Review

Review of ~ Melissa Caruso – The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1)

Originally posted on Fantasy Book Review

8/10I received a review copy of The Tethered Mage in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Melissa Caruso, Nazia, and Orbit.

I received a review copy of The Tethered Mage in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Melissa Caruso, Nazia, and Orbit.

Less than a week ago I had no idea what to read next. I picked up this book as the cover looked gorgeous and contained quotations from RJ Barker, Anna Smith Spark, and Vic James. I’m super happy that I did and I would describe this book as YA political fantasy with magic – almost like the perfect mix of Gilded Cage and The Lies of Locke Lamora.

The world of Eruvia has had a lasting peace under the guidance of the Empire based in the city of Raverra. One of the contributing factors to how the peace is kept is that the Empire control the Falcons. They are mage-marked warlocks, some of who control magical destruction capabilities that can engulf and eradicate whole cities with ease. (more…)

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Review of ~ John Gwynne – A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1)

As originally posted on Fantasy Book Review

9/10

I received an advanced copy of A Time of Dread in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank John Gwynne and Pan MacMillan for this opportunity.

The story places readers within the Land of the Faithful approximately 120 years after the conclusion of the novel Wrath, which was an epic, brutal, and fulfilling climax to one of my favourite ever fantasy series. The angel-like Ben-Elim rule the land now from their base at the giant-erected fortress of Drassil. They’ve spent generations uniting the nations and tracking the remaining forces of the grotesque and scarily powerful Kadoshim, their Eternal enemy. The Kadoshim’s leader, Asroth is frozen in metal within the Ben-Elim’s stronghold but that doesn’t mean his faithful aren’t out there plotting, sacrificing innocents and boiling up some horrid actions that could equate to A Time of Dread. (more…)

Review of ~ T.M. Lakomy – The Shadow Crucible

9/10

I received a review copy of The Shadow Crucible in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank T.M. Lakomy and Select Books Inc. for this opportunity.

This novel was influenced by the scriptures found within the Nag Hammadi scrolls which were written sometime between the 2nd and 3rd-century A.D. and resurfaced about 70-years-ago. Lakomy’s stunning debut is a complex adult fantasy epic set mainly in an alternative medieval London that reeks shadowy imagery and environments reminiscent of Penny Dreadful. For the majority, this narrative follows two key players who are pawns in a greater game of which they do not yet comprehend. Firstly, the orphan protecting, demon tormented seer, Estella; who has been blessed with the gift of sight, and can often unwillingly see into Heaven itself. Secondly, Count Mikhael, a mind-reading Templar who enforces religious viewpoints and actions even though he also sees the spirits and grotesque beings that frequent beneath the radars of most individuals existence. (more…)

Review of ~ Craig Shaefer – Winter’s Reach (Revanche Cycle #1)

8/10

Winter’s Reach is Craig Schaefer’s entry for this year’s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and is Fantasy Book Review’s first semi-finalist. Although he is mostly known for the Daniel Faust series, this is Schaefer’s foray into writing complex dark fantasy.

It starts by following a young nobleman called Felix who has a plan to go to Winter’s Reach to make a deal to save his family’s dwindling reputation. The problem is that Winter’s Reach is controlled by barbaric criminals under the guiding hand of the notorious Mayor, Veruca Barrett. Making this deal might not be so straightforward. Against his father’s advice, he goes through with the trip but, perhaps he has another motive for venturing to the infamous, blisteringly chaotic city. (more…)

Review of ~ Josiah Bancroft – Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1)

9/10

Will be posted on Fantasy Book Review shortly.

Josiah Bancroft’s debut novel is a huge deal in the world of fantasy fiction right now. I truly regret being late to the party but can safely say the hype is well deserved. Seeing only unanimously positive reviews from my blogging peers, I had to check out this 2016 #SPFBO’s entrant as soon as I could. (more…)

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:

 photo 175254-Bullgakova_zpsjsvcxi5g.jpg

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…)