Tag Archives: Book Review

Review: Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid

Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid

by H.L. Burke

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Settled into their new life, Nyssa and Ellis have opened their own repair shop. They need this business to be successful as Ellis’s money is dwindling fast. But when they catch a pickpocket trying to steal Ellis’s possessions, Nyssa sees herself in the young boy, something Ellis recognizes. The couple adopts the boy, to give him a new life like Nyssa had from her dead mentor.

But the cutpurse entering their life couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Nyssa’s past has caught up. Her uncle, the man who turned her into a thief, appears. Not dead, like his criminal partners had claimed when they tried to use Nyssa, but in prison for the last decade. Thinking Nyssa must have quite the stash, he wants his cut.

And he’ll do anything to get it.

The theme of identity comes up over and over in these books, from the computer AI in the first novella, to the true identity of the young couple in the last book. Now Nyssa’s true identity as a thief is released to her new community by the man who made her into one. It’s a tense story as you watch all Nyssa and Ellis’s hard work to start over ruined by a greedy man who doesn’t understand the true meaning of family.

Like the other Nyssa Glass novellas, this one has heart that keeps you reading. Burke has really found magic with the characters of Nyssa and Ellis, and you want them to succeed against the obstacles laid out before them. Another excellent novella.

Fans of fantasy and steampunk need to check out this delightful young adult novella.

You can buy Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid from Amazon!

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Review of The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price

by C.L. Schneider

Reviewed by JMD Reid

b00hew3szq-01-lzzzzzzzIan Troy is haunted by his past and his abilities. He is a Shinree, a race who can use magic. But magic always comes with a price. To cast a spell, something living has to die. When Ian Troy decides to end the war between his nation, Rella, and the Langorians using the fabled artifact the Crown of Stone, magic’s price goes two far killing both armies and his lover, Queen Aylagar.

Ten years later, Troy has vowed to never use magic again. Fear and reviled as the man who killed so many people, he exists as a bounty hunter, staying on the fringes of society trying to forget his guilt. But events are moving again and Troy finds himself embroiled in a plan that will affect all the nations of the world.

Once again, Troy will be forced to use magic to protect Rella and his friends as he faces against a Shinree who wants to restore the glory of their enslaved people. A people addicted to magic fed off living creatures’ deaths.

Schneider’s writes a fast-paced plot, zooming from one catastrophe to the other as Troy has to react to the machinations of his enemy while trying to protect those around him. He fights against the call of magic, battling it like an alcoholic battling his demons. The only problem—the alcoholic doesn’t need to drink to have the power to protect Rella and those he cares for.

Troy does.

Schneider explores the moral question of what to do with a race of beings that has to kill living creatures to fuel their addictive magic. Especially when said magic is so useful from oracles, to healers, to soldiers capable of fighting with more skill, and even teleportation. Should they be enslaved by drugs? Set free? Or exterminated? With magic’s price so high, there are no easy answers as she explores this dilemma through the unfolding plot.

The use of first person for a fantasy novel was interesting. It is not often done, but it works great here. She keeps the book entirely from Troy’s perspective and since he is at the fulcrum of the enemy’s plans, it keeps his character right in the heart of the action. If you’re a fan of fast paced writhing, exciting action, and romantic encounters then you’ll enjoy the first in the Crown of Stone trilogy.

You can buy Crown of Stone-Magic Price from Amazon!

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Review of Shed Some Light (The Monster Series Book 3)

Shed Some Light (The Monster Series Book 3)

by Amber Naralim

Reviewed by JMD Reid

b01m354oqj-01-lzzzzzzzAfter the disastrous events of Into the Black, Ellie, her monstrous lover Vincent, and Reese, Vincent’s brother, have returned to the safe house. There they try to settle down with the others who had their lives disrupted by the shady organization breeding new monsters. But Ellie itches to get back out and hunt the other monsters she freed rescuing her brother Edward, chaffing at playing house.

Edward also battles his own demons. He was experimented on, transformed into a deadly version of the monsters, and fights to keep control of his dark impulses with the help of his blind lover Anna. But the urges to kill, to hurt, to cause fear lurk in his depth.

The household tries to heal, everyone of the residents scarred in their own ways. But when women who look like Anna began being murdered, they fear one the monster Delilah has found them and it will only be a matter of time before more pain and suffering are inflicted.

Naralim builds on the foundation of her two previous books, using the characters she has built and nurtured, using that as the strength of this novel. Where the previous two relied on fast-paced action to drive the narrative, Shed Some Light is stationary, rooted in a small house in the remote country of Canada. Here the characters, their relationships, struggles, hopes, and fears drive the plot.

And she pulls of this transition flawlessly. Her writing has never been stronger. The depth of her characters sustains this novel all on their own so when things start getting tense, you’re all the more anxious because you care for these characters.

Naralim blew me away with the depth of her storytelling and the tragedy of the tale she unfolds. If you haven’t read Walking with Monsters, do so. Then read Into the Black, and then read this amazing book!

You can buy Into the Black from Amazon.

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Review: Bands of Mourning

Bands of Mourning

by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed by JMD Reid

B00R697BC8.01.LZZZZZZZIt is the day of Wax and Steris’s wedding, and he is not ready to remarry. The wounds of being forced to kill his first wife for the second time still haunts Wax. His marriage to Sterris is one of political and economic necessity. But Wax has promised to marry her, and he will grit his teeth and get through the ceremony.

Of course, nothing ever goes right around Wax. When a kandra shows up needing Wax’s help and the nearby water tower collapses and floods the church in the middle of the ceremony, another adventur has begun. In New Seran, a kandra has almost been killed after coming across the location of the Lord Rulers bracers, the Bands of Mourning. Reputed to be the source of the Lord Rulers inhuman powers, they are coveted by all, including Wax’s devious uncle and the nefarious group he works for.

Not wanting to help Harmony and the kandra after their betrayal, but unable to resist the urge to hunt his uncle down and recover his kidnap sister, Wax joins the group. Accompanied by his disreputable friend Wayne, the intrepid constable Marsai, his fiancee Steris, and the kandra MeLaan, Wax heads off on an adventure that will change everything for the people of Elendel.

Bands of Mourning was a rollercoaster ride. Brandon weaves almost every pulp story in existence into this tale from Westerns (including a classic train robbery), detective story, and more (I don’t want to spoil this one). Wax and his group have never faced such danger as they try to dicover what the mysterious Set, the shadowy organization bent seizing power in Elendel. The characters have grown and changed, but Steris really shines. In Alloy of Law I did not like her. I wanted Wax to end up with Marsai. But the last two books, especially this one, shows just how great a match she is for Wax.

But there’s more than just Wax’s love life in this book. So much happens. Just when you thought you understood how Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy works, Brandon throws curve balls. MeLaan and Wayne continue to entertain, and it’s great seeing how far Marsai has come from the first book where she blushed at everything (though she does have her occasional blush).

The stakes only grow higher in this book, setting the stage for the final book in the Mistborn Era 2 series, The Last Metal. This book packed some emotional wallops. There were times I was at the edge of my seat, my stomach twisting in disbelief at what was happening.

If you’re a fan of Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn, and the Cosmere, you will eat this book up. And if you’ve never read Brandon Sanderson, you are missing out. Pick up the first Mistborn book (this is not the place to start) and fall in love with one of the modern masters of Fantasy.

Bands of Mourning is available from Amazon.

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Review: Born of Water (Rise of the Fifth Order Book 1)

Born of Water (Rise of the Fifth Order Book 1)

by Autumn M. Brit

Reviewed by JMD Reid

81vG6hkWFyL._SL1500_On the night of the summer solstice festival, Niri, an acolyte of the Church pf the Four Orders, hunts through the streets of to find the girls he had witnessed during the ceremony. The girl had shone with potential—she was an Elemental. And Niri had to find her. Niri was a water elemental, like all elementals, she was raised by the Church, taken from her family at a young age. And if she doesn’t find this girl and returns empty handed, she knows her punishment will be sever.

But when she finds Ria, the potential, with her best friend Lavina and Lavina’s brother Ty, Niri can’t bring herself to ruin this girl’s life. But when a group of armed men accost the group, Ria uses magic. Not elemental powers, but the forbidden arts that had caused a war a thousand years ago.

Panic fills Niri. She knows that the Curse, a shape-changing beast bred to hunt down mages, is even now coursing from the Temple of Solaire to hunt them down. Niri can’t stand by and let this young, innocent girl be killed and flees with Lavinia, Ria, and Ty by boat, sailing south to the lost Temple of Dust where, according to a message from Niri’s mentor, answers might be found.

Born of Water is a fun read. Autumn sets the stage right from the beginning, putting you in Niri’s panic mind as she searches the city for Ria while reflecting on the cruelties the Church of the Four Orders is capable of committing. When she decides to betray her order and join the youths in flight, you understand why.

The journey is full of much bickering. Niri is the oldest, but she’s barely an adult, and Ria and Lavinia are teenagers. Their flight is punctuated by teenage squabbling and angst that seems quite real, but can be a little tiresome.

But the book really shines with the magic, from the way Niri’s eyes cry tears of lavender when she works magic, to the battle between elementals. The action scenes are crisp and imaginative, with some creative uses of the powers. The book has a level of adrenaline through much of it that keeps you reading, wanting to find out what new obstacle the band of four will have to contend with as they sail the world. And while the teenage angst can be annoying, it fades as the four work through their problems.

If you’re a fan of fantasy and great world building, then you’ll love Born of Water. I can’t wait to start reading the sequel, Rule of Fire. Born of Water is a great foundation for a fantasy series!

You can buy Born of Water from Amazon. Follow Autumn on twitter @Weifarer and check out her blog.

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Review: The Wastelanders by Tim Hemlin

The Wastelanders

by Tim Hemlin

Reviewed by JMD Reid

 

In the future, ecological disaster has struck the world.

51xGYBugSbL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The US has survived by building domes to protect their city and desalination plants to provide water. The great President Litz kept the country from sliding into chaos by bending the Constitution. The Cartel, the company that owns the desalination plants, is the greatest political power in the country.

Those that disagree with the direction of the US, who yearn for political or religious freedom, or have fled the rules of society  dwell in the Wastelands of the central United States. These Wastelanders are a diverse group of cults, opportunist, and criminals.

When Bernie Hawke, a former cop turned security officer, had a bad bout of food poisoning, his life was saved. Desalination Plant #23 in the Houston Bubble was destroyed and Bernie becomes the suspect. He was conveniently sick and, worse, his son Joseph had left the Bubble to join one of the ragged groups existing outside the control of the country.

Now Joseph is wanted for the terrorist bombing.

Bernie has to deal with the suspicious HomeSec while trying to discover if his son really is a terrorist.  As he searches, he stumbles onto a vast conspiracy that will change the direction of the country.

Tim Hemlin weaves the lives of multiple characters into his SciFi, political thriller. The plot twists and turns in a fully realized world. Tim has a varied and vivid cast, each with their own motivations and goals colliding together. If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi, thrillers, and a fast-paced plot, then you’ll enjoy this story.

You can pick up The Wastelanders for  from Amazon

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