High Fantasy

Kristin Cashore – Fire [2]

fireI’ve read the first Graceling Realm book fairly recently, and can’t say I liked it. It’s just that I liked it about enough to get to the second book. And after I’ve read “Fire” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 2; ISBN 0803734611; 480p.; Goodreads), I don’t know how to pick up the third one, so that I can actually finish the trilogy.

The setting of this story is just behind the mountains that separate Seven Kingdoms and some other place. This place has no gracelings. Instead here live monsters. Really, just regular things, but so intense, so vivid, in color, in presence, in mind, that no one can resist them. People walk out willingly to be eaten by giant raptor birds. They might kill a regular biting beetle, but not the shiny blue monster beetle, who, by all means, is the same beetle, but severe and saturated. And of course, there are human monsters too. Fire is one of them. With her hair the color of fire, her flawless beauty so startling, and her power to influence thoughts, and emotions, she seems almost divine. And men do want pretty things…

While a monster might want to eat her, due to her own monster nature, human men are much more graphic when they lose their wits in sight of her, much more violent in expressing what should happen before they kill her. Thus Fire lives her life constantly nudging, pushing, and altering the course of people’s thoughts, steering them away, trying her hardest to quench their desire to hurt, rape, and murder what they can’t have. It doesn’t help that there’s spies appearing in their forests. Tension for warfare is rising, and their small land is far too little to defend themselves. They’ll be needing allies. To make allies they need to know where the spies came from. And to know that one only needs Fire’s powers. And everyone knows the value of such a tool in the shed.

The book is very pointlessly long, and happens before Graceling took place. In a sense, this is a prequel: King Leck’s Rising, if you please. And the idea of monsters is, of course, wonderful. But most of the book concentrates on telling the reader how horribly everyone wishes to either marry or rape Fire, and her crying for not being able to have children doesn’t help the already heavy feeling that sets before us. She walks with guards surrounding her, and still people randomly run at her with knives, or yell obscenities. And there’s a lot of this walking back and forth, with war happening somewhere out there, with someone else fighting it… So… All in all I can only offer this book a 2 out of 5. While the idea is truly good, execution of it was poor.

Categories: 2-5, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin [3]

acowarUsed to be I disliked series. Now I love series! Because who wouldn’t love that odd sense you get after you finish one, where you don’t know what to do with your life anymore. Everyone’s living their lives, as if you hadn’t just survived a wizard war or, in this case, a fae war. Yes, I have finished “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas (acotar 3; ISBN 1408857901; 699p.; Goodreads), the last one in acotar series or trilogy. And while they’re not as great as, say, Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab, they’re still pretty damn amazing.

 

The Wall between humans and fae was never meant as permanent solution. It was made to cease fire, to give time for healing, to learn co-exist. Yet humans have short lives, and horror tales of fairies got worse, and worse with every new generation. While fae lived long enough to have seen humans freed, and witness this day with wall about to crumble. And not all who did feel that it is right to co-exist with great-great-great-great-grandchildren of their former slaves. The war is inevitable. All there is to do now is prepare.

Cauldron once created this whole world, so how does one stand against a weapon able to create the cycle of life and death itself? Fayra and Rhysand are trying to gather allies, rally everyone they possibly can. They’re seeking any advantage points in this overtipped scale, and if that means unleashing Death Gods themselves, Fayra is willing to make a bargain again. Bargain she was warned against while she was still mortal. And with worse beings than fae…

Rhysand, on the other hand, has his own little (or not so little) problem. How does one convince the world that this mighty High Lord of the Night Court to whom Court of Nightmares bows, wants to protect, and defend, rather than wreck havoc? How does he gain trust once the mask falls, and who will dare to stand with him? Especially with Tamlin running amok, with a tale of betrayal in his court, by no else than Fayra, his mate.

And Lucien? Lucien, like a stray kicked cat is testing the waters with caution. Being left courtless, which is pretty much homeless, twice in his life now, he fits into the Court of Dreams by his nature of an unwanted oddity alone. But can Rhys, this mortal enemy of Tamlin’s, his friend’s nemesis, really be trusted to not just give him up to his family, where he’d surely be killed? He’s willing to try his luck, if carefully, at the very least, for his mate, who now lives under Rhysand’s wings.

So, the book. Whole inner monologues of “how and why I feel” almost ceased to exist. And once you start believing that pace of the book is too slow – someone drops a brick on the heroes heads. Or an army.  There’s funny, there’s witty, there’s edge-of-the-chair intense. So I give it 5 out of 5, for now the story truly earned it.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kristin Cashore – Graceling [1]

graceling_1Some time ago I was subscribed to a YouTube vlogger Katers17 (now I’m subscribed to her new channel: KateInRealLife, tho she posts very little). I always loved people who read, and with her I realized I love the chaos, and passion books provide. “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 1; ISBN 015206396X; 471p.; Goodreads) was probably one of the very first books I added to to-read list on my Goodreads, and that was thanks to Katers. And now, a million years later, I finally came around to read it. Heck, I even have a physical copy…

Graced aren’t very liked or loved. Two different eyes mean you will be kept away, in some corner where people won’t see you, even if your grace is merely baking good pies. Of course, there are graced that are feared for a reason, with nasty, treacherous, and dangerous powers. Like Ketsa’s. Held on a leash by the king himself, she is graced with killing, and serves as a maiming, torturing, and murdering tool to intimidate those who displease her king. Even if they paid a double-fold for what they did. Even if she hates herself for doing it. She simply doesn’t know a different way of life. Thus, when prince Po crosses her path, confused and surprised of why indeed she’s following orders she hates, when it would take her king an army to subdue her, she… She’s confused.

In the meantime, Po is keeping an eye on a different kingdom, a different king. An orphan, praised for his kind heart and love for all injured, a boy who was once so loved by the king and queen of that realm, that when they had no children of their own – they named him the heir. A boy, now a grown man, a king, with only one eye, and a sickening horde of people who are prepared to defend his very honor offended, no matter how far they are, or how little they have reasons to…

The story is good, unique, with wonderful characters. But it fell a little short. There’s a ton of wonderful things here, the way things work, that it simply felt lacking in the end, and that’s the only reason why I will now give it only 4 out of 5. I will continue reading, in hopes that author delves deeper in all the things further on, the graces, the kingdoms, the way graces happened, and worked. But just know that I’d consider this a light read to the point where it was a bit too light. (but good, really)

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Mist and Fury [2]

ACOMAF-cover1How can a book annoy so much, and yet be so great? Second book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series, “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas (ASIN B015FELXQ0; 626p.; Goodreads) was a killer with all the inner monologues on feelings. But it had a great message, and I believe it passed it on perfectly.

Amarantha is destroyed, but the plans to tear down the wall separating Fae world from the mortal realm are still bubbling as before, they merely changed hands. In the meantime, Fayra is not allowed to train, because that would send a wrong message to her people, she’s not allowed to leave without guards to escort her, because Tamlin is terrified for her safety (but doesn’t let her train anyway), and eventually, she’s locked the hell up in the Spring Court. In desperation, suffocating in this gilded cage where she’s not allowed news or any activities beyond brushing her hair and dressing up, Fayra sends a message down the bond she now has with the High Lord of the Night Court.

They say you ought to be careful for what you wish for. Being owed a week every month as bargain between them demanded, Rhysand takes no time in storming the Spring Court and kidnapping Fayra. Is it kidnapping per se, if the victim is willing? Either way, Night Court is infamous. It is said, that Amarantha’s own Court under the mountain was made in example of the one Rhysand, the most powerful and wicked High Lord that ever walked the realm of Fae rules. Torture for entertainment, schemes, and other wicked deeds are awaiting, and Fayra can do no more but brace herself, when… Rhysand puts an alphabet before her, intending for her to finally learn how to read. At least. (yes “least”, not “last”.)

Okay, now to the point. This book is full of gooey love stuff I don’t really like in any books. Didn’t like it here much either. Sappy, annoying, and saturated even more so with Fayra constantly analyzing it all. But. This book has a message I hope every reader caught on: No matter how much you love your prince Charming, the day he makes you his birdy in a cage, he is no longer the good kind man, and it’s time for you to get the hell away. Fayra doesn’t want to be saved. She wants to be able to save herself. And when she’s denied that right, she makes the hard decision. So here’s 4 out of 5 for that, for the strong lady who didn’t want to be a statistic number.

Don’t stay in abusive relationships.

 

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

V.E. Schwab – A Conjuring of Light [3]

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. SchwabMy journey through Londons ends, and I must say, I’m fairly content about it. With “A Conjuring of Light” by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic 3; ISBN 0765387468; 624p.; Goodreads) Shades of Magic trilogy ends. Some things were left untold, and it felt natural, for they were the things Red London didn’t speak about. Other things received their dots where dots were needed. And since there’s spoilers further on, my advice is to not read unless you’ve read the previous book. Know that I loved this book.

We’re all familiar with the concept of AI becoming self-aware, and what could that mean to us, to our world. In our “grey” world, if not per se London, this concept is the most interesting among theoretically possible ones, for having no magic means we advanced in other things. Red London, on the other hand, has full-on magic…

Once, due to a mistake, or worship, a spell became self-aware outside the will of the caster. And now this creature, believing self to be a God, for hey, they DID worship it where it’s from, is wrecking havoc on Kell’s home. And, of course, he’s prepared to kill it or die trying.

They say two heads are better than one, so how about four? Kell, Lila, Alucard, and their prisoner, sail out into the ocean, in search of the blackest market of all the black damn markets. If you need it – they have it. If you want it – bargain for it. And they’re nothing if not in need of weapons able to fight a divine power, where revered creatures as Antari don’t stand a chance to compete. Just imagine these four in close ship quarters for a week… Rhy, in the meantime, stays behind to defend London until they return, with a promise to Kell that he won’t get into TOO much trouble until he’s back. But that’s easier said than done, for there’s a monster outside alright, but what about the traitors on the inside?

I love how no one went out for a stroll in Black London, and the myth, more or less, stayed a myth, or at least a forbidden place no one wants to think about, like the ajar closet door at night. I like that prince was so utterly in love with his man, that he listened, and understood, and made things possible, as kings do. I like that Delilah stayed her own woman, with her own agenda, her own mind, even with all the stuff about Kell, and that it was him who got to consider that hey, maybe I’m not actually rooted into one spot after all (I hate those damn stories where girl stays behind, and doesn’t go to some uni, just because her new found love was too dumb to get in anywhere, and had to stay in some miserable hometown of theirs). I love that everything ended so well, and that the end, if firm, is not solid, and if need be – there could be a book 4, but if there never is – reader is content with absolutely everything. It’s a very right, and very good ending to have. So I give it 5 out of 5, something I have never done to an entire series before (I think, I might have done that to Harry Potter, but I can’t recall anymore), and will add it to my favorite list when I’m not too lazy about it.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Pirate Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lynn Flewelling – Stalking Darkness

StalkingDarknessWhile I considered Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewellyn to be my slow night reads, I abandoned sleep until 4am just to finish “Stalking Darkness” (Nightrunner 2; ISBN 0553575430; 501p.; Goodreads). There’s just something about these books that feels familiar. Reminds me of those summers I spent reading through the night with a flashlight, all those fantasy books, Innkeeper’s Song, Swords against deviltry, Hobbit. And if the previous book got to you, well, this one will do so even more.

Politics are done, no one needs Seregil’s head anymore, but that seems to be the only piece of good news. No rest for the wicked, somewhere out there dark magic webs are being woven, and tendrils already reach his beloved city. It all started with small, simple, even insignificant things, like sudden renovations in the sewer system. A passing shadow in an alley there or here. Odd feeling in the dark. And then deaths. Seregil’s underground has been well rooted, pushing him out in the open to gather the information…

Further adventures were a test of morals, for attempts to break them were made in earnest. Brutal murder, destruction, carnage, and kidnapping set the four, Micum, Seregil, Alec, and Nysander apart, and the Darkness is prepared to break their wills before they’re given to the Eater of Death, where they’ll be set part of this nightmare for the rest of the eternity.

It’s a long book, as I said. The start of it is so different from the middle, and the end, that I can’t describe it in earnest without spoiling the living hell out of it. What I can say is that while slow paced it was intense, and had the edge-of-the-chair moments by the handful. Descriptions are down a notch, so it’s easier to read. But be aware, it is a mistake to think this is a light goodnight read. It’s too hard to put it aside for it to be a good bed companion. I’ll give it a full 5 out of 5 this time. And on to the next one!

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Luck in the Shadows

74270Luck in the Shadows” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 1; ISBN 0553575422; 479p.; Goodreads) is one of those books where you love the topic, and the beautiful ideas. But then there’s a whole bunch of useless action and descriptions. But I guess that might be a flaw in most of the high-fantasy books, for what better way to introduce the reader to a magical city, than to force the hero onto a walk via it, say, by buying a new horse, and taking it for a test-ride.

Seregil is a rogue with no equals. With some training in magic, and no real talent for it, he’s also a master of disguise. On a mission to steal a magical artifact, he got purposefully caught, and thrown into the dungeon, where he found young Alec. Alec, an orphan, finally caught for poaching got his share of luck in shadows, as Seregil, escaping, grabbed him along. Happy to have his life back in his hands, Alec didn’t expect to end up in an adventure of that scale. Magical city, mages, mythical beings, legends come to life!

Seregil overestimated his strength, and soon the artifact started overpowering him. Strange visions, blood thirst, and insanity are slowly, but very surely taking him over, and he’s afraid he might not reach his mentor in time. Young Alec is no less worried for his friend, for in this strange new world he’s at, lands and seas across from home, he has no one else but Seregil. By all means he can’t let him die.

The book is truly a pleasant read, and I will start the second one right away. Yes, it’s full of useless things, like a whole chapter describing what animals heroes turned into. So the best I can give it is 4 out of 5, but I expect latter books to get better.

Categories: 4-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C.S. Pacat – Captive Prince: Kings Rising [3]

17158532As much as I tried to read C.S. Pacat Captive Prince trilogy, I still reach its end. I have finished “Kings Rising” (ISBN 174348495X; 385p.; Goodreads) last night, at exactly 4am, and spent a good hour thinking of this review I’ll do, what I need to point out, mention, and whether I should make a separate post on the whole trilogy, as a verdict. Then I also wondered what exactly does word “verdict” mean too. (it’s an opinion or judgement, basically) Be warned, there might be spoilers, so if you want to skip reading, know this trilogy became my top most fav of all times.

Prince of Vere, slandered and kicked out of the line to the throne by his uncle Regent, who pronounced himself King of Vere in Laurent’s stead, is now making his way into the depths of Akielos. Led there by no other than the very king of Akielos, Damianos, the prince-killer, his brother’s killer. Despite their differences, and possible hate on Laurent’s part, they have a bigger problem now, and the only way to solve it is to unite their meager forces into something greater. Both their thrones are usurped. And now, it seems, they’re taken not by two, but one and the same man Laurent fought all his life, alone.

They both had reasons to mistrust one another, and yet they both worked to keep the alliance afloat. Kyroi of Akielos had to be convinced to help their legitimate king, which would have been far easier, if Damen wasn’t rumored to be Laurent’s lover. And then there’s Laurent himself, cold, calculated mind of his might not be easy to adjust to, and whether he was willing to adjust to Akielos traditions was a great question too. So who would kyroi hate more? The usurper who brought Veretian King into the heart of their country, the same one who sent out his true-born brother as a bed slave to Vere? Or this young man, who seems to be scheming at all times, who kept their King captive, flayed him, and made use of him?

Even Damen realizes, that Laurent has an agenda he keeps secret in this whole. Why else would he try, lie, and manipulate, risking his own life doing so, just to get Damen’s kyroi on the side of this cause? And yet, if it all came down, and Laurent’s plans turned out to be the worst kind, if Damen had to choose: a kingdom, or this… He is no longer sure of his own answer.

Truly, loved these books a lot, and this one especially. The political battle in the previous one was amazing, but this one showed more of what Akielos is like, and what a great change the prince-killer has brought for it. I liked the simple and true evidence author used to unravel the final bit. I liked how seemingly insignificant bits turned out to be great final leverages, how puzzle pieces connected, and how twists happened without hinting to them beforehand. I loved the price Laurent took in exchange for all the guard he kept on his very being at all times. I think this was a beautiful exchange of two powerful beings who gambled it all, and sacrificed nothing essential of their beings for victory, which is a common case when love enters book pages. Somebody always loses something great to be with who they wish to be with, and I appreciate the fact it wasn’t the case. So here’s 5 out of 5, and I think I will make another post for all three books, a verdict for those who are not yet convinced.

 

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C.S. Pacat – Captive Prince [#1]

20878022Let me just put this out here right away, this book is strictly adult stuff. And now that I warned you, let’s talk about “Captive Prince” (ASIN B00I3REIHI; 241p; Goodreads) by C.S. Pacat, and why do I have another crush on another fictional character, and again, one that isn’t all that likable.

Damen is captured during an overthrow of power in his own country. His bastard (literally) brother is taking the throne, and has a hell prepared for the legitimate heir. Instead of just killing him, he prepped him up and sent him off with a slave shipment to a rival country. After all, Akielos bed slaves are valued all over…

In Vere nothing is as it seems. Everything is adorned, beautiful, pampered, made look pleasing for the eye. Pets are kept covered in gold and jewelry, while their masters often prefer a level of simplicity. The most vicious are the cutest, smallest, and seemingly harmless. Would that then mean one could trust those who seemed the most vicious instead? Prince Laurent, a gorgeous young man, spins a careful web of rule and survival. His uncle, current regent of the throne, seems to be the reason for all this tension. And Damen accidentally falls right in the middle of their feud. But you know how they say: where two fight… A slave might escape.

At first I thought this book to be same bdsm as Beauty’s Trilogy by Anne Rice (just with all the queerness possible, in Vere – bastards are abominations, so if you need a lover outside the marriage – it has to be your own sex), but the further it went, the more I doubted that idea. In this type of books all roads lead to bed, but this was not the case. Prince, behind his back, while loved terribly by his guards, who would’ve dropped to their knees at a mere offer from the prince (yes, that’s what I meant), kept calling him frigid for he took no lovers, and then a b-tch, for his temper made grown men stop and consider if what they’re doing won’t anger the gorgeous blond blue-blood. Even when lust-inflicting poison come into play – we don’t get a play. And, honestly, that made me admire this book, the characters too. They seemed shallow at first, but the further it went, the more I saw of that delicate little all-connecting web.

So while this is a smut book, one that doesn’t sugar-coat what’s what, it’s not your usual one. It had just about enough in it for me to develop a crush on Laurent, and start second book right after the first (I usually like to keep a bit of a space between books in series or trilogies for that matter). Politics were odd, I admit, and some things made absolutely no sense, but there was not a page boring. And when it seemed like it’ll get boring here, something real dramatic in a “dun-dun-duuuuun” sense of that word happened. So… yeah. 5 out of 5, let’s see what’s the second one all about.

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

Brandon Sanderson – The Final Empire [Mistborn #1]

68428  As someone who does indeed love high fantasy, I get to read too little of it. Luckily, there’s book club. This time it was “Mistborn: The Final Empire” (Mistborn 1; ISBN 076531178X; 541p.; Goodreads) by Brandon Sanderson, with this wonderful cover on it. I hope someday I can get these. Personally I’m a fan of minimalism on book covers, I’ve seen way too much poor photoshop jobs to appreciate photographs and/or movie posters, but this is a piece of art.

During the day the world is slowly covered in black, sooth-like ash that skaa are always in a hurry to clean and tidy, lest it stains a nobleman, clogs the streets, or damages property. But the nights are far worse. At night world gets covered with thick, swirling, damp, and cold mist. Impenetrable, always moving, hiding things, beings, muffling sounds. Legends speak of mist wraiths, and everyone knows the noble Allomancers, also known as Mistborn, go out and train in the night. And Lord Ruler only knows what other horrors are out there. So if you were stupid enough to venture into the nights, find a safe place to hide, for you might very well not be allowed back into your home before the mists are gone. Everyone knows you might no longer be what you claim to be if the mist touches you…

This world is full of odd and unique magic. Some swallow metals and burn them inside themselves, getting such abilities as pushing, pulling, emotion soothing, physical strength and many others. Other people can store memories, strength, youth even, in their metals. Lowest of the low, skaa, have none of it. Unless, that is, someone disobeyed the law, and mingled with them. And that all only scratches the surface!

Main heroes both live in a city with their God, Lord Ruler. He might have once been a man, but he is no longer. They don’t fall in love, but rather form an extension for each other to grow trough. And best of all, they’re both willing to try and make this Final Empire topple, hopefully upon its God.

I love how characters are in this book. They have their own lives, their views, and yet they’re able to adapt and make decisions reader doesn’t anticipate. I love how different it all was, and how well it was presented, without pages after pages of dry explanations. You, entering this world, are allowed to experience it, and learn on your own, without confusion, without burdens. I must give this book a solid 5 out of 5, merely because such books are a rare treasure to find. As much as some… happenings and plot twists had made me sad, so much I have loved everything that happened there.

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

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