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The City Stained Red – Sam Sykes

Synopsis:

Long before he was sent to hell, the Aeon known as Khoth-Kapira was the closest thing to a living god the world had ever known. Possessed of a vast intellect, he pioneered many of the wonders that persist in the world that lingered long after he was banished. Nearly every fragment of medical, economic and technological progress that the mortal races enjoyed could be traced back to him. But with his wonders came cruelty beyond measure: industrialized slavery, horrifying experimentations and a rage that would eventually force the world to bow to him.

Now, as Khoth-Kapira stirs the world begins to shudder with disasters yet to come.The epicenter is the city of Cier’Djaal. A religious war between two unstoppable military juggernauts begins to brew. The racial fury among many peoples of the world is about to explode. Demons begin to pour from the shadows at the head of a vicious cult worshipping dark powers.

And Lenk finds himself in the middle once more, his fate and the fate of Khoth-Kapira interlinked as the demon attempts to convince him of his earnestness.

“Your world is breaking around you,” He Who Makes says, “let me fix it. Let me help you. Let me out.”

Review:

Everything I had read about The City Stained Red, stated that this series could be read apart from Sykes’s original seires. My advice… Don’t. There are things that will be quite confusing at first. They do get fleshed out later on, but I do wish I had taken the time to read some of the one or two star reviews. Then, I would have known this. I disagreee with the one and two star reviews, but they do mention that.

I first heard of Sam Sykes via Twitter. After following him for almost a month, I couldn’t wait to pick up something he’d written. I was not disappointed. His quick wit and humor come across well in his novels. I enjoyed having serious moments broken up by slapstick.

His characters are quite the rag-tag bunch. I enjoyed getting to know them all individually. However, I do wish there would have been mention of perspective change, i.e. chapter titles with new perspective’s name. It broke pace when the first thing written was “she” coming out of a male perspective.

It was interesting seeing a male character driven by motivations mainly left to female characters in the past. Lenk is a hopeless romantic in many ways. His desire to see his world changed and his motivations for doing so were all centered around his lady-love, Kataria. When they are apart, he morns the loss, literally.

I also enjoyed the many and diverse battles going on within the city. It seemed very human to have so much going on. Not one major battle (as is the case with most novels/stories) but many small interspersing prejudices and bigotries. Humans don’t like oids, the different factions of the city don’t get along, the many faith’s argue over their differences. It is a “city stained red” in so many ways.

Quotes:

“A pair of the shirtless men drew back the curtains to expose what appeared to be something between a man, a grub, and a pillow that couldn’t quite make up its mind.”

-Sam Sykes, The City Stained Red

“It’s a demon, Dread. What the hell are you hoping to do to it?’

He closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath.

‘Oh, you know.’

When he opened them, they were alive with bright red light.

‘Stuff.”

– Sam Sykes, The City Stained Red

“And a certain level of nonchalance was required ot the woman who may or may not have just inadvertently started a war.”

– Sam Sykes, The City Stained Red

Recommendations:

Black Wolves – Kate Elliot

Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher

Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

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Synopsis:

Prince Jorg has seen all too much in his short years. Having witnessed the rape and murder of his mother and young brother, while going through his own torture, something inside the young boy has snapped and since a child he has had nothing on his mind but revenge.

Review:

I want to start off this review by saying that I truly wanted to love this book. I had heard so many great things about it but it fell a little short for me. I liked it but I couldn’t say it would make any favorites list, all I can truly hope for is that the following books get better.

Issue number one, I could not connect or even care for (either love or hate) the main character Prince Jorg. I honestly felt nothing for him the entire book. It was almost like Lawrence made me feel as if I was the sociopath. I knew this kid was doing things that were evil but I also knew there was something so broken about him that he honestly didn’t care. I almost wish he would have enjoyed the things he was doing so I could hate him but it all seemed to be a means to an end.

Second issue, so I couldn’t connect with the main character, usually there is at least one character that I can say, “I like her” or “I like him”… or, in the case of Joe Abercrombie “I hate you all and you all are pieces of crap”. I just wish there were some kind of emotional response to the book. But it left me going “Meh…”

Third and largest issue, there seemed to be no real motivation for anything done in the novel. Jorg’s whims being apeesed? A spoiled prince always getting his way no matter the outcome? I just didn’t get that his revenge could carry him as far as it did. Maybe I missed something but it just didn’t pan out in the end for me.

But enough ranting, I liked it, I will read the rest of the series but I do hope these issues are addressed in the next book…

Favorite Quotes:

“Tell me, tutor,’ I said. ‘Is revenge a science, or an art?”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Cowards make the best torturers. Cowards understand fear and they can use it.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Most men have at least one redeeming feature. Finding one for Brother Rike requires a stretch. Is ‘big’ a redeeming feature?”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Anything that you cannot sacrifice pins you. Makes you predictable, makes you weak.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Lucifer spoke thus. Pride took him from heaven, though he sat at God’s right hand.’ Her voice grew faint, the hint of a whisper. ‘In the end pride is the only evil, the root of all sins.’
‘Pride is all I have.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“You got responsibilities when you’re a leader. You got a responsibility not to kill too many of your men. Or who’re you going to lead?”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“The way to break the cycle is to kill every single one of the bastards that fucked you over. Every last one of them. Kill them all. Kill their mother, kill their brothers, kill their children, kill their dog.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“I think maybe we die every day. Maybe we’re born new each dawn, a little changed, a little further on our own road. When enough days stand between you and the person you were, you’re strangers. Maybe that’s what growing up is. Maybe I have grown up.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you’ll find an edge to cut you.” I looked into my own darkness. I knew what it was to be trapped, and to watch ruination. “Each day the memories weigh a little heavier. Each day they drag you down that bit further. You wind them around you, a single thread at a time, and you weave your own shroud, you build a cocoon, and in it madness grows.” The lights pulsed beneath my fingers, ebbing and flowing to the beat of my voice. “You sit here with your yesterdays queuing at your shoulder. You listen to their reproach and curse those that gave you life.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“It never pays to walk blindly. Especially not in your own castle where familiarity hides so much – even when we have the eyes to see.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“It was a defeat, resorting to crude threats in a game of subtlety, but sometimes one must sacrifice a battle to win the war.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“She gave me a smile that left me wondering if I wanted to slap it off her, or kiss it.”
― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

Recommendations:

The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

The Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson

The Warded Man – Peter V. Brett

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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