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fantasy

reviews

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings in a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows. (publisher)

So, we have Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. In an alternate London and there’s also angels, vampires and hellhounds. Sort of all thrown in together, at least it felt like it. I’m not sure what I was expecting from the book, but it wasn’t this.

Angels named Crow is our Sherlock and hellhound named Dr Doyle is our Watson. Angels have a habitation in a public building where they are bound and sort of… oversee it? Protect it/or it’s people? Crow no longer have a habitation and he’s an anomaly. Normally after angels lose their habitation, they become Fallen but Crow didn’t. Instead, he helps solve crimes.

Doyle was injured in a war in Afghanistan by a Fallen and became a hellhound. Now that he’s back in London and trying to figure out what to do, he meets Crow and helps him solve crimes.

The book had good moments but mostly I was just confused. There are many cases that they work on and keeping them in order was kinda hard. And then remembering where the other case was left. I liked Crow and Doyle should have been far more interesting considering he had a lot going on and many secrets.

I’m not very familiar with Sherlock Holmes stories so those details were lost on me and I wasn’t expecting the Sherlock Holmes story/retelling, I expected more of a fantasy book. And since I’m not a fan of Sherlock, I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. I had to reread the book synopsis to check if it mentioned Sherlock and if I had somehow missed it but it didn’t mention it.

3/5

Published: Tor Books (June 23, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

reviews

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates 1) by A. K. Larkwood

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due. (publisher)

Csorwe is an Oshaaru and her people worship the Unspoken One. Csorwe is a Chosen Bride, someone who will be sacrificed to the god on her 14th birthday. But on the day of the sacrifice, a stranger called Belthandros Sethennai makes her an offer that she can’t refuse and helps her to run away.

Sethennai is a wizard in exile and has his own reasons for helping Csorwe; she can help him to return to his land.

I have mixed feelings about this one. It had good things and then the not so good things. But it’s not a bad book by any means, especially for a debut.

I liked the world-building and it’s impressive but there is quite much to take in. The book is divided into several parts and I liked the first part most where it focuses on young Csorwe. But the transitions between parts were somewhat awkward with time-jumps. Fast forward a few years and suddenly she is all trained to fight. Then 5 years have passed, and she has worked with Tal for 5 years and they hate each other. We’re missing huge chunks of her life and I didn’t connect with her, or the others, because so much happens behind the scenes. It just made me detached from the characters.

It dragged a bit in the middle and I felt the book could have been shorter. And if I’m honest, the most boring thing was Csorwe’s love-interest Shuthmili. She’s a super talented wizard who must be kept safe. And who had a non-existing personality. I just couldn’t understand why her?

I realize that I’m making it sound worse than it was because it wasn’t bad. There were lots of good things in it. But I really wanted to like it more. And since this was a debut book, I’m interested to see where the author will go from here.

3/5

Published: Tor Books (February 11, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

reviews

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic 3) by V.E. Schwab

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay. (Goodreads)

The book starts soon after where the previous book A Gathering of Shadows ended. A powerful enemy from another London moves to Red London. Kell, Lila, Alucard and Holland team up to beat this magical thing that thinks it’s a god.

We learn more about Holland and Alucard through flash backs and I loved learning how Holland came to be who he is. Alucard started slowly growing on me. As did Lila, kind of at least. She’s still too arrogant and reckless but bit less than before. I didn’t want to hit her all the time so that’s progress… Rhy has grown up and become more ready to be a king. Kell has learned that he still has a lot to learn about magic. I was hoping we would have learned more about his past and it was so close.

I don’t know what more to say. I can’t believe the series ends here! I thought this was a good ending but there were some loose ends that I keep hoping that someday there will be more books.

4/5

Published: Titan Books (February 21, 2017)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 666
Source: Library

reviews

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

schwabA Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall. (Goodreads)

I usually write the review right after reading the book and now it’s been some time I finished but still wanted to write few things about it.

First of all, that ending was evil! And it’s so long before book 3 comes out. I just hate cliffies…

I’m still not a huge fan of Lila. She’s bit less annoying here than in the last book but still. She’s arrogant and too reckless without thinking if anyone else gets hurt. She meets the pirate captain Alucard whom I liked. Hope we see more of him in the future.

Rhy and Kell aren’t doing too well after the events in the last book. Kell is out of favor with the king and queen. I really wanted to hit them, king and queen I mean.

Rarely book 2 is as good as book 1 but this really was. Loved this and can’t wait for book 3. I need book 3!

4,5/5

Published: Titan Books (February 23, 2016)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 508
Source: Library

reviews

Kings or Pawns: The Kings (Book I) by J.J. Sherwood

Kings or PawnsKings or Pawns: The Kings (Book I) by J.J. Sherwood

J.J. Sherwood’s debut novel KINGS OR PAWNS: THE KINGS, BOOK 1 is the first in a high fantasy epic series sure to please fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.

The year is 8994 P.E., and the city of Elvorium is corrupted—rotted to the core by the machinations of depraved politicians. With his father dead and the country facing a rebellion, Price Hairem becomes the king of the elven world of Sevrigel in one of its most turbulent points in history.

Young and daring, Hairem is determined to eradicate the corruption festering in Elvorium’s self-serving and all-powerful council, which thwarts his best intentions at every turn. But Hairem’s problems are far more sinister¬—and deadly—than merely political. The loyal members of the council are being savagely murdered by an assassin loosed within the city—an assassin whose brutality knows no bounds. Outside of the city, the Lord Saebellus wages a vicious rebellion against the capital. He has been thwarted thus far by the brilliant General Jikun, and Hairem is certain that the general can crush Saebellus.

But instead of continuing the campaign against the warlord, the council orders Jikun’s army to be split, sending him on a mission that furthers only their own wealth and power. Jikun knows that the council’s demands will leave Elvorium vulnerable to an attack from the formidable warlord. Although Saebellus has been recently defeated, he is far from vanquished. As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the rebel Saebellus seizes the opportunity to lay siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital and unleash his most powerful weapon yet: a demonic beast that neither weapon nor magic can kill. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem is grasping for his own power to fight against the forces that threaten Sevrigel.

Will Hairem overcome the council’s scheming and duplicity? Can General Jikun defeat the warlord Saebellus? Will this be the war that finally brings Sevrigel to its knees? KINGS OR PAWNS offers action, intrigue, mystery, and suspense—a thrilling story that will leave readers hungry for the sequel, Heroes or Thieves, to be published in February 2016.

At first, I was little confused with this world, who is who and what’s going on but after I got those cleared, I really enjoyed the story.

This focuses on elven world, which was a nice change for me because usually elves team up to fight the bad guys or whatever but here we see elves fight against other elves.

There’s lot of court politics and back stabbings going on and I felt bad for the new king Hairem. He is little too naïve and idealistic for this world and doesn’t have much experience about dealing with the elven council. He’s nice and fair to the servants and I loved the great relationship with his servant Alvena, who is also mute. Hopefully we will see more of her in the next book.

This was a great debut and I’m looking forward to the next book.

4/5

Published: Silver Helm Publishing (October 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 373
Source: iRead Book Tours

About the Author

J.J. SherwoodJ.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit StepsofPower.com. J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

 

 

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