Tombland / C. J. Sansom

Title / Tombland
Author / C. J. Sansom
Publication Date / October 2018
Series or standalone / Shardlake series
Page no. / 865
Overall Rating / ★★★★.5

The seventh book in the Shardlake series, this sequel is set two years after the death of King Henry VIII and focuses on the Kett Rebellion of 1549. Matthew Shardlake is called upon by the Lady Elizabeth to investigate the murder of the wife of a distant relative in Norwich.


I have loved all of the previous books so I had high hopes for this instalment and it did not disappoint. Once again Sansom weaves all the threads of the story together so well. I love that we go through the investigation with Shardlake and we can make judgements along the way with him. As with all the previous books in this series, the progression of the mystery is so well done. It was a little slow to start for me but after a couple of chapters I was completely invested. One thing that may frustrate some readers is that once the rebellion started, it felt as if the book lost a little of it’s purpose. It didn’t know whether it was a account of the Kett rebellion or a murder mystery. The focus shifts from the murder to focus on the rebellion and I have to admit that I was initially a little disappointed because I was so invested in the mystery. Having said that, I did find it really interesting to read about this rebellion as I know very little about it and I did really enjoy the plot of this book, although it is perhaps a little drawn out. Like the previous books in this series, I found this instalment so compelling and once I started reading I didn’t want to put it down. 


The character development continues to be a highlight of this series. Shardlake is a fantastic protagonist and it was  I particularly loved the growth of Nicholas in this latest instalment. Sansom has also done a great job at developing the relationships between the characters. There were so many interesting new characters introduced in this book and all of them were well written. Moving on to the setting. Once again Sansom has done a great job at transporting the reader back to the 16th Century. Although I know very little about this rebellion, you can still see the research Sansom has done for this book. I cannot comment on the authenticity of the historical story line, but it is vividly written and so interesting to read. As with all the previous books, the writing is fantastic. 


Overall I loved this book and I would highly recommend checking this series out. All the books in this series, including this latest one, are so enjoyable to read. I think Sansom plans to bring Shardlake into the reign of Elizabeth I, so there may be more books in the future. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for new books in this series. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.


The Faithful and the Fallen series / John Gwynne

Title / Malice, Valour, Ruin and Wrath
Author / John Gwynne
Publication Date / 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / 4 book series
Page no. / 646, 648, 800 and 736
Star Rating / ★★★★.5

This is a four book epic fantasy series set in the fictional world of the Banished Land. The first book, Malice, was Gwynne’s debut novel. Each book is written using multiple perspectives, although we mainly follow the events centred around one of the main characters, Corban. I will not be going into detail on the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything. 

In terms of the plot, these books will keep you on your toes. There are many twists and turns that keep each book engaging and the pacing maintains the flow the story really well. The plot is compelling throughout and I loved every second of reading these books. The action scenes are another strength in this series. Moving onto the world building. The Banished Land is a wonderfully written fantasy world with interesting history and cultures. It was great to be able to see various parts of this world throughout the four books. The Faithful and the Fallen series is epic in scale and so enjoyable to read. I cannot say enough good things about these four books. 

Overall this is a fantastic series and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s definitely one of my favourite series now. If you are looking for a new epic fantasy series to read, check these books out. A Time of Dread is the first book in a sequel series set 130 year after the events of Wrath and is also well worth a read. Seriously these books were so good. Have you guys read this series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time. 


Li Du series / Elsa Hart

Title / Jade Dragon Mountain and The White Mirror
Author / Elsa Hart
Publication Date / 2015 and 2016
Genre / Mystery/Historical fiction
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 368 and 320
Star Rating / ★★★.5


This is a mystery, historical fiction trilogy set in 18th century China. It follows Li Du, who was once a imperial librarian but is now in exile, as he unfolds the mysteries set in front of him. In book 1 he must unravel the facts behind the recent murder of an astronomer. As this is a series review, I will not go into details of the plot of either books.


The first thing that drew me to these books was the setting and I am happy to report that it didn’t disappoint. Hart has done a fantastic job at creating a vivid look into 18th century China. Now I don’t know a whole lot about this time period so I can’t comment on authenticity, but I will say that I was immersed in this world. It was such an interesting backdrop to each of the stories and it seems like Hart has spent quite a lot of time writing it. I loved that we got to explore more of the world in the sequel. Although I have not read the third book, I do know that Li Du has to return to Beijing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that setting. The writing is good in both books and I found it easy to settle into the flow of the story. Each book was quite a quick read for me because once I started reading I didn’t want to put the book down.


In terms of the plot, each of these books was compelling. The pacing is quite slow at times, but I think it was well suited to the story. The focus is more on collecting all of the facts and trying to figure it all out, rather than making this an action packed read. While I enjoyed both of these books, I personally liked the story of the second book a little bit more. For whatever reason I found it to be slightly more engaging. I also think that the second book felt more assured. Hart seems to have really settled into the flow of writing these stories and characters. Speaking of the characters, this trilogy contains a great cast of characters. Li Du is a fantastic protagonist and I’ve enjoyed his development through these two books. The other characters are also well written, if a little lacking at times. Overall though I really liked the cast of characters in both books and look forward to seeing how they progress in the third book. The ‘villains’ could perhaps be a little more fleshed out, but it’s only a minor complaint.


Overall this are enjoyable reads with a fantastic setting and interesting characters. The story continues in City of Ink which was released in August 2018. I will definitely be checking it out at some point in the near future. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.






Blood of the Gods / David Mealing

Title / Blood of the Gods
Author / David Mealing
Publication Date / August 2018
Series or standalone / book 2 of 3
Page no. / 736
Overall Rating / ★★★★

This is the second book in the Ascension Cycle, which is an epic fantasy trilogy. It follows closely after the events of the first book, The Soul of the World. Like it’s predecessor, this sequel is split into four sections, each marked by a change in season. These sections are split into four character perspectives; Sarine, Erris, Arak’Jur and Tigai. At the end of each section there is an interlude, which features more perspectives.  Each book in the series so far also provides a map of the world. So far, the first two books have started in Spring.  This is a review of a sequel so there may be minor spoilers ahead, but I will not be discussing the plot in detail.

After reading the first book earlier this year, Blood of the Gods became one of my most anticipated books releases of 2018. I had high hopes for this sequel and I am happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. The story continues to follow the three main characters (Sarine, Erris and Arak’Jur), along with the additional perspective of a new character, Tigai. Like the first book, each perspective has a distinct voice and each chapter is as compelling as the last.  Since this is a sequel, we have already been introduced to the majority of characters and so the author can really focus on the growth of each character. This is one of the strengths of this book, in my opinion. The author manages to keep each character consistent with what we know of them from the first book, while developing them in ways that keep them engaging. Like the first book, the characters are fantastic, and I cannot wait to see how things progress for them all in the third and final book.

In terms of the plot, this sequel was fantastic. The story continues soon after the events of the first book and it is taken in a direction that I loved. I found it was easy to settle back into the flow of the story. The twists and turns within the plot mean this it’s an engaging read that will keep you gripped until the very end. Mealing does a great job at weaving all these plot threads together without sacrificing any character development or world building. However, the length of it does mean that it drags a little in certain places. This wasn’t a big issue for me personally, but it may be something to be aware of going into this rather large book. Personally, I loved the plot development in this sequel and felt that the pacing was well suited to the story. The military aspects and battle scenes are also really well done. Once I started reading this book, I didn’t want to put it down.

Once again, the magic system is a strength in this series. There are three distinct systems; leyline manipulation, a spirit-based system and magic possessed by a small dragon companion called kaas. One of my main complaints of the first book is that there wasn’t a focus on any of the systems, so I felt like I didn’t have a good understanding of any of them. However, in this sequel the author does a good job at exploring these systems more. There was just enough focus on it to expand on what we learnt in book 1, while also still keeping some of it mysterious and intriguing. Like the magic system, the world building is fantastic. I loved the world in the first book and I love it even more now. You can really see the time and effort that Mealing’s put into this world. In my opinion the magic systems and world building feel more assured in this sequel. The world isn’t the most unique within the fantasy genre, but it is richly written with interesting cultures and a great map.

The story will continue in Chains of the Earth, but as far as I know there is no release date as of yet. Overall, I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this trilogy. Like the first book, this sequel contains unique magic systems, a well written world and a fantastic cast of characters. I think these books are seriously underrated and I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you love epic fantasy books. If you enjoyed the first book, then you will love this sequel too and if you haven’t read the first book you should really check it out. I am eagerly anticipating the release of the third and final book, hopefully sometime next year. Have you started this series? I’d love to know your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.


Shadow of the Fox / Julie Kagawa

Title / Shadow of the Fox
Author / Julie Kagawa
Publication Date / Nov. 2018
Genre / YA Fantasy
Series or standalone / Series
Page no. / 384
Star Rating / ★★★

*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This is the first book in a YA fantasy series set in a Japanese inspired world. A young half kitsune (fox) peasant girl must leave her insular life to protect a scroll that could bring about a disaster. While I enjoyed this book overall, I did have quite a few issues with it too. First of all, I really liked the setting of this book. As I mentioned earlier this is a Japanese inspired world that is inhabited by humans and yōkai (supernatural beings from Japanese folklore). The world is separated into clans, one of which is the Emperor’s own royal clan. Although I would say it lacked a little depth, the world is generally quite well written. I would have liked to have a better understanding of the history and politics of the world but at less then 400 pages this book doesn’t really have the space to have intricate world building. I found the elements of Japanese mythology interesting and it was probably my favourite thing about this book. However if you are unfamiliar with Japanese mythology and/or words then you may be a little confused at times. There is a glossary of terms at the end of the book which will be helpful to you, or you can resort to a quick Google search. I had no issues with this but it is something to be aware of going in.
I enjoyed the plot overall, although I think it lacked a little cohesion. The middle section of the book felt a lot like filler. At the beginning of the book the main task is given, but the characters partake in mini adventures along the way and these make up the majority of the book. First of all, the task must not have a time pressure and second of all it felt like a way to prolong the weak plot. Having said that, there was something about it that kept me reading and despite the flaws I did enjoy it overall. It was a quick, entertaining read and the ending set up well for the sequel. In terms of the characters, we follow three main character perspective; Yumeko, Tatsumi and Suki. The majority of the book is divided between Yumeko and Tatsumi, with Suki’s perspective sprinkled a couple of times throughout the 384 pages. I personally felt the characters lacked development but I liked the majority of them. A cast of supporting characters is introduced throughout and I enjoyed their interactions with each other. The romance is entirely predictable but it didn’t really bother me as it’s not the main focus of the book. I’m hoping that the romance will not play a central role in future books. Both the plot and the characters are quite formulaic in terms of the YA fantasy genre, but I still enjoyed the overall reading experience.
Overall I liked this introduction to this series, but I definitely had issues with it. The sequel, Soul of the World, is set to be released in June 2019. At present I am undecided whether I will continue this series. We’ll see if I’m still interested when it is released. If you enjoy YA fantasy and/or like Japanese inspired worlds then I would recommend checking this book out. Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

A Veil of Spears / Bradley Beaulieu

Title / A Veil of Spears
Author / Bradley Beaulieu
Publication Date / March 2018
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / Series
Page no. / 592
Star Rating / ★★★★

This is the third book in the Song of the Shattered Sands series. It resumes the story straight after the events of the second book, With Blood Upon the Sand. Once again the reader is dropped straight into the story, with no reminders of what has happened in previous books. Having loved the first two books of this series, I had high hopes for this sequel and I’m happy to report it didn’t disappoint. I would definitely recommend rereading the second book before reading this, if it’s been awhile since you read it as it will make it easier to get into the flow of the plot. I would also recommend reading the novella, Of Sand and Malice, as it gives more insight. As this is a sequel, I will not be going into details about the plot.


This was a fantastic sequel. As I mentioned earlier, it starts off soon after the events of the second book and puts you straight back into the action. I will admit that it did take me a little while to settle into the flow of the story, but that was entirely my fault because I didn’t reread book 2 and I really should have. It took me a while to remember all the characters and the events of the previous book, but after a couple of chapters I was once again hooked with story. I loved the direction of the plot and Beaulieu did a fantastic job at weaving all the plot threads together to create a compelling book. There are many twists and turns, which make it even more entertaining to read. The pacing is even throughout with a great mix of action and slower scenes. As with previous books in the series, this sequel is split into multiple perspectives. Each one is distinctive in voice and each chapter is as enjoyable to read as the last. Personally I enjoyed Çeda’s chapters the most but all of the perspectives are fantastic. Speaking of characters, their development in this book was so well done. All of the characters are complex and flawed with great back stories. I loved being back with these characters and I cannot wait to see where things will take them in the rest of the series. One of the main strength of this series is the world, and I loved being able to explore it more in this book. This is one of the most unique fantasy world I’ve read and it’s one of my favourite things about this series. Beaulieu does a wonderful job at expanding on what we already know of the world and the magic.


Overall this was a fantastic book. It was such a great continuation from the second book and a wonderful setup for the fourth book. In my opinion, this series just keeps getting better and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The fourth book, Beneath the Twisted Tree, is set to be released in April 2019. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.






The Three Musketeers / Alexandre Dumas

Title / The Three Musketeers
Author / Alexandre Dumas
Publication Date / 1844
Genre / Translated classics
Series or standalone / Series
Page no. / 704
Star Rating / ★★★★

Originally written in French, this is the first book in the d’Artagnan Romances series. It is a historical adventure story that follows d’Artagnan as he moves to Paris to join the musketeers, between the years of 1625-28. It was originally published in serial form. I had known of the Three Musketeers for years before I actually read the source material. My edition was translated by Richard Pevear.


 I had never read anything by this author when I picked this book up so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up loving this book. I found it to be such an enjoyable read, while also being quite interesting. I don’t know a whole lot about this time period so it was interesting to me to read about it in this way. I thought the setting was really well written. One of the main strengths of this book were the characters. Dumas spends a lot of time developing his characters throughout the 700 pages of this book and it is a pleasure to read. I also really love that the characters are mostly morally grey in some way. While there are bad guys, most characters have both good and bad qualities to them. I really appreciated that while reading. There is a fantastic cast of characters in this book and I love the four main musketeers. I cannot wait to read more of them in the other books in this series. In terms of the plot, this is a very compelling book. Despite the size, it didn’t take me too long to finish because I was so engrossed in the story. It contains a whole lot of intrigue, duels, loyalty, betrayal and adventure. There are also so many twists and turns woven into the story. It starts off quite episodic in nature, as the readers are introduced to the characters. The main plot is then slowly introduced a little later on in the book. I really enjoyed the story, although at times it is a little ridiculous. I think this book can be enjoyed by a wide range of reader and ages and it is well worth a read.


Overall I loved this book and would highly recommend checking it out. I think it would be a great place to start with classics and/or translated classics, because it’s a pretty easy read and it’s so entertaining. I have yet to read the other books in this series but I am definitely planning on reading them. Twenty Years After is the sequel to The Three Musketeers. Have you read this book? Or any other book by this author? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.