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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 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 2018-05-11 00:29
Ragged Heroes: An Epic Fantasy Anthology
Ragged Heroes: An Epic Fantasy Anthology - Andy Peloquin

Review coming soon!

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review 2018-05-07 22:11
Audio/Book Review of The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality Book 2) by Jack Campbell
The Hidden Masters of Marandur - Jack Campbell

Someone wants to kill Mari, a young Steam Mechanic in the Guild that controls all technology. She has learned that her world of Dematr is headed for a catastrophe that will destroy civilization, and that Mages really can alter reality for short periods. Someone also wants to kill Alain, a young Mage who has learned that Mechanics are not frauds as his Guild teaches, and that Mechanic Mari is the only person who can prevent the oncoming disaster.

 

Narrowly escaping death, the Mechanic and the Mage stay alive thanks to their combined skills, an alliance never before seen. But it becomes clear that both of their Guilds, the most powerful forces in the world, are trying to destroy them. Other powers, like the great Empire and a mysterious secret Order, also seek to kill or capture them, using every weapon from Imperial Legions to Mage-created trolls, dragons, and rocs.

 

Trying to survive and learn the truth about their world so they will know how to save it, Mari and Alain realize that the answers they seek may lie in the dead city of Marandur. But Marandur is guarded by the legions that have sealed it off from the rest of the world for more than a century. Mari and Alain's only hope may rest with the unseen Masters of Marandur.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the second book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

 

Mari is a fantastic character and I liked her from the moment she was introduced. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. She is an eighteen year-old Master Mechanic. She has attained it by qualifying as the youngest Lady Master Mechanic since the Guild was first formed several centuries earlier.

 

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot. He is seventeen years-old and one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real.

 

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. The story is once again narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He does a fantastic job in bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflections and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

This story picks up a few months after the events in Dorcastle (see Book One: The Dragons of Dorcastle). Alain has been sent by his guild on a contract to protect some common soldiers who are travelling to war. Along the way, they are attacked.The foresight Alain has developed has shown him that a storm is coming, though he has no idea what his vision means, so wishes to seek answers. Meanwhile, Mari has been sent to Tay (sorry, unsure of spelling due to only hearing it spoken and not reading the book), a region that has fallen into anarchy, by her guild. Unwilling to be a sacrificial lamb, Mari goes in search of Mage Alain. Together once more, they face several challenges and dangers. However, one of their leads takes them to Marandur, a city declared dead by the emperor one hundred and fifty years previously, where they make a startling discovery. Will they survive only to stumble at the final hurdle?

 

This story introduces us to the world of Dematr. It is a mass of contradictions. There are two great Guilds who hold all the power over the common folk - The Mechanics and The Mages. These Guilds have held power for centuries and refuse to relinquish their hold and reject change of any kind. However, this is slowly strangling the world, making it harder and harder for the Mechanics, especially as their technology is regressing. This story has a steampunk feel to it, with machinery being steam driven at times - trains for instance. Though there are some more modern items such as far-talkers (walkie-talkies to you and me), torches using batteries, and rifles and pistols that are decidedly more modern-day. Mages use energy from the land around them and some of their own energy to make spells. These spells can be used in various ways - from hiding oneself to creating a dragon.

 

This book is told through the eyes of both Mari and Alain and I found myself completely hooked from beginning to end. I loved meeting the two main protagonists once more, and watching (in my minds eye) the story unfold as I listened. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt completely emersed in it? This happened to me whilst listening to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. I found myself missing them when the story finished, so I began listening to it again. I've listened to this book now at least four times. Each time I listen to it, the story and characters sweep me up and carry me away to a world that is alien and yet familiar at the same time, and makes me want to go and visit it. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger and the audio version has a preview of the next book in the series, which I am now looking forward to reading/listening to. I will be listening to The Assassins of Altis as soon as I can.

 

Jack Campbell is a new author to me. I've never read or listened to any of his other books. However, I may have to add him to my favourite authors list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

 

Although there is no mention of any scenes of a sexual nature, I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

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