Review: King of Ashes

May 22, 2018 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, High Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: King of AshesKing of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist
Series: The Firemane Saga #1
Published by Harper Voyager on 5th April 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as "the Firemane" for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.
As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable—and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the "Hidden Warriors," legendary assassins and spies, are trained.

Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.

Soon, the two young men—an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith—will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended . . . and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world.

A few years ago I read and enjoyed Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar Saga and have been meaning to read more of his work ever since. So I was delighted to get the chance to read the first novel in his latest series, The Firemane Saga, King of Ashes.

The book opens to the aftermath of a battle where Steveren Langene (aka Firemane), King of Ithrace, one of the five Great Kingdoms of Garn has been betrayed and defeated. He, along with his family, is put to death to ensure the destruction of Ithrace, Kingdom of Flames.

Baron Daylon Dumarch was one of the men to betray his friend, Steveren Langene. So when a baby who is said to be the last remaining Firemane is brought to him in secret, Baron Daylon ensures the child’s safety by sending him to the legendary “Invisible Nation” of Coaltachin, where is to be raised until he comes to manhood.

We then fast forward some 16 years or so and the story largely follows two characters, the first of whom is Declan, an orphan who has been raised and trained by Edvalt, former Master Blacksmith to Baron Daylon. The second character being Hatushaly, or ‘Hatu’, a student of one of the nameless schools of Coaltachin, a nation renowned for producing the finest spies and assassins in the world.

I’m not going to tell you any more about the plot than that!

Raymond E Feist’s world building is incredible. He weaves such detail into the narrative of his story that we feel ourselves transported to Garn.

Admittedly, I was initially somewhat concerned about being overwhelmed by all the names and nations but it didn’t take long for me to get up to speed.

Feist’s characters are so well-formed. Years on, and I still think of Pug from the Riftwar Saga,  if this isn’t the sign of a good character then I don’t know what is. I just know I’m going to feel the same about Declan and Hatu.

This is a thoroughly entertaining read, filled with action and never a dull moment. It is beautifully poised for the continuation of this series and I cannot wait to see where book two takes us.

If you are looking for an accessible, entertaining fantasy, then you can’t go amiss with Feist’s King of Ashes. I’m just sorry to have to wait for book two.

four-half-stars

Review: Godsgrave

September 22, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: GodsgraveGodsgrave by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #2
Published by Harper Voyager on 7th September 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

So, if you haven’t read Nevernight then either go pick up a copy or check out my post with 6 reasons to read it. Godsgrave is the second book in The Nevernight Chronicle and while I won’t be discussing Godsgrave spoilers there will inevitably be Nevernight spoilers.

Ok, so Mia is now a blade – after Lord Cassius anointed her one prior to his death. As well as her original passenger Mister Kindly, Mia now also has the company of the late Lord Cassius’ shadow wolf, Eclipse. I have to say I wasn’t entirely sure about the banter between these two shadow characters to begin with, but actually, I grew to really like it!

Mia has not given up on her intention to kill Duomo and Scaeva in order to seek justice for her family. However her blade status does complicate things somewhat and so Mia, in true Mia-style, comes up with an outlandish, if cunning, plan to finally end her foes.

There is so much to love in this book – not least Mia, who really is an incredible character. She took me on a bit of a rollercoaster in this book, but that’s what all good characters do, right?

There are some interesting new characters in this second book and I really like the way that Kristoff incorporated them, as well as the reemergence of some more familiar characters.

As you’d expect having read Nevernight, this book is filled with blood, fighting, death, profanities, poison; I mean it’s probably not for everyone. But if you’re a Nevernight fan, then you know what to expect!

Kristoff is such an incredible writer. I love the way he involves the reader in this story, with added sarcasm to boot! I was worried Godsgrave  wouldn’t live up to my high expectations but it really did. I had no idea where the story was going to go and I love the direction it took!

I’m not quite sure how we are meant to wait another year for the final book in this trilogy. I’ve provisionally marked it in my 2018 diary already!

five-stars

Review: Godblind

September 15, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: GodblindGodblind by Anna Stephens
Series: The Godblind Trilogy #1
Published by Harper Voyager on 15th June 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-stars

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?

I’d heard a lot of great things about this book prior to picking it up. Fantasy told from the perspectives of multiple characters, Gods trying to regain entry to the world, people and cultures with their own beliefs, men vying to be King, it all sounded pretty good. And it was. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, maybe even up to 70% but then I kind of got bored, which surprised me as the last part of the book has fighting, battles, action. Yet I got bored of reading passages of fighting, injury, blood, death. Why? Well, I’ve been trying to figure that out. I think there was just too much description, too many fight scenes and I just lost interest. Also, I’m not sure that I really cared about any of the characters, except Crys.

Believe me, I’m really disappointed, I wanted to love this. Indeed to begin with I was absorbed by the story and the world. I kept hoping I’d get back to that but it just didn’t happen for me.

If you’ve read this I’d love to know your thoughts. I think I’m definitely in the minority with this. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood?

All that said, this is a creative book – I enjoyed the world building and concepts, but sadly it didn’t hold my attention.

three-stars

6 Reasons To Pre-Order Nevernight!

August 2, 2016 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

6 Reasons To Pre-Order Nevernight!Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Harper Voyager on 11th August 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

 

I recently saw a tweet from a fellow blogger addressing the fact that sometimes the books you enjoy most are the most difficult to review. I fear that this might be the case with Nevernight. Why? Well I want to share my love for this book with you, without any spoilers! This could be tough…

With this in mind, my post today is going to be a little different from my usual reviews. I’m going to share with you six reasons why you should be pre-ordering this book NOW, ready for its release on the 11th of August. (See bottom of the post for details on the various editions available in the UK).

Right, so here we go. Six reasons why you NEED to pre-order Nevernight!

 

1.

#1 a strong, feisty, kick-ass female protagonist

Mia is an awesome character. I love her banter, her bluntness and her deadliness. She’s isn’t without flaws – exactly how I like my characters!

2

#2 a rich, absorbing and creative world

Seriously, this world is fascinating! The Gods, the suns, the politics, the history – I loved uncovering and understanding more of this world. Admittedly I wasn’t sure about the footnotes that adorn this novel to begin with, but these are awesome! They add to the story, help us to understand the world and they’ll make you chuckle too.

3

#3 assassins

Moreover, a school for assassins.  A ruthless environment where only three of the best will become coveted ‘blades’. Need I say any more?

4

#4 it’s deliciously dark

Oh so dark and oh so brilliant! As you’d imagine in a book about assassins there’s death, blood and gore. There’s monsters, loss, hatred and revenge. There’s back-stabbing, savagery and deep, dark shadows. I could go on…

5

#5 a narrator who’ll make you chortle

Those footnotes I mentioned that help us further our understanding of the world and its history? They are also where our narrator adds his own two cents – or rather two ‘beggars’.

6

#6 the beautiful spell-binding writing

… and the profanities!

Oh there’s more. There’s so much more – friendships, family, fear, fraternising to name but a few.

I could’ve devoured this book whole, but I loved it so much that I savoured it. I didn’t want it to end. What’s exciting though is that this is just the first book of a trilogy. Kristoff stomped all over my emotions in this book and (the glutton for punishment that I am) I cannot wait to see what he brings us in book two!

Get your pre-order in!

If you are in the UK there are a couple of different Nevernight editions available for order. You probably want to be quick though as stock will be limited.

  • Goldsboro have a signed first hardback trade edition complete with sprayed edges.
  • Waterstones have an exclusive hardback edition with black edged pages.
five-stars