Category Archives: Book Review

Review: Words of Radiance

Words of Radiance

by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Sanderson picks up the story where Way of Kings left off. Shallan, now awakened to her powers as a prospective Knight Radiant, must remember the truth of her broken family and tear away the lies she tells herself to keep her mind sane.

On the Shattered Plains, Kaladin has to adjust to his new life. No longer a slave, he’s now an officer in Dalinar’s army, charged with protecting the Highlord and his family. But his old wounds suffered at the hands of the nobility threaten to destroy his soul and shatter his bond with the spren Slyphrenia.

And Dalinar himself needs to unite his people because the Everstorm approaches. Time is running out. The warrior must become the statesmen and overcome the plotitng of his once friend now turned bitter rival, Sadeas.

If you thought Way of Kings was an amazing book, then prepare yourself for Words of Radiance. From the abusive past that has shaped Shallan into the damaged, young woman to Kaladin’s struggle to understand what it means to be a Windrunner and the power that is found in oaths he has sworn. The characters struggle against the circumstances of the world as day-by-day a disaster looms, a growing dread swells over the narrative.

Sanderson brings us back to Roshar, expanding the world even more and peeling back more of the layers. His writing is dense and packed with character growth. Ups and downs befall our characters as they all struggle against the world. This is epic fantasy at its best. This is the sort of fiction that can ignite the imagination.

The Stormlight Archive only gets better.

You can buy Words of Radiance from Amazon!

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Review: The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings

by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed by JMD Reid

On the world of Roshar, the Heralds sent by the Almighty to guide mankind in their war against a great enemy have survived the war. Most of them. For the first time ever, they don’t have to return to Hell to be tortured. They could give it all up. They could life to mankind and tell them they won. The evil has been defeated.

4500 years later, the Heralds are myths. Their great lie has become a religion. Their magic lost to time, their followers reviled as traitors who failed to live up to the Herald’s name. But those followers, the Knights Radiant, are needed once more. For the great enemy stirs once again.

I know, it sounds like your typical epic Fantasy setup. But this one is so different. Brandon Sanderson has created a wealth of characters, all broken in someway, all needing something to change int hier lives. From Kaladin, the son of a doctor and once a highly respected soldier now sold into slavery and contemplating suicide, to Shallan, the daughter of a minor noble house plotting to steal from one of the most powerful women in the world to save her family. On the Shattered Plains, Dalinar receives cryptic visions as he struggles how to hold his dead brother’s fractious kingdom while feeling guilt for the crimes he committed in the past.

For letting his brother be murdered while he lay passed out drunk at a feast.

Sanderson brings to life the alien world of Roshar. A world where humans are interlopers, struggling to survive in a world wracked by storms that make our worst hurricanes look like spring squalls. Sanderson’s growth as a writer is on full display in this epic series as he writes something to rival the greats in this genre.

If you’re a fan of epic fantasy, this is a series you have to read. It is creative, full of believable characters who struggle and suffer and fight for a better life. You’ll find yourself rooting for them as Sanderson unveils his complex story layer by layer, peeling it back as he slowly guides you deeper and deeper into the mystery of his universe.

You can buy The Way of Kings from Amazon!

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Review: The Witchwood Crown

The Witchwood Crown

by Tad Williams

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Once again, Tad Williams brings us back into Osten Ard. Over three decades have passed since the climatic battle at Green Angel Tower and the defeat of the Storm King. King Simon and Queen Miriamele have ruled the High King’s Ward to the best of their abilities. In their fifties now, they face the greatest challenge to their rule as slowly, bit by bit, a new darkness creeps in, subtle, stealing away their allies, and making new enemies beneath their very noses.

Their heir and grandson, Prince Morgan, would rather drink in taverns and bed whatever accommodating girl he can than learn statescraft. Unable to please his grandparents and haunted by memories of his own dead father, he will have to find himself if he has any chance of facing the growing darkness that seeks to engulf Osten Ard once again.

Because Uttuku, Queen of the Norns, has emerged from her decades long coma. And she hasn’t forgotten her hatred of mortals.

The Witchwood Crown is a dense story, with dozens of characters spanning across the world. From familiar characters grown old like Simon and Miriamele, to new characters, Tad Williams breathes new life into his world, building on the fallout of the last trilogy to set the stage for this new one. From politics to action, he weaves it all together wonderfully.

And it is both a treat and a sadness to revisit the world, seeing our characters grown older, some who’ve died over the years, or vanished without a trace. Other times it’s a wonderful reunion, like meeting old friends you haven’t seen in so long, catching up with them, seeing how they’ve changed in someways and how they’ve stayed the same in others. If you’re a fan of Tad Williams work, then you have to read this series.

And if you’ve never read any one of his books, he provides enough background information for you to understand this series and enjoy it. His prose flows, his characters are entertaining, and the tension that courses through the books, simmering in the background, keeps you going as it builds and builds towards its finish!

You can buy The Witchwood Crown from Amazon!

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Review: The Heart of What Was Lost

The Heart of What Was Lost

by Tad Williams

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The Storm King has fallen. The Norns have been defeated. And now Duke Isgrimnur, under the commands of the newly crowned King Seomon and Queen Miramele, seeks to end the threat of the dark and immortal race of fairies once and for all. After the misery they and their Queen caused to Osten Ard in the events of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. With them travels two Predurinese mercenaries, men far from home and thrust back into another war.

Viyeki is a Norn builder, fleeing north with the remnant of his people who survived the battle at the Hayholt. Hunted by Duke Isgrimnur’s army, seeing little hope for survival, they prepare to defend their people’s mountain fastness against the mortals. But the Norns stand at a crossroads: do they die in a hopeless standa against the mortals, or do they find a way to survive?

And will the mortals even let them?

The fate of an immortal race hangs in the balance as they pay the price for the crimes of their Queen. The Heart of What Was Lost is a fascinating story, diving into the culture of the “evil” race from the original trilogy, showing their character, the arrogance that has led to their disdain of humans, the scores of vengeance they remember inflicted upon them by men long dead, and their obsession with the past. With what was lost.

Like most fantasy series, Tad Williams ended his with the Norns defeated and assumed by the readers to be finished. But by returning to them, he has a chance of showing us a side to his enemies, to give them a chance to grow and change and learn from their mistakes. Or to cling to the past and fall into extinction.

Fans of Williams work, especially his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, need to read this book. I have a feeling it sets up his new sequel series just debuting wonderfully. It is a great Fantasy read about the clash of cultures and the weariness of war upon the soul.

You can buy The Heart of What Was Lost from Amazon!

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Review: Nyssa Glass’ and the Electric Heart

Nyssa Glass’ and the Electric Heart

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

It’s not surprising for the final Nyssa Glass novella that we return to the beginning. Back in the first book, she was hired (and strong-armed) by a mysterious person into breaking into the Dalhart manner and finding out what happened. Now that same person needs her again.

And he’ll stop at nothing to get her.

When a police investigator from her home country arrives promising to return Nyssa to justice, the young woman leaps at the opportunity to prove her innocence in the murder of her mentor Mr. Gallowy. But nothing is ever as it seems, and Ellis will have to pick up the pieces and figure out what happened to his fiancee.

Nyssa will have to use all her wits as she’s confronted with the last secret of Dalhart and the consequences of her actions in the first book.

What a conclusion to this series. Once again, we dive into the identity. What makes a person a person? What if there’s a copy of that person? Which is the original? Does being a copy make you different or the same? So many questions posed by the emotional climax of the Nyssa Glass novella.

If you haven’t read this series, then you need to. Burke has created gold with this series. It is full of heart, wonderful characters, fun action, and nerve-wracking tension. Some of the best young adult literature out there. Fans of fantasy and steampunk of all ages will love this series.

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the Electric Heart from Amazon!

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Review: The Unholy Consult

The Unholy Consult (The Aspect-Emperor Book 4)

by R. Scott Bakker

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The close to the Aspect-Emperor series is upon us. The Second of the three series that makes up the greater Second Apocalypse series. Act Two is over, and what a powerful part it was. The Great Ordeal must deal with the consequences of eating Srancs as they make the final march to Golgotterath to save the world, led by Proyas. Achamian and Mimara race to join the Holy War so the Judging Eye may finally gaze on the Aspect-Emperor himself, Anasûrimbor Kellhus.

The fate of the world hangs in the balance, resting on the shoulders of one man. But is he truly the prophet he claims to be that will save the world, or will he doom it and side with the Unholy Consult itself, trading the fate of all for freedom from Damnation.

For Bakker fans who’ve followed the books since the Prince of Nothing, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for. What will the Dûnyain do when he reaches Golgotterath and stares into the Inverse Fire. Will he betray the world to save himself or to embrace the Logos? Will he agree with the Consult’s plan to close the world from the gods and end damnation by exterminating life.

This book is tense and visceral. It hurtles you forward towards the climax with breathless anticipation. The characters we’ve followed for seven books collide together at the end. Reunions, betrayals, and more abound. Bakker keeps you on the toes. I’ve never read a Fantasy series where you felt the world could actual end.

Where you truly feared that the man destined to save it would ultimately be its destroyer.

Bakker must be praised for bringing about this dark and powerful tale and leaves you breathless for more. (And there is more coming, confirmed by the author that he’s already working on the third series). While the ending is shocking and leaves you wanting more, there is so much to this book to digest, to mull over, and ponder as we wait for more.

Once again, Bakker reminds us why he’s one of the best writing fantasy today.

You can buy The Unholy Consult from Amazon!

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Review: Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (Bobby Dollar Book 3)

Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (Bobby Dollar Book 3)

by Tad Williams

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Bobby Dollar (Doloriel to the heavenly host) is an earthbound angel, an advocate fighting to keep souls out of hell. After the events of the last two novels, he is in a whole lot of trouble with Heaven. His personal judgment day approaches and he has to work fast to keep from being damned.

But when one of his judges is the very angel who has betrayed him and seeks to bury him for what he knows, things look grim. Worse, his girlfriend, the demon Casmira, remains imprisoned in Hell. His only shot of saving her is finding the demon horn kept by Anaias, proof of the angel’s bargain with Hell.

With the help of his angel friends and two lesbian amazons, Bobby will have to deal with a vengeful goddess, an insane group of modern-day Nazis, and the very bureaucracy of Heaven to uncover the truth of what’s been going on and to save his girlfriend from eternal torment.

It’s a lot for one angel to do.

The final Bobby Dollar novel keeps the fast paced and twisting plots of the first. Williams peels back his mythology even farther, showing us the layers of world building that went into this well-thought out trilogy. Characters are tested, friendships are strained, and lives are lost against one goddess eager to get back what she lost.

If you’re a fan of fast-paced stories, exciting adventures, and urban fantasy, you need to check out the Bobby Dollar Trilogy. And if you’ve read the first two books, you need to see how this story ends.

You can buy Sleeping Late on Judgement Day from Amazon!

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Review: The Warrior Prophet (The Prince of Nothing 2)

The Warrior Prophet (The Prince of Nothing 2)

by R. Scott Bakker

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The Warrior Prophet picks up where the Darkness that Comes Before ended. Bakker expands on the world of his story as the Holy War marches south towards Fanim lands with Cnaiür urs Skiötha advising the Great Lords on how to prosecute the war. And with Cnaiür marches Kellhus, the Prince of Nothing, a man on a mission to kill his father. To accomplish that he must seize the Holy War as his instrument, defeat the Fanim, and wipe out the Cisharuim whom Kellhus deduces his father must be a member of.

With Kellhus travels Achamian who falls into his favorite role as teacher. Still reeling from discovering the Consult’s skinspies, abominations who can take a person’s appearance and pose as them, Achamian is unsure what to do about Kellhus. He is the harbinger of the Second Apocalypse. The world is at stake and yet Achamian cannot bring himself to tell his fellow Mandate wizards. He knows they would seize Kellhus.

And Achamian, like almost all who meet Kellhus, has grown fond of him. He cannot betray his genius pupil. He has been seduced into believing exactly what Kellhus wants. For Kellhus is Dunyain, bred to an intellect beyond normal men. To him, emotions are merely the yoke he enslaves those around him.

To possess the Holy War, Kellhus must become a prophet. Through lies, truths, and manipulation, Kellhus sets about manufacturing the circumstances of his new role. But the powerful take note from the Consult to Conphas, and intrigue and danger swirls about Kellhus and his companions.

The Warrior Prophet continues the level of intrigue, politics, complex characters, and philosophy of the first book, adding to it the brutalities of war. The Holy War is holy in name only as its fighters commit atrocities on their long-hated enemies. Bakker captures the full swath of human nature, the good, the bad, and the ugly, exposing it with an unflinching eye.

You can buy The Warrior Prophet from Amazon!

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Review: The Traitor’s Fate

The Traitor’s Fate (A Queen of Thieves Novel)

by Andy Peloquin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

A decade has passed since Illanna became head of the Night Guild and their war with the Bloody Hand, a rival gang from the city of Voramis, approaches its end. She wants to stop them smuggling drugs and prostitutes into her city once and for all.

When she gets a lead on the agent behind their current plots, she decides to travel to Voramis with her most trusted agents. She’s walking right into the Bloody Hand’s territory. If she’s not careful, she could bring down the entire Night’s Guild.

The Traitor’s Fate is a bridge between Andy Peloquin’s two book series an epilogue to one and a prologue to the other. If you’ve read any of his Hunter of Voramis series, then you will recognize where this story ends, leading right to the start of that story (soon to be republished under a new title). It also adds as a nice resolution to Illanna’s story, showing how she, her lover, and her son are doing a decade into her rule of the Night Guild.

This story was a delight to read, stepping one last time into Peloquin’s world, adventuring with Illanna once more before handing off the story baton to his other protagonist and the bittersweet knowledge of where that story is heading.

Fans of Peloquin will love this series, and if you enjoy Grimdark Fantasy then you need to take a look at his catalog. The Night Guild Trilogy and his upcoming series about the Hunter of Voramis are indie treats worth reading!

You can buy Queen of the Night Guild form Amazon!

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Review: Queen of the Night Guild

Queen of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves 3)

by Andy Peloquin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Fire has stolen everything Illanna has left to live for. The thief of the Night Guild, a brutal criminal organization, thought her freedom was at hand only to have the hungry flames destroy everything. Now all she wants is revenge.

She wants to find who in the Night Guild betrayed her to their rivals, the Bloody Hand. She will do anything to stop them, even if it means saving what she hates. Illanna has been driven to her limits. A woman with nothing to lose is a very dangerous thing.

Peloquin brings to a close his trilogy with an explosion. The pace never lets up from beginning to end as Illanna reels from one catastrophe to another as she struggles to piece together what is going on, trying to save what friends remain to her, and to get revenge upon those who have destroyed what she cares most for. The brutal world Peloquin created does not let up here in this final stage.

If you’re a fan of fantasy with great world building and mature themes, then you need to read Pelonquin’s writing. He delves into the dark reaches of the human soul to illuminate what glitter can be found shrouded by shadows of greed, depravity, and despair.

If you read the first books in this series, then you will not be disappointed by the ending. And if you haven’t read Pelonquin’s books, then you need to delve into this amazing Indie fantasy author!

You can buy Queen of the Night Guild form Amazon!

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