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review 2018-06-20 03:17
Song by Jesse Teller Book Review

Read this review on Wordpress-The Bookworm Daydreamer-Song Book Review

 

Title: Song
Series: The Manhunters (Book #1)
Author: Jesse Teller
Rating: 4/5 stars

SYNOPSIS

Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him

REVIEW

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Rebekah and Jesse Teller!

 

Song is a grimdark epic fantasy whose short length doesn't make it any less epic. It follows Rayph Ivoryfist, a thousands of years old wizard who was once the warden of Mending Keep and court wizard of Lorinth, and Konnon, a bounty hunter. The story is told in dual perspectives, with their paths starting to cross more towards the end until their connection to each other is revealed.

 

There is a lot going on in this book. So much that I didn't really feel like it was short. It was packed to the brim with action, lore, and worldbuilding- so much of which that it made my head spin at times and reread some passages to make sure I understood everything. Was it enjoyable? Yes! Do you need to pay attention? Also yes. As I said there is a lot of worldbuilding here. There are ancient wizards, gods, spirits, monsters, other races, and more. Overall, the worldbuilding is quite good and I liked it.

 

The characters were distinctive and if not exactly likable, then interesting to read about. Rayph Ivoryfist, for example, has lived for at least ten thousand years at the beginning of the book. The novel deftly incorporates parts of his past throughout the narrative which I appreciate. He himself is also interesting with regards to how he became a pariah and wanted man in the king's court. Despite all that, he remains loyal to the crown and wanted to see the boy prince grow up and be crowned, despite his blustering, weak, and cowardly father. The other character is Konnon. He is a bounty hunter whose name is quite well-known and seems to be regarded as a "monster" by some. Still, he is shown to us in a deeply human way- as a father desperately searching for a way for his sick daughter to survive. As with Rayph, the novel also gives us a lot regarding Konnon's background.

 

The tone is decidedly grimdark. The worldbuilding, the lore, the writing, and the pacing are all mixed together to create a dark, oppressive feel that hung through the book. All the gloom were still balanced by the hope that we see towards the end. The opening chapters involving Rayph feel a bit like vignettes, introducing us to the people who would come to form The Manhunters, with the action ramping up halfway through. That is not to say the entirety of the book is not filled with action. It is. There are a lot of fight scenes which I thought were well executed.

 

Overall, Song is a good grimdark epic fantasy. I can recommend it for fans of the subgenre and people who want to try out the subgenre.

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review 2018-06-13 04:06
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) (Audiobook)
Drums of Autumn - Geraldine James,Diana Gabaldon

As I mentioned in my review for Outlander, I started this series with the fourth book by accident. I was just out of high school, my mom was having health issues and I was the one who was driving her around to her various appointments and spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. So when I saw this book sitting on the new releases shelf in the bookstore, the only thing I cared about what that it looked interesting and it was thick. It would give me hours and hours and hours of reading time. So I got it, started reading, and got to around a quarter of the way through when I realized this was part of an ongoing series. I kept reading though and enjoyed it. It provided exactly what I needed at the time and even got me to go back and read the first three books.

 

Now, twenty plus years later ... this got annoying. It starts off really slow and rambling. All the books in this series ramble, but it gets worse the longer the series goes on. The first three books at least have obvious plots right off the bat. This one takes over 500 pages to get around to it's main conflict, and up till then it's basically just the four main characters doing stuff. I still really enjoy Claire and Jamie's relationship, but I couldn't give two figs about Briana and Roger's courtship, especially when Roger gets all caveman about it. 

 

I was never a fan of Briana, but wow. For someone so smart, she can be really stupid. Roger's kind of a jerk but he's tolerable. Neither one is prepared for 18th century living, despite both of them being history majors. They not only lie to each other about crucial things, but they make one reckless decision after another. How in the world they survived is beyond me. 

 

Actually, the main conflict isn't exactly what I would call contrived. Considering what Bree's been through and that she just barely met her father, her decisions make sense, even if they're illogical. Given what Lizzy thinks she knows, and what she tells Ian and Jamie, their actions also make sense. What doesn't make sense is

Claire not telling Jamie what Briana told her. She could've done that and kept Bonnet's name out of it.

Also, if you're looking for someone, a physical description usually helps.

Also, both Claire and Briana went by different last names when they went through the stones, so it makes zero sense they wouldn't consider Roger doing the same.

Also, Jamie would've killed Roger based on the info Lizzy told him. But of course he couldn't because the reader - and Bree - wouldn't be able to forgive him if he had.

(spoiler show)

The Big Misunderstanding required these characters who are usually extremely good with communication to be really bad at it.  

 

And it's just a little ridiculous that these characters are all encountering the same villain no matter where they are in the world. 

 

But once I got through all that nonsense and the characters all started to act like their intelligent, rational selves again, it got way better. The last third of the book is definitely the strongest.

 

Not enough Lord John though. 

I hate that he sleeps with one of the slaves. It's not on page, but it's implied. I guess I can have a smidgeon of consolation that John wouldn't have forced himself on anyone unwilling, and he's a pretty perceptive fellow, so he could probably tell if someone was just pretending to be willing. But still. Don't sleep with slaves, John.

(spoiler show)

 

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention the narration. Davina Porter does her usual stellar job, but she doesn't even attempt an American accent for Briana. I guess she's the UK's answer to Kevin Costner. ;) But since I'd rather listen to a pleasant British accent than a terrible American (much less Bostonian) one, I wasn't bothered by it too much.

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review 2018-06-13 00:49
The Flames by Kyle Prue
The Flames: Book II of the Epic Feud Trilogy (Volume 2) - Kyle Prue

Note: It’s best to experience Book 1 before diving into this book.

I really enjoyed Book 1 and Book 2 doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I may have enjoyed this book a bit more. The teens from Book 1 are in the wind for the most part. Some are in hiding, some are still dealing with evil characters, and some question whether they should join the rebellion. This tale reminded me a little of The Hunger Games (teens rebellion against the ruling government), Game of Thrones (scions of the ruling houses duking it out), and X-Men (these kids got skills but desperately needed a trainer). All around, an excellent mix.

Each of the kids that survived Book 1 undergo a bit of a journey in this book. In Book 1 they were all basically a result of their powerful houses, the values impressed upon them (or smacked into them) as kids. In this story, they are away from those influences and have to work stuff out on their own. Bianca and Anastasia were two of my favorites. While there is a tie between them, they each grew up very differently and have different battles. Initially, I really wanted to hate Anastasia but by the end of the story, I found her to be a very sympathetic character and a minor hero.

Rhys! Oh, my poor lad! Rhys will need therapy after this book. He’s our scholar with all his book learning, so of course it was easy to engage with his character. In some ways, he’s the glue that binds our little band of up and coming heroes. Everyone likes or respects him and doesn’t want to see him harmed.

There’s an addition of these sea-faring folk (Tridente, if I recall correctly) in the later half of the story and I really enjoyed the time spent with them. I can see potential for them in future tales. The brother & sister brought some much needed levity to the story as well as their own unique powers.

The villains are quite villainous, and for the most part, are archetypes. Sometimes, since the true villains were so very obvious, I just wanted to kill them and move on with the more interesting parts of the story. Yet they do play their part in the plot. The Hyena was the most unpredictable because you never knew if he would leave someone alive or not, and his reasons for doing so. The Doctor was a broken, driven, mad scientist that I looked forward to seeing put down.

While there were a few times where someone or something conveniently  swooped in to save the plot, I still really enjoyed this novel. Even with my minor quibbles, I give this tale 5/5 stars for sheer entertainment value.

The Narration: Jon Eric Preston did a great job with this story. All his character voices are distinct and his female characters sound like ladies. He also did a great job with the range of emotions the characters go through in this novel. His voice for the Hyena was absolutely creepy (as it should be) and I also liked how he did the mechanical lisp for The Doctor. Preston also took the time for the little touches, like making an echo-y voice sound that way, or when 2 people speak at the same time, it really sounds like that. An excellent performance and recording all around. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kyle Prue. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-06-13 00:00
The Magic of Recluce
The Magic of Recluce - L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Read on Wordpress- The Bookworm Daydreamer- The Magic of Recluce Book Review

 

Title: The Magic of Recluce
Series: The Saga of Recluce
Author: L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

 

I really wanted to like this book. I spotted it in a used bookstore and bought it because of the publisher and the fact that I was vaguely aware of the author. Unfortunately, while it was mostly okay, it was also so boring at parts that I had to skim in order to finish the book.

I would classify this as kind of a slice-of-life fantasy. While it is undeniably set in a fantasy setting, it also features the characters doing more mundane things such as woodworking. I did appreciate this moments because they give a glimpse of how the characters live and how they get by in their society.

Our protagonist is Lerris, a young man who happens to be incredibly bored with his island-nation of Recluce, a land which favors order above all things. Because of this, he is unable to fit in within Recluce and must undergo something called a dangergeld, in which he would be tested and the masters would see if he may return. At the beginning of the book, I found Lerris to be very edgy? He pretty much questions everything and is unable to reason out his boredom properly. He definitely struck me the wrong way since he was born into so much privilege but was unable to see it.

He does get better though, as he goes through his dangergeld. He becomes a better person in a lot of ways, although I wonder if he did learn other, just as important lessons along the way. I did enjoy the description of how he traveled in the mainland and had to get by. I usually like the travelling parts in stories so that wasn't the problem for me.

The problem mostly came from the fact that the ending felt pretty rushed. It was like the author wanted to wrap it up in one book and escalated everything near the end. The build up didn't really feel natural and I might have forgiven it if it wasn't boring. Unfortunately, much like the main character, I too found myself pretty bored with the world. While the order vs. chaos thing had a lot of potential but it failed to grab me.

I read that this book can be read as a standalone, fortunately. While I was disappointed and thought that this book is only good enough for one read, I might consider picking up other books in the series. Honestly however, that might be unlikely.

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review 2018-05-26 21:47
A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4)
A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin

Oh, book, I wish I could quit you. :P

 

This is the shortest book so far in the series. I originally thought I'd have it finished by early April. Yes, real life stuff got in the way and I had to go some weeks without reading even a single chapter, but I wasn't exactly pining to get back to Westeros like I was in ASOS, and I think the main reason for that was the POV switches.

 

There was too much time spent with horrible, awful characters (all of the Ironmen, Cersei) and not enough of the characters I wanted to spend time with (virtually everyone else). It was cool to see Dorne, but without a single focal point for those chapters it felt just as hodgepodge as the Ironborn ones did. As for Cersei, I had hopes for her POV when her chapters started, but good lord y'all. She is Trump in a dress. No thank you. The ending was sweet but not worth the journey to get there.

 

However, I loved getting to see Brienne's POV, though it was often depressing, because she's such an amazing character and easily my favorite of the favorites (sorry Samwell). Hell, I enjoyed being in Jaime's head. Somewhere along the way I started rooting for that turdmeister and he didn't disappoint. Watching him snark at everyone was a real treat too. I wanted to see a lot more of Arya and Samwell. Not so much Sansa, but that's mostly because of Littlefinger and not Sansa herself.

 

And what the hell was that prologue about? It set up absolutely nothing else that happened in the book until the final chapter from what I could tell. Weird.

 

I had such high hopes for a Brienne-Catelyn action duo too. :(

 

So lots of awful, which is par for the course, but not enough of the good guys to balance out the bad. 

 

The top five Worst Evers for this book:

Cersei 

Qyburn 

Lord Tarly 

Euron Crow Eye 

Victarion

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