ANALYSIS: I would be lying if I didn't mention that this book was heavily Full review originally over at Fantasy Book Critic (with analysis by Liviu)
ANALYSIS: I would be lying if I didn't mention that this book was heavily anticipated by lots of book bloggers, including me. Daniel Abraham since the start of this series has become more and more of a fantasy writing star. His debut series had established his writing credentials but with the Dagger And The Coin series he has really established himself as an epic fantasy writer. This series is a proper visitation of medieval epic fantasy tropes but with the author's slant.
The story is now firmly in the middle of the planned arc of five books and we open with Kit and Marcus who are taking their journey together to destroy the Spider goddess and all those who would worship her. Kit and Marcus have their hands full as they covertly try to reach where Kit became an apostate. The second thread opens up with Cithrin who is now apprenticed to another Medean bank but far away in and she discovers that she has a lot to learn about banking as well as inter-personal relations. Clara Dawson is slowly becoming what she was accused of previously but slowly decided to save her nation by betraying it. Lastly we have Geder who is learning more about his role, the fate of Antea and the function of spider priests and vagaries of fate vis-a-vis his personal life.
These are the POV characters since the last book barring one-off prologue ones and a rare epilogue-ish one. Daniel Abraham has kept a tight hold of his story and his refusal to exponentially increase the POV list has helped this series tremendously. This narrow focus helps center the story and now that the story is slowly evolving beyond the confines of traditional fantasy. It has become an absolute pleasure to read. Last time around I had mentioned that the story needs to be a bit more epic, well with the prologue and the climax of the story; the author really swings the epic part back into the story. So far we have only heard about what happened in the past but within the pages we get a very solid look at what could have possibly happened. This was my favorite part of the book as the author easily shows what lies ahead and it is mouthwatering to say the least. Characterization has been Daniel Abraham’s signature as world building has been Brandon Sanderson's forte and he continues to allow his characters to evolve naturally without it seeming to be convoluted. Geder, Cithrin and Marcus are the main POV characters however the others share remarkable page time and thus every chapter pushes the story arc significantly and keeps the readers entertained on all levels.
This book clearly takes a look at the journey trope with this being explored by Marcus and Kit. I enjoyed this section of the story the most as Daniel Abraham subverts this trope and then makes the reader confused as we can never guess where their thread is going. For me their thread was the most lucrative plot thread this time around. Also I was looking forward to the meeting between Marcus and Yardem especially after the second book but the event was not much of a showdown. Also this book does another spectacularly is that it brings into play some characters from the first book as well as the legends which were talked/discussed in the first book. So readers that don't recall the previous story, I would suggest that a re-read of the first book might be of vital importance.
I don’t think I had any complaints with this book as it doesn't suffer from the middle volume syndrome and offers a near complete story but of course ending in such a fashion for you to hunger for the penultimate volume immediately. Maybe another drawback could be that readers expecting all out action and mayhem may not find it as for majority of the book, the characters are often scheming or traveling to new places. This perhaps can be something of a deterrent for readers expecting an action-packed story-line.
Overall I'm highly impressed with Daniel Abraham and his storytelling efforts. This series is his version of epic fantasy and is a spectacular one. For folks who have to discover him, kindly do so at the earliest as the Dagger and the Coin quintet is epic fantasy handled by an exquisite writer who is at the top of his writing game. The Tyrant's Law is a very good book and also manages to upend the scales of the over all story arc significantly, making the wait for The Widow's House (4th book) a very hard one. Highly recommended for series fans....more
Procession of the Dead begins with Capac Raimi arriving at a train station in the City. It seems to be a rainy afternoon and as Capac gets out in theProcession of the Dead begins with Capac Raimi arriving at a train station in the City. It seems to be a rainy afternoon and as Capac gets out in the City he notices the blind monk who seem to come out in the mysterious fog. From there he proceeds to meet his uncle Theo Boratto who takes Capac under his wing and teaches him how to be a gangster.
Capac Raimi's journey from a minor level gangster into the upper echelons begins as his moves catch the eye of the Cardinal. Events will eventually transpire to bring him face to face with the Cardinal who is surprising and shocking with his thoughts and theories. He soon realizes that he has been reassigned as a "Cardinal" man and now will have to work towards the Cardinal's goals and plans.
Meetings of various of the cardinal's associates like Pacar Wami, the psychotic enigmatic assassin, Ford Tasso, the Cardinal's right hand man and central enforcer, Sonja Arne, an ex-prostitute with a head for numbers and the Cardinal's mother influence, eventually creep up into this part of the novel. He is also asked to stay in a hotel which serves as the residential quarters of all the Cardinal's men and therein he meets another soul who quickly bonds with him and appears to be just as lost as Capac but seems to know a tiny bit more then he does.
Capac Raimi goes about learning his new role and adjusting to his new found status with the help of the various cast members listed above. The strange part of the tale starts here as Capac meets certain people and certain situations occur that have him start doubting the City, its inhabitants and the Cardinal himself.
The story then takes myriad twists and turns as Capac seemingly meets people who help him around and then completely disappear with no one remembering them. Capac's search for them leads him onto another person who might have some information about the Cardinal. This ultimately leads to a showdown with the Cardinal where all is revealed to Capac. I have intentionally tried to be vague about the plot mysteries which Capac encounters as to reveal them would be spoilerific and would denounce the reading experience.
Darren Shan has created a fascinating Noir-mystery-UF combo here and it focuses upon Incan myths. The biggest draw about this tale is its setting, the unnamed City is itself a character and even though its origins and name have not been specified, hints are provided for it to be set in the North American continent.
The writing style and the first person voice draw the reader in and sustains them till the end of this tale. While the ending revelation seemed apropos and fitting for me, it might be a hit and miss for some. Keep an open mind with this book and the ending might be a pleasant surprise.
In the end I would gladly recommend this book as I went without any prior knowledge about the author and found the tale to be visceral and fascinating in its own dark way. This book was one of my top reads and I'm gladly looking forward to the next book in the City trilogy to see where the author goes from the stunning finale of the "Procession of the Dead".
I'm late in adding my thoughts about this book. While this book had a nice role-reversal with certain roles. The best part about it was the character I'm late in adding my thoughts about this book. While this book had a nice role-reversal with certain roles. The best part about it was the characterization. The world-building is the one factor that I would say the author can improve upon as many things are alluded to but never wholly explained.
All in all a charming fantasy debut that you must give a try if you are currently bored with most fantasy nowadays....more
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I hadn’t heard of David Hair before I found out about this Full Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic [plus analysis by Liviu]
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I hadn’t heard of David Hair before I found out about this one. Since it was a release from Jo Fletcher books, I was interested in it purely based on the blurb details as well as the recent excellent and diverse releases Jo Fletcher books had so far. This book had a blurb that promised a war that occurs every twelve years due to a specific tidal event and featured a world that bears a close resemblance to certain areas and historical aspects of our own.
The story focuses on various nations on the continents of Yuros and Antiopia/Ahmedhassa. Yuros is the western landmass hosting various nations that have a magical aspect to their theology and chief among the nations are the Rondians who form the empire to rule over the entire continent. Antiopia or Ahemedhassa is the eastern continent that’s connected to its western half by means of a geographical bridge that was constructed by a mage.
The eastern continent has many nations which bear a striking similarity to certain middle Eastern cultures as well a region that is culturally, theologically and geographically very very similar to the Indian subcontinent. The story focuses on various characters strewn across these dual continents and many nations. Ranging from long lived mages/witches to teenage girls to aspiring mages and many more, the POV characters come from varied cultures and backgrounds to give the reader a panoramic view into the world developed by the author.
Justin from Staffer’s Musing’s blog had compared it to the Prince of Nothing trilogy but one that was more accessible to readers. This is a very astute observation; I would modify it to a certain extent and say that the author has tried to present a clash of civilizations, this time occurring literally between east and the west while also shining a close light on some of the cultures existing in the Indian subcontinent as well as the Middle East. This series sets up a conflict that has been years in the making and will occur at a great cost to both sides but before it can begin, the political machinations have already been initiated.
Beginning with the ascension rites across various regions to the beatification of an empress, there is a lot that happens in the first 150-200 pages. The reader might be definitely be bamboozled by the various POV characters, side character cast as well the different plot threads being introduced. There are a few maps present in the start and they will be extremely handy in tracking the various locales mentioned and details occurring in them.
I frequently referred to them as the action went from place to place and they were very helpful. The character cast is a vast one and it can be confusing sometimes plus there are no character appendices provided so it was very cumbersome to keep track of who’s who and related to whom and located where.
The story is set on a timescale leading up to the complete recession of the moon tide that leads the story on a very twisted landscape and slowly the readers realize as to what all is truly happening. The end two hundred pages are choc-a-bloc with action, political intrigue, character treachery and much more happening on a grand stage.
The author has showcased a world that’s violent, dark and as possibly as ambiguous as ours. There are no truly clear-cut characters as most of them have shades of good or bad but the good ones do end up doing things that aren’t entirely befitting their natures and the evil ones do things that cannot be construed as completely evil. Of course there are a couple of ones that are just plain old evil/megalomaniacal and they provide impetus to the political & magical twists to the main plot.
This book has the best parts of the epic fantasy genre and adding to that also has a conflict that promises to be epic but is also grounded in moral ambiguity that is prevalent so much in the current geo-political scenarios of our world. There’s also the multivariate character cast that will keep the readers occupied with their antics and actions that enthrall and keep the readers hooked on to their chapters.
The author has managed to bring about a mirror to the complex and fascinating historical conflicts that occurred during the middle ages and gives it a drastic mystical kick to stir up a hornet’s nest. This is the first volume in a tremendously exciting series and one, which I’ll be following with great interest in the next few years. ...more
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Listening To Rain is the debut book by Albert A. Dalia and its blurb and excerpt cha Full review originally at Fantasy Book Critic
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Listening To Rain is the debut book by Albert A. Dalia and its blurb and excerpt chapters intrigued me enough to ask the author for a review copy.
The book begins in the past 607 AD wherein a young boy is taken from his ancestral home after it has been attacked. Twenty years later we are reintroduced to the child who is now grown up and is called Tanzong the Shaolin Blade. His legendary exploits helped the young emperor of the Tang dynasty previously in a time of need. The emperor then assigns his imperial commissioner Li Wei to accompany Tanzong and find out more about disturbances in the southern part of his empire. Such begins the journey that will see both of them travel far and wide in a mystical China and face many great adventures that will be captured by Li Wei in three great scrolls, the first of which is called “Listening To Rain”.
The debut by Albert A. Dalia hearkens back to the classical mytho-fantasy tales by Barry Hughart. The story settings are similar and while Barry’s stories featured humor, Albert Dalia eschews the humor but does not skip the inventiveness showcased by Barry Hughart. The story begins in a typical fantasy style with a young child who will grow up to be the epic hero and he does however his journey is only just beginning. As the story progresses we find out that there are many more mysteries to be found in this China as imagined by the author. That’s what I liked about the story that it went all out on the magic and fantasy front without being apologetic about it. The characterization isn’t all that great but since this is the first volume, I’m always ready to give the benefit of doubt to the author.
The main character cast introduced isn’t a large one however they are quite easily placed in the good or bad category and that perhaps might be a drawback for several readers. The story has a good pace to it and follows a traditional fantasy route and it that regards it is predictable however the author does his best with some latter part twists to the story that liven up the tale and make the reader intrigued for the second tale. The fantasy settings of this story explore a bit of China’s history and mythology however I’m not an expert in either subjects and so I can’t vouch for the their accuracy. I did enjoy the author’s slant on these subjects as he seems to be genuinely interested in them and so it will be up to readers to decide how they find his efforts.
Listening To Rain is a debut that showcases its flair by indulging the author’s interests and studies. It is a debut that has flaws as well as fascinating facets to it. I think this was quite a different debut than I have usually read about. Give it a shot of you are interested in reading mytho-historical fantasy with a different slant than those found currently. I think Listening To Rain will find its fans should readers be willing to give it a shot....more
ANALYSIS: As far as the sub-genre of urban fantasy is concerned, Kevin Hearne is counted as one of its upcomi Full review originally at Bastard Books
ANALYSIS: As far as the sub-genre of urban fantasy is concerned, Kevin Hearne is counted as one of its upcoming stars and the Iron Druid Chronicles is named by many to be one of the best series out there currently. With four books released, the story has been progressing at a rapid rate and the world and mythologies introduced have made the read very riveting so far. However with the fourth book TRICKED, the story concluded the first arc of the series and began a dozen year gap in which Atticus begins the Druidic initiation of his protégé.
This novella is set exactly in the middle of that initiation phase, six years have passed after the events orchestrated by Coyote. Atticus is realizing some of the difficulties involved in the training process which he did not imagine would arise. He’s managing to get by with Oberon’s help though, and it's absolutely hilarious to read about it, especially with Oberon’s witty repartee. Their semi-idyllic training is interrupted by Morrigan’s arrival, who demands that Atticus accompany her immediately. Faced with no choice, Atticus is forced to tag along and leave his sword and other precautionary measures as well. He will have to learn more about Morrigan’s plan and also ferret out where she is taking him. The novella deals with the rest of the events that develop, including how a certain pantheon plans to involve Atticus in forthcoming events and what are Morrigan’s ultimate plans for him.
This novella was a doozy, not only does it give the reader a fun read of about 70-odd pages, but it also reveals a secret about Atticus’s past in regards to his long life. This novella though serves as a huge spoiler for events in HAMMERED and TRICKED and therefore should not be read by readers who are unfamiliar with the aforementioned books. The story, while seeming simple, lays down the groundwork for several upcoming books as well as a few character arcs which include both mortals and immortals. This story should be read before TRAPPED and hopefully will also clue in to certain events that are hinted at by the title.
The story featured is both action packed and serves as an introspection piece. The author has to be lauded for his approximation of the character of Morrigan, he admirably paints her as a fey goddess who oscillates from being kind one second to megalomania within the other. Atticus’s dread about her and her intentions is brought to the fore within this novella (once again) and readers will be left with no doubt as to why she is to be feared and avoided at all costs. Lastly the humor in this series is invariably tied to Oberon and his hilarious banter with Atticus. We get a small snippet of it in the start before Atticus departs and that is enough to give the readers nostalgia and increase the anticipation for the next book wherein Oberon will have a bigger role. However a surprising laugh out moment is provided by Morrigan when she airs her view on baseball and all what it entails. With the humor being on the lower side than its predecessors, the novella does manage to prove itself with its action and information reveals, thereby laying the stage for future events such as the Ragnarok that Atticus so desperately wants to avoid.
Two Ravens and One Crow is aimed at bridging the gap between two books TRICKED and TRAPPED and does its job well enough. This novella will be a treat to read for fans of the series as they get to learn more about Atticus’s past and future. Kevin Hearne shines once again with his witty prose and action-filled plot, this novella is a must read if you have read the previous four books and want to stem the anticipatory tide until TRAPPED releases in November....more
ANALYSIS: I have been reading Steven Montano’s series since I discovered the first book early last Full review originally over at Fantasy Book Critic
ANALYSIS: I have been reading Steven Montano’s series since I discovered the first book early last year. I have read the first three books so far and while I didn't enjoy the third book as much as the first two, I’m still enjoying the series as a whole. The first two books had standalone plots while the third book ended on a cliffhanger of sorts. The fourth book picks up immediately after the events of Soulrazor and the readers get a glimpse of a new part of the world in the Blood Skies series. Lastly I must reiterate that since it’s the fourth book, there might be some spoilers for the first three books so please be warned those who haven’t read the first three books.
We come across a familiar crew of faces that have captured our imagination with their grit, comradely bonds and overall attitude. Eric Cross, the series protagonist is a bit out especially after the events of the climax of Soulrazor. Danica is now the team leader however she finds herself and the team hobbled after they are forced to hide in Blacksand, the city away from Southern Claw as well as the Ebon Cities. The Revengers, the group of mercenaries that Danica was a part of earlier, are hunting them and they will not stop until they find her. There’s also Mike Kane who is put under the spotlight and becomes the second character after Danica Black to get his own POV chapters. This move becomes a lot clearer on reading the book and so I’ll hope the readers RAFO about it. This book is another fast paced thrill ride and continues the tradition of showcasing a few more aspects of the world of Blood Skies.
Before I begin I have to mention Steven Montano is a cruel guy; I say this with all the sincerity of my heart. He's a cruel guy who absolutely punishes his characters to their physical and mental all. This book continues the trend of the earlier wherein the characters are pushed to their absolute maximums in all areas. The story has two distinct threads dealing with characters in two different locations. Danica, Kane and the rest of the group are trying to get back to what they know as their home. Cross is physically with them however mentally he’s in a completely different place called the Shadowlands which as we learn is of major importance for a whole bunch of reasons. The story then completely immerses the reader in these two plot threads and we are kept on tenterhooks in both of them. The story has quite a lot of pace and twists and even a few serious character deaths. This has been the norm in the previous books however one such event left me shocked as a reader as I couldn’t fathom that the author would pull such a move. The ending is a brutal one and basically makes the next book The Witch’s Eye a must read because of the events that have occurred.
After my experience with the third book, I was a bit wary of this series going downhill for me but with this book [fourth] my enthusiasm for this series is renewed doubly. I must say this book was a whirlwind of action, revelations and plot twists, which keep the reader unsettled in their read and this is a very good thing. Often in series the middle volumes act as transitional volumes and there’s not much happening. Steven Montano eschews this practice and thus makes this middle volume equally important in regards to the revelations and characters arcs that are laid bare in this volume. Prose is another point that the author uses effectively to convey the dread and desolate nature of the world within. I had mentioned in my earlier reviews that this was the author’s strong point and it continues in this book as well. However the author sometimes over enthusiastically goes about his task and that might be bothersome to some readers.
I would have to say that there are a few drawbacks to this story, namely these robust descriptions can be at times overwrought. The author really drives home the bleakness of the world and the character’s despair at their individual situations. This can sometimes seem a bit too much but it is said “the hottest fires forge the strongest steel” and I’m going to give the benefit of doubt to the author that he’s striving to prove this maxim to the hilt. There’s also the pace in one of the plot threads, which seems to be meandering for the first half of the book and only gains prominence and speed in the latter half. These are the factors that detract against the enjoyment that the book provides and it is entirely subjective.
CONCLUSION: Steven Montano is a talented writer and with this book, he proves that he’s no one or two-book wonder and that he has planned a terrific series arc for his characters and readers. Crown Of Ash is a fantastic book and even though is a middle volume, is completely free of all its trappings. The Blood Skies series is a genre-amalgamative one and Crown Of Ash is a superb indicator of the series potential....more
It's a little hard to believe that this is Joshua Corin's freshman effort. I got to know of this book thanks to the International Thriller Writers webIt's a little hard to believe that this is Joshua Corin's freshman effort. I got to know of this book thanks to the International Thriller Writers website. The first three chapters of this book are available as a free pdf download. Once I read those chapters, I knew I had to read the rest of the book as well.
The story revolves around a madman who captures the twin sister of the protagonist & dares the protagonist to capture him in 7 days or he'll bring the end of the world by unleashing a nuclear Armageddon. The protagonist, Adam Weiss, is a slightly unlikeable frat boy whose aspirations are related to electronic games, fun, and sex, and not necessarily in that order. Then he gets the shock of his life when his sister is captured along with his car, on the way to a funeral by a guy who happens to be crazy as well as armed with a nuclear bomb. The madman proclaims that the bomb will be set off if Adam doesn't find him in time.
Adam meets a short old guy who also happens to be connected with mob and a Croatian female clown who only speaks Spanish. From this outlandish premise the story shoots off onto various locations as Adam along with Filbert the dwarf enforcer & Cherry Sundae the clown, tries to figure out who kidnapped Adam's sister & also try to avoid the police due to various happenings you will read about.
All the events in the book are seen through Adam as he is the novel's unwilling protagonist though I think it would have been funnier if we could have gotten POVs from Filbert or Cherry too.
"Nuclear Winter Wonderland" is a little hard to classify as it has elements of comedic fiction as well as thriller fiction. It almost seems like a Quentin Tarantino movie with quirkier characters & funnier situations. The prose is smooth though a bit amateurish in places. The story is very fast paced and starts zooming from the 4-5th chapter as things start unravelling for Adam. He loses his sister, gains 2 unlikely allies of which 1 can barely understand him and vice-versa. He then is taken to various places such as Philadelphia, Las Vegas where the origins of his comrades are explained though what is truly happening is only understood only in the 2nd half of the book. The story ends on a strong climax which is apt for this tale & lives up to its quirky buildup.
In the end I would sincerely recommend this book to readers who are looking for a fun read with an engaging storyline as well. ...more
After finishing A Witch To Live, I immediately dove into the sequel book Jack Kursed and to my surprise it featured a totally different POV character After finishing A Witch To Live, I immediately dove into the sequel book Jack Kursed and to my surprise it featured a totally different POV character. The titular character Jack Kursaid is an immortal person with almost near invulnerability but with a major drawback, he hasn't been able to sleep for more than two hundred years now. This has lead him to be a individual with a very particular form of narcissistic neurosis. The only friend he has is Victoria the vampire and the one constant thread in this series who shares a symbiotic past with him.
The story begins as Jack is rather forced to help Tiffany an eight year old runaway and thus begins the rehabilitation of Jack. This book was fun to read as we get Jack who is like a mix of House and Sherlock Holmes plus with the nature of Superman and the tactical resolve of the Punisher. He doesn't hesitate to get what he wants and he'll suffer no fools. The story is darker than its predecessor but has it moments of warmth as Jack deals with Tiffany and her new teacher Erica.
Another common theme I'm noticing is how the author likes to protray budding romantic relationships and it was fun to see Jack and Erica form one. With a dark protagonist, and an even darker ending, this book is my favorite of the series and not to mention Victoria who gets equal footing in this book unlike the last one wherein she had a slightly minor role. Once I finished this one, I immediately downloaded the next one as it combined all the main characters of the first three books and I couldn't miss how Jack would react to Alex and Kevin with Victoria to supervise....more
Steelheart is a good amalgam of post-apocalyptic and superhero themes. In this world, there are people that have gained superpowers to various degree Steelheart is a good amalgam of post-apocalyptic and superhero themes. In this world, there are people that have gained superpowers to various degrees and are called "Epics". These super-powered folks however aren't superheroes, and have become power-mad despots. One such Epic who calls himself Steelheart rules over Chicago, which after he has altered completely, is now called "Newcago". Steelheart rules with a steelfist and tolerates no opposition from the general populace or from any other Epics.
Sanderson presents a compelling narrative by having a main protagonist who is out for revenge but also has no superpowers, just his determination & quest to find to the truth. Usually Sanderson has no problems with characterization and even in this one, we get more than an interesting side-cast. The story ends on a powerful note & readers will be hooked on to this new series by one of the most prolific writers of this generation....more
ANALYSIS: 14 is a book that had a lot of secrecy attached to it, Peter had hinted about it in various Review originally over at Fantasy Book Critic
ANALYSIS: 14 is a book that had a lot of secrecy attached to it, Peter had hinted about it in various interviews and blog posts. I compiled a blogpost wherein some of its mystery was mentioned So when I got a review copy of the book, I was prompt to start the book and find out what was the big mystery at the core of the book.
The best and worst part about reviewing this book is its central plot and how much a reviewer can describe of it. In this regards this book becomes a very tough cookie to talk about, leave alone review it in its entirety. The book plot begins with Nate who is in LA and is looking for a new apartment, he hears about this new place that is really cheap and fills in the application for it. Upon getting acceptance he moves in and finds that as the building and its occupants are odder than they appear. Beginning with the building manager Oskar and right down to cockroaches found in the building, that have a emerald tinge to them. His curiosity soon gets ahead of him and he soon starts discovering that the building might be much older than is apparent and also server a purpose much more meaningful than other deemed important by human minds.
The biggest mystery along with the host of the other smaller ones is for the reader to discover as the author intended. The tale is very much like an episode of the Twilight Zone with a huge helping of LOST mythology and secrets. The reader is slowly taken through the mystery of the building as does the main character Nate, drawing in on a host of influences and backgrounds, Peter Clines has written a fine story. The mysteries are several and range from the miniscule to major ones however the trick is in recognizing which is what.
The best part of the story that it shares with LOST, is its terrific characterization, beginning from the main character and to all the side character cast, the author has given all of the characters interesting personalities and it makes the story come alive. The reader gets invested in the characters wanting to know more and thereby as a result feels much more attuned with the overall direction of the story. Characterization has always been a strong point of Peter seen in his Ex-Heroes books as well as the short story collection “The Junkie Quatrain” and this trend continues colorfully in this story as well.
Another fact that I liked about the story and one that strengthens its connections to the LOST-like setting is the mythology and background present in the story, tracing its roots to a couple of famous scientists as well as literary figures. The story veers back in to SF and horror territory smoothly and then back into a character study. The humor and character bickering are also spectacularly present thereby giving the reader a fun read as well thereby alleviating the story’s darker parts. Lastly the author’s nods to pop culture, Hollywood and other literary works made this book a fun one and like LOST has some connection to the plot as well.
The only thing that I felt went against the book was it is a standalone and at the end of the book, the reader gets this intense feeling of wanting to know more about the world and possible future/fate of several characters as well as exploring more of the history and the reason for the creation of the Kavach. The last word means something in Marathi, my mother tongue and so it was quite exciting for me to see its use in this book with the proper context.
CONCLUSION: Peter Clines takes a well thought concept and creatively expands on it to give the readers an excellent mix of The Twilight Zone, LOST & H.P. Lovecraft, this is a story for all the people who want something interesting to read and get a complete story in the end. Read it and find out why Peter Clines needs to heralded as one of SFF’s rising superstars....more
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I received a review request for this book from the author and was instantly hooked o Full Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I received a review request for this book from the author and was instantly hooked on to it by its blurb. Focusing the story in an alternate Roman empire-like world wherein the Vareno people have conquered the Cesino tribes and built a massive empire. Their occupation hasn’t been a smooth one and the outlands have always been troublesome a la Scotland for the Roman Empire. In this exciting setup the story promptly opens up with Tyren Risto, a Vareno noble who has to explain to his family as to why he has gotten his posting orders in the Cesino Outlands. His explanation aside, his family doesn’t quite understand his actions on behalf of a slave and is quite unhappy with the situation.
Tyren however is intent upon doing right by his country and his military orders. Setting out on his journey to the outlands, his family drops a Cesino slave on him and the slave’s behavior is a bit strange and gives Tyren doubts about his intentions. Tyren on reaching the outpost discovers that there’s much more to doing than just holding it. He has to contend with his difficult subjects, the indifference of his men and also the worry of doing the right thing by everyone.
Amanda McCrina’s debut shows quite some flair to her writing style, her prose while far from being economical is a bit reminiscent of K.J. Parker in its inquisitive style. The story begins slowly however there are many secrets and observations packed along the way for the reader to grasp and if they do, they will be rewarded in the latter half of the story. The pace is on the slower side in the first half of the book however it does pick up quite nicely during the second half to give the readers a good climax. The best part of the story is the characterization from Tyren to its other characters; the author gives us a well-rounded view into their thought process and viewpoints. This helps in understanding the conflict quite precisely and also gives us an insightful look into the main character.
The only drawbacks for me in this story were the spartan world-building and its pace, the world building is something which leaves a lot to be deserved as the author while focusing on the characters and the plot keeps the world building to a tad minimum, and this perhaps is the big factor going against the story. The pacing while on the slower side does pick up and only might be a niggling factor if the readers expect action from the first few pages.
His Own Good Sword is a quiet debut but it’s a significant one, Amanda McCrina is an author with a lot of potential and with her understated but smooth writing style marks herself out as a writer to look out for. Book one of the Cymeria series is a good historical fantasy and I’m eagerly waiting to see where the author takes the story next inThe Sword Unsheathed. ...more