Title: The Silk Blade Author: Natalie C. Parker In: A Universe of Wishes (Dhonielle Clayton) Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:LGBTQI, Medieval fantasy, Romance Dates read: 30th June 2021 Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast Format: Short story Publisher: Crown Year: 2020 5th sentence, 74th page: I have him exactly where I need him to be, but before I can swing around to his other side, Rabi is there.
It’s the competition of a lifetime – three competitors competing to be the consort to the ruler of them all – the Bloom. But a chance meeting just before the final battle may change everything.
I love that from the get go of this story, gender and sexuality isn’t even a thing. There are multiple attractions and couples, but no set expectations for which genders are together. The way that there is no big deal made out of this needs to happen more frequently in YA stories as far as I’m concerned.
The idea of a great big challenge to be the consort of the Bloom was fun. There was this beautiful poetry and feeling of elegance that I got throughout this book. One that I wasn’t really expecting. But definitely enjoyed. Especially when there is that final challenge / battle at the end…
All in all, I loved this short story. I found it adorable and fun. With a great sense of action and drama. Add to that the romance and connection that weaves through the tale and the fantastic world building… I was sad when this ended.
From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding lands of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms stake their claims through tempest, turmoil and war.
As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky – a comet the colour of blood and flame – five factions struggle for control of a divided land. Brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory is measured in blood.
And again, Martin does it. There is something amazing about his books that just completely draws me in. For such an intimidating sized book, this is ridiculously impossible to put down. I get why this is such a well-loved series. There is something completely unforgettable and intriguing about his words. Something that I know many of the other long-style fantasy books I read are kind of lacking. Not many draw me in like this.
Normally when I read a story that has some really horrible brutality in it, I either feel physically ill or end up putting the book away. There is just something about Martin’swriting though that makes it less… horrifying. It’s the first time ever that I haven’t thrown a book in the DNF pile because of such intense brutality. Maybe part of that is because quite often the perpetrators of such horribleness are killed off in the next hundred pages or so.
There really weren’t many deaths in this book. Knowing the reputation of the series, I was expecting far more. And when I say not many deaths – to my count, only one major character died in this novel. A bit like the first, A Game of Thrones. And he was a major character that I seriously didn’t like, so I was completely okay with his death if I’m being honest. Turns out that Martin’s writing really brings out the bloodthirsty aspect of my nature…
One of my favourite things about these books, that I’m sure I mentioned in my A Game of Thronesreview is the fact that Martin can jump between multiple characters… and I DON’T get confused. Most of the time, I like jumping between two or three characters and POVs. But once it gets greater than that, I keep forgetting who and what we’re talking about in that moment. That’s seriously not the case in these books… I don’t even know how many different POVs, characters and sub-plots I read in this. And I don’t care. Because I followed them all. And loved them all…
Title: The Black Gryphon Author: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon Series: The Mage Wars #1, Valdemar #1 Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Fantasy, Mages, Magic, Medieval fantasy Dates read: 18th – 25th May 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: DAW Fantasy Year: 1994 5th sentence, 74th page: Cinnabar, of course, was as elegant as if she had just come from holding court, her scarlet gown cut to mid-calf, showing scarlet leather boots and slender ankles, her sleeves cut tight, displaying her graceful arms without an unseemly show of flesh.
SKANDRANON RASKAE IS EVERYTHING A GRYPHON SHOULD BE…
with gleaming ebony feathers, majestic wingspan, keen magesight, and sharp intelligence, he is the fulfillment of all that the Mage of Silence, the human sorcerer called urtho, intended to achieve when he created these magical beings to be his champions, the defenders of his realm – a verdant plain long coveted by the evil mage Ma’ar.
And now, as Ma’ar is once again preparing to advance on Urtho’s Keep, this time with a huge force spearheaded by magical constructs of his own, Skandranon is sent to spy across enemy lines, cloaked in the protection of Urtho’s powerful Spell of Silence.
As days pass and Skandranon doesn’t return, all in Urtho’s camp wait anxiously. but there is one among them for whom the possible loss of this great bird will be more than just a major military defeat. Amberdrake – a Healer of boyd, mind, and spirit whose talents are as essential to the army as those of any general – waits on the landing strip with anguish in his heart. For Amberdrake has come to value the vain, cocksure, and brave Skandranon as his closest friend and comrade, and he now fears that this prince of gryphons will never return…
It’s been a little while since I picked up a Valdemar book. Mostly because as much as I love them, they are often pretty heart wrenching. There is always some kind of abuse or emotional turmoil that just doesn’t seem to be as prominent in many of the other fantasy books that I read. So I honestly need to make sure that I’m in a good headspace whenever I pick up one of these novels… which I was when I picked up The Black Gryphon. And boy am I glad. It was enjoyable, fun and an absolutely great read. Even if there was still that signature Lackey tragedy that made the enjoyment a little less… joyful.
Writing this review, it is actually really difficult to pinpoint those aspects of this story that I really enjoyed. It took me a few chapters to really get sunk into the storyline. I think mostly because in the other Valdemar books that I’ve read so far, the characters are somehow known. Mostly they know each other. But even in The Last Herald Mage, the lead character has been mentioned again and again and again throughout the later books in the series. That’s not really the case for this. Not only are there totally new characters and events that I can’t remember being mentioned in the later books (that I read earlier). But there are also whole new species, gryphons and the such and different groups of people who have totally different names. It took quite a bit to get used to.
After I started to get connected to the characters however, I realised what a great series this is. Or at least, what a great novel to start off a series. Skan might not be human, but I think he is one of my favourite characters in this series. He is strong and sarcastic. Plus, I absolutely adored the constant inner dialogue whenever he’s doing something kind of stupid. Even if that stupid has the best of intentions…
Although this isn’t really like any of the other Valdemar books, I can see how the characters and groups of species / people act as the precursors to the rest of the books. You can see a hint here and there of the collegium and the healers and the different schools of learning throughout the books that I’ve already read. And I’m honestly looking forward to understanding more of this as the series unfolds. That and finding out more about Skan, Winterheart and all of the other wonderful characters.
Title: Eldest Author: Christopher Paolini Series: The Inheritance Cycle #2 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Dragons, Medieval fantasy Dates read: 21st – 29th April 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Knopf Year: 2005 5th sentence, 74th page: After dinner, Eragon and Saphira flew together.
Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust.
Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.
Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. . . .
I vaguely recalled reading this novel years ago. But, as I reread it… I seriously began to doubt my memories. There was just so much in this novel that I didn’t see coming and which completely pulled me in. There is just a great sense of intrigue and interest in this story… an amazing journey that doesn’t end the way you expect. Although, it does end in a great way. Now I can’t wait to read Brisingr… a book that I know I’ve never read before…
After Eragon’s rough entrance into the world of the Varden and the battles he must face in the future, there is a nice little period of quiet in his and Saphira’s lives. It was actually quite nice to start this book in a period of quiet before the storm. It helped to get to know a little more of the political ramifications of the storyline and characters in play. Which, I’m thinking is going to be seriously important for the rest of the series…
The world of the elves is one that completely reeled me in – which was probably why I enjoyed the downtime that Eragon and Saphira experienced there so much. A world in which trees are sung into buildings, pride is something that is a serious weakness and lives are lived for way too long… of course I’m going to love it. Particularly when Eragon is struggling to create a reality in which he is likely to survive and undergoing some of the harshest training he’s experienced thus far.
Yet, it is the very ending of this story that is the most intense and amazing. Not only is there the traditional, epic, final battle… but there is a great reveal. And a new Dragon Rider in the mix. It opens up a world of hurt for Eragon’s future and makes me seriously want to sink my nose into the next book… which I may just do as soon as I finish writing this review… like… right… now.
Title: Poison Dance Author: Livia Blackburne Series: Midnight Thief #0.5 Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Assassins, Medieval fantasy, Paranormal fantasy Dates read: 7th February 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novella Publisher: Livia Blackburne Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: I was curious about how this compares to YA heroines, so I grabbed a pile of books off my shelf.
James is skilled, efficient, and deadly, a hired blade navigating the shifting alliances of a deteriorating Assassin’s Guild.
Then he meets Thalia, an alluring but troubled dancing girl who offers him a way out – if he’ll help her kill a powerful nobleman.
With the Guild falling apart, it just might be worth the risk. but when you live, breathe, and love in a world that’s forever flirting with death, the slightest misstep can be poison.
This is a great, quick little read that gives you a little more insight into James and his relationship with Thalia. It’s mentioned a few times throughout Midnight Thief, so it’s great to understand it a little more. It also provided a little more insight into James’ character, and the rise of the assassins guild. Something that might come in handy when I get around to reading Daughter of Dusk.
James is actually kind of nice in this story. Which makes me question how he’s going to develop in the rest of the series. I had him pegged as a bad guy, but now I’m really not quite sure. He could actually be far more evil than I had anticipated if he did come from good, or, there’s some hidden layer I just haven’t quite figured out yet… either way, I’m intrigued.
In spite of it all, I still hope Kyra kicks his butt in the future. Even if James’ journey in this was a really interesting one. Even if I understand the character more than I really needed to. I love getting insight into a villain’s perspective, but I also still need to dislike this man…
Title: A Game of Thrones Author: George R.R. Martin Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Fantasy, Grimdark, Medieval fantasy Dates read: 22nd October – 1st December 2019 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Harper Voyager Year: 1996 5th sentence, 74th page: Sansa had named hers Lady, and Arya named hers after some old witch queen in the songs, and little Rickon called his Shaggydog, which Bran thought was a pretty stupid name for a direwolf.
Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stak counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what will, not what he must… and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this story. Like, a ridiculously long time. But now that I’ve finally gotten to A Game of Thrones over ten years after I had a friend first suggested it to me… I can understand why it’s such a well-loved book! Like, wow! I don’t normally plow through a book of this length in such a short period of time. In fact normally books of this length take me a lot of stopping and starting, with whole books in between.
There are some books, that when you finish them, you sit there, in total wonder and just stare out to the horizon. This was one of those books. Although I knew roughly what was going to happen because of seeing fragments of the TV show (I still haven’t watched it, will now start the first season…). I still sat there just staring out my window in wonder. There is just something about Martin’swriting that sweeps you up and away in a completely abandoned way.
Knowing that this novel follows a variety of casts, I was kind of expecting it to be a little difficult to keep all of the characters separate. I normally find it to be a bit difficult to remember who is who and how they’re all related when I read these kinds of novels. Yet, I didn’t find it to be like that at all. The way in which each of the chapters was started and the style that it was written in made it incredibly easy to not only remember who you were reading about, but how everyone was interrelated.
I don’t know if it’s bias from the TV show (because I know who is likely to survive through the published novels), or just the writing. But I already have clear favourites in this series. And I can’t wait to read the next book and find out how they survive the insanity of the Iron Throne.
Title: Dragon Blood Author: Patricia Briggs Series: Hurog Duology #2 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Dragons, Magic, Medieval fantasy Dates read: 30th November 2019 Pace: Fast Format: Novel Publisher: Ace Fantasy Year: 2002 5th sentence, 74th page: Her tail curled around her front paws and she purred when my eyes met hers.
CALL TO REBELLION
Ward, ruler of Hurog, is striving to restore his lands and people to prosperity, wanting nothing more than a quiet life. But when an old friend, escaping from high King Jakoven’s torturers, seeks refuge in his keep, Ward can no longer ignore the growing rebellion against the tyrannical High King. He realizes that he cannot stand aside – he must join with the rebels.
However, Jakoven has a secret weapon with which he intends to crush the rebellion: Farsonsbane, a magical artifact that has destroyed entire cities. But first, Jakoven needs blood to awaken it. Dragon’s blood. The very blood that courses through Ward’s veins…
I have read this before. So I didn’t think I’d get as insanely hooked… I read the whole book in one day. While I was trying to write a paper. Probably not the best book to sink my literary teeth into if I’m being honest with myself…
Although Dragon Bones would have been fine as a standalone, I’m really glad that Briggs decided to revisit this world. There is just something about Ward and Hurog that makes it difficult to walk away. Plus, interestingly, it is the only one of her series thus far that features a male lead. Yes, there is still a strong, independent woman in this story. But it’s written from Ward’s POV and more so about him. Tisala is his love interest.
Dragon Blood is a fantastic end to this duology. Not only do you feel like Ward and Tisala get to live happily ever after. Their country and peoples’ are finally safe from a tyrannical king and an ancient artefact that could kill them all is also destroyed. A very good, easy happy ending that still lets you know that everyone continues to live and fight their battles – after all, dragons, bandits and magic are still heavy in the air.
If I was asked to describe in one sentence why I love this story so much… I wouldn’t be able to answer the question. As with all of Patricia Briggs’ books, there is something about the writing, the character building and the battles that Ward overcomes that make it impossible not to love the tale. Add in a heavy dose of dragons and medieval sword fight… I’m kind of sad that I read through it so quickly… again. I read this in one day last time too…
Title: Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia Author: Christopher Paolini Series: The Inheritance Cycle Companion Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Dragons, Medieval fantasy Dates read: 28th August – 4th September 2019 Pace: Slow Format: Graphic novel Publisher: Doubleday Year: 2009 5th sentence, 74th page: His order, which has endured for a least five hundred years, believes that all knowledge is sacred.
From the creators of the bestselling books Dragonology, Egyptology, Piratelogy, and others, this is a never-before-seen glimpse into the world of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle. Alagaësia comes alive in a lush and detailed look at an unforgettable magical land. From elves, dwarves, Urgals, humans, and dragons, to the natural landscape and the magic it contains, Eragon himself offers the reader an unsurpassed tour. This oversized, full-color book provides 15 spreads chock full of spectacular artwork, engaging novelty elements, and fascinating insights into Eragon’s home. With gorgeous jewels adorning the cover and pages filled with envelopes, gatefolds, samples of dragon skin, and more, Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia is sure to appeal to the legions of fans of Christopher Paolini’s bestselling Inheritance cycle.
This is one of those fun, cute and easy reads. Albeit a
little hard to lug around anywhere, hence the fact that it took me so long to actually
read this. It’s only about half an hour of reading, but you actually need to be
able to sit in a comfortable spot with a ginormous book for that period. With
two dogs trying to climb all over me… that’s difficult.
I might be a grown woman, but I love interactive stories and
pretty pictures as much as the next girl. They’re just fun. And all of the
different textured pieces placed throughout were even more enjoyable. It bought
back the enjoyment of my first books as a child. Before I was really able to
read to any decent level.
I read this companion before Eldest, and I’m so grateful that there weren’t many spoilers throughout. I was expecting far more, but except for one tiny slip about Eragon’s father, there was nothing to hint at what was going to happen in the future of the series.
This was a really nice and easy read for the last few days when my head has been full of PhD work and event planning. And it just makes me want to pick up Eldest all the more… although maybe I should finish a few books that I’ve already started first…
Title: Eragon Author: Christopher Paolini Series: The Inheritance Cycle #1 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Dragons, Medieval fantasy Dates read: 20th – 26th August 2019 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Knopf Year: 2002 5th sentence, 74th page: He pulled his arms inside his coat and tied the empty sleeves around his neck.
One boy… One dragon… A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stones brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire himself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
It’s been a long time since I first picked up this book. So
long, that at the time, only the first two books in this series were actually
published. And I can’t believe that I hadn’t picked it up again… the fact that
it was boxed away while I moved houses over a few years probably contributed
quite strongly to the delay too. But, I digress… this is one of those amazing
stories that you constantly remember and wish didn’t quite have to end. Whilst
rushing towards the end, because you just have to find out how everything happens.
One of my favourite tropes in fantasy is the taking of an
ordinary person and turning them into something amazing. The use of their strength
and personal traits, their ability to overcome all bought into the limelight
because one little, fantastical accident of fate. It’s probably one of the most
repetitive tropes I’ve read, but it’s one that genuinely works. After all, we
all feel like nobodies at times and wish that we could get swept away into an
adventure. Eragon is the perfect example of this. A young, lonely, illiterate
farm boy who stumbles upon an egg and is swept up in an adventure of mayhem and
good vs evil.
This is one of those stories that is a little difficult to place
within a fantasy shelf. It’s not quite epic, it’s not quite young adult. It’s
this great version in between. It suits a range of tastes and reading levels. And,
as I discovered with this reread years later, lets you grasp a different aspect
of the storyline and pick up on different hints and tales whenever you sink
your nose into the tale.
This is a story of dragons and swords. Mysteries and battles. A story in which you don’t really know if Eragon is making the right decisions. Whether or not he’s fallen into a political cesspool or actually found sanctuary. It’s this great tale that completely sweeps you up and makes you want to pick up Eldestfrom the very moment you close the final pages. After all, one battle has been one, but the war is just beginning…
There’s a young man whose decided to come down to Riverside and find his death. What he doesn’t realise is that no one is going to end the life of an unarmed man. But what he finds instead is much, much better.
The wit and dry humour in this story had me chuckling a fair
bit. There was something about a strange, lanky scholar who was desperate to be
killed roaming the streets and just having absolutely no luck. It got
even better when you found out that he was a duke and abhorrent to the rest of
his family. The beauty, humour and irony in the story had me cackling more than
I should probably admit if I still wanted people to consider me sane (which I
don’t, so it’s fine).
Growing up, I never seemed to read many stories which
featured LGBTQI characters. But as my reading tastes have grown, I’ve noticed
that it’s a theme that shows up more and more frequently. Or it may just be
that it’s a theme that is written about more frequently as our society changes.
Regardless, it’s something that I always love in my stories. And the unexpected
coupling of two men in this story took me completely by surprise. Partly
because in the beginning I thought it would be a tale about Alec just being
killed in some random, heinous way. And partly because it’s a medieval
fantasy-esque story, and I tend to find that that’s not a relationship that is outwardly
The final scene of this short story is one of those that is
incredibly difficult to get out of your head. The entire time I’ve been writing
this review, I have that great, final image struck into my brain. But, you
really must read this story yourself to have that fine enjoyment.