going to make it. It was the December 22nd and I was 23 books away from my goal of 150! I wasn’t even going to push for it until I wrote my last Sundays Seven of 7 Books to Help You Reach Your Goodreads Reading Goal! And I thought maybe if I get some shorts I could do this, completely forgetting about graphic novels too!

I decided to push for it, I didn’t complete my last years challenge. Then I thought I definitely won’t if I don’t try, and try I did and it paid off! I completed my challenge and with so much support from my big ass book family!

Now, it is tie to see what I read in December.

Goodreads here I come…

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

THE FIRST LAW TRILOGY by JOE ABERCROMBIE

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Novels

Review Link: The Blade Itself Review

My Thoughts:

Mmmm, guys this series…I am so late to this party but better late than never, right? These books are great it is grimdark and yet so filled with heart and humour. Nothing is guaranteed in this world and the people that fill it have to fight to survive. I loved the characters in this book and really enjoyed my first journey into Abercrombie’s world and writing.

POWDER MAGE SHORT STORIES by BRIAN MCCLELLAN

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Short Stories

My Thoughts:

I can only say good things about these stories! Lord knows I needed to go back to this world and I was so happy to actually return to see what made some of my favourite characters who they were. Though, now I just want to reread the main trilogy! McClellan is one of my favourite authors so it felt good that is was the Powder Mage universe that helped me towards my Goodreads Goal!

SAGA VOL 3 – 9 by BRIAN K. VAUGHAN & FIONA STAPLES

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Graphic Novels

My Thoughts:

I am so glad I read these, they popped up on my radar when I asked Twitter to give me Sci-Fi recs and I’m so glad someone said these! Then Richard was kind enough to send me the first four, the rest I picked up on the Kindle! These are such fun to read. They are emotional, fun and so much more! I cant wait for more to be released.

WE MEN OF ASH AND SHADOW by HL TINSLEY

Amidst the gas lamp shadows former soldier-turned-mercenary John Vanguard hunts criminals at the behest of his corrupt employer, Captain Felix Sanquain. Shamed by his deserter past and seeking to make amends for his many misdeeds, a chance encounter with Tarryn Leersac – a skilled young would-be-assassin fallen from the graces of high society – leads Vanguard to become an unlikely mentor.

Charged with hunting down the killer of two guards left washed up on the banks of the canal, the further Vanguard delves into the underbelly of the city the more he finds himself entangled in a web of secrets and lies. A prominent aristocrat is missing. Crime lords, con men and harlots run amok and the city teeters on the brink of another revolution.

With his already precarious reputation hanging by a thread, Vanguard must piece together how and why the last war came to pass, find a way to earn redemption for his mistakes and come to terms with the past in a city where few survive, and even fewer can be trusted.

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Short’ish

Review Link

My Thoughts:

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.

DARK OAK by JACOB SANNOX

Humanity has finally defeated the Dark Lord, but Morrick fought on the wrong side. Though he was a slave, he is branded a traitor and must earn the trust of new lords in order to return to his family – if they are still alive… 

Now that their common enemy is dead, the nobles begin to forget old loyalties, and Queen Cathryn’s realm looks set to plunge into war once more. But there are older and more terrible powers dwelling within the forest, and when they are awakened, Morrick will decide who lives or dies. 

BE A PART OF THIS NEW EPIC FANTASY SERIES FROM THE VERY BEGINNING…

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Novel

Review Link

My Thoughts:

Jacob was kind enough to send me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review and I am glad he did. It is such a magical book and is firmly in the classical fantasy realm, he has created a beautiful world with a really cool concept and ran with it.

THE HALL OF THE DIAMOND QUEEN by ANTHONY RYAN

Wraith Queen Sharrow Met, servant of the Voice, discovers a terrible truth at the moment of greatest victory.

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: SHORT

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this short story and could definitely read a full length novel of Sharrow-met and her world.  It is a short and simple story but one that still manages to pack a few punches. It is a quick easy read and one that leaves you wanting to know more of the character involved, where certain relationships could go as well as all the before and after of this tale.  I’d be down for a fill length novel or more shorts in this world, maybe how she began bonded with Keera or her time spent gaining the sisters loyalty. It would be pretty freaking cool. 

RING SHOUT by P. DJELI CLARK

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns with Ring Shout, a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror.

D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.

Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh–and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: SHORT

My Thoughts:

I loved this, it is such an incredible Novella and one worth reading if you haven’t already read it. It has a little darkness, historical fiction and incredible characters and it really packs a punch despite its fast pace! I can’t recommend this book enough.

TRISTAN’S FOLLY by Marcus Lee

Tristan’s Folly is the stunning sequel to the acclaimed Kings and Daemons, and the second in The Gifted and the Cursed trilogy.

Tristan’s Folly. An ageing fortress built over fifty years ago to repel the invading hordes of the Witch-King, an invasion that never materialised – until now.

Now it’s a crumbling reflection of its former self and set against Daleth’s savage horde of a hundred thousand men are a mere fifteen hundred defenders, who are surely doomed to fail.

As Kings and Daemons face one another, there is but one shining light that pushes back the darkness, but even her flame might be extinguished thanks to Tristan’s Folly.

In this epic tale of a battle against the odds, the best and worst of humankind will show itself … sacrifice, honour, bravery and love, set against depravity, betrayal, greed and hatred.

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Novel

Review Link

My Thoughts:

Tristan’s Folly is a fast paced book, that is another classic feeling fantasy. It continues the story of some much loved character while showcasing a beautiful writing style. I really like these books and cant wait to read the finale.

DESCENDER VOL 1 – 3 by JEFF LEMIRE & DUSTIN NGUYEN

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Graphic Novel

My Thoughts:

These graphic novels are BEAUTIFUL, the artwork is just amazing. It is minimalist and yet packed with detail. I have a new found love for watercolour art. Though, these aren’t simply awesome for the art the characters are incredible also and the world is brilliant. I ant wait to read the other three in this series.

GUILTY PLEASURES by LAURELL K. HAMILTON

Anita Blake is small, dark, and dangerous. Her turf is the city of St. Louis. Her job: re-animating the dead and killing the undead who take things too far. But when the city’s most powerful vampire asks her to solve a series of vicious slayings, Anita must confront her greatest fear—her undeniable attraction to master vampire Jean-Claude, one of the creatures she is sworn to destroy… 

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Novel

My Thoughts:

This was a fun read, it sets up a pretty coo world and the main character is dang cool too. I like these reads for when I am a little unsure of what to read because they are easy to consume and I know exactly what I am getting more often than not.

THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE by EVAN WINTER

Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to survive the coming onslaught.

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Novel

My Thoughts:

Well, this book is freaking amazing! It is just as brilliant as book one and gives you so much more of the world. I’m not going to say to much as I plan to review this real soon.

THE ENGINEER by DARRAN M. HADSHAW

When the Engineer, Actaeon, arrives at Pyramid in the heart of Redemption, nothing goes according to plan. Mysterious raiders pursue him relentlessly across the shattered remains of the ancient metropolis, and the leaders of his homeland pay no heed to his ambitious ideas. Meanwhile, deep beneath Pyramid, a deadly creature stirs. And, when Actaeon meets a skilled young Knight Arbiter with brilliant blue eyes, he starts down a path he could never have imagined. 

The vast, fallen city of the Ancients is home to a new people who face the constant struggle to find resources needed to survive in the dangerous ruins. For the Engineer, however, Redemption is a treasure trove of technology, opportunity, and answers. But his unique skills make him a target for those who would use his talents to achieve their own dreams of power and control. 

In his endless quest for the truth, will Actaeon discover the fallen city’s greatest secrets? Or will he share the same fate as the Ancients of whom nothing remains but a whisper? 

One thing is certain: in Redemption, everything comes with a cost. 

Check it out on Goodreads

Book Type: Novel

My Thoughts:

Another one I plan to review real soon, so I won’t say too much. The Engineer is a great read, it is a chunky boy but it is such a well crafted world and you see some brilliant world building.

DNF:

  • KINGDOM OF THE WICKED
  • MY SISTER, THE SERIEL KILLER

Ok, so the bit of the post you actually wanted to read…

This months BOOK OF THE MONTH is , once again no easy task to decide, as you can see I read A LOT this month and I have enjoyed most of them! This month, I am giving my Book of the Month to…

RING SHOUT BY P. DJELI CLARK

Despite having read some amazing book Ring Shout is like nothing I have read before and I LOVED it so much. It is so much more than its story and you should all read it!


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.


BOOK REVIEW | WE MEN OF ASH AND SHADOW BY HOLLY TINSLEY

Hey Bookish Folk and happy Monday!

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’.

A few facts about We Men of Ash and Shadow:

  • Title: We Men of Ash and Shadow
  • Author: HL Tinsley
  • Series: The Vanguard Chronicles
  • Published by HL Tinsley
  • Pages: 296

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Amidst the gas lamp shadows former soldier-turned-mercenary John Vanguard hunts criminals at the behest of his corrupt employer, Captain Felix Sanquain. Shamed by his deserter past and seeking to make amends for his many misdeeds, a chance encounter with Tarryn Leersac – a skilled young would-be-assassin fallen from the graces of high society – leads Vanguard to become an unlikely mentor.

Charged with hunting down the killer of two guards left washed up on the banks of the canal, the further Vanguard delves into the underbelly of the city the more he finds himself entangled in a web of secrets and lies. A prominent aristocrat is missing. Crime lords, con men and harlots run amok and the city teeters on the brink of another revolution.

With his already precarious reputation hanging by a thread, Vanguard must piece together how and why the last war came to pass, find a way to earn redemption for his mistakes and come to terms with the past in a city where few survive, and even fewer can be trusted.

Review:

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.


THE RANKS: 

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.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE BLADE ITSELF BY JOE ABERCROMBIE & NARRATED BY STEVEN PACEY

Hello Bookish Folk!

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.

A few facts about The Blade Itself:

  • Title: The Blade Itself
  • Author: Joe Abercrombie
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Series: The First Law (Book One)
  • Published by Gollancz
  • Pages: 515
  • Narration Length: 22 hrs and 15 mins

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies. 

Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules. 

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it. 

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult. 

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

Review:

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;
  • Waring peoples;
  • 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.


THE RANKS: 

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.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | DARK OAK BY JACOB SANNOX & NARRATED BY NIGEL PEEVER

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

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)
  • Pages: 314
  • Narration Length: 12 Hours 59 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Review:

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…

THE RANKS: 

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!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | LEGACY OF ASH BY MATTHEW WARD & NARRATED BY SUZANNAH HAMPTON

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

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.

A few facts about Legacy of Ash:

  • Title: Legacy of Ash
  • Author: Matthew Ward
  • Narrated By: Suzannah Hampton
  • Series: Legacy Trilogy (Book One)
  • Published by Orbit/Hatchette Audio UK
  • Pages: 800
  • Narration Length: 28 hrs 34 mins

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Legacy of Ash is an unmissable fantasy debut–an epic tale of intrigue and revolution, soldiers and assassins, ancient magic and the eternal clash of empires.

A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.

Ruling families — once protectors of justice and democracy — now plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives. Blinded by ambition, they remain heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.

Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.

Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. A warrior without equal, he hides a secret that would see him burned as a heretic.

Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. A political prisoner, he dreams of reigniting his mother’s failed rebellion.

And yet Calenne Trelan, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy; to escape the expectation and prejudice that haunts the family name.

As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their home. Yet decades of bad blood are not easily set aside. And victory — if it comes at all — will demand a darker price than any of them could have imagined. 

Review:

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…

THE RANKS: 

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!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK OF THE MONTH | NOVEMBER

Hello Book Folk!

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…

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

LEGACY OF ASH by MATTHEW WARD

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: RTC

My Thoughts:

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!

BOOK 1 & 2 OF THE BLOOD AND ASH SERIES

by JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: NO REVIEW INTENDED.

My Thoughts:

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.

THE BLADE ITSELF by JOE ABERCROMBIE

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: RTC.

My Thoughts:

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

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Links: We Are The Dead | A Fool’s Hope

My Thoughts:

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!

VOICE OF WAR by ZACK ARGYLE

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Voice of War Review

My Thoughts:

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!

THE STONE KNIFE by Anna Stephens

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: The Stone Knife Review

My Thoughts:

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.


BOOK TOUR REVIEW | TRISTAN’S FOLLY BY MARCUS LEE

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

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!

A few facts about Tristan’s Folly

  • Title: Tristan’s Folly
  • Author:  Marcus Lee
  • Series: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book Two)
  • Published by Marcus Lee
  • Pages: 331

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Tristan’s Folly is the stunning sequel to the acclaimed Kings and Daemons, and the second in The Gifted and the Cursed trilogy.

Tristan’s Folly. An ageing fortress built over fifty years ago to repel the invading hordes of the Witch-King, an invasion that never materialised – until now.

Now it’s a crumbling reflection of its former self and set against Daleth’s savage horde of a hundred thousand men are a mere fifteen hundred defenders, who are surely doomed to fail.

As Kings and Daemons face one another, there is but one shining light that pushes back the darkness, but even her flame might be extinguished thanks to Tristan’s Folly.

In this epic tale of a battle against the odds, the best and worst of humankind will show itself … sacrifice, honour, bravery and love, set against depravity, betrayal, greed and hatred.

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!

CLICK HERE OR ON THE PICTURE FOR THE GIVEAWAY PAGE…

Review:

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;
  • Seige warfare;
  • 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…

THE RANKS: 

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!

You can get this book from Amazon.Co.UK OR Amazon.com. It is also FREE with Kindle Unlimited.


ABOUT MARCUS LEE…

What Marcus Lee has to say…

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. 

Ways to get in touch with Marcus…

Author Website:

Head on over to Marcus’ website where you can see his upcoming books, other reviews, artwork and more,

Marcus’ Twitter:

Go and follow Marcus, he is a great contributor to the Book Twitter community and is great to engage with too!

Marcus’ Facebook:

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!