Sunday 27 February 2022

The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan

Billed as a mix between Judge Dredd and the Witcher it was never really a question of would I want to read (but thanks for asking Nazia at Orbit) this book, more a question of how soon can I get my paws on it. 

 Set in the usual late medieval type world we often get in fantasy fiction the story follows Sir Konrad Vonvalt, a Justice whose role in life is to travel the land hearing disputes, solving crimes and dishing out... well, justice (yes, very much a Judge Dredd vibe here) But he does not get to tell the tale though, that falls to his Clerk, Helena so we get to see the world and his actions through her eyes. 

 And an interesting world it is too. I said earlier that the setting is a typical late medieval one but that may be doing it a disservice - there are things afoot that suggest we may be on the edge of something big and I'm expecting to see a very different looking world when this series reaches it's conclusion (or maybe before, who knows) 

 One of the things that attracted me to this book was that there was a murder to be solved and that felt like something that would be a refreshing change from the usual prophesy/dragons/chosen one (all of which I love but I'm also a fan of gritty crime fiction too) and again it didn't disappoint. Felt like a welcome breath of fresh air.

 Politics, religion, intrigue, murder - all set in a believable and well crafted world. Ye Gods I bloody enjoyed this book.

 And also a massive well done to the cover designers - that is a cover and a half that, Stunning!

 Highly Recommended 5/5* 

Friday 25 February 2022

Vile City (Detective In A Coma bk1 ) by Jennifer Lee Thomson



About The Book 

DI Duncan Waddell is on the brink of a nervous breakdown – he thinks his best pal DC Stevie Campbell, who’s been in a coma since he was attacked by a suspect, is talking to him.

When office worker Shelley rushes to her boyfriend’s aid after he is attacked, she is abducted. She wakes up in a strange room with no memory of how she got there.

On the case, Waddell finds himself in a desperate race against time to uncover the truth behind the abduction.

To do this, he and his team must delve into the seedy underbelly of Scotland’s swingers’ scene and a world where women are tricked into the sex business and traded like cattle.

I'll be honest, I liked this a lot. Going into it I wasn't sure what to expect - for those of you old enough to remember I was thinking something like Randall and Hopkirk, Deceased (if you don't remember it, try Google 😉). What it actually gave me was a detective (Waddell) whose work partner, Stevie, is in a coma (hence the title) and is struggling with a potential breakdown. On his visits to the hospital he uses the comatose Stevie as a sounding board for his investigation and sometimes finds Stevie sat up in bed talking to him, although when he calls a nurse he is back as he was, comatose, unresponsive. It is most likely the result of Waddell's mental stress rather than a 'supernatural event' but we'll see as the series progresses I guess. 

The investigation itself is pretty grim, girls being taken off the streets and sold into the sex trade but the lead character here, Shelley, turns out to be made of stern stuff and makes for an interesting storyline. 

I'm a big fan of Scottish Crime Fiction so as soon as I was invited onto this tour I had a look at the blurb and snapped the book up - I was reviewing this whether I made the tour or not. And I wasn't disappointed. I'll be doing the same with the next in the series too (Cannibal City, DiaC2). Jennifer Lee Thomson, you have a new fan here


Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to review this and please have a look at the posts from the other bloggers on the tour

Monday 21 February 2022

The Thousand Eyes by A.K.Larkwood


                    About The Book 
Could you sacrifice your dreams to escape a nightmare?

Csorwe, Shuthmili and Tal survey abandoned Echentyr worlds to make a living. The empire’s ruins seem harmless but fascinating. Yet disaster strikes when they stumble upon ancient magic during a routine expedition. This revives a warrior who’d slept for an age, reigniting a conflict thousands of years old. And the soldier binds Csorwe to her cause.
Shuthmili is desperate to protect the woman she loves. However, as events escalate, she’s torn. Can she help Csorwe by clinging to her own humanity or by embracing her eldritch powers?

Tal heads home, but his peace is shattered when a magical catastrophe hits his city. The wizard Sethennai is missing and Tal can’t face seeking his former lover to ask for help. So, he flees – but there’s no escaping the future. For throughout the Echo Maze’s linked worlds, fragments of an undead goddess are waking. Soon all must choose a side.

First off, I've got to admit this is not a review of the full book as my review copy only arrived a few days ago. What it is is my thoughts on what I have read so far.

The story starts off 2 years after the end of The Unspoken Name and finds our heroes Csorwe, Shuthmili and Tal working as security/support for academics exploring dead worlds. Right from the off this feels like a big screen epic as they fly into The Hatchery on the dead world of the Echentyr, a serpent race that are resigned to the history books, along with their Serpent Goddess . . .

Except they aren't! There is one survivor and when Csorwe and co. rescue them the troubles begin and the Serpent Goddess is back! 

I wasn't expecting the jump that moved the story forward to 15 years on but it worked for me as it was a chance to see the leads as older people and how the world has changed now that the Serpent Goddess rules most. Will our heroes be able to put everything right? I'll let you know when I get to the end of the book so watch this space.

 What Larkwood did well in The Unspoken Name was the world building and, thankfully, that is carried on in The Thousand Eyes. It feels very visual and that's what I like.

As for the main characters, Tal stands out for me so far as someone who has grown (seeing him 15 years on with a protégé who is pretty much a replica of younger Tal is good fun). There seems to be less of Csorwe and Shuthmili so far but that may change I guess.

The Thousand Eyes is a faster moving tale than The Unspoken Name and feels more of a Fantasy/Sci-fi hybrid than I remember the first being but that's not a bad thing.

I've been waiting what feels like ages for this book to be published and (so far) I'm not disappointed in the slightest

Thanks to Black Crow PR for inviting me onto the tour for this book and for providing the review copy (and hey, look at the cover art, isn't it rather gorgeous).

Please have a look at the reviews by the other bloggers on the tour (below)