To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

TKAK.jpg

About the book:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all.

With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most – a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavoury hobby – it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good.

But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

My thoughts:

Buy the damn book.

Can I just leave it at that?! Because I can’t seem to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed To Kill A Kingdom…

I’ve been switching genres lately because I find I get sick of the same kind of stuff if I read a load of similar books, so when I saw To Kill A Kingdom on my kindle I figured I would give it a go. It is a YA fantasy with sirens, mermaids and pirates. It sounded like it would be a fun read, and its safe to say it was that and more!

To Kill A Kingdom kept me company on a flight to Prague recently. I spent the entire plane journey reading it, and found myself over halfway through by the time we landed, I just couldn’t stop reading.

Princess Lira is a siren. She collects the hearts of princes by ripping them from their chests. When Lira has to kill one of her own, her sea queen mother punishes her by making her into something that her kind hate. A human. Enter Prince Elian. A siren hunter, heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Lira must kill Prince Elian in order to be returned to the sea. And there begins the real story.

I don’t want to go into too much detail. Partly because I don’t want to spoil the story for you guys, but also because I’m still struggling to find all of the good words to explain how much I loved this book.

To Kill A Kingdom hooked me from the beginning. It has a great cast of characters, way more action than I was expecting, and Alexandra Christo has created a truly wonderful world for this book. I loved the story, how it all played out, how beautifully drawn the book is as a whole.

Captivating, magical and haunting, To Kill A Kingdom is definitely one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. So much so, that I am actively looking for books that even come marginally close to this engaging gem, so if you know of any, shout at me in the comments!

Also, I raved about it so much that my husband (who isn’t actually a big reader) read it and he really liked it too! 🙂

I’ll end this review the same way I started it…

Buy the damn book!

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Blood of Assassins by RJ Barker

BoA.jpg

About the book:

TO SAVE A KING, KILL A KING . . .
The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels. The place he knew no longer exists.
War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.

Blood of Assassins: (The Wounded Kingdom Book 2) by RJ Barker

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:

In Blood of Assassins, we’re back with Girton Club-Foot and his master, Merela. Events in the previous book have led them back to the the Maniyadoc, where there is a fight for the crown between three kings, one of whom is Girton’s old friend, Rufra.

The place is ravaged by war, with some truly horrible new threats to the characters in this book. If I could read with my hands over my eyes, it still wouldn’t be enough.

So, there is apparently a traitor in Rufra’s midst, and there is a plot to murder him. Girton is tasked with trying to find out who is responsible. What follows is an epic ride across the various encampments, gathering information, and with plenty of bloodshed along the way.

Girton has more than just this to contend with though. There is an inner struggle taking place for him, but he can’t confide in anyone, and more than once it is nearly his ruin. I don’t want to say any more. Except maybe that there is a really unexpected and satisfying arc for a recurring character, but you’ll have to read it to learn for yourself because I am not spoiling it!

If you like fantasy with heart, great characters and clever world-building then you definitely need to add Blood of Assassins to your TBR. You won’t be disappointed.

Highly recommended!

Much blood. Much assassins. #TeamGirton

 

Previous reviews:

Age of Assassins by RJ Barker 

The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn

thf.jpg

*Many thanks to the author for my review copy*

About the author:

S C Flynn was born in a small town in South West Western Australia. He has lived in Europe for a long time; first the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of his ancestors. He still speaks English with an Australian accent, and fluent Italian.

He reads everything, revises his writing obsessively and plays jazz. His wife Claudia shares his passions and always encourages him.

S C Flynn has written for as long as he can remember and has worked seriously towards becoming a writer for many years.

THE HIDDEN FACE (November 2017) is his second novel and the first in the Fifth Unmasking epic fantasy series.

About the book:

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years, the sun god, the Akhen takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal death of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a warrior woman named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

Powerful enemies want the secret as well, including a dynasty of magician-kings who were thought to have died out long before, a mad, murderous hunchback and a beautiful, deadly woman who is never seen. Sunniva and Dayraven fight to survive and to solve the mystery while their own pasts come back to life and the attraction between them deepens.

The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, I found The Hidden Face really hard to get into initially. It was really laden with details and names and I found myself getting confused early on. However, once the main characters met, and they found themselves thrown together to unravel the clues left for them, it really picked up the pace.

Dayraven find his old teacher brutally murdered, ad he is left something that makes him question everything. Enter Sunniva, a female warrior who can help him on his quest for the truth.

At this point, the book pick s up pace as they work together to solve clues left for them to uncover the truth of an ancient secret. It really draws the reader in, as you become invested in their quest.

The Hidden Face is a very intriguing read. It has some excellent characters along with some intricate world-building. I particularly enjoyed seeing the relationship between Dayraven and Sunniva shift as the book changed its course.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, this is definitely one to add to your list.

Recommended for sure!

 

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:

emc

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 

rjb.jpg

*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

img_6278

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

tgwatg

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.