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.
Well, hot damn guys…but have I got something to show.
We all know how much a book cover does for a book and if you keep those stunning eyes of yours scrolling you are sure to see one of the most beautiful covers…
But a few things about the author first…
Zack was raised with a wonderful family motto: don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. What better way than to write fiction? He spends his days writing code and his nights writing epic stories about family, love, loss, friendship, and pain all intermixed with a heavy dose of the fantastical.
Now, I know y’all are thinkingjust show me the damn cover, thats what I’m here for!But people, slow up. Take a moment.
You can’t truly appreciate the beauty of such a creation if you don’t have the whole picture….
Stones of Light is the second book in the Threadlight Series by Zack Argyle and if Voice of War (Book One) is anything to go by book two is going to be amazing! I review Voice of War here and I can assure you it is a fabulous book.
Stones of Light is due to be released April 4th 2020 but you can pre order it HERE.
This BEAUTIFUL cover was the fine work of one, Ömer Burak Önal, and you can check out some of his other work HERE.
Former High General Chrys Valerian is trapped in his own mind and, as they travel east, he will soon learn where the Apogee is headed.
In the grounder city of Alchea, Laurel is taken in by the queen of the Bloodthieves but, if it means she can become a threadweaver again, it might just be worth it.
To the west, Alverax travels with the Zeda people as they deal with the aftermath of the battle of the Fairenwild. With an uprooted people and a broken coreseal, he’ll have to navigate a whole new world and rising pressure.
Together, they changed the world…now they must deal with the consequences.
***Please note this page contains affiliate links and at no extra charge to you I can earn a small fee on any qualifying purchases. Any and all money earned through these goes straight back into the blog***
If you haven’t already got your copy of this book then you can pick one up here.
Before They Are Hanged opens with The Dogman, still travelling southwards when him and his crew stumble upon a recent battle with bodies strewn everywhere. I guess that means Bethod is ploughing southwards to and with little resistance from Union sops. Which a little bit over is causing West and Lord Marshall Burr quite a headache. After the loss to the Union West and Burr, among other petty nobles who care more for bickering with each other than winning the war, get to deciding on a strategy.
West and Burr bugger off on a ride only to be ambushed by The Dogman and his crew. Turns out they didn’t quite like the reception they got from the Union and sought to take matters into their own hands forcing an audience with the lead sop to offer their aid.
Meanwhile Glokta is now living the fine life in Dagoska, poverty, sadistic inquisitors, seedy council members and more. What is not to love? Glokta then begins his investigation into the death of his predecessor. Glokta soon meets the governing council and much to his shock they don’t want him there. He is happy however to float around his power and whip the ship into shape.
Jezal, Bayaz, Logen, Ferro, Brother Longfoot and Malacus are now on their way to the end of the world. While passing through Calcis the group separate, and also disguise as merchants though not to any success as they are soon intercepted and given three days to leave. Bayaz, being the high-rate magi he is, gets his grump on and says they will leave right away.
Glokta takes a tour of Dagoska, as he suspected it is paradise…the walls are crumbling, there is a Gurkish horde on the horizon, supplies have stopped coming in and he has very few soldiers to defend Dagoska, half of which are drunken mercenaries who will switch sides to the highest paying boss at any time! One of which is Cosca.
Having left Calcis Bayaz and company make their way to Darmium, on their travels Ferro tries to get more information from Bayaz. He isn’t very forthcoming, and Ferro is pissed. Pissed enough to leave. Though when she tries to leave Logen persuades her to stay, a start to a wholesome and healthy relationship…
Back in Dagoska, Glokta is making the rounds of the governing council and trying to figure out who is likely to off him as they did he predecessor. He approaches Kahdia, needing as much help as he can Glokta promises him the Great Temple and Upper City access in exchange for soldiers and workers. His meeting with Harker reveals his predecessor was extorting the natives. Last but not least Glokta visits Elder, the true ruler of Dagoska, she is surprisingly supportive and while not offering financial aid does agree to give him the Great Temple. It’s the little wins in life.
During Logen’s journey he struggles with the lack of camaraderie amongst his companions, knowing he will need them to have his back in any coming fights. He slowly brings the crew closer together and carefully curates much needed camaraderie amongst them. Lord knows it is needed when Bayaz insists on throwing curve balls left, right and centre! Like changing the groups travel plans. Guess they are to just going to have to fly over the River Aos.
West, having been sent to be a part of Prince Ladisla’s regiment, is shocked to see it in such a poor state and so he slowly remedies it by acquiring some new hands, namely Pike and Cathil. West also sent The Dogman and the crew out scouting, not expecting to find much and moaning about their dwindling glory until they stumble upon a wee little adversary, known as BETHOD’S ARMY!
After being told by Sult that Glokta will not receive any aid from back home and has to make do with what he has already, he has no option but to make a deal with none other than the Bank of Valint and Balk. Though, not his strangest visitor, soon Glokta is visited in the dead of night by Yulwei. Yulwei tells Glokta the Gurkish have arrived, that they have ships and a whole host of Eaters and that Eaters killed his predecessor.
It isn’t long before Jezal and the rest of the merry gang are in trouble. Some of Emperor Cabrian’s men find them and attempt to bring them to him. Bayaz huffs and puffs and blows them all away, and then collapses himself. So, that leaves Logen in charge.
West finds himself in quite the predicament, having thought they were merely the rearguard he is soon surprised when Threetrees and Dogman tell him Bethod here. West thinks a withdrawal is needed, but Ladisla thinks a full blown assault is best. It isn’t.
In Dagoska, a Gurkish emissary arrives. He is met by the ruling council behind Glokta back, though he manages to tun up just in time. The misery offers passage to them but he wants the city, Glokta’s explains he will consider it. Instead he takes the emissary into custody and questions him. Turns out that Vurms, the Lord Governor of Dagoska’s son, and Elder are the traitors.
Ferro and the group continue on with Bayaz passed out. The group are still being followed since their last little encounter. They agree to fight them rather than try to outrun them. They make their stand but three slip through the cracks and test Jezal’s mettle. he kills two but one comes at him from behind and makes him a little less petty than he was.
As thought, a full blown assault on Bethod isn’t a good plan and they are defeated. West, Cathil, Pike, Ladisla escape only to come upon The Dogman and the crew.
Glokta attends a meeting with Elder, Vurms and Vissbruck. Skulking in the background is the Mercenary soldier Cosca. Glokta throws the head of the emissary and both Elder and Vurms know they have been outed. Vurms panics and Elder relies on her well set plans telling Glokta the gates to the city will have already been opened to the Gurkish by Cosca’s men and that the city will soon fall. Now, it turns out those mercenaries who would switch to the highest paying boss at any point…did.The highest paying boss happened to be Glokta. He then takes Vurms and Elder into custody. Though he is yet to identify the assassin, until it is that the assassin shows herself. It is Shickel, a girl Glokta saved at the start from the Inquisition and employed as his servant. She admits to killing and eating Glokta’s predecessor.
Shickel tries to kill Glokta but fails, his practical capture her and Glokta intends to question her.
Glokta, having a wee soft spot for Elder gives her a second chance at life and sets her on a ship. While Glokta has on that battle the Gurkish are still laying siege to Dagoska, it is the third day and they are losing.
Bayaz is awake and Jezal is having a bit of an epiphany about living a better life and being a better person.
Dogman and company having decided on what to do next, ignoring Ladisla who still thinks he has influence over those around him and insists on going to Ostenhorm. They ignore him and decide on following Bethod and hopefully warning Burr. On their journey Ladisla continues to be a pain in the ass, throwing himself to the floor in fatigue and generally being a whiny little bitch.
Still losing to the Gurkish, Glokta orders everyone to the Upper City ceding the rest to the Gurkish. Soon he is back to questioning Shickel, who is hard to torture considering she heals and doesn’t really feel pain. Despite the failed attempts at torture she tells them of her life, the eaters and that those captured are eaten.
By the fire elsewhere, Bayaz begins to tell the group of his mistakes. He tells them of how he was Juven’s first apprentice though he soon recruited 11 more, including Khalul (religious leader of the Gurkish). They argued, became rivals and eventually had to be separated. Bayaz sought out a new master in Kenedias, the maker. He soon found he fancied Kanedias’ lovely daughter Tolomei. He got down and dirty with Tolomei and Kanedias wasn’t impressed so Bayaz ran away. Having told his tale the rest join in telling stories of their lives.
West and his companions are soon faced with a tough decision, they have very little to get them by but some of Bethod’s men have been spotted. They decide to fight they need what they have. As Ladisla is quite simply shit at everything he does other than being a creep he is left with Cathil away from the fight. It all goes tits up, West bites of some chaps nose and earns the name Furious. West, worried for Ladisla’s safety runs back only to find him trying to rape Cathil. West pushes Ladisla off the cliff.
Glokta is ordered by Arch Lector Sult to return to Adua. With no mention of Vitari, one of his practicals, in the letter she asks Glokta to take her with him. She ends up begging, Glokta revels in it because she is always a bitch to him and finally he relents. Soon Glokta leaves with all his practicals.
Bayaz and the rest of the company soon arrive at Aulcus, and they seem to be the only ones there. Nothing lives there, no birds, people or anything. Ferro demands information about The Seed, Bayaz tells them that the Seed is material from the other side and only Ferro can carry it. The next day the group explores Aulcus some more, and come across a rank smell. Logen knows the smell. The Shanka are here. The group flee but come across more Shanka. Bayaz uses his magic rocking the earth, into which Logen and Ferro fall. They search for a way out I the darkness only to come across more Shanka. They fight and then the Bloody-Nine makes an appearance.
Ferro and Logen are soon shivering away in the dark and being a true gent Logen offers her his coat. To Ferro that is practically a diamond ring and then sex is on the table. There is a lot of awkward decision making and the two go at it! Until Captain Cum-Quick makes an appearance. Though Logen is quick to recharge and him and Ferro get down and dirty in a cave. Th next morning isn’t as sweet and Ferro clocks Logen, the two fall out.
Glokta reached Adua with his practicals and goes to see Ardee, she has been beset upon by debtors. Glokta fixes it and upgrades her old stuff. Sult is unusually happen with the events of Dagoska, and Glokta find out West is missing. Which actually bothers him.
West and the rest of the crew finally reach Burr’s camp and provide him with some much needed intel. West keeps thinking of Cathil and goes to seek her out, only he finds Dogman fast-assing it and storms off but not before stumbling and making his presence known. The next day Dogman, as a result of getting himself some nooky, is volunteered by the rest to scout out Bethod’s base of operations. Dogman comes upon Shivers, turns out he wants to fight Bethod, so Dogman takes him to see Threetrees to decide. He accepts their service and those of the men who follow him.
Glokta, despite returning to Adua, isn’t demoted and instead is joint superior of Adua with Goyle. A Gurkish envoy comes to Adua offering peace and empty chests.
Bayaz and companions, after many days in the mountains the group males it to the Great Western Library. Inside they meet Cawneil and seek out the boat that will get them to their destination of Shabulyan. Ferro and Logen are still humping.
West has a battle meeting with Burr, Kroy and Poulder. With the plans set they go about their orders.
HOW DID BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED END?
Glokta is woken in the middle of the night by Vitari, the Prince of Adua has been killed. Glokta is tasked with investigating it but finds several clues as to the killer, which are very easily found and he has his culprit very quickly. Ambassador Tulkis, the Gurkish emissary. Not convince Glokta seek to investigate further but is shut down by a representative of Valint and Balk. Tulkis is soon found guilty and executed and war with the Gurkish inevitable.
The battle between Bethod and The Union begins, during the battle Burr become very ill! In response West covers it up and proceeds with his orders. Threetrees and Dogman, from their position, get a whiff of the Shanka and shit hits the fan. Cathil and Threetrees die. Dogman becomes chief.
Bayaz and company reach then edge of the world only to fin that The Seed is not there and all the progress they made was for nothing.
It is a good Monday for me as I don’t work Mondays or Tuesdays! Though, I will be getting up stupidly early on Wednesday and rocking a 12-hour shift on Christmas Eve as well as working Christmas Day! It going to be a week for sure!
Today I am reviewing Holly Tinsley’s debut book ‘We Men of Ash and Shadow’.
Here are a few things you can expect from We Men of Ash and Shadow :
Serious Gangs of New York Vibes;
An utterly fascinating world/city;
A unique and refreshing writing style;
Brilliant characters carved by a sinister world; and
A great start to this series.
On to the full review…
“We are men of ash and shadow. We endure the darkness so that others might see the dawn.”
This book came to my attention from the author, I’m sad to say that had Holly have not contacted me I’m not sure it would have come up on my radar! Thankfully, the totally polite and lovely Holly sent me the best review request I think I have had so it did, but this is not a review of Holly’s social etiquette this is a review of her grimdark fantasy We Men of Ash and Shadows…
As I think back to my reading of this book I find that I am quite fond of this tale and its characters. Holly writes in such a unique way, I don’t really know how to explain it. I’ll try, obviously, and I will hope my wittering does Holly’s distinctive and brilliant writing style the justice it deserves.
One thing that Holly really excels at in her writing is her dialogue, I enjoyed every conversation that this book offered, which seems like a really bizarre compliment but they all felt really authentic and representative of the character’s personality, even the side characters. The more and more I read of this book the more I came to agree whole heartedly with my above statement.
“Henriette stood. As she went to leave she placed a hand on Vanguard’s shoulder. “Be careful what you show her. She will see the world through rose-tinted glass and throw herself into a pit of snakes thinking it’s a flower bed. Girls like her die outside these walls. I should hate to have to kill you.”
As I said above Holly has a really unique way of writing, it’s almost 50/50 show me and tell me. Now I know books get slated for telling you something rather than showing you but Holly has managed to do this, twist and remake it into something unique.
Now, having said that I want it known that all of the above is all complimentary to her writing style, so don’t think for one instance think this book is lacking in detail because of it, it isn’t, this book plunges you into the depths of it’s world and has you fully absorbed. There was just such a ‘tell me’ vibe to Holly’s writing style. And you know what? I really fucking liked it. It felt utterly new. Like I said it isn’t lacking in description or world-building. Holly manages to make the smallest things such as the wearing a nightgown and robe relevant to the scene at hand. It’s the little details that add to the tone of the upcoming conversation and the words spoken.
I think my only real criticism, which is one constructive in nature, would be that there could have been a degree more fluidity. There were a lot of characters we had perspectives from but the rate at which they switched sometimes became a tad bit jarring.
With this being a shorter book it meant that some relationships could have been a little more, it wasn’t so much lacking in detail but it could have been made better by more time being spent with them. I would have loved to have seen this book a little longer with more emphasis on character relationships and general characterisation because the characters that filled this book were amazing!
It took me a little bit longer than usual to read this book considering it is less than 300 pages long, but that is nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my work schedule! I have to admit though, I’m a little thankful as I wouldn’t have noticed my next point had I not have read it the way I did.
We Men of Ash and Shadow felt like an old friend, weird praise I know but hear me out.
This book felt like an old friend in the sense that I could not read this book for a few days, a week or however long and when I went back to read it , it felt like I had only put it down an hour ago. We Men of Ash and Shadow is so incredibly easy to slide back into, I didn’t need a moment to reacquaint myself with the characters or the world at all. I read a few words and I was once again absorbed into this world.
We all know the pros’s and cons of a books cover, right? Well, Holly truly demonstrated this to me. Don’t get me wrong I know the uses of a cover but it wasn’t until We Men of Ash and Shadow that I truly understood that the cover is as much a part of the story for some books as the writing inside is. It’s the start of the journey, I went into this world with just the book cover and it’s blurb and as soon as I read the first page the world burst from it’s pages. There is such a sly, unfair and sinister feel to this world and Holly incorporates it into every aspect. It is in the world-building, the character interactions and well, just about everything. Holly has got the tone of this book down!
“There was a thin line between mercenary and soldier, and an even thinner one between mercenary and murderer.”
We Men of Ash and Shadow is a great book and the world that Holly has created very much reminded me of Gangs of New York just in Victorian England. It is filled with bloody crimes, sewer riddled districts and a bustling and territorial underworld. D’Orsee is a fascinating city and one I am eager to know the rest of its story.
I know I mentioned earlier that more characterisation and the relationships would have benefited from greater detail, but I also have to compliment those characters. It is something worthy of praise that I still loved the characters that filled this book despite my earlier criticism. Vanguard is such a compelling character and he is someone I am excited to see grow even more in any following books. He has such a rich and harrowing history and you can feel the emotions he feels, his tiredness and so much more. I also LOVED Mandego, and I would love to see more of him in the future.
“Mandego’s face changed. “You come into my home, with your hands dripping in the blood of my people and have the gall to insult me by telling me that you need my help?”
Every character in this book has been carved and defined by the world in which they reside and it has led to hardened people who have little choices in the direction their lives will go.
“They were both relics of the past trying to live in the new world.“
We Men of Ash and Shadow is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a great start to its following books. The characters are brilliant and while the plot is more of a setter-upper it is still a great read.
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I would happily pick this book up in its paperback form, I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely reread this book when it comes time to read the second. The cover is great and oh so appropriate.
I finally joined the party. I finally read one of Joe Abercrombie’s famed and well loved adult books.
I have read his Shattered Sea Trilogy and I really enjoyed them but a lot of people reviewed it lower than his adult books and said it was a watered down version, I still really enjoyed them and for me it was a great introduction to his writing.
Here are a few things you can expect from The Blade Itself:
Flawed yet utterly loveable and compelling characters;
The most character driven book I think I have ever read;
A grumpy ass mage;
A slower pace; but
A seriously enjoyable book!
A little bit about the narration…
Firstly, I would like to say that Steven Pacey is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I didn’t overly love the sample when I first listened to it, it wasn’t bad but as a newb listener to audiobooks I wasn’t sure I could actually listen to it. I listened to the sample three times to try and get a feel for it. I don’t really know why I did, I guess I appreciated his voice and tone but wasn’t sure if it was for me. Alas, I decided to jus pick it up and I am really glad I did.
I have already demolished book two and I am currently maybe three hours or so into book three of this trilogy and I LOVE listening to Steven Pacey. I honestly cant fault anything with the narration and I really bloody hope he narrates all Abercrombie’s books!
On to the full review…
I was going to say I don’t really know where to start with this review because so many have already reviewed this and it will be hard to say much different than what I imagine has already been said, but I’m not one to pass up any opportunity to talk. I’m just not about that life, you know!
I’m going to start this review with the BEST thing about this book, it only seems right…
Logen Ninefingers. Bayaz. Sand dan Glokta. Jezal dan Luther. Collem West. Ardee West. The Dogman.
Abercrombie does a damn fine job of creating his characters. He focussed on the creation of his characters and it paid off! All of his charters are so well written and they are a pleasure to read! You are totally invested in everything they do, even when they are simply staring at themselves in a mirror relishing their good looks and spectacular man jaw.
I have no issue with a character driven books and find them to be my favourite reads when they are done well, and this book is done well. All of the characters are so well crafted that you don’t care that the plot is slow, you don’t care that what they’re actually doing is a little boring. I genuinely think I could read the most mundane and boring day in eternity if it was from Logen POV, he is incredible!
This is also the first grimdark book I have read, I have read books that have darker themes and those that toe the line of grimdark but this is my first legit grimdark. The grimness was there and the gore was there but as this is my first I don’t have much to compare it too, I certainly didn’t expect as much humour. I found myself chuckling a fair amount through this book be it a witty remark, a characters vein comments as to their beauty or the sarcasm but I laughed a hell of a lot in this.
Abercrombie’s prose…well they are spot on! His writing is expressive, captivating and easy to follow. Also, now I don’t know if this is in the writing or the narration but, you always know who you are reading before the writing even mentions a name to set the POV. It may have been both, Abercrombie has his characters voices well established and so does Pacey in his narration.
The world-building was incredibly well done too, Abercrombie writes it in a way that the characters almost make the world, more so than any elaborate descriptions do. The characters tell you enough about their surroundings to paint a vivid picture of their location, which are all different for most of the characters.
The Blade itself is definitely a foundational book, it sets up everything you need to know and more for the rest of your journey with Logen, Glokta and Jezel. It’s a pretty bold move too, in order for Abercrombie to have achieved such meticulous detail and fully establish his characters with such depth he inevitably had to slow things down and that can alienate a good few readers. For that however, I don’t think Abercrombie’s really gives a glittering shit! And rightly fucking so. Not much really happens and you still love the book, love the world, the characters and the whole bloody experience. If that isn’t one of the finer examples of talent then I don’t really know what is.
I don’t really know what else to say, this book is a great first book and it sets a solid foundation for what I expect to end up a brilliant series. It is home to some of the best characters I have had the pleasure of reading and it has a decent dose of humour.
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I always wonder how to rate a book when I listened to the audiobook because I will then continue to listen to the rest via audiobook because were I to read this book again I would again listen to it over reading it. Though saying that I do like having the option to bounce between them. So, i’m going to rate this as if I hadn’t listened to it via audiobook and tell you to BUY THE FREAKING HARDBACK.
I would grab this in hardback for several reasons, one of which is that the characters are amazing and they are one of the finest examples of what a character should be in a book. They come off the pages and take a seat in your thoughts even when you are not reading this book.
I have also read book two and I am a little way into book three, and I know how much I am enjoying them so that definitely influences this rating too.
I hope you are all well and dandy on this fine Sunday evening. I am dandy now that I have finished work and I am off for the next two days. I have been on the late shift all week and I always feel like I miss so much on these weeks, on Twitter, on Instagram and in the general book community.
Though thankfully, I will be on the early shift next week and can be as active as I like to be again. Yay!
I keep seeing lots of folk sharing their Goodreads Reading Challenge progress over the last few weeks and it got me checking mine out. I am currently sat pretty on 127 books, my goal is 150! Goodreads keeps yapping at me and telling me I am 15 books behind schedule! I mean the cheek of it, right?!
In attempt to maybe achieve this goal I have searched for some Fantasy or Science Fiction shorts to read! While I am not overly fussed for reaching this target, it would be nice. I’m still seriously impressed with what I have read already but, as many of us did, I set a goal and it is always nice when you meet a goal, right?!
This week in Sundays Seven I am thus going to share with you seven books that may help me and you reach your Goodreads goal.
THE ONES WHO WALK AWAY FROM OMELAS: A STORY BY URSULA K. LE GUIN
BOOK LENGTH: 32 PAGES
So, this book is one of those books that Goodreads doesn’t really give you a straight forward blurb! From what I can gather this is an elegantly written short about a utopian city in which all who reside there are filled with happiness and overflowing delight but with at what cost?
This sounds like quite a captivating concept, and it is also actually a great choice for me personally as I haven’t read any of Le Guin’s work and so it would be a nice taster to her work to see if I can read her other works.
This book caught my attention when it as making the rounds on Twitter. It is written by a multi award winning author and he has returned with a pretty fantastic sounding book, one I can’t wait to read. I pre-ordered this I was that excited after reading about it. Set in prohibition era Georgia and a fantasy twist on the KKK what’s not to like?!
I picked this up a few months back when I was looking into reading more science fiction books. It is about Binti she is offered a place at a university, one of the finest but at what cost? The elite institution trope, wars, costly decisions and more…it sounds bloody great.
I added this to my TBR late January, and still haven’t read it yet and I don’t know why because its short and sounds really cool. It is an Urban Fantasy read which revolves around miracle children, magical lands and a wayward home for them which in stricken by a tragedy…I should really get to reading it!
This is a book series that I have heard a great deal about, and one I would love to start reading. The only think that has really stopped me is the fact that these are quite costly books! But should a deal come along I would definitely pick them up or maybe I will check out the audio.
Some of you may know I absolutely LOVED Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy it was just bloody brilliant. Yet saying that I haven’t read any of the shorts, now Im not one to really read shorts in the same world because they aren’t usually about the same character but at least two of McClellans shorts are! This and Ghosts of the Tristan Basin are about Taniel’s time spent in Fatrasta prior to the events of the Powder Mage books! I cant believe I haven’t read them yet to be honest. Shame on me.
If the fact that Anthony Ryan wrote this and its beautiful cover don’t make you want to read this then I’m not sure what to say to you! Other than this story involves the destruction of a city by a mad god, a fabled blade and treachery…
I love Ryan’s writing, and have throughly enjoyed every book of his I have read sooo i’m going to read this. you should too!
There you have it, seven books that are not to long and may just help you move a little closer to achieving your Goodreads Goal! If I read all of these then I have reduced my ‘behind schedule’ number by half’ish and it wouldn’t even take that long. Short stories and novellas still count, as do graphic novels so why not get a few in before the year is up?! I know I will!
This was planned to be an earlier post considering I’m currently at work 🙈 but I forgot to post it before leaving like a dope. Thankful, while I am currently sat on my break eating the most amazing Lotus biscuits I remembered. Yay me. So here it is.
Today, as the post title suggests I will be reviewing Jacob Sannox’s fantasy novel Dark Oak! I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review but I also listened to this via audiobook to. I usually listen to non review books via audio and treat them as my personal reads but I was a little behind with reviews and honestly the audiobook sounded great.
A few facts about Dark Oak:
Title: Dark Oak
Author: Jacob Sannox
Narrated By: Nigel Peever
Series: The Dark Oak Chronicles (Book One)
Published by Jacob Sannox (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform)
Here are a few things you can expect from Dark Oak:
A high fantasy novel that is beautifully magical but with a darker core feel;
An intriguing and unique story concept;
INCREDIBLE creatures and magics;
Political intrigue; and
An incredibly raw and emotional punch from several aspects of this book.
A little bit about the narration…
This was a really good narration, it is the first narration I have ever listened to that has sound effects. Now, I know that for some the may not be a great thing but it really added to the story for me. I LOVED them. It wasn’t overbearing and it wasn’t disruptive my my listening experience. Well, for the most part, there was one single time that it became difficult to listen to, at the point when a group of Dryads were talking as one, pair that with the creaking of their wooden limbs and the throaty tone of their voices I genuinely didn’t know what was said. Luckily, I had the a physical copy so I was able to read that bit. Other than the once instance though I found I really liked the sound effects. They were, more often than not, subtle and only added to my listening experience.
As a narrator I found Peever to be quite good, his pace was easy to follow and his male voices were nicely distinct. Some of his female voices however sounded a like little old cackling witches…
Though saying all of the above, I will listen to the next book via audio narration. Thats how little it put me off.
Now on to the full review…
As I said above Jacob sent me a copy of Dark Oak in exchange for an honest review along with his two other books; The Ravenmaster’s Revenge and Agravain’s Escape. This book is currently sitting with 61 ratings and 25 reviews and has a decent rating of 3.67. I would love to see more people pick this book up as it deserves it, if you look on Goodreads it seems to have a bit of a mix of reviews so many people have loved and a good number haven’t but I would honestly give this book chance!
Dark Oak is a richly imagined world and one I really enjoyed journeying into, it is an incredible fantastical world that is very much in the traditional vein of high fantasy with creatures such as the Dryads, the water folk and even more wonderful elemental beings. Dark Oak gave me Lord of the Rings vibes in terms of its imaginative world!
Jacob does wonderfully at bringing his world to life through his writing and it is a story rich in detail and beautifully described. He brilliantly weaves in the magic that surrounds this world and showcases it impressively, especially the Dryad’s , yet all the while not making you feel as though they are infallible despite their evident power.
At the start of this book there is quite a bit of exposition, which is wholly appropriate and enjoyable. This isn’t the story of the battle that Queen Cathryn won that led our character to be where they are now but in order to fully understand the present you need to know the facts of the past. I really liked the exposition, it was magical and I felt like I was sat wrapped in a cozy blanket cradling a warm cup of tea in my ever cold hands while being told a grand old tale by a wisened old story teller! And that Is something I love.
Each of the characters you come across in Dark Oak are all really good, some I loathed but understood, others I saw the manipulation and others I was rooting for them with everything I had. Some of the character could have had a little more consistency and been a wee bit more well rounded but overall I really enjoyed all of them for some reason or another. While Dark Oak is very high fantasy to me, it has such a dark core to its world and its characters. I knew it had a darker tone before reading it but goodness I didn’t expect what I got! At all.
The Dryads…they are AMAZING! I was so impressed with them as a race, the things they can do, the power they hold and their origins were all so utterly interesting I loved every single moment in which a dryad appeared.
I think for me the strongest point of this book was Jacob’s ability to shock you so profoundly you are left in a state of both confusion and understanding. There are several sequences within this story that you do not see coming, even in the slightest, but once they do happen no matter how shook up you are you understand the reasoning behind it. Which is testament to Jacob’s ability to showcase his characters motivations and emotional states. In a world so vivid and creative the realness of his character and very human responses become all the more impactful, it is touching, sickeningly raw and quite intense at times.
There are times within this book that you see some inconsistencies in the characters voices, and it can at times feel a little jumpy from POV to POV. This book isn’t perfect and if you going in looking for little hiccups you will find them, as you would with many books, but if you are going in to experience a brilliant and imaginative world filled with REAL characters with REAL motivations you are in the right place. There is a rawness to this book and an emotional grittiness that you don’t see often in books and it was brilliant to experience it within Dark Oak’s pages.
You know the drill, on to the rating…
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I would definitely pick this up in its paperback form if I didn’t already have it and would strongly recommend the audiobook if you don’t have an issue with narrations accompanied by sound effects, I get that might be a hard no for some people, but im not one of them and I loved it! I actually want to find more with it in so yanno, its a winner to me!
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?
Happy Sunday Bookish Folk! You might need your duvet for these books…
I hope you have had a nice and relaxing weekend. I will be returning to work on Tuesday after Lockdown 2.0 just as it is getting icy, perfect for a girl who rides a motorbike. NOT! Hopefully, it won’t get too bad and I don’t have to worry.
Winter technically doesn’t start until 21st December, but I walked the hound a few nights ago and there wasn’t a single puddle that wasn’t iced over so I’d say its pretty wintery about now!
I don’t know about any of you but come winter I am all about nights in with my fire all but roaring and a book in hand. Both autumn and winter seem to be the seasons to read in my opinion. Also, they say we read for escapism so why not find a book with the white winter wonderland we all dream of having!
So, in order to satisfy my need for a white winter I am going to share with you seven books that will show you lands in which the snow sparkles like crushed crystals and leaves you wanting to grab an extra blanket and fill up your cup of tea!
TO THE BOOKS…
THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE BY KATHERINE ARDEN
Here we have Russian folklore, demons, a frost king and so much snow filled winter goodness!
Good Afternoon Bookish Folk! I hope you are all having a good weekend.
This week I am in a bid to get up to date with some of my reviews so here is another, and today I am super happy to talk to you about Zack Argyle’s book Voice of War.
I would firstly like to thank Zack for sending me a copy of this book. We partnered up for a giveaway and not only did Zack gift more than one copy in celebration of me reaching 1,000 followers on Twitter he sent me a copy too! So a HUGE thank you!
Here are a few things you can expect from Voice of War :
A stunning and imaginative magic system;
An amazing world;
Loveable characters; and
A self published gem!
While I did read some of this book, I consumed most of it by way of audiobook and what an audio narration it is. I knew instantly I loved the sounds of Adam Gold’s voice and bought the eBook a few seconds into the sample! Though, once I listened to the whole sample I got a little worried, I thought ‘ahhh everything this guy is saying sounds like its a question’. So I was going to just read it instead and maybe tackle some audio when I was running out of reading time!
I’m so glad I opted to go the opposite way.
Adam Gold gave a stellar performance, his characters are distinctive and he doesn’t sound like everything was a question as I worried! So if you get that same feeling worry not, it is not an issue.
Gold has such a seductive voice, it is deep and a little husky and really worked with this book. He really brought the characters and the world to life.
I would STRONGLY recommend you get this audiobook, it is phenomenal!
On to the full review…
I think I will start this review with the magic in Voice of War, I found the magic in this to be really refreshing. It stays clear of your spell based magic and to me felt more natural, or as natural as the manipulation of gravity determined by ones eyes colour can be! I have heard a few people mentioned its likeness to Sanderson’s works, but I haven’t read them so I cant comment. To me, it was a wholly new magic system and one I loved. It is so well integrated into the life of these characters and it truly added something special to this story!
Straight of the bat I loved the characters in this book, I started this book with the intention of getting a bit of a feel for it and when I stopped I was over 30% of the way through it! The characters, in my opinion, are solid. I wanted to keep reading and reading and reading because of them, and I did…each chance I got.
Zack gave each of his characters a distinctive and well rounded feel, each one had their own motivations for their actions and I really enjoyed experiencing the characters individual journey. Even better is each character is from fairly different worlds. Zack does incredibly well at really drawing you into this world. We see its underbelly, its lush forests and also its main city! Each world you visit it so well written and filled with amazing things from the amazing chromawolf, photospores, necrolytes and so much more!
I think one of the reasons this book is so easy to read and listen to is that it is really well paced and coherent, it smoothly moves along in its plot making it really easy to progress.
Now, this next point is not something I think I have ever mentioned before in a review, but I have found myself picking up on it more and more lately. I don’t know what changed or if I am just seeing a broader spectrum of it in my recent reads and that is dialogue! Voice of War has no issue with this though, its actually quite a strength in this book! I laughed at some, I felt saddened by some and all the conversations and bits of dialogue all fit. The tone of the characters is consistent too and I didn’t feel at any point that the characters veered away from themselves for the sake of progressing the story.
Zack is a great writer and I really enjoyed his writing style, I especially enjoyed the battle scenes. They had just enough action woven in with the use of magic, it was great to see the way in which such a cool magic system could be used in a fight. I also really want to talk about the Apogee but that walks into spoiler territory and I’m not about that life, yanno?! So, just know it is a fantastic element to an already incredibly book!
Voice of War is, as I said above, a self published gem. It is epic fantasy and one I am so glad I read. Voice of War is such a good start to the Threadlight series and leaves you wanting the next book!
ALSO! It is currently a finalist for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and boy does this book deserve a place there!!
On to the rating…
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
Voice of War is a great book and I would definitely pick up a physical copy. I would BUY THE PAPERBACK! Though, I will say GRAB THE AUDIOBOOK! It is so good.
This is such a good book, I really enjoyed it and I will read this again. I will definitely listen to it again Adam Gold’s voice is great.
This is one of those books that as you review it you realise how much more you liked it, it has so much going for it while staying so well glance and utterly enjoyable.