Blood of Assassins / R.J. Barker

Title / Blood of Assassins
Author / R. J. Barker
Publication Date / 2018
Page no. / 434
Series or standalone / book 2 of the Wounded Kingdom series
Overall Star Rating / 

36435869

Goodreads synopsis: The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels. The place he knew no longer exists. War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.

 

*I recieved a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

 

This is the second book in the Wounded Kingdom series; the first being Age of Assassins. This was a good continuation of this series, although I did have a few issues with it. I enjoyed the story of this sequel, although I did find at times it was dragging a little. Some of the plot revolves around military elements and battles, which I thought were really well done. For me I thought the battle scenes were some of the most enjoyable scenes to read but they may not be the case for other people. As a whole I enjoyed the story but I didn’t love it as much as I hoped. It wasn’t that it was bad or anything; I just didn’t find it particularly compelling at times and it was quite slow to start. I think it ended quite well though. In terms of the world building I thought it was good. We learn some more about it in this sequel and I think the author did a good job at expanding on what we already learnt in the first book. I think the magic system is an interesting one, although I don’t fully understand it.

 

The main issue I had with this book was the main character, Girton Club-Foot. I found him to be quite a frustrating protagonist and consequently I didn’t enjoy the narrative as much. He’s five years older in this sequel but he still acts like a young teenager with anger issues. Seriously I wanted to smack some sense into him most of the time. He’s supposed to find out who the killer is in this book but he barely does any investigating and accuses one person mainly due to his own prejudices. I just found him to be a really frustrating character at times. I found the other characters to be well written, although a few were a little lacking in depth. I think the relationship between Girton and Merela is a really interesting one and I enjoyed seeing more of it in this book.

 

Overall I thought this was a good continuation of this series which is well paced and well written. Sorry that this review is so short but it turns it I didn’t have a lot to say :). The next book in this series, King of Assassins, hasn’t got a release date yet. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Favourite Book Covers

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. So last month I did a UK vs US cover post focusing on 2018 releases and it give me the idea to share some of my favourite covers of this years releases too. There are a lot of exciting releases this year and there are also a lot of fantastic book covers, but I’ve decided to share 8 of m favourites out of 2018 releases that I am waiting for. Two of the books mentioned I have already read and loved so I’ve put in my star rating for those ones. Let’s get started.

 

The Girl in the Tower / Winternight trilogy book 2 / Katherine Arden / 
The Bitter Twins / Winnowing Flame trilogy book 2 / Jen Williams / ★ / 08/03/18
The Hyena and the Hawk / Echoes of the Fall trilogy book 3 / Adrian Tchaikovsky / 05/04/18
Circe / Madeleine Miller / 19/04/18

 

 

The Poppy War / R. F. Kuang / 03/05/18
The Queens of Innis Lear / Tessa Gratton / 17/05/18
Wrath of Empire / Gods of Blood and Power series book 2 / Brian McClellan / 17/05/18
Age Of War / the Legends of the First Empire book 3 / Michael J. Sullivan / 03/07/18

 

I was going to try to pick a favourite right now, but I really like them all and I’m rubbish at picking favourites :). I love doings these posts so I hope you guys like them too. I don’t the names of the illustrators of these covers but these covers are all amazing. Which cover do like the most? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

T5W: Auto-buy Sci-fi and Fantasy Authors

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 auto buy science-fiction or fantasy authors. Now I don’t really have many auto-buy authors because although I love all the authors I’m going to mention, if the books synopsis doesn’t interest me then I’m not going to get it. All of the authors I am going to mention are ones that I would definitely be interested in checking out any new books though.
  1. Robin Hobb
  2. Alison Croggon
  3. Adrian Tchaikovsky
  4. Ken Liu
  5. Kij Johnson
Honourable mention to Guy Gavriel Kay. I’ve only read two books by him so far but I loved both so I want to read all of his books. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any new releases from him.

 

These five authors have written some of my favourite fantasy books, so of course I would be interested in any new releases from any of them. There are more authors I could mention but I think these are my top five at the moment. Have you read any books by these authors? Who are your auto-buy authors? 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. As the title of the post suggests, I am going to be sharing what I am currently reading and mention some books I want to get to soon. I have to admit that I haven’t been in the best reading mood at the moment; basically I don’t have a lot of motivation to read but I’m hoping it will pass soon. Anyway let’s talk about some books.
I’ve just started Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and I am planning on starting Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb. I really enjoyed The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins so I’m excited to read another of his books. Moonstone is known by many to be the first detective novel, which makes me even more excited to pick it up. As I said, I’ve only just started it so I’m not very far in and so I can’t comment on the book yet. I haven’t started Fool’s Quest yet but I plan to start it. Of course I fully expect to love it as it’s written by Robin Hobb. It is the second book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy; I loved the first book so I’m looking forward to seeing how things progress in this sequel. I can only really read two books at a time so that’s all that I’m reading right now. Other books I’d quite like to get to soon include Jade City by Fonda Lee, Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed and Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore.

 

 

What are you guys currently reading? Have you read any of these books? There are also a few new releases (e.g. Circe by Madeleine Miller) I’m interested in so I might get distracted by them. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

The Bitter Twins / Jen Williams

Title / The Bitter Twins
 Author/ Jen Williams
Publication date/ 2018
Series or standalone / book 2 of the Winnowing Flame trilogy
 Page no./ 320
Overall Star Rating / 

34382847

This is the second book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy and continues soon after the end of the first book, The Ninth Rain. Since this is a sequel I will not be going into details of the plot, but I will say that this sequel maintains the fantastic standard of the first book.This is one of my most anticipated book releases of this year and I am happy to report that it does not disappoint. As I mentioned earlier, this sequel picks up right where we left off in the first book. The pacing does start out quite slow, but after a couple of chapters I had settled into the flow of the story. I attribute some of the this to the fact that I didn’t refresh my memory by rereading the first book, so I was a little hazy on the details. Despite the slow pacing, it was easy to slip back into this world as Williams does a fantastic job at making these books immersive. It was great to be back in this world and with these characters. The world is explored more in this book and you can clearly see the effort Williams has put into this world. The world building in this book, as well as the first, is fantastic. There are so many layers to it and I loved that we got to explore new areas in this sequel. The city of Ebora is so intriguing and it is one of my favourite things about this book, as well as the first book.  If you enjoy good world building, then you will not be disappointed with this book.

 

In terms of the plot, this book is just as compelling as the first book. There are twists and turns throughout which will keep you guessing until the very end. Whether it’s a big battle scene or some quiet exploration of relationships, Williams does a wonderful job at keeping you engaged and glued to the page. Once I’d started reading this book, I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Each chapter is from a different view point, so if you are not a fan of multiple perspectives then it is something to be aware of going in. I personally felt that it gives you a wider look into the events of the book and it worked well with the story. All the characters have distinctive voices so there is no issue of differentiating the character perspective and Williams manages to keep each chapter as compelling as the last. As with the first book, the writing is great, and it is easy to settle into the flow of her writing style. Through her writing, Williams creates a sense of unease in this book that really lends itself to the story and makes you worry about the larger threat that the characters must face.

 

One of the main strengths of this trilogy are the characters. It was so great to be back with these characters and their development in this sequel was fantastic. Relationships play quite an important role in this book and I loved how these relationships were explored. Both the romantic and platonic relationships are so well written and there is some great dialogue between the characters. The interactions between the characters feel so natural and realistic. There is such a diverse and complex range of characters that are all so well written. The development in this sequel was wonderful to see and you find that you’ve really come to care for these characters. Noon is one of my favourites, but I love all of the characters. We also get to see more of the enemy in this book, but I loved that they still remain a mystery in many ways. I think it adds a sense of suspense and unease, when the enemy remains largely a mystery to the reader – I guess it’s the fear of the unknown. Williams does a great job at introducing this enemy a bit more in this book and I am very much looking forward to seeing how things progress in the next book.

 

Overall this was a fantastic sequel and a good example of how to write a second book in a series. It has brilliantly built on from what came in the first book and it was a great reading experience. This trilogy is fast becoming one of my favourites and I cannot wait for the third and final book to be released. So far there is no title or release date for the third book, but I will be keeping an eye for it. The world building is fantastic, the characters are complex and flawed, and the plot is compelling. I cannot say enough good things about this trilogy. If you are looking for a new fantasy trilogy to try, then I would highly recommend checking this one out. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa