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

Hello Bookish Folk!

I finally joined the party. I finally read one of Joe Abercrombie’s famed and well loved adult books.

I have read his Shattered Sea Trilogy and I really enjoyed them but a lot of people reviewed it lower than his adult books and said it was a watered down version, I still really enjoyed them and for me it was a great introduction to his writing.

A few facts about The Blade Itself:

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

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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

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

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

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

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

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from The Blade Itself:

  • Flawed yet utterly loveable and compelling characters;
  • The most character driven book I think I have ever read;
  • Waring peoples;
  • A grumpy ass mage;
  • A slower pace; but
  • A seriously enjoyable book!

A little bit about the narration…

Firstly, I would like to say that Steven Pacey is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I didn’t overly love the sample when I first listened to it, it wasn’t bad but as a newb listener to audiobooks I wasn’t sure I could actually listen to it. I listened to the sample three times to try and get a feel for it. I don’t really know why I did, I guess I appreciated his voice and tone but wasn’t sure if it was for me. Alas, I decided to jus pick it up and I am really glad I did.

I have already demolished book two and I am currently maybe three hours or so into book three of this trilogy and I LOVE listening to Steven Pacey. I honestly cant fault anything with the narration and I really bloody hope he narrates all Abercrombie’s books!

On to the full review…

I was going to say I don’t really know where to start with this review because so many have already reviewed this and it will be hard to say much different than what I imagine has already been said, but I’m not one to pass up any opportunity to talk. I’m just not about that life, you know!

I’m going to start this review with the BEST thing about this book, it only seems right…

Logen Ninefingers. Bayaz. Sand dan Glokta. Jezal dan Luther. Collem West. Ardee West. The Dogman.

Abercrombie does a damn fine job of creating his characters. He focussed on the creation of his characters and it paid off! All of his charters are so well written and they are a pleasure to read! You are totally invested in everything they do, even when they are simply staring at themselves in a mirror relishing their good looks and spectacular man jaw.

I have no issue with a character driven books and find them to be my favourite reads when they are done well, and this book is done well. All of the characters are so well crafted that you don’t care that the plot is slow, you don’t care that what they’re actually doing is a little boring. I genuinely think I could read the most mundane and boring day in eternity if it was from Logen POV, he is incredible!

This is also the first grimdark book I have read, I have read books that have darker themes and those that toe the line of grimdark but this is my first legit grimdark. The grimness was there and the gore was there but as this is my first I don’t have much to compare it too, I certainly didn’t expect as much humour. I found myself chuckling a fair amount through this book be it a witty remark, a characters vein comments as to their beauty or the sarcasm but I laughed a hell of a lot in this.

Abercrombie’s prose…well they are spot on! His writing is expressive, captivating and easy to follow. Also, now I don’t know if this is in the writing or the narration but, you always know who you are reading before the writing even mentions a name to set the POV. It may have been both, Abercrombie has his characters voices well established and so does Pacey in his narration.

The world-building was incredibly well done too, Abercrombie writes it in a way that the characters almost make the world, more so than any elaborate descriptions do. The characters tell you enough about their surroundings to paint a vivid picture of their location, which are all different for most of the characters.

The Blade itself is definitely a foundational book, it sets up everything you need to know and more for the rest of your journey with Logen, Glokta and Jezel. It’s a pretty bold move too, in order for Abercrombie to have achieved such meticulous detail and fully establish his characters with such depth he inevitably had to slow things down and that can alienate a good few readers. For that however, I don’t think Abercrombie’s really gives a glittering shit! And rightly fucking so. Not much really happens and you still love the book, love the world, the characters and the whole bloody experience. If that isn’t one of the finer examples of talent then I don’t really know what is.

I don’t really know what else to say, this book is a great first book and it sets a solid foundation for what I expect to end up a brilliant series. It is home to some of the best characters I have had the pleasure of reading and it has a decent dose of humour.


THE RANKS: 

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

I always wonder how to rate a book when I listened to the audiobook because I will then continue to listen to the rest via audiobook because were I to read this book again I would again listen to it over reading it. Though saying that I do like having the option to bounce between them. So, i’m going to rate this as if I hadn’t listened to it via audiobook and tell you to BUY THE FREAKING HARDBACK.

I would grab this in hardback for several reasons, one of which is that the characters are amazing and they are one of the finest examples of what a character should be in a book. They come off the pages and take a seat in your thoughts even when you are not reading this book.

I have also read book two and I am a little way into book three, and I know how much I am enjoying them so that definitely influences this rating too.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


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

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

This was planned to be an earlier post considering I’m currently at work 🙈 but I forgot to post it before leaving like a dope. Thankful, while I am currently sat on my break eating the most amazing Lotus biscuits I remembered. Yay me. So here it is.

Today, as the post title suggests I will be reviewing Jacob Sannox’s fantasy novel Dark Oak! I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review but I also listened to this via audiobook to. I usually listen to non review books via audio and treat them as my personal reads but I was a little behind with reviews and honestly the audiobook sounded great.

A few facts about Dark Oak:

  • Title: Dark Oak
  • Author: Jacob Sannox
  • Narrated By: Nigel Peever
  • Series: The Dark Oak Chronicles (Book One)
  • Published by Jacob Sannox (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform)
  • Pages: 314
  • Narration Length: 12 Hours 59 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from Dark Oak:

  • A high fantasy novel that is beautifully magical but with a darker core feel;
  • An intriguing and unique story concept;
  • INCREDIBLE creatures and magics;
  • Political intrigue; and
  • An incredibly raw and emotional punch from several aspects of this book.

A little bit about the narration…

This was a really good narration, it is the first narration I have ever listened to that has sound effects. Now, I know that for some the may not be a great thing but it really added to the story for me. I LOVED them. It wasn’t overbearing and it wasn’t disruptive my my listening experience. Well, for the most part, there was one single time that it became difficult to listen to, at the point when a group of Dryads were talking as one, pair that with the creaking of their wooden limbs and the throaty tone of their voices I genuinely didn’t know what was said. Luckily, I had the a physical copy so I was able to read that bit. Other than the once instance though I found I really liked the sound effects. They were, more often than not, subtle and only added to my listening experience.

As a narrator I found Peever to be quite good, his pace was easy to follow and his male voices were nicely distinct. Some of his female voices however sounded a like little old cackling witches…

Though saying all of the above, I will listen to the next book via audio narration. Thats how little it put me off.

Now on to the full review…

As I said above Jacob sent me a copy of Dark Oak in exchange for an honest review along with his two other books; The Ravenmaster’s Revenge and Agravain’s Escape. This book is currently sitting with 61 ratings and 25 reviews and has a decent rating of 3.67. I would love to see more people pick this book up as it deserves it, if you look on Goodreads it seems to have a bit of a mix of reviews so many people have loved and a good number haven’t but I would honestly give this book chance!

Dark Oak is a richly imagined world and one I really enjoyed journeying into, it is an incredible fantastical world that is very much in the traditional vein of high fantasy with creatures such as the Dryads, the water folk and even more wonderful elemental beings. Dark Oak gave me Lord of the Rings vibes in terms of its imaginative world!

Jacob does wonderfully at bringing his world to life through his writing and it is a story rich in detail and beautifully described. He brilliantly weaves in the magic that surrounds this world and showcases it impressively, especially the Dryad’s , yet all the while not making you feel as though they are infallible despite their evident power.

At the start of this book there is quite a bit of exposition, which is wholly appropriate and enjoyable. This isn’t the story of the battle that Queen Cathryn won that led our character to be where they are now but in order to fully understand the present you need to know the facts of the past. I really liked the exposition, it was magical and I felt like I was sat wrapped in a cozy blanket cradling a warm cup of tea in my ever cold hands while being told a grand old tale by a wisened old story teller! And that Is something I love.

Each of the characters you come across in Dark Oak are all really good, some I loathed but understood, others I saw the manipulation and others I was rooting for them with everything I had. Some of the character could have had a little more consistency and been a wee bit more well rounded but overall I really enjoyed all of them for some reason or another. While Dark Oak is very high fantasy to me, it has such a dark core to its world and its characters. I knew it had a darker tone before reading it but goodness I didn’t expect what I got! At all.

The Dryads…they are AMAZING! I was so impressed with them as a race, the things they can do, the power they hold and their origins were all so utterly interesting I loved every single moment in which a dryad appeared.

I think for me the strongest point of this book was Jacob’s ability to shock you so profoundly you are left in a state of both confusion and understanding. There are several sequences within this story that you do not see coming, even in the slightest, but once they do happen no matter how shook up you are you understand the reasoning behind it. Which is testament to Jacob’s ability to showcase his characters motivations and emotional states. In a world so vivid and creative the realness of his character and very human responses become all the more impactful, it is touching, sickeningly raw and quite intense at times.

There are times within this book that you see some inconsistencies in the characters voices, and it can at times feel a little jumpy from POV to POV. This book isn’t perfect and if you going in looking for little hiccups you will find them, as you would with many books, but if you are going in to experience a brilliant and imaginative world filled with REAL characters with REAL motivations you are in the right place. There is a rawness to this book and an emotional grittiness that you don’t see often in books and it was brilliant to experience it within Dark Oak’s pages.


You know the drill, on to the rating…

THE RANKS: 

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

I would definitely pick this up in its paperback form if I didn’t already have it and would strongly recommend the audiobook if you don’t have an issue with narrations accompanied by sound effects, I get that might be a hard no for some people, but im not one of them and I loved it! I actually want to find more with it in so yanno, its a winner to me!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | WE ARE THE DEAD BY MIKE SHACKLE

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Ohh, two days in a row. I have a wee bit of a backlog of book reviews to write up so I’m going to try and keep smashing them out and get up to date, then I have more time to reading. Which is always good.

As you can see by the title this will be my review of Mike Shackle’s book We Are The Dead. I can’t thank Mike enough for sending me a copy of this book.

A few facts about We Are The Dead:

  • Title: We Are The Dead
  • Author: Mike Shackle
  • Series: The Last War (Book One)
  • Published by Gollancz
  • Pages: 488

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

The war is over. The enemy won. Now it’s time to fight back.

For generations, the people of Jia – a land where magic has long since faded from the world, clinging on in only a few rare individuals – have been protected from the northern Egril hordes by their warrior caste, but their enemy has not been idle. They have rediscovered magic and use it to launch an overwhelming surprise attack. An invasion has begun.

And in moments, the war is over. Resistance is quashed. Kings and city leaders are barricaded in their homes awaiting banishment and execution, the warriors are massacred, and a helpless people submit to the brutality of Egril rule.

Jia’s heroes have failed it. They are all gone. And yet… there is still hope. Soon the fate of the kingdom will fall into the hands of a schoolboy terrorist, a crippled Shulka warrior and his wheelchair bound son, a single mother desperate enough to do anything she can to protect her baby… and Tinnstra, disgraced daughter of the Shulka’s greatest leader, who now lies dead by Egril hands.

A brand new epic fantasy: gritty and modern featuring a unique ensemble of characters who will lead a revolution against their overlords.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from We Are The Dead:

  • A fast paced book which has you unable to put it down;
  • Bloody and marvellous close quarters combat;
  • War and invasion; and
  • A book not for the faint of heart but well worth it and wholly addictive!

On to the full review…

We Are The Dead is an outstanding book and it is one of those books that has me completely shocked that more people haven’t read it! I mean i’m not one to talk really I added this to my shelves back in April and haven’t read it until November but I feel redeemed somewhat as I read the following book A Fool’s Hope immediately after and what a ride it has been.

We Are The Dead, despite being an incredibly fast paced book which is brutal and bloody, it is remarkably well balanced. I posted via Goodreads while reading this saying how this book has you and keeps you and I stand by that. I also standby my statement that a book had me like no other has but worry not you do have moments of respite. Mike gives you a moment to breath, though not much more I might say, not before you are plunged back into the turmoil that is Jia.

Now, do not mistake We Are The Dead for a simple and brutal tale, yes it is brutal, but it is by no means simple. This is a layered book with complex themes present. Mike shows you that the best are only so until someone bigger and better comes along, you do not remain superior forever it is but a chapter in ones history.

The world that Mike creates in We Are The Dead is marvellous, while reading this I had a FULLY realised world in my mind. Mike’s world building and infusion of its history and magic was brilliantly done, and I would say essential with the battle and fights that are present in this book. I don’t think I would have experienced it the same if I didn’t have such a clear depiction of Jia. So, massive praise to Mike for doing such an incredible job.

The characters that fill Jia are incredible, I don’t think I can accurately explain how great these characters are, and not just our main POV characters but every single person that fills this world. Each character is uniquely individual with their own motivations for fighting in the war for Jia, with their own influences and their own limitations and hurdles.

Ok, so the combat…I can’t not bring the combat up in this book. The fights; the battles; just the action sequences in general are incredible and altogether engaging. There is such a savageness to the Egril and Mike does not hold back in showing this through several bloody scenes.

This book is exactly as it says on the cover, it is a book with no more heroes.

I think that I stand with numerous other readers of this book in saying that to explain how magnificent this book is, is no easy task. Yes, I have just written a review of it but blimey it wasn’t easy and I don’t feel like I have even remotely covered everything that is amazing about this book, so I implore you to read this book for yourself and experience what is one of the best dark fantasy books I have read.


As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale.

BUY THE HARDBACK RATING

Now, I’m pretty sure these book have not been published in Hardback but if they were I would DEFINITELY get this in Hardback!

  • The cover…I mean look at it, it is bloody amazing that alone deserves a HB!
  • I will read this book more than once.
  • This book is INCREDIBLE!

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE GIRL AND THE STARS BY MARK LAWRENCE & NARRATED BY HELEN DUFF

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Today I will be posting my review of Mark Lawrence’s ‘The Girl and the Stars’. Firstly, I would like to thank Harper Voyager/Harper Collins for approving of my NetGalley request of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A few facts about The Girl and the Stars:

  • Title: The Girls and the Stars
  • Author: Mark Lawrence
  • Series: Book of the Ice (Book One)
  • Published by Harper Collins UK
  • Pages: 480
  • Narration Length: 18 Hours 31 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from The Girl and the Stars:

  • YA;
  • Stunning prose;
  • Amazing world building rich in lore and filled with stunning landscapes; and
  • An imaginative and visual magic system.

On to the full review…

As usual when I have listened to a book through audio I shall start my review with a few comments as to that experience.

This audiobook is narrated by the super talented Helen Duff, I do believe she does most, if not all, of Mark’s books. She has such a lovely voice and, as with the others I have listened to, she is great for even a new listener of audiobooks.

I did knock the speed up of this audio a little but she still sounds great when doing this, she really brings the characters and world to life.

Her voice really reminds me Gemma Arterton, so if you like her voice you will LOVE Helen Duff.

Now, to the book itself…

Firstly, a little praise to the cover of this book, I really like the cover, it is such a lovely and neat cover with such emphasis on the beautiful artwork.

It would appear that Mark is brilliant at writing an absolutely cracking first line of a book! It instantly captivates you has you wondering what world we have just entered.

“Many babies have killed, but it is very rare that the victim is not their mother.”

In this book we follow Yas on her journey both atop the ice and below it, it is all done through her eyes with a single POV. While I did want more from the characters as a whole, Yas was enjoyable to read and showed often that she was loyal to those she cared about and willing to take risks. Yas’ journey is one of survival, in which she has to navigate an entirely new world to find her brother and save him.

“…it’s better to die trying for a life we can take for ourselves than to die fighting each other in the dark for an existence we were condemned to.”

This book doesn’t really stop, I didn’t feel like there was much down time in this book, the characters never stop moving but that is to be expected in a journey such as Yas’ so that isn’t a complaint!

The Girl and the Stars is such a beautifully written book in its entirety, Lawrence builds a stunning world despite the fact that is it essentially a frozen wasteland and really demonstrates the harshness of the environment that our characters are subjected too.

“Now though, with darkness and despair literally reaching out to engulf her, she knew how cruel and fragile a thing hope is, and how sharp the edges of new forged dreams can be once shattered.”

There is so much detail about the world you are in, its traditions and its history both known to its people and some history now lost to them.

“Even so, it held a beauty and a peace: black rock, ice in every shade of pearl between white and clarity, the marbled seams of stardust glowing in all the colours that can be broken from the light.”

This book focuses on themes such as finding ones self and accepting the realities of who you are, it focus’ on friendships and family too, so yanno it has one of my favourite tropes…the found family. I have such a soft spot for groups of unknowns who soon become a tight nit unit together.

I also quite enjoyed the magic of this frozen wasteland, it was really fun and paired with Lawrence’s wonderful prose and worldbuilding it also became a stunning one visually.

“There’s no such thing as magic. If a thing is part of the world, part of how it works, then it’s real and obeys laws just like gravity and electricity do.” 

One of my issues – and I say issues loosely because I can’t think of another way to say it – was the young adult nature of this book. I don’t have an issue with YA when I know I’m reading it, and I was of the opinion that this book would be more of an adult fantasy, but it isn’t…in my opinion at least. I would certainly tag this as YA, and no that has absolutely nothing to do with the age of the characters. It was more to do with the storytelling, its narrative if you will, despite being beautifully written it still felt YA through its characters, their interactions and the relationships they develop very quickly and deeply throughout this story.

The Girl and the Stars seems to fall victim to some of the common YA themes also, namely the instalove vibes going on in this book. I think Yas had at least three admirers and I am pretty sure there was definitely the beginnings of a love triangle.

The characters were a little surface level at times, I did enjoy reading them I did also want more, a greater depth to them all. Some more than others.

I really liked Erris, I think he was probably my favourite character and I found myself listening the much more intently when he was present.

I think my “issues” with the characters in this instalment will however be dealt with in book two, the characters have so much more to face and I think it will really bring more out about them.

While this book fell short in some areas it is a good first instalment with a really interesting and creative plot. It is a series I will continue as I am eager to find out what the world has planned for Yas and her companions.


As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale.

I think this book would fall into the BUY THE PAPERBACK.

  • This is an enjoyable book, and one in which I will read the next book of the series.
  • If the eBook was not the same price as the paperback I would probably rate this as a buy the ebook but that’s also because I listened to this via audiobook and really enjoyed the experience. This is a really costly eBook at £7.99. The paperback is actually £0.08 cheaper!

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


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!