Wrath of Empire / Brian McClellan

Title / Wrath of Empire
Author / Brian McClellan
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / book 2 of 3
Page no. / 639
Overall Rating / 
This is the second instalment of the Gods of Blood and Powder series and follows the events of the first book, Sins of Empire, with the same three perspectives. This trilogy is set in the same world as his original Powder Mage trilogy. I would categorise this book, and his other books, as an epic military flintlock fantasy. This is a review of a sequel so there may be minor spoilers ahead, but I will not be discussing the plot in detail. It is one of my most anticipated book releases of 2018.
Once again, McClellan manages to combine action, intrigue and magic to create a fantastic fantasy book. I loved the first book, so I had high hopes for this sequel and I think this book surpassed it. Firstly, I think the perspectives were more evenly distributed between the characters – it was great to see more from Taniel and Ka-poel. The use of multiple perspectives allows the reader to see more of the world and a better understanding of the events unfolding. Each perspective is distinctive and compelling. A lot of the time with multiple perspective I find one more compelling than the others but that was not the case with this book. In terms of the plot, I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. McClellan does a fantastic job at weaving all of the threads of the plot together and keeping you guessing throughout the book. There were a few moments I thought I knew where things were headed but then new things come to light and you find out it’s going in a completely different direction. There are so many twists and turns in this sequel. The plot is intricately woven, but it never felt confusing and it never dragged for me. The build-up of tension is also really well done. One aspect of the plot that I personally love is the strategy/tactics. I find it fascinating and McClellan continues to deliver it so well. There are also some fantastic action and battle scenes. The overall pacing of this book was so well done. I found with the first book that the pacing was quite slow at times because we were being introduced to this new series. In this sequel, however, it is more fast paced. There is a lot going on and that keeps the pace moving at a good speed. Even with the faster pacing, McClellan still manages to develop the complex plot and characters without sacrificing anything. The writing continues to be great. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down.
The world building and magic system are another strength of this trilogy. In this sequel we continue to learn more about this world, mainly due to the fact that the characters are now on the move, so we get to explore more of the world. The magic system is once again fantastic. To put it briefly, there are four types of magic in this world; Knacked, Privileged, Powder Mages (Marked) and Bone eyes. The first two draw power from the Else, while a Powder Mage draws power from gun powder. Little is known of Bone eye magic, but it seems to be similar to voodoo in some ways and draws on blood magic. Obviously, these are only very brief explanations of the magic system. I think these unique systems are one of the main strengths of these books and I’m excited to see how some characters powers are developed in the next book. I can’t help but feel that a few of the characters we are only scratching the surface of their power, such as Ka-poel. Speaking of the characters, I thought their development in this sequel was fantastic. There are so many wonderful characters in this book and the trilogy as a whole so far. We get to see familiar characters as well as some new ones. Each character is complex with well thought out back stories and I am so excited to see their development in the next book. I thought McClellan also did a great job at developing their relationships with each other. It was such a pleasure to see both old and new relationships develop throughout the 600 pages.
Overall, this is an excellent continuation from book 1 and I cannot wait for the third and final book, Blood of Empire, to be released. I cannot rate this trilogy so far highly enough, although I would definitely suggest reading the Powder Mage trilogy before starting this one.  If you enjoyed the first book, then I think you will love this sequel too. If you haven’t read these books yet, then I highly recommend checking them out. At this moment, the third book has no release date or cover, but I believe it is hopefully being released some time next year (2019). 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. It’s the start of the month, so I thought I’d share some exciting releases for August. There are four books in particular I’m interested in and wanted to share with you guys. No surprise that three out of the four are fantasy books :). Let’s get started.

 

  • City of Ink / book 3 of the Li Du series / Elsa Hart / 21st
  • Blood of the Gods / book 2 of the Ascension Cycle / David Mealing / 23rd
  • Foundryside / book 1 of the Founders / Robert Jackson Bennett / 23rd / ★★★.5
  • Bloody Rose / book 2 in the Band series / Nicholas Eames / 30th

 

 

That’s all for today. I’ve already read one of these but I still wanted to share it with you guys and I’m excited to get to the other three. What books are you excited for in August? I’d love to know what books you’re waiting for. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

Chronicles of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton

Title / The Abyss Beyond Dreams and Night Without Stars
Author / Peter F. Hamilton
Publication Date / 2014 and 2016
Genre / Science fiction
Series or standalone / Duology
Page no. / 688 and 750
Overall Rating / ★★★★

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Goodreads synopsis of book 1: The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel—self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void. Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void, where the laws of physics are subtly different and mental powers indistinguishable from magic are commonplace. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics—the Fallers—that are intelligent but merciless killers. Yet these same aliens may hold the key to destroying the threat of the Void forever—if Nigel can uncover their secrets. As the Fallers’ relentless attacks continue, and the fragile human society splinters into civil war, Nigel must uncover the secrets of the Fallers—before he is killed by the very people he has come to save.
This is the latest series set in the Commonwealth universe. I hadn’t read any of his previous books before reading these two, but I didn’t have too many issues in becoming immersed in this world. There may have been things I missed, but I didn’t find that this detracted from the story. I think this is great for both readers familiar with this universe and new readers. Hamilton gives enough background to allow readers who are new to the Commonwealth to easily become immersed in this world. I have to admit about being a little intimidated by the size of this books, especially because I was new to this world, but it turned out to be completely fine. I really enjoyed this universe, but as I mentioned I will have missed some of the world building because I haven’t read the other books set in this universe. It wasn’t bogged down by all the information, so I never felt that it dragged in terms of the world building. Overall I thought the world building in these two books were well done and I loved learning about it throughout the books.

 

Both books are over 600 pages each, but for the most part the plot is tightly paced and compelling. As I hadn’t read anything else by this author, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started this and I ended up really enjoying both these books. While I did enjoy the plot, there were sections that were quite slow and I hate to say a little boring. Most of the time though I couldn’t put these books down. I think, with a book this size, it’s hard to keep it compelling all the way through, while also introducing the world and characters. Hamilton does a fantastic job at tying all the threads of the plot together. There is a lot going on in this duology and the author manages to keep each thread engaging. In terms of the characters, I thought they were all well written and liked their character development through the two books. It did take me a little while to warm to the characters, but after a while I was invested in them. I will say that these books suffer a little with pacing issues and I think some will find that they drag a lot, but I didn’t have that issue. I thought the ending was great

 

Overall I really enjoyed both of these books and I plan to read more books set in this universe. It is probably best that you read the other books in this world as it will give you a wider understanding, but I still enjoyed reading these books. Have you read this duology? I’d love to know what you thought. I’m sorry this review is short, but I have to admit that I’m slowly getting back into the flow of review writing. It’s been a while and I haven’t settled back into the flow yet, so apologises if this review isn’t very good. I tried my best :).  I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Jade City / Fonda Lee

Title / Jade City
Author / Fonda Lee
Publication Date / 2017
Series or standalone / book 1 of 3
Page no. / 512
Overall Rating / 

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Goodreads synopsis:Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion. Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation. When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

 

This one is actually going to be quite a hard one to review. I wanted to love it and there are things I really liked about it but overall this one just didn’t work for me. It is the first book in an adult fantasy series. Firstly I loved the concept of this book. Basically it is set in the fictional world of Kekon, where Jade is a precious stone that will enhance a warrior’s capability in 6 different ways: strength, perception, steel, lightness, deflection and channelling. The more Jade you have, the more power you can harness.  Kekon is reminiscent of Southeast Asian countries and the capital is Janloon. The capital is controlled by two warring clans; the No Peak Clan and the Mountain Clan. I think the author did a fantastic job at creating these two warring clans. I love these types of settings and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. We get to see the conflict through the eyes of a few members of the No Peak Clan. I thought the world building was one of the main strengths of this book. Lee has done a great job at creating a vivid world with an interesting magic system. I really liked the magic system but I think it could definitely have done with more explanation. Despite my issues with the plot, which I’ll mention later, overall I thought it was quite good and I think a lot of people will enjoy it.

 

So it’s was a little tricky for me to come up with the reason I didn’t love this. It’s one of those books you can’t quite put your finger on why, if that makes sense, but I’ll try to order my thoughts for you guys. Firstly I think the pacing was an issue. It felt quite uneven at times, which meant that I struggled a little to keep invested in the story. There were sections that really pulled me in, but these parts would end and I would be less invested again, if that makes sense. Due to this the plot moves at a painfully slow pace at times, which detracts from the story itself. I also felt that the plot felt quite thin at certain points throughout the book. This book is just over 500 pages long but I don’t think it needed to be. The characters had potential to be fantastic, but I personally felt that they lacked development. To me it also seemed that some decisions made by characters were done purely as a way to move on the plot, despite the fact they felt contradictory to who the character was. The last thing I wanted to mention is the lack of suspense. I don’t know whether it’s just me but I didn’t see the wider picture of the conflict. Why are the two clans fighting? What happens if one side wins? Each clan is just as bad as the other and I didn’t fully grasp why we were supposed to root for one over the other. Maybe that’s just because I skim read parts and missed something.

 

Overall this was a good book, but in the end I found it didn’t find its footing. I didn’t become fully invested in the characters or story, despite the fact there are so many great things about this book. I know I didn’t rate it very highly but I would still recommend checking this one out, because I think a lot of people will enjoy it. Have you read this book? I would love to know your thought I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

 

Pippa

 

 

TTT: Series I’ve Given Up On

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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. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.This weeks topic is series I’ve given up on. The theme for this weeks topic is reading the first book in a series and not loving it enough to continue with it.

 

  1. Blackthorn and Grim series / Juliet Marillier / read the first book
  2. Shadowdance series / David Dalglish / read the first book
  3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy / Laini Taylor / read the first book and part of the second
  4. Shattered Realm series / Cinda Williams Chima / read the first book
  5. Shades of Magic trilogy / V. E. Schwab / read the first book
  6. The Queen of the Tearling trilogy / Erika Johansen / read the first two books
  7. Lumatere Chronicles / Melina Marchetta / read the first book
  8. The God Fragments series / Tom Lloyd / read the first book
  9. Rise of the Empress / Julie C. Dao / read the first book
  10. Luna series / Ian McDonald / read the first book

 

There are so many other series and books I want to read that I won’t be continuing with these series. Most of the books mentioned I enjoyed but I didn’t love them. What series have you given up on? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
 Pippa

 

 

 

Charmcaster / Sebastien de Castell

Title / Charmcaster
Author / Sebastien de Castell
Publication Date / 2018
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / book 3 of the Spellslinger series
Page no. / 400
Star Rating / ★★★★

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Goodreads synopsis: Kellen has begun to master his spellslinging and the Argosi tricks for staying alive, and he and Reichis have found a career that suits them both: taking down mercenary mages who make people’s lives miserable. But Ferius is concerned that Kellen is courting disaster . . .

 

*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This was a fantastic instalment to this 6 book fantasy series. I have done a review of the first two books if you want to my thoughts on them too. Having really enjoyed the first two books, I fully expected to love this instalment and it didn’t disappoint. It was great to be back with these characters and in this world. This book was fantastic from the very start and I loved the progression of the story. Charmcaster is just as fast paced and entertaining as the previous two books. I find this series kind of addictive and once I’ve started reading I don’t want to put the book down. The plot is compelling throughout and the author does a great job at maintaining the flow of the story. Although the pacing is good in this series overall, I found that the first two books start off quite slow but I didn’t have that issue with this book. From the very beginning, the pacing was good and it was maintained throughout the 400 pages. I loved that we got to see more of the world and the author does a fantastic job at building on what we already know of it. As in the previous books, the magic system is wonderfully written and so unique. It is definitely one of the main strengths of this series. I love that the protagonist isn’t the most powerful person but has to rely on his wits to keep himself alive too. Speaking of the protagonist, I love the characters in this series and their development in this instalment was great. The way the relationships develop in this book was such a pleasure to read and I love the banter between them, especially between Kellen and Reichis. Both the old and new characters are so well written and I loved learning a little about Ferius’s past. If you can’t tell I think this was a fantastic instalment to this very entertaining series.

 

Overall I really enjoyed this sequel and can’t wait to see how sees progress in the rest of the series. If you enjoy fantasy books, especially ones that are fast paced and filled with humour, then I highly recommend checking this series out. If you’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series then you will enjoy this instalment too. I know this is quite a short review but hopefully it means my review is concise. Have you read this book? Or do you plan to start this series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 sequels I haven’t read yet

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can see from the title I’m going to be sharing some sequels I haven’t read yet, but really want to get to soon. Some of these I’m waiting for the paperback editions and others I just haven’t read yet. Let’s get started.

 

  • Hyena and the Hawk / book 3 in the Echoes of the Fallen series / Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • A Veil of Spears / book 3 in the Shattered Sand series / Bradley Beaulieu
  • Grey Sister / book 2 in the Book of the Ancestors series / Mark Lawrence
  • Wrath of Empire / book 2 in the Gods of Blood and Powder series / Brian McClellan
  • Assassin’s Fate / book 3 in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy / Robin Hobb

 

 

That’s all I have for today. Hopefully I can get to these sequels soon, because I need to know what happens next in these series. What sequels are on your TBR? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa