Death’s Mistress / Terry Goodkind

Title / Death’s Mistress
Author / Terry Goodkind
Publication Date / 2017
Series or standalone / Book 1 of the Nicci Chronicles
Overall Star Rating / 

 

This is the first book in the Sister of Darkness: the Nicci Chronicles series. It is a new series following a character already established in his previous books, the Sword of Truth series. I am unsure the length this series will be but so far there are two books released. Although reading the previous series may give you a deeper understanding of things, it is not necessary to have read them.
In terms of the fantasy genre, this is very much a traditional quest storyline and the plot is quite simplistic in that way. At the start of the books Nicci and Nathan, two already established characters, are given a task and the rest of the book is focused on completely that task. Despite this, I found it be a compelling plot and once I started reading I didn’t want to put the book down. However, I will say that the beginning may be a little tricky to get into. It was clear that since I haven’t read the Sword of Truth series that I was missing a lot of history, so it took a little while to piece everything together and have a vague understanding of that history. However, I think the author did a good job at giving enough information to understand without bogging it down with info dumping. Obviously, there are spoilers for the Sword of Truth series in this book.  Once they set out on their quest it did get easier to follow. In many ways I think Goodkind tried to make this book as accessible as possible. There is a simple task to overcome with no deeper context or conflict they must overcome. In this way I think this is a great introduction to this series and a good way to reintroduce readers who are already familiar with the world. In a way the plot is almost episodic in nature as the characters go from one task to another, however this may lead to a rather repetitive sequence of events for some. As the plot does follow the same path a few times but I had no issues with this repetition. For me, the result is an enjoyable and compelling introduction to this new series. The pacing is good throughout which meant it was quite a quick read for me, despite being over 500 pages long. There are also some great actions scenes in this book. I look forward to seeing how things progress in the next book.
The characters were, at times, a little mixed for me. Although I thought the character development throughout the book was great, I felt that a little depth of character was lacking at times. Initially I wasn’t sure how it would work with well established characters, being a new reader to this world, but I think the author did a good job at introducing these characters and world to new readers. However, I felt at certain points that the author could have expanded the characters inner thoughts, especially Nicci. This is only a small issue though, as I did think that the character development in this book was generally good. Obviously, I can’t comment on how consistent the already established characters are in terms of how they are written in this series and the previous one. All I can say is that I enjoyed their characterisation in this book and I think Nicci is a fantastic female protagonist. In terms of the world, I think this was a weakness of this book. I think the author focused mainly on the storyline and characters and so sacrificed some world building. There is a vague understanding of the world, but I wanted more from it. I wanted more history and some politics of this world and how this affects the characters. This didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment while reading though because I still found myself immersed in the world and the story. I am interested to see more of this world in the sequels to this book.
Overall, I am very glad that I picked this book up. I thought it was a fantastic introduction to this new series and it did a good job at introducing this world to new readers. It has well written characters, a compelling plot and good writing. The second book in this series, Shroud of Eternity, came out January 11th and I will be checking it out as this sequel is one of my most anticipated releases of this year. I also have the first book of the Sword of Truth series on my TBR so I’m interested to see what I think of it.  If you have been reading a lot of traditional fantasy quest stories and are perhaps a little bored with it, then I wouldn’t recommend this book, as it doesn’t really do anything new within the genre. However, if you are just looking for a new, enjoyable and engaging fantasy story then I would recommend checking it out. Have you read this book? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Cover Wars Wednesday

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would try something a little different and take part in the weekly bookish meme, cover wars Wednesday (created by Book is Glee). Basically I am going to be comparing the different covers of one book and I thought what better book to use then my first five star read of this year, Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. I loved this book so I thought this would be a great opportunity to share it with you guys.
I’m not a fan of the cover on the left, but I really like the two others. The paperback I own has the cover in the middle, which is probably my favourite. There’s something about people on the cover that never works for me. I think the other two work better in terms of the book itself too, if that makes sense. They give a better feel of what the book is.
The German edition is definitely my favourite – it looks amazing. I think I like it even more than the English edition. The Italian and French editions are similar to the middle English edition. I’m not a big fan of the Spanish edition but it’s not too bad. It’s so interesting to see all the different cover designs, whether it’s just different editions or different countries. I think all of these covers are great in their own way.

 

Anyway my favourites are definitely the middle English one and the German edition. Which one do you like best? I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Seriously it was so good. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

T5W: Hidden Gems in Fantasy

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 hidden gems in your favourite genre, so of course I’m going to be talking about the fantasy genre. These are five books that have under 1,000 ratings on goodreads and are books that I loved. I highly recommend checking out all of these books. Let’s get started.

 

  1. The Ninth Rain / book 1 of the Winnowing Flame trilogy / Jen Williams
  2. The Tiger and the Wolf / book 1 of the Echoes of the Fall trilogy / Adrian Tchaikovsky
  3. To The Sky Kingdom / Tang Qi / translated by Poppy Toland
  4. Fudoki / Kij Johnson
  5. Emperor of the Eight Islands / books 1 & 2 of the Tale of Shikanoko series / Lian Hearn

 

That’s all I have for you guys today. I’d love to know what your favourite genre is and some of your favourite books from that genre. I’m always up for an exchange of bookish recommendations :). I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

The Girl in the Tower / Katherine Arden + Giveaway

Title / The Girl in the Tower
Author / Katherine Arden
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / Book 2 of the Winternight trilogy
Overall Star Rating / 
Read till the end for a chance to win a hardback edition of The Girl in the Tower, as well as a paperback edition of The Bear and the Nightingale.
Goodreads synopsis: For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic… The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse. Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical…

 

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”

 

Now this is one of most anticipated books of 2018 and I was lucky enough to receive an arc copy from Ebury publishing, so thank you very much for sending me an arc. I also have a hardback edition to giveaway so read till the end to know how to enter. I loved the first book in the series, although I had initially thought that it was a standalone, so I was very excited at the prospect of a sequel. I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this trilogy and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading it. This sequel has everything I loved about the first book but it felt like Vasya had grown as a character and it was so easy to slip back into this world. This development felt completely natural and it was great to see her become a little more mature. I liked that this growth is very gradual but at the same time you can clearly see her spirit remains very similar to what it was in book 1.  Her character is definitely one of my favourite things about this trilogy, although Morozko is also a contender for favourite character. We also have some fantastic secondary characters in this book and the villain is so well written. Arden does a fantastic job at creating characters that you really become invested in. All of the characters in this book are wonderful; they are all complex, they all have flaws and it’s just a pleasure to read about them all.

 

The world of this book is so atmospheric and vivid. You almost feel like you are in this wintery Russian world, which is great because I love this world. The writing makes it so easy to become fully immersed in this world. I think reading it in the winter is a good idea because of the atmosphere created in this book – you’ll feel even more immersed in the world. I don’t read a lot of books set in medieval Russia so this world is a refreshing change to the worlds I see in other fantasy books. Arden does a wonderful job at blending history with the fantasy elements. Details of everyday life are dotted throughout and add to the realism of the world, while the fantasy elements are woven so well they add a fantastic sense of a fairy tale to the story. I also loved that we got to see Moscow in this instalment, whereas with the first book we were very much focused in the countryside. The world is definitely one of my favourites at the moment. In terms of the plot, this sequel picks up soon after the events of book 1 and continues the story of  Vasilisa (or Vasya), a young woman very much constricted by the world in which she lives. I loved that we were throw straight back into the story as I think it made it easier to get into the flow of it again. The plot is compelling throughout and I found it hard to put down once I’d started reading. This story definitely has more of a sense of urgency and so a little more fast paced then the first book, but I think that really worked with the story. I am always a bit cautious when reading a sequel as some second books are just not as good as the first, but that is not the case with this one. If anything I think this sequel was better as Arden become more comfortable and confident with the world and characters.

 

How to enter the giveaway: Unfortunately this will be UK only, so if you live in the UK comment down below that you want to enter and leave a way for me to contact you – an email address or your twitter handle so I can message you. If you don’t want to enter here then check out my Twitter for the giveaway tweet.  Thank you to Ebury publishing for sending me a copy to giveaway. Ends 31st January.

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If you can’t tell I absolutely loved this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough, I think this sequel is a little more sure-footed then it’s predecessor, which really tells you how much I enjoyed it. I am so excited for the third and final book, The Winter of the Witch, which I think has a tentative August 2018 release date (this could change). If you enjoy fantasy with a fairy tale feel to them or want to try some fantasy set in Russian then I highly recommend checking this out. This book was just as good as the first book, if not better, so if you enjoyed the first you will probably love this book too.  Have you started this series yet? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Time of Dread / John Gwynne

Title / Time of Dread
Author / John Gwynne
Publication Date / 2018
Page no. / 480
Series or standalone / Book 1 – Of Blood and Bone trilogy
Overall Star Rating / ★.5

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Goodreads synopsis: The Ben-Elim, a fierce race of warrior-angels, burst into the Banished Lands over a hundred and thirty years ago. They were in pursuit of their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim demon-horde. On that day a great battle was fought, the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim joined by allies from the races of both men and giants, and a great victory was won. Now much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim, who have made this world their home, extending their influence and power as they swallow ancient kingdoms into the protective grasp of their ever-extending borders. But peace is fragile within the realm and the Kadoshim that remain are now amassing on the edges of the empire… Threats long in the shadows are about to strike

 

I’ve been aware of this authors other fantasy series for quite some time now but I’ve never picked it up. So when I saw that he was coming out with a new trilogy I was intrigued. I will say that although you can read this without reading his first series (as I did), there are references that probably went straight over my head as it is set in the same world.  Overall I thought this was a great introduction to this new trilogy. I have to admit being in a bit of a reading slump while reading this so it did take me a little while to become fully invested in the story, so it did start slow for me. I think it was a bit slow to better introduce new readers to this world, as well as reminding others of it. Although the first half is quite slow, I never felt that it dragged or was boring. The writing was good and the suspense is pretty well done. The sense of dread/unease is apparent throughout the plot and you can really feel that something bad is coming. I also thought that the fight scenes were written really well. This book has multiple perspectives; each of which was distinctive and compelling. I think I would say I found Sig’s and Bleda’s chapters the most compelling but I enjoyed them all. I know I’ve said that the start is slow, but after the first few chapters I found this book quite addictive. Due to this it was quite a fast read for me because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.  I really liked the way that the plot threads came together through the book. I thought one of the main strengths of this book was the characters. We have an array of different characters with different beliefs. I thought all of them were well written and there were quite a few intriguing characters, even the secondary characters were interesting. Although I think I wanted a little more information about the Kadoshim, but that’ a minor issue. The world is quite a vast one with various species of people and animals.  I was immersed in this world from very early on and would love to know more about it. I liked that in this world the line between light and dark is quite blurred and you’re never quite sure who you can trust – it’s adds a certain amount of unease to the story. If you like strong world building in your fantasy books, than you’ll probably enjoy this book. I did predict a certain revelation that happens at the end of the book fairly early on, but it was still enjoyable to see it unfold. If you can’t tell I really enjoyed this book.

 

Overall I thought this was a great introduction to this trilogy. You can definitely read and enjoy this without having read Gwynne’s previous series. I will be keeping my eye out for the release of the sequel whenever that is and hopefully picking up Malice at some point. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

2018 Book Releases

Hi guys, so it’s the start of the new year which means it’s time to talk about all the forthcoming book releases. Now there are a lot of books being released so these are just the ones I am aware of – I may have missed some. Most, if not all, of these books are fantasy as that is the genre I gravitate towards. Anyway let’s just get started.

 

January:
Shroud of Eternity / book 2 in the Nicci Chronicles / Terry Goodkind / 9th
Iron Gold / book 1 in the Iron Gold series / Pierce Brown / 16th
The Girl in the Tower / book 2 in the Bear and the Nightingale series / Katharine Arden / 25th

 

February/March:
Tempests and Slaughter / book 1 in the Numair Chronicles / Tamora Pierce / Feb 6th
The Dragon Queen / William Andrews / March 6th
The Bitter Twins / book 2 in the Winnowing Flame trilogy / Jen Williams / March 8th
 Wrath of Empire / book 2 in the Gods of Blood and Powder / Brian McClellan / March 8th
Charmcaster / book 3 in the Spellslinger series / Sebastien de Castell / March 17th
A Veil of Spears / book 3 in the Song of the Shattered Sea series / Bradley P. Beaulieu / March 22nd
April:
The Hyena and the Hawk / book 3 in the Echoes of the Fall trilogy / Adrian Tchaikovsky / 5th
Age of War / book 3 in the Legends of the First Empire series / Michael J. Sullivan / 17th
Circe / Madeleine Miller / 19th
The Grey Sister / book 2 in the Book of the Ancestors series / Mark Lawrence / 19th
King of Ashes / book 1 in the Firemane series / Raymond E. Feist / 26th

 

June – August:
Starless / Jacqueline Carey / June 12th
The Queen of Sorrow / book 3 in the Queens of Renthia trilogy / Sarah Beth Durst / June 28th
City of Lies / book 1 in the Poison Wars series / Sam Hawke / July 3rd
The Empire of Ashes / book 3 in the Draconis Memoria series / Anthony Ryan / July 5th
Bloody Rose / book 2 in the Band series / Nicholas Eames / July 12th
The Light Of All That Falls / book 3 in the Licanius trilogy / James Islington / August 7th
The Winter of the Witch / book 3 in the Winternight trilogy / Katherine Arden / August 14th

 

TBA:
The Thorn of Emberlain / book 4 in the Gentleman’s Bastard sequence / Scott Lynch
Doors of Stone / book 3 in the Kingkiller chronicles / Patrick Rothfuss
Untitled / book 3 in the Dandelion Dynasty trilogy / Ken Liu

 

Books I’m waiting for the paperback editions to come out:
An Echo Of Things To Come / book 2 in the Licanius trilogy / James Islington / January 18th
The Legion of Flame / book 2 in the Draconis Memoria series / Anthony Ryan / February 1st
Red Sister / book 1 in the Book of the Ancestors series / Mark Lawrence / February 22nd
Strange the Dreamer / Laini Taylor / March 8th
As you can see there are a lot of exciting book releases coming this year and I’ve probably missed some. It can be tricky to keep track of it all. Like last year I’ll do an updated post later in the year of all the releases for the second half of the year. What book(s) are you anticipating the most? Have I missed any? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

Favourite Books of 2017

Hi guys I hope you are all well. It’s the first day of the new year and so I thought I would share my favourite books of the past year. I’d been wondering whether to post before the year was ended but decided to at the start of the year. These are my favourite books from everything I read in 2017. I did full reviews of a lot of these books so I will link to any of them for you to check out if you so wish. I’m not going to go into detail about these books but just know that I loved all of them and would highly recommend checking them out. Let’s get started.

 

Disappointing books of 2017:
  • The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera
  • Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

 

After reading some pretty fantastic books in the past year, I’m looking forward to another year of reading. What are some of your favourite books of 2017? And have you read any of my favourites? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa