The Wolf / Leo Carew

Title / The Wolf
Author / Leo Carew
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / book 1 of the Under Northern Sky series
Page no. / 512
Overall Rating / 

35838138

Goodreads synopsis: The Wolf is a thrilling, savagely visceral, politically nuanced, and unexpectedly wry exploration of power – and how far one will go to defend it. Violence and death have come to the land under the Northern Sky.The Anakim dwell in the desolate forests and mountains beyond the black river, the land under the Northern Sky.Their ancient ways are forged in Unthank silver and carved in the grey stone of their heartland, their lives measured out in the turning of centuries, not years. By contrast, the Sutherners live in the moment, their vitality much more immediate and ephemeral than their Anakim neighbors. Fragile is the peace that has existed between these very different races – and that peace is shattered when the Suthern armies flood the lands to the north. These two races revive their age-old hatred and fear of each other. Within the maelstrom of war, two leaders will rise to lead their people to victory. Only one will succeed. 

 

This was a fantastic introduction to this new epic historical fantasy. It starts out well with good pacing and throws you straight into the action. Once I’d started reading I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. The plot is compelling throughout, although the pacing sometimes loses its flow a little bit. I think there are a few instances where things could have been written more concisely to keep the flow of the plot. At times the writing is a little too heavy on the descriptions and repetitive, which resulted in me skim reading sections. This didn’t bother me too much but it may be something to be aware of going into this book. One thing I really enjoyed in this book are the action scenes and political intrigue. I love books that deal with political intrigue and/or military elements and this book delivered on both those things.

 

One of the main strengths of this book (for me at least) are the characters. I enjoyed seeing our main character, Roper, become a leader. At first I did wonder at how quickly he seemed to settle into the role, but I think it is partly due to the society he lives in. Yes he is only 19 but he has been groomed for this task. It is one of those instances where the character seems to settle too quickly into the role before him, but it didn’t bother me too much. There is a great cast of characters, although I did want to see more women in this book.  This is one of the main issues I had with this book. There are women present in this book, one of which is one of my favourite characters, but this is a very male orientated cast with all of the women being a wife to one of the men. This frustrated me a little, but perhaps it is supposed to indicate the type of society they live in. I still wanted to see better representation of women in this book though. Overall the characters are all well written and there are quite a few characters I want to see more from.

 

Unfortunately another issue I has is that I thought the world building was a bit lacking. I wanted to know more about the land in which these characters live and more of the history of the world. We get a very insular look into the world but we don’t really get a wider understanding of the world as a whole.  However the author did a great job at creating the cultures of this world. The author has a degree in biological anthropology and that shows in his book. In this book we have two races we focus on; the Anakim and the Sutherners. The differences between the cultures are so well done and you get a good understanding of these two groups, although I wanted to know more of the how and why these two races are what they are in this book, if that makes sense.

 

 

Overall I thought this was a solid introduction to this new series and I definitely plan to check out the sequel whenever it is released. There are a few issues with it but I still enjoyed reading this book and would recommend checking it out, especially if you are a fan of epic historical fantasy. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday…

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some books that are coming out this month. There are 3 books that I am excited for that come out in the month of April, so I wanted to share them with you guys. I have to admit that I sometimes fall behind on new releases – I get excited for there release and then when the books out I end up not reading it for a while. Other times I read them straight away. Anyway let’s get started.

 

 

These are three books that I am definitely planning on checking out. I may have missed some releases but these are the ones I am aware of. Are there any releases you’re excited for this month? The new Avengers film comes out this month too, which I’m excited for. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

Series I’m In The Middle Of

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some series that I am currently reading and loving. Some of these series are already completed, while others are currently uncompleted. I’ve actually got 22 series to share with you guys, which is quite a lot… hopefully I’ll finish a fair few of them this year. These are all series that I have been loving and I would recommend checking any or all of them out. Most of them are fantasy series (no surprise there) but there is also a sci-fi series, a thriller trilogy and a couple historical fiction series. Let’s get started.

 

  • Winternight trilogy / Katherine Arden / 3 books planned, 2 read
  • Songs of Shattered Sea series / Bradley Beaulieu / 6 books planned, 2 read
  • Lady Trent series / Marie Brennan / 5 books out, 2 read
  • Greatcoats series / Sebastien de Castell / 4 books out, 3 read
  • Spellslinger series / Sebastien de Castell / 6 books planned, 2 read
  • Queens of Renthia trilogy / Sarah Beth Durst / 3 books planned, 2 read
  • Fitz and the Fool trilogy / Robin Hobb / 3 books out, 1 read
  • The Licanius trilogy / James Islington / 3 books planned, 2 read
  • Millennium trilogy / Stieg Larsson / 3 books out, 1 read
  • Book of the Ancestor trilogy / Mark Lawrence / 3 books planned, 1 read
  • Dandelion Dynasty trilogy / Ken Liu / 3 books planned, 2 read
  • Gentlemen Bastard sequence / Scott Lynch / 6 books planned, 3 read
  • Cromwell trilogy / Hilary Mantel / 3 books planned, 2 read
  • Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy / Brian McClellan / 3 books planned, 1 read
  • The Book of Dust trilogy / Philip Pullman / 3 books planned, 1 read
  • The Kingkiller Chronicles / Patrick Rothfuss / 3 books planned, 2 read
  • Draconis Memoria trilogy / Anthony Ryan / 3 books planned, 2 read
  • Shardlake series / C. J. Sansom / 6 books out, 3 read
  • The Inter-dependency series / John Scalzi / 3 books planned, 1 read
  • The Bone Season series / Samantha Shannon / 6 books planned, 3 read
  • The Legends of the First Empire series / Michael J. Sullivan / 6 books planned, 2 read
  • Winnowing Flame trilogy / Jen Williams / 3 books planned, 2 read

 

Making this post I realised that I’ve been reading more trilogies, in comparison to longer series, and I’ve got a lot of series to finish :). Now I’ve probably missed a few series but these are probably all the series on my priority list. Have you read any of these series? I am loving all of them and can’t wait to finish each of them. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

March Wrap Up and April TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for another monthly wrap. I read six books this month, all of which I rated four stars, so it was a pretty good reading month. In other news it was also a great month because I passed my driving test. I drove for the first time on my own too, which was pretty weird but also great. Anyway I’m going to start my wrap up now.

 

The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future / Victor Cha / ★★★★
 This was an interesting non-fiction book about North Korea and my first non-fiction read of this year. I find this region of the world fascinating but I don’t know a lot about it. This was an engaging read, although some things definitely went over my head a bit. Despite this I think this was written in quite an accessible way and it provides a wide range of information about this region.

 

The Dragon Queen / William Andrews / 
I thought this was a fantastic book. From the very beginning I was invested in the story and found it easy to settle into the flow of the writing. This book is split into two perspectives; first we follow a US diplomat in the present day and then we also follow the story of a queen of Korea during the 1800’s. Although I enjoyed both of the perspectives, I did find Ja-young’s more compelling. I loved reading about this time period as I didn’t know a lot about it and I found it really interesting to read about. I definitely plan to find out more about this time period and queen. The characters are all well written and complex, and the relationships between the characters were well developed. The plot is compelling throughout, which made this quite a quick read for me because I was so absorbed in the story. Once I’d started reading I didn’t want to put it down. Overall this was a great read and I would highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoy historical fiction.

 

 

 

The Wolf / Leo Carew / ★★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This was a fantastic introduction to this new epic historical fantasy. Once I’d started reading I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. The plot is compelling throughout, with some great action scenes and political intrigue. There is a great cast of characters, although I did want to see more women in this book. The characters are very well written though, and there are so many great characters that I want to see more from. Unfortunately I thought the world building was a bit lacking. I wanted to know more about the land in which these characters live and more of the history of the world. In terms of the writing, in general it was good, but perhaps a little too heavy on descriptions at times and repetitive. I have to admit to skim reading some sections of this book due to this. Overall I very much enjoyed this book and would highly recommend checking it out. I will definitely be checking out the next book in this series. I will have a full review up soon.

 

An Echo Of Things To Come / James Islington / ★★★★
I have a full review of this scheduled for next month so I’ll keep this brief. I thought this was a fantastic sequel. It was great to be back with these characters and I really enjoyed where the plot was taken. At times the pacing is quite slow, but I still found it to be a compelling read. The world building is great and I loved the way it was expanded in this sequel. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to see how things conclude in the third and final book.

 

River of Stars / Guy Gavriel Kay / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Under Heaven duology. Kay is fast becoming a new favourite author of mine. I definitely didn’t love this quite as much as I loved Under Heaven but it was still fantastic. It took me a little while to get into this one, although I loved the setting straight away. There are a lot of characters to keep track of so you need to be paying attention to fully grasp what is happening with each character. Speaking of the characters though, they are all incredibly well written. The world building is fantastic and I love Kay’s writing style. Overall I loved this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

 

Fool’s Assassin / book 1 of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy / Robin Hobb / 
 Obviously this was fantastic. It was so good to be back in this world and with these characters. The pacing of this book is quite slow, but the writing is so good that it is still an engaging read.  As with all other Hobb books I’ve read, the characters are so well written and the world building is fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about this author and series of books. I am very excited to continue on with this trilogy.

 

This month I’m not going to set myself a TBR. I’m just going to read what I want to read at the time. Right now I am reading Revelation by C. J. Sansom, which is the fourth book in the Shardlake series. What was your favourite read in March? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

T5W: Favourite Teachers/Mentors

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 week’s topic is your favourite teachers/mentors. To be honest, two of my choices are probably not the best teachers/mentors for various reasons but I still love their characters. I think this is such a great topic, although it took me some time to come up with answers :). Let’s get started.

 

  1. Cadvan from the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon
  2. Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
  3. Nacoya from the Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
  4. Rothen from the Black Magicians trilogy by Trudi Canavan
  5. Chade from the Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

 

Some of these are definitely more in a mentor role, then a teacher but each of them play quite an important role in helping the main characters of each book. All of these characters are fantastic in my opinion. Who are your favourite fictional teachers/mentors? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Cliche Book Tag

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. A couple of weeks ago I was tagged by my lovely friend Beth aka BooksNest to do the Cliche book tag, so that is what I will be doing today. I don’t have anything else to say. so I’m just going to get started with the questions.

 

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
A Book That Wasn’t or Couldn’t Be Better Than The Movie
I think I’m going to have to agree with Beth on this one and say the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the books but they are very dense and the films are done really well. Although I do get very frustrated with Frodo whenever he’s on screen – he really annoys me.

 

 

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE
A Rags to Riches or Riches to Rags Story
I’m going completely blank for this one, but maybe Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Without spoiling it too much, Jane starts off quite poor but by the end of the book she comes into some money. It’s one of my favourite books so I’ll take any opportunity to mention it :).

 

THE APPLE DOES NOT FALL FAR FROM THE TREE
A Parent/Child Relationship That You Love
The first one that came to mind is the relationship between Atticus and his two children, Scout and Jem from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus is one of my all time favourite characters and I love his relationship with his children.

 

YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
A Good Book That Needs a Better Cover
Maybe the covers of the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier. I’m not the biggest fan of these covers and the books themselves are amazing, so it fits pretty well as an answer.

 

 

YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE
A Book You Hate That Everyone love
 Well the obvious answer is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. So many people love this series but I’m am definitely not one of those people. The main reason I didn’t like the series is the main character – she is seriously one of the most infuriating characters I’ve ever come across. A more recent example, although I didn’t hate the book, would be The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. I had heard so many great things about this book, but I just wasn’t a fan of the writing and didn’t finish it.

 

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER
What’s a Book That Made You a Better Person For Having Read It
Sorry for the repeat answer but I would have to say To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I first read it when I was around 15 years old and it really opened my eyes to peoples’ propensity to judge each other. There are so many things that Atticus teaches his children that can teach the reader too, such as the importance of think for yourself and to never give up.

 

IGNORANCE IS BLISS
A Book That Is Bad But You Just Don’t Want to Admit It
I don’t have an answer for this one, so I’m going to pass.

 

THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
What is Your Favourite Contemporary Book?
I have to admit that whenever I see contemporary I immediately think of contemporary romance, which I don’t really read, but contemporary is so much more than that. For this one I’m choosing Wonder by R. J. Palacio. It’s a great book about a young boy who has a severe facial disfigurement and his experiences at school.

 

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
A Book You Don’t Want to Read in Case It’s Bad
 Well I don’t think it’s going to be bad but I would say Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I’ve tried two books by Dickens and to be honest I didn’t love either, so I don’t know whether I’ll enjoy reading Little Dorrit. I do still want to read it and I will definitely give it a go at some point.

 

That’s it for this tag. I don’t know who’s done this so I tag whoever hasn’t done it and wants to do it. Did you agree with me for any of these answers? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Gentleman Bastard Sequence / Scott Lynch

Title/  Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skiesand The Republic of Thieves
Unreleased sequels – books 4-7 / The Thorn of Emberlain, The Ministry of Necessity, The Mage and the Master Spy  and Inherit the Night
Author/ Scott Lynch
Publication date/ 2006, 2007 and 2013
Series length/ 7 books, only 3 currently released
Rating/ 
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined. Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

 

The Gentlemen Bastards sequence is a 7 book fantasy series following the life of con artist, Locke Lamora and his crew. There is also The Bastards and the Knives, which contains two novellas set before the events of the first book.

 

I have to admit to struggling a little bit with the first book. When I first started to read it I got about 150 pages in and then got distracted by other things so I stopped reading. Fast forward to a few months later and I tried again. Although I did still struggle to get into it, I managed to past the 150-200 page mark and I became fully invested in the story. I think the slow pacing at the beginning of the book and the switches in perspective put me off a little bit but after a while I settled into the flow of the narrative. I didn’t have this issue with the next two books in this series because I think I knew exactly what to expect in terms of the writing and plot structure. The writing is descriptive, without making it dense and there is some great dialogue throughout the three books. The banter between Locke and his friends is a pleasure to read and it was great to see their relationship developed. I love the relationship between Locke and Jean and it’s development through the three books has been fantastic. I think the characters are a big strength of this series. They are all complex and flawed, and most of them have questionable morals. This series has a wonderful cast of characters, however one thing I have a slight issue with is the female representation in this series, especially in the first book. This is quite a male orientated cast of characters and I just want more women in this series. I am also not the biggest fan of the flashbacks spread throughout this series, but I understand that they add more depth to the characters and the story. However if you are not a fan of flashbacks then it may be something to be aware of going into it.

 

The plot in each of these books is so compelling. Once you settle into the flow of the story, you will not want to put these books down. I love a good heist story and this series does them so well. Lynch does a great job at keeping you on your toes throughout these books with some great plot twists. I think this series has some of the best twists and it will keep you guessing until the end. The endings are always fantastic and make you want to pick up the next book as soon as possible to see what is going to happen next. Another strength of this series is the world building. Lynch has done a fantastic job at creating a vivid world that you will become immersed in very quickly. However the world building did result in a few info dumps in the first book, but these were only small sections and they don’t detract too much from the overall reading experience. I love the world in this series and I can’t wait to see what we’ll see of it the next 4 books.

 

Overall the first three books in this series have been fantastic and I can’t wait for the release of the fourth book whenever it’s released. As you can see it does have a cover but currently no release date. If you are looking for a new fantasy series to read then I would highly recommend checking this one out, especially if you enjoy a good heist story. Have you started this series? I’d love to know what you guys thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa