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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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My Top Reads of 2016

I’m going to be completely honest here and let you all know I didn’t do a lot of “my choice” reading in 2016. I joined a few book clubs and delved into NetGalley, then started my own novel (hence the absence). However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t come across gems this last year. Here are my top 10.

10. The Stolen Throne – David Gaider 

I honestly love all things Dragon age. 

The thrilling prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, the hit role-playing video game from award-winning developer BioWare!

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne

After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant.

His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne.

(Copied from Goodreads)

9. The Ritual – Adam Nevill

This one brought the creeps factor. 

Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives.

Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices; ancient artefacts and unidentifiable bones. A place of dark ritual and home to a bestial presence that is still present in the ancient forest, and now they’re the prey.

As the four friends struggle toward salvation they discover that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees…

8. The Demonists- Thomas E. Sniegoski 

I have loved his Fallen series for quite some time. This was just as good.

There is more to our world than meets the eye—darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they’re not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer…
 
It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.
 
John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield—and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation..

7. The Neverland Wars – Audrey Greathouse

Any fairy-tale retelling will catch my attention and this was no exception!

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance. 

6. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard 

One of the best YA reads of the year!

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart. 

5. Grave Surprise – Charlaine Harris 

One of my favorite authors. I love this series! (Book two)

When I was fifteen, I was struck by a bolt of lightning through an open window of the trailer where we lived…I recovered, mostly. I have a strange spiderweb pattern of red on my torso and right leg, which has episodes of weakness. Sometimes my right hand shakes. I have headaches. I have many fears. And I can find dead people. That was the part that interested the professor…

At the request of anthropology professor Dr. Clyde Nunley, Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver come to Memphis to give a demonstration of Harper’s unique talent. And what better place to have that demonstration than in a very old cemetery?

Dr. Nunley doesn’t bother to hide his skepticism, especially when Harper stands atop a grave and senses two bodies beneath her – one of a centuries-dead man and the other of a young girl, recently deceased. When the grave is opened, Harper’s claim is proven true. The dead girl is Tabitha Morgenstern, an eleven-year-old abducted from Nashville two years previously – a child whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find. The coincidence raises suspicions about her among the police – so she and Tolliver undertake their own hunt to find the killer. They make a nocturnal visit to the cemetery, hoping that Harper can sense something further about the murder.

And then, the next morning, a third dead body is found in the grave…

4. The Novice – Trudi Canavan

Any fan of Harry Potter should pick these up immediately! (Book two)

“Even if a magician’s powers surface of their own accord, he will
soon be dead if he does not gain the knowledge of how to control
them.” Alone among all the novices in the Magicians’ Guild, only
Sonea comes from lowly beginnings. Yet she has won powerful
allies—including Lord Dannyl, newly promoted to Guild Ambassador. But
Dannyl must now depart for the Elyne court, leaving Sonea at the
mercy of the lies and malicious rumors her enemies are busy spreading
. .. until the High Lord Akkarin steps in. The price of Akkarin’s
support is dear, however, because Sonea, in turn, must protect his
mysteries—and a secret that could lead a young novice mage deep into
the darkness. Meanwhile, Dannyl’s first order to resume High Lord
Akkarin’s long-abandoned research into ancient magical knowledge is
setting him on an extraordinary journey fraught with unanticipated
peril—as he moves ever-closer to a future both wondrous . .. and
terrible.

3. The Last Days of Magic – Mark Tompkins

Truly magical!

An epic novel of magic and mysticism, Celts and faeries, mad kings and druids, and the goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost on the Earth

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.

2. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

Couldn’t put this one down!


In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.
1. The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

These books are so beautifully written. It is just something you must experience for yourself.


My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

 Thanks for reading!!

 
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Posted by on March 27, 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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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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The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

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Synopsis :
Kvothe is a name most people have come to know. He is a boy with powers beyond reason. So when a collector of stories stumbles upon him in an Inn, he can’t help himself and asks if he can get the real story of Kvothe Kingkiller. Kvothe agrees and begins a tale of love and loss, hardship an friendship.

Review :
Wow! This is storytelling at its finest! Kvothe, the main character is also the narrator. He takes you on a  journey through his crazy life and you are instantly sucked in.

Favorite Quotes :

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” 
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating … but there are other ways to understanding.” 
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“Go out in the early days of winter, after the first cold snap of the season. Find a pool of water with a sheet of ice across the top, still fresh and new and clear as glass. Near the shore the ice will hold you. Slide out farther. Farther. Eventually you’ll find the place where the surface just barely bears your weight. There you will feel what I felt. The ice splinters under your feet. Look down and you can see the white cracks darting through the ice like mad, elaborate spiderwebs. It is perfectly silent, but you can feel the sudden sharp vibrations through the bottoms of your feet.
That is what happened when Denna smiled at me.” 
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“Are you hurt?”
“Absolutely,” I said. “Especially in my everywhere.” 
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Recommendations:

Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind
The Way of Shadows – Brent Weeks
Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson
Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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