7 SFF BOOKS WITH INCREDIBLE OPENINGS…

They say the hardest part about writing a novel is the first line, now I’m not too sure how accurate that statement is having not written a novel but I know there are those out there that believe it to be a crucial element.

I appreciate a good opening line and the different ones you come across as a reader. There are the ones introduce a character like that of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, or the ones that illustrate the beauty of an authors writing style! I love the ones that hook you and suggest an intriguing plot, it truly shows an authors talent when one line has you drooling for the rest of the book.

So, without further ado, here are seven books with opening that I love for one reason or another.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

Goodreads

My Review of The Night Circus

RED RISING BY PIERCE BROWN

“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.”

Goodreads

My Review of Red Rising

THE HOBBIT BY J. R. R. TOLKIEN

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Goodreads

BLOOD SONG BY ANTHONY RYAN

“He had many names. Although yet to reach his thirtieth year history had seen fit to garner him with titles aplenty: Sword of the Realm to the mad king who sent him to plague us, the Young Hawk to the men who followed him through the trials of war, Darkblade to his Cumbraelin enemies and, as I was to learn much later, Beral Shak Ur to the enigmatic tribes of the Great Northern Forest – the Shadow of the Raven.”

Goodreads

My Review of Blood Song

THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER BY C. S. LEWIS

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Goodreads

THE NAME OF THE WIND BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS

“It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.”

Goodreads

RED SISTER BY MARK LAWRENCE

“It’s important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.”

Goodreads

Thank you again for reading and visiting the blog, it is very much appreciated. Let me know in the comments if there are any opening lines in books you love!


Book Tour: The Medina Device by T. J. Champitto

I would jut like to begin by thanking T.J. Champitto and Breakeven Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for The Medina Device, and for allowing me to read and review this prior to release.

My Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A few facts about The Medina Device:

  • Title: The Medina Device
  • Author: T. J. Champitto
  • Series: Standalone
  • Publisher: Black Rose Writing
  • Pages: 268

Synopsis:

Former Navy SEAL Cameron Lyle is transitioning to life as a husband, father and government contractor. But his thirst for adventure has driven him to a secret life of high-stakes crime that has gained the attention of the FBI. When a mysterious device is unearthed in the mountains of Bolivia, an ancient brotherhood emerges to offer Cameron the opportunity of a lifetime–to steal the greatest discovery in human history from a rogue cell of U.S. intelligence officers. As a beleaguered FBI agent closes in, and a team of deadly assassins hunt him down, Cameron leads his pursuers on a worldwide manhunt as he sets off to find the scientist who can explain it all. Secret societies, ancient technology and international espionage all converge in a journey that will ultimately test the bounds of reality. 

(Goodreads)

Review:

I want to just highlight my rating criteria first…

FOUR STARS 

★★★★

I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK.

There is a fine line between a five star rated book and a four star rated book because I still really liked these books, the difference is that these books just slipped up on occasion. They may have fallen flat in a subplot or left certain plot threads unanswered. It will honestly, be something pretty small but enough to knock it off  obsessive gushing level. I will still recommend these books, though only to those who like the genre, and will likely read them again just not at the rate I would reread a five star beauty.

THREE STARS

★★★

I LIKED THIS BOOK.

These books are good solid reads but simply fall into the average category. They tend to be the fun and easy reads that are still enjoyable even though they have their flaws. These are still good books, don’t doubt that, so I would still recommend them but only when they fit a few criteria someone has listed when asking for recommendations. I am unlikely to read these books again, unless I’m really in the mood for the book specifically.

This book, for me, sits firmly in the 3.5 rating, it is a good solid read that I enjoyed and read easily. This book isn’t quite a four star, but I wouldn’t feel right categorising it as average because it isn’t.

I don’t read thrillers often, if at all, but I was contacted by Breakeven Books and asked to participate in this Tour. Having read the blurb and generally wanting to read a little outside my genres I accepted. It sounded super interesting and is exactly the type of movie I LOVE. So, if I can love a movie of this nature then surely I can love a book of this nature, right? Exactly, and I did. I found this book to be really enjoyable.

Champitto really captures an energy in his writing, especially with the main character Cam’s family, there is such a vibrance to their interactions. Once I had adjusted to his writing style I enjoyed it. Though, a few character introductions felt like they were their online dating profiles, Hannah likes long walks on the beach and excels at law. If you feel me? While I noticed this it isn’t a massive issue as you are not introduced to tons of new characters.

Champitto managed to write one of those books that are so well thought out and their characters so nicely crafted emotionally that I wondered if the author had ever been in their position. That was the case for this book, I wondered if Champitto had served in the military, if he had made decisions that either saved or ended others lives. I think that is always a sign of a talented writer, their characters are real to the point you think the author must have a personal knowledge of this stuff!  Though, despite this raving I did want more history from these characters. While Champitto is talented and his writing does evoke quite a lot of emotion I found I didn’t really know the characters beyond this plot. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this is a shorter book to what I am used to and it still managed to capture me, it may not have had the most developed characters but what you saw you loved, I genuinely found myself quite attached and invested in Cam, Michael and Trip. I found Rand the least fun of the characters but once he was surrounded by other characters I like him a lot more. 

I really enjoyed the plot of this book and found myself constantly wanting to know what happened next, it has great action sequences and is really quite suspenseful. The pace is a nice tight and ever moving thing, and does well to give you the feeling that time is of the essence. 

I definitely wanted a little bit more to go wrong in our characters journey though, there were a few instances when I wondered if the characters would just manage everything. Don’t get me wrong there are definite consequences and bumps in the road but I wanted a few more little hiccups here and there.

Overall, this was a great introduction to a new genre for me, I read it quickly and was pretty gripped by the plot and its characters, while I probably wouldn’t read this book again (more because once you know the twists and ending its not as suspenseful) I would definitely read future books written by this author.

 This is a promising debut and as I said above, I would like to see more from this author! 

Thanks for reading and have a great day!


BOOK OF THE MONTH: JULY

Shit! Why is the introduction to a post so stupidly hard. I mean all it is really is Hi, I’m about to talk a load of shit. Keep reading! **Thumbs up** But, noo, it can never be that easy, we have Wassupppp? Howdy? Hey? Whaagwan? Alright? And my personal fave How’s it Hanging? but me being the child I am I can’t help but mutter ‘a little to the left’ and proceed to chuckle like a child. I know, judge me. I deserve it.

Anywhoooo….

So I am currently sat feeling like a badass listening to ‘War Pigs’ by Black Sabbath and wanted to do a monthly wrap up that wasn’t quite the same as everyone else’s. I’m still going to tell you all what I have read, and will definitely link the reviews to the books I have read and reviewed BUT I’m going to do it as a ‘Book of the Month’. So, out of all the books I have read this month I’m going to proclaim one BOOK OF THE MONTH!

Say Book of the Month more…

This might not be that original but, and yes I am still claiming this, I’m new 😀 So this bordered on an epiphany for me.

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

This month I stuck to Sci-Fi books after Book Twitter set my TBR roaring with new book recommendations. I would also like to thank, again, everyone who contributed to said Twitter thread and I can confirm I am a huge fan of the genre! Your work is done.

So to this months reads…

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

My Rating: 3

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Not Yet Reviewed – I will. At some point. Promise

My Thoughts:

I liked this book, it was a quick, fun and an easy read but at the same time didn’t grab me like other books I have read recently, but i’m thinking YA maybe a thing of the past for me. Not all but yanno…tastes change.


Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

My Rating: 3.5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Not Yet Reviewed – I will. At some point.

My Thoughts:

As with book one I liked this book as something quick and fun, not to deep and really easy to get through. I liked this more than book one because the plot developed more.


Stormblood by Jeremy Szal

My Rating: 4.5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Review Link: Stormblood

My Thoughts:

I don’t think I stated in my review why this isn’t a five, not sure why, but this didn’t make it to a five simply because I have a preference for moderate world-building where as this is heavy in the world building. Again, not an issue as it is brilliantly done, it is just a preference point. Though, thinking on it, that definitely doesn’t warrant a full star deduction. I’m going to change it. Wooo, Yay Jeremy 4.5 Stars!


Red Rising by Pierce Brown

My Rating: 4

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review Link: Red Rising

My Thoughts:

What a ride this book was, one I lost sleep over and flew through! Great start to the series. I’m also really jealous of the alternative covers the US have!


Golden Son by Pierce Brown

My Rating: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review Link: Golden Son

My Thoughts:

As above. This book is my favourite of the trilogy! If you want more details read the review 😉


Morning Star by Pierce Brown

My Rating: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review Link: Morning Star

My Thoughts:

A fantastic end to an insanely good trilogy.


Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler

My Rating:

N/A – Still reading

Review: Easier when I have read the book.

My Thoughts (so far):

This is my first book by Django Wexler and I am liking his writing style, his action sequences are brilliantly violent and gory, and i’m expecting good things!


Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

My Rating:

N/A – Still Reading

Review: Got to read the book first, yanno.

My Thoughts (so far):

I am REALLY enjoying this book! If I ever find the time this week to read it I will finish it soon! I’m still fairly early on and John, the main character not the author, has just landed at Beta Pyxis III and is training with his new team, but even so I am loving this book! I have laughed, a lot.


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

As you can see I have read, and are reading, some absolute gems of the Sci-Fi world this month but only one can take ‘Book of the Month’ title!

It has been a tough one, at first I was all about Stormblood, then thought of Golden Son, then back to Stormblood, then back to Golden Son. This went on for a while.

Alas, I settled on…

STORMBLOOD!!

After much thought Stormblood took the title of BOOK OF THE MONTH and for so many reasons. While Stormblood rated half a star lower than Golden Son I felt it outdid Golden Son because it is the first book of its series, whereas Golden Son was the second book and so I had the love of Red Rising to amp up the love even more. Stormblood was an outstanding start and is a book I am STILL talking about, and STILL thinking about! After releasing that it was an easier decision!


Well, that’s it. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment 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: Morning Star by Pierce Brown

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A few facts about Morning Star:

  • Title: Morning Star
  • Author: Pierce Brown
  • Series: Red Rising Saga (Book Three)
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Pages: 544

Synopsis:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender. 

(Goodreads)

Review:

This is going to be a fairly short review, or at least I think it will be but I can talk for England so you never know. But back to it, what was I saying? Ahh yes, this is going to be shorter review because I am just saying the same bloodydamn things I have said previously.

So, lets get to it ey.

“Drills hot”…

“Helmets up. Let’s burn.”

In Morning Star the journey continues, Pierce Brown forges on, causing me to lose out on much needed sleep, be in a constant state of distress and ignore all other aspects of life.

I have said it before, but I will say it again, I find these types of books really hard to write a review for. They are such a ride, you barely seem to have a minute to comprehend what you have just been a part of.

”Life’s not just a matter of breathing, it’s a matter of being.”

This book has so much, and stays true to its previous themes of loyalty, friendship, family and fighting the oppressive regime that is their life. Pierce Brown continues to show us that he is a brilliant storyteller, with so much emotion and yes heartache. He has managed to continuously raise the stakes with each book, while remaining totally unpredictable and all the while we grow to love the characters even more. 

I did like however that Pierce doesn’t keep all his characters the same. In Morning Star we see them make some questionable decisions and see how they and those around them further develop. Sometimes that development doesn’t go the way you want it to but these are all consequences of the events that have come about. 

”And if we fall, others will take our place, because we are the tide. And we are rising.”

Pierce’s writing continues to bestow upon us his brilliantly provocative, sharp and precise storytelling. It disturbs and it enrages, it is joyous and it is hilarious. He gives us everything.

I am not alone.

I am not his victim.

So let him do his worst.

I am the Reaper. I know how to suffer.

I know the darkness.

This is not how it ends.”

I was totally satisfied with this conclusion. It is hard to explain how epic and amazing this book is without going into spoilers because it, in many cases for me, was the individual events and battles both large and small that really wow’d me. Pierce does justice to all his characters in life and in death. His characters have to work to get their end results and they have to work bloodydamn hard, it is these moments that shine to me!

”Everything is cracked, everything is stained except the fragile moments that hang crystalline in time and make life worth living.”

You will not be disappointed by this series! I know I wasn’t! 

Like I said, short…ish.

Thanks for reading!


Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A few facts about Red Rising:

  • Title: Red Rising
  • Author: Pierce Brown
  • Series: Red Rising Saga (Book One)
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Pages: 401

Synopsis:

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, generations of people who spend their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that, one day, people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games in this, the first in an extraordinary trilogy from an incredible new voice. 

(Goodreads)

Review:

Red Rising:

“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.”

I can safely say that all the praise this book gets is well deserved! 

I always a little bit nervous when reading works of an author I have not read before, and even more so when said books are so widely loved. Not in the sense id be worried about rating it low, because that doesn’t overly bother me, it is that your expectations are set so high that they can often be the ruin of the book. It works both ways, I have watched films and read books that’s have been slated and loved them because I had such low expectations. Thankfully, those who have praised this book are people who I respect the opinions of and having cracking taste!

It usually takes me a good chunk of time to fall into the rhythm of a new authors writing, especially when in first person. I have nothing against first person, it’s just that for some unknown reason it takes me longer to get into the grove of the writing. However, this was not an issue at all with this book, I fell into it almost too easily.

I have described writing before using words such as clean, simple and sharp. Though, never have I read writing quite so sharp. Pierce does not over embellish his writing, it is straight and to the point, while not seeming inferior or of a lesser standard. There is a quick feeling to his prose, they are swift and effective. That’s not to say there isn’t description there most definitely is, it just felt less prevalent. 

There is something surreal about Pierce’s writing. At first I thought it more magical, when Darrow was describing the beauties of nature he sees or cities but I realised it was actually a part of Darrow. It emphasises the point that he believed his world was baron and red and that it would never be more, that he would never be more. It was incredibly immersive and truly brought out Darrow’s character more and more. 

I found Darrow easy to love, I liked him from the start and that didn’t change. It was very interesting to see the two sides of Darrow, not in a two faced way but we as the reader see a truer version of him whereas the other characters of the book see the image he puts forth.  There is a duel at one point, one of the opponents says ‘to yield’ while Darrow shouts ‘to the death’ and it just clicked how differently the rest of the characters see him to how we see him. I was really cleverly done, I don’t doubt other books do it to some degree but I really saw it in this. 

“Yielding,” Pax says impatiently. “To the death,” I correct. Really it doesn’t matter. I’m just screwing with them at this point. All I have to do is give the signal. “To yielding,” Mustang confirms.”

I felt like I was able to resonate with some of the initial emotions that Darrow experiences. I live in a tiny town, so when I moved to the city for university it was a big shift in gear. I remember I was walking from my university accommodation once and I saw a tractor rolling through Leeds and I nearly peed I was that excited, it is so strange to go from a place you know near everyone and where everyone but the grumps smile at you to a city of drones. A place where you are the strange one for smiling at the person walking past you!

“In Lykos, I would have been jostled by men I’d grown up with, run across girls I’d chased and wrestled with as a child. Here, other Colors slam into me and offer not even a faint apology. This is a city, and I do not like it. I feel alone.”

Pierce also gave us so many other great characters, Sevro was brilliant! Some had past dealings that would make you think them oily and sneaky, others you would pity and some you hated. Pierce makes you feel every brutal emotions for these characters and more.

“Sevro snorts. “What do you think I’ve been doing this whole time, you silky turd? Wanking off in the bushes?”

The descriptions in this book are beautifully done, the forest, the baron slums Darrow lived in, the busy cities full of Colours, are all so vivid and creative. I said earlier that Pierces writing, through the eyes of Darrow, seemed surreal and often magical and it does but Pierce also managed to show us an utterly savage world one win which life is not fair, it is not equal and you do not win. The story gradually gets darker and darker, while still holding tight the dream that this all begun for.

“On Mars there is not much gravity. So you have to pull the feet to break the neck. They let the loved ones do it.”

This book is so fast paced, and it is utterly relentless. I didn’t feel like there was a single point I could put this book down the wheels of the game just kept on churning! Which is probably why I was up until the ass crack of dawn reading this book. So, if you starter reading this book do so early and make sure you have the day free because you will not want to stop.

It is a brilliant start to the series and I cannot wait to read the next book, which is already downloaded on my kindle and ready to be read once I have posted this review!

“Alter the paradigm.”


Book Review: Wrath by John Gwynne

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A few facts about Wrath:

  • Title: Wrath
  • Author: John Gwynne
  • Series: The Faithful and the Fallen Series (Book Four)
  • Publisher: Tor
  • Pages: 720

Synopsis:

Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he can open a portal to the Otherworld. Then Asroth and his demon-horde will finally break into the Banished Lands and become flesh.

Meanwhile Corban has been taken prisoner by the Jotun, warrior giants who ride their enormous bears into battle. His warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he hopes to survive. But can he bond with competing factions of warlike giants? Somehow he must, if he’s to counter the threat Nathair represents.

His life hangs in the balance – and with it, the fate of the Banished Lands.

(Goodreads)

Review:

What a treasure this series has been to read, and I can safely say without a single doubt that it will be the same when I read it again. 

Five stars do not come close to rating these books. Starting with Malice, all the way to Wrath John Gwynne has continuously improved each book. Which is really hard because Malice was amazing, so to keep getting better and better each book is just monumental.

When I read a book, I jot down the things that spring to mind while reading, and no lie every time I start a new bullet point I always start it with ’one thing I have noted…’ and I don’t know why because there is never just one thing of note, especially not with the Faithful and the Fallen Books.

So one thing I have noted 😉 (I’m sorry I couldn’t help it) throughout this series is the POV structure, albeit a pretty menial thing in the grand scale of things, but it is something I really appreciated. At times of battle Gwynne sometimes has it that the POV’s jumps between two key players while not seeming disjointed or clunky. Gwynne also gives us insights into some of the less than savoury characters, though they are never too long and are just enough to remind you of that persons plans and role in the inevitable betrayals, he manages to ignite the spark of hatred for them and their horrible deeds and wicked ways. It’s bloody marvellous. 

In every book I have read of this series I have found something more, be it about the plot or the writing or the characters. It never stops growing. Gwynne was able to make these books feel personal, the way he writes is filled with emotion even when describing a bright sun in a sheer sky that has no warmth. It is utterly compelling and I can not praise him enough. 

As many reviewers have said previously this book, along with the others, doesn’t take fantasy in a new direction and uses many of the classic tropes found in this genre but the way in which John Gwynne writes these is so refreshingly creative. During Wrath there are moments when you truly see the diversity of everyone involved, instead of having your typical band of races (elf, dwarf, man, wizard, etc) it has the likes of a former slave, a rebel queen, a loyal to the bone shieldman, a tired and beaten warrior, a sister, a brother in arms and so much more. It is nice to see the things that became tropes of the genre reimagined a little. 

I enjoyed everything about Wrath, at no point does it feel slow, at no point did I want to skip a character POV, and at no point did the plot fall flat, literally these books are perfection. The villains are all as well crafted as the hero’s and as we travel through the Banished Lands you experience everything.

Wrath is such an epic and brilliant conclusion to the Faithful and the Fallen Series, and it holds nothing back…not even the heartache. I cried. I actually cried. My Sisters Keeper, Marley and Me and every soppy ass film you can think of did not pierce this stone heart of mine, and this book broke me. I CRIED! I never cry.

Gwynne wraps everything up in Wrath, and in the most satisfying of ways. I loved where the characters went, with nobody ending in a way that felt like it should have ended in a differently, there were no grand gestures that the characters wouldn’t have ever done to dress it up, each ending fell in line with what the character you grew to know and love would have done.  Honestly,  the idea of the school made me want to read the other books in the banished lands just to see how it went! 

I am genuinely saddened to have finished this series, thank you John Gwynne for creating such an epic masterpiece that has done what no other book has managed! 


Book Review: A Storm of Silver and Ash by Marion Blackwood

My Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A few facts about A Storm of Silver and Ash:

  • Title: A Storm of Silver and Ash
  • Author: Marion Blackwood
  • Series:  The Oncoming Storm Books
  • Publisher: Published by Marion Blackwood
  • Pages: 326

Synopsis:

What would you sacrifice to save your friend?
Your soul? Your humanity? Your life?

The Oncoming Storm is a name whispered in awe throughout the Underworld. She’s known as a master thief and a lethal knife-wielder – some even say she has the skills of an assassin. All of it is true. She’s also a sarcastic smartmouth with the social graces of a bull.

You will find her running across rooftops, sneaking in the shadows, and breaking into houses. That is, if she’s not busy getting ambushed and blackmailed into a seemingly impossible mission. Grudgingly caught in a dangerous power struggle, the Oncoming Storm must leave behind the world she knows and maneuver through scheming assassins, calculating elves, and desperate royals.

Before her adventure is over, she will have loved, saved, killed, and double-crossed those around her. The only question is, who? The clock is ticking, and before time runs out, the Oncoming Storm must decide who to trust and who to betray…

(Goodreads)

Review:

A storm of Silver and Ash is a promising debut, was a fun read and I found myself wanting to keep reading.

The synopsis of this book is what really grabbed me, as did the cover. I was sold. A thief with the social graces of a bull, and us getting to see more of Storm utilising her surroundings. It gave the opportunity for incredible world building scenes and stunning descriptions.

Blackwood created a great world, I love a good dingy underworld where it is almost a place unto it’s self. It had a hierarchy, a cast system of the criminals who associate with a guild and the less than savory folk who can’t be apart of it for reasons such as they are too dark or can’t deal with authority etc. 

The underworld hierarchy, while being pretty simple, is a great addition to the world Blackwood created. I enjoyed the concept of the different guilds and their rankings. The idea of a beggars guild, it kind of reminded me of the homeless unit of hitmen from the John Wick films. I would have quite liked to see more of them, as an information source maybe. I thought the world was nicely done but could have been used much more in the actual story. 

Blackwood also created what I found to be a totally a refreshing take on elves, while the elves were not wholly different to those we see in the world of fantasy, it was their culture and social practices I enjoyed. They were a tougher more hunter like people, hardier and less about ethereal grace and such.

I unfortunately I found Storm to be a little off-putting at times, what was one of the main drives to me reading this book quickly became a little disruptive to the story. In terms of the character as a person, she was a cool character, fun and sarcastic but then not so good. I like the morally ambiguous character at times but when done in a way that you can still route for them, Storm just killed at times and felt a little unnecessary.

Now, this is definitely nit picky on my part but these things too often pulled me from the story. More at the start than anything else, but still. There was a lot of ’telling’, yanno the whole show me don’t tell me thing. There was also a lot of emphasis on how bad ass Storm was, and how no one liked to mess with her, but this was told through her own thoughts on how bad ass she was. I thought this could have been shown a wee bit better. 

I also noted a few things I would say we’re inconsistent. For example, Storm may enter a place renowned for being cutthroat, orderless, outside of the guilds and known for being a pretty rough place especially for a women (which she herself tells you). Yet she cleared a table with a glare alone. Or her not knowing a type of material which is so picky, I know, and sounds weird to say but if you are a thief I would expect one to have an eye for details, to know when something is a fake or cheaply made etc yet she didn’t.

The breaking of the 4th wall in this book was also not my favourite. 

Despite my above complaints I did find myself wanting to keep reading, and I enjoyed this book as a whole.

I discussed this with my partner, who had just played both Last of Us Part Two and Infamous Second Sons, and when I told him my thoughts on it he said that it was like what he thought about second sons. It was a fun game that you go back to and complete but when compared to Last of Us you realise that thats all it is, fun, the story and characters don’t really give you any of the feels but you still liked it as a whole.


Book Review: Limbo by Thiago d’Evecque

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A few facts about Limbo:

  • Title: Limbo
  • Author: Thiago d’Evecque
  • Series:  Standalone
  • Publisher: Published by Thiago d’Evecque
  • Pages: 162

Read Limbo on my Kindle FREE with Kindle Unlimited. So, not free because you pay for KU, but it still feels like a free book.

Synopsis:

The fate of the world hinges on a forsaken spirit, a mad god in a sword, and 12 mythological beings.

The Limbo is where all souls — human or otherwise — go to after dying. Some don’t realize where they are. Death is a hard habit to get used to. Gods and mythological figures also dwell in the plane, borne from humanity’s beliefs.

A forsaken spirit is awakened and ordered to dispatch 12 souls back to Earth to prevent the apocalypse. Many don’t take kindly to the return. Accompanied by an imprisoned mad god, the spirit must compel them.

Each of the 12 unlocks a piece of the forsaken spirit’s true identity. Memories unfold and past wounds bleed again.

The journey will reveal buried truths about gods, angels, humanity, and the forsaken spirit itself.

If you like epic fights, diverse mythology reinterpreted, and surprising plot twists, Limbo is for you.

(Goodreads)

Review:

When I woke up, I knew something was wrong. For I only opened my eyes when the world spiraled into chaos.

Limbo comes across as an incredibly intellectual tale, it touches on many aspects of life such as religion but also humanity. Our existence and the way many live, it pulls everything that makes these topics so provocative and inserts them into Limbo through our main characters thoughts and understandings. 

“The past is enticing, and we need it to make sense of our lives. We can only understand who we are when we look back to who were. But it’s a trap. Watch it and leave it, there’s nothing you can change there.”

Limbo is a strange tale to be told, interesting and quite creative with its mixture of many religions, legends and folklore tales. It was interesting to read one story which is made up of many historical tales coming from Asia, Europe and all across the world and done so skilfully as not to feel disorientating.

I found myself really intrigued as to who our main character will enlist next, excited to see what legendary figure was to be chosen and what myths or religion it came from. 

Limbo was a lovely quick read, its chapters were short and snappy and its sentence structure refreshingly sharp. 

Thiago has you intrigued at the start, and does brilliantly to create an interesting world where anything can be conjured. The world Thiago creates, or the Limbo he creates, is written in amazing detail and comes to life for each new person encountered. 

The surroundings took shape, bringing the refreshing scent of wet dirt and leaves. Huge trees obstructed the sky. Spears of light pierced through the swaying branches and canopies.

With any short story there is a degree of difficulty to develop a character to the extent the readers of longer books expect but Thiago bridges this really well. The pace is definitely slower but it feels appropriate with the themes this story utilises, being more thought provoking and meaningful. 

I especially enjoyed reading Thiago’s notes at then end, throughout the book I highlighted each historical person/culture/legend that intrigued me with the intention to research these later but I didn’t need to do this completely blind because Thiago gives some detail as to them and its brilliant.


Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A few facts about Night Circus:

  • Title: The Night Circus
  • Author: Erin Morgenstern
  • Series:  Standalone
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Pages: 401

I read this on Kindle.

Synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:
Opens at Nightfall
. Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves
. The Circus of Dreams.

Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.

Review:

I actually read this a fair while ago but I am slowly but surely putting some more of my reviews onto my blog from my previous reads.

——

This book is really quite spectacular, Morgenstern’s writing is quite spectacular. When I think of ways to describe the writing style of The Night Circus the word ‘epic’ creeps to mind, though in a more grand nature. The Night Circus feels like a classic, and it is an elegant and wonderfully written.

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

The circus, the costumes, the magic and even the midnight dinners are so magical and written in so much detail. 

Each time I sat down and read The Night Circus it was like finding the circus had arrived in my town, each visit a wonderful experience filled with amazing places, midnight dinners, beautifully creative clothing and obviously magic.

It took me longer than usual to read, but I did enjoy it, possibly more for that reason. It was the first circus book I read and I think that may have been another reason for the slower reading pace. That and the fact that this is really slow paced.

The challenge between the magicians reminded me of ‘The Prestige’ with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale but with its own twists. The challenge, the romance and the characters were all brilliant, all grew naturally and eloquently. 

I enjoyed the plot of the story, albeit a slow one, and i liked the characters of the book. there are many beyond the main characters and I liked the family feel to those who perform in the circus.


Book Review: Ruin by John Gwynne

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A few facts about Ruin:

  • Title: Ruin
  • Author: John Gwynne
  • Series: The Faithful and the Fallen Series (Book Three)
  • Publisher: Tor
  • Pages: 768

Synopsis:

The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures. At his back stands the scheming Calidus and a warband of the Kadoshim, dread demons of the Otherworld. They plan to bring Asroth and his host of the Fallen into the world of flesh, but to do so they need the seven treasures. Nathair has been deceived but now he knows the truth. He has choices to make, choices that will determine the fate of the Banished Lands.

Elsewhere the flame of resistance is growing – Queen Edana finds allies in the swamps of Ardan. Maquin is loose in Tenebral, hunted by Lykos and his corsairs. Here he will witness the birth of a rebellion in Nathair’s own realm.

Corban has been swept along by the tide of war. He has suffered, lost loved ones, sought only safety from the darkness. But he will run no more. He has seen the face of evil and he has set his will to fight it. The question is, how? With a disparate band gathered about him – his family, friends, giants, fanatical warriors, an angel and a talking crow he begins the journey to Drassil, the fabled fortress hidden deep in the heart of Forn Forest. For in Drassil lies the spear of Skald, one of the seven treasures, and here it is prophesied that the Bright Star will stand against the Black Sun. 

(Goodreads)

Review:

Well, shit. John Gwynne does not mess around with this instalment.

In relation to the plot of Ruin and its progression, Gwynne does amazing; we see so SOOO much more in this instalment and we see a lot of things from the previous book brought out into the open.

There are so many amazing scenes in this book, I found no complaints about the pace this book sets and it is an incredible continuation to this series again improving upon the other books.

I have actually read Wrath at the time of writing this and still can’t comprehend how to type up a review for it. I couldn’t help but read it seconds after completing Ruin, so for everyone who actually had to wait between books after that ending…I am so sorry.

As a member of my buddy read said, this book is very aptly named.

In Ruin you see more battles and more loss, but with each battle John Gwynne manages to fill it with tension. He so brilliantly raises the stakes each time and no battle seems repetitive. As we know, having read up to this point, John Gwynne does not shy away from killing characters. Now, some may dislike this and love the hero bubble that many authors wrap their characters in, but without this cut throat promise of death you would not feel the level of fear, adrenaline, courage or bravery each individual character goes through. 

As with the other books of this series with each one we see more character POV’s but not one of them is boring, each time you see a change of name you a new wave of excitement comes forth from where this person and their merry band are, what they are doing and who they will meet. 

When you thought you knew the characters and their personalities John Gwynne makes you love them even more. His characters are constantly growing both individually and together. Bonds of friends and paths deepening. Dath and Farell were a constant source of laughter for me with their mutterings in tense moments and insistance in calling the Seren Disglair seven disgraced instead. 

‘It’s not as simple as that,’ Meical said. ‘To be destroyed, the Treasures must all be gathered together.’

‘There’s always a catch with these things,’ Dath muttered. Coralen punched his shoulder.

As well Tahir and his bloody mum 😂 I tell you his mam said a lot, but these are all things that just add to these characters, making them real giving more meaning to their relationships. 

As with the other books of this series with each one we see more character POV’s but not one of them is boring, each time you see a change of name you a new wave of excitement comes forth from where this person and their merry band are, what they are doing and who they will meet. 

I will say it again, I have never cared for characters like the way these books make you before, and I would be surprised if I ever will from anyone other than John Gwynne. He is an absolute master.

“Still, can’t change the truth of things. Have t’bend with it. Better’n breaking.”