Reads

Guest review ~ T.M Lakomy – The Shadow Crucible

8/10

Review by the awesome Michael Britt

“Mortals are weak and prone to mistakes; do not measure us by our worst, but rather by our virtue. In a world where we have many reasons to be evil, some choose goodness.”

Shadow Crucible is such a strong debut novel! I’m not even sure what I could compare this to. It’s almost like a historical fiction with fantastical and paranormal elements thrown in.

There still tends to be the stigma surrounding independently published books. This book blows that stigma out of the water. I tend to keep my reviews spoiler free, so I’ll try and keep this as vague as possible. We follow a few characters in the book, 2 more so than the others, and it’s set in the medieval gothic era of London. The 2 main characters of the book are Count Mikhail, a Knights Templar, and Estella, a seer. As you can probably tell, these 2 characters couldn’t be much different. While I really enjoyed them, I think I might have enjoyed some of the side characters more. Mainly Antariel, but stating the reasons would be major spoilers. We also get a really great cast of angels and demons, which is what grabbed my attention with this book in the first place. And Lakomy sure gave us some major players! We’ve got Lucifer, Samael, I think Jesus makes an appearance, and some of the Archangels. My favorite scenes were, by far, when any of these angels or demons made an appearance. You just knew something was going to go down!

Luckily, there wasn’t much need for world-building. Some like it, but I’m picky on my world-building, so it’s nice when it’s pretty much already done for us. But what I did love was her ability to set scenes up. She’s able to make our surroundings vivid without giving us 2 pages of extensive and useless descriptions. Which seems to be something that some authors, understandably, find kind of tough. This definitely has a dark feel to it too, which I absolutely loved! This is pretty much what I pictured throughout the book:

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I did have a few problems with the book, though. It obviously wasn’t anything that ruined the novel for me, or my enjoyment, but I do feel that they’re things worth addressing. Some of the action scenes tended to happen really quickly without much of a segue from it being a calm setting into the action. It wasn’t something that happened often, but I did have to go back and reread a few scenes. The other thing was actually part of what I liked. I didn’t really connect as well with the main characters as much as I did with the side characters. So I look at that one as a strength and a weakness. But I also tend to gravitate more towards side characters in every story I read, so take that for what it’s worth.

All in all, I was extremely happy that I picked this book up! It had so many elements that I really enjoyed. If her debut novel is this strong then I can’t wait to see her future works as she grows as a writer! Definitely recommend for anyone who loves a real life setting with some paranormal and fantasy twists to it.

 

Review of ~ Anna Smith Spark – The Court of Broken Knives (Empires of Dust #1)

9/10

“Not sure I really feel like fucking someone who’s part god and part suicidal drunk, you know”

I received an advanced copy of The Court of Broken Knives via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Anna Smith Spark and Harper Voyager. This will be posted on Fantasy Book Review shortly.

2017 has been a stunning year for adult fantasy debuts and the trend absolutely continues with The Court of Broken Knives (book one of Empires of Dust) which will surely become a grimdark classic. (more…)

Review of ~ James Patterson – Cat and Mouse (Alex Cross #4)

7.5/10

It was amazing to return to the corrupt and thrilling world where the policeman, psychologist and all around great family man, Alex Cross tries to solve insanely complex. homicide cases. Although often extremely violent and upsetting, dealing with the darkest sides of what crimes humans can commit, I love reading this series and the majority of the entries are highly addictive. (more…)

Review of ~ Michael R. Fletcher – Fire and Flesh – A Manifest Delusions Short Story

8/10

*Quick review*

Fletcher’s short story, Fire and Flesh is a standalone tale from his Manifest Delusions series. I haven’t yet read that series but it has been on my radar for a while. Fletcher advised me that this 17-page-narrative would be fine to approach before reading Beyond Redemption so, one rainy day I frequented a local British pub and whilst enjoying a pint of cider, I devoured the story within an hour. For a short book, I must admit, (more…)

Review of ~ Tom Lloyd – Stranger of Tempest (The God Fragments #1)

7.5/10

I received a free copy of Stranger of Tempest in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Tom Lloyd and Gollancz.

I am not ashamed to admit that I was drawn to reading this book by how stunning Jon McCoy’s cover artwork is. The second thing that made me think this novel was well worth my time is that it has one of the best opening chapters that I have read in a long time which begins with… (more…)

Review of ~ Vic James – Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)

8.5/10

I received an ARC of Gilded Cage from NetGalley and I would like to thank Vic James and Del Rey Books.

Gilded Cage is set in a dystopian, totalitarian alternative United Kingdom where certain individuals are born with the power of Skill. This created world is a mix of Dickensian Britain (with slave towns) and modern Britain (with computer consoles and C-pop music). The Equals are the ruling aristocrat elite here as they are born with the magic of Skill, they are the celebrities and they run the nation. Everyone lacking Skill is controlled and for ten years of their lives have to work their ‘Slave Days’. (more…)