Books: Fantasy

book review | The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French | The Lot Lands 1

the grey bastards jonathan french the lot landsAuthor: Jonathan French
Title: The Grey Bastards
Series: The Lot Lands 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 529
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Thick books are hard to review, for they tend to encompass a very long period of time, with too many events happening. Such is “The Grey Bastards” by Jonathan French, a great book that doesn’t really fit in a single paragraph to express what was it all about.

About the Book: Jackal and his other half-orc brothers and sisters, The True Bastards, lived a relatively easy life in the Lot Lands, all up until a series of events, starting with a single pebble, sent down this mountain of almost leisure down in an avalanche. An argument with knights, a stolen and sold elven girl in the hands of the nastiest possible monster, an appearance of half-orc wizard, a being unheard of… There’s a tension for war in the air, with almost every possible enemy. Jackal isn’t sure their old chief is capable of keeping them all alive, and the wind already smells of blood.

My Opinion: I do greatly enjoy books told from non-human perspectives; extra points for them not being elves too. Nothing against elves, I love them dearly, but I’m pretty sure we’re all a little too used to fantasy meaning elves and dwarves as the only possible adventurers. Characters are written well, with tales of their own, even if their characters sometimes blend together. The book is a pretty good example of what’s epic fantasy adventure like, but made better by overload of filthy jokes, down to earth heroes, and clever beasts. The only problem I had were the overly long discussions that led nowhere, or to conclusions that could’ve been reached in two sentences.

A good book, not the best, but definitely good, so a 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Adventure Books, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Streams of Silver by R.A. Salvatore | high fantasy

streams of silver r.a. salvatore high fantasy book cover forgotten realms dark elf legend of drizztAuthor: R.A. Salvatore
Title: Streams of Silver
Series: The Legend of Drizzt 5
Genre: High Fantasy; Adventure Lit.
Pages: 349
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

At times it’s good to rest with known characters in unknown lands. Such was “Streams of Silver” by R.A. Salvatore, fifth book in The Legend of Drizzt series, second book in the second trilogy of it. And it’s just getting better and better.

About the Book: Drizzt, our infamous kind-hearted dark elf, allows his dwarven friend to convince him to embark on yet another deadly dangerous expedition. This time it’s to find the legendary Mithril Halls, where the dwarf originates from. He, due to trauma of the battle that has left no survivors, and turned the legendary kingdom into a fairy tale, a myth, cannot recall much of it, just the general existence of it. But one thing is clear to everyone in the party off onto an adventure: neither the path there, nor the Halls themselves will be safe. For whatever destroyed the Mithril Halls might very well still lurk in the deep darkness underground.

My Opinion: Oh, this was good. This was Moria meets Deep Roads good. With foes in the dark, forgotten evil magic awaiting, darkness taking shape. And treasure filled halls, history of ancient dwarven kingdom wiped out.

These are really great so far. Could definitely recommend to anyone into classic adventure-filled high fantasy. A 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Adventure Books, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Marked Prince by M.A. Grant | Fantasy lit.

the marked prince m.a. grantAuthor: M.A. Grant
Title: The Marked Prince
Series: The Darkest Court 2
Genre: LGBT+ Literature; Fantasy
Pages: 305
Rate: 3-5 | Goodreads

Ah well, I couldn’t wait any longer, so I’ve read the second book in The Darkest Court series by M.A. Grant, “The Marked Prince“. It wasn’t as good as the first, but it wasn’t too bad either.

About the Book: Sebastian, on the eve of War between the Courts has to return to the Summer, one he was born into, but long as not considered home. He expected hostility, possibly even imprisonment, but still risked it all, for that was the only way to help his friends, Phineas and Roark, with whose Court lies his heart. Sebastian has to find Roark’s brother and return him home, by kidnapping or even murder if that’s what it takes. But standing before the King of Summer Court he is greeted as a long lost family member, a prince… And while that gives him hope to come closer to the target, it also puts one on his back, for there already is an heir to the throne, and she is not so happy to see him.

My Opinion: The theme of the book was a lot alike Captive Prince with the, well, captive prince falling in love with the opposing kingdom’s prince. And while it wasn’t as well written as Pacat’s work, it was still not bad, so I will continue with the series.

Yeah, so this one gets a 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant | LGBT+ Fantasy YA lit.

prince of air and darkness by m. a. grant book coverAuthor: M.A. Grant
Title: Prince of Air and Darkness
Series: The Darkest Court 1
Genre: LGBT+; YA Fantasy
Pages: 310
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes by sheer accident I find these lovely books as “Prince of Air and Darkness” by M.A. Grant and get to wonder so how does book marketing work then? Is it all based on money? Because this book could be promoted hard as Maas’s ACOTAR series with Captive Prince characters to it. It’s not yet that level of good, but it was pretty darn nice, and is worth picking up if you like the fairy tale like stories as acotar were (I harbor no love for the author, mind you), but would like it to also be m/m romance.

About the Book: Phineas Smith is one of those rare humans with such grand magical powers that he gets to study in a School of Magick. And while that sounds great and all, it really isn’t. He’s bearing through it, hoping it’ll help his parents in the long run. But magical people, fae and alike, don’t like him all that much. Not to mention that his powers are seriously impossible to tame, so he’ll likely fail his exams. And then there’s the odd creatures who crave raw power like that and end up hunting him… But not all is bad, of course. He does have a friend of two. And his roommate, arrogant prince of Air and Darkness, Roark Lyne, happens to be there for him at the right time in the right place, whenever he really needs some ass saving. Phineas can hate him all he wants, but he has to admit… Roark doesn’t seem as bad as he plays to be.

My Opinion: While not per say anything special, the book was absolutely good enough for me to not wish to put it down. I wanted to read it cover to cover, and didn’t only because time didn’t allow for it. There’s some weak spots, like Phineas’s want to help his parents, but then, at the start of the book he doesn’t want to talk to them, and at the end of the book he doesn’t even think about letting them know he solved his own problem too. But there were some real strong points too that made all the difference. Like finding true silver lining in what seemed to be the worst possible outcome.

I give this book a strong 4 out of 5, and am looking forwards to reading the next one.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer | Steampunk lit.

the last necromancer c.j. archer ministry of curiositiesAuthor: C.J. Archer
Title: The Last Necromancer
Series: The Ministry of Curiosities 1
Genre: Historical Fiction; Steampunk
Pages: 268
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I’ve been on a quest to find me some books on warlocks and necromancers, and I’ve succeeded to gather a little trove of them. Starting with “The Last Necromancer” by C.J. Archer, the first in The Ministry of Curiosities series. And while it had its issues, it was pretty decent.

About the Book: Charlie lived on the street, joining gangs and moving on when need arose, ever since her father put her out of his house for raising her dead mother. He then decided she’s a devil’s daughter, and she learned to hide her gift. Up until she got in trouble and had to revive a dead man to defend her. Now two men in league with supernatural are fighting over Charlie, for it seems she’s the last of her kind. But Charlie isn’t sure whom she can trust in this, if anyone at all.

My Opinion: There were these not very important, but real annoying plot nuances that bothered me to the core. Charlie sometimes made decisions without having anything real to base them on. Like the time she decided she’ll be hunted relentlessly by a man she saw once, from afar. Then there’s a lot of repeating, it’s like you’re getting re-briefed on the topic you just had been briefed on in the previous paragraph. But other than that, flaws and all, I liked how down to earth Charlie was, her simplicity. She’s scared, she wants to hurl, and her powers are relatively useless seeing how dead people don’t just lay about to defend her. It made for a plot that was just interesting enough to oversee the flaws.

I give this book a solid 3 out of 5 and will definitely read the next one. Simple, but hey, it’s the first book.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, Books: Other Fiction, Books: Supernatural, ghosts, Historical Fiction Books, Mystery Books, Nosferatu Books, steampunk | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Grisha Trilogy 3

ruin and rising leigh bardugo book coverAuthor: Leigh Bardugo
Title: Ruin and Rising
Series: Grisha Trilogy 3
Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult
Pages: 422
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

It’s nice when books are so enthralling. Finished the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo with the book “Ruin and Rising” and it was great. Definitely among the best fantasy tales out there.

About the Book: To win against the Darkling Alina requires the third amplifier. It would change everything! Her power would be immense, she’d be the first Grisha to wield three, and… But to find it she needs to uncover long buried past, and untangle secrets that proved too much even for Darkling, hundreds of years old grisha, so unique in his power the title hardly fits. Besides, some secrets are buried for a reason. Alina has no idea how painful they can be.

My Opinion: Darkling is one of the best villains ever written. This book digs a lot into the past, so we get to know his too, of what he was, his childhood, and what could have nudged him onto the path he is on now. Yet my favorite remains Nikolay. I’ve read that the “King of Scars” is about him, so I assume I’ll need to read all of the books in Grisha world. As for the story itself, it was good, sometimes a bit slow, but otherwise – twisting, turning, and throwing surprises out and about.

A good book that finished the trilogy well, with my favorite kind of ending, one that covers a little bit of life after the war. I give it a 5 out of 5, and can greatly recommend it to those seeking not too complex a web in a fantasy, but one that’ll keep you captivated.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist | The Glass Books 1

x the glass books of the dream eaters gordon dahlquistAuthor: Gordon Dahlquist
Title: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters
Series: The Glass Books 1
Genre: Mystery, Steampunk
Pages: 760
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Good grief. “The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters” by Gordon Dahlquist, first in the Glass Books series, is very excessive. And while not a bad example of Steampunk Mystery, it ain’t a very good one either.

About the Book: A dark and secret cabal is performing unearthly rituals. They’re stealing minds, knowledge, experiences, condensing them into their blue glass books to be used by others. This process enslaves people, transforms them. Or outright kills them. And it’s a tad hard to tell which is worse.

Miss Temple truly did not expect to find all this when she decided to follow her former fiance in attempts to find out if there were any other reasons for why he broke off the engagement. Nor did she expect to find allies such as foreign doctor Svenson, with his masterful ability to not only heal and cure, but make allies out of enemies; or the infamous assassin nick named Cardinal Cheng. For reasons of their own, united they fight against the evil forces, giving it all to survive.

My Opinion: Fantasy doesn’t need iron logic. It only needs it to hold water and have everything work. Here, while we get to spend most the chapters in one or another head of the character, we barely get these vague outlines of why are they doing what they’re doing. For instance, Miss Temple has these ridiculous outbursts of violence that there and here sort of were hinted to as coming from what her father used to be like. Other times she does or thinks the strangest things which then leaves me, as a reader, wonder why the hell was I subject to this. Then there’s the assassin in bright red coat. I imagine he enjoys chasing victims, for I can’t imagine people recognizing the coat to not dash.

It’s not bad, it’s just not good either. 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Books, Sci-Fi Books, steampunk, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo | Grisha Trilogy 2

siege and storm leigh bardugo.jpgAuthor: Leigh Bardugo
Title: Siege and Storm
Series: Grisha Trilogy 2
Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult
Pages: 435
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

As much as I love the classic fantasy, with elves, dwarves, archers, mages, and lands unknown; I love the unusual fantasy too. Such as Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Or Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. Just finished second book in it, Siege and Storm, and it was as good as the last one, and probably better.

About the Book: Alina and Mal escaped from the Shadow Fold and from its ruler – Darkling. But such a victory is nothing if they want to continue living a life as they know it, not in utter darkness with monsters all around. Hiding their identities they make their way closer back to Ravka, hoping beyond hope to form a good enough plan for the inevitable battle against Darkling and his ever growing powers. And while fate is kind to them, generous with powerful allies, Alina loathes the price it comes with. People worship her as the Sun Queen. They worship her as one of the saints. If she learned anything from those religious books she was made to read is that saints and heroes – don’t live long.

My Opinion: The slight annoyance was the romance-drama. Mal expects Alina to read his mind, and then, when she tries to answer his questions, he just refuses to listen. But that’s just a drop in the water, not worth a point. The story is filled with turns, twists, unexpected happiness, and unexpected despair. Characters are very well written, from thieves, to mercs, to pirates, to kings. And people actually make logical decisions, they don’t just turn coats because of reasons. It was a very good read.

It’s a good book I can recommend to those who want good fantasy, but don’t want it too complicated. A 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Winter by Marissa Meyer | The Lunar Chronicles 4

winter by marissa meyer the lunar chroniclesAuthor: Marissa Meyer
Title: Winter
Series: The Lunar Chronicles 4
Genre: Fantasy; Sci-Fi
Pages: 827
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, finished The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer with the last book in it: Winter. It was magical, wonderful, and oh the atmosphere. Author really knows how to write a good atmosphere.

About the Book: A common worker in an iron grip of the evil step mother Queen Levana, bombarded with constant illusions that Queen herself is delusional enough to believe, constant surveillance and threat of death, has no means to fight against oppression. But a rumor spreads like wildfire, a rumor of a long lost hope, long lost princess Selene. Rumor claims she’s here, among them. This is enough to bring a time of revolution about. This hope is enough to get them fighting. It is time for the Queen Levana to fall.

My Opinion: It’s a great book, truly. Due to everyone receiving their happy endings, story got a little long winded. But when characters are so nice and well written, it’s a pleasure to read, not a chore. There’s battles, there’s tension, there’s dangerous mind-controlling mages of sorts, and genetically engineered werewolves, and a crazy girl whose kindness melted even their savage hearts. The only true con I have for this book is the lack of motivation behind Cinder’s actions. She doesn’t remember Luna as her home, she doesn’t feel at home there, she wants to go back to Earth and not be a princess. So why did she fight so hard? Just because she wanted Levana off the throne?

Great book, great series. I highly recommend, and give it a 5 out of 5. 

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Grisha Trilogy 1 | fantasy

shadow and bone leigh bardugo.jpgAuthor: Leigh Bardugo
Title: Shadow and Bone
Series: Grisha Trilogy 1
Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult
Pages: 358
Rate:  5/5 | Goodreads

Time to rest from all the poorly written horror literature. I’ve decided I need to lessen the unread series that I’ve got, especially the ones I got at home. And since Grisha Trilogy is being made into series (or a movie?) it only made sense to start with the first book in this trilogy, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve been recommended this book many times, by several people. I get it now.

About the Book: Ravka is being torn apart by wars and the darkness at its heart – Shadow Fold, full of monsters so fierce it’s getting hard to pass even for magic wielding grisha. Same goes for war. Magical warriors, even led by the terrifying Darkling, cannot stand against ever advancing, technologically ever improving enemy. Magic, after all, hardly helps against a bullet to the head. But upon witnessing the orphan Alina Starkov’s power – hope blooms in all the Ravka citizens hearts, including the black heart of the Darkling. For she has a power that can stop not only the enemy, but Shadow Fold itself.

My Opinion: The book is written really well, is consistent and uniform through and through. Reader is allowed some suspicions, but never enough to foresee the upcoming twist of events; which take place in this slavic country Ravka. Lithuania borders with slavic countries, making it all sound familiar. Like reading a more of a fairy tale version of The Witcher Saga (but completely different, and not really a fairy tale either), full of dark forests, magical stags, and magicians. A truly wonderful book I can recommend to those who want something they won’t be able to put down.

I hope to finish the whole trilogy this month. Maybe next month I can give Six of Crows, also by Leigh Bardugo, a chance too. We’ll see. And for now, Shadow and Bone gets 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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