Tuesday 27 October 2020

The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn by Tyler Whitesides


When it comes to Fantasy Fiction I think it's a fair bet to say everybody loves a rogue. Well, get ready to meet your new favourite rogue, Ruse Artiste Extraordinare Ardor Benn. 

Along with his companion Raek Benn has been rusing, conning and conniving around The Great Chain but his next challenge is going to be the greatest Ruse of all time and an enormous payout but he's going to need a team. 

This, the first in the Kingdom of Grit series is equal parts Ocean's 11 and Mission Impossible with added magic and... Dragons!! The world and its' associated faiths are really well drawn and the story flows from scam to scam effortlessly while keeping the reader guessing as Whitesides pulls the rug out from under our feet once again. 

And as for the magic system - ingenious! That's all I'm going to say on the subject. I'll leave the fun of learning about it to you 😉

The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn is a huge book and there are two more to follow but fear not! You have no longer to wait than early November for book 2


and December for book 3

4.5/5* and I'm going straight into book 2 now. See you on the other side 

Monday 19 October 2020

Blood Red Roses and Driftnet by Lin Anderson

 Well now, this is going to be a review of two halves  guess. I picked up Blood Red Roses (a novella) because one of the later books in the series was on offer for 99p and I'd snapped it up as I like my crime fiction both Scottish and Noir and this ticked both boxes.

 Blood Red Roses is a prequel novella to the Rhona Macleod series which, as you would expect, introduces us to Rhona, a forensic scientist, her life and her team. The story has a bride to be murdered on her hen night and although a fairly short story there is plenty going on. I was really engaged with the story and the characters and enjoyed it so much I downloaded the 1st in the series - Driftnet ...

 Oh, dear!

 Driftnet was, to be totally honest, pretty terrible. The story was promising enough - Rhona is called out to a murder scene in the early hours where the victim (brutally slain) bears an uncanny resemblance to Rhona herself. Could this be the son she gave up for adoption seventeen years ago? He even has the same birthmark so - well, you'd think so wouldn't you.

 Someone is grooming and killing young men for sexual excitement/gratification and it's up to Rhona and team to get to the bottom of it.

 So, the problems I had with this are many I'm afraid. First up, the murder victim (SPOILER WARNING) looks like Rhona, has the same birthmark in the same place as the son she gave up but isn't her son. Its JUST A COINCIDENCE (and one that isn't really resolved). Next up is the next potential victim - who is the son of a politician who is on the crest of a wave. Said politician is also an ex partner of Rhona, and the father of the child she gave up for adoption - what a coincidence eh!

 And then there is Rhona's love life. Her partner is a musician and after a disagreement goes off to Paris. Rhona then falls for a computer whizz working for the police and who just might be a little dodgy or is he just doing his job?

 I could go on but I won't. I'll just say that this was, in my opinion, a terrible book that could have been much better.

 And that brings me to a problem. Through reading the prequel novella which was written later it's obvious that the author has improved massively but am I prepared to slog through the series waiting for the point when the writing level rises. Unfortunately I don't think I am. Which is a shame but there you go

Blood Red Roses 4/5*

Driftnet 1.5/5*

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow


 The year is 1893 and witches and witch raft are no more. Salem is burnt to the ground and now women are fighting for the vote and to throw off the shackles of servitude.

 But what if witchcraft could be brought back and combined with the the suffragist movement? Three estranged sisters must reunite, settle their differences and, together champion and fight for the rights of women. 

 That's the general premise of this, the second novel from Alix E Harrow but it is very much more than that. It doesn't just focus on women's rights, there is an lgbtq+ angle as well and all put together with beautiful writing (which is pretty much what I was expecting after The Ten Thousand Doors of January - and if you haven't read that yet, well... what are you waiting for)


 Hats off to whoever did the cover art too, it's gorgeous.

 Many thanks to Orbit for providing the review copy