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