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review 2020-04-13 22:26
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
A Plague of Giants - Kevin Hearne

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I ended up really enjoying this book. I have had the book for a while but was a bit intimidated by its size. Since I am spending almost all of my time at home with the current health crisis, I decided that this was the perfect time to finally tackle this story. This is a very different book than Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles and I enjoyed seeing him take on high fantasy. It did feel like a very dense story and I felt like it took me longer to read than a lighter story of the same length might have. I had a good time with the book in the end.

I liked the way the story came together. There are a lot of points of view in this book but they are all shared through the tales from a bard. The bard, Fintan, takes on the persona of each individual as he shares their story. I will admit that it was a lot to keep track of at the start of the book but as I continued to read, I got to know each character and started looking forward to learning more of their story. I did like the way that all of the different points of view came together to tell a story that stretched across more than one group of people.

This story is set in a very interesting world. We actually get the opportunity to see more than one realm in this story and I found it interesting to see what each group shared and how they differed. The different lands had individuals with special abilities. Those abilities changed from place to place but each required anyone seeking the power, or kenning, to risk their lives. If they survived, they would be blessed with a special ability. Each land had its own kennings which were often closely related to the terrain in which they lived.

I found this book to be quite exciting at times. There was quite a bit of action spread throughout the story. I also enjoyed getting the chance to see the political workings of each of the groups. I found the personal journeys of some of the characters to be the highlight of the book. I really wanted to see things work out for these characters as they faced incredibly difficult challenges.

I would recommend this book to fans of high fantasy. This book transported me to a world of unique people with extraordinary abilities. I grew to care for many of the characters as they worked to keep their people safe. I cannot wait to read more of this exciting series!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Publishing - Del Rey via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I am so glad that I finally got around to read this book. It is very different from The Iron Druid Chronicles and I enjoyed getting to see this author tackle a bit of more serious fantasy. This story is told through the stories shared by a bard. This bard takes on the persona of each individual as he shares their story. There are a lot of different points of view to juggle in this story and I have to admit that it was slow going for me at the start. Once I felt a little more settled in this world and knew each character a little better, I found that I was enjoying the story a lot more. I did enjoy the magic and world-building in this book and loved the way everything came together in the end. I do look forward to reading the next book in the series very soon.

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review 2020-02-27 01:56
Trapped by Kevin Hearne
Trapped: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 5 - Hachette Audio UK,Kevin Hearne,Christopher Ragland

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this audiobook quite a bit. I have been slowly working my way through the Iron Druid Chronicles during the past couple of years and have really been enjoying myself. I did take a bit of a break in my listening which seemed to work out well since this book picks up twelve years after the previous book. I found this book to be a solid installment in the series and I had a great time with it.

Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon are still together when this book picks up twelve years after the events of the previous installment. Atticus has been training Granuaile this whole time and she is finally ready to become a Druid. To become a Druid, they must complete a lengthy binding ceremony. Unfortunately, there is a group that would like to see them dead before the ceremony draws to a close. 

I found this to be a very exciting story. There was plenty of action dispersed throughout the book. I loved seeing how much Granuaile has learned during her training and the binding ceremony was very interesting. I loved seeing how the relationship between Atticus and Granuaile has changed during the past twelve years and I was really excited to see things really start to develop. Oberon was as awesome as ever.

Luke Daniels is the perfect narrator for this series. He handles all of the different character voices incredibly well. The voice of each character has been consistent throughout the series. I adore the way that he is able to bring Oberon to life. I think that he really takes this story to the next level and I am sure that I have enjoyed this series just a bit more because I made the decision to listen to the audio.

I would recommend this series to others. This is the fifth book in the Iron Druid Chronicles which is a series that should be read in order. I found this to be a pivotal book in the series and cannot wait to read the next book!

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this audiobook quite a bit. This book jumps ahead 12 years which worked out well since it's been a year since I listened to the previous book in the series. Granuaile is ready to be bound to the earth as a druid and is pretty kick-ass from her years of training. Her relationship with Atticus has also progressed over the years. Oberon is just as awesome as ever. I thought that the book was rather exciting and I found this to be a really easy listen. Luke Daniels did a fabulous job with the narration.

Book Source: Purchased

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review 2019-09-27 04:53
An Adventure on the High (and Joke-Filled) Seas of Pell
The Princess Beard - Delilah S. Dawson,Kevin Hearne

Readers of Kill the Farm Boy (the first installment in the Tales of Pell trilogy) may have been wondering about what happened to Princess Aurora/Snow White-esque figure, Princess Harkovitra*. Well, she wakes up, and finds herself in the position she's always wanted—a chance to start over. She leaves her name and home behind, hitching a ride with our old acquaintance Morvin on his way to start a new life himself.


*Then again, maybe you're like me, and figured she was like Worstely and that her only purpose was to kick-start the novel and hadn't thought of her since.


They're not the only ones looking for a new start. We also meet a swole centaur prone to over-compensation, seeks to reach a mystic temple that will heal him of (what he considers) his emasculating magical abilities. A pariah elf is looking for the opportunity to do something more meaningful than swindle tourists. And we also pick up with one of the newly liberated dryads from No Country for Old Gnomes, who needs a way to get to her chosen law school, Bogtorts.


All of these new starts require the characters to travel somewhere inaccessible to foot/horse/carriage traffic. Enter the Clean Pirate Luc (a.k.a. Filthy Lucre), who happens to be a one-eyed talking parrot. He needs new crew members and is willing to let these travel to their intended destinations in exchange for labor. Even if the result is something incongruous, like a centaur swabbing the decks (thankfully, that's a funny image—a great thing for a comedic fantasy). Except for Morvin, who has other plans that involve less of the high seas.


The pirate ship ends up being just the thing to take our characters from quick adventure to quick adventure, creating opportunities for bonding and character growth. It's different enough from the land-based pilgrimages of the past two novels to keep things feeling fresh, while allowing the same kind of vibe to permeate the book. I'm not the biggest fan of pirate/ship-based adventures, but when they're done well, they are a lot of fun. And who doesn't like a good Melville-based joke (or several)?


Not just Melville-based jokes, but there's more than a couple of The Princess Bride riffs (in case the title didn't tip you off). Which seems timely, given the resurgence in interest in William Goldman's classic thanks to some nonsense about remaking the movie. I could be wrong, but this seems to be the jokiest of the three (I'm pretty sure my notes/list of great lines is longer than normal). Not that the others were joke-light, but this seems more focused on them and less focused on the story. Which makes it less successful as a novel in my opinion. But that's in comparison to two really strong and effective novels, so I'm not saying it's not a good read—it's just a not-as-good-as-I-wanted read. If this was the first Pell book I'd read, I'd rush out to get the others (particularly, if a charming and insightful blogger had said the others were better than this one). I started chuckling within a page and didn't finish until the end. Sometimes I did more than chuckle.


I'm not complaining a bit about the number of jokes, the character names alone are hilarious and make the book worth reading. It just takes away some of the impact of the story and the characters—or it distracted the authors from making them as compelling as they could have been. It's kind of a chicken vs. egg thing.


Each of these characters gets an opportunity to find themselves, find their inner-strength, true desires, real self—whatever you want to call it. It turns out that some of them were right all along, and others just needed the fresh perspective that extreme circumstances can bring.


I didn't connect with this one as much as I did the ones before, ditto for any of the characters. But I expect that my experience isn't typical—The Princess Beard will resonate with some more than the others did. Either way, the reader will enjoy the ride. It's exciting, it's affirming, it's a hoot.


I'm going to miss Pell, and hope the authors decide to dip their collective toes back into the land from time to time in the future. If not, at least we get the beginnings for these beautiful friendships.


Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley in exchange for this post—thanks to both for this entertaining romp.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/09/26/the-princess-beard-by-kevin-hearne-delilah-s-dawson-an-adventure-on-the-high-and-joke-filled-seas-of-pell
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review 2019-09-20 11:48
Kill The Farm Boy (Tales of Pell, #1)
Kill the Farm Boy - Luke Daniels,Delilah Dawson,Kevin Hearne

I don't even know how to start talking about this book.  It's insane.


I first heard about it from Irresponsible Reader and I've been enjoying Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles for a few years.  And it's subtitle sold me:


Once A Pun A Time...


So I was expecting a funny read and I was expecting the puns, but I wasn't at all expecting the sheer enormity of innuendo and entendres: double, triple - possibly quadruple, but I suspect some of it went over my head as I struggled now to drown in the Monty Python-esque silliness of it all.  Examples include a chapter involving the band of unlikely heroes traveling through the elven Morning Wood, with more innuendo, puns and entendres than you can possibly imagine, and later in the book a trip to a pub called Balzac's, where the chef is the famous "wrinkled Balzac", and the house speciality is candied nuts.


It's quite frequently over-the-top, but it's still hilarious and sometimes sweet and a little bit shocking in unexpected ways.  My favorite character was Gustave, the talking goat, by a large margin, though the rest of the band of unlikely adventurers all have their own charms too.  


It's incredibly well-written and it's obvious the authors had a good time writing it, but Luke Daniels did an exceptional job narrating this book.  This is one of those rare instances where I think the reader would lose something by reading a physical copy.  Daniels owns this book and the characters in it, reading it like a dramatisation.  I recommend the audio unreservedly for anyone looking for a goofy good time.


I started the book in August, but it was due back at the library before I was half finished, and I didn't get it back until after Halloween Bingo started, so it qualifies. As there were scenes involving necro-bees and acid leeches, I'm going to use this for the Creepy Crawly square.

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review 2019-08-24 13:27
Unfettered - Kevin Hearne,Lev Grossman,Brandon Sanderson,Patrick Rothfuss,Daniel Abraham,Shawn Speakman,Jennifer Bosworth,Mark Lawrence,Blake Charlton,Peter V. Brett,Geno Salvatore,Robert V.S. Redick,Michael J. Sullivan,Eldon Thompson,David Anthony Durham,Peter Oru

This is a collection of short stories from mostly well-known Fantasy authors, including such stellar names as Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Mark Lawrence, Naomi Novik, Terry Brooks, Michael J. Sullivan, Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson.


The editor of the anthology, Shawn Speakman, organised this first volume after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2011 and struggling with medical bills. The other authors donated stories for the cause and this grew to establish a fund for Fantasy authors facing similar difficulties and there are now three volumes!


All of the stories are professional quality. Many of them are related to series written by the respective authors, in some cases using material that had been cut in previous edits or adding to the fantasy worlds involved.


Picking stand out stories from this level of writing is a challenge, but the ones that appealed to be most were The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams, Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood, Dogs by Daniel Abraham (very powerful story), and The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan (which had the most amazing first line).


Some of the stories I felt would be more interesting if I had read the related series while others served as good origin stories. Several of these authors have been on my tbr for ages and I'll be making an effort to read more of their stuff after seeing these samples of their work.


A highly recommended collection, both for the good cause and for the quality of writing.

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