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Tag Archives: Anthony Ryan

Blackwing – Ed McDonald

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Synopsis:

Set on the ragged edge of a postapocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man’s desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny…

Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve…

Copied from Goodreads
Review:
Galharrow is the ultimate anti-hero. He is a take no shit, hold no punches kind of guy, who realizes he is going to have to do something to save his people. His gritty personality, coupled with his determination, make him one of the most likable characters I have read to date.
The Misery… I am just going to say this… Can we PLEASE have a movie? Pretty please.
McDonald’s description of this world is amazing. I could picture each nuance in his landscapes from blades of grass that were as sharp as glass to mazes of ruts blown into the surface of the world.
His creativity blew my mind. The Deep Kings, the monsters he presented, the way magic is filtered through the moonlight.
This is easily one of the best novels I have ever read. I am thrilled this book has a #1 because that means there is more!
Quotes:
“I saw you stand,” I said. “Saw your courage, back at Twelve. Saw the steel in your will, the power you command. You say there’s nothing of woman about you? You aren’t some painted vase, delicate and useless. You’re a fucking lioness. The strongest damn thing that ever lived. There’s nothing of you but woman.”
“The world is a cruel mother, a matron of darkness, selfishness, greed, and misery. For most, their time suckling at her breast is naught but a scramble through stinging, tearing briars before a naked, shameful collapse as the flesh gives out. And yet in the bright eyes of every newborn, there lies a spark, a potential for goodness, the possibility of a life worth living. That spark deserves its chance. And though most of them will turn out to be as worthless as the parents who sired them, while the cruelty of the earth will tell them to release their innocence and join in the drawing of daggers, every now and then one manages to clutch to its beauty and refuses to release it into the dark.”  ― Ed McDonaldBlackwing
Recommendations:
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

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Synopsis:

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Seven years to achieve seven impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

Copied from Goodreads

Review:

I have been a fan of Brent Weeks for some time now. His Night Angel Trilogy is one of my favorite Fantasy series. Brent Weeks is a master world builder. His vision for his worlds play out through the story. Little nuggets of lore, scene and atmosphere are dropped along the way. In this novel, we see him build a world through the eyes of an adolescent, an all-powerful mage and a military woman. He is able to bring certain nuances within the world to the forefront in each telling. THIS is how you make multiple perspective work!

I absolutely love that one of his lead characters is a fairly pudgy boy with no real understanding of the world around him. Kip is an endearing character for many reasons but making him fat and clumsy (in words and in action) make him an unexpected hero. I adore this. So many times we see the hero in a story and say to ourselves “Of course they will win. Look at what they can do.” Kip is not so easily thrown into that category.

We are given a “hero” with those qualities in Gavin, The Prism. However, Gavin is not quite what he seems to be. Early on, Weeks ensures you are drawn to Gavin, that you like him and that you believe him to be a hero of legend. However, as events unfold, you see Gavin is not quite the hero you thought he was. His story takes turn after unexpected turn throughout the course of the novel.

One other thing I loved, and honestly I don’t know how he did it so well, was his explanation of a woman going through menses. I know it seems odd to find this episode to be a favorite, but come on, he had to have a woman’s insight here. It was so well thought out and had me going “Damn, straight” that I was checking the cover to make sure I was still reading a book written by a man (not really). Weeks simply puts that much thought into his characters and I love it!!

I always love when a novel keeps me guessing until the end, however, the ending of this novel you see coming a mile away. It is foreshadowed many times throughout the course of the novel, but I was okay with this because there were so many twists and turns throughout that it didn’t matter when it came to the end. I knew it was coming and still found it enthralling to the last page.

This will be joining the ranks of my absolute favorite novels.

Quotes:

“You might want to think twice before you try to use a man’s conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn’t have one.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“Will covers a multitude of flaws, just as love covers a multitude of sins.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“You have to be a little bad to make history.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“When you don’t know what to do, do what’s right and do what’s in front of you. But not necessarily what’s right in front of you.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“At some point, you have to decide not merely what you’re going to believe, but how you’re going to believe. Are you going to believe in people, or in ideas or in Orcholam? With your heart, or with your head? Will you believe what’s in front of you, or in what you think you know? There are some things you think you know that are lies. I can’t tell you what those are, and I’m sorry for that.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“I was a bad child. Fortunately, I’ve come a long way since then. Now I’m a bad man.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

Recommendations:

The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoria, #1) by Anthony Ryan

The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1) by Peter V. Brett

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Legion of Flame – Anthony Ryan

Synopsis:

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood–and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed–to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen–a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it.

Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilization.

Copied from Goodreads.

Review:

I sat down to read this novel directly on the heels of the first. I fully expected to love this novel because I had fallen in love with the characters the first-go-round. However, Anthony Ryan gave these characters even more depth and an even bigger story than I had anticipated. 

In book one, we are left with Claydon’s vision as our map for coming events. He meets up with Hilemore and they set off on a journey to save the world. Without giving spoilers, I love how the endings of both novels paralleled each other. It gave me an elevated sense of anticipation for the next novel.

Lizanne’s story takes a seriously unanticipated turn. We get to see her use every skill she has. She proves why she has been selected for missions of highest importance. She has become one of my favorite characters of all time.

The additions of Sirus’ viewpoint was a fantastic addition. It honestly reminded me of Dragon Age’s darkspawn/Archdemon storyline, with the added benefit of seeing the story from the darkspawn’s perspective. I do have to say, I was thrown by his addition at first, but after I realized why he was added it, I truly enjoyed it.

I did not think any fantasy novel was capable of the epic scope and fantastic storyline of Vaelin’s intro novel, Blood Song, but I believe Anthony Ryan has outdone himself. I laughed. I cried. I took this book everywhere I went. 

When does the next one come out again? (Not soon enough)

Quotes:

“On behalf of those not born into a life of useless indolence, I bid you welcome to adulthood.”

– Anthony Ryan, The Legion of Flame

I sense our drake god isn’t altogether happy with today’s butcher’s bill.”

 Anthony Ryan, The Legion of Flame

Recommendations:

The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

Malice – John Gwynne

Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Give These A Listen

Audiobooks are becoming ever more popular, with a growing list of excellent performers, it’s not hard to see why. I have come across many of my favorite voices, be it from video games or celebrities, taking on the task of letting us listen to their voices for hours. Here are some you should give a try.

This is a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, sci-fi novel. Assassins, space travel and a James Bond-esque feel make this novel worth your time. Another bonus, it is narrated by Gideon Emery. (Fenris himself, if you are a Dragon Age fan). His voice is so rich and his performance is phenomenal.

Purchase here.

Another great delivery by Steven Brand. Anthony Ryan’s new series will have you hypnotized as you are lead on an adventure through drake infested lands, naval battles and political intrigue. 

Purchase here.

Having trouble tackling the massive tomes of The Stormlight Archive? Do what I did. Switch between book and audio book. I have found this helps me when I want to set a book aside due to sheer volume. Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy writers out there. His books deserve a spot on your shelf. Don’t let this series slip by just because you feel you can not devote such time to a novel (or series). 

Purchase here.

Here is another performance by Kate Reading. She is a popular voice within the fantasy genre. Her performance lends a great deal to each novel she narrates. 

Purchase here.
Happy reading, or listening 😉

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Waking Fire- Anthony Ryan 

Synopsis:

The Waking Fire is set in a vibrant new world where the blood of drakes—creatures similar to dragons—is valued beyond reckoning, and can be distilled into elixirs that grant fearsome powers to those who are “blood-blessed.” The novel follows an unregistered blood-blessed as he searches for an elusive variety of drake so potent, its capture would mean unrivalled riches; the second in command of a blood-burning ironclad ship; and a young woman in a lifelong contract to a trading syndicate, whose espionage mission places her on the front lines of a newly declared war. As empires clash and arcane mysteries reveal themselves, these characters are tested again and again and soon discover that the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.

The Draconis Memoria is a remarkable new epic fantasy series with steampunk flavor, full of the phenomenal worldbuilding and non-stop action that have gained Anthony Ryan a global fan base.

(Copied from Goodreads)

Review:

It is no secret that Anthony Ryan is my favorite author. In fact, I’m pretty sure even he knows that (yay, Twitter). His Raven’s Shadow trilogy is the best fantasy series I’ve read to date. So, when this book came up on NetGalley, I jumped on it. I was mildly heartbroken when I didn’t receive a copy and posted about it on Twitter. A few weeks later, this lovely thing came in the mail.

I literally squeed and danced around my living room when he said he would send me a copy! Now, let’s end the fangirling adventure and get to the review.

This book is part Indiana Jones, part Pirates of the Caribbean. Add some drakes and you have all elements of this novel.

There is no one better than Anthony Ryan at setting a scene. He paints his landscapes expertly. I have read a few other authors (who shall remain nameless) that take their description way too far. So much so, that I completely lose interest. Examples could be given, but that is not necessary. Ryan’s descriptions are always deliberate. They set the tone, the pacing, and they allow the reader to be immersed, rather than overwhelmed. My favorite examples, within this novel, are the naval battles. I feel as if I am in the midst of the action.

I think my favorite part of this novel is how the characters all fell together in the end. I won’t give any spoilers, just know, you will be satisfied with how it ends. I love a good cliffhanger, but some writers just leave you going “what?!?” 

Another thing I loved was Anthony Ryan’s presentation of a strong female character. I have read many male writers who fall short in their female leads. Ryan has never let me down on this front. While Lizanne may not be the main character, she is still an integral part. She is still emotionally driven but she doesn’t let it control her every move. 

I have recommended this and “Blood Song” to some many people that I have truly lost count.

Quotes:

“Caution favours no-one in battle,” 
― Anthony RyanThe Waking Fire

“A White breathing fire on a group of Spoiled kneeling in obvious supplication. An egg bathed in fire and cracking open to reveal the screaming infant Black inside, the flames fading to reveal an old man in a robe staring down at the fledgling drake with the expression of a proud father.” 
― Anthony RyanThe Waking Fire

“True change has never been bloodless.” 
― Anthony RyanThe Waking Fire

Recommendations:

Blood Song – Anthony Ryan

Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan 

The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson 

The Warden Man – Peter V. Brett

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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My Top 10 Reads of 2015

I realize most on this list were not released in 2015, but I am okay with that. I don’t like hype or jumping on bandwagons, so I generally wait until all of it dies down before I delve into something new.

Also, 2015 was the year of fantasy for me. I jumped head first into the genre with much fervor and great enthusiasm. Since I had only opened myself up to the genre last year (2014), I had much catching up to do. My first being, Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. So, I apologize for the lack of variety in this list but it was what I decided was worth reading in 2015.

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10. Alice in Zombieland – Gena Showalter

I absolutely love Gena Showalter’s YA novels. Yes, they always have romance in them but they are beyond fantastic. Plus, I had been trying to get my hands on this novel for a while (without ordering it online) and it was always sold out. When I finally got it in my possession, I wasted no time in cracking it open and sinking into the pages. I also read this on the heels of The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie and it was a welcome change from the heaviness of that novel.

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9. Eragon – Christopher Paolini

I did mention I just started reading fantasy as of last year, right? I know, I know. I’ve already heard it from so many people. How could I not have read this series until now. Well, I had no interest until now. I was raised in a house where horror reigned supreme and dragons were stupid, big lizards. When I did start reading fantasy, that opinion quickly changed and I couldn’t get enough. I loved the movie adaptation of this novel and so I purchased it. It took me so long to read it because I didn’t want to hate the movie afterwards. And I don’t. I love them both.

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8. Tin Men – Christopher Golden

I was browsing Goodreads one day and I came across one of their giveaways for an ARC of this novel, so I clicked it. A few weeks later, it came in the mail and I began reading it. I was so wrapped up in the story that I forgot to eat for almost an entire day. This solidified my love for Christopher Golden. (Dead Ringers is also fantastic).

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7. The Iron King – Julie Kagawa

I absolutely love stories of the Fey. Even as a little girl I would seek out these kinds of stories. There is a lot of nostalgia behind this choice. The Iron King has all of the elements I look for in a story, adventure, twisty story lines, humor,  taking something known and putting your own spin on it… the list goes on. I love the melding of genres. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I cannot wait to finish this series!

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6. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling)

I have to admit, I was completely nervous picking up this book. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and I knew Rowling had written this series. I wanted it to be just as good as Harry but I wanted it to be so completely different. I was battling with myself. What if it isn’t as good? Could anything be as good? How is she going to pull this off? But when I started reading, I forgot I was reading a book by the same person who wrote Harry. I was thrilled that while still good, it wasn’t even the same style. There were no similar themes… well, not enough for me to be like, “well, she did that again”. I am so happy to see her break away from a worldwide beloved character and prove she’s not a one trick pony.

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5. Cinder – Marissa Meyer

Okay, not going to lie. I am a sucker for a good retelling of classic fairy tales… even those of the princess variety. This book was beyond hard to put down. I needed to know what was going to happen next. I believe I read it all in a 24 hour period. I am excited to continue this series.

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4. The Warded Man – Peter V. Brett

I loved this story!! There were so many elements that I loved, to list them all would just be annoying. However, I am going to list a few.

Oh, the Victorian values of this culture. I adored this element, simply because it was something familiar in a world so strange.

The fact that a boy, not a man, not an elder, not a priest, figures out how to ward his own skin and no one else has this idea. At first I was like, don’t you think someone else would have figured this out by now, that’s just idiotic. Then I was like… you know what… Maybe that’s the point. Maybe it is idiotic and that’s why it takes a boy willing to do it, to prove it works. Who else would tattoo their flesh on a whim? Once I realized that I was on board with the idea.

And lastly, I loved the world building in this novel. While it was simple and many things from our world translated fluidly, I feel like the melding was well done.

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3. The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

I HATE THIS NOVEL… NO, I LOVE THIS NOVEL… NO, I HATE JOE ABERCROMBIE… NO, WTF ARE YOU DOING?

That seems to summarize my reading of this novel. I loved it, I hated it… Needless to say, the book riled me up 90% of the time I was reading it. I threw it at one point. And then BAM… nothing happens (ie, cliffhanger). WTF, Joe Abercrombie.

Well played, Joe Abercrombie…

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2. Queen of Fire – Anthony Ryan

The final installment of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy, which just happens to be my favorite fantasy trilogy, didn’t pack quite the punch that the first two did. While I love that it wrapped up loose ends, that seems to be all this book was for. Don’t get me wrong. It was still an amazing book (it is ranked #2 in my favorites of the year!!). The entire series is amazing and you should go pick them up and read them right now!!

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1. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

This book is so… I honestly do not even have the words. Amazing, yes. Beautifully written, yes. Magical, yes. I just don’t feel I can do the writing justice. The descriptions in this novel make you feel as if you are participating in everything that is taking place. The flow of the novel is seamless. There is nothing I can even critique and say… well, it’s not perfect. It is a genuine masterpiece (and I am in the process of reading book 2).

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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