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

 

 

TTT: New To Me Authors 2017

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It is that time of the week for another Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This weeks topic is new to me authors in 2017. I have quite a few authors that I found this year which I am pretty happy with. Any marked with an * mean I have only read one book by that author. Let’s get started.

 

Although I’ve only read one book by some of these authors, I definitely want to read more from them and/or keep an eye out for any future releases by them. Have you got any new favourite authors? 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

 

December Wrap Up and January TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for the last wrap up of 2017. This month I read a lot of great books which is a pretty good way to end this reading year.

 

Monstress Vol 1: Awakening  Marjorie M. Liu (writer) & Sana Takeda (artist) / ★★★
While I did end up enjoying this graphic novel, I did also have some issues with it. Firstly, let’s talk about the positives. I loved the art style and the premise is an interesting one. I thought the main character was intriguing and I’m definitely interested to see more of her. My favourite characters were probably Kippa and Master Ren, though. I think the depth of the characters is a little lacking as we don’t know a lot about any of them but perhaps that will come in later volumes. Some of the artwork of Maiko with the monster on her arm really reminded me of Ashitaka from the Studio Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke, when he’s cursed. Anyway let’s talk about some of the issues I had. I thought that the world building was quite lacking. Perhaps it’s to keep the mysterious aspect of it all but I wanted more explanations of things, like the world and the mask. I also felt that the plot was kind of confusing at times so it was a little tricky to keep up with it. Another thing to be aware of is the level of violence and gore in this graphic novel. If you are not a fan of blood and gore then I would probably miss this one out. Overall I thought this was good but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. I will probably be checking out the second volume at some point.

 

The Night Without Stars / Peter F. Hamilton / ★★★★
This is the second and final book in the Chronicle of the Fallers duology. I was initially a bit worried that it has been a while since I read the first book but I actually found it quite easy to get back into the flow of the story. As with the first book, the plot is compelling and the world is an interesting one.  I think the plot did drag a little at times but these sections never lasted for long. We see some familiar characters as well as meeting some new ones. I found that all of the characters are well written, although some were a little lacking in depth. Overall I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this series and I would highly recommend checking it out.

 

The Makioka Sisters / Jun’ichirō Tanizaki / ★★★★
I’ve had this on my shelf for quite some time now so I’m glad that I finally picked it up. This book was originally written in Japanese and my edition was translated by  Edward G. Seidensticker. I thought this was a fantastic book. It was definitely quite slow at times but the insight into Japanese culture at the time and an insight into the dynamics of the Makioka family. The writing was easy to get into and you become quickly invested in the story. The characters are definitely a strength of this book. I really enjoyed seeing them progress through the 500 page book. Overall I thought this was a great read and I would recommend checking it out.

 

A Natural History of Dragons / Marie Brennan / ★★★★
This is the first book in the Lady Trent series. I have to admit that I’ve been debating on whether to read this series for quite a while now and I finally decided to try it out this month. From the beginning I found the story to be compelling, despite being quite different to a lot of fantasy I’ve read. The characters were well written and the writing is good. Basically I really enjoyed this book and a full review will be posted in January.

 

The Tropic of Serpents / Marie Brennan / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Lady Trent series. I thought this was a fantastic continuation from the first book and it was great to be back in this world. Once again it was an easy and enjoyable read; I may have even enjoyed this one slightly more than the first book. It was great to be back with these characters and I enjoyed meeting the new ones too. I will be continuing on with this series, although I haven’t got my hands on the next book yet.

 

Tales from Watership Down / Richard Adams / ★★★★
Watership Down is one of my all time favourite books so of course I enjoyed this short story collection. I love the writing, the stories are compelling and it was great to be back with familiar characters. Basically I really enjoyed this book and it kind of makes me want to reread Watership Down.

 

Death’s Mistress / Terry Goodkind / ★★★★
I picked this one up on a bit of a whim in a bookshop and I am glad that I did as I really enjoyed this book. Now this follows a character that is first introduced in another series by this author which I have not read but I didn’t have any issues getting into the flow of the story. The writing is easy to get into, the plot is compelling and the characters are well written. The second book is set to be released in January and I will definitely be checking it out. I will have a full review of this up at some point.

 

The Girl in the Tower / Katherine Arden / ★★★★★
Since this is not being released for a few weeks and I’m doing a full review closer to the release date, I’m not going to say much about this book yet. All I’m going to say is that I thought it was fantastic and I definitely recommend checking this series.

 

I had a pretty great reading month in December and I just about managed to complete my Goodreads reading goal of 100 books. In terms of my January TBR I’m going to keep it simple and just read what I want to at the time, although I do plan to read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. That’s it for my 2017 wrap ups – hopefully I’ll have another great reading year in 2018. What was your favourite book in December? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Bookish Academy Awards 2017

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating and if you aren’t I hope you have a great day anyway. I did this tag last year and I think it’s quite a good way to round up the year. I will be doing a whole post about all my favourite books though, so keep an eye out for that. If you hadn’t already noticed about me I’m quite an indecisive person so for most of the questions I have multiple answers. Now I’m just going to get straight onto the questions.

 

Best Actor: (Best Male Protagonist) 
Once again I can’t just choose just one so I’ve a couple to share. Two of my favourites are Vaelin from the Raven’s Shadow trilogy by Anthony Ryan, Tormalin from The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams and Ven from the Queens of Renthia trilogy by Sarah Beth Durst.

 

Best Actress: (Best Female Protagonist)
There are so many options for this one so I’m sure you’re not surprised that there’s going to be multiple answers for this one too :). My favourites include Noon from the Ninth Rain by Jen Williams, Mara from the Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, Vasya from the Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, Daliena from the Queens of Renthia trilogy by Sarah Beth Durst and Pole from Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan.

 

Best Cinematography: (Best Plot Twist)
My answer for this is kind of cheating but I want to mention it anyway as I never expected it to happen and that is the development of Malta in the Rain Wild Chronicles. I know it’s not technically a plot twist but while reading this series I was so surprised by her development. She starts off as a completely unlikable character and slowly progresses to be such an interesting character. Other than that, I’m drawing a blank for this one.

 

Best Costume Design: (Best Book Cover)

 

Best Supporting Actress and Actor: (Best Male and Female Sidekick)
For best male sidekick I’m choosing Hokanu from the Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts and for female sidekick I’m choosing Sonami from the Tensorate novellas by JY Yang. I’d love to know more about both of these characters, although Sonami is more of a secondary character then a sidekick. I don’t know that either of these characters would be considered sidekicks but I want to mention them anyway.

 

Best Original Screenplay: (Most Unique Plot/World)
There have been some amazing worlds in the books I’ve read this year so I’ve got a couple to share. Firstly Ebora from The Ninth Rain by Jen Willams, secondly Aratay from the Queens of Renthia by Sarah Beth Durst and the world of the Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I also love the world of the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay: (Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation)
To be honest I think I’ve only seen one book to movie adaption and that was Fantastic Beasts, although I haven’t actually read the book. I enjoyed the film though.

 

Best Animated Feature: (A book that would work well in animated format)
I’m not too sure about this one but maybe the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell. I’ve really enjoyed the first two books in the series so far and I think that it has potential for an entertaining animated show.

 

Best Director: (A writer you discovered for the first time)
Once again I have more than one answer for this one. I’ve come across some great new authors this year including Juliet Marillier, Madeleine Thien, C. J. Sansom and Patricia A. McKillip.

 

Best Visual Effects: (Best Action in a Book)
I would say a lot of the books I’ve read this year with action scenes were written really well. I thought the action in The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. The action in Anthony Ryan’s books are great too.

 

Best Short Film: (Best Novella or Short Book)
I don’t actually read a lot of novellas but I did read and really enjoy The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho. It’s only about 50 pages long (I think) so it was a pretty quick read.

 

Best Picture: (Best Stand-Alone)
The best stand alone is probably The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. Mckillip, which I loved. I picked it up on a bit of a whim and I am so glad I did – it was fantastic. I did also really enjoy Artemis by Andy Weir, which is another great standalone.

 

Best Documentary: (Best Historical Fiction or Non-Fiction)
I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction books this year but I did read the first two books in the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom. I loved both books so I’m excited to continue on with the series. Another historical fiction book I enjoyed was To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin – I loved the setting of the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

 

That’s all I have for you guys today. I’ve read some pretty fantastic books this year so keep an eye out for my favourite 2017 books post which will be posted soon. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

It’s Monday… What are you reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

 

The first book that I am reading is The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. At the time of writing this I’m about 100 pages and so far I’m really enjoyed it. It’s over 500 pages long though, so I’ve still got a lot of it to read.The book follows the 4 sisters of a traditional Japanese family, whose fortune is declining. The second book that I’m reading is Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, which is the first book in the Chronicles of Pern series. Again I’m about 100 pages into this one but it’s been quite a quick read so far so I think I’ll be finishing this one over the next couple of days. Once I finished Dragonflight, I’ll probably either pick up The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin or A Night Without Stars by Peter F. Hamilton.
That’s all I’m currently reading right now. I’ve read some great books so far this month so I’m looking forward to seeing what else this month of reading has in store for me. What are you currently reading? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

The Empire trilogy / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Title/   Daughter of the Empire, Servant of the Empire and Mistress of the Empire
Author/ Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
Publication date/ 1987, 1990 and 1992
Series or standalone/ Trilogy
Rating/ 
This is a collaborative political fantasy trilogy by the American writers Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. It is also a part of the larger Riftwar series by Feist, although you don’t have to read those books in order to read this trilogy. It begins with Daughter of the Empire; the main character is Mara who is just about to enter into temple service but is called back to her home after the death of her father and her brother to become Lady of Acoma. A power struggle ensues. I won’t go into the plot too much more as I don’t want to spoil it.
The world of Kelewan is one of my favourite things about this trilogy. It is quite reminiscent of medieval Asia with a heavy emphasis on the class system and remaining honourable. In this world there is very clear protocol of how to interact with people of power, which I found to be very interesting. I will say that the constant reminders of these protocols may be a bit grating for some, as we are still being told of etiquette well into the third and final book. Personally I had no issues with this but it may be something to be aware of.  Throughout the three books I thought the details of the politics and class system were very well done. I personally love political fantasy so I very much enjoyed this aspect of it and felt completely immersed in it. However there are times throughout where I wanted more depth and information about the world itself, specifically about the cho-ja and the geography of the world, but overall the world building is great. The focus is very much the immediate surroundings of the main character, as well as the politics of the world, instead of a wider look at the world itself. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I personally wanted to know a bit more about Kelewan. I think this is a very interesting world which really develops throughout the three books. It is definitely a new favourite of mine.
Moving on to the plot, I will say that if you are looking for a fast-paced, action packed fantasy trilogy then this is not the one for you. This is quite a slow moving story with the occasional skips in time. Due to these skips in time we get to witness a large span of the characters’ lives, which means that we really get to see them change and develop. Despite the slow burn of the plot it was never boring and I never found that it dragged, although I think this may be an issue for some people. There is always a goal in mind or a problem to solve. The writing also does a great job at keeping you engaged even in the slower sections. I always wanted to read more because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, which is a good sign that the plot is engaging. I will say that things are perhaps a little too neatly solved at the end but it is only a minor complaint; I actually really enjoyed the ending.  As previously mentioned this story focuses on court intrigue and the politics of the world, so if that is not your thing then I would avoid this trilogy.
In terms of the characters, we have a fantastic cast within this trilogy. From the book 1 I found Mara to be a very interesting character and a great female protagonist. I briefly mentioned earlier that we get to see years of the characters’ lives and I really love that about this trilogy. It creates fantastic character development and allows the reader to perhaps have a clearer understanding of the characters. Mara’s development throughout is so well done. We get to see the many sides of her, from her calculating side to her kind nature, and we get to witness her style of leadership. Even when she comes across as cold, we understand that she is the product of the society she was raised in, we still root for her. My one small complaint is Mara’s seemingly easy entry to the life of a ruling lady. She is 17 when she is brought back to become Lady of Acoma and although she has grown up in this world as a girl she would not have been in the line of succession, so how did she become so adept at politics? Perhaps it just comes naturally to her and she just understands the world she lives in but it just seems a little unrealistic when she first ascended to power. The other characters we meet throughout the three books are just as well written as the protagonist. Two of my favourites are Arakasi and Lujan. If you like well written characters in your fantasy books then you will find plenty in this trilogy.
Overall I think this is a fantastic trilogy with well written characters, an engaging plot and an interesting world. I knew very little when I started this trilogy but I’m very glad I tried it out as it is a new favourite of mine. If you enjoy political fantasy with slow burning plots then I would highly recommend checking this trilogy out. I am definitely planning to try out more from these authors after loving these books. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa