high fantasy

book review | Homeland by R.A. Salvatore | The Legend of Drizzt 1

r.a. salvatore homeland dark elf trilogy drow book cover legend of drizztAuthor: R.A. Salvatore
Title: Homeland
Series: The Legend of Drizzt 1
Genre: High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Pages: 343
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I wanted to read the whole tale of Dark Elf trilogy, the Forgotten Realmsthe Legend of Drizzt of which I’ve read the first, Homeland by R.A. Salvatore since I was a teenager. But back then getting books in English was so much harder than it is now. 

About the Book: Drows, the Dark Elves, live deep underground, scorning both the light and the surface dwellers. Their way is that of darkness, solid stone walls, battle and power. And for that they worship a Deity, Queen Spider, who grants them power and favors. Under her laws you can cross any boundaries or rules, as long as you execute it successfully.

Thus, House Do’Urden has decided to take a step up on the social power ladder and completely destroy another house. They’ve done such thorough job slaying anyone alive, that in the eyes of Queen Spider such a house ceased to exist, never been for all it matters. And House Do’Urden deserves only praise, no punishment. But during this battle a third boy was born, meant a sacrifice to the Queen Spider. Fate has deemed him survive that day, and many more. Drizzt grew up to be a strange Drow, making many of his family members wish they proceeded with the sacrifice…

My Opinion: This is the most unique, way ahead of it’s time piece of very dark high fantasy. I’m quite happy I’ve read it now, not earlier. This is a brutal realm of so very familiar elves who are so very different from everything we got to know from such places as Elder Scrolls or Lord of the Rings.

Their society is ruled by vicious people, priestesses, mages, high matrons and alike. Men are war pawns, soldiers, fodder, and means to get more daughters. A neighbor here can kill another, and if he succeeded, he’d get away with it, for such is law. A sister would attack a brother, and if he raised an arm to defend himself, he’d get killed or at least punished, for how dare he raise an arm against a drow female. There’s monsters, there’s darkness, and there’s blindness. And in this hell of a homeland, there’s the purple-eyed Drizzt, and I hope to read the rest of his tale, for it can only get better from here.

Truly, if you seek dark high fantasy, take these books, The Witcher saga has not prepared you for the bloodshed you’ll find here. I give it a 5 out of 5, solid, and am taking up a quest to get the next book asap.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

the priory of the organce tree samantha shannon book coverAuthor: Samantha Shannon
Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 848
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I do really like dragons. And I’m a curious person in general. So, often, when I see hype start over a book, I feel a great need to find out why. Even though I have rarely ever liked the super hyped books. There’s even a pattern to it, if you see hype, but everyone’s talking about the cover, pages, beauty of it, and how they’ll read it: the hype is a hot air balloon. Yet here I am.

About the Book: Religion built on lies. Empires, Queendoms built on religions. House Berethnet queens have held the throne for a thousand years. It is their sacred duty. For with the end of this dynasty of queens, the Nameless One, a fire breathing dragon, will rise again, and Draconian rule will start once more.

But lies aren’t safe even in the graves. No end is ever fully hidden. Curious, innovative minds dug up the truth, and are in fevered frenzy to let the people know the truth. The truth of this dynasty, of the dragons, worms, cults, religions, and the cycle, the balance of the world.

My Opinion: The book is so overloaded with useless information that doesn’t add to the story, that it gets unbearable at times. I understand that hearing a detailed homely description of this random event is meant to introduce you to one of the main characters better, but the book is 800 pages long. It gets on your nerves eventually. To add to that, it felt like some things didn’t connect well, not only were they useless. It’s like, you’re given this information, it feels vital in the moment, but then through next 700 pages – nothing. The book has left me with more questions, than answers because of it. Meaning, I think that there was no more room to tell the truly interesting stuff, like where did those immortality granting trees come from, why there’s this many, why are they different, what would happen if one was to mix it up a little, and so on.

But saying all that, the book wasn’t bad. It had some fine stories, great legends, and interesting characters. Diverse characters too, LGBT friendly. Only in a fantasy realm, it seems, can some things be so very normalized, things like pure Matriarch, or a pious woman accepting that her husband is gay, and requires a different kind of a mate, but also needs to maintain a reputation. So, I say, let’s read more fantasy, and see how we can change our world for the better.

All in all, if you don’t like dragons all that much, you might not enjoy this book all that much either. The battles were weak, villains had a great need to tell their origin stories in the middle of it, and the names were a nightmare. So I give this book a weak 4 out of 5, for it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have to be so colossal either.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | Strange the Dreamer 2

muse of nightmares laini taylor book coverAuthor: Laini Taylor
Title: Muse of Nightmares
Series: Strange the Dreamer 2
Genre: High Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages: 522
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I loved the first book in Laini Taylor‘s duology Strange the Dreamer, by the same title. And I am very happy to say that this book, second book, Muse of Nightmares, is just as good if not even better.

About: After Lazlo has taken control of the fortress that has once belonged the to blue skinned gods, people of Weep were forced to remember that nightmare of a life they led under the rule of the Empire, the blue skinned Gods. For they have not expected survivors. But there they were, those young children, teenagers, young adults, with their blue skin and horror in their eyes. For why wouldn’t they be scared, met by a horde of armed people they only knew as godslayers, killers. And so it was time to reopen old scars, tell old secrets, find the truth, and see where it leads.

Mine: This book tells an origin tale of who were those blue skinned gods, where their power came from, why they required children born by humans. Why they took them, where they took them, and what happened to them. This is woven absolutely perfectly with current events. And it all is then gilded by a turn of events I couldn’t even dream of, but here it was. Truly, this is the most brilliant tale I’ve read in a very long time. The only other tale I can lightly compare it to would be “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin, due to unimaginable story, world, magic within it, and that mixture of high fantasy and sci-fi. But this one’s lighter to absorb, consume, so I’d very much recommend starting with Strange the Dreamer duology, to have a taste of what it could be like, these colossal tales of worlds, dreams, and unimaginable things imagined.

It’s an amazing book, and an amazing duology. Laini Taylor ends it with a hint for a spin-off, which I’m excited for beyond words. It could be great. It could be just as great. And it absolutely could be even greater. Laini Taylor has a mind unlike any other. 5 out of 5, and it barely gives it justice.

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

book reviewn | The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Mistborn 2

the well of ascension brandon sanderson book cover mistborn 2Author: Brandon Sanderson
Title: The Well of Ascension
Series: Mistborn 2
Genre: Epic Fantasy; High Fantasy
Pages: 590
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’m always a little worried I won’t be able to recall people, their names, after I abandon series for too long. But so far that has never happened. If slow, you recall everyone eventually. And the second book of Misborn by Brandon Sanderson, the Well of Ascension, was so well written, that you’re practically reminded of everything. It’s a very well woven story.

About: Their God is dead. Killed by Vin who became part of Kelser’s, the Survivor’s religion. She became his heir, the one he trained and led against the Lord Ruler. Yet ash still falls from the sky, and the Mist once again became dangerous, killing, unlike the teachings Survivor preached. And if that wasn’t enough, a good, kindhearted and honest man now sits on the throne, Elend Venture. He tries his best to make everyone equal. But a honest man can’t be a good ruler, it seems, for very soon the Final Empire finds itself surrounded by armies. One of them – not even human. The only hope Vin now has is finding the legendary Well of Ascension that has supposedly given Lord Ruler his power. She could take it, she could set it free, she could fix this broken world…

Mine: This was… This was huge beyond any words. It was beyond any epics or myths I’ve ever read, no matter how layered and interwoven they were. What you were told at the start of the book might change from truth to lie by the end of it. Progress happens before our very eyes, characters grow, evolve, develop, and so do their stories. Truths get unearthed, lies get found, new foundations are built, all in the face of utter horror, destruction. Some were proud as gods, believing themselves too much. Others believed so little, and yet came this far. And then some preached lies, believing them truth. It was amazing.

The best thing I can compare this book too, for there’s nothing similar I have ever read, and I have read a lot by now, is Frank Herbert’s “Dune” but without the dragging flaws. It was very well paced, full of action, puzzles, mysteries, secrets to solve, and the reader is fully allowed to make their own assumptions, deductions, we’re allowed to solve it on our own. I happily give this book a 5 out of 5. It is hard for me to explain a book as huge as this one is, and for that I apologize. It was amazing, that’s all I can say. Definitely among my very top favorites now.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, epic fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | “The Masked Empire” by Patrick Weekes | Dragon Age 4

the masked empire by weekes book coverAuthor: Patrick Weekes
Title: The Masked Empire
Series: Dragon Age 4
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 381
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Finally, made my way to this book. Although I read Asunder not that long ago, have I? Anyway, since they’re making Dragon Age 4, I am having extreme craving for anything Dragon Age, and since my PC can no longer handle the awesome, I can only read. And since I can only read, I do read.

About: Winds of revolution blow into the Masked Empire of Orlais, putting Empress Celine in a very dire situation. As mages and templars fight an open war, elves are following lead and, not without cause, are rising up against humans too. On one hand Empress Celine has her Orlesian Nobles, whose floors are being mopped by the elves, considered no more than exotic pets, animals. On the other hand… Her lover, her most trusted spy, her friend Briala is also an elf. It seems they both will have to choose between their hearts, and their people.

Mine: Wow, this was one damn well written book, with character dynamics and development that I’ve not yet seen. The story pacing was perfect, the intrigues were tightly knitted, but allowed the reader to figure things out on their own too, if they paid attention. On top of that, I believe the Dread Wolf, Solas, himself made a very prominent appearance. All you have to do is watch for the details, the acts, the views, and you’ll spot him easy enough. I loved the dimensions of people too: the bad evil men with sense of honor as solid as steel; the good and gracious heroes full of delusions and selfishness; the nobles with deep dark secrets; and the nobodies with power enough to break empires. But it was Duke Gaspard’s story that made me want to re-play Dragon Age: Inquisition the most, and attend that Orlaisian ball again. Just so I could see and speak to the people present here.

So, yes, I have enjoyed this book very, very much. It’s definitely one of the best in the series so far. I can give it a solid 5 out of 5. You don’t need to play the games to enjoy these books, but you do need to read them in order. And now, wish me luck, for I truly do need a new pc. Or, better yet, buy me a coffee?

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

high fantasy | “The Last Namsara” by Kristen Ciccarelli | Iskari 1

1Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Title: The Last Namsara
Series: Iskari 1
Genre: High Fantasy, Dragons
Pages.: 432
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I don’t even remember when was the last time I’ve read a book so very greedily. I’d get upset every time I had to put it away to eat or even go to sleep. And the dragons! If you enjoyed Skyrim – you will like these. If you liked How To Train Your Dragon movies – you will like these. If you’re a fan of the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen – you will, absolutely, like this book.

About: Dragons are the most dangerous creatures to roam the land. They’re fierce, fast, and strong. They’re hard to kill and even their blood and bones are deadly poisonous. Just like the flames they breathe which not only burn, but poison the blood, so even the lightest of a lick might be deadly. But the most dangerous thing dragons wield are their stories. For behind those stories resides their power, their life, their very fire. Thus it is forbidden to tell the stories. It is a crime punishable, and the best example of their danger is the daughter of Firgaard king, Asha. Her mother died telling her the tales to sooth the child. They ate her life away and made her daughter susceptible to dragons, their lure. Thus the child told the stories too, unable to resist the craving, the urge. Until the power within her voice finally woke the most dangerous one, the very oldest of the dragons. The very one she must now kill.

Mine: I loved this book so much I am almost speechless. The story is long, but not complicated. There’s plenty of turns and twists, but they’re real easy to follow. It’s also one of those tales where some guy might seem the very best, kindest of soul, who’ll defend the poor and the weak, and then it turns out the bastard caused it all to begin with! The dragon stories, the way their power works was my very favorite thing. I felt so nostalgic to Skyrim game, that I can’t recommend this book enough to the fans of it. I loved it. The characters are well written, each one had their own story, and yet they all added to the main plot, making them memorable. The writing itself was very nice too, for, as I said, the story was real easy to follow. The only minus I got for this is the romance. But I won’t deduct points for it, because I’ve learned this kind of romance, exactly this kind, is something to be expected in YA books. Instead I’d like to add more points for the vivid, life-like dragon descriptions and chapters told by them. It was magical.

I am certain that Hiccup, Daenerys, and even your own dovahkiin would nod in approval to this book. All your favorite, best dragon tales? They’re rewritten here, made better. 5 out of 5 from me, with hopes that the next book will be as good.

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

fantasy | “Asunder” by David Gaider | Dragon Age 3

4Author: David Gaider
Title: Asunder
Series: Dragon Age 3
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Did you know Dragon Age 4 is in the making? A teaser came out in 2018 December, and I missed it until recently. Announcements are to be expected in this year’s E3. I can barely contain myself. But that was a great excuse to continue with the book series.

About: Blight is over, but troubles are far from it. Kirkwall fell as mage Anders pushed the Chantry, Templars, and the Circle of Magi into an open conflict, forcing everyone’s hand. He believed a change is necessary, and can only happen when there’s no other choice. Otherwise everyone will succumb to the old ways. His actions rippled through Thedas in an echo, creating tension and outright battles.

While some mages, still huddled in their Circles, formed loud political groups, demanding freedoms and rights, others believed there ought to be a better way than lose mages on the world, or mages locked in their towers, away from the world, under constant, maddening surveillance. One of such mages is Wynne. And with the secret support from Divine Justinia herself, she sets off to a former Grey Wardens keep, now left scared due to a fairly recent demon outbursts. For, you see, Wynne seeks a friend there. A friend who has become an abomination against all odds. For this friend was a Tranquil, cut away from the Fade, and all human emotions, made as unsavory for demons as a rock would be. And thus, the answer to how this happened, and how it affected the said Tranquil might just be what they all need.

Mine: The setting of this book is right after the second game, and just before the third one. There’s very many familiar faces, names, places. Some very interesting lore, a bit of history, and a good handful of nostalgia to those who have played their share of Hero of Ferelden, or Champion of Kirkwall. On top of that, one of the most prominent characters in this book is a young man called Cole, who people either can’t see or if they saw him – they forget all about it. The only true minus I got for this book is that there was truly plenty of time for walking and talking spared. Of course, it’s understandable, if you remember the maps in the third game, for those are the ones they cover in this book. But still, pacing could be just a little brisker.

I loved it alright. There wasn’t even a chance that I didn’t love it. 4 out of 5. Ah how I wish I could replay them all now…

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

diversity | “Reign of the Fallen” by Sarah Glenn Marsh | 1

3Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Title: Reign of the Fallen
Series: Reign of the Fallen 1
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT Literature
Pages: 374
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

This book has been on my TBR for a very long time now. Back in the day, due to it being Young Adult fantasy, and not Adult fantasy, it got a little bit hyped as an LGBT literature piece. So I figured, between Hawk and KJC, I might as well pick it up sooner than later.

About: In the secluded kingdom of Karthia the dead reign. People, upon the law of their eternal king, refuse any change. So their king and everyone else who can afford the services of the blue-eyed necromancers, get killed periodically, and then brought back from the Deadlands with the help of their close relatives. The dead then must wear shrouds and layers of clothing, for even the slightest piece of them seen by mortal eyes will turn them into all-devouring monsters called Shades.

But even with the change forbidden and the king – honestly caring and loving, not all are happy. Not all are content to be forever second by the table. Not are are okay with being unable to compete with someone who has hundreds of years of experience over them. And, apparently, judging from the greatest Shade Odessa has ever seen, who just tossed mangled body of the greatest, oldest necromancer among them, just as she opened the gates to bring back the king yet again, someone’s ready for some change right now. No matter the price.

Mine: I like a story that doesn’t remind me of any other. I like a hero who is not much of a hero. And I like romance where love is not an obstacle towards something greater. The fantasy in this book could easily be considered high-fantasy. Magic is split into casts according to your eye-color, but apparently isn’t limited to it. And the way it ended leaves the future clear: adventures are on the way. LGBT itself is served similar to the video games such as Elder Scrolls (Oblivion, Skyrim, ESO), meaning: nobody cares whom you love. And is not limited to side characters either. If you like books driven by adventure and revolution, if you liked what Shades of Magic was, and maybe even the Fifth Season, you will surely like this one too. For it is like them, but absolutely not anything like them.

This was a very good book. And while I use this word often these days: it was unique. At times it was a little bit slow, so I can only give it a 4 out of 5, but as pace picked up – I’d forget all about it time and again.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

C.S. Pacat “Pet”

7Title: Pet
Author: C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince Short Stories 4
Genre: LGBT, Romance
Pages: 40p
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah well. Here I am, with the last of Captive Prince short stories. I’ll start the Fence comic by this author now, and will summary it once a whole volume, not just chapters is out.

About: Ancel, the red-headed pet is as ambitious as they come. From a boy for hire in a brothel, to a lord’s bed, and then into the palace. It was his very last master, who bought him just because he was there, and was the most expensive, turned out to be his biggest break through. The man who didn’t want him, but brought him into palace. The man who didn’t care to show off his great wealth, but inspired loyalty even in the heart of someone like Ancel. Still. Once the opportunity arises to sit in the Regent’s lap, Ancel can’t help but remember how cold and boring his master seems to be. Especially once Regent promises any contract he might ever dream of…

Mine: I had forgotten about Ancel. But once story rolled out, and I recalled reading about this pet, I’ve gotten an urge to re-read the first book. It’s interesting to see the same scenes there and here, but from a different perspective. This was definitely one of the more intricate and political stories.

It was a very good read. And I’m still amazed how very different every short story was. I love each one of them for whole different reasons thus. In this one, it was nice seeing, so to speak, old friends. 5 out of 5 from me.

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

C.S. Pacat “The Adventures of Charls, The Veretian Cloth Merchant”

6Title: The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant
Author: C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince Short Stories 3
Genre: LGBT, Romance, Humor
Pages: 26p
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Somedays I just really miss Captive Prince stories. Lucky me, though, not only can I re-read them in multiple forms, I still have (had) two short stories to get through too! So here’s on third.

About: Charls, as Vere and Akielos are slowly but surely growing into the idea of peace, is traveling his regular routes in the former enemy territory, making rounds with his clients and hoping to make new deals too. The prince of Vere himself gave him the gift of a beautiful caravan, with only one request: to be allowed to travel with Charls this one time, and Charls, being very kind hearted, takes it as a honor. But as they make their way into Akielos, it becomes clear that Charls’s rival is making better time, and on top of that, is spreading terrible rumors about Charls! More and more doors close right before the old Charls, and were it not for the young Charls, Laurent in disguise, this all might have went far worse.

Mine: This was the very funniest story of them all, and definitely became my very favorite. Charls is just such a dear and kind person! On top of that, let me remind you that Laurent’s own men called him a cast-iron btch, and would at times comment that he has a mouth on him, due to profanities spilled when prince got angered. So now I invite you to imagine this same young man as a merchant trying to beat a rival in business he knows little about. My face was in pain from laughing.

I loved this one. Gosh I love the people in it. 5 out of 5, for sure.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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