Posts Tagged With: high fantasy

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 Gathering of Shadows [2]

gatheringofshadowsI forgot I didn’t yet tell you about this book until I realized I have barely any left of the third. So do let me tell you how great was the second book in V.E. Schwab trilogy Shades of Magic, “A Gathering of Shadows” (ISBN 0765376474; 512p.; Goodreads), for it was amazing. Mind you, if you haven’t read the first one, you might want to skip this review, and just know that I loved it cover to cover.

As Kell and Rhy are now sharing one life – a lot of things pass between them via that magical link. At first it was seemingly just pain, for if one dies – the other one dies too, only natural you’d feel the deadly prick just as the other party does. But then there’s all the mental stuff too, and before they strangled each other due to constant hum at the back of their heads, Rhy makes up his mind. His brother will have to attend the magical dueling tournament and release some of that built-up magical steam. For unlike your regular mages, this one will gladly slap you if you finish off his already thin patience, or scare him too much by nearly dying if he cared about you, etc. And, of course, since he’s the most powerful magician known, that people revere and fear as a god, he’ll have to enter in disguise…

Delilah Bard turns her ears up when Captain Alucard, after long months at sea and foreign ports, turns the ship around back to London. He intends to attend this magical dueling tournament, and Lila just happens to have discovered she has powers too…

In the mean time, White London, the drained and bleak one, is stirring. A legend came true. On their throne now sits a hero, a king that fairy tales claimed to be able to restore magic in their world.

I can’t stop admiring the characters, how much each one of them is their own person, acting on their own set of mind, and not just there to ask the right questions. I love how Rhy would flirt with a chair, but then is madly in love with one person, and keeping that feeling safe from the world. I love how Kell, at points indeed revered as god due to power is actually a hotheaded spirit, ready to stomp his feet in anger, and yell at you if you chocked and nearly died in his arms, because he got so scared, and you can’t do that! And I just love Delilah Bard, I do believe she is my all time favorite woman ever written. 5 out of 5, deserved every one bit.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | 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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George R.R. Martin – A Feast for Crows

afeastforcrowsAnd thus goes the fourth book of Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin. Since this one was called “A Feast for Crows” (“Bantam Books” 2005; ISBN 978-0-553-58202-4; 978p.) and we know how quick is Martin to rid himself of characters to speak for, I expected far more deaths. There were plenty, don’t get me wrong, but not as important as I thought. Instead I took delight in what author gave as substitute. A long awaited JUSTICE.

I am told that removing the head from the body is often mortal.” – 344p.

This book was dedicated to a meager half of the characters and author made a good point of it. Since the book was getting too long, he had a choice: to tell half a story of all characters, or to tell whole story of half the characters. He chose the latter and I wonder how will I value this choice when reading the next book. As of how I value it now: I love it.

The Lannister twins are growing less and less alike. Yet both of them had a fantastic final word, so mighty that it might just change a lot in the next-next book (if the just-next is on the other characters exclusively). Brienne, the Maiden of the Sapphire Isle is out there, searching for Sansa Stark, with a fine blade given to her by Jamie, a blade they named Oathkeeper. Instead of Sansa, she finds a whole different Wolf. A Direwolf that Drowned. As for Sansa and her little sister Arya – those two girls are no longer. Instead they live in cocoons of their alter ego’s, with hopes to rise someday again as Starks. As for the Dragons… They’re growing. And getting hungrier… (do read the chapter by the back side of the cover, it’s so very worth it)

Since George R.R. Martin is so very skilled at dumping his readers on a cliffhanger to torment themselves until the next book, I can do no less but to try and please our lord of House Martin by giving the book a 5 out of 5. If memory serves, the final 6 chapters did the trick and turned the 4 I held in my hand all the while into a 5.

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George R.R. Martin – A Storm of Swords [#3]

AStormofSwords Is there a thing harder than reviewing a book in public, with so many characters there telling the stories from their points of view? But since I did finish third book in A Song of Fire and Ice, George R.R. MartinA Storm of Swords“, I will have to try, I guess.
Seven Kingdoms are torn to shreds by nearly Seven Kings. Nearly. One of them is the young Stark, King In The North, Robb. Young warlord may be new to war, but he’s winning a battle after a battle and even captures the infamous and yet famous Kingslayer, Oathbreaker! Jamie Lannister! Half his host wants him dead. The other half wants to send him back to Tywin Lannister in hopes to get a brother, a sister, a cousin returned. One of such people in wish of trade is Robb’s own mother. Yet, she can only hope for her son to do the right thing. Else he’d have to forgive her for many a thing. Yet no problems end with extra guards by the Kingslayer’s door. And many begin when young Robb returns from one of his battles married. Married to a wrong woman.
Far in the North by the Wall, the Nights Watch is in dismay and terror. Ravens fly, begging every king or king-to-be out there for aid, any aid at all. For Wildlings are fleeing the North, with King Beyond the Wall leading them, with the great Horn of Winter that is said to be able to tear the Wall down. And if that happens – whole Realm will be at the mercy of the Wildlings and Freefolk. And worse – at the mercy of the Others. For the days grow colder one after the other, and cold brings Death. When the dead walk – no one is safe and walls and swords mean nothing.
Mother of Dragons is still far away from Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms, yet her aim is the same. She must claim her Iron Throne, for it is by right hers. Yet her dragons are small, and she requires and army that she yet doesn’t have. All that before she enters that Realm of theirs, the Realm her father ruled and which is now ruled by a Boy King, Joffrey Baratheon, son of the Usurper. But how can all that be done if she cannot feel safe among her own? Betrayal is closer that in seems and she grows aware of it as days go by. Something will have to be done if she wishes to keep her life and claim her throne. Even if it’ll mean tearing her own heart out. Afteral, it’s her Children she must think of now. And she has more than three, ever since she freed the slaves…
And in short some more. Tyrion is alive, not well, but alive and still determined as he is. A prospect of marriage is in sight for him, a good marriage. Doesn’t mean it’ll be happy, but there’s this meager glimmer in his heart that it might, eventually… Jon Snow finally found his place under the sun. Doesn’t mean he’ll be allowed to keep it. Yet this question was left for another book. Little Bran went out to find the Three-Eyed Crow. Doing so he learned how to run! Arya is alive too. Her little prayer of names is getting shorter and shorter. Valar Morghulis.
The character development is so great and unbelievable in this book that I admit, I  enjoyed it from first chapter to the last, even if I cannot say the same of other two books before this. It’s brilliant. Many a death happened, many of them are painful and hard, but just as many were actually long awaited. Without a doubt I will give this book 5 out of 5. And remember: The Winter is Coming.

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George R.R. Martin – A Clash of Kings [2]

a-clash-of-kings-book-2-of-a-song-of-ice-and-fire  I have this love-hate relationship with Song of Fire and Ice. Usually at the start of the book I feel motivated. Mid-way I’m already angry and bored, because it takes 8 chapters to reach one that I like. And yet so far every damn time the ending leaves me very happy. George R.R. Martin book “A Clash of Kings” is barely a second one in Song of Fire and Ice, so maybe I’m judging too soon, but when is it not too soon? The book is so fat that an avarage author could make two to three books out of it. I’m grateful to our dear Martin for that, by the way, I wouldn’t want 22 books in a series, better a few very thick ones.
Very often in Fantasy books we witness the death of magic. Be it Tolkien and Lord of the Rings, where last Elves are leaving for the West, because a hour of a Man is upon Arda. Or Sapkowski and The Witcher Saga, where magic is simply dwindling out, either by someone using it up, or murdering it’s creations. In this case we witness the magic being reborn and that’s one big fat plus for these books.
As much as I love Dany and most of the Lannisters, this book made me understand how important Starks actually are. Starting with their mother. She witnesses powerful magic at hand in a kinslaying that happened before her very eyes in an arm reach. Her eldest boy Robb is now King in the North, fighting the Lannisters. Her eldest daughter Sansa first-hand (sort of, as much as high-born non-knighty-type ladies do) witnesses what it’s like to stand by the Iron Throne when so many want it and it’s defenders are such wusses. Her youngest daughter changes two lords and was awaiting a third to serve, all the while not leaving the tterritory of the same castle, because battle changes hands that fast. Luckily she seems fed up by it. Sadly, she didn’t go with the Faceless Man. Hell, that would’ve been The Innkeeper’s Song all over for me, I just know I would’ve loved it (and even the story is told in a very similar fashion). Little boy princes Bran and Rickon Starks are separated, just to keep the Stark blood alive. Betrayal fell upon them. But creators, was it a plot twist in the end! And then there’s the bastard Stark, Jon. Probably fighting the most important battle of all, far away in the North, beyond the Wall and the damned Seven Kingdoms.
So there we go. The Trees have Eyes again, the Dragons have returned and the Winter is coming. They say that it’s exactly the Dragons that bring the magic back, but is it really? The more I read, the more I do believe it’s in the winters cold grip that the magic awakens in a roar of a Dragon and a howl of a Direwolf. Thus making the very song of Fire and Ice. So far I do like it just as much as I hate it. Well, maybe I like it a little bit more, because I keep on reading, so I’ll give this one 4 out of 5, just because, really. First one was better, but this one definitely left me certain I’ll read on.

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