BOOK OF THE MONTH | FEBRUARY

Hello Bookish folks!

It is that time of month where I talk about the book I have read in February and guys I read a lot in February, too much to be honest. While I enjoyed the books I read after so many I got serious book fatigue. My pace dropped and I had a mini slump of sorts, it wasn’t the slump in which no book sounded interesting but a literal inability to focus and read more than a few paragraphs without being distracted by tiny things!

I overdid it!

Though, I have to admit I am seriously impressed with my month at the same time, I made such a big push because I want to get through my ARCs both physicals and from NetGalley, and I was able to up my NetGalley ration through the five reviews I was able to get through.

On top of that I dealt with a two physical ARCs and worked my way up to a few other NetGalleys…the ones where I may have, and by may have I mean definitely did, request book three of a series which then got accepted and so meant I have to read the two earlier books…

I know, its a shameful thing to do!

What I am reading currently…

I am currently reading The Light of All That Falls by James Islington with David S from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books! I am also about 70% of the way through The End of Dreams by Marcus Lee as a part of the Book Tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour and finally I am listening to The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell in preparation for one of those shamefully requested NetGalley.

ALL ARE GREAT SO FAR!

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them – the Gifted – are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers.
As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and his friends are despised beyond their school walls for the magical power they wield: a power that Davian, despite his best efforts, cannot seem to control. Worse, with his final test approaching and the consequences of failure severe, time to overcome his struggles is fast running out.
But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life – and shake the entire world.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, more so because I had the joy of reading this with some amazing book friends but I cannot deny it is an amazing debut!

Snakewood by Adrian Selby

This debut epic fantasy from a British writer of incredible talent tells the tale of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries hunted by an unknown killer. Filled with unique voices and incredible worldbuilding, this stunning novel will delight fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher, Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence.

Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through their cunning, their closely guarded alchemical brews and stone cold steel. Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days behind them and their genius leader in hiding, the warriors known as the ‘Twenty’ are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.

A lifetime of enemies has its own price.

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Snakewood was a really great and an amazing introduction to the works of Adrian Selby, it is a format that some may not like. It has an actually name but I cant remember it but it is when the book is made up of a collective of journals and accounts to make up a story. Either way I really enjoyed it.

THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD by T. L. HUCHU

When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghost talker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan . . .) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

Opening up a world of magic and adventure, The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series.

Review Link: Here

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This was a different read to my normal, I enjoyed it and its main strength is definitely its main character Ropa.

Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.

A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.

A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

Review Link: Here

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Now, this wasn’t my favourite read as I had a few issues as to character depth and its length but I can appreciate its prose, world-building and captivating plot.

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS by John Gwynne

Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . . 

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

As usually John Gwynne has knocked it out of the park! He is such a great writer, I was only discussing the other day with a friend that in some ways we love these books because we trust John Gwynne as an author. So while usually I might not like something, say I don’t know like a cliffhanger! I really don’t mind with Gwynne books because he has done nothing but deliver in the past and has earned my trust as a reader!

THE LEGION OF FLAME by ANTHONY RYAN

Survival is the only currency…

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood–and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed–to fuel and protect its empire. But when the drake blood lines began to fail, a perilous expedition was mounted to secure them.

Claydon Torcreek survived the fraught mission through uncharted lands in pursuit of a myth that might have secured his people’s future. Instead he found a nightmare. The legendary White Drake was awoken from a millennia-long slumber, with a thirst to reduce the world of men to ashes, and the power to compel an army of Spoiled slaves to do it.

Spurred on by a vision he desperately hopes he can trust, Clay and rebel naval officer Corrick Hilemore hijack a warship and head towards the icy southern seas, searching for an ancient secret that may give them and their allies a fighting chance.

They are aided on another front by Blood-blessed agent Lizanne Lethridge. The spy and assassin will use her diplomatic status to infiltrate deep into enemy territory on a quest for a device to save them all.

As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few Blood-blessed are the last hope for all of civilisation. 

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Anthony Ryan is another author who has my trust a a reader, I really love these books and I am so sooo excited to start book three! This is a brilliant second instalment to an already amazing series.

THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES by ALIX E. HARROW

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, it was a nice refreshing read for me and one that timed perfectly with my mood at the time, proving that just sometimes being a mood reader rocks!

The Ravenmaster’s Revenge by Jacob Sannox

It is the autumn of 2019. Merlin’s wayward apprentice has escaped from the Tower of London with his raven familiars. Legend foretells that the White Tower, then England, will fall.
Can King Arthur, a weary veteran of the English Civil War, Waterloo and the Somme, prevent the Ravenmaster from exacting his revenge?

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This book is a great reworking of an Arthurian legend, and one which I enjoyed, a strength of this book for me was the authors ability to show the effects of immortality on a person, something I have seen other more popular authors not do half as well.

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean

Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster…and spy. As Tomas’s power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.

People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become–until they can’t take it anymore. And when they rise up…may the gods help their oppressors.

When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen’s Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.

Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen’s Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.

In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion…or just a priest of lies.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

An impressive and standout dark fantasy sequel from Peter McLean for a series which is shaping up to be an all-time favourite.

A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas 

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This is a typical SJM fantasy romance, and one I enjoyed very much!

An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington 

Darkness spreads across a land in need of heroes.

In the wake of the devastating attack on Ilin Illan, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs – finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against Andarra. However, as Davian and his new allies hurry north towards the ever-weakening Boundary, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late.
In the capital, Wirr is forced to contend with assassins and an increasingly hostile Administration as he controversially assumes the mantle of Northwarden, uncovering a mystery which draws into question everything commonly believed about the rebellion his father led twenty years ago. Meanwhile, Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows, determined to discover not only where they went but the origin of the Vessels that created them – and, ultimately, a cure.
And with time against him as he races to fulfil the treacherous bargain with the Lyth, Caeden continues to wrestle with the impossibly heavy burdens of his past. Yet as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the motivations of the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed . . .

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Another second instalment that was brilliant, while this did feel lie it was setting up the third book a little it was still a great book and one I loved!


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

This months BOOK OF THE MONTH is…

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS BY JOHN GWYNNE

Once again I have been very lucky in the books I have read this month, but John Gwynne has this one in the bag and it is much to do with the fact the book is bloody brilliant but also to do with the fact that this book got me out the book fatigue/slump I was talking about earlier.


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 | PRIEST OF LIES BY PETER MCLEAN & NARRATED BY DAVID MORLEY HALE

Hello and Happy Friday, Bookish Folk!

Apparently I review this series on a Friday because I reviewed Priest of Bones on a Friday too!

Happy Friday!

A few facts about this book and audiobook narration:

  • Title: Priest of Lies
  • Author: Peter McLean
  • Narrated By: David Morley Hale
  • Series: War of the Rose Throne (Book Two)
  • Published by Jo Fletcher Books
  • Pages: 368
  • Narration Length: 12 Hours 44 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster…and spy. As Tomas’s power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.

People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become–until they can’t take it anymore. And when they rise up…may the gods help their oppressors.

When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen’s Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.

Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen’s Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.

In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion…or just a priest of lies. 

ORDER HERE: Audible | Paperback | Hardback | Kindle | Bookshop.Org

Review:

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

  • An impressive and standout dark fantasy sequel;
  • It is harsher, bloodier and even more intense than Priest of Bones;
  • A page turner that will consume you; and
  • just an exceptional read you need to make time for.

A little about the narration

ONE OF THE BEST…

On to the full review…

An impressive and standout dark fantasy sequel from Peter McLean for a series which is shaping up to be an all-time favourite.

I honestly don’t think I have a bad thing to say about this instalment of the War for the Rose Throne series. It is just so incredibly good and I enjoyed every page.

As a second instalment review I am going to try and keep it shorter, because as usual most of my points of book one still stand for book two (you can find my Priest of Bones review here). We see more of the world and a much wider spectrum of people in this instalment. I loved seeing more interaction between the side characters and their own story arcs. I think it shows the talent of a writer when they can give you fully fleshed out arcs for other characters when a story is told from a single POV, and that is just one of the amazing things McLean delivers in this instalment.

McLean upped his game in this book from an already superb first instalment. Priest of Lies is harsher, bloodier, more intense and focus’ even more on Tomas and his journey to becoming even more powerful than he already is. Tomas is an incredible character, and listening to the audiobook for this was even better because it only added to an already distinct and unique character voice. I think he may be up there as one of my favourite characters written. He was such a deep and complex character, experiencing his journey through his sole POV is nothing short of outstanding.

I would also like to note I did not read this straight after book one, there was a gap of maybe just over a month, and I forgot nothing about book one. I slotted straight back into this world and its characters with an ease not many books achieve.

I really do not feel like I can accurately explain just how exceptional this book is, it throws so much at you and none of it is predictable and will for sure shock you to the core. It is heartfelt and harrowing at times and filled with betrayal and gore at others.

It has the characters, the plot, the pace, the prose, the world and everything in-between that makes for a super book. It is just that good.

This is one of those books you read and then feel terrible about how long you then have to wait for the follow up book, and I’m not even waiting that long compared to those who read this via an ARC! I devoured this book, I often listen to audiobooks for an hour or two, longer if I am super busy with cleaning and the likes but it is not often I just listen sat down because I fall asleep or my attention goes elsewhere. I listened to this book for a solid five hours in one sitting, it is so riveting and captivating you don’t want to stop reading/listening and there is never a dull moment.

I highly recommend this series.


THE RANKS: 

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

BUY THE FOOKIN HARD BACK Y’ALL! This book (as I have said) upped its game from an already brilliant book so its and easy HB purchase for this one.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE SHADOW OF WHAT WAS LOST BY JAMES ISLINGTON

Hello Everyone and welcome to my latest review!

I hope you are all doing well and have something fantastic of your own to read, but still if you haven’t read this book, I am going to try and tempt you to add it to your TBR or move it up The TBR altogether!

I figured it was about time I wrote my review for The Shadow of What Was Lost considering I am due to start book three very soon! I have read this book and book two with David from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books in one of the best Buddy Reads!

Eleni’s Twitter & David’s Twitter.

You can find David’s review HERE.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Shadow of What Was Lost
  • Author: James Islington
  • Series: The Licanius Trilogy (Book One)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 704

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

OLD POWERS AWAKEN

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them – the Gifted – are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers.

As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and his friends are despised beyond their school walls for the magical power they wield: a power that Davian, despite his best efforts, cannot seem to control. Worse, with his final test approaching and the consequences of failure severe, time to overcome his struggles is fast running out.

But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life – and shake the entire world.

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Review:

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

  • A complex epic fantasy done RIGHT;
  • NAMED WEAPONS;
  • An outstanding character driven fantasy;
  • A wonderful and oh so relevant magic system; and
  • another AMAZING debut.

On to the full review…

The Shadow of What Was Lost is another book you could say I am late to the party for, I missed all the hype of its publishing originally and then missed it allover again for book two. It wasn’t until book three was making its rounds in the Book Community that I thought to move it up The TBR, and not because I didn’t want to read it because I did. It was just one of the many unknown ways in which the TBR sucks books into its void.

Anywho to the review, as you may have gathered from the fact I will be starting book three soon I enjoyed this book.

This is my first time reading the works of James Islington and I was not disappointed in the slightest, he writes in such an accessible and easy flowing way. Before you know it you have read 100 pages and you are hooked! He is also incredibly skilled at doing complex the right way, which I mention a little later on. While Islington’s writing is easy to consume it doesn’t not lack flare, and is beautifully written!

“You can put your trust in something that’s obvious, that’s measurable or predictable – but that’s not faith. Nor is believing in something that gives you no pause for doubt, no reason or desire to question. Faith is something more than that. By definition, it cannot have proof as its foundation.” 

The Shadow of What Was Lost is a fine example of an outstanding character driven fantasy, and I can confirm it has an incredible cast of characters of whom you will want to fight for, love, cry for and so much more. This book is told from several POV, we have Davian, Wirr, Asha and Caeden (who my phone ALWAYS changes to garden, so if you see it just pretend it says Caeden, yeah?)

I loved every single character of this book, I didn’t find myself getting to a certain POV chapter and wishing for another. Each POV brings you something unique to themselves and also relevant to the world, so you are always excited to read all of them. Which may sound like a silly praise but it is incredibly important to me, too often have I found I don’t like all the characters and when I get to them I think ‘ahh I will stop reading here’ because I cant really be arsed with them. So, the fact this isn’t an issue in a book of this page count makes for an incredible read.

The plot of this books is quite complex and has many intricacies, though having read Gardens of the Moon right before it I honestly didn’t feel at any point like I wasn’t following, Islington gives you the details and feeds it to you in such a captivating way, I didn’t find myself being like ‘Gahh, what is going on i’m so confused’ but more along the lines of ‘ohhh Islington you crafty devil, this now makes sense and that does but what about this mean…give me MORE’. It was fun, and wonderful and, in my eyes, how complex plots should be done. I wanted to know everything while 100% enjoying what I had received so far, I didn’t get frustrated or annoyed at it! 

Also, guys the prologue and overall start to his boo is brilliant! 

The world of Andarra is also a joy to read, Islington seamlessly shows you the world through all of his characters. The history of the world, the conflicts and key figures are all explained to you perfectly. He does not drop place names, people, wars and other historical facts at your feet like a sack of spuds but feeds it to you in an easily digestible and incredible alluring way. He gives you just enough for you to understand but also enough to have you going ‘ohhh thats great but wait what about this..?’ And so you HAVE to read on! This is in my opinion how world building should be done! Especially with epic worlds which have such a well established and fascinating history and magic in place, like Andarra does. 

The magic in this book is wonderful, it has rules and limitations and at no point felt pointless, also we have NAMED WEAPONS people, NAMED FREAKING WEAPONS. I love them, can you tell? The magic is also quite a visual one and is crucial to the plot. It impacts the world/setting, the characters, their choices and so much more so the fact that it is easy to understand and generally fun to read works brilliantly.

“Everyone has a darker nature, Caeden. Everyone. Good men fear it, and evil men embrace it.”

Honestly, this book really blew me away and I’m pretty sure it will be one of my top series’ pending book three but I’m not worried about it, the reviews so far speak for themselves! 

Also, the fact that this is a debut blows my mind, it is such a large sale epic fantasy and done so well you would think Islington had been writing for a lot longer.


THE RANKS: 

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

I rated this five stars on Goodreads and I would happily get the HARDBACK of this book! I enjoyed this immensely. I always love doing buddy reads with likeminded people because you get to theorise and gush and cry about which ever bit you are on, and it makes the reading experience so much better but even if I read this on my own I would have loved this book just as much.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES BY ALIX E. HARROW & NARRATED BY GABRA ZACKMAN

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today I’m happy to be sharing with you my review of Alix E. Harrow’s second book The Once and Future Witches. I would firstly like to thank Orbit for approving an eArc of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can order this book through any of the affiliate links attached to this page, in case you don’t know Bookshop.Org is a great store that supports independent book stores from all over.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Once and Future Witches
  • Author: Alix E. Harrow
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Series: Standalone
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 516
  • Narration Length: 16 hrs and 3 mins

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

ORDER HERE: Audible | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Bookshop.Org

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from :

  • A lush and powerful historical fantasy;
  • The most engaging and fascinating trio of sisters you could read about;
  • Themes of family, sisterhood, love, forgiveness and so much more;
  • An incredibly immersive and atmospheric setting; and
  • An amazing story which is winding, wonderful and a pure delight to read.

On to the full review…

I must confess I actually avoided this book like the plague, I read the blurb and was sold, I though yes I want to read this but every time I was choosing my next read I reread the blurb but never chose it. I don’t know why but alas I picked it up and I am so sooo glad I did. I think I enjoyed this as much as I did because it was totally fitting to my mood at the time, though that isn’t to say this book isn’t incredible in its own right. See being a mood reader isn’t always bad because when you do it correctly you find books like this and enjoy the experience of reading it so much.

I always love the idea of a historical setting in a book and get so excited for them, but they are not always done well. This is not the case for The Once and Future Witches at all. Harrow has done incredible work to really give you that feeling you are in New Salem in the 1890’s, you feel the injustice in the air and the fear of witches. Though, that is not all, Harrow has also done exceptionally well to build a solid setting through the factories, the houses and less than lavish accommodations some people were forced to live in, and the mindset of the people at that time. 

This book is a tale about gaining the vote for women and what happens when these women stood up and said they wanted change, but it is also empowering, and witchy and ohh so good. Harrow has done such an incredible job in The Once and Future Witches at blending the magical and the historical while infusing it with folklore and a whole lot of witchy. Every page of this books is written superbly, it is a very enchanting read, though not in a whimsical and magical way but in a hypnotic and addictive way. It fully immerses you into its world and its people. It is so vivid and thought provoking too.

The pace of this book, in my opinion was great, Harrow knows how to continually raise the stakes. I loved the way this story was laid out in it entirety. It is by no means a fast paced plot but with such incredible character development and world-building the slower pace is by no means problematic nor lacking in tension, suspense or anticipation. It is a winding and wonderful story.

This book follows three incredible sisters; Beatrice Belladonna Eastwood, Agnes Amaranth Eastwood and James Juniper Eastwood. All of whom are utterly distinctive and have their own voices. Harrow has done an incredible job at making sure you, as a reader, can tell who is talking without mention of a name! They are so distinctive and each is so fun. No one falls beneath the other, there isn’t a boring one or one you like the least, they all stand up in their own rights. The sisters and the people they slowly come to form relationships with go from strength to strength in this book, even the side/support characters are memorable and a joy to be around.

The Once and Futures Witches has themes of family, sisterhood, love, forgiveness and so much more. It is a powerful novel and a wonder to read. Harrow has also written some lovely romantic interests in this book, I won’t say whom because they enters spoiled territory in my eyes but know they are wholesome and you will be rooting for them! It is subtle and well presented.

I really loved the insertion of common fairytales into this book. At the start of each chapter you have a tale, one you may know of or one you may not. Some are reimagined and some stand as we know them but it was so fun to see them as spells. 

Also, hats off to the cover art on this one, it is so appropriate to the tale and reminds me of the little herbal grimoire pictures of fresh lavender sprigs and nettle. It is the perfect start of your reading journey and sets the tone of the book brilliantly.


THE RANKS: 

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

I wold most definitely grab this book in HARDBACK and I have even spotted a copy on BookShop.Org (its cheaper than Amazon, so winning). The Once and future Witches is an amazing historical fantasy book that is so much more than the words on its pages. It is a book with big themes and so much to show you.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 FANTASY BOOKS WITH GREAT ROMANCES…

***Please note this page contains affiliate links and at no extra charge to you I can earn a small fee on any qualifying purchases. Any and all money earned through these goes straight back into the blog***

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!

Well, Happy Valentines Day all!

I’m not going to waffle on to much today and will get straight to the list today. I know, I’m cheating but I am so so tired and really want to read my book!

ON TO THE BOOKS…

THE STONE KNIFE BY ANNA STEPHENS

The Stone Knife is an amazing epic fantasy with some genuine and wholesome relationships. It isn’t quite a romance because it has already established relationship but it is a joy to read.

A fantasy epic of freedom and empire, gods and monsters, love, loyalty, honour, and betrayal, from the acclaimed author of GODBLIND.

For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.

The Empire is not their only enemy. Monstrous, scaled predators lurk in rivers and streams, with a deadly music of their own.

As battle looms, fighters on both sides must decide how far they will go for their beliefs and for the ones they love – a veteran general seeks peace through war, a warrior and a shaman set out to understand their enemies, and an ambitious noble tries to bend ancient magic to her will.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


NEVERNIGHT BY JAY KRISTOFF

Nevernight is an incredible book, and I loved the romance within it. It isn’t in your face and is a subtle sub plot that adds to the characters development both individually and as a group.

Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.

Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Church is no ordinary school. But Mia is no ordinary student.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

The Night Circus is praised for so many things, from its magical atmosphere to its beautiful prose, but another aspect this book did well in my opinion was its romance. It is a high stakes competition made all the more difficult by its star-crossed lovers.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway – a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG

POISON STUDY BY MARIA V. SNYDER

Poison Study is a great young adult fantasy, it is a character driven story with an intriguing premise! The romance is slow burn and done wonderfully.

Choose: A quick death… or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK (FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED) | BOOKSHOP.ORG


THRONE OF GLASS BY SARAH J MAAS

I love these books, theses books are New Adult and are very much Fantasy Romance, it is trope as hell but I love these books.

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. 

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


MOON CALLED BY PATRICIA BRIGGS

This is a fun Urban Fantasy that has a great romance, and I could help but put a shifter romance in here. it is one if the better done romances.

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


GRACELING BY KRISTIN CASHORE

This is YA, and I really don’t know why, it doesn’t feel YA to me, or at least it didn’t when I read it. It is a great story and the romantic aspect is done really well. The romance is authentic and real, and it isn’t a main plot to the story.

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. 

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. 

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. 

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


There you have it, seven books that I have found that have some great romantic elements!

Thanks for reading.


BOOK REVIEW | THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE BY KATHERINE ARDEN

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Today I will be sharing with you my review of The Bear and the Nightingale. This book is fabulous it has everything from its people, to the place and finally the prose! All the P’s!

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Bear and The Nightingale
  • Author: Katherine Arden
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
  • Series: Winternight Trilogy (Book One)
  • Published by Cornerstone Digital
  • Pages: 464
  • Narration Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Beware the evil in the woods. . .

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods. 

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Review:

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

  • A wonderfully enchanting and magical story set in old world Russia;
  • A real and authentic heroine;
  • One of the most atmospheric reads you could possibly immerse yourself into; and
  • An expert storyteller.

On to the full review…

I picked up The Bear and the Nightingale on a bit of a whim, on both counts of actually purchasing it and when I chose to listen to it. The audiobook was in a deal so I picked it up really cheap, then I knew I wanted to read it in and around Christmas but I never found the time to. Until I found myself between audiobooks and not really feeling anything too serious having just read Gardens of the Moon, and trust your brain needs an easier read after that. So, I thought I would try The Bear and the Nightingale and if I didn’t click with it I would drop it like a hot potato and move swiftly on. That didn’t happen. I was suckered into this book almost immediately. Every moment in this tale was pure magic, to the point that when I went to bed that night I found where I was in the book and carried on reading on my Kindle. Then the next day, after I FINALLY went to sleep it picked it straight back up and continued listened to it. It was so enchanting and easy to love that I couldn’t help but want to return to the book immediately. It was just such a pleasure to read and become immersed in.

This book is described as ‘atmospheric’ EVERYWHERE, and you can be sure if you talk to someone about it and/or how they felt about the book then the word will inevitably be used to describe The Bear and the Nightingale. Which I cant fault because it really is. Arden has managed to create such an atmospheric read in numerous ways. The setting of this book heavily informs the mood of this book, it is Old Russia and it has some of the coldest and harshest winters, you feel the crisp air on your face as you read. Most of The Bear and the Nightingale is set within the confines of a village led by Vasya’s father and yet it does not feel confined, Arden expertly uses their home and towns locations to keep you from getting bored.

Arden is an incredible storyteller, her writing flows beautifully and she sets the tone perfectly and creates so many different mood levels evoking so many feelings from you as a reader while the subverting your expectations too, I didn’t feel like this tale was as predictable as fairy tales often feel.

I can not praise Arden enough for her skill in character creation, Vasya was incredible, as where the other characters from her brothers, step mother, father, sisters, priest and more. They were a tough bunch brought up through harsh winters and a harsher world. You truly cared about what they wen through, hell I felt for the town as a whole, I wanted to fix what was broken and restore this town and its people to what it was.

The Bear and the Nightingale feels like a rare and precious gem, it is not defined by its genre and feels refreshing and magical. This book is perfect as a bit of a pallet cleanser, for lack of a better phrase, it is everything you need to pull you from a slump or just lift you spirits a little as a reader. It was perfect in my eyes, it has a wee bit of an uneven pace at times but I really didn’t care because I was swept away by the house spirits and the fight of an incredible character to find her place in a world not meant for her.


THE RANKS: 

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

If I could find this in HB it would be on my shelves! Alas it is only PB, but still this if a full rating, 5/5 stars on Goodreads and BUY THE HARDBACK on my rating system! Hell, I would love an illustrated edition of this!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | RING SHOUT BY P. DJELI CLARK

Hola, All.

Todays review will be, as the title suggests, a review of Ring Shout! I read this book as a part of my last stand, the last stand against the impending Goodreads Challenge of 2020 and I am glad I managed to fit it in.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: Ring Shout
  • Author: P. Djèlí Clark
  • Published by Tor.com
  • Pages: 192

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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.

GRAB THE AUDIOBOOK | KINDLE | HARDCOVER

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from Ring Shout:

  • Prohibition era Georgian historical fiction meets dark fantasy;
  • Monster hunting magic with a little witch doctor vibes;
  • Distinct and loveable characters;
  • A cultural and historical work of art; and
  • Utterly fabulous writing.

On to the full review…

Would you look at that another horror infused book I LOVED! Still not a full blown horror but hello horror elements…but anyway to this book.

Ring Shout, genuinely, is one of those books that you really don’t think your words can accurately describe. There is so much to this book…it is a lesson in history; a journey of love, hate and friendship; an emotionally engrossing tale inspired by African lore; and a clever and thought provoking tale of racism.

This is my first time reading anything of Clark’s and it is fantastic, enough that I added much of this other works to my ever growing TBR.

I remember seeing this on Twitter, and reading the blurb and just thinking how fab this book sounded. I have never read anything like it and immediately pre-ordered it from Amazon. It is the KKK and in their truest light, hateful demons. The historical setting of Ring Shout is incredible, Clark has given you everything you need to truly feel the world in which Ring Shout is set from its people, culture and even its distinctive streets! There is a level of intent in everything Clark says, every word is used to maximise this tale, and it is incredibly done to say this is less than 200 pages. It is a fast paced ride that just keeps on giving, it is a clear page-turner that you really don’t want to stop reading and sure enough I was up until silly o’clock in the morning trying to finish this story. Then when you have finished you wish there was another 300+ pages with these people.

This story is told through the incredible voice of Maryse Boudreaux, and what a woman she is along with her companions Sadie and Chef. All three of these characters are deeply engaging and so utterly distinctive you can’t help but love them. There is something so authentic about everyone you encounter from our main characters to our bad guys. The world is also incredible, I felt everything. I was cold and eerie in the other place, I was revelling and trying not to smile at a drunk Sadie and so much more. Every encounter you experience in this novella you feel, every scene you are 100% involved in. I truly loved this book, and the level of detail to its world, culture and traditions are nothing short of inspiring.

I do not for one second feel like my words have done this novella justice. Ring Shout is an incredible story with its thrilling characters, a riveting world and utterly immersive world and so much more. 100% read this book folks, you won’t be disappointed.


THE RANKS: 

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

HARDBACK. HARDBACK. HARDBACK. God lawwwd hardback all the damned way…this book is phenomenal. It is so much more than it’s 192 pages.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK OF THE MONTH | JANUARY

Hello my fellow bookish folks!

Well the best month of the year has gone and it has flown by! It’s been a good month, I celebrated my birthday along with a lot of other cool people too, so that is always fun. I bought several new books this month and some slob clothes too, because if I’m locked down and on furlough I want to be comfy while I read an ungodly amount…so give me all the joggers and wide leg soft pants! Attractive I know but…

So, as far as starts to the year go it hasn’t been a bad month for me.

I’m not sure I want to address how much reading I plan to do, they suspect my furlough will run until mid march, possibly up until July so TBR get ready.

This isn’t my biggest month for reading as I have been dabbling in Inkscape a lot this month, as some of you may know I’m slowly making my own ‘bucket list’ post of 100 fantasy books to read so thats taking a bit of time. I finished another one today, and that was for Eragon…

I’m pretty impressed. This is such fun but worry not I am not neglecting reading completely. I am actually reading a few books!

I have Priest of Lies by Peter McLean going via audiobook which I am buddy reading with Queen Timy! I also have another Buddy Read with two amazing people, David and Eleni, and that is for the incredible (so far) The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington and finally I am also reading and a little listening of Snakewood by Adrian Selby.

ALL ARE GREAT SO FAR!

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

THE COMBAT CODES by ALEXANDER DARWIN

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: The Combat Codes Review

My Thoughts:

This was a super fun and enjoyable read for me. I loved the heavy influence martial arts had and the character were a joy to read but I think I enjoyed it that much more because of the heavy dose of nostalgia this book game me!

PRIEST OF BONES by Peter McLean

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Priest of Bones Review

My Thoughts:

I listened to this book via audiobook this month and I so thoroughly enjoyed it. It has heavy Peaky Blinders influences but with magic…Whats not to love?! I think this might have been my favourite audiobook this month. I am remembering how much I enjoyed it because I am currently listening to book two via audio also!

A RITUAL OF BONE by LEE C CONLEY

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I didn’t know how much I needed to experience this zombie fantasy. To say how much I love zombie movies I think this is my first zombie book I have read and im so glad there is a book two so I can continue this series because its simple…I need more of this book!

COLD FROM THE NORTH by D. W. ROSS

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Goodreads will say I finished this today but I actually finished it yesterday and forgot to update it! This is a solid debut from Ross, he is a superbly talented world builder and writer. I shan’t say to much then I can entice you to read my review when I write it!

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by KATHERINE ARDEN

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!

I have read a lot of heavy and dense books this month, and as much as I enjoy them coming off the back of a book like Gardens of the moon can be tiring. I actually chose it on a bit of a whim, I had every intention of reading it but it was a little spur of the moment choosing it straight after Gardens of the Moon but I am so glad I did. It is everything I needed in that moment and it was a captivating and magical read.

GARDENS OF THE MOON by STEVEN ERIKSON

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Ohhh boy was this a complex read, I am so so glad I read Gardens of the Moon and will certainly continue series but man did I need a break. This book is odd, I really enjoyed my time reading and liked everything about it in terms of its world and the characters that fill it but overall for such a huge read I expected more of a feeling of satisfaction on completing it. Again, wait for m review to find out more but I will be finishing the recaps before I review it!

CROW by A. ZAVARELLI

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Ok, don’t judge! Your girl needed some Irish mob/mafia romance in her life this month! I love reading romance, they are always quick reads for me but I often miss tense and angsty romances in adult fantasy! I only really read crime/revenge romances or fantasy romance, I don’t really gel with contemporary. I still need some craziness in my reads but I like the drama, the tension, the crime worlds and revenge plots and I just like these books.


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

This months BOOK OF THE MONTH is…

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE BY KATHERINE ARDEN

I have read some incredible books this month and I have enjoyed them all but this book really stole the limelight this month, it was fun, captivating, magical and I can’t fault it at all. It might have had issues but I was enjoying it that much I sure a shit didn’t notice anything but the amazingness that is this book! It gave me serious Spiderwick Chronicles vibes in terms of house spirits that not everyone can see and it’s fun feels just it was set in Russia.


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.


WHY THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR BY TAD WILLIAMS IS A MASTERPIECE & WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT…

Hello Book Friends!

Today I am going to attempt to motivate you into reading Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorry and Thorn books. There will be a few points and an overview that hopefully will inspire you to read this phenomenal series!!!

A brief overview

After the death of the high King John Presbyter and the rise of the Mad king Elias, who with the influence of the Dark Priest Pyrates, have damned the world , together they have made an ungodly pact with the dark prince, known as the Storm king. Seoman our main protagonist has no choice but to flee his home and join the rebellion lead by the Mad kings brother Josua Lackhand in city of Nagilmund. All of the nations within this world are plunged into chaos!! You will follow the characters experience of losing the world that they once knew…..

You can also check it out on Goodreads HERE! Maybe add it to your TBR.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT…

This book has been quoted as one of the seminal works within epic fantasy genre, from the same era as Robert Jordan, Robin Hobb, Raymond E Fiest, amongst other gifted authors. After reading most of the big names from the era I have to say that Tad Williams is without question a Titan of the fantasy genre. As I was reading through the first novel I understood the reasons why Tad Williams work was so influential and recognising those small nuances and themes that have transcended into what we love and appreciate today!!

This series from my perspective inspired the likes of John Gwynne, Anthony Ryan, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss George R R Martin and more recent authors such as Brian Lee Durfee.

Every aspect of this novel  is deeply captivating , down to the flawless prose, the deeply immersive world building that unravels with each chapter that passes, the complex character progression and constant feeling of intrigue is overwhelming!! It is without question a very character driven novel and you will become very attached to the totally unforgettable cast. You can get lost travelling through beautifully imagined dark forests scenes , stunning cities going deeper into rich lore and history that is totally enchanting and central to this series !!

Tad Williams is a writer that has without question mastered his craft, everything in this series has been forged at the hands of a master story teller which you’ll see in the flawless execution.

For me this is a stand out series from that era and I will be reading the follow up series’ set 30 years after the events of this series and all the series that follow in this world. I am currently reading the last instalment, a chonky 1400 page monster, which has already convinced me that this series will in doubt be in my top 5 of all time.

Has this book aged well?

Absolutely yes, because and forgive me for maybe repeating myself but this is without a doubt one of the definitive works of that era! So what I’m saying is this series should by future generations be regarded in the same way as Tolkien in my opinion. In terms of its impact on the fantasy genre!!!

Here are some of the other wonderful works set in the world of Osten Ard…

THE SHADOWMARCH SERIES | ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

The Last King of Osten Ard Series | ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


OK, SO IT’S HUGE TRILOGY…Is it worth it? How does it compare to other series from that era?

I would say that if you’re daunted by the size of other series from this era like Robert Jordans Wheel of Time, I think you will have a comparable experience with this series. I would argue that despite this only being a trilogy, I feel that Tad Williams has achieved as much as Jordan/Sanderson did in a 15 book series. I am not saying that it’s better, as I think everyone should read Jordan,but this series stands shoulder to shoulder in terms of its brilliance, if not surpassing Jordan in some aspects. For instance, Tad Williams will not spend two paragraphs describing the pattern on a member of the Aes sedai dress lol. I know how that flowery prose puts people off. Tad Williams prose as I mentioned earlier is flawless and totally poetic at times and he paints some scenes with total precision.

This is the perfect introduction to epic Fantasy from this era! That said even if you’re and experienced fantasy reader this will make you remember why you fell in love with this genre!!

If you have it already on the shelf, then I recommend turning to chapter 33, that chapter alone will sell this book to you if nothing else will !!

LET US TALK ABOUT THE TONE…

There is an over bearing sense of hopelessness, with an atmospheric feeling of an encroaching darkness just adds such depth to this epic tale!! With King Elias falling deeper into madness, with Pyrates working as the architect for this worlds destruction, with his use of dark magic, the fate of Osten Ard is seemingly doomed and you’re witness to the horror that is to follow. With this first instalment you’re very aware that you’re on the doorstop of something very special and so the journey begins….. Hope of the rebellion is founded in the prophecy surrounding the three swords, Sorrow memory and Thorn which will be there only chances against the forces of evil within this tale.

ON TO THE CHARACTERS…

So our main protagonist Seoman is your typical orphaned scullion working under the watchful eye of his merciless overlord Rachel the Dragon, you follow his misadventures in Hayholt castle in a typical coming of age style that’s very typical. What Williams does to engage you as reader with this character is he provokes those childhood memories of a time of innocence in your life as a kid, which really engages you on an intimate level and helps you to connect with Simon very quickly. As much as Seoman is idle and lazy, he is head strong and like all young boys has grandiose dreams of a heroic future!

Resident wizard/ doctor Morgenes is eccentric, wise and hilarious , but his true purpose within Hayholt is shrouded in mystery…. So as you may of guessed already, he takes the wayward Seoman as his apprentice….

So on to the high king Elias who you’ll come to know, and as I call him the Mad king, who is in the grasps of the dark priest Pyrates, has been lead into a world of corruption, his lust for power threatens to destroy the lives of many.

His brother Josua, the brooding intellectual sibling, the brother that is to lead the rebellion and have the courage an honour to fight against his foes, against all odds and save the world from damnation! He is pitched as one of the potential heros and savior if this tale!

Finally Pyrates quite possibly one of the finest villains that I’ve encountered in the fantasy genre. His history in this series, his becoming,is probably the slowest in terms of progression, which is very much intentional, but his dark grasp on the Mad king is clear. His very presence within Hayholt is an omen for the horror that is to follow!

So those are you main characters, but there is a huge cast that you will come to know and love, hate and fear as go through this novel!

ITS INFLUENCES…

You will find heavy influences of polythiestic and monotheistic religions that strongly influence the various human races within this world on a societal level and down to the characters own lived experience adding more depth to what motivates them.

The politics are generally very typical of a medieval world and isn’t hard to understand the hierarchy of each society. There are very clear Nordic (Rimmersmen), Germanic( Thrithings) and western European Anglo Saxon (Erkynlanders/Nabanese) influences as far as the mortal races are concerned which is a trope you’d expect to find in a series like this which is very typical of novel from this era.

You will be introduced to immortal races more as you get into the series, but just to note the following, are central to plot the most important being the immortal Sithi, The Norns, The Niskies, Quanuc and the Dwarrows. The sheer scope of the lore within this series is so huge.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post hopefully you know more on why you should be reading The Dragonbone Chair if you haven’t already!

Have you read The Dragonbone Chair? If so let me know in the comments what you thought of it or head on over to Twitter. Looking forward to hearing from you!!

Happy reading!


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS TO START YOUR READING YEAR OFF AND PULL YOU OUT OF THAT SLUMP…

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk and welcome back to Sundays Seven!

Another first of 2021!

This will be my first Sundays Seven post this year, I haven’t posted a Sundays Seven in so long. My last post was SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS TO HELP YOU REACH YOUR GOODREADS READING GOAL and that was in early December, damn it has been over a month!

But I am back now!

And with a post I hope you like! This is in response to a few tweets I have seen of late. I have seen a lot of people in a reading slump and that is just damn tragic! Lord knows, we have all been in a reading slump and they suck, you don’t feel like you can start anything and nothing really appeals to you.

A slump can come from so many things! Be it a bit of a book hangover, where the last book you read was so amazing you just cant quite move on or that cliffhanger just broke it. Whatever your reasons here are seven books that have either previously got me out of a slump or are just generally great books I’m sure could help you!

TO THE BOOKS…

Servant of the Crown by Brian McClellan

I thought I would start off this list with a SHORT. Short’s are such a great way to pull yourself out of a slump and set you off on good footing for the rest of your reading year. you can read them in no time at all and get that little joy after finishing a book.

Plus, if you have read the Powder Mage trilogy, I promise returning to this world and the character you love always helps with a slump.

Captain Tamas is an ambitious young officer in the Adran army. As a commoner, he is one of very few without noble blood to hold a rank. When he challenges the son of a duke over an insult, the subsequent duel lands him in hot water with the nobility and the royal cabal of Privileged sorcerers. Tamas is soon drawn into a conflict that goes to the very highest office in the land, and his only ally is the most unlikely of people; a young noblewoman named Erika, who needs Tamas to teach her how to wield her powers as a powder mage.

Occurs about 35 years before the events in Promise of Blood.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


RACE THE SANDS BY SARAH BETH DURST

This is an utterly thrilling and entertaining fantasy standalone.

It is one of those books that just leaves you so satisfied on finishing it. It has so many cool concepts and is a brilliantly built book, and by that I mean the stakes just keep getting higher. Plus, Durst in a brilliant writer.

In this epic standalone fantasy, the acclaimed author of the Queens of Renthia series introduces an imaginative new world in which a pair of strong and determined women risk their lives battling injustice, corruption, and deadly enemies in their quest to become monster racing champions.

Life, death, and rebirth — in Becar, everyone knows that who you are in this life will determine what you are in your next life. The augurs can read your fate in your aura: hawk, heron, tortoise, jackal, human. Armed with that knowledge, you can change your destiny with the choices you make, both in this life and your next. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and you will always be a kehok for the rest of time.

Unless you can win the Races.

As a professional trainer, Tamra was an elite kehok rider. Then a tragic accident on the track shattered her confidence, damaged her career, and left her nearly broke. Now Tamra needs the prize money to prevent the local temple from taking her daughter away from her, and that means she must once again find a winning kehok . . . and a rider willing to trust her.

Raia is desperate to get away from her domineering family and cruel fiancé. As a kehok rider, she could earn enough to buy her freedom. But she can’t become good enough to compete without a first-rate trainer.

Impressed by the inexperienced young woman’s determination, Tamra hires Raia and pairs her with a strange new kehok with the potential to win — if he can be tamed.

But in this sport, if you forget you’re riding on the back of a monster, you die. Tamra and Raia will work harder than they ever thought possible to win the deadly Becaran Races — and in the process, discover what makes this particular kehok so special. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


CARAVAL BY STEPHANIE GARBER

Now, I read this at the beginning of last year an I remember really enjoying it. I think this is a good ‘pull you out of a slump’ book because it is just fun and mysterious.

It is YA but the elusive and fantastical nature of this book make it a joy to read and it is whimsical and light hearted enough to just pick you up and give you a good start to your reading year.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


THE STONE KNIFE BY ANNA STEPHENS

This book very recently pulled me out of a reading slump! It is a new book and the first instalment of the Songs of the Drowned trilogy and it is such a REFRESHING read. It is so easy to read as Stephens writing is fabulous and it isn’t set in your usual fantasy world so you cant help but want to keep reading and learn more!

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


SAGA VOL. 1 BY BRIAN K. VAUGHAN

I couldn’t help but put a graphic novel in this list. Graphics are awesome, and are a perfect way to start your reading year! They are also great for the slumps because they are such light reading, they have great illustrations and you can fit them in when you don’t have much time free!

From New York Times bestselling writer BRIAN K.VAUGHAN (Y: THE LAST MAN, EX MACHINA) and critically acclaimed artist FIONA STAPLES (MYSTERY SOCIETY, NORTH 40), SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults. This specially priced volume collects the first arc of the smash hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls “the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make.” 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


PROMISE OF BLOOD BY BRIAN MCCLELLAN

This series is just plain incredible, I have reread this so many times and now with the news of it being a TV show I feel like I need to reread it again! I think a good way to start the year on a comfortable note is to sometimes start with a reread of one of your favourite books, it is also one of the ways I get out of a slump!

The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it. 

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets?

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


NEVERNIGHT BY JAY KRISTOFF

If you haven’t read this book then I really hope you do! Nevernight is an incredible book and so a brilliant book to start your year off with a bang!

It is a wonderfully executed revenge plot with so much more to behold when reading it, it has a little romance, a lot of action and oh so much intrigue.

Destined to destroy empires Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death. 

Six years later, the child raised in the shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything. 

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult. 

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows loves her. And they drink her fear

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


There you have it my fellow bookish folk, seven books that are a great way to start your year off and ones that will hopefully pull you out of a reading slump too as they have me in the past!

Thanks for reading.