Hello Bookish Folks! I’m Sam from The Book in Hand!
It genuinely feels like a really long time since I have said hello, that I felt like I needed to introduce myself again! I have had some huge changes in my personal life with work and other projects recently so fell behind badly on the blog! However, I AM BACK!
I still have a lot do do away from The book in Hand but I’m going to make sure to get back to this!
So today I am partnering with the brilliant and hard working Storytellers On Tour to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for The Stone God by Erin Kellison.
If you have seen the cover already through some of the other amazing bloggers featuring this cover reveal you will see how fabulous it is! It is so beautiful!
This book cover is by cover artist Story Wrappers. My word…they have some INCREDIBLE art on their website, so definitely go and check them out, and if you are an author in need of cover art then save their name!
A few things about the author first…
Erin Kellison is the bestselling author of the Dragons of Bloodfire series, the Reveler series, and the Shadow series.
She writes fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction rOmance. She loves other worlds and visits them as often as possible via movies and books and her kids’ imaginations. When not daydreaming or writing, she’s goofing off with her family in sunny Arizona.
Terah Crane knows not to tempt the gods. A happy life—or at least an uncomplicated one—involves no gods at all. And since her loving grandfather bought her an Indulgence that ex-empts her from their service, she can focus on her other problems of being recently di-vorced, broke, and unemployed.
Seeking a fresh start, Terah packs everything she owns into her beat-up car and moves to her family’s empty country cottage—never mind that deadly firedrakes occasionally wan-der into the garden. When an unlikely flood carries a cracked pillar of stone from a nearby shrine right to Terah’s doorstep, it seems the gods demand her service after all.
I would like to thank Orbit for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, receiving this by no means influences my review but if you don’t know already I am a HUGE John Gwynne fan so…
Here are a few things you can expect from this book:
A Norse inspired epic;
Phenomenal world building;
An incredible first book to what will no doubt be brilliant series; and
AMAZING characters and side characters.
On to the full review…
The Shadow of the Gods was easily my MOST anticipated release this year and it did not disappoint. It is just one more example of how spectacular an author John Gwynne is. Set in a brand new norse inspired world it is the start to something incredible and I am desperately excited for book two! AND BOOK ONE ISN’T EVEN OUT YET!
“I am blood. I am death. I am vengeance.”
The Shadow of the Gods is told from three POV’s, we have Orka, Varg and Elvar and as per usual with John Gwynne I loved them all. Usually when reading a book with several POV’s you tend to prefer one to the others and while this is still the case for this book it always changed! The way John Gwynne writes allows for each character to have their limelight, for some chapters I was itching to get back to Elvar and other Varg or Orka. This, in my opinion, is great because you are always on your toes and you are constantly learning more and gravitating to different characters and also to the side characters that surround them.
If you have read any of Gwynne’s work before you will know just how fabulous his characters are, not merely his main characters but also the side characters too. There is such a realness to ALL the characters Gwynne creates and even those with a smaller part to play in the overall story pack a punch and are memorable. There is a curiosity around all the characters you come across and the journey into unraveling their past is such a fun experience. I won’t go into the characters to much because I want you to experience them first hand, but goodness they are fab! Gwynne gives you tiny snippets into their past and following those breadcrumbs is always fun, I loved this in The Faithful and the Fallen so I was so happy to see it in The Shadow of the Gods too.
The depth of all the characters is great, each of our characters brings something to the table and there is such a variety of characters to attract you to the tale. We have battle hardened warriors, retired warriors, a loyal protector, witty and hilarious friends, mysterious witches and so so much more.
Now, for the bloodshed! I have to say this is probably the bloodiest book I have read by Mr. Gwynne and it isn’t like he stays away from it in his other books! There are shield walls, battles, skirmishes, wicked creatures, godly relics and DRAGONS! It is gritty, brutal and oh so good. Every battle in this book was tense and at no point did any character feel infallible, because lets be honest we all know John Gwynne ain’t afraid to kills off his characters! But because of how Gwynne writes his battles I kind of want to tell all fantasy authors to go dabble in battle reenactments just so they can know the weight of a shield, the demands battle has on a person and to know the feeling of bodies throwing themselves again a shield wall! Because these details that Gwynne inserts into his writing will always keep him a step above.
“That is why we fight so hard for each other. We do not abandon the living. We do not abandon those we have sworn oaths to.”
The world that Gwynne has created here is bloody marvellous, and honestly I would like a bestiary just for this world! I was constantly imagining the creatures that fill it and I loved the general world. I spent a weekend in York pre COVID and we went to Jorvik which is an epic recreation of a nordic settlement and I am so glad I went and even more so now because all the world building tidbits we get to see in this book were so on point and ones I had seen at Jorvik. Gwynne truly managed to capture the day to day aspects of this world and it sets the tone of this world brilliantly. I have read quite a few norse inspired books now and none even come close to Gwynne’s ability to capture the authenticity of this time period. Gwynne is meticulous in his world building and none of it is pointless or boring. I am really not a person who needs to much world building but there are books that show me that when it is done right I am all for it! The Shadow of the Gods is one of those books. I could read a whole host of books set in this world!
“Fear can be ice or fire in the veins, freezing the body or setting a blaze within it.”
I am constantly wowed when I read Gwynne’s books because he is just an incredible storyteller, he is constantly building and building to get to the climax and boy when you are there it is nothing short of outstanding. The pace was great for me, the story never felt stale for me and it was constantly moving forward. Another bonus is that I trust John Gwynne implicitly, I was only saying the other day to a friend that Gwynne gets away with some things with me, not errors or flaws but, for example, cliff hangers usually annoy me to no end but I don’t care about that in this book, it has just made me more excited because Gwynne has continually provided and impressed me as a reader. I have utter faith this series will continue to shine and impress me as this book has.
To conclude this review and generally reign in my need to gush even more I will end this review by telling you to pick this bloody book up! It is a brilliant start to the series and is one that gives you so much but lets you know there is also so much yet to come! As per usual Gwynne has created some of the best characters you will read and had me falling in love with them quicker than any other book can.
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This book is simply brilliant, and lets take a minute to praise the STUNNING cover. If Gwynne’s writing didn’t warrant a BUY THE HARDBACK rank the bloody cover would!
Follow the law and you’ll stay safe. But what if the law is wrong?
Tashué’s faith in the law is beginning to crack.
Three years ago, he stood by when the Authority condemned Jason to the brutality of the Rift for non-compliance. When Tashué’s son refused to register as tainted, the laws had to be upheld. He’d never doubted his job as a Regulation Officer before, but three years of watching your son wither away can break down even the strongest convictions.
Then a dead girl washed up on the bank of the Brightwash, tattooed and mutilated. Where had she come from? Who would tattoo a child? Was it the same person who killed her?
Why was he the only one who cared?
Will Tashué be able to stand against everything he thought he believed in to get the answers he’s looking for?
The legacy of the Brightwash is described as a gas lamp, grim dark novel. The setting for this novel was inspired by the era of the 1890s in a time of huge economic depression, and within that time period, there were many social issues that inspired some of the darker subject matter within this novel. Krystle does not pull any punches when exploring these social issues and really gets down to core of it. So the inspiration for this work of fiction is taken from a very dark time in human history, really setting the tone for this novel. This is a hugely original fantasy novel, with some very new and innovative themes and concepts. This novel can be described as a very character driven novel and my personal favourite, a grim dark novel. I was totally sold!!!
This grim world unravels with each passing chapter, as you follow the masterfully crafted characters through the brutal and unforgiving reality that is life within the Dominion. I think what makes this a very unique world, is that, it’s a move away from conventional fantasy settings. Matar does an incredible job of painting a picture of a world from this era, from the humble working class neighbourhoods, to the glamour of high society, to the sinister Authority institutions, down to the gritty gangster underworld, its truly vivid and captivating. There’s also massive attention to detail, even down to the fashion of that era, so this world really does burst into life. So, you see it features excellent world building with a progressive approach and is achieved skilfully to really put the focus on our characters.
The plot is centered around our main protagonist Tashue. We watch as he’s drawn into the corrupt world of high society and the Authority. As he climbs the ranks, he becomes embroiled in their corruption, but at the same time the cracks in his world start to show and everything begins to collapse. Meanwhile his ongoing investigation of the mutilated girl found washed up on the Brightwash, leaves him few clues, she does bare a mysterious tattoo, but beyond that his investigation is fruitless. He’s forced to turn to the criminal underworld to find the truth. Using his connections he’s able to seek answers using unconventional methods which invites it’s own set of problem’s.The biggest weight he has to bare is his son Jason, who is tainted, who refuses to register and who is now imprisoned.The Authority is really at the core of all these characters struggles, it’s grasp on this world is truly sinister, and as you’ll find out, it harbours such dark secrets. The tainted are invaluable to the Authority, they acknowledge the dangerous nature of the tainted and claim to be the Dominions protector. But have enslaved the tainted to utilize their abilities for practical purposes, allegedly is to promote peace and harmony within the Dominion…. In amongst the chaos, the shining light in Tashue’s dark world is his love interest Stella, but as with all things in this world, nothing is simple.
As the first few chapters introduce you to the investigation, and his relationship with his son, it hooks you into the story very quickly and for readers like myself is essential. The dialogue between father and son is very emotionally charged and parents reading this novel, be prepared for those heart strings to be pulled. There are so many aspects of this book that’ll provoke powerful emotions, it’s usually down to the oppressive presence of the authority. The exploration of some of the social issues in this book, from that era, are genuinely engaging and you’re compassion for these characters will be overwhelming! But despite this being a very character driven novel, I think even for those more plot driven readers, you’ll be able to see those indicators of this series becoming more plot heavy as the series plays out. There is so much potential scope for this world. But its drawn out slowly so there’s a great deal of intrigue that warrants so many questions.This is a dark novel, but hope does bloom ….
The best aspect of this book without question is the characterisation. As a huge fan of very character driven novels I felt totally immersed in their stories and I was totally captivated by the complexities of these characters. I felt the five POVs we follow gave a very three dimensional view of the characters and the well placed inner monologues gave further insights into core of what motivates them. So you really felt like you know them intimately. The characterisation for Tashue our main protagonist was phenomenal, his existential crisis was captured so perfectly!! Not to take away any attention from Stella our leading lady because she has some of the best virtues any woman could have, but she harbors her own dark secrets, her vulnerability was so skillfully portrayed. When she meets Tashue you can fully understand their connection because of the depth of understanding you have about these characters. There really is a diverse cast who are brilliantly fleshed out, even the Villains in high society to our silver tongued mob boss. But it was the consistency with the character work that was most notable, I usually talk about maybe one, or two favourites, never have I been totally enamoured with an entire cast before, not to this extent.
The vast majority of characters that I’ve read previously play into those well known character tropes and don’t always present something new. This is one of those books that really shows the big paradigm shift in how characters are portrayed in modern Fantasy. It seems , that the term grim dark is a term that’s used to often! But this novel is the very definition of a grim dark!! I feel Matar has succeeded beyond my expectations in creating some of the most original, authentic, morally grey, unforgettable characters and totally achieved that sense of gritty realism.
The social issues effecting these characters within this novel are hugely emotive, there are examples of racism, social segregation, huge inequality and addiction. All of the subject matter concerning these issues is handled incredibly well and are completely relevant.
The majority of these social issues are born from the authority itself and the presence of the Authority seems to manifest in every aspect of these characters lives. As a result the majority of the characters within this novel have their own internal struggles and are forced to act under the weight of their oppressors, often acting in a way that’s necessary for their survival, which really carves out a very lonely and isolated world.
“Better to be lonely and feel the sharp edges of it, she thought, than to be empty and filled with nothing”
The romance was so stripped down, it wasn’t pretentious, it was very authentic and central to this books plot. It’s not often that I feel emotionally invested in this aspect of a book but the romance blossoming in such a dark world really did make it shine a little brighter. I think when a relationship is very much the path to salvation for two characters, to me, it really has substance, rather than something that’s very superficial. I also feel that Matar has done incredibly well to be very inclusive, a broad range of readers will be able to identify with many of the relationships within this book, giving it a very modern dimension, which is totally necessary…
So let’s talk more about the magic system, which is central to this books plot. Within this world there are individuals with magical abilities that are referred to as having the talent, and by some are referred to as the tainted, dependent on who you ask … The tainted have immense value to the authority, but inspite of this, they’re still classed as second class citizens, segregated, dehumanised and stripped of their humanity, not even afforded basic the liberties of normal citizens of the Dominion. But the narrative from the Authority is that they themselves are the last defense between the tainted and there unpredictable, dangerous nature. I really liked the way the magic system was portrayed, you know in basic terms what its capable of, what it’s limits are but all the while leaving some questions unanswered, so there’s definitely still some mystery, which I really liked. However it is taking the magic system into the realms of a technology, which is moving away from traditional magic systems,which totally worked in this instance. The element of mystery surrounding the magic system, keeps you intrigued and unlike a lot of modern fantasy books, is not there to over shadow the weaker elements of the book.
I found Matars writing style to be highly evocative and very engaging. The pacing and the technical execution of the this novel was pretty flawless. I think it was the consistency of the quality of the writing that was notable, in each chapter you can totally see the amount of work that went into this book. This is a glowing example of the fact that flowery prose is not a necessity for good writing. The skill in the writing was abundantly clear. I can definitely see influences from David Gemmel and Anthony Ryan in the writing.
I was really left feeling that I’ve just been privy to the beginning of a series that’s going to be very special. I think that once you’re taken by Matars characters, the emotional investment is so overwhelming that you’ll be following these characters for as long as Krystle is happy to write about them. I really feel that Matar has burst out the gate with this stunning debut and it’s my feeling that she will very quickly establish herself within the fantasy genre. Krystle has clearly worked incredibly hard to forge something that is really original, something that shows huge innovation and creativity.The passion behind this book is abundantly clear and shines through as every aspect of this novel.
There are elements of this book that Abercrombie, Pierce Brown fans will absolutely love!! It’s my belief that Mr Abercrombie should be concerned because there is a new girl in town!!
I’m hugely invested in this series and will eagerly awaiting the next installment!!
Here are a few things you can expect from this book:
An impressive and standout dark fantasy sequel;
It is harsher, bloodier and even more intense than Priest of Bones;
A page turner that will consume you; and
just an exceptional read you need to make time for.
A little about the narration…
ONE OF THE BEST…
On to the full review…
An impressive and standout dark fantasy sequel from Peter McLean for a series which is shaping up to be an all-time favourite.
I honestly don’t think I have a bad thing to say about this instalment of the War for the Rose Throne series. It is just so incredibly good and I enjoyed every page.
As a second instalment review I am going to try and keep it shorter, because as usual most of my points of book one still stand for book two (you can find my Priest of Bones review here). We see more of the world and a much wider spectrum of people in this instalment. I loved seeing more interaction between the side characters and their own story arcs. I think it shows the talent of a writer when they can give you fully fleshed out arcs for other characters when a story is told from a single POV, and that is just one of the amazing things McLean delivers in this instalment.
McLean upped his game in this book from an already superb first instalment. Priest of Lies is harsher, bloodier, more intense and focus’ even more on Tomas and his journey to becoming even more powerful than he already is. Tomas is an incredible character, and listening to the audiobook for this was even better because it only added to an already distinct and unique character voice. I think he may be up there as one of my favourite characters written. He was such a deep and complex character, experiencing his journey through his sole POV is nothing short of outstanding.
I would also like to note I did not read this straight after book one, there was a gap of maybe just over a month, and I forgot nothing about book one. I slotted straight back into this world and its characters with an ease not many books achieve.
I really do not feel like I can accurately explain just how exceptional this book is, it throws so much at you and none of it is predictable and will for sure shock you to the core. It is heartfelt and harrowing at times and filled with betrayal and gore at others.
It has the characters, the plot, the pace, the prose, the world and everything in-between that makes for a super book. It is just that good.
This is one of those books you read and then feel terrible about how long you then have to wait for the follow up book, and I’m not even waiting that long compared to those who read this via an ARC! I devoured this book, I often listen to audiobooks for an hour or two, longer if I am super busy with cleaning and the likes but it is not often I just listen sat down because I fall asleep or my attention goes elsewhere. I listened to this book for a solid five hours in one sitting, it is so riveting and captivating you don’t want to stop reading/listening and there is never a dull moment.
I highly recommend this series.
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BUY THE FOOKIN HARD BACK Y’ALL! This book (as I have said) upped its game from an already brilliant book so its and easy HB purchase for this one.
Here are a few things you can expect from this book:
A dark gangster inspired fantasy;
Brutal and gritty realness;
Cool named weapons;
Incredible characters you will love; and
A brilliantly paced and exciting story you are sure to consume in one.
A little about the narration:
Priest of Bones is a fine audiobook and well worth using a credit for. It is narrated by David Morley Hale, and he is perfect for this book. Though, I have to admit at first I wasn’t sure. When I first started listening I thought he was a little dry, but once I realised and felt comfortable in the tone of the book (which is pretty quickly) it became a so so narration to an outstanding one. Hale perfectly represents Tomas in this audiobook and the misery that this book is filled with, it isn’t all roses in this world and these men have just come back from a harrowing war…
On to the full review…
Ok, so while don’t really like comparing books to other books though I do sometimes state if a book gives me certain movie/TV Show vibes and Priest of Bones is one of the books. This book gives me SERIOUS Peaky Blinder’s vibes, sometimes it is jarringly similar and other times you can simply see it may have been the thing that gave McLean an idea but he makes it his own. Though, I don’t feel too bad saying that as I hear the book was inspired by Peaky Blinders and it, in my opinion, it superior to the show and I loved the show so that is saying something.
As my first Peter McLean book I was really impressed with the prose, there was some repetition of phrases but it was done well to my mind (see what I did there…). It created a clear and distinct character voice and while I noticed it sometimes I didn’t always clock the phrase because it felt fitting to the dialogue and not like McLean had just thrown it in for good measure.
McLean is another author who has written in first person and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I recently reviewed Ed McDonald’s Blackwing and mentioned that, despite my preference for third person, I really enjoyed the first person narrative. I can safely say the same for Priest of Bones too, it is refreshing to gain a deeper insight into our main character and what drives them, and shows a great degree of skill that other characters can still shine despite the first person narrative.
And shine they do!
I thought, the concept of Tomas being a priest was brilliant and I loved how McLean incorporated it into not only the plot but the storytelling too. It allowed us to see deeper glimpses into out other characters, be that an awful past that made them who they are today or a hilarious prank on another person, yes simple Sam, I’m looking at you pissing in Jochan’s drink and farting on his sleeping face.
McLean has created such a diverse and varied cast of characters and yet they all gel together really well. We have characters such as Bloody Ann the grizzled veteran who isn’t used to this type of life; Billy the Boy the young but unnervingly clever and skilled boy; Cutter the silent killer; and Jochan the slightly psychotic brother. We obviously have Tomas too, and what a character he is. He is thoughtful, respectful, a crime boss, a killer and a priest. So much and yet he is an incredible character.
Priest of Bones has so much to offer, it has incredible action sequences that put fear into any opposing gang, emotional struggles and heartfelt encounters but also cleverly woven political machinations. Not everything is as it seems in this fascinating world.
Priest of Bones’ fantastic characters and its entertaining plot make this book an excellent paced first instalment that you just can’t put down. There is so much progression in this book, McLean makes use of every word and it feels brilliantly paced for it. It isn’t so fast that you don’t appreciate the build up and isn’t slow that your just waiting for something to happen. It is so even and comfortable for the reader. If pacing can be described as comfortable, mmmm, mehh I’m still going to use it!
Today I plan to get through as many reviews as I can as I am a wee bit behind. I just posted my review of The Engineer by Darran Handshaw and I want to get through this and at least one other today!
On to the second review of the day…Blackwing by Ed McDonald!
I listened to this mostly via the audiobook and I can thank my other half for choosing it for me. He has some good taste. I gave him my phone with the Audible App open and told him to chose my next audio. There were quite a few choices and he gave me two based of the blurbs, his words were to read the ‘torturer smuggler’ one and the ‘raven tattoo’ one. Those were The Blade Itself (which I did indeed read and review) and Blackwing. So here we are writing a review for this book.
Ok, so as I am writing this review I find out that this is a FREAKING DEBUT! Like whaaaat, this book does not say ‘debut’ to me. At all. Though, saying that the last few debuts I have read have been outstanding. I even did a Sundays Seven post (SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 GREAT FANTASY DEBUTS) on it because there are some brilliant debuts out there! Anywho, I am happy to add this to my debuts list.
I cant really remember what brought this book to my attention, but I sure know what kept it…“When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message“. I LOVE tattoos and to see them used in a fantasy story in such a key way truly delighted me and I couldn’t wait to see what else Ed McDonald could do.
I really haven’t read that much Grimdark at all. I’m trying to think now and I think I have maybe read ten Grimdark books but something about this book just feels refreshing to me as a reader. Even the common place elements are redefined in my opinion and made into something new and original.
Blackwing opens brilliantly it is gripping and we are introduced to our main character, Rhyalt Galharrow, and this corrupted and warped world. A world that you are introduced to skilfully, you are eased into its clutches and learn all you need to know cleverly and smoothly.
“Hope, Reason, Humanity: The Misery Breaks Them All.”
This book will grab you in its first chapter, as it did for me! Everything about it is great …from your first impression of Galharrow and the world to the terrifying and warped creatures that come out of the Misery.
I also really liked the horror elements in Blackwing, the monsters and creatures of this world were a thrill to read and took this book even further. It wasn’t just monsters, fantasy has monsters, it was the creepiness he brought with the monsters that increased this books fun.
Blackwing is a book that is really well written, it has you completely bespelled throughout, and has you always wanting more. Ed McDonald is able to mix several elements at once and give you and something refreshing and incredible. You truly experience the grimness of this world. Ed McDonald also writes in first person as opposed to third person. I don’t have an issue with first person at all, but I do prefer third person, and yet I wouldn’t change this book at all as we see so so much of Galharrow.
“Burning was a bad way to go, but my reserves of empathy were usually exhausted on orphans and puppies, a lot higher up the list than arsonists and arseholes.”
Galharrow is a brilliant character, as are all the other people who accompany him and fill this world. We have a group of grizzled and seasoned mercenaries with a past! Every single character is well built, and you want to know what made them the way they are. They are all utterly believable. Now, I am an absolute sucker for loyalty among groups in a book and its amazing reading and experiencing just how strong of a bond Galharrow has with his companions and the length he will go to make sure they are ok! It made fro some incredibly heartfelt moments and emotional punches.
“I saw you stand,” I said. “Saw your courage, back at Twelve. Saw the steel in your will, the power you command. You say there’s nothing of woman about you? You aren’t some painted vase, delicate and useless. You’re a fucking lioness. The strongest damn thing that ever lived. There’s nothing of you but woman.”
The pacing in this book is excellent, I thought, although I imagine it can be described as a little uneven at times and sometimes quite chaotic but I really enjoyed it. I got my action, my need for political intrigue, character building, emotional punches and exquisite world-building. Ed McDonald is a great story-teller and as such its 360 odd pages fly by. He has a unique and fascinating mix of heartfelt and meaningful moments with a raw grittiness you don’t see often.
This debut is a solid read, it is well paced with incredible characters and a refreshing and original world and magic.
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FREAKING BUY THE HARDBACK! And on top of it these books are beautiful! I also got them super cheap on Amazon, I am so glad there are people who take care of books because it allows me to grab them either cheaper, when they aren’t in print any more or just that bit easier than before! And this baby is like NEW!
It is about time I reviewed this book, I finished reading The Fires of Vengeance at the end of December. I read it in a total of four days and I listened to a good chunk of this book via the audiobook. This is one of those books I cant really read myself. I know that sounds odd but Prentice does such an incredible job at narrating this book and book one that even when I am reading the physical book I hear his voice, but then it becomes some weird fucked up version (I suck at accents) in my own head and it no longer feels authentic to me.
A massive thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for approving my request for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A deeper look into all the things you loved about book one;
Characters you cant help but become utterly invested in; and
Incredible duels, graphic and intense action and epic battles;
I said it in my review of The Rage of Dragons Prentice Onayemi is amazing. Both of the audible narations for the The Burning books are the BEST I have listened to. I have probably listened to maybe thirty audiobooks so far but none have yet claimed the title of my favourite audiobook over these books. THEY ARE AMAZING.
On to the full review…
Evan Winter has done it again.
His debut novel The Rage of Dragons blew me away like never before, and I can easily say Fires of Vengeance has done the exact same. I think it takes a truly talented writer to produce a second book in a series that is equal to if not superior to book one.
The Fires of Vengeance picks up where The Rage of Dragons left us, and it has continued to build on an already spectacular foundation. While there is still a lot of focus on Tau’s revenge it also becomes so much more. We delve deeper into this amazing world Winter has created, into its history, its lore and we see so much more of what drives not only Tau but Tsiora and her people.
I really liked the deeper look into Isihago, I don’t want to say much by way of this but know it is thrilling to read and is the place where one of my FAVOURITE fights take place.
As with book one we experience this story mainly through Tau’s POV with little glimpses into a few other peoples minds and each one brings out such an emotional response from the reader. You feel their determinations, steel, heart and so much more. Every action shows you a little more of these characters and what drives them.
I love Tau, I loved him in book one despite his single-mindedness and I grew to love him so much more in this book, he becomes more. He is no longer set to his own singular purpose but also the aims of those around him, those he has bonded with even more and slowly begun to realise that he isn’t on his own.
The increase in attention on the other characters that surround Tau are also fabulous, each brings their own flare and complexities. You truly see the impact of those surrounding Tau and how this isn’t just his fight anymore, it is all of theirs too.
Winter is such an incredible writer it is pure joy to visit the world he creates, I said in my review of The Rage of Dragons he is a superb writer and he continues to shine in this book. He is such an emotional and powerful writer, you feel the oppression, the injustice and the hurt that it causes.
As with book one, The Fires of Vengeance feels relatively fast paced though not in an action after action after action sense, but in a tense, page-turning way. The players are always moving, something is always happening and you literally can not stop wanting to read more.
Knowing that there is to be another two books in this series makes me so happy, I don’t think three would be sufficient. I am so excited to see where Winter goes with the following books and how everything we are teased with in the series so far will come into effect!
The Fires of Vengeance is an incredible book that does not stumble or bow down to the other books in this genre, it stands strong and so so proud. It is two books in and an ultimate favourite of mine. So, a MASSIVE thank you to Evan Winter for writing this masterpiece and allowing us to experience such an incurable book!
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Easy. Easy. Easy…BUY THE HARDBACK!
I said it earlier this book is fast becoming an all time favourite and it still has two books to go! Grab the audiobook too. Just saying.
I am finally back, I feel like I haven’t written a review or one of my features in such a long time! But hey, a girl has to have some time off over the holidays, right?! Lord knows I didn’t get it at work.
Today I am going to be reviewing not one but two books. I always find it hard to review books the further into the series I get because a lot of the time the same praises from book one still stand and so I just end up repeating myself. So, to avoid that I am going to review book two and three of the First Law Trilogy together and it will likely be a wee bit shorter. Maybe.
A few facts about Book Two and Book Three of The First Law Trilogy:
Titles: Book Two | Before They Are Hanged & Book Three | Last Argument of Kings
Here are a few things you can expect from these two books:
Books that live up to the hype;
Dry and witty humour;
Remarkable characters you can’t help but root for despite their lack of morality;
Exceptional storytelling; and
Epic bloody battles.
On to the review…
I finally made my way to this series, and I finished it. Shit, folks, I gobbled this up like a woman starved.
I’m so glad I listened to the audiobooks, I have so many books I HAVE to read that I allow audiobooks to be MY books and because of that I was able to go through the trilogy one book after another!
Both Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings are such good books. Abercrombie set up an incredible set of characters in The Blade Itself and they continue to shine in the following books and remain so captivating. They have so many positives and they are so well crafted, none seem out of place in the world Abercrombie creates including the tone of the book too, while not coming across as copies of each other or too dark. He teases you with a glimmer of hope for al of his characters, whether they get it or not is a whole other kettle of fish.
The plot in books two and three certainly picks up, and shows a good degree more progression than book one. It takes unpredictable turns and stays true to its gritty and darker tone while still keeping one of my favourite aspects…the humour. I was chatting in a forum about The First Law the other day and got to talking about the British feel to Abercrombie’s writing and it is true for the humour too. It is that dry and witty humour the I just cannot get enough of!
Something Abercrombie really excels at in this trilogy is his ability to write brilliant action. I have seen so many YouTube videos about ‘action packed’ books and Abercrombie always popped up. Though, having not read them I was like ‘mmm, can it be that good’…
So, yeah. It is that good. From the larger battles to the close quarters combat, he does it so well. It is vivid and terrifying and done oh in such a brilliant way the action jumps from the pages.
From book one right through to book three you see such growth. Book one is arguably my favourite and it is such a foundational book. Book two moved forward with such amazing relationship building and character depth and the book three solidly concludes everything, it ties up all little threads superbly.
I’m not really sure if I can say anything beyond what the masses have already said for book one, two or three! Just know Abercrombie is a fab writer, he is stupidly talented and these books are simply brilliant.
Hey Everyone and welcome back to KEEP IT OR CUT IT! I cant believe it is week five of this series already, it seems to have been two minutes since I decided to do this! Though, technically it would be week six but I blobbed last week and calling it week six would just be confusing.
I have just quickly glanced at the next couple of books on my TBR list and I can honestly barely remember some of them. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing we but we shall see when it finally comes down to decision time. Don’t get me wrong, I remember some but other I couldn’t tell you a single thing about them other than they are likely to be fantasy!
Again a quick look at the method incase we have any newcomers to the series..
In order to find out if I wish to KEEP IT OR CUT IT I will do the following:
I have actually heard of Marie Lu and I’m pretty sure I watched one of her interviews at one point. She has written quite a few books, some being Legend, Warcross and The Young Elites. I am pretty sure they all fall heavily in the Young Adult genre of Science Fiction and I’m pretty sure they got a good reception on publication more often than not. However, despite this the blurb hasn’t really grabbed me, it seems like a fairly cool concept and a stunning setting but when weighed against the other books I have in my TBR it isn’t likely I will actually pick it up over many of them. Thus, this one is a CUT IT.
Ok, so I was legit torn with this book. Do I keep it or cut it? This book as it suggests in the blurb one inspired by Korean folklore, on the Kumiho (gumiho – or gumbo if I left the autocorrected word my laptop insists on changing it to). For those who don’t know, a Kumiho is not to different from the Japanese Kitsune (nine-tailed fox), it has similar in its characteristic though I believe the main difference between these is the fact that the Kumiho is a malicious creature rather than a mischievous one. Though don’t quote me, my monster knowledge is amateur at best. Ahh, what the hell…I’m going to keep it. I love a good romance and sometimes when I want a quick fun read to snuggly fit into my TBR I always go for a reread but I might just elect this one time.
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
I’m not going to lie I haven’t even reread the blurb for this book. I know I’m never going to read it. Nothing against it, I cant throw shade on a book or author I have never read before, but I know I just won’t read it. I haven’t read any of her other books despite having them on my shelves for a long time! I think my sister gifted me the boxed set one year, still haven’t read them, so I doubt i’ll make a move on her other works. So its an easy cut it this one.
Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin #1) by Bella Forrest
I have read and enjoyed a few books in which the main character is an empath, and it is a magic that I quite like. I like seeing how an author can create tension by alternate means when the MC can essentially sense a lie. I also like the idea of monsters and creatures possibly being influential in this book. Plus witches, I like witchy books.
Battle Mage (Battle Mage (2 volumes) #1A) by Peter A. Flannery
Dragonkind. Elite Training School. Despair. Underdog Trope….I’m not going to like that a good few boxes this book ticks, provided it is done well! But I won’t know unless I read it! I love a good triangle montage, they just do it for me! So, to be net this feels like quite and easy keep it! It is also rated pretty well on Goodreads, it is currently a 4.46 with over 7,000 ratings and 758 reviews. That honestly make me a little more inclined to give it a try. An epic fantasy with some decent potential with less than 1000 reviews…
Sailing to Sarantium (The Sarantine Mosaic #1) by Guy Gavriel Kay
The first thing I noticed about this book was the author, Guy Gavriel Kay, and I know a few trusted book reviewers who love his works, or at least one I know of. Looking through his works there is only one I am actually familiar with and that is Tigana (which is also on my TBR yet to be judged). The blurbs describes quite an intriguing setting, and one that could be quite fantastic but the blurb doesn’t really do much else for me.
Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1) by Max Gladstone
Dead gods always entice me as a reader, I love all the ways it can go when a likely devout people are no longer under the protection or control of their god. I am keeping this book on my list, it sounds quite imaginative and pretty unique to anything I have read before. Also, I think this may be a debut, and I have a thing about debuts! I love seeing what it takes to get your book published and experiencing an authors first book.
The Court of Broken Knives is a dark fantasy I do believe, and I haven’t read whole lot of dark fantasy. I bought this on eBay really cheap along with the other two books of this trilogy and I have every intention of reading it. Oh my days and it is another debut! Debuts are popping up everywhere!!
I have checked out a few reviews of this and there are quite a few good ones. Edward describes it “as a uniquely fascinating and entirely unpredictable read” and Justine said it was “an unyielding and opulent tale of the balance of extremes: living and dying, darkness and light, truth and lies all of life is a balancing act”. Many other reviewers have shared their love for it to and I am excited to read it!
A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness #1) by Joe Abercrombie
If any of you have seen my recent Twitter activity you will know I have recently delved into the works of Joe Abercrombie, namely his First Law Trilogy. I have read book one and I am about half way through book two, I am really enjoying Abercrombies style so I will definitely be checking out his other works! Maybe all of them.
There it is! So, this week I have cut 4 books and kept 6. I hope you enjoyed the post this week and maybe four a few more books to add to your own TBR. I actually had quite a bit of fun this week with this post. A few of these books have given me some good talking points!
What do you think are there any books I really should have cut or ones you cant believe I didn’t cut? How many did you guess correctly?
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.
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.
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!