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Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!
This post is about a few things this week. Not only is it seven books I am SO excited to read, but also seven book on my NetGalley TBR that I have to get and I am so excited for! So we have a degree of accountability today…but books!
My NetGalley ratio is NOT good. So, having got through many of my physical arcs I can get to my NetGalley ones and make a move on my ratio. I have some serious work to do, but I am so up for it
ON TO THE BOOKS…
SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN BY SHELLEY PARKER-CHAN
I am so excited for this book, every time I read the synopsis I nearly screw the TBR and just pick it up. I love Mongol history from its rise to its fall, it is one of the most interesting periods and then throw in the serious Mulan vibes and I am practically vibrating with excitement for this book!
I am ashamed I haven’t read this book yet, I actually got it quite some time ago and it is still yet to be read. With its discord, need for revolution and mechanical freaking dragons I need to pull my finger out and get this book read!
Recently released this book is reviewing really well! I have read each one I have seen pop up in th book community and they all make me even more excited to read this book. I’m actually due to start it in the next few days.
An excellently written masterpiece that doesn’t pull punches or pussy-foot around;
Fascinating, compelling and generally amazing characters; and
A great middle instalment to a sure to be exquisite trilogy!
First off I would like to thank the folks at Gollancz & NetGalley who accepted my request to read this book early! I also have to laugh because my instant response to this book was “Holy shit – this book” and that is what is quoted on Gollancz website! So, I see no other way to start my review…
On to the full review…
HOLY SHIT – THIS BOOK!
There, that is my review.
I joke, I joke. While accurate I think I can muster up some more words to do this book its justice.
A Fool’s Hope is an incredible story and it begins right back to where it left you, there is no irritating missing period that you always want to know about, you are straight back to it! Many say the second book is often the worst one, it is the calm before the epic climax of book three and can often be filled with a lot of filler. Well, Shackle shit’s all over that statement! This book just keeps getting better, it stands on equal footing with book one and is damned incredible.
Having read Shackle’s first book in this series, I am somewhat familiar with his writing style and yet A Fool’s Hope still managed to amaze me. Over my last few review’s I have been talking a little bit more about how coherent a book is, its dialogue and other general but crucial writing elements.
While reading A Fool’s Hope I saw nothing but a faultless piece of work! Shackle’s ability to weave a story is brilliant, no sentence is wasted, and no dialogue out of place. Everything just seemed to fit so well, and when a book is a fast paced as these books are it is often easy for it all to become a little jarring and feel all over the place. This was not the case in A Fool’s Hope despite the different locations and characters.
Shackle’s writing isn’t like anything I have read before, it is so tight-knit and compact you feel the punch of every word. His battle scenes are diverse and not repetitive and they all feel so real, because of Shackle’s incredibly world building you have more than brief explosions of imaginative action, you have a damn movie playing before your eyes! I felt the vibrations of every explosion and I felt raw from the sights that war brings, the people you cant help, the desperation. You are quite simply plunged into a world so deeply you are there for it all.
As with book one, We Are The Dead, you will be constantly driven to turn the next page, I read this book in three or four days. It is so addictive.
We Are The Dead introduced us to a good amount of the characters in this series but I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to some more in A Fool’s Hope. We continue to see these incredible and flawed characters grow, we see their relationships grow deeper and their level of progression is fantastic. No character really remains the same, war changes them irrevocably, and it was such a rush seeing them deal with the events that unfold within this book. Nothing about this book feels rushed and you will, as surely as I did, become wholly invested in the outcome of these characters journey!
A Fool’s Hope is darker in nature, the stakes are higher and it is filled with the grim realness of a country under siege. Shackle holds nothing back and is not afraid to throw everything he can at his characters but this book is also so much more than that.
I can say so much more about this book, and I really do want to, but to do so walks into the realms of the spoilers and that is no place I dare tread. All I can say is that everything you expect to happen in this book will not happen, the direction you think this book will go in…yeah, it is going to rage a battle so vicious in the complete opposite direction and it is all done with such incredible finesse it leaves you wanting!
I would definitely say to those who plan on reading this book to avoid anything even remotely spoiler’ish, avoid any review that goes into detail about the relationships and the characters who feature or well anything really! I don’t think my review falls into those categories but many I imagine will so please be careful. In my opinion, you should go into this blind beyond the first book to really experience this spectacular book!
I read A Fool’s Hope straight after We Are The Dead without sight of a single review and I enjoyed it so much more. Each event I came upon was shockingly brilliant, I had no idea which direction it would turn and what an experience it was.
On to the rating…
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
A Fool’s Hope unfortunately is not being published in hardback I don’t believe, though that does not change this books rating of BUY THE HARDBACK!
Instead I purchased the signed Paperback (Twitter Link Here) from Matt, he is a bookseller at Waterstones so definitely message him to see if he has any left!
Here are a few things you can expect from The Stone Knife :
Gods and mysterious monsters;
Love, loyalty and family;
Darker scenes and swift melodic brutality; and
On to the full review…
You know it is always so fascinating reading the works of a new author, and no I don’t mean debut author but an author new to the reader. That is what Anna Stephens is to me, a new author. So it was a delight to dip my toe into the waters of her wonderful writing. Stephens sets up her novel really really well, it was honestly great seeing the many interpretations of the Drowned to start off this story, especially considering they are such a big part of the book. However, what made this book have such a great start was something even more skilful. It was the delicate weaving of seemingly insignificant world facts that by a few pages into your reading have you building such a well-grounded and magnificent world so efficiently and one your imagination can truly go wild with.
Stephen’s writing as a whole is beautiful, and while I rave about her world building and more in this review that is not its only strength. Stephens prose are beautiful while remaining wholly authentic. If it is your first time reading her writing worry not, her writing is fluid, understandable and very well balanced. She is a brilliant storyteller!
“ It sounded like the sunset looks. It sounded like all the world is there just to make you gasp with wonder, to open your heart so wide that it can absorb all that beauty and hold it and be it and never lose it, no matter what.”
And the battle and fight sequences are epic, Stephens give you all the action and the impact!
This story is a beautiful one, and inexplicably powerful. It is a bloody tale of gods, monsters, war and death but it is one of family, love, loyalty and faith. Stephens manages to authentically showcase the development of her character’s relationships, though not in a tasteless and too obvious way, and when we are shown just how far those characters have come you truly understand the depths of their actions and the significance of them.
”She hesitated, then she licked her thumb and pressed it to his temple and he stilled, shocked, before a rush of affection and gratitude surged through him. She had gifted him a piece of her courage, her spirit, to aid him in the war. She had named him family.”
I think this is quite possibly the first book I have read that is written in such a setting too. The lush jungle (even though Goodreads says forests I see nothing but jungle soo) and wonderful cities steeped in such history and lore were beautiful to read. It really gave me Apocalypto vibes, and I would pay good money to see this as a TV series! I want to say that it based off Mesoamerican, as it greatly reminded me of the Maya civilization and/or the Aztecs but I could be wrong.
The Stone Knife is a larger book, with a page count of 600+ but Stephens used the pages effectively. It has great focus on the worldbuilding and introducing us to this book’s incredible characters. The chapters are also a little longer, though this is actually really well done. When an authors opt for several POV’s they run the risk of not introducing them with enough depth that by the time you next see their chapter you’re not sure who they were. This is not an issue in The Stone Knife, after each introduction you are clear on who they are and where they are.
“I‘d rather die fighting than die at the teeth of one of the things after years on my knees for these arrogant shits.”
I think that there are maybe seven character POV’s in this book, but don’t quote me, and each and every single one of them is a thrill to read! I really like that more books, or at least the ones I have been reading, are giving both sides POV. You still know who you are rooting for and who you want to win but all are still enjoyable. I don’t sometimes like it when I see the ”bad guys” POV because you can so blatantly dislike them and you just don’t want to listen to their shit, but Stephens does an incredible job of avoiding that. One of my favourite characters to read was definitely not good and I loved their world bubble, their family and side characters that surrounded them. I think that says a lot about Stephens ability to write outstanding characters!
Something I truly loved about this was the political manoeuvrings and intrigue, it is too often that I see some politically sly genius who always gets their way and they are infallible in their position. Everything goes in their favour until the main character somehow thwarts the attempts through chance, so it was so exciting to see the sly political genius written in a truer light. They win some and they lose some and it only amped up the tension and risk for the characters who are playing such dangerous games.
A final note of praise for this book too is the ability of Stephens to seamlessly represent the many and not in a ’hey look my main character is deaf” way. Stephens did not need to make her writing shout about character relations or the fact that Xessa had a disability, it was just there. Natural, refreshing and REAL!
I finished this book in two days, it made me into the biggest book sloth ever. I moved from my reading corner to eat and that’s about it. This book will inevitably grip you in some way when you start reading it and I really hope you do. I am already dying for the next book in this series.
The Stone Knife is an incredible book. Remarkable characters, a breathtaking world and savage brutality! It is bloody and it is magnificent, so at least add it to your Goodreads!
As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale. I really need a buy the audiobook in there too now I listen to audiobooks!
Anywho back to the book in hand (mmmm see what I did there?)
RIGHT! Well, I don’t know if you could tell but I really liked this book and I am super excited to say it is definitely a BUY THE HARDBACK rated book. Even better it is also the Goldsboro Book sooo…I am way to excited to get that!
The Stone Knife is a world I WILL return to
The cover is beautiful
It is the first book of this type for me, or at least the first I have loved this much because if I have read any other I don’t refer them at all, so it deserves a special place on my bookshelves!
I want this trilogy standing proud on my shelves! I am so excited for book two and the direction it will take!
**Now, usually there would be a delicious picture of my copy (if I owned one) of this book but your girl hasn’t received her Goldsboro goodies yet!
Today I will be posting my review of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Doors of Eden’. Firstly, I would like to thank Macmillan for approving my NetGalley request for a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
Lee’s best friend went missing on Bodmin Moor, four years ago. She and Mal were chasing rumours of monsters when they found something all too real. Now Mal is back, but where has she been, and who is she working for?
When government physicist Kay Amal Khan is attacked, the security services investigate. This leads MI5’s Julian Sabreur deep into terrifying new territory, where he clashes with mysterious agents of an unknown power who may or may not be human. And Julian’s only clue is some grainy footage – showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.
Khan’s extradimensional research was purely theoretical, until she found cracks between our world and countless others. Parallel Earths where monsters live. These cracks are getting wider every day, so who knows what might creep through? Or what will happen when those walls finally come crashing down…
Here are a few things you can expect from :
Parallel worlds and Portals;
On to the full review…
As I said above, I listened to this via audiobook so I feel it’s only right to say a few things about that…
This is narrated by Sophie Aldred, and I am super thankful to her for providing me with, not only, my first ever audiobook but one I could actually listen to!
I requested this on NetGalley thinking I wasn’t going to lose out on my hard earned cash if I hated it and I would just look into getting the book, thankfully this wasn’t needed as Aldred is a great narrator for first-time listeners. She isn’t drab, isn’t robotic and tells you the story quite nicely!
She also sounds good with the speed knocked up a wee bit, because let’s be honest you can nearly always read a book quicker than the bloody audiobooks and that can be off putting sometimes because man they are loonnggggggg. So that helped and she still didn’t sounds like an old school sat nav telling me to go left of dreary lane!
So, that’s all I really know what to say in that respect. The audio is easy listening, the story is told in a great way and it’s perfect for a newb to audiobooks.
So onto this pretty cracking book! The Doors of Eden is a stunning looking book, I mean its cover is just…amazing and is an even better story.
This book had me from the start, it really didn’t take me long to get into this. The beast of Bodmin Moor has always been a love of mine, mainly due to the stupid tales my dad told me as a kid to scare me, so when Lee and Mal we’re off to Bodmin Moor in search of a mysterious creature I was already eager to keep listening.
Now this story is a long one, and took quite a few sittings of listening to this monster but don’t let that put you off it is really worth it. To the point that I’m going to try pick up a copy next payday! Which form I wish to purchase will be said later 🤫🤫
The Doors of Eden is such a thrilling and gripping read, it is one of those books you think about when your not reading and a book you are eager to return to.
This book is very varied to say the least, with a plethora of different elements all beautifully incorporated into it’s story and my gosh you can tell just how much research went into it. Each parallel universe is so well constructed, its amazing to see not one world being made with such skill but many! Each aspect from the biology to the evolutionary elements and dinosaurs is understandable despite some scientific and technical terminology. It’s also seems to span quite a few genres due to this, though I would just bag it as sci-fi but believe me it can be broken down even further and across numerous subgenres and genres.
Adrian Tchaikovsky is supremely talented to have, one, thought up this book, and two, actually executed it so brilliantly. This is a book rich in detail and one you have to pay attention to so it is definitely one you should take your time with but it is such a ride and has a fantastic conclusion.
All the characters in this story are great, but the potty mouth Kay has to be my favorite.
As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale. I want this book in HARDBACK!
This was a very close bag it in paperback rank, but I really enjoyed this book and i’ll be honest the cover absolutely projected this into BUY IT IN HARDBACK!