BOOK REVIEW | STONES OF LIGHT BY ZACK ARGYLE

Hey there sweet thannngggg!

I am back with another review because your girl here is playing some serious catch up.

It is about time I reviewed this book for Zack! He is an incredibly writer and such a nice chap. I have actually read this book twice, once via paperback and once via audio. Which is FREAKING EXCEPTIONAL.

Anywho, onto the book..

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: Stones of Light
  • Author: Zack Argyle
  • Series: Threadlight
  • Published by Zack Argyle
  • Pages: 342

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

The coreseal is shattered and a new darkness is rising.

Chrys swore to never again let the Apogee take control but, in a moment of desperation, he gave in. Now, he will learn what the Apogee truly wants.

In Alchea, Laurel will do anything to get her threadlight back, even if it means working for the leader of the Bloodthieves. But she has no choice…she can’t live a life without threadlight.

To the west, Alverax travels with the Zeda people to the large port city of Felia, where they seek refuge after the fires in the Fairenwild. But he shattered the coreseal, and no one quite knows what the consequences will be. They only know it won’t be good.

Together, they changed the world…now, they must save it.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book…

  • A book that keeps on getting better;
  • Brilliant character growth;
  • Faster pace;
  • More intense battles; and
  • Stunning prose!

On to the full review…

This book ticks so many boxes for me it isn’t even fair! Ahh who am I kidding? Of course it is fair because Zack can write!

Let’s start with box number one that has been ticked…THE COVER!

Oh. My. Word. Give me a moment…

This book cover has me thirsting to get into it pages like…mmm, well never mind. Imma keep this PG. Where were we? Oh yes, THE COVER! It is quite literally perfection, not so different to its contents too I might add. The style, its stunning colours and the art itself. It is a fantasy book nerds wet dream. Annnnnd the cover for book three has been revealed to which quite frankly is just as stunning…

I think one of the biggest strengths of this book is that the writing is so accessible. This story has a fairly complex plotline and has several elements that all go their own ways, but these always manage to link back and at no point is the writing or the story overbearing. You can see the work that Zack has put into this book and ensuring it all works coherently. Which is essential considering how much more we learn in Stones of Light. We see more of this incredible world. We witness more of its magic and lore. Zack gives us ALL the goods!

Zack’s writing is also beautiful, it isn’t too flowery, nor is it bland or boring. It falls perfectly on the scale of descriptive. Oh, and if you like highlighting your kindle, chances are you will find several gems in Zack’s writing. There is without doubt lessons to be learnt in this book, which brings me on to the characters because these are all lessons they are facing.

In this instalment we also see more to all of our characters. Each one has grown that much more, even some of the smaller characters have shown delightful growth. I think this goes hand in hand with the increase in pace this book. The characters are constantly moving and being tested, which in turn shows us more of their minds. How they deal with the situations and what their responses are. Their interactions with new people and threats and revisiting those we were teased of in book one!

I think it is safe to say this is another series which shows you just how a second book should be done!

In summary, I loved this book. I read it when it first came out and listened to it when the audio became available and I have to say it gets better with every read!

Now, if you read my review of Voice of War you will know I ADORE Adam Gold’s narration. This still stands, he once again created a masterpiece.


THE RANKS: 

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

I have this and Book One in HB and they are so dang beautiful! I cant wait to get Book Three!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE LEGION OF FLAME BY ANTHONY RYAN

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

Fuck! It has been a while…I don’t really have an excuse other than LIFE! Lets just say I needed a break, I have had a break and now I’M BACK!

And what a return review…The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan. This is the second book in the Draconis Memoria series and I think it is easily one of my favourite seconds in a series. Lets be honest many can fall flat. Not all, don’t shoot me.

Anywho, onto the book..

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Legion of Flame
  • Author: Anthony Ryan
  • Series: The Draconis Memoria
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 638

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Survival is the only currency…

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood–and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed–to fuel and protect its empire. But when the drake blood lines began to fail, a perilous expedition was mounted to secure them.

Claydon Torcreek survived the fraught mission through uncharted lands in pursuit of a myth that might have secured his people’s future. Instead he found a nightmare. The legendary White Drake was awoken from a millennia-long slumber, with a thirst to reduce the world of men to ashes, and the power to compel an army of Spoiled slaves to do it.

Spurred on by a vision he desperately hopes he can trust, Clay and rebel naval officer Corrick Hilemore hijack a warship and head towards the icy southern seas, searching for an ancient secret that may give them and their allies a fighting chance.

They are aided on another front by Blood-blessed agent Lizanne Lethridge. The spy and assassin will use her diplomatic status to infiltrate deep into enemy territory on a quest for a device to save them all.

As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few Blood-blessed are the last hope for all of civilisation.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book…

  • Fantastic character development;
  • An example of how a middle book should be;
  • Exceptional plot advancement and world building; and
  • A THOROUGHLY immersive and enjoyable ride!

On to the full review…

As I mentioned earlier, this book is the second book in this series and it was a brilliant middle book. I don’t feel like it lulled and dipped but in fact kept pace, if not exceeded its predecessor! While I adored book one and praised its ability to mix several elements one wouldn’t think go together, I appreciated the consistency in this instalment. The book felt as though is fell more securely into where it wanted to go and what direction it was heading you in.

Each chapter gave me all the things I didn’t know I wanted or needed. This isn’t a book you can pause at to make a brew, something always has you thinking ‘just a few more pages…chapters’. This isn’t just in respect of the plot either, the world-building is another constant tease! I am not a huge worldbuilding fan, I find it one of the more boring elements but Ryan proved me wrong on this front. Every world element, piece of lore or detail as to the origins of the drakes was fun to read. I wasn’t just reading a book, I was fully immersed in this world and exploring it with the characters.

I also fell even more in love with the characters, which doesn’t take much when I enjoyed them as much as I did in book one. With characters I can love them straight away purely on their potential so it was so excited to continue the journey with these and all of them fulfil that potential!

We even get a new POV and boy oh boy is it an new, insightful and fascinating POV!

This instalment was such a beautiful blend of character development, word building and plot progression and did not fall victim to middle book syndrome!


THE RANKS: 

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

Fuck. I wish I had this in HARDBACK!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


The Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime

Hello my Wheel of Time fans and curious non-readers. Here is my Non-spoiler review of Amazon’s adaptation Season 1; episode 1-3. Go here if you want to see my last post about things to know before the show. This will be me as a die-hard fan judging the show itself. I will probably follow up after I have seen the whole season as well. What do I think so far??? The short answer is that it’s very good. I never rate books, but for a show, sure….I will at the end.

The best thing about the show so far is that it’s BIG F-Fantasy. They do not try to hide the fact magic is prominent and used in this world. I will also say the magic looks very good. I honestly cannot put into words how I pictured it would look from the books, but it works. The One Power are weaves and the spells are being weaved. The only thing that may confuse those that never read the book is how there are different flows of magic using different elements: Earth, Spirit, Water, Air, and Fire. It is hard to tell exactly how it works being that the weaves are the same color. I have seen a lot of new people think it is Light magic because Moiraine calls on the Light for help. Hopefully that gets ironed out in future episodes. 

The characters are aged up compared to the books so they are a bit more mature. Their lives have also advanced some that do make sense in this adaptation that wouldn’t be in the books at their slightly younger ages. I do not agree with how some of these are setup , but not against them either. It will depend on how it all plays out; I do have ideas of how it can work for the better depending on how it is all developed. With that in mind I can tell who all the characters are. For non-readers you would have no way of knowing. So far the characters are quite interesting. I love Moiraine, played by Rosamund Pike, she is amazing; perfect in how she displays the character. Nynaeve and Tam are great too. The rest are doing a good job and I cannot wait to see how Mat is developed this season. I am sad Barney is leaving after season1 because so far he’s owning Mat. Either way I adore the cast as they are playing them so far. My nitpick is the writers are not using “in world” curses or lingo. It seems they will modernize the language more which I will probably learn to get used to.

The Dark One’s creatures so far are great. The Trollocs or mutated beast-men look amazing. Sometimes the CGI aspects stutter a bit in terms of quality, but for a TV show they look very good overall. The practical effects are amazing. The Eyeless Ones or Fades as they have called them a lot in the show are scary. Though we haven’t seen them fight yet; that will be something to see I hope. I have to give props when there’s magic flying around with beast men, and humans fighting it has moments where I’m like oh man they are overdoing it with how much the SFX team can handle, but then it evens out and flows well. Props for managing all that. I think the only thing that looked odd was the dark figure in their dreams. I know who it is, but non-readers do not. I will say it looks a bit like they were not sure where to go with it and didn’t iron out the details. Not too important since he appears in dreams. I have heard new watchers call it the alien thing though.

The flow of the show is fine. There are things added in that take up time that wasn’t part of the books. I have to see how they play out before I judge though. Sometimes I feel like we need to spend more time with characters than we get to, but overall I think it can be okay if the pacing is managed well between all the main characters as they grow. The biggest issue I’m hearing is that non-readers are getting a bit lost in the lore and world. The main plot seems to be understood, but the whys and hows people are struggling with. I can see that easily. I will say Game of Thrones lost people for a bit too so not worried currently. Though this series has way more to teach us and for people to digest. It worries me that people may get frustrated and quit too early. Amazon does have lore mini videos people may not know about that can help too. Check those out.

The cinematography has been anywhere from good to amazing. The sound/music is perfect. The writing is good and interactions flow pretty naturally especially when Moiraine is involved. Rosamund is just brilliant with every word, movement, and action she does. In terms of my nitpicks about the show vs. books that will not be here. I will say as a fantasy show so far it’s a 8/10 for me at this point. I cannot wait for the next episodes already. Cast is great. Special effects team is being pushed hard. Costume designs are working for a fantasy setting without a solid point of reference in our world. I also have to give a nod to the showrunners who are trying to tackle this gigantic piece of source material with a TV show, ambitious. They still have much to prove especially with pacing and character development; they can win me all the way over though.

Also…I feel I need to address that the show is being review bombed by book purists who do not understand adaptation. There is also some misogyny & racism involved that we still have to deal with in today’s world too. Judge for yourself as I do not pay much attention to reviews because of issues like this as shows become less male and Caucasian dominant. However; that actually makes sense in this world. It isn’t “woke” casting or story changes. As a big fan of the books, women are the powerful mages and skin color isn’t really a part of the series except with a few people. Though no I am not saying if you do not like it then you are like these people. Not everything is for everyone. I know many who loved Shadow and Bone, but I started it months ago and still have not finished it…I will… I promise. If it doesn’t click for you; thanks for giving it a try. As for book purists, the only way a play by play of this series could ever work is a very long and expensive anime series. You could also just re-read the books which have flaws in them too that I hope get ironed out in the show actually. Regardless, go watch it and tell me what you think. I will did a spoiler review (of episodes 1-4) on my own blog and that is linked here.


The Wheel of Time for Non-Book Readers

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan aka James Oliver Rigney Jr. and finished by Brandon Sanderson is a 14 book series with one prequel. Book one the Eye of the World was published in 1990. In my opinion it is a remarkable epic that helps connect classical fantasy with more modern fantasy. Even with its flaws it’s my favorite series of all time. 

Though the point of this is not to convince you to undertake the reading of this series, but to prepare you for Amazon’s adaptation of it into a television series. The show is created by Rafe Judkins starring THE Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred. We will get more into Moiraine in a bit. This will be non-spoilery. If you are interested in videos maybe checkout Unraveling the Pattern chock full of information and non-spoiler content.

  1. The first rule of Wheel of Time for new fans is Google is not your friend!!! The Wheel of Time is an epic series spanning since 1990. There are websites and articles all over the internet. Social media is full of groups and people who talk about it endlessly, including my own Twitter account! If you wish to go into the show fresh, stay away from looking too far into it. Every major event, death, and character development is heavily spoiled everywhere on the internet. This is not a series where you want spoilers ahead of time; there’s just too many great threads and moments. I am sure the TV series will change things, but don’t count on them changing the big events. 
  1. This series is not Medieval fantasy. It’s not a European based Fantasy setting. This series blends in cultures, religions, races, and beliefs from all over our known world. Do not go into this expecting white armored Knights and baby making Ladies in distress. Women known as Aes Sedai are big players in guiding the world as well as women circles. In this time men magic users are feared and blamed for devastation in the past. Women have a much stronger role than in our history. This world is such a blend of what our world has been throughout history the best I can say is that Robert Jordan himself described it as late 17th century. Though some argue it can be considered post-apocalyptic and even science fiction. I would say it’s a bit more complicated, but A good way to help expectations going into this is Robert Jordan’s take on his own work.
  1. Time is not linear in this universe. Time is what the series describes as a wheel or cyclical. Everything is happening in the past and the future for someone. Certain events start and end ages which have already happened, but yet will come again. This can include “souls” of people, you can be reborn again. Many heroes through the ages are actually the same people it’s just that they nor anyone else knows it when they are alive. 
  1. The Wheel of Time is adult high fantasy. It is not YA. There will be death, violence, nudity, and mental illness. It’s not grimdark as Game of Thrones, but it’s darker than Lord of the Rings. The story dynamics are complex, much beyond that of Harry Potter or Shadow and Bone respectfully. I would say it is in the same vein as The Witcher in terms of what to expect for mature themes. That’s not a great comparison, but in terms of TV viewing I think it is the closest. As Fantasy starts blooming more into the mainstream hopefully we get more apt comparisons in the future. 
  1. Moiraine is the main front and center character in the TV series at least according to the promo, but in the books that is not the case. She is more like the guide to the main PoVs in the book. However, in my opinion this is perfect. Not only is she my favorite character, but for people who never read the books she will be the perfect character to help build this world so no one gets lost on what is happening. Starting off with a farmboy in a small village is great for books, but if you want to engage TV audiences you need a worldly person to guide viewers and the small village characters into the wider world. The lore, magic, politics, and factions are quite large and complex. Moiraine is the best to start the series with. 
  1. The magic system is based on the True Source or the One Power thought to come from the Creator. Women channel Saidar and men Saidin. Unfortunately for men their magic has been tainted by the Dark One. Men who learn they can channel will essentially be feared and hunted because eventually using the magic will cause them to go insane. This is why women who use magic are so prominent and powerful. They can use their power freely without negative side effects. Of course, in any human run world there will be people, especially men, who create beliefs that make Aes Sedai out to be evil and in need of being cleansed as well. Robert Jordan is great at understanding the intricacies of human psychology of groups in my opinion. 
  1. The characters have been aged up in the series. I actually agree with this because that way it won’t be confused as being Young Adult fantasy and the darker themes may be harder for people to stomach with teens than with adults on TV. It’s not sexually violent as Game of Thrones, but many bad things will happen to our young protagonists. It is smart in not confusing expectations nor making it seem like things are done for shock value such as in Game of Thrones TV series with Sansa Stark being raped. Things will be more nuanced in struggles and setbacks. It’s not just about shocking fans in that anything can happen, there’s a structure to Robert Jordan’s writing; a more intricate version of classical fantasy themes.
  1. This brings up my final notice. The Wheel of Time is not a shock factor series. It is not about causing constant anxiety about what bad thing will happen next. It is not about sex and violence. It is about the characters overcoming obstacles and  preparing themselves for a final confrontation with a powerful entity and its armies. There are dark themes, but everything serves a purpose. There is tons of foreshadowing and threads are woven way ahead of time for big payoffs later. There is a place for grimdark, but the Wheel of Time is not one of those places. There is a place for YA fantasy, but the Wheel of Time is not that either. Your expectations will be subverted in a different way than other fantasy series on TV. It’s not about inducing anxiety in viewers, but wowing them. Pay attention to details. If Rafe foreshadows like Jordan than you will be pleasantly surprised.

This ends what I really wanted to say about the upcoming series or if you are late to the party, what I expected from the series. I am sure I will write about the show in the future so if interested keep an eye out for that. This series is amazing, beautiful, and brilliant. Sure there are things that could have been done better in hindsight, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Let the TV series explore and update some themes to really stay ahead of its time. I’m sure I missed some things, but here is what came to mind the most and what popped up from people on twitter. Prepare or go watch this on Amazon Prime! This is my request from you. Report back to me here or on Twitter with your thoughts; otherwise you may be a Darkfriend!


THE LAST KING OF OSTEN ARD | THE WITCHWOOD CROWN & EMPIRE OF GRASS (Spoiler Free)

New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ ground-breaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! • Volume One of The Last King of Osten Ard

The Dragonbone Chair, the first volume of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, was published in hardcover in October, 1988, launching the series that was to become one of the seminal works of modern epic fantasy. Many of today’s top-selling fantasy authors, from Patrick Rothfuss to George R. R. Martin to Christopher Paolini credit Tad with being the inspiration for their own series.

Now, twenty-four years after the conclusion of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Tad returns to his beloved universe and characters with The Witchwood Crown, the first novel in the long-awaited sequel trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard.

Thirty years have passed since the events of the earlier novels, and the world has reached a critical turning point once again. The realm is threatened by divisive forces, even as old allies are lost, and others are lured down darker paths. Perhaps most terrifying of all, the Norns—the long-vanquished elvish foe—are stirring once again, preparing to reclaim the mortal-ruled lands that once were theirs….

Review

Many of you will have read MST some time ago so this is really more of ‘why you should read’ post, more than it is a straight review. I felt that i would cover some of the questions that think you may have and try and inspire you to pick up this series after such a lengthy break.

Should you return to this Osten Ard after all this time ?

Absolutely yes !!! Many of you may be apprehensive about the follow up to such a hugely successful series such as this, but this instalment delivers and will likely exceed you’re expectations !! I can tell you that i was totally overwhelmed when i began these books and i was so drunk on being back in this world and re-joining the cast of beloved characters, that i just couldn’t put these books down. As you would expect from Tad Williams, the prose was as sharp and as flawless as MST, the world building was even more immersive and the characterization was just phenomenal. Every aspect of this book felt polished and sharper and I can definitely say that this Duology does not suffer with middle book syndrome at all. What i really like about reading the middle books essentially is that the world is obviously very much established and means that you can just absorb the parts of this world that were formerly unseen and just makes you appreciate the scope of the world that Williams has created. I was hugely captivated by new cast of characters and I was totally engaged from the moment that i picked it up The Witchwood Crown. Williams is so consistent in every aspect of his story telling and the pacing for a Duology of this size is amazing.

The Cast new and old…..

Williams characterization always has a huge impact on me as its always to the point of being as close to perfect as you’re gonna get! I love the meticulous attention to detail with the development of the characters and the way he describes them, they’re always so stylized and totally vivid in there description that they really burst into life within your imagination. The character development of the original cast is portrayed incredibly well and the progression of their characters felt natural and provoked a feeling nostalgia in that it was almost just like seeing old friends again. But as they didn’t over shadow the new characters it really put the focus on the new cast and it was really balanced. The multiple character POVs served as well as they did in MST and provided intimate insights into these complex characters and by the end of the duology, the new characters were as engaging as the original cast. The new cast members that we’re introduced to are Morgan, Nezaru, Jarnulf, Tanahaya, Tzoja, Viyeki and Unver and we spend most of our time with these characters. I felt that each of their POVs had hugely emotive themes which really helped me to connect with them and the tone changed when we shifted from one to the other. This was something that i felt really kept me engaged and something that i feel is so important with books of this size. At no point did feel that the pace drag at all and as always the intrigue surrounding these characters was hugely captivating. I’d say my favourite characters were Unver and Nezaru. The majority of the characters development was a slow burn, each having a cliff hanger towards the EOG. But I liked the above characters more as I felt that there PoVs definitely had the most impact, especially Unver, with one of his scenes being amongst my favourite scenes of any novel that I’ve ever read. I definitely gravitate towards the darker more tortured characters.Some people might find some very common character tropes in these novels, but I found all the characters to be quite nuanced in so many ways.

How does the History/Lore of this world progress in this Duology?

The Lore and the history of this world is as spellbinding as its always been and over the course of these books it unfolds perfectly. I’m more engaged in this series now more than ever and this is mainly because we find out so much more about the garden born and their origin story. After reading MST i was so eager for the expansion on the history and the lore of this world and these books delivered and it was so worth the wait. But in general terms all of the different races of Osten Ard bloom in this part of the story, especially the Norns, the Thrithings men and the Nabbanai. This duology clearly defines the cultural identities of all the of the races within Osten Ard with much more depth. This is very much the build up to the concluding part of the series and the wealth of history and Lore that comes with it. The deeper dive into the Nabbanai culture really brought a new level of political intrigue which really made the the Italian, Roman catholic, almost Machiavellian influences on the politics abundantly clear. In MST we did nt spend that much time with the Thrithings clans, but in this Trilogy we see a much broader picture of their Nomadic culture and with it and there place within this worlds history and their major role in the story going forward. So as you can imagine by far the biggest focus is with the Norns and by the end of this duology you’re fully immersed in there complex culture, which really ushers in a much darker atmosphere to these books. Their culture is the polar opposite to the Sithi culture and so we see a very brutal, dark and unforgiving nature to their world, that is completely structured in a way that serves there queen Uttuk’ku. They really represent a large portion of the magic users of this world and really turn these books into a high magic fantasy compared to its MST. It does have that traditional feel to the magic system as it did before and the mystery surrounding it really suits the series so well. Towards the end of the book we’re guided towards the history of the Tinukeda’ya which grows in importance the further we go into the series. You will have known them from MST as the Niskies and the Dwarrows. In this duology you understand that they too have a huge part in what’s to come in the final conclusion of this story. So despite finishing everything that has been released thus far, there is still so much more to know about this world. I can’t wait to find out more in The Navigators Children, which will be realeased in 2022.

Its a huge Duology. Is there a big pay off ?

Heading towards the ending I didn’t expect that it was going to be as impactful as it was given that these are the middle books of a huge series and it’s not something I expected. I can tell you that the intrigue leading up to the dramatic conclusion was earth shattering. The pacing and the general execution a series of this size really has meant that in no way was it a slog to read. The way that Williams has sets up the final leg of this series is perfect. It leaves you with the impression that what’s to come is going to be magnificent! I just think that after all this time and given that Tad Williams is better than he’s ever been, I cannot even imagine how amazing The Navigators Children will be !! I’m more than confident that we will get an equally satisfying ending as we did with Green Angel Tower, perhaps better… Much better, which totally melts my mind.

My final thoughts….

This was quoted as being one of the seminal works of modern Epic Fantasy and in my opinion this installment is another glowing example of why Tad Williams is one of the most respected Epic fantasy writers working today. I was so excited to return to Osten Ard after becoming obsessed with Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and i cannot emphasize how satisfied i was with The Last King of Osten Ard. I think fans that have read MST will not regret returning Osten Ard and will be as excited as I am for what’s to come. Everything that has come before has convinced me that this series when completed will be revered as one of the definitive works of epic fantasy ever to hit the shelves. It is totally captivating and I consider it to be a stand out series that towers over most epic fantasy from that era . Tad Williams is without doubt amongst my favourite authors within the fantasy genre and has managed to improve on something that I all ready considered to be near perfect.


BOOK REVIEW | THE NAME OF THE WIND BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today I am going to attempt review the book that is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Name of the Wind
  • Author: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Illustrated By: Daniel Dos Santos
  • Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle (Book One)
  • Pages: 752

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

DAY ONE: THE NAME OF THE WIND

My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.


So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

ORDER HERE: Audible | Paperback | Kindle | Bookshop.Org | The Broken Binding (Use code SAMBOOKINH for 5% OFF)

Review:

“Someone’s parents,” he said, “have been singing entirely the wrong sort of songs.”

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • Stunning prose;
  • Incredible characters from Kvothe all the way to the secondary characters;
  • A well balanced and beautifully structured story; and
  • A book wholly worthy of its praise and status in the fantasy community.

On to the full review…

“Kvothe, Defend yourself well at the University. Make me proud. Remember your father’s song. Be wary of folly.

Where do you even begin with a book such as this, nothing I say feels like it can adequately explain what this book is because it is so much more than a book. 

So many books are good, even incredible but they aren’t always a story, they don’t give you that bone deep feeling of an age old tale told by only the wisest of your community. Rothfuss makes storytelling feel like what it was, old campfires and bringing people together because they are so enraptured by a tale of a person they have never known yet they need to know more, and it is what brings them back the next day. That is what this book is.

The Name of the Wind is a really hard book to describe, and reviewing it is even harder because it isn’t something that I feel should be reviewed in the normal way. It is so much more,  it is about how the book leaves you feeling and you can’t pull that apart into characters, world and blah blah blah. They were all exceptional and this is one of best books I have read, everything within this books pages feels so perfectly balanced.

The Name of the Wind evokes such a level of emotion from you as a reader, it is quite profound. It is the story of Kvothe’s life from his time in a troupe to his time in university, and yes that includes growing up, traveling and going to university. You’re probably thinking okkk but what else happens…well my fellow newcomers to The Name of the Wind, so much happens but it is not a book with huge battles and such but the formation of friendships, lots of rumours, beautiful world building and so much Kvothe. 

“I’m to be whipped and admitted to the Arcanum.” He looked at me curiously, trying to see if I was making a joke. “I’m sorry? Congratulations?” He made a shy smile at me. “Do I buy you a bandage or a beer?” I smiled back. “Both.”

The world building is phenomenal, it is so detailed and well thought out but none is told to you, everything is shown and built so well. Entering this world was like stepping into a lusciously hot bath. First the toes slide in and you feel the sensational heat and you want more, up the legs you go until you are fully emerged into the all encompassing heat of the water and there you want to stay. That is what this world is, you are introduced slowly enough that you don’t get burnt by too much of it but are teased with its skill and you want all of it and you want to stay there.

The character work is also exceptional, this is the epitome of a character driven fantasy and I loved every character I came across even the ones I hated. Yes I am looking at you Ambrose! But each character you meet is purposeful and brings so much to their scenes.

Rothfuss is without doubt an incredible writer, each scene is so well crafted to show you the exact emotions he wants you to feel and his writing style is dynamic and ever changing to match that. At one point, when Kvothe is stricken with grief Rothfuss adjust his writing to really exemplify the tone of those chapters and the same goes for when he is writing a joyous scene. And the music…I have never seen something that is so hard to pin down with words and explain so well explained. You felt it all.

“Words have to find a man’s mind before they can touch his heart, and some men’s minds are woeful small targets. Music touches their hearts directly no matter how small or stubborn the mind of the man who listens.”

I have even begun to scratch the surface on how amazing this book is, these are the times a podcast would be better suited because you can discuss this book and all its glory for hours. From your favourite scenes, to the characters, the worlds history and so much more! Me and Davis S from FanFiAddict talked none stop through this, honestly if you saw our chats you be itching to read it all over again. Just seeing quotes from the books has you wanting to read specific scenes again, if not the whole bloody book.

IT WAS NIGHT AGAIN. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.”


THE RANKS: 

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

I LOVED this book and I picked up the Illustrated 10th Anniversary Edition for my Buddy Read and I am SO glad I did! I think I paid £28.00 for it and honestly I would pay a whole load more too! As soon as I have a little photoshoot of the book I will show you!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE SHADOW OF THE GODS BY JOHN GWYNNE

Hello Bookish Beings!

Today I am finally going to review John Gwynne’s newest book The Shadow of the Gods.

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…

This review is likely no shock.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Shadow of the Gods
  • Author: John Gwynne
  • Series: The Bloodsworn Saga (Book One)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 496

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

ORDER HEREAudible | Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover |  Bookshop.Org | The Broken Binding (Use code SAMBOOKINH for 5% OFF)

Review:

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.


THE RANKS: 

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

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!

The Shadow of the Gods full cover by Marcus Whinney

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE LIGHT OF ALL THAT FALLS BY JAMES ISLINGTON

Hello Everyone and welcome back to The Book in Hand for another review!

As with The Shadow of What Was Lost & An Echo of Things to Come I read this book with David from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books continuing with one of the best Buddy Reads.

If you haven’t already listened to me in my last two reviews go and check out their accounts. They ROCK!

Eleni’s Twitter & David’s Twitter.

You can find David’s review of The Shadow of What Was Lost HERE and you can find his review of An Echo of Things to Come HERE.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Light of All That Falls
  • Author: James Islington
  • Series: The Licanius Trilogy (Book Three)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 864

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

The Light of All That Falls concludes the epic adventure that began in The Shadow of What Was Lost, the acclaimed fantasy blockbuster from James Islington.

The Boundary is whole once again, but it may be too late.

Banes now stalk Andarra, while in Ilin Illan, the political machinations of a generation come to a head as Wirr’s newfound ability forces his family’s old enemies into action.

Imprisoned and alone in a strange land, Davian is pitted against the remaining Venerate as they work tirelessly to undo Asha’s sacrifice – even as he struggles with what he has learned about the friend he chose to set free.

And Caeden, now facing the consequences of his centuries-old plan, must finally confront its reality – heartbroken at how it began, and devastated by how it must end.

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org | The Broken Binding (Use code SAMBOOKINH for 5% OFF)

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • Mmmm, so it is pretty complex;
  • An epic and utterly satisfying conclusion;
  • Still 10/10 for its characters; and
  • A masterfully complex series but one you can follow and enjoy.

On to the full review…

“Faithful people suffer and evil people prosper all the time, Davian—you must know that is true. Besides, if our actions are driven only by reward or punishment—eternal or otherwise—then they are motivated by greed and selfishness, not faith or love.”

Ok, so I am going to start this review with one of its easier points! There is a lot to love about this book, and the trilogy as a whole but it can be so hard to get your words out, especially ones that truly do justice for the book in hand (see what I did there)…

Ok, I know that was bad. Back to the review…

Something I always appreciate in a book, and what this trilogy has continually impressed me with is the writing. It is no unknown thing that this is a fairly complex trilogy, and this book goes even further than the others but Islington’s writing made it that much more manageable. And good lawddd!! The authenticity of the dialogue in this book is so on point. This trilogy has so much going for it but one of the strengths for me is the humour, in a book that is complex, heartfelt and thoughtful the insertion of humour is much needed and so well done. It is just the humour I love too.

Wirr glowered. “Easy for you lot to say,” he grumbled.

Caeden glanced across at him. “We’ll make sure you’re safe. We’re all painfully aware that you’re the weakest one here.”

“It’s a little awkward,” concurred Asha.

“Lucky you’re a prince, really,” continued Davian absently, peering over the edge into the raging white water. “You wouldn’t have a whole lot going for you if you didn’t have—”

“All right,” growled Wirr.

This book and the books before it are actually quite emotional books, they have such strong themes that are so beautifully written and brought to life with the incredible characters we have come to know and love.

When starting this trilogy the third book was already out and there was a lot of hype for its conclusion. That hype is not over-exaggerated. All I will say on the matter is that it is utterly satisfying and the ending the series needed. You know that feeling, when you are at a concert and everyone is singing the final song, chanting loud and full of life, the music stops and it is just the crowd carrying on the song. You’re both elated from the experience and sad it is going to end…that is what this book is.

I have said it before, but I will say it again…This series has a cast of characters that are simply outstanding and their development and growth both individually and as a group of friends never once failed to surprise and impress me. This book will give you ALL the feels, some good and some bad but all worth it. The level of emotion this books pulls from you as a reader is exceptions to say the least.

There isn’t really much I can say that I haven’t said already in my two past reviews of this series. I totally get why people review a series as a whole after an initial review of the first book, might be the way forward.

This is a series I binged and it is one I will definitely reread, and I suspect a trilogy that I will read again and spot all sorts of little subtle reveals and just be an excited dope! The fact that I am able to have just finished this series and already be excited about any potential rereads just shows you how great this series is!

“It’s not enough to fight for the right side. You have to figure out how to fight the right way, too. If winning is truly all that matters, then we’ve lost sight of what’s actually right and wrong in the first place.”


THE RANKS: 

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

While I don’t actually own the Hardbacks for this, if I could get my hands on them I SO would. These books are incredibly fun, have some of the best characters I’ve read and are books I have no doubt I will reread!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | AN ECHO OF THINGS TO COME BY JAMES ISLINGTON

Hello Everyone and welcome back to The Book in Hand for another review!

As with The Shadow of What Was Lost I read this book with David from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books continuing with one of the best Buddy Reads.

If you don’t already know or follow them you totally should! They are simply the best!

Eleni’s Twitter & David’s Twitter.

You can find David’s review of An Echo of Things to Come HERE.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: An Echo Of Things To Come
  • Author: James Islington
  • Series: The Licanius Trilogy (Book Two)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 704

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Darkness spreads across a land in need of heroes.

In the wake of the devastating attack on Ilin Illan, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs – finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against Andarra. However, as Davian and his new allies hurry north towards the ever-weakening Boundary, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late.

In the capital, Wirr is forced to contend with assassins and an increasingly hostile Administration as he controversially assumes the mantle of Northwarden, uncovering a mystery which draws into question everything commonly believed about the rebellion his father led twenty years ago. Meanwhile, Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows, determined to discover not only where they went but the origin of the Vessels that created them – and, ultimately, a cure.

And with time against him as he races to fulfil the treacherous bargain with the Lyth, Caeden continues to wrestle with the impossibly heavy burdens of his past. Yet as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the motivations of the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed . . .

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org | The Broken Binding (Use code SAMBOOKINH for 5% OFF)

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • Multiple character POV’s which are all equally interesting and fun;
  • Well written and utterly enthralling time jumps/flashbacks;
  • A closer look at the world and all the that gill it both in the past and the present; and
  • A brilliant bridge book to prepare you for book three.

On to the full review…

“The lesser of two evils, and the greater good. The most dangerous phrases in the world.” 

An Echo of Things to Come is the second book in the Licanius Trilogy and it was a great read. While I enjoyed book one just a smidgen more this was still an incredible book. I got the feeling that this book was more of a bridge book. This instalment gave you more history, character development and even greater foundations for its ultimate conclusion. Which I think is such an apt and cool way to describe this book (thank you Eleni) because it was still a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book but ultimately it is more about preparing you for book three. Which I really don’t mind when it is done this well.

Though, despite my above comments (not that they are bad) this book was so utterly engaging. We see so much more from all the characters as they develop and grow into some of my favourite characters written! They are so well developed and nuanced. Each character has their own interesting storyline, their own mission if you will, and Islington continues to give each a unique journey and voice. Each is a little bit different than the other, one will give you the political intrigue and all the power plays you love while another will give you that feeling of adventure and keep moving through the world showing you more and more each time. It is brilliantly done.

“Even if our choices are inevitable, it doesn’t mean that they are not our own.” 

Now, some of you may know I look for good characters above all in a book, I like to be a part of their journey and become invested in their goals and on this front Islington did not disappoint! At. All.

As I said, i buddy read this and something we all kept coming back to was just how amazing the characters of this series are, their growth is incredible and goes beyond anything you expect. Caeden for example, Islington really managed to show you his character and his struggles. without spoiling anything, Caeden learns certain things about himself and learns of past friends and acquaintances and the way in which Islington manages to showcase their relationships is nothing short of astounding. You feel everything, and that is no exaggeration, the aching weight all his revelations have on his soul and so much more.

“The danger of evil, the purpose of evil, is that it causes those who would oppose it to become evil also.”

I thought Islington was ambitious with book one and quite the daring writer considering this is his debut series, and I stand by that statement! Islington goes several steps further in this instalment, so yes it does get quite complex and I would recommend reading these books with too much time between them. I read them days apart and felt comfortable (as one can with time hops and flashbacks) with most of this book, though I imagine if you have waited it can be quite daunting, confusing and a little unenjoyable. This books increases the number of timelines we see, so just be prepared for that, but don’t worry too much it is done really well.

Islington’s writing was great in book one, it felt accessible and too easy to read, and he continues this with books two. The writing is descriptive but not in your face, the dialogue is organic and every chapter feels purposeful despite its slower pace and bridge book status. There is so much packed into the pages of this book and you see the scope of this world more in this instalment.

“I’m telling you that you should doubt—as I do my own beliefs. The day on which you decide not to question what you believe, is the day that you start making excuses for why you believe it.”

I’m not going to blabber on to much with this review because I don’t want to repeat myself too much from my review of book one.

Overall, this was a captivating and enthralling second instalment to the Licanius Trilogy and had me so excited to start book three (which I have read) and see how such an epic tale could be concluded! It is ambitious and daring but it really pays off.


THE RANKS: 

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

I rated this five stars on Goodreads and I would happily get the HARDBACK of this book! I enjoyed this instalment so so much.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | SNAKEWOOD BY ADRIAN SELBY

Hello Bookish Folk!

I am writing my review of Adrian Selby’s debut novel Snakewood. First off a huge thank you to Dan for putting this book and author on my radar back in October 2020!

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: Snakewood
  • Author: Adrian Selby 
  • Series: Standalone but he has to other books set in the same world
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 544

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

This debut epic fantasy from a British writer of incredible talent tells the tale of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries hunted by an unknown killer. Filled with unique voices and incredible worldbuilding, this stunning novel will delight fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher, Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence.

Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through their cunning, their closely guarded alchemical brews and stone cold steel. Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days behind them and their genius leader in hiding, the warriors known as the ‘Twenty’ are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.
A lifetime of enemies has its own price. 

ORDER HERE: Bookshop.Org | Audible | Kindle | The Broken Binding (Use code SAMBOOKINH for 5% OFF)

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A gloriously grim and dark mercenary fantasy;
  • An ambitious and unique world which you will love;
  • Fight brews and biological warfare;
  • Gruff, battered and grizzled mercs with quite the past; and
  • A risky but brilliant debut.

On to the full review…

I want to start off this review and just explain that this book a little bit of an epistolary, which if I am remembering correctly, is a novel made up of letters and accounts of others to tell a story. Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is an example of such works, but anyway my point is these types of books can feel jarring. I personally didn’t really have a huge issue with this in Snakewood, admittedly it did, at one point, seem a little disjointed and I had to think where I was in the timeline but generally I followed it well and the plot flowed well because there is a dominant POV to keep you grounded.

Snakewood is such a suspense filled story with so much tension and it is filled with all the intrigue and mystery you could ask for. I had such fun unraveling the twists and turns and Selby does an incredible job at redirecting your thoughts on things you feel fairly confident about. Selby writes really well and I had such joy reading his prose. The battles and the fighting in this book was so vivid and captivating to read. He also managed to create really unique and distinguishable voices for his characters which is even more incredible when you know this is a debut and in such a risky format.

Selby also did the whole ambiguous character really well, none of the characters in this have a a well-aligned morale compass. Some are bad yet still relatable, some are a mix and others your are rooting for but they by no means have a clean track record! But what they all are is utterly compelling, well written and complex. For some it is slower than others but you really begin to care for these characters and become totally invested in their journeys, relationships and more.

Also, the brews! The whole biological warfare in this book was just incredible, and that doesn’t even aptly describe this element. It was magic, well it wasn’t in the traditional sense but it was such a refreshing way to represent a magic in a new way, it had limitations and it had consequences both with a more immediate effect and a lifelong consequences of its use. It was utterly unique and incredible to see in action within this world and used by the characters.

Snakewood is also dark, I didn’t really see it until a certain way through it, yes it has dark elements but holy damn it gets grim. It is ruthless in parts.

I can understand a few of the critiques around this book, it does have a unique writing style and the author has created certain phrases that are completely new, but I really felt like he introduced you to them well and then explained them through their use.

Overall, this is a great debut and one I am so so glad I read it. Now a quick note, I asked Dan my go to Selby expert and he said to read these book in the order they were published. If you were to read Brother Red before this is spoils one of the biggest twists in Snakewood. Plus, after speaking to another friend they tried Brother Red and found the language confusing, so for several reasons I would say read this first.


THE RANKS: 

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

I really liked this book and I can not wait to read Winer Road and then Brother Red!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!