Friday, 17 December 2021

The Last Lumenian and True Teryn by S G Blaise

                         ABOUT THE LAST LUMENIAN 


She is a rebel. Lilla is fighting for the refugees's freedom from oppression. The king, her father, lost touch with reality ever since Lilla's mother died. Now everyone else is paying the price.

The arrival of Callum, a powerful Teryn general, complicates Lilla's life. His presence leads to conflicted feelings and friction with Arrov, a handsome pilot and fellow rebel.

Her life is not what she imagined it to be. Not by far. Meddling gods, love interests and sudden magical abilities have no room in Lilla's world, but that has become her new reality. No matter how hard she pushes them away, it's too late. They all seek to control her anyway.

Now the Era War between two ruling archgods forces Lilla to act: accept who she really is magic and all; find true love; fulfill her destiny by defeating the Archgod of Chaos and Destruction before He finds her. The Last Lumenian.

 So, what did I think? Well I am more of a fantasy reader than a Sci-fi reader (I like my Sci-fi to not be too tech heavy and sciency) but this combination of the two worked really well for me. Lilla makes for a believable lead she's brave, clever, sassy at times but also given to panic attacks at time. The books are certainly aimed at a new adult audience (in my opinion) and I guess that makes the Sci-fi more my level and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

 The story itself has the usual fantasy tropes,-mages, Gods, Destiny etc. but thrown into the mix is romance, a love triangle, plenty of banter and some excellent world building. 

 With its shortish chapters the story flies by at a good pace and I was greatful that I had book 2 to hand to dig straight into. 

 Speaking of which... 

                     ABOUT THE BOOK


Lilla must recruit the biggest and most dangerous army in the Seven Galaxies, but the Teryn emperor will not comply unless Lilla earns the blessing of the Teryn Guardian Goddess Laoise.

Dealing with gods is never easy. Guardian Goddess Laoise’s condition for bestowing her blessing is for Lilla to bring her the mysterious Heart Amulet. Now Lilla is trapped in a strange place with no way out, no idea where to go or how to find the amulet.

The only way for Lilla to complete her mission is to uncover the biggest secret of all Teryns. Will she survive discovering the secret of what it means to be a True Teryn?

 True Teryn really gets the story going, with what I like best in my fantasy reads - a good old fashioned quest for a maguffin. The maguffin in this case is the Heart Amulet but Lilla doesn't know what it is or where exactly to find it. Her quest, as is often the case will allow her to find out more about herself (the 'real Lilla' I guess you could say). Everything that was good in book 1 is even better here in True Teryn

 SG Blaise has done it again with the world building here (and as it's the seven galaxies I'm excited to see what there is going forward with this). The characters are growing into themselves and the story is getting better and better. The style of writing is very visual as well which is not an easy thing to get right.

 Something else to note is the cover art on these books, I mean, have you seen them?? That is luscious cover design (that's part of the reason I have these books on kindle as well as physical copies - so I can keep the covers as pristine as possible).

 I'm giving both books 4/5* just because I think this series will keep getting better and better

 Thanks to Smith Publicity for inviting me to review these books and for providing the review copies. 

 Both books are available now

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Of Blood and Fire by Ryan Cahill


I've been reading fantasy for a long time now and I know what I like - and this ticks all my boxes. There is a lot here that rings bells from other stories, you have the usual boy leaves small village with his friends and some strangers to find adventure in the wide world, you have 'evil empire' encroaching with bad intentions, you have stock fantasy races - elves, dwarves, giants, dragons. There are the usual monster types - Uraks here take the role of Orc/Troll/Trolloc and even some of the places sound familiar.

 But all this familiarity does is show the author has read deeply in the genre. He tells his own story with echoes of other genre tales but the story he tells, the world he has created, is all his own. 

 And the story is a bloody good one at that. I have spent the last 3 nights reading as late as I could to finish it, reading until my eyes could stay open no more. I finally got there this morning - and the ending nailed it!

 I think it's safe to say that it's time to set an extra place at the top table. Ryan Cahill deserves a spot there. 


 Of Blood and Fire ends on three (Three!!) separate cliffhangers but don't worry, the sequel, Of Darkness and Light is out on 31st December - and at just under 900 pages long it's an absolute chonker

The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman


 Welcome to the 2nd day of the Blogtour for Genevieve Cogman's The Untold Story - book 8 (and possibly the final book) of the Invisible Library series. And it is release date too so you won't have to wait to pick up your own copy. 

 The Untold Story has Irene coming to terms with the revelations uncovered in The Dark Archive (aka book 7) and also embarking on possibly her most dangerous mission to date. As regular readers will know the Invisible Library links many parallel worlds - and some of them are now disappearing! Irene needs to get to the bottom of why this is happening, who is to blame and to dig into the history of the Library itself for answers. 

  As (possibly) the last in the series the book does exactly what it needs to by tying all the loose ends in a particularly tidy bow and giving the reader the conclusion it deserves. The world building and character development has always been top notch throughout the series and continues here. 

 Now, I must say, I have been following this series from the beginning and waited enthusiasticly for each 'next episode' to be published and I do think that is the best way to approach the series - as a whole entity. With Librarians, the Library itself, Dragons, Fae, A Sherlock Holmes type and a machiavellian enemy (among many others) this has been a fun ride (and it really ought to be picked up for television) and I highly recommend it. 

 My plan now is to go back to the beginning and start all over again. Care to join me? 😉

 Thanks to Pan Macmillan for providing the review copy and to Stephen Haskins for inviting me onto the tour. And, speaking of which please take the time to have a look at the posts by the other excellent bloggers on the tour (dates below) - we always appreciate it when you do 😉

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Cytonic (Skyward 3) by Brandon Sanderson - 1st thoughts


Welcome to my post on the Blogtour for Cytonic, the third novel in Brandon Sanderson's Skyward series 

About The Book 

Spensa's life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary.

She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell - the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What's more, she travelled light-years from home as a spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home. Now, the Superiority - the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life - has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa has seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant.

Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.

Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she's able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy. The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.

To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying

My Early Thoughts 

 I only recieved my review copy a couple of days ago so this is not a full review - that will follow in good time (but hey, it's Sanderson, I'm sure it won't be too long. The guy is a byword for books that keep me reading for 'just a few more pages' and find me still at it long after everyone else is asleep). This is just my early thoughts... 

 Cytonic starts out with Spensa entering The Nowhere - which is probably the best way to describe it. The Nowhere is almost (in my eyes at least) another dimension, it's the place things pass through when Hyperjumping through space and the place where Spensa may just find the means to save the Galaxy. 

  Of course Spensa is not alone, she's accompanied by M-bot as always (somehow I can't help being reminded of a certain Hanson whenever it pops up) and also a new character - Chet Starfinder, Interdimensional Galactic Explorer. I mean, the guy enters the story coming to Spensa's rescue riding a dinosaur - yup, you read that right... 




That's how you make an entrance! 

 Cytonic is, so far, everything I love about Sci-fi, it's action packed, lots of fun and you don't need 4 science degrees to understand what's going on. I've enjoyed this series since it began (with the Top Gun in space like Skyward) and it just keeps getting better. Sanderson does characters and world-building very well indeed and is an excellent teller of tales whether Fantasy or Sci-fi, Adult aimed stories or YA and any new title from him goes straight towards the top of Mt. TBR

 So, more on this when I get to the end but for now, suffice to say, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. 

I'd usually stick an author photo here but, just for a change I thought I'd go with a photo from when I met the man himself at Forbidden Planet, London several years ago. 

Thanks to Will O'Mullane for inviting me onto the tour and Gollancz for providing the early review copy. Please take a look at the reviews by other bloggers on the tour

Monday, 11 October 2021

Shadow Service vols 1&2


I started reading comics as a youngster, starting with Marvel and moving on to 2000AD when that started up. Shadow Service feels very 2000ADish so I was hooked from the start. 

Black-Ops meets Spycraft meets Witchcraft as Gina, a spellcasting PI in London is recruited by MI666, a shadow branch of the Secret Service. There's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as she works with and against them but that worked for me as it kept the story flowing well and leaves me eager for vol 3.

What really stood out for me was the artwork. I read both volumes on my kindle fire and the quality is exceptional with the colouring making the pictures feel almost lifelike (especially the scenes where it is raining - the pictures actually look wet) 

One thing I wasn't especially keen on was MI666's mobile HQ, a van that is bigger on the inside than the outside - it would be cool if it hadn't been done before. But that aside these books had lots of good - the bad guys are as monstrous as you could hope for, the leader of MI666 is a man in a boy's body which adds a quirky element. 

And there's a talking rat. A TALKING RAT!! I mean, seriously, how can you go wrong when there's a talking rat involved? 

Thanks to Black Crow PR for inviting me onto this tour. This is day one so please follow the tour and have a look at the posts by my fellow bloggers

Monday, 27 September 2021

Born To The Dark by Ramsey Campbell


Born To The Dark is the second of Campbell's The Three Deaths of Daoloth and sees us back in Liverpool but 30 years on from The Searching Dead. I'd advise reading that first as it gives the story a little more flow but you get a reminder of previous events early on.

Dominic Sheldrake is now all grown up with a family and his 5 year old son is having trouble sleeping. While Dom is away his wife signs Toby (the son) up to the Safe To Sleep program without Dom's consent. Things get bad between the two when it turns out that Christian Noble (the Big Bad from The Searching Dead and Dom's nemesis) and his daughter are behind Safe To Sleep. And Toby's nightmares are getting worse...

As usual for Ramsey Campbell this is a very creepy read, the kind that has you turning the page slowly, not knowing what scares are around the corner but also eager to embrace them. I've been reading RC since the 80s and don't believe he has ever let me down - and it's the same with Born To The Dark. I'm looking forward to seeing how the series finishes

Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour, Flaming Tree Press for providing the review copy and Ramsey himself for keeping me entertained all these years.

Please have a look at the posts by the other reviewers on the tour - we really appreciate it

Monday, 20 September 2021

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie


'Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies . . . while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver's ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together . . .'

                         My Opinion

Well, what can I say about Joe Abercrombie and his writing that's not been said before - not a lot I guess. You know what you are getting with JA and with The Wisdom of Crowds believe me, you get it by the bucket load. 

 TWOC is the final volume in the Age of Madness Trilogy and brings things to a glorious finish. As always JA puts his characters through the wringer (although, to be fair the ones put 'through the wringer' are the ones that get of lightly). This is a brutal book but there are moments of humour too. I got my review copy early and had the intention of saving it for my holiday, (which was in release week) but I made the mistake of "just reading the one chapter, you know, just a taster". Well, that taster turned into a full on banquet and too nightshifts later I was done. As is often the case with Abercrombie putting the book down is not an option. 

 I tried to think what I could compare it too and the best I could come up with was Charles Dickens meets Les Miserables. What made me particularly enjoy this series was that JA moved things forward, giving the tale a more Age of Industry feel, advancing the world, if you like. 

What I didn't like - it came to an end and now I have to wait and see what the author does next. 

Highly recommended 5/5* 

Thanks to Gollancz for inviting me to join this Blogtour. 

Please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers (below) - every read helps us be more visible