Tag Archives: epic fantasy

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) – Book Review

Published Date: November 14, 2017

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 533

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Distinct and enchanting.

Ozzy approved.

As with many epic fantasies that I end up binge reading, I wish I had slowed down for a minute and wrote down a quote so that you may sample the lyrical wine. But, I have no djinn to grant my wish.

Turns out that’s a double edged sword anyway. You get all your wishes but you’ll likely be murdered in the end. Djinn slaves are not to be trifled with.

Nahri is a pick pocket from the streets of Cairo during the French occupation. She swindles to survive, using her unusual healing abilities to help birth children and run cons against the wealthy. She speaks a language she’s never heard another human speak before and learns languages as easily as riding a camel. She smiles at everyone she plans to rob. That’s sweet really. If you’re going to take something someone has, at least do it with a smile on your face so the mark feels good for a minute.

While hosting a fake ritual to heal a mentally broken girl, Nahri accidentally summons a djinn warrior and an ifrit, with a host of ghouls they summon to hunt her down. Not exactly the scam ending she had been hoping for. The surprised-to-be-summoned warrior saves her and they run from Cairo.

What follows is a countries crossed trek through the desert via flying carpet and stolen horses, battles with mythical creatures and the arrival to a secret city inhabited by beings Nahri has never heard of before but apparently, shares as least some small amount of blood with. She’s the last blood of a tribe that was massacred and the people are desperate for both what she represents and her healing abilities. It’s a city of wealth unlike anything Nahri has every seen and a life there is almost unimaginable, until the king offers her virtually everything she could ever want.

Nahri recognizes another con man when she sees one. She decides to take the offer and believes she can hold her own against him but she’s not well versed in politics and it’s games. The youngest prince appears to hate her, the princess tries to humiliate her and the king expects her to fail. She tries to learn to navigate this new world with the help of people from her tribe and her personal warrior, but everyone has their own agendas for her life and Nahri is too independent to be lead by the nose.

Everyone is running their own scheme in Daevabad, and every scheme is interrupted or spun into a new scheme is this politically unstable city filled with various tribes of magical people who cannot seem to get along for long.

Will Nahri survive the city or will she become the victim of a long con?

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Knight’s Shadow (Greatcoats #2) – Book Review

Published Date: June 2, 2015

Publishing Co.: Jo Fletcher Books

Pages: 592

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My review of Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoat’s #2).

There is a reason that this is referred to as swash-buckling fun, it is that, but it’s also so much more.

Knight’s Shadow begins to take a darker turn. We return to the crew with Falcio paralyzed from neatha poisoning. Each morning, the paralysis takes longer and longer to go away, all the while they’re surrounded by enemies. All the while, Falcio is slowly dying. That is the end he sees coming every morning he wakes and cannot move, cannot speak, can hardly breath. If it weren’t for his friends standing guard over his body at night, his enemies could slip in and easily finish the legendary Greatcoat.

The mission begins the same, to put Aline on the throne, but they’ve underestimated the game. There is a secret third player playing havoc with their plans. One moment they’re gaining ground, the next they’re knocked down two pegs and are fighting for their lives once again. The hits keep coming, but how much can one group of people take?

This novel ended up being so much more than I had expected, and to get too detailed would be to ruin the many excellent turns of plot. There were several moments where I was left simply with goosebumps and I was nothing but a fiend that had to continue to find out what happened next.

This easily climbs to the top of my favorite fantasy series list.

Rat Queens, Special: Orc Dave #1 – Comic Review

Published Date: September 27, 2017

Publishing Co.: Image – Shadowline

Pages: 29

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic peek into the origin of Orc Dave and the first time he meets the girls.

There is a lot explained about Dave in one short edition, but I feel like I know him much better now. Plus, you can never go wrong reading about orc shamans.

Bloody Rose (The Band #2) – Book Review

Published Date: August 28, 2018

Publishing Co.: Orbit

Pages: 515

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

https://cupcakesandmachetes.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/kings-of-the-wyld-book-review/

Owlbears, centaurs and satyrs, oh my!

Keeping the World of Warcraft theme from the first review going here.

Brune = shaman

Cura = warlock

Freecloud = paladin

Rose = warrior

Tam = hunter (minus the pet. Pretty much just the bow thing.)

What can I say but that I bloody love Bloody fucking Rose. Her and all the characters surrounding her. Tam Hashford was an excellent main character and I’m a sucker for a story from the bard’s point of view.

Newly appointed bard, Tam Hashford has barely ever left the town she was born in to her ex-mercenary parents. They were legends once but now Tam’s father refuses to let her do anything dangerous after her mother’s death, or anything much at all besides work. He doesn’t really even want to her to work at the tavern, but she makes good money so he grumbles to himself about it. What he doesn’t know is that the tavern and all the characters in it, her coworkers and all the mercenaries traveling through, are only inspiring her to go on her own grand adventure. With the unwanted help of her drunk, mercenary uncle, she unexpectedly becomes the new bard for the legendary band Fable.

There is another Horde forming, threatening to take out humanity and every band is heading in that direction to fight. Except Fable. They’ve got a contract somewhere else and a tour to finish and everyone is pissed that Bloody Rose isn’t going to fight for the good cause. Tam’s the new kid so she’s pretty much just along for the ride, there to witness anything legendary they might do and sing to the world about it later.

But sitting on the sidelines isn’t really Tam’s style. Sure, she’s happy to follow in her bard mother’s footsteps, but she’s half mercenary too. Where there is adventure, there are risks and risks lead to epic stories. This is Tam’s.

Eames impressed me with his first set of characters in KotW. I loved them all and they’ll never leave me, but the same goes with this new set. He’s just that good at creating characters. He’s good at everything really. Creature creations, descriptions, world building, epic writing, goofy references. The icing on the cake, appearances by some familiar faces.

Where’s book three?

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight #2) – Book Review

https://cupcakesandmachetes.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/the-bear-and-the-nightingale-book-review/

Published Date: December 5, 2017

Publishing Co.: Del Rey

Pages: 363

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

When the first decent snow hit, it was time to pick this up. Something about reading it while it snows just adds another level of whimsy to the tale.

After the events of the first book, Vasya has decided to travel the world on Solovey. The Winter King doesn’t think this is a good idea as bad things happen to maidens who travel the big, scary world alone. But, Vasya won’t be deterred. There is nothing left in her village for her after the rumors spread that she is a witch. So she dons men’s clothing, packs up Solovey who doesn’t approve of saddles and turns her eye to the great, wide world.

Someone out there is burning villages and stealing away the girl-children, people cower in fear and the noblemen can find no trace of the bandits. Vasya and Solovey stumble across the bandit camp while running from some pursuers who tried to catch Vasya, with three girls still in their custody. They hatch a rescue plan and steal the girls back but they’re almost caught by the leader. They run until they reach sanctuary where unbeknownst to Vasya, her brother Sasha is hunting the bandits with the Grand Prince of Moscow.

With new allies at her back and her brother keeping her gender a secret, they track down the bandit camp and take their revenge. Blood spilled together cements relationships and Vasya is invited back to Moscow with the prince and his men. Here, the tale becomes more treacherous, Vasya has the prince’s ear but there are many men jealous of this and hiding her deceit becomes more difficult everyday. Her sister, now a princess, plans to marry her off as soon as people forget about her ‘handsome younger brother.’ Tied down in marriage, popping out babies has never been in the cards for Vasya but very soon, the choice may be taken away from her.

Better than the first, Vasya is becoming a headstrong woman, more confident in herself everyday. Who doesn’t enjoy a good story of a maiden disguised as a man, exploring a world they never thought they would see and out cunning criminals along the way with the help of old, forgotten gods?

The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle #2) – Book Review

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Published Date: April 13, 2010

Publishing Co.: Del Rey

Pages: 579

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Warded Man – Book Review

Trigger warning.

Yeah, I’ve never done that in a review. Ever. It needs to be done though because dear God was there a lot of rape in this. In the first 275 pages, rape either happens to someone or a past rape is mentioned at least six times. About half way through the book I almost quit, despite everything else being very well written and intriguing with a kick ass magic system, because man was I tired of reading about rape.

If I pretend like I didn’t have to read about all the rape, the world building continues to be incredible in this series. In this book, we’re given a look at another character’s world at the beginning. (Granted it’s this character’s POV that provides the majority of the rape.) While a lot of readers complained about not liking Jardir’s POV and wanted to get back to their favorites, I enjoyed this side of the world. (Minus all the rape.) I had the luxury of having read the first book almost two years ago though, so I wasn’t itching to be back with the OGs. I can understand the irritation if you jump right from book one to book two. This side of the world provided an Arab-infused fantasy style that was truly different to read.

Here, both sides travel closer to war. One side believing themselves divine and uniting the tribes in order to destroy all demons together in the coming ‘holy’ war. The other side is trying to avoid war with a people who believe them all lesser because they don’t commit their lives to destroying demons. (Although thanks to Arlen, are becoming much more proficient in dealing with demons, not just hiding behind wards during the night.)

I’m invested. Despite my complaints, I need to know what ultimately happens in this world. Hopefully next time I don’t have to read through a bunch of rape to find out. Seriously, this book would have been so much stronger without all of that. Using rape as a plot device for character growth (for almost every main character) just screams amateur hour.

A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1) – Book Review

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Published Date: October 3, 2017

Publishing Co.: Del Rey Books

Pages: 624

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buddy read with my BFF Crumpets&Arsenic.

“Great kracken tits!” may be my new favorite exclamation.

A bard is telling the tales of war from the point of view of various characters across the land. The tale of their homeland invaded by an unknown race of giants in bone armor, therefore dubbed, the Bone Giants. Their surprise arrival and conquest of major cities, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake, for reasons unknown to their victims. Death comes swiftly in the night, leaving nothing but blackwings circling over silent cities for select unsuspecting souls to find days too late for help to arrive.

We learn the magic and history of the world through the tales told by the bard as he recounts the stories to the city every night. A city full of refuges with no homes, often no loved ones left and no jobs to rebuild their lives. Each day they return to the wall to hear stories that remind them that they are not alone in their loss and how each invasion happened and about those who were there and tried to thwart the Bone Giants’ success.

In between the tellings, we follow a historian in the refugee city as he writes down the bard’s stories as a first collection of a new history. We learn about the historian’s own life and loss and his friendship with the leader of the city, his attempts at spying on the bard for secret information. His generosity of letting a refugee family stay in his home.

The magic in this world is a tale of it’s own. There are five kennings, with a theorized sixth and seventh kenning that has yet to be discovered. There is one kenning to control water, one to control wind, one for plants, one for earth and one for fire. People have to be willing to end their own life in order to be blessed with a kenning. Each kenning has it’s own trial, but there are only ever two results; you die or you are blessed with a new power. You must be willing to sacrifice everything to gain something.

This is a great opening book to a series. The characters are endearing and yet no one is safe. Many times you don’t even know they’re dead until you get to the end of their tale. Just enough time to become fully invested in them. I look forward to following the surviving characters as the war continues.

Kevin Hearne also has one of the most poignant descriptions of losing a loved one that I’ve ever read:

The mourning of a loved one never ends at the funeral. It comes back every so often like a stage performer eager for a curtain call and expects you to be loud about it. I gave it all the lung capacity I had.”

That hit home.

Rat Queens, Vol. 2 – Comic Review

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Published Date: May 6, 2015

Publishing Co.: Image Comics

Pages: 128

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The sass continues!

Our favorite ladies continue to drink, fight, fuck. But they may have to set that aside for a hot minute and save their town.

In this edition, we get a little more back story on each of the ladies. Lovers, current and old. Childhood struggles. Religious quandaries.

But, we get it all whilst the ladies fuck some shit up.

It’s just FUN.

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The Eye of the World – Book Review

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Published Date: November 15, 1990

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 814

Synopsis link to Goodreads.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reviewing a legendary fantasy novel is a little intimidating. There is a lot of (imagined) pressure to fall head over heels with it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure but I never really fell in love along the way. A large part of that was character relationships, which I’ll get back to.

People who live in small towns, off the beaten path, generally consider themselves safer than other people in the world. But when the biggest of the bads comes hunting you and your friends, even living in butt-fuck Egypt won’t keep you safe. In fact, you’ll be forced to run for the hills in order to save your beloved town from further destruction. You’ll probably have to trek half way across the continent to get any answers, and stop evil from prevailing before you can even consider going home again.

The writing and world building was top notch but my major problem lied within character relations. If there was a chance every day that I might die, I’m telling my bestie everything. If I gain some type of super power, she’s the first to know and she better tell me if she develops one too.

Not one but two of the characters trust people they barely know with their big secret but never their best friend. What the hell kind of relationship is that? If I can trust a stranger over my bestie, we ain’t besties.

There was a kind of insta-love between two other characters that didn’t feel real as well.

It’s a big decision to make, whether to carry on with the rest of the series or not. At 814 pages, this is the smallest book in a 14 book long series. This actually worked kind of well as a standalone even though there are a few unanswered questions by the end of it. Will I continue? I’m honestly not sure. It may take some pondering before I have a solid answer to that question.

Truthwitch – Book Review

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Published Date: January 5, 2016

Publishing Co.: Tor Teen

Pages: 416

Synopsis link to Goodreads.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Perseverance. It’s worth the effort to trudge through the first one hundred pages of the convoluted mess that is the beginning. The introduction to the world is a little sloppy, but after awhile the characters crawl under your skin and things get more interesting and things are explained better.

The synopsis of this novel gives you a very good run down of the story line, so I won’t be repeating it. What I will do is talk about how refreshing it was to finally read about a solid female friendship. Sometimes, I feel like my best friend and I are the only ones in a sea of women who don’t constantly fight with their supposed BFFs. How we treat each other is always at the forefront of both of our minds, we constantly lift each other up and we never abandon each other for anyone else. (In fact, I told my now husband when we were dating that the stupidest thing he could ever do was try to become between her and I. We’ve been together 11 years now so he clearly listened.)

I don’t read YA that often anymore but I would consider this a good read and something I would definitely pass along to any teens I know. (Especially any girls so that they know what a healthy friendship looks like.) I enjoyed myself and will check out the next installment to the series.

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