Category Archives: Book Review

Review: The Final Redemption (Mageborn Book Five)

The Final Redemption (Mageborn Book Five)

by Michael G. Manning

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Six months after Mordecai died, his body wakes up. In the final moment of his life, he had defeated the deranged undead. Unfortunately, he took his place. Now an uncaring shadow of his former self, he has to find a way to save a world that he can hardly care for and protect a family who feasr what he has become.

Meanwhile, Penny, Mordecai’s widow, still grieves. She struggles to hold her family together while the threat of the dark god looms on the horizon. Her friends and family want to help her move on. For political reasons, she’ll have to remarry soon.

How can she when she still mourns for Mort?

As Mordecai struggles to find a way to not only save the world but end his miserable existence, a plot simmers in the capital that will threaten his family and friends. With his death, King James’s position has become precarious. His enemies salivate.

The finale of Mageborn is here and it is a wild read. Manning is a bold author. He isn’t afraid to put his characters is perils positions. And what’s more perilous than your main character on the verge of becoming more a danger to the world than anyone else? Over the series, we’ve come to learn what it means to be like Mordecai. His very touch drains life. He desires to reunite with his wife, twisted to feed on her life so he can feel emotions again.

He’s become a drug addict who needs to drain way life to get his rush. It’s a powerful story. It delves into the past and why our dark god wants to destroy everything. Understanding his motive is the key to his defeat.

Can Mordecai do it? Can he keep from destroying those he loves before he can save them?

This book was hard to put down. I’ve enjoyed this series and want to read more in this world!

You can buy The Final Redemption from Amazon.

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Review: Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen 3)

Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen 3)

by Steven Erikson

Reviewed by JMD Reid

 

In Genbackis, in the aftermath of Pale and Darijistan, Dujek One-Arm and his Malazan army have gone renegade against the Empress. They need allies now to deal with a rising threat in the south, the Pannion Seer and his cannibalistic empire.

They must reach out to their enemies, Caladan Brood and his alliance against the Malazans. They have to parley with him and hammer out an alliance between dispirited groups, including the revelation that the child Silverfox contains the souls of two Malazan sorceresses reborn into a new entity.

Paran, now commanding the Bridgeburners, has to grapple with his new powers growing in him mixed with his lingering affection for Tattersail, one of the souls forming the child Silverfox. He needs to deal with the growing incursion of the Crippled God interfering in the world. This growing threat may be behind many dark events rippling across the world.

In Capustan, the Gray Shields have been hired to defend the city from the approaching army of the Pannion Seer. A religious, mercenary group dedicated to the God Fener who suffered mishap on the far side of the world. As the Pannion Seer approaches, they face the impossible task of saving the city from the cannibal horde and the demonic undead about to tear them apart.

Lastly, the T’lan Imass gather, summoned by Silverfox. The undead’s 100,000-year long war may finally be coming to an end if Silverfox grants them what they crave: freedom from the mistake they made all those eons ago.

And that’s just some of the storylines found in this book.

War, death, love, guilt, forgiveness, and grief fill the pages of Memories of Ice. A powerful novel with dozens of compelling character all vying for their own goals, trying to overcome the danger of the Panion Seer and fix the wrongs that happened in the distant past.

This story is epic and dark, full of brief moments of joy amid that dark depths of humanity. Erikson shows us how the human spirit can be wrapped and mangled, how entire civilizations can go mad and descended into barbarity. Erikson never finches from the worst aspects of humanity. Despite that, his characters fight for themselves, for those they love, for strangers that they never met but are united against the same fight against the horrors of war and genocide.

Memories of Ice is one of the most compelling fantasy books I’d ever read.

You can buy Memories of Ice from Amazon!

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Review: Crucible of Fate (Heirs of Destiny 2)

Crucible of Fate (Heirs of Destiny 2)

by Andy Peloquin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Things are off to an explosive start. In the aftermath of the Gatherers attack on the Pharus’s palace, Briana is fully orphaned. Her father, with all his knowledge, died to save the day. Before she can even grieve, her enemies are already moving against her. How can she find revenge as she’s thrown from the house she’s always known.

Evren and Hailen are forced to come clean with their secrets as they realized that Kodyn and Aisha also plan their own theft in the city of the dead. Though the two groups are after different artifacts, all are contained in the same Serenii tomb. And thanks to Hailen’s blood, he’s the only one with a chance of unraveling those secrets.

But how can Kodyn and Aisha complete their mission with the city being thrown into chaos? The Gatherers and their death cult also have to be stopped. As Kodyn pursues his criminal contacts, Aisha has to grapple with her burgeoning powers.

The same powers that led to her father’s madness and death. Will she suffer the same fate?

Last, Issa is ordered to guard Briana in honor of her father’s sacrifice. The Blade in training will have to steal deal with the hatred of her superior who seems to want to destroy her. How can she defend Briana and maintain her brutal training regimen? A Blade has to be stronger than flesh. Will hers sustain her?

The plot threads started in the first book are all tightened here as her disparate characters are now working and fighting together. They have to figure out the Gatherer’s plans and how the priests of the Long Keeper are involved. Politics, civil instability, and prophecy that may be fulfilled by a Buddhist-like man all spin together. Peloquin drives the story forward while adding plenty of twists and turns. This book rushes forward towards its exciting climax.

If you like Peloquin’s books, then this will be a welcomed thrill. Fans of exciting fantasy need to check out this series. You don’t have to read the other books in this world (though they will only enhance your enjoyment of this series) to dive into this series.

Peloquin has created a fantastic world for his readers to explore!

You can buy Crucible of Fate from Amazon. Check out Andy Peloquin’s website, connect on Linked In, follow him on Google Plus, like him on Twitter @AndyPeloquin, and like him on Facebook.

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REVIEW: Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen 1)

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen 1)

by Steven Erikson

Reviewed by JMD Reid

 

The siege of Pale ends with the devastation of the famed Bridgeburners and the decimation of the Malazan Army’s mage cadre. Stunned by these events, the survivors suspect they have been betrayed by members of their own armies. Tattersail, the surviving mage, enters into a bargain with Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his surviving men to uncover the truth.

On the other side of the world, in the heart of the Malazan Empire, an entire section of the coast, several villages, and an army have been massacred. A young officer, Ganoes Paran, and the Adjutant of the Empress embark on a trail for the culprit that leads them to Pale and to a member of Whiskeyjack’s own squad.

In the city of Darujistan, the last of the Free Cities of Genebackis not conquered by the Malazan Empire, politics flare as some wish to capitulate to the Empire and others seek an alliance with the mysterious Anomander Rake who nearly single-handily stopped the Empire’s siege of Pale. In this city, a young thief named Crokus is about to be a pawn of the mischievous gods of luck while an assassin’s war explodes through the rooftop.

In the city of Darujistan, all these disparate characters meet, converge, and clash as Malazan Book of the Fallen begins.

I have never read a fantasy series like Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen. History breathes in his books. You have the feeling that you are in the middle of some grand epic. Characters have rich backstories that would make an interesting series, and this is just the start of one new chapter in their varied histories. Gods, powerful Ascendants, lowly mages, undead warriors, thieves, and more. It is like a D&D campaign on crack.

Erikson pulls all these various characters, dozens of them, with their own goals. Each is a rich character brought to life. They clash, merge, and explode apart in ways you can’t imagine. It is a breathtaking read that keeps you turning until the converging climax.

Thus starts Malazan Book of the Fallen, the annals of the dead soldiers of this vast empire as its activities span the world as they challenge gods, dictators, and corruption within their own nation. This military fantasy is one of the best out there.

You can buy Gardens of the Moon from Amazon!

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Review: Trial of Stone

Trial of Stone (Heirs of Destiny 1)

by Andy Peloquin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Three stories intertwined in Trial of Stone!

Peloquin is back with a new story set in his universe that the Hunter and the Night Guild fill. Kodyn and Aisha, members of the Night Guild, are traveling to the City of Shalandra, escorting Briana back to her father after her kidnapping. They also have another goal: to steal the Crown of Pharus.

To achieve full membership in the Night Guild, Kodyn has to prove his worth. He has a bold idea to use his connection with Briana to get his hands on the most valuable jewels of the Shalandrans. Not only will he have to figure out how to steal the crown, but he’ll have to protect Briana from the Gathers, the cult that kidnapped her in the first place.

Meanwhile, Evren, the young thief who helped the Hunter, has been hired by the Beggar Priests to recover a deadly artifact from the hands of the Shalandrans. The church believes that their treasured Blade of Hallor is a deadly weapon similar to the Hunter’s. The church needs it stolen before a prophecy is fulfilled.

Unbeknownst to Evren and his escort, the young lad Hailen has stolen away with them. The ward of the Hunter has powers in his blood. The power of the long-dead Serenii flow through his veins. Evren will have to keep him safe while figuring out how to get his hands on the Blades.

Lastly, Issa, a poor citizen of Shalandra, has snuck into the proving fight to become a Blade of the Long Keeper, a deadly order of warriors devoted to protecting the city. They are sworn to the God of Death, drawing power. If she can survive her trial, then she will earn her position even with her low rank in the city.

She’s up against a horde of youths who all want the same thing. She’ll have to fight with not just her limbs, but with her brain. Quick wits will see her threw as much as strong arms. Will she make it?

These three stories swirl around in this fast-paced, fantasy novel. Andy Peloquin is building on the work of his last two series to have a new series. His world is large enough to hold all manner of interesting stories, and book one is off to a great start.

The story flows fast. The characters are fun. Each plot line has its own goals that, on the surface, seem to have nothing to do with each other. Peloquin guides his story well. Character decisions flow organically, and only a few coincidences get the plot going.

It’s a great, fun story that fantasy fans of all ages can read. No need to have enjoyed his earlier works, though, of course, they will only add color to this exciting tale! If you’re a fan of good fantasy, then check out Peloquin’s work!

You can buy Trial of Stone from Amazon. Check out Andy Peloquin’s website, connect on Linked In, follow him on Google Plus, like him on Twitter @AndyPeloquin, and like him on Facebook.

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Review: Heart of the Lotus (Children of Stone 4)

Heart of the Lotus (Children of Stone 4)

by Mary R. Woldering

Reviewed by JMD Reid

At the end of the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the Sojourner Marai has been reunited with Naibe and Arriennu. His other woman Deka, however, remains with the violent prince Maatkare who even know makes plans to attack Marai’s new allies.

In Ineb Hedj, the ancient name for Cairo, a new pharaoh makes preparations to ascend the throne while learning just how dangerous the hold priest Hordjedetf can be. The priest Wsekere and his princess consort Khemntie must discover a secret before Hordjedtef can seize the power for himself.

The Children of the Stone shape those they possess towards their own goals. What will happen as the powers of Ancient Egypt clash? What new events will be unleashed? How will new revelations affect the characters in their bid for power, knowledge, and faith?

Woldering’s series continues to show her deep knowledge of Ancient Egyptian, Summerian, and Semetic mythology and history, blending real figures who lived with mystical events. She feels in the gaps left in the recorded history of Ancient Egypt as her character contest with the events that shaped the mythologies for millennia to come.

Heart of the Lotus goes from revelation to tense situations, ending on a powerful moment. Events are moving and the true enemy of all may finally be revealed. Delve into the ancient past, to the beliefs of peoples who, though dead, have shaped our modern world down through the centuries.

A fabulous blend of history and fiction. Lovers of this genre need to check out this indie gem!

You can buy Heart of the Lotus from Amazon!

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Review of The Redemption of Athalus

The Redemption of Athalus

by David Eddings

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Athalus, an unrepentant thief, is having a string of bad luck. All his life, Luck has helped him succeed in all his capers. And then he decided to visit the rich cities. Instead of a string of successes, he has one mistake after another.

Frustrated, he returns to the territory he knows best. He’s learned his lesson. Only when he enters his normal haunt, a man named Ghent wants to hire the thief to rob the House at the World and steal a book. Eager for the challenge, and hoping his luck has returned, Athalus agrees.

Only the occupant of the house had other ideas. Esmerelda the Cat has a mission to rehabilitate the thief and turn him into the savior of the world!

The Redemption of Athalus is a book fans of Eddings will love. Athalus is like Belgarath the Sorcerer mixed with Talen, with Esmerelda Aphrodite grown up. It’s a fun read if you like Eddings style, but it is full of Deus ex. The plot may not have the most agency to it, but the characters and their interactions shine. A host of colorful characters are recruited by our thief on his path of redemption and join the fight against the dark god. This could have almost been a book series in and of itself, but Eddings keeps the plot focused. It flows and moves.

If you’ve never read Eddings, I would start with Pawn of Prophecy or the Diamond Throne, but if you’ve read most of his books and enjoyed them, then you have to give this book a try!

You can purchase The Redemption of Athalus from Amazon!

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Review: Belgarath the Sorcerer

Belgarath the Sorcerer

by David Eddings

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Belgarath the Sorcerer is the oldest human alive. He’s lived for 7000 years, guiding the fates of men and kingdoms for the day that Garion would come along and defeat Torak and save the world. He has endured hardship and loss in that time.

Now he tells his tale in full.

From his youth as a rural thief fleeing from the constraints of parochial society to the most powerful man alive barging into the throne rooms to berate kings, Belgarath tells it all. He’s a rogue. A scoundrel. He’s at home debating philosophy as he is drinking in a tavern. He has witnessed some of the most pivotal moments of history.

This book is fan service and I love it for that.

There are very little new things to learn here. Sure, you get more details about things you’ve heard, and Eddings is able to fill in some holes. He covers it all. His timeline fits together well. There are a few differences between narrations and what we learn in the Belgariad and Mallorean, but as we see with the followup book, Eddings put deliberate errors in. Belgarath is telling his story his way. The way he remembers it. The way he sees it.

So there might be one or two things different than you expect, but overall, there are no surprises. It is all backstory. It still has some great moments between characters, some touching scenes, and his relationship with Polgara as it develops is a delight to see how they ended up in their current state. It took care to make this book, and it shows.

Despite the fact I normally hate prequels, there is just something fun about diving back into the world of the Belgariad once more. Belgarath the Sorcerer and its sequel gave us one last chance to enjoy this fun series. It’s like visiting an old friend.

If you’re a fan of the Belgariad/Mallorean, you have to read this book, but I wouldn’t start here. This will spoil just about everything in those series since it is being written by Belgarath at the end of it. So read those amazing fantasy adventure novels first!

Belgarath the Sorcerer has Eddings wit, good humor, and delightful characters on full display. Writing irascible characters like Belgarath is something Eddings is a master of. The prose flows, the commentary from Belgarath entertains. A fantastic read!

You can purchase Pawn of Prophecy from Amazon!

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Review: Shattered Night (The Extraction List 4)

Shattered Night (The Extraction List 4)

by Renee N. Meland

Reviewed by JMD Reid

In a world where economic collapse has plunged even the U.S. into the third world, Riley, her boyfriend Cain, and her friends are returning from a mission to rescue Olivia from a life of forced prostitution in Italy. Thinking they found a safe place for Cain to recover from his injuries, instead, they find their new home under the control of the sadistic Keagan.

An old enemy of Cain, Keagan is eager to get revenge on the freedom fighter. Riley and her friends are going to have to find a way to survive in a town where all the weapons are in Keagan’s control. Can they buy enough time for Cain to recover before Keagan executes his plan of revenge?

Shattered night is the fast-paced conclusion of the Extraction List! This dystopian, young adult series is a wild read. The plot twists and turns as the fortunes ebb and flow for the heroes. Meland keeps you on your toes while the story keeps you reading.

This is the definition of a page-turner.

The characters are raw and real. The emotions punch you hard. This series is a must-read for fans of the genre!

Leave Me Lost is available from Amazon.

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Review: Skyward

Skyward

by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed by JMD Reid

It’s hard being the daughter of a coward.

Spensa, a young girl living on an alien planet, wants to be a pilot like her father. An alien race known as the Krell have driven Spensa and her people to Detritus, a planet far from Earth. Three generations back, their spaceship crash-landed here while the incredible orbital debris keeps them pinned on the planet. As a child, her father was among the first to fight back.

Only in the middle of a pivotal battle, he fled.

Living with the stigma of his cowardice, Spensa wants to prove her own worth. She wants to be a pilot like him, but will her society let her? While they espouse equality and merit, will she ever truly be allowed to fight to protect her people?

Skyward is about a young woman struggling to get out from the shadow of her father. It’s a story about pain and loss, hope and duty. It’s a story about the resilience of the human spirit in the worst of circumstances, a tale of belief and faith. Is Spensa like her father? Will she be a coward, too?

Or can she make her own destiny?

This was a fast-paced and engrossing story. Sanderson has penned another excellent tale, this time in the science-fiction universe. It’s not the hardest science, the technology is never explained, but it’s well-written. It’s full of great characters and powerful emotions.

This is a must-read for fans of Sanderson and good stories alike!

You can buy Snapshot from Amazon!

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