Hello Bookish Folks! I’m Sam from The Book in Hand!
It genuinely feels like a really long time since I have said hello, that I felt like I needed to introduce myself again! I have had some huge changes in my personal life with work and other projects recently so fell behind badly on the blog! However, I AM BACK!
I still have a lot do do away from The book in Hand but I’m going to make sure to get back to this!
So today I am partnering with the brilliant and hard working Storytellers On Tour to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for The Stone God by Erin Kellison.
If you have seen the cover already through some of the other amazing bloggers featuring this cover reveal you will see how fabulous it is! It is so beautiful!
This book cover is by cover artist Story Wrappers. My word…they have some INCREDIBLE art on their website, so definitely go and check them out, and if you are an author in need of cover art then save their name!
A few things about the author first…
Erin Kellison is the bestselling author of the Dragons of Bloodfire series, the Reveler series, and the Shadow series.
She writes fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction rOmance. She loves other worlds and visits them as often as possible via movies and books and her kids’ imaginations. When not daydreaming or writing, she’s goofing off with her family in sunny Arizona.
Terah Crane knows not to tempt the gods. A happy life—or at least an uncomplicated one—involves no gods at all. And since her loving grandfather bought her an Indulgence that ex-empts her from their service, she can focus on her other problems of being recently di-vorced, broke, and unemployed.
Seeking a fresh start, Terah packs everything she owns into her beat-up car and moves to her family’s empty country cottage—never mind that deadly firedrakes occasionally wan-der into the garden. When an unlikely flood carries a cracked pillar of stone from a nearby shrine right to Terah’s doorstep, it seems the gods demand her service after all.
Follow the law and you’ll stay safe. But what if the law is wrong?
Tashué’s faith in the law is beginning to crack.
Three years ago, he stood by when the Authority condemned Jason to the brutality of the Rift for non-compliance. When Tashué’s son refused to register as tainted, the laws had to be upheld. He’d never doubted his job as a Regulation Officer before, but three years of watching your son wither away can break down even the strongest convictions.
Then a dead girl washed up on the bank of the Brightwash, tattooed and mutilated. Where had she come from? Who would tattoo a child? Was it the same person who killed her?
Why was he the only one who cared?
Will Tashué be able to stand against everything he thought he believed in to get the answers he’s looking for?
The legacy of the Brightwash is described as a gas lamp, grim dark novel. The setting for this novel was inspired by the era of the 1890s in a time of huge economic depression, and within that time period, there were many social issues that inspired some of the darker subject matter within this novel. Krystle does not pull any punches when exploring these social issues and really gets down to core of it. So the inspiration for this work of fiction is taken from a very dark time in human history, really setting the tone for this novel. This is a hugely original fantasy novel, with some very new and innovative themes and concepts. This novel can be described as a very character driven novel and my personal favourite, a grim dark novel. I was totally sold!!!
This grim world unravels with each passing chapter, as you follow the masterfully crafted characters through the brutal and unforgiving reality that is life within the Dominion. I think what makes this a very unique world, is that, it’s a move away from conventional fantasy settings. Matar does an incredible job of painting a picture of a world from this era, from the humble working class neighbourhoods, to the glamour of high society, to the sinister Authority institutions, down to the gritty gangster underworld, its truly vivid and captivating. There’s also massive attention to detail, even down to the fashion of that era, so this world really does burst into life. So, you see it features excellent world building with a progressive approach and is achieved skilfully to really put the focus on our characters.
The plot is centered around our main protagonist Tashue. We watch as he’s drawn into the corrupt world of high society and the Authority. As he climbs the ranks, he becomes embroiled in their corruption, but at the same time the cracks in his world start to show and everything begins to collapse. Meanwhile his ongoing investigation of the mutilated girl found washed up on the Brightwash, leaves him few clues, she does bare a mysterious tattoo, but beyond that his investigation is fruitless. He’s forced to turn to the criminal underworld to find the truth. Using his connections he’s able to seek answers using unconventional methods which invites it’s own set of problem’s.The biggest weight he has to bare is his son Jason, who is tainted, who refuses to register and who is now imprisoned.The Authority is really at the core of all these characters struggles, it’s grasp on this world is truly sinister, and as you’ll find out, it harbours such dark secrets. The tainted are invaluable to the Authority, they acknowledge the dangerous nature of the tainted and claim to be the Dominions protector. But have enslaved the tainted to utilize their abilities for practical purposes, allegedly is to promote peace and harmony within the Dominion…. In amongst the chaos, the shining light in Tashue’s dark world is his love interest Stella, but as with all things in this world, nothing is simple.
As the first few chapters introduce you to the investigation, and his relationship with his son, it hooks you into the story very quickly and for readers like myself is essential. The dialogue between father and son is very emotionally charged and parents reading this novel, be prepared for those heart strings to be pulled. There are so many aspects of this book that’ll provoke powerful emotions, it’s usually down to the oppressive presence of the authority. The exploration of some of the social issues in this book, from that era, are genuinely engaging and you’re compassion for these characters will be overwhelming! But despite this being a very character driven novel, I think even for those more plot driven readers, you’ll be able to see those indicators of this series becoming more plot heavy as the series plays out. There is so much potential scope for this world. But its drawn out slowly so there’s a great deal of intrigue that warrants so many questions.This is a dark novel, but hope does bloom ….
The best aspect of this book without question is the characterisation. As a huge fan of very character driven novels I felt totally immersed in their stories and I was totally captivated by the complexities of these characters. I felt the five POVs we follow gave a very three dimensional view of the characters and the well placed inner monologues gave further insights into core of what motivates them. So you really felt like you know them intimately. The characterisation for Tashue our main protagonist was phenomenal, his existential crisis was captured so perfectly!! Not to take away any attention from Stella our leading lady because she has some of the best virtues any woman could have, but she harbors her own dark secrets, her vulnerability was so skillfully portrayed. When she meets Tashue you can fully understand their connection because of the depth of understanding you have about these characters. There really is a diverse cast who are brilliantly fleshed out, even the Villains in high society to our silver tongued mob boss. But it was the consistency with the character work that was most notable, I usually talk about maybe one, or two favourites, never have I been totally enamoured with an entire cast before, not to this extent.
The vast majority of characters that I’ve read previously play into those well known character tropes and don’t always present something new. This is one of those books that really shows the big paradigm shift in how characters are portrayed in modern Fantasy. It seems , that the term grim dark is a term that’s used to often! But this novel is the very definition of a grim dark!! I feel Matar has succeeded beyond my expectations in creating some of the most original, authentic, morally grey, unforgettable characters and totally achieved that sense of gritty realism.
The social issues effecting these characters within this novel are hugely emotive, there are examples of racism, social segregation, huge inequality and addiction. All of the subject matter concerning these issues is handled incredibly well and are completely relevant.
The majority of these social issues are born from the authority itself and the presence of the Authority seems to manifest in every aspect of these characters lives. As a result the majority of the characters within this novel have their own internal struggles and are forced to act under the weight of their oppressors, often acting in a way that’s necessary for their survival, which really carves out a very lonely and isolated world.
“Better to be lonely and feel the sharp edges of it, she thought, than to be empty and filled with nothing”
The romance was so stripped down, it wasn’t pretentious, it was very authentic and central to this books plot. It’s not often that I feel emotionally invested in this aspect of a book but the romance blossoming in such a dark world really did make it shine a little brighter. I think when a relationship is very much the path to salvation for two characters, to me, it really has substance, rather than something that’s very superficial. I also feel that Matar has done incredibly well to be very inclusive, a broad range of readers will be able to identify with many of the relationships within this book, giving it a very modern dimension, which is totally necessary…
So let’s talk more about the magic system, which is central to this books plot. Within this world there are individuals with magical abilities that are referred to as having the talent, and by some are referred to as the tainted, dependent on who you ask … The tainted have immense value to the authority, but inspite of this, they’re still classed as second class citizens, segregated, dehumanised and stripped of their humanity, not even afforded basic the liberties of normal citizens of the Dominion. But the narrative from the Authority is that they themselves are the last defense between the tainted and there unpredictable, dangerous nature. I really liked the way the magic system was portrayed, you know in basic terms what its capable of, what it’s limits are but all the while leaving some questions unanswered, so there’s definitely still some mystery, which I really liked. However it is taking the magic system into the realms of a technology, which is moving away from traditional magic systems,which totally worked in this instance. The element of mystery surrounding the magic system, keeps you intrigued and unlike a lot of modern fantasy books, is not there to over shadow the weaker elements of the book.
I found Matars writing style to be highly evocative and very engaging. The pacing and the technical execution of the this novel was pretty flawless. I think it was the consistency of the quality of the writing that was notable, in each chapter you can totally see the amount of work that went into this book. This is a glowing example of the fact that flowery prose is not a necessity for good writing. The skill in the writing was abundantly clear. I can definitely see influences from David Gemmel and Anthony Ryan in the writing.
I was really left feeling that I’ve just been privy to the beginning of a series that’s going to be very special. I think that once you’re taken by Matars characters, the emotional investment is so overwhelming that you’ll be following these characters for as long as Krystle is happy to write about them. I really feel that Matar has burst out the gate with this stunning debut and it’s my feeling that she will very quickly establish herself within the fantasy genre. Krystle has clearly worked incredibly hard to forge something that is really original, something that shows huge innovation and creativity.The passion behind this book is abundantly clear and shines through as every aspect of this novel.
There are elements of this book that Abercrombie, Pierce Brown fans will absolutely love!! It’s my belief that Mr Abercrombie should be concerned because there is a new girl in town!!
I’m hugely invested in this series and will eagerly awaiting the next installment!!
How are we all doing today? I hope you are all well.
Today I am once again thrilled to be one of the many incredible bloggers coming together to review Marcus Lee’s final book in The Gifted and the Cursed trilogy! This tour is hosted by Storytellers on Tour, who I have had the pleasure of working with on a few previous occasions, so definitely check out their site!
I would also like to take this time to thank Marcus for sending me a copy of this book!
Here are a few things you can expect from this book:
A dark fantasy romance;
A far reaching and magnificent world;
Deep, complex and nuanced characters; and
An utterly satisfying end to a great trilogy.
On to the full review…
I feel like I have been on such a journey with these books, from its characters and their journey all the way down to mine. I have the joy of saying that I have been able to participate in a book tour for each book from this series, and I am honoured to have been one of the many bloggers to have come together to share our thoughts on these books.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series as a whole and this final book was not a disappointment. I have loved, throughout reading this series, the the detail Lee puts into his writing, it is the little things I wouldn’t think of like Kalas’ armour being to bright to give appropriate camouflage, and it just adds that little extra to his writing that makes all the difference to the readers immersion into the book.
I also really enjoyed Lee’s knack for showing us the camaraderie amongst those who had survived Tristan’s Folly, and the introduction of new people into their ranks, though I did feel at times that anyone who wasn’t a part of their group were untrained simpletons and that at times felt a little unrealistic.
Lee manages to draw out some serious emotion towards the characters. Lord knows the moment I saw Yana’s name I was sighing at the bitch. Girl, please. He ain’t your man!! But then she surprises you and has you agreeing and appreciating certain aspects of the same damn character and it is such a real and human reaction. You don’t simply hate someone and instantly dislike every word out of their mouth and I like that Lee is able to showcase the complexity of several of his characters, especially within his darker less “good” characters.
Lawdd, help me but I just cannot get enough of Lee’s ability to blur the lines between what is typically good and evil! It allowed for us to see so many shades to several different characters every time we saw it from their eyes.
The man got darker in this instalment, suffering many near fatal wounds at the hands of Kalas he was bitter, showed slight signs of redemption, became even darker and more! I think that is what makes him a great villain, and while they were utterly despicable they were such a great addition to this character and story overall. I think Daleth was one of my favourite characters!
The characters that have filled the pages of this series are all great, some you love, some you hate and some you just can’t decide! But regardless of that I’m sad to see an end to their stories and happy because this was just such a satisfying ending!
It gives you everything!
It wraps up the tory brilliantly, it makes you sad, then happy, then sad again, then smug and so much more. It is simply one of those ending that is truly satisfying.
I don’t want to say much about the plot because you have so much to experience when you read this but know it is very satisfying, we travel and get to experience so much more of this incredible and vivid world Lee has created. It is a world that just keeps giving, I absolutely adored the insertion of the Horselords. I loved them, they are such a great addition to an already great book. It is the fear of their savage nature, the unknown and so much more that I enjoy about these elements and Lee managed to execute it so well, you were genuinely worried about the outcome of certain plot points surrounding them, so kudos to Lee for brilliantly weaving them into this story and with such suspense and tension.
I do have one gripe, and it is petty but the overuse of the word ‘for’ bugged me to no end. It was everywhere, I loved it in the other books because it wasn’t used nearly as much as it was in this book. I got to a point where I scowled each time I saw it.
However, despite my petty gripe this book and series in general is a fab one! When I think bak to the books of this trilogy I just smile, it is one of those trilogy that has a lot of scenes and moments that I love, I can pick out so many scenes that I LOVED and get excited about these books all over again!
You know the drill, On to the rating…
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
I am happy to say that Tristan’s Folly is a BUY THE PAPERBACK! Yayyy
As I said in my review, I enjoyed this book. I have book one and two so it would be rude t not have the complete set!
ABOUT MARCUS LEE…
What Marcus Lee has to say…
Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me…but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.
As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.
Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book. Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.
So, here we are. The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.
However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be my first of many. I genuinely hope so.
Who knows, now these creative juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.
Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and the Illiad as a seven-year-old. Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others.
Today I am partnering with the brilliant and hard working Storytellers On Tour to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for U. L Harper’s book, Katy of Clay.
Yeah? Good. Let’s go then.
This book cover is by cover artist Daniel Iglesias.
A few things about the author first…
U.L. Harper is a speculative fiction and literary author, influenced by magical realism. A former journalist from Long Beach, California, he now resides in Tacoma, Washington with his wife and daughter. He is an avid Dodgers fan.
U. L Harper started off doing poetry. Every now and again the poetry influence enters his novel writing. His latest work, The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe, meshes fantasy and horror with magical realism.
It’s typical to acknowledge how your parents have shaped you. But what if they shaped you out of clay?
When Katy visits her father, she questions why she can no longer remember the face of her mother who died nine years ago.
What’s more is that recently her body has been going through strange changes.
It’s these changes that force her father to reveal an old family secret—she’s made from clay and will be catapulted into another world because of it.
Shortly thereafter, she finds herself in a frightening parallel world where ghosts indefi-nitely relive their deaths, a land where she will discover the secret that cost her the memory of her mother’s face, and it’s a place where she’ll journey to find the insidious truth about what she’s destined to become.
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.
BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE
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.
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!
Amra is a thief with morals—she won’t steal from anyone poorer than she is. Fortunately, anybody that poor generally doesn’t have much worth stealing! Holgren is a mage with a distaste for magic and a soul bartered away to dark powers. Together they embark on a quest for the fabled city of Thagoth, where the secret of immortality is rumored to be hidden.
But Amra and Holgren aren’t the only ones after the secret. Many others seek to utilize the hidden magic for their own twisted ends. And waiting in the ruined city with dark plans for the world are the twin gods Tha-Agoth and Athagos, a brother and sister whose illicit passion is as destructive and vengeful as they are.
Now, as potent sorceries clash in a violent struggle for dominion over all that lives, Amra and Holgren face a choice between the unthinkable and the unbearable—with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. . . .
Here are a few things you can expect from The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye:
A feel good book;
A fast paced adventure;
Good Vs Evil;
AMRA, the witty, slightly prickly, honourable and utterly compelling thief!
On to the full review…
This is such a good second book to Amra’s story, yes that is correct Michael McClung has done it again he has given us the utterly compelling, slightly prickly and remarkably honourable thief Amra! I think I am with the many here in that these books are such fun and its mainly down to Amra. I think I would go as far as to say she is one of my all time favourite characters. I have read many books who have tried and failed to create their own version of Amra but they never quite catch the right balance so when you find a character like Amra you have to keep hold of her and not let go.
I’m with Amra to the end guys, that’s right I will get through all of these books. Promise.
And now I can add Holgren to the list! I really liked Holgren in the first book, and I wasn’t let down with this instalment. I still want to know more about him but this instalment was a nice taste of that pie, it didn’t give too much away, but kept in line with what we know of his character. Which isn’t all that much but I know we are yet to see all of Holgren.
This book is a little bit mare serious than book one in the sense that there is a lot more at stake here, relationships begin to develop and the characters are up against seemingly impossible odds. The whole story is much more ambitious as Amra and Holgren leave the confines of Lucernis and head to a ruined and long forgotten city of Thagoth.
I loved the injection of even more fantasy in this book, McClung has given us sorcery kings and monsters that only the deepest darkest parts of the night could conjure. Not only that but we get to see a little bit more of this worlds history and lore through the brief and enjoyable snippets of a gods POV.
McClung also, once again, manages to give you so much in 200 odd pages without overbearing you. I am constantly amazed at his ability to expand on this world, and with a good degree of detail too, yet it does not clog up huge portions of this books.
I really, enjoyed this book and I am excited to see the what the other instalments bring.
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 am happy to say The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye is one I would put in the BUY THE PAPERBACK rank!
It is a book I know I can just pick up during a slump and enjoy regardless.
I will read this again, along with the other books of this series and It will be really cool when I have the whole series sitting proud on my shelves.
This book is a little pricey for a shorter book, especially when the eBook is so cheap but honestly it is worth it just on the fact that Amra is amazing nevermind the writing, the world, the humour and everything else. I tend to buy these books here and there, I have the first three and will slowly get them all.
I am absolutely thrilled to be partnering with an incredible author and an incredible book tour organiser again! Don’t stop here though, I am one of many incredible Bloggers participating in this tour!
Realm of Dreich is a getaway for the rich and powerful, a medieval-inspired town in the middle of a vast frozen wilderness. Now it’s the site of a wedding, intended to join two feuding families who have spent centuries in an uneasy truce with each other.
When Tommy Carpenter asks his best friend, Nate Garrett, to help him with the security of the wedding, Nate reluctantly agrees, knowing that it will be a long weekend of work and, in all probability, treachery.
It is only a matter of time before members of each family are found murdered and it is up to Nate and Tommy to find the killer before more bodies fall, potentially reigniting a war.
Here are a few things you can expect from Frozen Rage:
Serious murder mystery vibes;
A kick ass lead;
Break-neck pace filled with bloody and brilliant action;
On to the full review…
If you don’t want to read it already from the above details then let me tempt you a little bit more.
This book is such an enjoyable read, I didn’t realise how much I wanted a fast paced whirlwind murder novella until I picked this book up. I had engaged with Steve on Twitter a bit in the past over games, so when I saw this book tour I couldn’t help but join in. I have been in a bit of a time slump at the minute so this book was perfect for my current circumstances.
Firstly, let me point out this is a technically a standalone and for me has acted as the perfect introduction to Steve’s series as a whole, having not read his other books prior to this. This wasn’t an issue for me as I still felt like I could follow the plot and connect with the characters involved. The only downside of this is there are a few mentions of previous events and previous characters within the world you don’t fully appreciate or understand and there is an assumption you are indeed familiar with the world and its races.
BUT LET ME REMIND YOU THIS IS MY FAULT AND NOT A FAULT OF THE BOOK. IT IS BOOK 6.5 FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, THE CHARACTERS ALREADY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT HISTORY PRIOR TO THIS.
This novella has actually made me want to read all the books prior to this series so I can get those details, I want to see the relationships between characters start and grow and the events that have made Nate such a bad ass!
Frozen Rage is actually a little bloodier than I expected, I’m not overly sure what I expected but I was shocked and impressed at the level of bloody murder within this book. This book is as Nick Borelli said in his review“an interactive experience”. One of the first things I noticed when reading this was that there is quite a bit of dialogue between the characters and it is this for me that made this read so much more interactive. I genuinely felt like I was a part of the conversations between characters, I was stood there nodding along and putting in my two pence about why Viktor is a dick.
Steve does great in this novella to show you the little realm of Dreich, it honestly sounds like somewhere i’d be happy to go, less the murder though! You can imagine the whole realm from the people that fill it to the landscapes that surround it.
The investigatory nature of this book is also well written, it is fast acting and unravels the way you would want a investigation to be handled. There is no lollygaggin between clues and revelations and you don’t stop until you have it uncovered.
Also, the ending….pretty fucking epic!!
A final note too. The Cover. OMG it is beautiful!
As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or borrow/sale scale. I am happy to say Frozen Rage sits nicely in the BUY THE PAPERBACK rank!
The novella is reasonably priced
I would read this again, though after the other books
Sound good? I can confirm it is! If you want to pick up your own copy you can do so through Kindle Unlimited or treat yourself to a physical copy from Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com
Or be a little more logical than me and start at the beginning! Book One is ‘Crimes Against Magic’ and can be ordered through Amazon.co.uk OR Amazon.com 🙂
About Steve …
Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up “One boy and his frog” was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.
It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is now available to purchase. He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.
Self-Published Fantasy Month is nearly over and it has been such fun to experience. I have seen some incredible reviews and even better interviews. I loved focusing on the self-published gems of the bookish world this month, even if I didn’t read as much as I wanted because I was in a slump ( I loved all I was reading but generally struggled to find the time to read😩😭) I still managed to get some Self-published inspired posts out…
I hosted two giveaways featuring ‘Voice of War’ by the amazing Zack Argyle and ‘The Riven Realm’ by the talented Deck Matthews.
This is my first review with a new rating system, it is pretty simple but if you want further details then head to my Rating System Page.
So, the basics.
Rather than rate books on a numerical scale from one to five I am going to give them one of the following tags:
Buy the Hardback
Buy the Paperback
Buy the Kindle eBook
Rent from the library OR wait for a sale
There is still an element of loved it or liked it but I’m going to move forward with this and see how it goes. This is totally new and will likely end up with a few holes in the logic but I don’t mind, it is new and exciting! Also, if you really want a star rating I will still be using Goodreads which has the five star system.
I’m also going to start this review a little bit differently to what I usually start my reviews like. I’m aware that people read these on a time constraint or just want to get to the end summary or generally just want a shorter review. So this time I’m going to give you a few bullet points of the things you can expect within the story, it won’t be a review it will literally be something like the types of themes, feelings the books gives you or generally the elements we love to see in a book in bullet point form. Then you can read that and be like ‘damn yes, I love brotherhood feels, battles or blood and gore’. Then from there you can either read the rest or just add it to your TBR. I mean I hope you read it all but I get it…Maybe ☺️☺️
A few facts about The Heart of Stone:
Title: The Heart of Stone
Author: Ben Galley
I read The Heart of Stone on my Kindle which is currently only £0.99 on Amazon (UK)! I would love to buy a physical copy too but alas it is only audio or eBook to my knowledge.
Golems are built for war and little else. In centuries past, they were a terrifying staple of the battlefield. Empires were conquered on the backs of golems. Now, time and fear have whittled their kind down to a precious few, kept only by kings and warlords.
Task of Wind-Cut is one such machine of war.
Task was built to kill. Built to win. Thousands have died at his stone hands. He cared once, perhaps, but far too many years have passed and too much blood has been spilled. Task has become numb to the chaos he wreaks for his masters. A slave to the spells that bind him.
Now, Task has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund is in the grip of civil war, tearing itself in two over coin and crown. This time, Task will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.
Beneath his formidable stone, Task longs for change. For an end to this cycle of warfare. For proof of light and good amongst the foul darkness of humanity and war. It will take the mind of an unusual stable-girl to change his.
As promised, here are a few things you can expect from The Heart of Stone:
Big brother/Little Sister Vibes – An utterly wholesome and well developed relationship which came across vey sibling like in my opinion;
Double agents, spies and political intrigue;
Brilliant word-building of a country ravaged by war;
Memorable characters who you will think about even while not reading the book;
Violent Battles and Civil War;
Dry Humour ;
On to the full review…
Bloody hell! Right, I have a really weird relationship with the beginnings of novels. I really do. I either love them or hate them, obviously there is a middle ground in which I keep plodding on but sometimes, just sometimes a book has me in the first page! And it doesn’t have to be anything huge either. I’ll tell you what it was for this book…it was the sentence:
”He felt heavier than a mountain.”
See what I mean, that’s odd right?!
But that sentence just gave my crazy imagination so much. To feel heavy as a mountain you have to be pretty drained, pretty tired and dang near defeated! Why? Who is this person? Why so heavy? What life have you lead to warrant such a feeling! Then to be followed by a writing style I can love which paints such a vivid picture in my head…I’m feeling like I’m onto a winner, no? YES.
Now don’t get me wrong this can change but I’m starting a book with the best possible start when this happens.
While it seemed to take me forever to read this book, I really enjoyed it! This book has so many elements to it, of which are all beautifully intertwined to create a compelling and intriguing plot. Though, this books biggest success to me was quite simply its characters.
I really liked Task, I found his personality brilliant. What was likely not necessarily meant to be humour had me chuckling quite a bit. Task does not mince his words and has a dry and blunt personality.
‘I didn’t hear you. Well done. Now leave me alone.’
Ahhhh, Lesky! Little Lesky (or leaky if my autocorrect had it’s way) was amazing. How can you not adore a driven young person striving to make better of their situation and with a dream big enough to guide her?! The answer is you can’t. You must love the spirited little love and I did! I adored her character and her budding relationship with a big grump of a golem.
Lesky shrugged. ‘Mam says that fighters fight and survivors survive, but cowards cower. “You got to do what you are to be what you are”, and I ain’t no coward.’
This was the first book of Galley’s that I have read I was really impressed with the writing style, it was detailed enough to bring out such vivid and incredible images while not falling into tedious or the over embellished category. My first introduction to Alabast was marvellous and Galley’s ability to create such a brilliant world is deserving of much praise. I instantly liked Alabast and his introduction greatly reminded me of a certain character introduction from Jonathan French’s ‘The True Bastards’. I appreciated it then and even more so in ‘The Heart of Stone’ for the fact it sets up the character personality quickly and effectively!
Another thing that I liked in this series was, and this is going to sound silly so let me try and explain it 🙈 so Pocahontas was my favourite Disney girl and colours of the wind was my favourite song yanno the bit
”I know every rock and tree and creature has a life has spirit has a name…”
Yeah that, always loved it. Always will so when I saw hints at Task listening to the stones stories and feeling the current of the earth like they were whispering to him the secrets of battle I bloody loved it. Like I said a bit weird but we all have our clicks 😂
The mass of beating hearts, the nervous shiver of countless feet, the crashing of drums and shields… He felt them all, and through them he felt more than just stone.
I could really write a ton more on this book. The plot, the characters, the world and the writing are all amazing but I’m aware I have waffled a fair amount in this review..
So let me round this up by saying this is a great read, it is a solidly written fantasy with some dark fantasy feels too. It focuses on the characters and their growing relationships while maintaining a dynamic and interesting plot. Galley also filled a brilliantly written world with a great number of flawed, morally grey and wholesome side characters.
He could not fight for the Truehards; not for Huff. But he could fight for men and women like these. Men and women who were shackled by the sway of their betters, just like him.
Any way that’s it from me, and now as you are aware I will be rating my books on a buy hardback, paperback, kindle or rental/wait for a sale system…
The Heart of Stone is definitely (if it wasn’t just published for audio and eBook) a book I would get in paperback form!
It is a book I would read again
The cover is also great
I would feel honoured to have this on my shelves at home