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Tag Archives: epic fantasy

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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In the Company of the Dead – Ciara Ballintyne

Synopsis:

Only a fool crosses a god, but Ellaeva and Lyram will do anything to get what they want.

Chosen as a five-year-old orphan to be the Left Hand of Death, Ellaeva has nothing to call her own—nothing except a desire to avenge her murdered parents. Her duties leave her no time to pursue the man responsible, until both her work and revenge lead to the same place—the lonely castle where Lyram Aharris is serving out his exile for striking his prince.

Lyram is third in line for the throne, and when the castle is unexpectedly besieged, he fears his prince means to remove him from contention for the crown permanently. Ellaeva’s arrival brings hope, until she reveals she has not come for the siege, but instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the dark god of decay.

Within their stone prison, Ellaeva and Lyram must fight to save themselves from political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, the greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

Copied from Goodreads.

Review:

So, let me start this review by saying, I do not like when a romance takes over the plot of a fantasy novel. It drives me crazy. I feel like, if this is the case, it should at least be in the synopsis so I don’t waste my time. However, this novel gave me enough action to keep going.

I absolutely loved Lyram’s story. His exile, the betrayal, the political intrigue, all were done quite well. I also loved his character. He is everything you expect of a military man, duty, honor, sacrifice. He is kind and loyal. He does let past hurts (and that’s putting it lightly) get in the way of his motivations at times, but he remains just in doing so.

I adore a strong female character, but Ellaeva fell a bit short for me. While she endures many hardships, there were times I couldn’t even feel sorry for her. She became a product of circumstance and that made her less than heroic. At times I began to feel as if she were a petulant adolescent. Or, simply, a stereotypical female. That being said, I did like her, just not as much as I had hoped. 

The one thing that stood above all else in this story (and may have brought a tear, or two, to my eye) was the profound relationships between Lyram and his advisors. These men knew the army commander and the exile and still they followed him without hesitation. They adored him and he them. 

While the entirety of this novel lays on the plot of one siege, the story flows well and has enough background to keep the reader immersed. She fleshes out the characters through examination of circumstance. I enjoyed learning about the character’s pasts while the story played out.

No Quotes, NetGalley ARC

Recommendations:

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

Dark Witch – Nora Roberts

Lord of Snow and Shadows – Sara Ash

Daughter of the Blood – Anne Bishop


 
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Posted by on June 17, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan

Synopsis:

What does it mean if the gods can be killed? The first novel in an epic new fantasy series for readers of Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, Peter V. Brett, and Scott Lynch.

Age of Myth inaugurates an original six-book series, and one of fantasy’s finest next-generation storytellers continues to break new ground.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.

(Copied from Goodreads.)

Review:

This book is fantasy at its best.  Sullivan’s characters are all quite likeable, which in the fantasy realm lately hasn’t been the case. The premise is fantastic. 

Anyone who’s read previous reviews of mine knows I am a sucker for a strong female lead, and while many times Persephone doesn’t seem to be the “true lead”, she brings what I need to stay invested in the novel. 

Sullivan also fulfills another need of mine. His writing is beautifully flowing, no excessive rambling about unimportant things or events. This is what causes me to set some fantasy novels aside. Yes, I love this world you’ve created. No, I don’t need a 10 page description of this castle you’ve thought up in your head. Some fantasy authors need to remember their key audience already has an imagination, hence the reading of fantasy in the first place. One of the first things people tell a new author is ” show, don’t tell”… But that’s a rant for another time and another blog.

I was also completely satisfied with the ending of this novel… No spoilers… That is another rare thing in the fantasy realm. I love when the author can wrap up book one cleanly and still give you much anticipation for the coming novels, (see, The Waking Fire).

Quotes:

“I swear, the reason for full moons is so the gods can more clearly see the mischief they create. 

—THE BOOK OF BRIN”
Recommendations:

The Waking Fire – Anthony Ryan

The Warded Man – Peter V. Brett

The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Last Days of Magic – Mark Tompkins

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Synopsis:

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

Review:

The rich history in this novel makes it worth the read. However, there is also a wonderful story here. Tompkins is able to paint a beautiful backdrop to his story as well as allowing you to connect with the many characters he brings forth. I was hooked from the first page to the last. Any historical fiction or fantasy fan will be happy with this one for sure.

(No quotes due to the fact that my copy was an ARC from NetGalley)

Recommendations:

Truthwitch – Susan Dennard

The Shards of Heaven – Michael Livingston

Children of Earth and Sky – Guy Gavriel Kay

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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Upcoming Reviews

changeling

Changeling (Order of Darkness, #1)  by Philippa Gregory

I love tales of the Fae, so how could I pass up a book with this title? I am a quarter of the way through and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

boneshaker

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1)  by Cherie Priest

So far, this has been a great adventure!

lordofsnow

Lord of Snow and Shadows (Tears of Artamon, #1)  by Sarah Ash

I haven’t decided how I feel about this one yet. I am only about halfway through. We shall see.

shards

The Shards of Heaven (The Shards of Heaven #1)  by Michael Livingston

This is a NetGalley review book. I am loving it so far but I am only about 15% of the way through it.

stones

Only the Stones Survive  by Morgan Llywelyn

Another NetGalley, haven’t started this one but it sounds amazing!

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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The King Raven Trilogy – Stephen R. Lawhead

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Synopsis :

Take everything you know and love about Robin Hood and be prepared to love him even more.

Review:

While not in the original setting, this series makes Robin Hood a real person. This series gives you an adult version of the tale we all loved as a child. The political intrigue and the battle for home and family make him a real tangible character that you can’t help but love.

When introduced to the fantasy genre, Lawhead quickly became a favorite. This could be, in large part, due to the fact that he reworked some of my favorite characters and made me love them more.

Favorite Quotes :

“If thou wouldst seek justice, thyself must be just. ”
― Stephen R. Lawhead, Hood

“When heaven joins the battle against you, who could stand?”
― Stephen R. Lawhead, Hood

“I know nothing of any phantom,’ replied Aethelfrith. ‘What sort of phantom is it presumed to be?’
‘Why,’ replied the merchant, ‘it takes the form of a great giant of a bird. Men hereabouts call it King Raven.’
‘Do they indeed?’ wondered the friar, much intrigued. ‘What does it look like – this giant bird?’
The merchant stared at him in disbelief. ‘By the rood, man! Are you dim? It looks like a thumping great raven.”
― Stephen R. Lawhead, Hood

“If ever I boast of seeing a fairer face in all this wide world, may I die a liar’s death.”
― Stephen R. Lawhead, Hood

“May you always have ale enough to wet your tongues, wit enough to know friend from foe, and strength enough for every fight.”
― Stephen R. Lawhead, Hood

Recommendations:

Honestly, I am just going to recommend his other series. I feel like no one really writes like him.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/28083.Stephen_R_Lawhead

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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5 Fantasy Series For Newbies

Or people who want to delve into the genre but don’t know where to start…

The fantasy genre can be a lot to take if you don’t know what to look for. There are the great epics, sci-fi, any number of different worlds and characters names you have no chance of pronouncing without the aid of an audiobook.

Don’t let this put you off to the genre. Most are a riveting escape from reality. They can grip you and suck you into a crazy, exciting and sometimes infuriating world.

But first let’s address the issue most have with fantasy. There are some long winded authors out there and I will be the first to admit that I never wanted to read the nearly 1,000 page epics until I had already dipped my toe into the world of fantasy. Not all are just wordy, some have epic world building to do and they paint a picture on every page. Some have much to say and character development that you wouldn’t belive. These books are epic for a reason.

Now, the reason you started reading this post…

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1. The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

This series is a fantastic introduction into the fantasy genre simply because it is not too long. The individual books can be read over the span of just a few days. There is also great world building in this novel and characters you can’t help but feel for. This will also introduce you to one of the best authors in the genre. It will help you decide if you really want to pick up his more epic works. (Recently he has added to this trilogy and there are two other books.)

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2. The Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Essentially, it would be fair for me to just say… see above, but I won’t. I will give this series more credit than that because I absolutely loved it! This series is a little darker than the Mistborn Series but it is well worth the read. Also, the two worlds are very different. Sometimes with fantasy, worlds will run together or overlap. There is no chance of that with this or Mistborn.

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3. The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

While epic in its own right, The Name of the Wind is 660 pages (in its original hardback), this series is worth picking up. The reason I am suggesting such a long novel as an introduction to fantasy is its lyrical, insanely well written prose. The descriptions and phrasing in this series will keep you mesmerized from beginning to end.

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4. The Black Magician Trilogy – Trudi Canavan

If you loved the environment of Harry Potter and are looking for a bit more grown up version, here it is! The outcast child ends up with epic powers and surpasses all expectations held for her.

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5. Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Good kind

I realize this series is ridiculously long but the first book is worth the read. Even if it takes you a while to get to the second novel it picks up right where this leaves off. The rich world building and character development in this novel was what made me fall in love with the genre.

I know some of these books still seem a bit daunting, but trust me, if you start with these there will be no going back.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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