Blackwing by Ed McDonald~ Mini Review!

 

*Many thanks to Stevie at Gollancz and Ed McDonald for my signed and doodled proof copy!*

About the book:

The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.

The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.

Out now from Gollancz, you can get your copy of Blackwing by clicking HERE!

About the author:

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Ed McDonald has spent many years dancing between different professions, cities and countries, but the only thing any of them share in common is that they have allowed him enough free time to write. He currently lives with his wife in London, a city that provides him with constant inspiration, where he works as a university lecturer. When he’s not grading essays or wrangling with misbehaving plot lines he can usually be found fencing with longswords, rapiers and pollaxes.

Ed’s debut novel Blackwing is the first part of The Raven’s Mark trilogy. Blackwing will be published on July 20th 2017 by Gollancz in the UK, and October 2017 by Ace in the United States. German, Spanish, French, Hungarian and Russian translations will be available from 2018.

My Thoughts:

Awesome. Absolutely awesome book. That’s a mini-review right?! 🙂

Loved Blackwing! I’m new to this whole fantasy book reading thing, but I’m starting to figure out what I enjoy and Blackwing is just amazing! It has epic world-building, a damn fine main character, a band of supporting characters that is both motley and brilliant, and an absolutely insane plot!

The concept of the Blackwings is one of my favourite things about the book. I mean, what’s not to like about ravens ripping themselves out of your arms to deliver you a (usually bad) message?! I jest, but I do like the gruesomeness of Ed McDonald’s mind. Its dark, and messy and the exact kind of thing I enjoy reading about.

Special mention to The Misery, because to be air, it is bleak as f***. Riddled with dangers, seen and unseen, and just a generally rubbish place to find yourself. Not least when a war is coming. I really enjoyed the magic system in this one. How it was made, maintained and described was super cool as imagining the horrors made the book even more immersive and dark.

So yeah, Blackwing… superb! I cannot wait for the next one!

Highly recommended!

Age of Assassins by RJ Barker 

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*Many thanks to Orbit Books for my review copy*

About the book:

TO CATCH AN ASSASSIN, USE AN ASSASSIN . . .

Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land’s best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder.

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire land.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

RJ Barker lives in Leeds with his wife, son and a collection of questionable taxidermy, odd art, scary music and more books than they have room for. He grew up reading whatever he could get his hands on, and has always been ‘that one with the book in his pocket’. Having played in a rock band before deciding he was a rubbish musician, RJ returned to his first love, fiction, to find he is rather better at that. As well as his debut epic fantasy novel, Age of Assassins, RJ has written short stories and historical scripts which have been performed across the country. He has the sort of flowing locks any cavalier would be proud of.

My thoughts:

Being new to the fantasy genre, I think I’ll always feel like my reviews won’t do the books justice as I haven’t read enough to know what’s what. However, I know when I’m reading something special, and AoA is definitely that.


Girton Club-Foot is an apprentice to Merela Karn, the best assassin in the land, and together they are tasked with infiltrating a kingdom because someone wants to kill the heir to the throne. From the outset though, their job is a difficult one. There is plenty of (quite literally) cloak and dagger, but it’s there that the fun is with this book.


I loved the characters in this book, but most especially I loved the relationship between Girton and his mentor. Together they are a brutal duo, but it’s in their isolated moments that you get a real sense of who they are, and what drives them.


Age of Assassins thrives on its characters, with each and every one of them really well developed. Some you will love, some you will loathe, but that’s what you want isn’t it? To feel something for those whose journey you’re going along with. There’s plenty of that here.


I had been looking forward to reaching this one on the TBR and I was not disappointed. An excellent plot, a cast of characters that are as noble as they are quick to draw a weapon, the whole thing is just razor sharp and really well executed!
Highly recommended!

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

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About the book:

Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life–orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought…

On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive?

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

My Thoughts:

Knights of the Borrowed Dark was a new addition to my personal TBR recently. I had the pleasure of meeting the author in Galway recently and had a chat about his books. I have a 7 year old boy (his reading age is that of a 9/10 year old) who is an avid reader, and he asked me to read this for him to see if it is suitable for him to read himself. Personally, I think he’s still a bit young for it, but I LOVED IT!!!!

Knights of the Borrowed Dark follows Denizen Hardwick, a orphan living in Crosscaper Orhanage on the west coast of Ireland. One night, the gates to the orphanage open and Denizen is collected on the promise of being introduced to his long lost aunt. On the way to meet her, the car in which he is travelling is attacked, by something. Denizen then learns that this something lives in the shadows, and sometimes can get through the breach.

What follows is a super fun read full of action and monsters and knights. These knights don’t deign to tell poor Denizen very much, and he end up having to learn their methods in his own ways. Give the option to join this order of knights, Denizen then has to make a life-changing decision.

Knights of the Borrowed Dark is a thrilling, compulsive and completely magical story. Packed full of enthralling characters, with more action and mystery than I was expecting, this book exceeded my hopes entirely. I cant wait to read the next book, and I also can’t wait to re-read this along with my son when he gets to it!

Highly recommended!

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey

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About the book:

NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey

My thoughts:

Obviously I had seen the hype surrounding The Girl With All The Gifts at some point, as I had a copy of the book on my TBR shelves so I must have been intrigued to read it. As I said, I had see the hype, but I hadn’t read anything about it so I essentially went in blind when I started it.

Focusing on Melanie, The Girl With All The Gifts is a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel but it has a real sense of heart and humanity at its core. Melanie gets transported to class daily under armed guard but initially the reader is kept in the dark as to the reasons for this treatment.

It is really difficult to review a book with such a short blurb. I mean, clearly they want the reader to have no preconceptions going in, so I am very mindful of that and therefore not going to go into any details with this review.

I enjoyed The Girl With All The Gifts as it was something different to what I would normally choose to read. Excellent characterisation, a very intricate plot and plenty of action made it very easy to keep turning the pages. I reveled in the escape to a different world, and it definitely had me gripped.

Recommended.

 

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman 

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About the book:

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently. . .

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

My thoughts:

Firstly, big thanks go to the wonderful Gordon at Grab This Book and Tor Books for my copy of The Invisible Library. Gordon kindly suggested I should be introduced to this series, and Tor Books agreed so I was thrilled to be sent a copy.

The Invisible Library is brilliant. It’s so far removed from anything I would normally read but I found myself completely and utterly immersed in it from the beginning.

An excellent cast of characters, magic, mystery and so much bookish wonderment make The Invisible Library and absolute treasure to read. I loved every element of it. The world-building is superb, and it really makes the reader’s imagination go to work as there is so much beautiful detail within its pages.

The beauty of reading a book like The Invisible Library is knowing that it’s the first in the series. There is so much more scope for the characters, so many avenues that the author can take the reader down. I cannot wait to read the next few books and get lost in this fantastic universe again. 

Highly, highly recommended! 

*Blog Tour* Relics by Tim Lebbon

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Relics by Tim Lebbon and I get to share an excerpt with you all. First though, here’s the bookish info!

About the book:

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Beneath the surface of our world, mythological creatures and their artifacts still exist—corrupt people pay fortunes for a sliver of dragon bone, a basilisk’s scale, or an angel’s wing. Angela Gough is an American criminology student in London whose fiancé Vince disappears, and her investigation leads her into a black market specializing in arcane relics. She meets Mary Rock, a criminal of mythic status who also wants to find Vince… to kill him. Angela and a growing team of adventurers must stop this horrific trade, yet they face a growing menace as the hunted creatures begin to fight back.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

Tim Lebbon was born in London in 1969. He has been writing ever since he can remember. The first story he recalls actually finishing was when he was nine years old. It involved a train hijacking, and one of the hijackers being clumsy enough to drop his gun. Naturally the hero found the gun and went on a killing spree. Die Hard on the 10:17 from Paddington.

His first published story was in the UK indie magazine Psychotrope in 1994, and in 1997 Tanjen published his first novel Mesmer. Since then he’s had almost thirty books published in the UK and US by Bantam Spectra, Allison & Busby, Night Shade Books, Simon & Schuster, Leisure Books, PS Publishing, Necessary Evil Press, Cemetery Dance and many others.

Quite a few of his novellas and novels have been optioned for the screen, including White, Exorcising Angels, Until She Sleeps, Face, In Perpetuiry, and The Nature of Balance.

Late in 2006 Tim Lebbon became a full-time writer.

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Excerpt:

Don’t try to touch it,” Mary said, and she wasn’t even slightly out of breath. “It’s protected by an electronic field, so you’ll get electrocuted.”

“What do you mean, Vince isn’t dead?” Angela’s thoughts were in turmoil. Her skin tingled, her insides buzzed as if from electricity. Can I really afford to believe? She wanted to sit down and gather herself, center her emotions, and try to pin down exactly what was happening here, but Mary would not stop. So Angela had no choice but to follow.

“Just what I said,” she said, “but we’ll talk more about him later.” She said “him” as if spitting a vile taste from her mouth.

“If Vince isn’t dead, then who—?”

“If you discuss with anyone what you’re about to see, they’ll never believe you. You’ll be regarded as a fool. Mad. And you’ll put yourself in terrible danger.”

“From you?”

The attic was lit by a couple of bare bulbs, and there were no nods to aesthetics. Not even carpet. Mary crossed the open space and paused by an innocuous wooden door. It looked old, warped in its frame, but Mary lifted a small timber hatch to reveal an electronic lock pad.

“Make no sudden movements,” she said, fixing Angela with her gaze.

Angela smiled uncertainly, holding back a laugh. The smile slipped when Mary’s stare did not alter.

“What have you got in there?” she asked softly.

“I told you.” Mary tapped in a code. Angela tried to watch, but the woman shielded the pad with her body. The door hissed open. The timber was merely the facing to a modern metal door, with multiple locks and several small, purple lights that ran down its leading edge and must have been some form of alarm. She stepped through.

Angela followed her inside, and the door whispered shut behind them.

The room was lit by a subdued, bluish light, smoothing the bare walls and ceiling and washing across the lowered area that took up more than half the space. The two of them stood on a narrow walkway, and in a sunken pit below them—beyond a fence of narrow electrical wires on porcelain stems—was the fairy.

It was old, dusty and dead, just like the angel she had seen at Fat Frederick’s place. Coming in here, Angela had held only a shred of doubt, and as she stood there and stared, everything she had so recently experienced winnowed that doubt down to nothing.

The fairy was the size of a toddler, probably no more than three feet tall. It was displayed curled in on itself as if asleep, its graceful hands folded beneath its head, athletic legs drawn up so that its knees almost touched its chest. Even in death it retained an ethereal beauty, but there was also something troubling about the remains.

Lacerations, grazes, and impact wounds scarred its body.

Angela moved slightly to the side and crouched a little, looking closer at its face. The creature wore a frown, fossilized there forever and giving it an eternally sad visage. She wondered how it had died. She wondered who or what had killed it.

“It looks so sad,” she said.

“It is,” Mary Rock whispered.

Follow the blog tour:

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

*My thanks to Melissa Delport and TBC on Facebook for my ARC to review*

About the book:

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

My thoughts:

Holy hell Jay Kristoff!!!! What an absolutely stellar book! Nevernight took me by complete surprise in every way possible, and I absolutely loved it! 😍

I’m not going to lie, I picked up this book in June thinking “yeah I’ll get it read and reviewed ASAP” but I couldn’t get into it immediately so I left it down again and it ended up being on my goodreads currently reading shelf for SEVEN WEEKS!!! 😱

I wasted so much time (well wasted is the wrong word, as I read plenty of other books in the interim) not reading Nevernight and I wish I could take it back. It is the most immersive, captivating and beautifully written book I’ve read in a long time.

Fantasy is not really my genre to be fair. Harry Potter is probably the last fantasy series I read and it’s hard not to draw comparisons in the sense that in HP they are in a wizarding school, and in Nevernight they are essentially in a magic and murder school. I was trying to describe it to my husband recently, and the only way I could even come close was that Nevernight is like Harry Potter and Assassins Creed mixed together.

Once I was hooked, I didn’t want to leave the book down. It was all I could think about and all I wanted was to hide away and devour it completely. I loved the imagery that Jay Kristoff created in my mind, I loved the way his characters are written, I loved it all! 😍

I can’t single out a favourite character, they were all excellent in their own right. Even the bad guys, they were abhorrent but they were still so good! My emotions went through the wringer with Nevernight. I laughed, I got angry and I got upset, but it was all thanks to the excellent ability of Jay Kristoff to weave a masterful fantasy tale. And there was one little bit that spoke to me, so I had to save it:


I recommend Nevernight wholly and completely. Whether you like fantasy or not, it is an excellent novel.

Breathtaking.

All the stars for this one! 😍