Li Du series / Elsa Hart

Title / Jade Dragon Mountain and The White Mirror
Author / Elsa Hart
Publication Date / 2015 and 2016
Genre / Mystery/Historical fiction
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 368 and 320
Star Rating / ★★★.5


This is a mystery, historical fiction trilogy set in 18th century China. It follows Li Du, who was once a imperial librarian but is now in exile, as he unfolds the mysteries set in front of him. In book 1 he must unravel the facts behind the recent murder of an astronomer. As this is a series review, I will not go into details of the plot of either books.


The first thing that drew me to these books was the setting and I am happy to report that it didn’t disappoint. Hart has done a fantastic job at creating a vivid look into 18th century China. Now I don’t know a whole lot about this time period so I can’t comment on authenticity, but I will say that I was immersed in this world. It was such an interesting backdrop to each of the stories and it seems like Hart has spent quite a lot of time writing it. I loved that we got to explore more of the world in the sequel. Although I have not read the third book, I do know that Li Du has to return to Beijing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that setting. The writing is good in both books and I found it easy to settle into the flow of the story. Each book was quite a quick read for me because once I started reading I didn’t want to put the book down.


In terms of the plot, each of these books was compelling. The pacing is quite slow at times, but I think it was well suited to the story. The focus is more on collecting all of the facts and trying to figure it all out, rather than making this an action packed read. While I enjoyed both of these books, I personally liked the story of the second book a little bit more. For whatever reason I found it to be slightly more engaging. I also think that the second book felt more assured. Hart seems to have really settled into the flow of writing these stories and characters. Speaking of the characters, this trilogy contains a great cast of characters. Li Du is a fantastic protagonist and I’ve enjoyed his development through these two books. The other characters are also well written, if a little lacking at times. Overall though I really liked the cast of characters in both books and look forward to seeing how they progress in the third book. The ‘villains’ could perhaps be a little more fleshed out, but it’s only a minor complaint.


Overall this are enjoyable reads with a fantastic setting and interesting characters. The story continues in City of Ink which was released in August 2018. I will definitely be checking it out at some point in the near future. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.






The Echoes of the Fall / Adrian Tchaikovsky

Title / The Tiger and the Wolf, The Bear and the Serpent and The Hyena and the Hawk
Author / Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication Date / 2016, 2017 and 2018
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 590, 446 and 433
Star Rating / ★★★★★
This is a fantasy trilogy set in a world that is divided into clans; each of which is represented by an animal. Members of these clans contain the soul of their animal and can ‘step’ into said animal’s form. So, if you are a member of the wolf clan then you can turn into a wolf and so on. While in human form many still have the mannerisms of their clans’ animal. In book 1 we meet Maniye, a young girl from the wolf clan, who happens to have two souls within her.
Although the first book primarily follows Maniye, the second two books follows multiple perspective. At first this change put me off a little but after a couple of chapters I got used to it and I appreciate that this gives a broader overview of the conflict. Basically, Maniye remains one of the main perspectives throughout the three books with other perspectives added in books 2 and 3. Each one is compelling and distinct, and Tchaikovsky does a great job at maintaining the flow of the story through these changes in perspective. I find sometimes with multiple perspectives the changes can be quite jarring but that is not the case with this trilogy. I definitely enjoyed Maniye’s chapters the most but I still really enjoyed the other perspectives. Another strength of this trilogy is the characters. There are so many amazing characters; all of whom are well written, complex and flawed. Maniye is a favourite of mine but I also love Hesprec, Loud Thunder and quite a few others. I loved their development throughout the trilogy, especially Maniye’s, and the growth of relationships was also really well done. Basically I loved the characters and would love to see more of them.
Throughout the three books, the writing is fantastic and really immerses you in the world and story. Speaking of the world, it is one of my favourite aspect of this trilogy. It is so vivid, complex and immersive. I also love the diversity of this world. There are so many different tribes and beliefs, which makes it such an interesting world. It is unlike any other fantasy setting I’ve come across, so it’s quite refreshing if you read a lot of traditional fantasy books. If you enjoy fantasy with good world building, then this trilogy will not disappoint you.The plot is compelling throughout the three books, however the first book is definitely the slowest in terms of pacing. Being the first book it has a lot of introducing the world and characters, but I never felt it dragged and I wasn’t bogged down by the information. The pacing in the second two books is more even as we are already familiar with the world and characters. Tchaikovsky does a good job at building on what we already know in each new book – only giving some things away when it is needed to further the plot. There are many twists and turns throughout the trilogy. Initially I had thought that the conclusion was a little anti-climatic but after some thought I think it’s actually a fitting end to this trilogy. I think it’s just that the build up is such a big one and then it just ends quite quickly. Personally I did still enjoy it but I think it may be an issue for some.


Overall I love this trilogy and want more people to read it. Within the trilogy there is a cast of fantastic characters, a compelling plot and a wonderfully written and unique world. I cannot say enough good things about it. I would love to see more books set in this world. Have you read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.






Mistborn trilogy / Brandon Sanderson

Title / The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages
Author / Brandon Sanderson
Publication Date / 2009 and 2010
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 672, 800 and 768
Overall Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more? In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage— Allomancy, a magic of the metals.


This is a trilogy set in a world where the bad guy won the war and has been ruling over the Final Empire for thousand of years. I loved this concept as it’s not something I see very often in fantasy. There are two main things I love about this trilogy; the world and the magic system, specifically Allomancy. The Final Empire is a region of Scadrial, a fictional planet of the Cosmere, and it is blanketed by ash. In this world plants are brown and people rarely see the sky. Throughout the three books, Sanderson does a fantastic job at building on what we already know of world. I will say that the physical description of the world are sometimes a little lacking, but overall the world building is fantastic. Next, there are three disciplines of magic in this trilogy: Allomancy, Feruchemy and Hemalugy. All three are based on metals and are used to gain specific abilities. Basically allomancers have the ability to burn metal that enables them to access a range of mental or physical enhancements. For example burning tin enables an enhancement of the five senses while burning pewter enhances physical strength. There are 8 basic Allomantic metals and each has a different affect on the allomancer. A Misting is a person who can burn one metal and a Mistborn is a person who can burn all of them. I love this magic system and the author does a fantastic job at developing it through the three books. Both of these aspects are vividly realised and well written. Be aware that the world and magic systems are quite complex and intricate, so don’t go into this expecting a light, quick read. Sanderson does a great job at writing battle scenes and political intrigue.  If you enjoy unique magic systems and world then I highly recommend checking this book out. More positives include the characters and the plot. Yes, I think at times the plot is a little predictable at times but I still enjoyed seeing how it all unfolds and although some characters lack depth overall these books contain a great cast of characters. Vin is definitely one of my favourite characters. Personally I think the first book is the best, but I did also enjoy the second and third book. Each book has a good mix of character development, world building, action and politics.


Now to some of the issues I have. The main thing I would say is the length of these books. Each book is over 600 pages long but they didn’t need to be. The main reason for this is the repetitive nature of the writing. Although I love the world in this book the overly long descriptions and repetitive use of words can be a little frustrating at times. There are also plot points that are repeated throughout the books, for example in the first book you are told constantly that Vin doesn’t trust anyone. We get it – she’s had a hard time and doesn’t trust easily but we don’t need to be reminded every 5 seconds or so. I was definitely more aware of this use of repetition when I reread this trilogy. I think the pacing was a little uneven at times too, especially in the second and third book. One more small complaint is that I think the romance develops a little too quickly.


Overall I really enjoyed this trilogy, but there are definitely some issues with it. If you are a big fan of fantasy then I think this is well worth checking out. I’ve only read the first book of the sequel series and I don’t think I plan on continuing on with it. I went through a phase of trying to read everything by Sanderson but I think I’ve grown past that now. I think I got caught up in the hype surrounding this author but now I’m not the biggest fan of his writing style. Although I will definitely check out the sequel to Warbreaker whenever it gets released. Have you read this trilogy? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.





Eagles of Rome trilogy / Ben Kane

Title / Eagles at War, Hunting the Eagles and Eagles in the Storm
Author / Ben Kane
Publication Date / 2015, 2016 and 2017
Genre / Historical fiction
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Overall Rating / ★★★★


Goodreads synopsis of book 1: AD 9, Germania: Close to the Rhine, a Roman centurion, Lucius Tullus, prepares to take his soldiers on patrol. On the opposite side of the river, German tribes are resentful of the harsh taxes imposed upon them. Suspicious that there might be unrest, Tullus knows that his men’s survival will be determined not just by their training and discipline, but by his leadership. What neither Tullus nor the Roman Governor Varus realise is that ranged against them is the charismatic chieftain and trusted ally of Rome, Arminius, who has long been plotting to drive the Romans from the tribal lands east of the Rhine. As Varus’ legions prepare to leave their summer encampment, thousands of warriors – directed by Arminius – are massing nearby. Eager to throw off the Roman yoke, the tribesmen prepare a deadly ambush. Only the gods can save the Romans now …
This is a fantastic military historical fantasy trilogy based on real historical events. It is set before and after the Battle of Teutoborg Forest in 9 AD and follows multiple perspectives to give us a wider look into this conflict. Now I do not know a lot about this time in history so I cannot comment on historical accuracy but I will say all three books have a realistic feel to them. I found them to not only be enjoyable reads but also really interesting. Despite not knowing much about this time period, it’s one that I find fascinating so I loved the setting of these books. You can tell that the author did a lot of research to write these books. I think even if you know a lot about this period and know what will happen, you will still enjoy this book because it is so well written. The changes in perspective never disrupted the flow of the story and each chapter was as compelling as the last. I can sometimes find switches in perspective to be a little jarring but that is not the case with these books. The build up of suspense in all three books is so well done. These books are action packed and I loved all the military aspects of the story. The action scenes are one of the strengths of this trilogy. They are so well written and gripping to read. The writing is also fantastic and there are some great description throughout the trilogy. I enjoyed each of these books very much and I thought the ending of the trilogy was great.
The characters are another strength of this trilogy, although some of the minor characters were a little flat. However all of the main characters are well written. They are all flawed and complex with good development through the three books. It was fascinating to me to see the daily lives of these soldiers and I think Kane’s choice in character perspective was very clever, because it means we get a much wider look into the events of the book. I personally found Arminius chapters slightly more compelling then the others but I enjoyed all of them.
I hadn’t read anything by this author when I picked up the first book but I will definitely be checking out his other books. If you enjoy military historical fiction and/or are interested in this time period then I highly recommend checking this trilogy out. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

An Echo Of Things To Come / James Islington

Title / An Echo of Thing to Come
Author / James Islington
Publication Date / 2017
Series or standalone / book 2 of the Licanius Trilogy
Page no. / 784
Overall Rating / 


This is the second book in the Licanius trilogy, the first being The Shadow Of What Was Lost. It is a epic fantasy trilogy set in the fictional world of Andarra and picks up roughly a month after the events of the first book. As with the first book it is written using multiple perspectives.


Firstly, this sequel has a refresher at the very beginning to quickly go over the events of the first book. As these books are quite dense there are things it missed, but I found it useful to just remind me of the very basics of the first book. It allowed me to more easily settle into the flow of the story. A glossary of terms is provided as well, which was also useful. The plot is compelling with a fantastic flow between of the multiple perspective. I find with multiple perspectives it can sometimes be a little jarring when it switches between the characters but that is not the case with this book. Each perspective is compelling and has a distinctive feel to it, although I did feel that Davian’s chapters were a little lacking at times. In my opinion you can see an improvement between the first and second book. To me, the writing felt more assured and it felt like the author had really settled into the flow of the story. I love the complexity of plot and how the author brings all the threads together. There are also some great twists in this book. One thing that I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the use of flashbacks, which are used quite a lot throughout. However, I understand why they are used and they didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment. Although I enjoyed the progression of the plot, the first few hundred pages are quite slow. At times there isn’t a lot of actions as the characters are stationary in their respective places. Due to this there were times it felt a little aimless. I still felt that the pacing was well done throughout, although the first half is slower than the second half. Overall, I loved where the plot was taken, and I am excited to see how things progress in the next book


One of the main strengths of this book, as well as the first, is the world building. We get to explore more of this world in this sequel and it was a pleasure to find out more about it. The magic system is also wonderfully done. These are such important aspects for a fantasy series and I think the author did a great job at building on what we learnt in the first book. However, I will say that this may also be a negative for some. This is quite a dense fantasy books with a lot happening and a complex world, so it does take some concentration to keep up with everything. Personally, I don’t mind this, but it may be something to be aware of when starting this trilogy. If you are looking for a light and quick fantasy read, then I would suggest that this is not the book for you. Moving onto the characters. I think the author did a wonderful job at developing the characters in this book. In the first book I thought the characters came across as a little cliched at times but in this sequel, I think they really developed into their own. There are also some new characters introduced that are well written. Although there are quite a few characters to keep track of, they all felt distinctive and I became even more invested in them while reading this sequel. Another aspect I like in this book is that you don’t have the typical bad vs. good aspect. Yes, there are bad guys that must be defeated but the line between good and bad is blurred and sometimes the ‘good’ people must make hard decisions. This is especially apparent with the character, Caedan. I really enjoyed this aspect of this book. In terms of the writing, I thought it was good, if a little repetitive at times.


Overall this was a fantastic continuation of this trilogy and I cannot wait to read the next book. The third and final book, The Light Of All That Falls, is set to be released early next year. I would say that this trilogy so far has a traditional fantasy feel to them.  If you enjoy fantasy and/or are looking for a new fantasy series to try, then I would highly recommend checking this out. I would also recommend reading this sequel quite soon after reading the first book as it will help you to keep up with everything that happens. Have you started this series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next.