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

 

 

The Shadow Of What Was Lost / James Islington

Title / The Shadow Of What Was Lost 
Author / James Islington
Publication Date / 2016
Star Rating / ★★★.5
Goodreads synopsis: As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…
This is the first book in the Licanius trilogy and is the author’s debut book. I thought this was a solid introduction to this trilogy, although it wasn’t perfect. It took me a little while to get into it but after a couple of chapters I was invested in the story. The world is well crafted with an interesting magic system, although I did want more detail on certain things throughout the book. I wanted a bit more on the different cultures of this world specifically.  Overall though the world is rich in detail. There are two types of magic users in this world – Gifted, who are able to tap into the Essence, and Augurs, who were once viewed as almost Gods. There is a school for those who can tap into the Essence and if you fail to graduate from this school you become a Shadow, a second rate citizen. I really liked this world. It is clearly well thought out and has a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how it is expanded on in the future books. I will admit to the characters being a little generic, but they are still well written. You’ve probably seen similar characters in other fantasy books but Islington still manages to keep them compelling. The character development is also well done. However I think some of the minor characters were a little flat. This book does have quite a few characters to follow but they are all distinctive. If you are not normally a fan of multiple perspective, than it is perhaps something to be aware of. Personally I think it worked quite well this time and grants the reader a larger scale of the events of the book. I know it can sometimes be quite jarring to switch perspectives but that wasn’t the case this time. I would also say that this is quite a character driven fantasy, so that’s probably something to be aware of too. The pacing is a little uneven at times but the plot is generally compelling throughout. At it’s very core this is a coming of age story with quite a few twists and turns along the way. Intrigue plays a part as well, which I am a big fan of. There is a few instances of the plot dragging, especially during some of the travelling scenes. Overall it was kind of long winded. One thing I got a little frustrated with was that characters would be told to do something and told how important it is, but there is very little explanation as to why. They just kind of accept it and go. Maybe that was just me. Having said all that I think this book shows great potential and I definitely excited to see how things progress in the next two books. There was just something about this one that I didn’t love it but it’s still a good read.
Overall this was a good book and a solid introduction to this new world. It does have a lot of traditional fantasy elements/tropes but it is still an enjoyable story. Although it’s quite a hefty fantasy I think it was pretty accessible and so could be a good place to start if you are new to the fantasy genre. I will definitely be checking out the sequel, An Echo of Things to Come, when it comes out in paperback early next year – the hardback is out now. I would recommend checking this out, if you are interested by the synopsis. I also just want to mention how great the covers are – definitely some new favourites. Have you guys read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
Pippa

The Queen of Blood / Sarah Beth Durst

Title / The Queen of Blood 
Author / Sarah Beth Durst
Publication Date / 2016
Page no. / 368
Overall Star Rating / ★ 

 

Goodreads synopsis: Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms. With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

 

“Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.”

 

This is the first book in the Queens of Renthia trilogy.  I’ve had my eyes on this book for quite some time before I picked it up. In that time I was debating whether or not to pick it up – I thought it was a YA book and I haven’t had much luck with them recently but I finally decided to give it a go for some holiday reading. I am really glad I did. Firstly, I loved the setting. It is one of my favourite things about this book. The concept of every village, town and city being built on massive tree branches is a really cool idea. I think the idea of spirits is also done really well and the world felt very immersive. World building is so important in fantasy books so I’m happy to say that it’s done well in this book. It is definitely a strength of this series. I liked that it isn’t the traditional medieval setting and appreciated the unique nature of this world. If you are looking for new and unique fantasy settings than I would check this book out. I’ve not read many fantasy books with a similar setting. The only thing I would say is that I imagine that this world took inspiration from Lothlórien from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien, but it is still it’s own world – it’s not a copy.  The writing is easy to get into and the plot is compelling. There were quite a few occasions of late night reading while reading this, because I was so engrossed in the story. Certain things I did see coming but there were other things I didn’t. Either way it was still an enjoyable reading experience. It is pretty bloody and nasty at times, but these moments felt well thought out. Sometimes I think nasty moments can be used just to shock you but that isn’t the case with this book – these moments progressed the plot well. Basically I found both the world and the plot immersive, and I’m excited to see where things will go in the next books.

 

I love that the main character Daleina isn’t the most powerful person in this book, she just works really hard. I think that is quite relatable – for me at least, I don’t know about you guys. It’s nice to see a character in a fantasy book that struggles. I feel like in alot of fantasy books the main character, whether their male or female, is the most powerful magic user and adept at using magic within a short time of finding out they have magic. It’s good to see a character that has to work hard for it. Of the heirs, she is probably the worst and that’s quite refreshing. I’m sure there are many people out there with things that don’t come naturally and so they have to work hard for it – I am definitely one of them. All of the other characters are just as well written. I found the Queen to be a very interesting character due to her position. The Queen is the one person in power and that creates a fascinating look into what that type of power can do to a person. Another aspect I loved is the female friendships in this book. As previously mentioned in the goodreads synopsis, the queen is surrounded by heirs. All of these heirs are women and so they live closely with each other as they train. It’s great to see female friendship where they support each other and are there for each other. One thing I hate to see in any book is girl on girl hate for no other reason than their girls, so it was so nice to see these great friendships. I also really liked that the romance is very much in the background and is not a huge part of the story.

 

Overall I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I would definitely recommend checking this out, especially if you are a fan of fantasy. Personally, I’ve not read many books like this one and I appreciated that. I am very excited for the second book, The Reluctant Queen, which is already out. I think this is going to be a trilogy, but please correct me if I am wrong. Have you guys read this book? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

10 Ongoing Series I’m Loving Right Now

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I want to talk about some of my favourite ongoing series. These are basically the series that I want the next book in the life :). I’m quite impatient when it comes to books so I would love all of these sequels to just arrive magically at my door, so I can find out what happens next in each series. No surprises that the majority of these are fantasy series and I do have some honourable mentioned. Let’s get started.
  1. The Winnowing trilogy by Jen Williams – 3 books planned – only 1 out so far – The Ninth Rain and The Bitter Twin (unreleased)
  2. Book of the Ancestor trilogy by Mark Lawrence – 3 books planned – only 1 out so far – Red Sister and Grey Sister (unreleased)
  3. The Queens of Renthia trilogy by Sarah Beth Durst – 3 books planned – 2nd book just released – The Queen of BloodThe Reluctant Queen and The Queen of Sorrow (unreleased)
  4. Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky – unsure about the length of this series – currently 2 books out – The Tiger and the Wolf and The Bear and the Serpent
  5. Gods of Blood and Powder series by Brian McClellan – possibly 3 books – only 1 out so far – Sins of Empire 
  6. Gentleman Bastard sequences by Scott Lynch – 7 books planned – 3 out so far – Lies of Locke LamoraRed Seas Under Red SkiesThe Republic of Thieves, The Thorn of Emberlain (unreleased), The Ministry of Necessity (unreleased), The Mage and the Master Spy (unreleased) and Inherit the Night (unreleased)
  7. The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon – 6 books planned – 3 out so far – The Bone SeasonThe Mime Order and The Song Rising
  8. Draconis Memoria series by Anthony Ryan – possibly 3 books – 2 out so far – The Waking Fire and The Legion of Flame
  9. The Song of the Shattered Sand series by Bradley P. Bealieu – 6 books planned – 2 out so far – Twelve KingsBlood Upon the Sand and A Veil of Spears (unreleased)
  10. Dandelion Dynasty trilogy by Ken Liu – 3 books planned – 2 out so far – The Grace of Kings and The Wall of Storms 

 

Honourable mentions: The Bear and the Nightingale series by Katharine Arden, the Cromwell trilogy by Hilary Mantel, The Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan, the Licanius trilogy by James Islington and the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss.

 

What ongoing series are you guys loving at the moment? Are there any sequels you’re impatiently waiting for? Clearly I have quite a few :). I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa