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

 

 

Series I Want To Finish In 2018

Hi guys I hope you are all well. Today I wanted to share some series that I want to finish this year or at least make progress with. I’ve split this into two categories – the first are series that I am up to date with and am just waiting for the last book to be released, and the second are completed series I need to catch up on. I have eight series to share with you guys. I’m excited to get to all of these series so let’s get started.

 

Last book released in 2018:
  • Echoes of the Fall trilogy by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • The Nicci Chronicles (duology) by Terry Goodkind
  • Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden
  • The Queens of Renthia trilogy by Sarah Beth Durst

 

Finished series to read:
  • Greatcoats series (4 books – 3 read) by Sebastien de Castell
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent series (5 books – 2 read) by Marie Brennan
  • The Fitz and the Fool trilogy (none read so far)  by Robin Hobb
  • Shardlake series (6 books – 2 read) by C. J. Sansom

 

Hopefully I’ll at least make some progress with these series and finish a few of them, although I can be quite easily distracted :). No surprises that most of them are fantasy series, right? Do you guys have any series you want to finish this year? 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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Series I’m not going to finish

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. I have to admit that I’m having a bit of an anxious time at the moment. I’m learning to drive and I just find it a very anxious experience in a manual car. I’ll get there eventually though. Anyway I wasn’t sure what to post today so I thought I would share some series that I don’t plan on finishing. Some of these I just didn’t like and others I’ve now lost interest in. Let’s get started.

 

Part 1: series I didn’t like
  • Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
  • Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes
  • The 5th Wave trilogy by Rick Yancy
  • Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis
  • The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman
  • Luna series by Ian McDonald

 

Part 2: lost interest in them or just thought it was okay
  • Shadowdance series by David Dalglish
  • The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff
  • The Moontide Quartet by Daivd Hair
  • The Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
  • The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima

 

There are so many books out there to read that I don’t plan to get to any of these – they just weren’t for me. Have you guys got any series you don’t plan on finishing? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Child of the Prophecy / Juliet Marillier

Title / Child of the Prophecy 
Author / Juliet Marillier
Publication Date / 2001 (first published)
Overall Star Rating / 

876014

 

Goodreads synopsis: The ancient forests of Sevenwaters are the land of lost dreams for Fainne and now she has been sent to destroy it with the magical arts she has learned since she was small.

 

This is the third book in the Sevenwaters series. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. Don’t get me wrong it was still a good book, but I personally felt that it wasn’t quite as great as the previous two in this series. I loved the first two so much and I just felt that this one fell a little flat in comparison. Having said that it was still a good book and Juliet Marillier is a fantastic writer. One of the main issues I had with this book was the main character, Fainne. I didn’t find her as compelling as the previous female protagonists and I found her a little frustrating at times. There were a few occasions I was questioning her decisions – they just didn’t make any sense to me. As a result I felt quite disconnected from her character and therefore also disconnected from the story itself as well. Also the love interest was infuriating to me. Throughout the book he is constantly saying that she can’t look after herself and she needs him to look after her. No, stop being a patronising idiot. As you can maybe tell I wasn’t a fan of the love interest. I felt that the plot was also a bit less compelling than the previous two books, maybe due to the characters. Another issue I had was the length. I think this book could definitely be shorted as it dragged a few times. I have to admit that I did skim read some sections. Having said that I think each book in the series have had some issues with the pacing, but this book seemed to drag more. Due to this issues it took me longer to read it than it took me to read the previous two. As expected from Juliet Marillier, the writing was wonderful and I find it so easy to become absorbed into her worlds. Obviously with this one I was slightly less absorbed but it was still good. It’s clear to me that Marillier is a talented writer, but something about this one fell a little flat for me. I just didn’t love it as much as the other two books in the series.

 

Overall this was a good continuation of this series, but for me it is definitely the weakest book so far. I just wasn’t the biggest fan of the protagonist, but Marillier is a fantastic writer.  I did still enjoy it though and would definitely recommend checking out this series. I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series at some point. Have you read any books from this series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

Mini Review: 2 Series

 

Series title / Chronicles of Ancient Darkness
Title of book 1/ Wolf Brother
Author / Michelle Paver
No. of books / 6
Star Rating / ★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world. Only one boy can stop it—12 year old Torak, who has seen his father murdered by the bear. With his dying breath, Torak’s father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit’s help to overcome it.

 

This is probably one of my favourite all time series. It’s probably classed as middle grade. I say probably because I don’y really know what middle grade is as someone from the UK. I first read it years ago and I’ve reread quite a few times now. The first thing I love about this series is the setting. The author clearly did a whole lot of research for this series and it’s resulted in a wonderfully vivid world. The world building is one of the main strengths of this series. The characters are just as well written. Through the six books you really become invested in them, however I will say that their development could have been better. Wolf is, of course, one of my favourite characters. I will say that these are quite light fantasy reads, so if your looking for denser fantasy worlds than you probably won’t enjoy this one. Having said that these are great, fun reads. The plot is compelling throughout the six books, although perhaps a little simplistic. The pacing is also slightly off at times but it doesn’t detract too much from the overall reading experience. I was hooked very early on and I flew through each book pretty quickly. If you enjoy middle grade, than you definitely need to check out this series. Overall I think this is a great series with one of my favourite settings.

 

 

Series title / Bartimaeus series
Title of book 1 / The Amulet of Samarkand
Author / Jonathan Stroud
No. of books / 3
Star Rating / ★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Nathaniel is a magician’s apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who’s boss. With revenge on his mind, he summons the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace’s greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion.

 

I think this is such an underrated series as I haven’t seen it around the bookish community at all. This trilogy was actually one of the first I read and so I always will think it’s great. It has a compelling story, well written characters and good writing. The world building is also great. If you are looking for a fast-paced, entertaining adventure than you should definitely check these books out. I will say that this book does rely on footnotes to give more information so if that’s not your thing than you may want to avoid this book. I personally find that they worked quite well and add a better understanding of the world and characters – it never felt bogged down. One of my favourite things about this book is Bartimaeus. He is so snarky and it’s amazing. The relationship between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus is great and the development throughout the three books is a pleasure to read. Nathaniel can be kind of irritating at times but I was still invested in his character. I will say that I think this trilogy is aimed at younger readers but it can still be enjoyed by a variety of ages. To me these are quick, fun reads that I’ve really enjoyed reading on multiple occasions. There is also a prequel (The Ring of Soloman) which is also great.

 

Both of these series are great so I thought it was about time to review and recommend them to you guys. My favourite of the two is probably the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series but I love both. Have you guys read either of these? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa