Hello Bookish Folks! I’m Sam from The Book in Hand!
It genuinely feels like a really long time since I have said hello, that I felt like I needed to introduce myself again! I have had some huge changes in my personal life with work and other projects recently so fell behind badly on the blog! However, I AM BACK!
I still have a lot do do away from The book in Hand but I’m going to make sure to get back to this!
So today I am partnering with the brilliant and hard working Storytellers On Tour to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for The Stone God by Erin Kellison.
If you have seen the cover already through some of the other amazing bloggers featuring this cover reveal you will see how fabulous it is! It is so beautiful!
This book cover is by cover artist Story Wrappers. My word…they have some INCREDIBLE art on their website, so definitely go and check them out, and if you are an author in need of cover art then save their name!
A few things about the author first…
Erin Kellison is the bestselling author of the Dragons of Bloodfire series, the Reveler series, and the Shadow series.
She writes fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction rOmance. She loves other worlds and visits them as often as possible via movies and books and her kids’ imaginations. When not daydreaming or writing, she’s goofing off with her family in sunny Arizona.
Terah Crane knows not to tempt the gods. A happy life—or at least an uncomplicated one—involves no gods at all. And since her loving grandfather bought her an Indulgence that ex-empts her from their service, she can focus on her other problems of being recently di-vorced, broke, and unemployed.
Seeking a fresh start, Terah packs everything she owns into her beat-up car and moves to her family’s empty country cottage—never mind that deadly firedrakes occasionally wan-der into the garden. When an unlikely flood carries a cracked pillar of stone from a nearby shrine right to Terah’s doorstep, it seems the gods demand her service after all.
Follow the law and you’ll stay safe. But what if the law is wrong?
Tashué’s faith in the law is beginning to crack.
Three years ago, he stood by when the Authority condemned Jason to the brutality of the Rift for non-compliance. When Tashué’s son refused to register as tainted, the laws had to be upheld. He’d never doubted his job as a Regulation Officer before, but three years of watching your son wither away can break down even the strongest convictions.
Then a dead girl washed up on the bank of the Brightwash, tattooed and mutilated. Where had she come from? Who would tattoo a child? Was it the same person who killed her?
Why was he the only one who cared?
Will Tashué be able to stand against everything he thought he believed in to get the answers he’s looking for?
The legacy of the Brightwash is described as a gas lamp, grim dark novel. The setting for this novel was inspired by the era of the 1890s in a time of huge economic depression, and within that time period, there were many social issues that inspired some of the darker subject matter within this novel. Krystle does not pull any punches when exploring these social issues and really gets down to core of it. So the inspiration for this work of fiction is taken from a very dark time in human history, really setting the tone for this novel. This is a hugely original fantasy novel, with some very new and innovative themes and concepts. This novel can be described as a very character driven novel and my personal favourite, a grim dark novel. I was totally sold!!!
This grim world unravels with each passing chapter, as you follow the masterfully crafted characters through the brutal and unforgiving reality that is life within the Dominion. I think what makes this a very unique world, is that, it’s a move away from conventional fantasy settings. Matar does an incredible job of painting a picture of a world from this era, from the humble working class neighbourhoods, to the glamour of high society, to the sinister Authority institutions, down to the gritty gangster underworld, its truly vivid and captivating. There’s also massive attention to detail, even down to the fashion of that era, so this world really does burst into life. So, you see it features excellent world building with a progressive approach and is achieved skilfully to really put the focus on our characters.
The plot is centered around our main protagonist Tashue. We watch as he’s drawn into the corrupt world of high society and the Authority. As he climbs the ranks, he becomes embroiled in their corruption, but at the same time the cracks in his world start to show and everything begins to collapse. Meanwhile his ongoing investigation of the mutilated girl found washed up on the Brightwash, leaves him few clues, she does bare a mysterious tattoo, but beyond that his investigation is fruitless. He’s forced to turn to the criminal underworld to find the truth. Using his connections he’s able to seek answers using unconventional methods which invites it’s own set of problem’s.The biggest weight he has to bare is his son Jason, who is tainted, who refuses to register and who is now imprisoned.The Authority is really at the core of all these characters struggles, it’s grasp on this world is truly sinister, and as you’ll find out, it harbours such dark secrets. The tainted are invaluable to the Authority, they acknowledge the dangerous nature of the tainted and claim to be the Dominions protector. But have enslaved the tainted to utilize their abilities for practical purposes, allegedly is to promote peace and harmony within the Dominion…. In amongst the chaos, the shining light in Tashue’s dark world is his love interest Stella, but as with all things in this world, nothing is simple.
As the first few chapters introduce you to the investigation, and his relationship with his son, it hooks you into the story very quickly and for readers like myself is essential. The dialogue between father and son is very emotionally charged and parents reading this novel, be prepared for those heart strings to be pulled. There are so many aspects of this book that’ll provoke powerful emotions, it’s usually down to the oppressive presence of the authority. The exploration of some of the social issues in this book, from that era, are genuinely engaging and you’re compassion for these characters will be overwhelming! But despite this being a very character driven novel, I think even for those more plot driven readers, you’ll be able to see those indicators of this series becoming more plot heavy as the series plays out. There is so much potential scope for this world. But its drawn out slowly so there’s a great deal of intrigue that warrants so many questions.This is a dark novel, but hope does bloom ….
The best aspect of this book without question is the characterisation. As a huge fan of very character driven novels I felt totally immersed in their stories and I was totally captivated by the complexities of these characters. I felt the five POVs we follow gave a very three dimensional view of the characters and the well placed inner monologues gave further insights into core of what motivates them. So you really felt like you know them intimately. The characterisation for Tashue our main protagonist was phenomenal, his existential crisis was captured so perfectly!! Not to take away any attention from Stella our leading lady because she has some of the best virtues any woman could have, but she harbors her own dark secrets, her vulnerability was so skillfully portrayed. When she meets Tashue you can fully understand their connection because of the depth of understanding you have about these characters. There really is a diverse cast who are brilliantly fleshed out, even the Villains in high society to our silver tongued mob boss. But it was the consistency with the character work that was most notable, I usually talk about maybe one, or two favourites, never have I been totally enamoured with an entire cast before, not to this extent.
The vast majority of characters that I’ve read previously play into those well known character tropes and don’t always present something new. This is one of those books that really shows the big paradigm shift in how characters are portrayed in modern Fantasy. It seems , that the term grim dark is a term that’s used to often! But this novel is the very definition of a grim dark!! I feel Matar has succeeded beyond my expectations in creating some of the most original, authentic, morally grey, unforgettable characters and totally achieved that sense of gritty realism.
The social issues effecting these characters within this novel are hugely emotive, there are examples of racism, social segregation, huge inequality and addiction. All of the subject matter concerning these issues is handled incredibly well and are completely relevant.
The majority of these social issues are born from the authority itself and the presence of the Authority seems to manifest in every aspect of these characters lives. As a result the majority of the characters within this novel have their own internal struggles and are forced to act under the weight of their oppressors, often acting in a way that’s necessary for their survival, which really carves out a very lonely and isolated world.
“Better to be lonely and feel the sharp edges of it, she thought, than to be empty and filled with nothing”
The romance was so stripped down, it wasn’t pretentious, it was very authentic and central to this books plot. It’s not often that I feel emotionally invested in this aspect of a book but the romance blossoming in such a dark world really did make it shine a little brighter. I think when a relationship is very much the path to salvation for two characters, to me, it really has substance, rather than something that’s very superficial. I also feel that Matar has done incredibly well to be very inclusive, a broad range of readers will be able to identify with many of the relationships within this book, giving it a very modern dimension, which is totally necessary…
So let’s talk more about the magic system, which is central to this books plot. Within this world there are individuals with magical abilities that are referred to as having the talent, and by some are referred to as the tainted, dependent on who you ask … The tainted have immense value to the authority, but inspite of this, they’re still classed as second class citizens, segregated, dehumanised and stripped of their humanity, not even afforded basic the liberties of normal citizens of the Dominion. But the narrative from the Authority is that they themselves are the last defense between the tainted and there unpredictable, dangerous nature. I really liked the way the magic system was portrayed, you know in basic terms what its capable of, what it’s limits are but all the while leaving some questions unanswered, so there’s definitely still some mystery, which I really liked. However it is taking the magic system into the realms of a technology, which is moving away from traditional magic systems,which totally worked in this instance. The element of mystery surrounding the magic system, keeps you intrigued and unlike a lot of modern fantasy books, is not there to over shadow the weaker elements of the book.
I found Matars writing style to be highly evocative and very engaging. The pacing and the technical execution of the this novel was pretty flawless. I think it was the consistency of the quality of the writing that was notable, in each chapter you can totally see the amount of work that went into this book. This is a glowing example of the fact that flowery prose is not a necessity for good writing. The skill in the writing was abundantly clear. I can definitely see influences from David Gemmel and Anthony Ryan in the writing.
I was really left feeling that I’ve just been privy to the beginning of a series that’s going to be very special. I think that once you’re taken by Matars characters, the emotional investment is so overwhelming that you’ll be following these characters for as long as Krystle is happy to write about them. I really feel that Matar has burst out the gate with this stunning debut and it’s my feeling that she will very quickly establish herself within the fantasy genre. Krystle has clearly worked incredibly hard to forge something that is really original, something that shows huge innovation and creativity.The passion behind this book is abundantly clear and shines through as every aspect of this novel.
There are elements of this book that Abercrombie, Pierce Brown fans will absolutely love!! It’s my belief that Mr Abercrombie should be concerned because there is a new girl in town!!
I’m hugely invested in this series and will eagerly awaiting the next installment!!
I hope you are all well, and once again reading something awesome. I am going to review Jacob Sannox’s The Ravenmaster’s Revenge. I was due to review this a little while ago but I honestly forgot until I posted my February Book of the Month post yesterday.
The Ravenmaster’s Revenge is a retelling of the story of King Arthur but with a an urban twist.
And also thank you to Jacob for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.
Here are a few things you can expect from this book:
A scheming Merlin;
Arthurian re-telling with a twist;
ancient bloodlines and English kings;
A satisfying glimpse at many notable historical moments in the eye of an immortal; and
A tale of Good Vs Evil.
On to the full review…
This is going to be a shorter review as I am about half an hour away from a killer migraine. So, while I am currently at the uncomfortable throbbing stage of this I am going to quickly write this with the darkest screen setting I can get away with and then proceed to hide in a dark room!
Although I mentioned about about this book has phases featuring great historical moments in which Arthur is involved in, this book spends most of its time in modern day England through its take on an age old tale of King Arthur. I actually wasn’t fully clued up with how this story would be told going into this book and I found the flashbacks a little jarring, I am not the biggest fan of flashbacks in any case so my issue stands more to that than the actual book. I actually found the flashbacks were brilliant in their own right, I would LOVE to see Sannox dabble in Historical Fiction because, evident by these flashbacks, it is something he does incredibly well and with astounding detail.
Now, without spoiling things, in this book Arthur is essentially immortal, long lived how ever you want to describe it and one of my main praises for this book was how incredibly well Sannox represented that. I have read a great many books and several have featured the immortal character and many never manage to show you that bone-weary tiredness that comes with living for several lifetimes. The ache on the soul at never stopping, seeing your life go through massive historical changes and Sannox does this brilliantly, it is not morbid or anything like and is amazing to read, there is an old feeling to his characters that represents them brilliantly.
The world that Sannox has created in this tale, despite being one we know to some degree being in a modern setting still felt refreshing and it was a joy to explore. The magic that fills the book is also great with familiars, warlocks, immortality, spells and so much more.
If you enjoy Arthurian tales the you will be glad to see the familiar names attached to them and will enjoy the characters Sannox has made, they are great, while I would have loved a bit more depth to some of them this is a short book so its would be wrong for me to expect the depth I am used to reading in 400 to 600 page novels.
Overall, this is a fun read, it is a shorter book and if you love history and Arthurian tales I think you will appreciate this book. It is adventurous and has a fun and familiar plot and characters.
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This would be a but the kindle for me, I enjoyed reading it and Sannox’s writing is lovely!
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Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!
This post is about a few things this week. Not only is it seven books I am SO excited to read, but also seven book on my NetGalley TBR that I have to get and I am so excited for! So we have a degree of accountability today…but books!
My NetGalley ratio is NOT good. So, having got through many of my physical arcs I can get to my NetGalley ones and make a move on my ratio. I have some serious work to do, but I am so up for it
ON TO THE BOOKS…
SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN BY SHELLEY PARKER-CHAN
I am so excited for this book, every time I read the synopsis I nearly screw the TBR and just pick it up. I love Mongol history from its rise to its fall, it is one of the most interesting periods and then throw in the serious Mulan vibes and I am practically vibrating with excitement for this book!
I am ashamed I haven’t read this book yet, I actually got it quite some time ago and it is still yet to be read. With its discord, need for revolution and mechanical freaking dragons I need to pull my finger out and get this book read!
Recently released this book is reviewing really well! I have read each one I have seen pop up in th book community and they all make me even more excited to read this book. I’m actually due to start it in the next few days.
Today I am partnering with the brilliant and hard working Storytellers On Tour to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for U. L Harper’s book, Katy of Clay.
Yeah? Good. Let’s go then.
This book cover is by cover artist Daniel Iglesias.
A few things about the author first…
U.L. Harper is a speculative fiction and literary author, influenced by magical realism. A former journalist from Long Beach, California, he now resides in Tacoma, Washington with his wife and daughter. He is an avid Dodgers fan.
U. L Harper started off doing poetry. Every now and again the poetry influence enters his novel writing. His latest work, The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe, meshes fantasy and horror with magical realism.
It’s typical to acknowledge how your parents have shaped you. But what if they shaped you out of clay?
When Katy visits her father, she questions why she can no longer remember the face of her mother who died nine years ago.
What’s more is that recently her body has been going through strange changes.
It’s these changes that force her father to reveal an old family secret—she’s made from clay and will be catapulted into another world because of it.
Shortly thereafter, she finds herself in a frightening parallel world where ghosts indefi-nitely relive their deaths, a land where she will discover the secret that cost her the memory of her mother’s face, and it’s a place where she’ll journey to find the insidious truth about what she’s destined to become.