Eagles of Rome trilogy / Ben Kane

Title / Eagles at War, Hunting the Eagles and Eagles in the Storm
Author / Ben Kane
Publication Date / 2015, 2016 and 2017
Genre / Historical fiction
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Overall Rating / ★★★★

 

Goodreads synopsis of book 1: AD 9, Germania: Close to the Rhine, a Roman centurion, Lucius Tullus, prepares to take his soldiers on patrol. On the opposite side of the river, German tribes are resentful of the harsh taxes imposed upon them. Suspicious that there might be unrest, Tullus knows that his men’s survival will be determined not just by their training and discipline, but by his leadership. What neither Tullus nor the Roman Governor Varus realise is that ranged against them is the charismatic chieftain and trusted ally of Rome, Arminius, who has long been plotting to drive the Romans from the tribal lands east of the Rhine. As Varus’ legions prepare to leave their summer encampment, thousands of warriors – directed by Arminius – are massing nearby. Eager to throw off the Roman yoke, the tribesmen prepare a deadly ambush. Only the gods can save the Romans now …
This is a fantastic military historical fantasy trilogy based on real historical events. It is set before and after the Battle of Teutoborg Forest in 9 AD and follows multiple perspectives to give us a wider look into this conflict. Now I do not know a lot about this time in history so I cannot comment on historical accuracy but I will say all three books have a realistic feel to them. I found them to not only be enjoyable reads but also really interesting. Despite not knowing much about this time period, it’s one that I find fascinating so I loved the setting of these books. You can tell that the author did a lot of research to write these books. I think even if you know a lot about this period and know what will happen, you will still enjoy this book because it is so well written. The changes in perspective never disrupted the flow of the story and each chapter was as compelling as the last. I can sometimes find switches in perspective to be a little jarring but that is not the case with these books. The build up of suspense in all three books is so well done. These books are action packed and I loved all the military aspects of the story. The action scenes are one of the strengths of this trilogy. They are so well written and gripping to read. The writing is also fantastic and there are some great description throughout the trilogy. I enjoyed each of these books very much and I thought the ending of the trilogy was great.
The characters are another strength of this trilogy, although some of the minor characters were a little flat. However all of the main characters are well written. They are all flawed and complex with good development through the three books. It was fascinating to me to see the daily lives of these soldiers and I think Kane’s choice in character perspective was very clever, because it means we get a much wider look into the events of the book. I personally found Arminius chapters slightly more compelling then the others but I enjoyed all of them.
I hadn’t read anything by this author when I picked up the first book but I will definitely be checking out his other books. If you enjoy military historical fiction and/or are interested in this time period then I highly recommend checking this trilogy out. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
Pippa

T5W: Favourite Buzz Words

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This month is a Rewind month, so you can use any topic that you may have missed or just fancy doing. For this week I have chosen the topic of favourite buzz words – words used to describe a book that will make you want to buy it. These words aren’t a guarantee that I’ll read a book but they will definitely interest me in checking a book out. Let’s get started.

 

  1. East- Asian influences – I’m really interested in this area of the world and love reading books set in worlds inspired by it.
  2. Animal companion – need I say more
  3. Assassins – pretty self explanatory
  4. Blurb from one of my favourite authors
  5. Strong female protagonist – this doesn’t necessarily mean physically strong, just any woman who can take care of herself

 

There are more that I could mention but I think I’ll leave it at that for today. What are your favourite buzz words? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

 

It’s Monday… What are you reading?

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I’m going to talk about the books I am currently reading and maybe some I want to pick up next. We’re roughly half way through the month and I’ve managed to read 4 books already, one of which is a new favourite book. I’ve just started two books so I can’t really comment on them yet but I wanted to share it with you guys anyway.

 

So the two books I am reading are Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Heartstone by C. J. Sansom, which is the fifth book in the Shardlake series. As I said I’ve only just started them so I haven’t read more then a hundred pages for either.
I’ve heard so many good things about Neil Gaiman so I thought it was about time I tried one of his books. I didn’t really know where to start with his works but this one sounded fun so I decided to try it out. This edition also has illustrations which is cool. Next up I’m continuing on with the Shardlake series. I think the last book in the series was my favourite so far so I’m excited to see what happens next. I fully expect to love this book as much as I’ve loved the first four books in the series. I’ve also discovered there is a new book coming out in this series sometime this year which is exciting. I hope to finish both of these books by the end of the month. Some other books I’d like to get to soon include Circe by Madeleine Miller and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
That’s all I have for today’s post. Of course I’ll let you know my thoughts on all these books once I’ve read them. What are you guys currently reading? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? I’d love to know. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Ininiate Brother duology / Sean Russell

Title / The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds
Author / Sean Russell
Publication Date / 1991 and 1992
Series or standalone / Duology
Page no. / 784 (bind-up)
Overall Rating / 
DSCN1462
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Plague and warfare has swept across the Orient, ravaging the ancient kingdom of Wa, devastating the royal line, and leaving a new dynasty on the throne–a new Emperor, Akantsu, filled with fear of all who might seek to wriest the Empire from his grasp. Among those out of favor with the new liege is the Order of the Botahist Monks, whose mystical powers have enabled them to hold positions as Spiritual Adviseres to the Imperial court for nearly ten centuries. But Emperor Akantsu fears none so greatly as he does Lord Shonto, the brilliant leader of the most important of the Old Families, whose infludence could rally the Great Houses against the throne and whose adopted daughter, the beautiful and talented Lady Nishima, is the last surviving member of the old royal family. Sent to be military Governor of a northern border province long threatened by barbarian invaders, Lord Shonto knows he is being lured to his death. But Akantsu has underestimated his foe, for not only is Lord Shonto the greatest military genius of the age, but he has with him a Spiritual Adviser from the Botahist Order–a young man gifted with extraordinary martial skills and magical abilities, Initiate Brother Shuyun. And even Lord Shonto does not realize the true potential of this young monk. Only time will reveal that Shuyun’s magical powers have not seen their equal in nearly a thousand years–not since the Perfect Master himself walked the paths of the Empire…

 

This is a fantastic fantasy duology set in an East Asian inspired world with well written characters and compelling plot. I didn’t know much about this book when I picked it up but I’m very glad I did. I ended up loving this book. Firstly I think the world is so well written. From the very beginning I was immersed in the world and I loved the way the author slowly revealed more of it throughout the duology. There are some fantastic descriptions of the landscape within these two books. If you enjoy good world building in fantasy then you will not be disappointed. The cultures of this world are all really interesting and I enjoyed learning more about this aspect of the world. There is so much detail put into these books but it never felt overwhelming and I never felt bogged down. It is all relevant and interesting. One of the main things I loved about this world is the intrigue and politics. I really enjoy fantasy books that incorporate politics and Russell does it so well.

 

This is very much a character driven story, which I personally really enjoy. There are so many wonderfully written characters in this book. All of them are complex and flawed with fantastic development through the two books. I will admit it was a little tricky at first to keep track of everyone but after a couple of chapters I was invested in the characters and story. Due to this being a character driven story the pacing is quite slow. Although there is action in this book, it is not a fast paced fantasy book so don’t expect that. The focus is on the development of the characters and the politics of the world. Despite this slower pacing I found the plot to be compelling throughout. I was hooked from very early on and once I’d started I didn’t want to put it down. Although I will say that the set up of the first book is especially slow, so bear with it as it does pick up. There are some great plot twists too. Russell did a fantastic job at creating intricate lines of plot that all come together at the end of the book. Finally I thought the writing was great. This was my first book by this author and I found it so easy to get into the flow of his writing style.

 

If you enjoy character driven fantasy with a slower pace and/or enjoy fantasy with politics then I highly recommend checking it out. I loved it and want to recommend it to everyone. If you’ve read and enjoyed Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay then I think you’d enjoy this book too. I’m definitely planning on checking out some of this authors other books too. Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

T5W: Recent Additions to my TBR

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This month is a Rewind month, so you can use any topic that you may have missed or just fancy doing. For this week I have chosen the topic of recent additions to my TBR, which was originally used back in July 2016. These are all books that I’ve recently added to my to read shelf on Goodreads. Let’s get started.

 

  1. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit / Nahoko Uehashi / Moribito Book 1
  2. The Winds of Khalakovo / Bradley Beaulieu / Lays of Anuskaya Book 1
  3. Medusa Uploaded / Emily Devenport / The Medusa Cycle Book 1
  4. Shattermoon / Dominic Dulley / The Long Game Book 1
  5. The Consuming Fire / John Scalzi / The Interdependency Book 2

 

What books have you recently added to your TBR? I swear mine is always growing :). There are just so many books to read. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Book Haul

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Over the last couple of months I’ve gotten quite a few new books, mainly because it was my birthday in April and obviously I got some books :). I had been trying to focus on reading books that have been on my shelves for a while but I can see myself getting distracted by new books. Anyway I’m going to show you the books now.

 

 

 There you have it. All of the books I’ve picked up over the last couple of months, mostly in April though. Have you guys read any of these? Be sure to stay tuned for new reviews. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

The Poppy War / R. F. Kuang

Title / The Poppy War
Author / R. F. Kuang
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / book 1 of a trilogy
Page no. / 544
Overall Rating / 

35068705

Goodreads synopsis: A powerful epic fantasy novel with roots in the 20th-century history of China. A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

 

This was one of my anticipated releases of this year; unfortunately this one just didn’t work for me. It sounded like something I’d love as it is inspired by East Asian and has a focus on military strategy but somewhere in the execution it fell flat for me. In some ways it read like a YA book to me but from the content I would say that this is more aimed at adults. This book is not for the faint hearted; it contains violence, rape, self-harm, genital mutilation and drug abuse to name a few things. This is a dark book and it doesn’t pull any punches, so be aware of that going into it. I think the military elements of this book was well done and the world building is good. I never felt bogged down by the information provided and I enjoyed finding out more about this world.

 

I think the main issue I had was with the characters. Yes they are well written but I wasn’t invested in them and consequently felt detached from the story. One thing that bugged me was that Rin picked things up so quickly, despite the fact that she started of with very little training. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it frustrated me in this book. I get it, she works hard but I just can’t get my head around how she does it so quickly and it’s suggested that no one has picked things up as fast as she has. Cue my eye rolling. I just can’t quite get my head around it. In general I think the characters were lacking a little depth and were a little inconsistent. For example one relationship changes from hate to like seemingly very quickly. I know there is a war occurring in this book and this might offer some perspective on grudges but the hate seemed so deeply embedded I don’t understand how this relationship shifted. Despite this I think that generally the characters were well written and I think the author did a good job at developing the characters throughout the darker parts of this book.

 

Overall this was a good book but one that didn’t work for me personally. There are a lot of great aspects to this book, like the military setting and the world, but as a whole I didn’t love this as much as I’d hoped. I would still recommend checking this out as I think this will be loved by many and I’ve already seen a ton of five star reviews of this book. Do you plan on picking this book up? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa