Fantasy Book Reviews

Book Review: The Harp of Kings

The Harp of Kings

Title: The Harp of Kings
Author: Juliet Marillier
Series: Book 1
Genre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
Publisher: DAW
Page Count: 500
Type of Book: Arc, Kindle Ebook
Received: Publisher
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 3/5 stars
Notes: Not my favorite Juliet Marillier, but not bad either.

This is one of my favorite authors, so when I was offered an arc of her new book, I immediately accepted. Not only is that cover absolutely gorgeous, but Juliet Marillier is a prolific, well known fantasy author that writes really well and does some interesting stuff.  I read her first book in the Sevenwaters series, and it’s easily one of my most favorite fantasy series though I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, it’s on my wishlist.

However, when I read this, it didn’t knock me into cloud nine. Instead, it was more like when I read Raymond E Feist for the first time; strange, unreal, and a little not what I expected from the amount of hype that I’d gotten from this book. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not a big fan of character pov changes. And both characters were not to my liking. At all.

It could be I didn’t know much about that world, which is said to be based on some of her other works? I’m unsure, as I’ve read very few of the authors books, but adore her writing style and world-building. I may need to re-read this book again, and see if it’s better the second time around.

3/5 stars for an interesting reading experience, and recommended for hardcore Juliet Marillier fans.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Arc Review: The Girl in Red

The Girl in Red

Title: The Girl in Red
Author: Christina Henry
Series: Standalone?
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Page Count: 300
Publisher: Berkeley
Type of Book: Arc, Physical Copy, Paperback
Received: Publisher
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 4/5
Notes: Delightful!

I’ve been meaning to try Christina Henry for a while, since I first heard of her through CodiesBookCorner on Youtube. Codie talks about Christina Henry so highly, so I decided I had to jump on the bandwagon, and muck my way through her books. The Girl In Red was offered as an arc, so I politely asked for a copy, and was sent it almost at once. Thank you kind publishers! This shall remain a favorite on my Arcs shelf!

While I typically don’t read a whole lot of retellings, this-as I said-was recommended from a trusted BookTuber. So I went in tentatively, not knowing what to expect. What I found surprised me. While it was a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, the main heroine was not so weak, and was a strong female character (one of my favorite things to read of these days) and she was a battle ax warrior woman of the Amazons!

Not really, but it certainly seemed like it.

She goes on a quest, she has an evil enemy, she has a weapon of choice, and she doesn’t back down despite her fear of becoming a killer. The plot is intricately woven, the characters are strongly depicted throughout the book, and the story itself while based on the original Riding Hood tale, was uniquely done in that it didn’t feel like a tired repeat.

I very much enjoyed this book, enough to really want to read more Christina Henry novels. I’m not a fan of retellings, however, so it will all depend upon my mood, but I’m definitely willing to give this author another go in the near future. Perhaps I might read her Alice book for Halloween? Won’t that be fun?

Overall, a solid 4/5 stars, and a desire to see more from this author. This is definitely one that I recommend readers try, especially if they don’t generally read retellings.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Arc Review: Priest of Lies

Priest of Lies

Title: Priest of Lies
Author: Peter McLean
Series: Book 2
Genre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Ace
Type of Book: Arc, Physical Copy, Paperback
Received: Publisher
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: Ah, the build-up of anticipation! Now I just need the next book…

The sequel to the Priest of Bones was an excellent and much needed grimdark fantasy read at its finest. With a build up of plot, characters, and another look into the past of the world they’re in as well as what might come, I very much enjoyed this wonderful installment into the series, and thank the publisher for a copy which in no way or shape changes my review.

The characters were more fleshed out. We saw more action, more Tomas, and more war. I liked every part of this book, and it’s easily one of my most favorite grimdark fantasies that I’ve read to date. It ranks right up there with Anna Smith Spark, and Ed McDonald.

Overall, 4/5 stars, and I would very much like to have the next book in the series, ASAP.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Arc Review: Eye Spy

 

Eye Spy

Title: Eye Spy
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Book 2 of the Family Spies
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Hardback, Arc
Received: publisher
Rated: 4/5 stars
Review Word Count: 500
Notes: unsatisfactory ending, leaving it wide open. Mentions of assault, asexual main character, and lots of drama + danger in this latest installment
Abi’s ‘gift’ is unique in that she can sense where things are stressed and about to break apart. It doesn’t become evident until she’s on a popular bridge with her friend, the Princess Kat, and then it’s a mad dash to save everyone, including themselves from disaster. Abi’s new gift has potential, as it’s the only one of its kind. Abi’s unique as well, in that she’s asexual-she doesn’t have any interest in either gender romantically at all.

This wasn’t my favorite Valdemar book. I definitely enjoyed Perry’s story more than this one, but while it wasn’t my favorite it was still a quick and enjoyable read. There were lots of action scenes, some small spots of angst, and Mercedes Lackey tackled assault of a girl in school fairly well I thought.

It echoed current events of today; from dams threatening to break apart, assault and bullying, how asexual characters deal with their realization that they’re not interested in anybody…it all tied in very nicely with the plot, though I was unsatisfied with the ending, and now require book three to see how she handles Dudley Rump, our chief villain in this book-who seems to be a sniveling though wealthy coward determined to get his goals completed, most of which seems to make Abi miserable after she humiliated him when defending herself.

I can’t say too much more within the review, because that would give away the plot. Mags had very little appearance in here as he’s getting older, along with that of his family. I’m still entertained by Mercedes Lackey, so of course I’m definitely still going to be reading her works.

Overall, 4/5 stars for a solid reading experience, and definitely continuing onwards with book three. My thanks to the publisher for sending me an unsolicited copy, and I sincerely look forward to seeing more of Mercedes Lackey’s works.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Arc Review: The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey

The Hills Have Spies

Title: The Hills Have Spies
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Book 1 of the Family Spies
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Mass Market Paperback (it doesn’t match my book two hardback!)
Received: publisher
Rated: 5/5 stars
Review Word Count: 500
Notes: The new generation of Herald Mags.

While I’m sad we’re not getting more adventure stories from Mags point of view, Perry is still almost as interesting as that of his father. This series continues to be one of the longest ones that I’ve ever read, as it is well over 40+books and counting. I’ve started reading these books when I was in my teens, and seen many a herald come (and tearfully go) and adore this series with all my heart.

Perry’s story is interesting, though. He mindspeak-not just with Companions, but with any animal, be it magical or otherwise. I thought it a cool ‘gift’ to have, and handy as well when you’re training to become a spy and can use animals to help you escape troubling situations, overhear conversations too far out of reach, or see things beyond areas that you can’t see. Perry is a good lad, strong, capable, and determined to be just like his hero of a father, Herald Mags.

Trouble abounds, and father and son set out to go and take care of it, with lots of little interesting scenes filled along the way. Perry picks up a crow as a familiar, along with a few other animals as friends, and things progress. The story evolves quite nicely, and there’s adventure and danger at every turn.

This felt a little rushed, to be honest, in some places. However, I still enjoyed this story, and there are two more children that Mags has that I’m interested in reading about, a boy and girl each. Amily is also one I’m interested in, being Mags wife from the previous series.

Though not my most favorite of the series (that would be Vanyel), this was still a quick and exciting adventure to page through within a few hours. I’m definitely going to check out the next in the series, and probably continue reading these books as if they were candy. 5/5 stars for a lovely time in Valdemar and highly recommend for those who haven’t read the books yet.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Arc Review: Choices by Mercedes Lackey

Choices Mercedes Lackey

Title: Choices
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Tales of Valdemar/Anthology
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Page Count: 400
Received: publisher
Rated: 4/5 stars
Type of Book: Paperback
Notes: a collection of short stories, one of them being from Mercedes Lackey herself, tells various tales of various characters in the lands of Valdemar.

This was an interesting anthology. On the one hand, I really liked these new stories, on the other they obviously hadn’t come from Mercedes Lackey, but that’s not a bad thing. With fresh new voices as well as some familiar ones (Janny Wurts was a surprise and a treasure to read here, and the only other author that I recognized), this anthology definitely is one of my favorites.

As previously mentioned, I only recognized one name aside from Mrs. Lackey, and that’s Janny Wurts. I haven’t read anything from the author, though she’s been on my TBR pile for years, I just haven’t found her books easily. My library doesn’t have her books, and they’re outside my budget on Amazon. I may break down and see if Book Outlet carries her works, because I’ve been curious about her writing for years. “Beyond Common Sense, She Persisted” was one of my favorite short stories out of the collection, and if she writes that well all the time, then I have found a new favorite author. If you’re familiar with Janny Wurts, perhaps y’all might help me figure out where to start in regards to reading her massive list of novels.

Another favorite short story I enjoyed was “Of Crows and Karsites” by Kristen Schwengal. This was a completely new to me author, but the story was very enjoyable though I wished it could have been expanded into something more, as most short stories seems to be lately for me. The characters had a strong voice in this one, and I liked the overall feel of it as well.

My third favorite short story? “Women’s Need Calls Me” by Mercedes Lackey herself. Classic Mercedes Lackey, in that it’s got the tone, characters, and abilities down pat. I always love returning to this world, and this was no exception. I’m greatly looking forward to Volume Two of The Hills Have Spies (review for volume one next), and am eager to share with you my thoughts on those books as well.

Overall, I’m rating this a solid 4 out of 5 stars, for wonderful world-building, fabulous new authors to check out, and the latest new favorite short story from an all time favorite author.

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews, fiction, The TBR Pile

Waiting on Wednesday: My Dreadful TBR

Hello friends.

I haven’t read a single book all week. Mostly because I have no idea what to read, but also because:

  1. Rain-we are in the middle of building an addition to the house and all this rain is not helping.
  2. Book slump is worst slump ever.
  3. Lazy. All I’ve been doing is sleeping, and preparing to move from upstairs of my house to downstairs. My room is a disaster!

So yeah. I’m desperately behind on arcs, library books, ebooks, and so on. The only things I’ve read actually are Wattpad books which don’t count because they’re not finished. So, I’m planning on rectifying this week by reading nonstop.

My library books I need to read as pictured above. Currently I’m picking up Otherland by Tad Williams, Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Jill Shalvis, and Going Dark by Monica McCarty.

I hope to finish at least two by tonight! Then I will be reading arcs on my Kindle:

These are the top five Netgalley arcs leaping at me to read, so Reviews of these may come quickly as well.

Aside from that, I really don’t know what to pick up next. I definitely have plenty of books for a while! What are y’all reading? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book.

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Book Review: Mystic and Rider

Mystic and Rider

Title: Mystic and Rider
Author: Sharon Shinn
Series: Book 1 of 5
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Page Count: 500
Status: DNF’d at 45%
Type of Book: Mass Market Paperback, Owned
Received: I honestly don’t remember where I got this, I got it *years* ago
Rated: 2/5 stars
Notes: Recommended for people bored and desperate to read fantasy with shapeshifters.

Perhaps my notes might be harsh, but this book did not live up to the expectations that I’ve been hearing about on Goodreads. Just another reason I don’t typically trust most Goodreads Reviews unless its from people I know and trust in regards to reviewing books.

Let me start off with the good:

The book opened up with a fascinating first chapter told from a barkeep’s point of view, as his attention is drawn towards a young nobleman, two foreigners, and his own band of thieves, not to mention his indentured slave, Cammon. He thinks that all those attending his bar that night are going to die, even if overpowered by sheer numbers. But when the young nobleman turns out to be a young noblewoman, that’s when things change. The two foreigners rescue Cammon from indentured servitude because they believe him to be a Mystic-though they didn’t originally set out to rescue Mystics they were on a quest for the King, for they are King’s Riders.

Now the bad:

I wanted the story to be from Cammon’s pov. It wasn’t. I wanted something besides hysterical fear from normal humans over Mystics power-seen that all too often in fantasy books before. I wanted something that wasn’t political intrigue between houses focused on the group that’s NOT Cammon. In fact, the half of the book that I read Cammon is barely in the story at all. There’s also shapeshifters, firestarters, and healers in this book.

Overall, while the plot was interesting it didn’t hold my attention for long. I’m giving this a 2/5 stars and moving on.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Book Review: Unpopular Opinion

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Title: We Hunt the Flame
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Series: Book One
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Page Count: 500
Status: DNF’d at 35/40%
Type of Book: Hardback, New Release
Received: Library
Rated: 2.5 stars rounded up to 3/5 stars
Notes: Unpopular Opinion-this book was not meant for one such as me.

I really had high hopes for this novel. Everything from the description to the gorgeous cover sounded like my type of read. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book, and I was really eager to finally dive into another 500+page epic fantasy series. Alas, that turned out not to be the case.

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

I liked Nasir but his character didn’t really *grab* me. Same with Zafira, however cool her name was, she was a bit baffling to me and I just couldn’t muster enthuasism for her character. Naasir’s story was a bit more promising…but it just fell flat, for both of them. I made it about 150 pages in, before giving up entirely.

Another issue was language. The book really should have a glossary, terminology, and character chart list at the start of the book. There’s supposedly one on the author’s website, but that doesn’t do me much good since I do not have internet at home to look it up, and rely on my phone more often than not for service. Therefore, nothing of that sort for me.

Then there was the Chapter: Boy’s POV and Chapter: Girl’s POV back and forth switch that I hate reading. I like sticking with just the one character, though there have been exceptions-such as The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, but those exceptions are few and far between. It just was frustrating-as soon as I started getting interested in that character, it would swap back to the other and I would loose interest all over again. Ugh.

The writing, admittedly, wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I was interested in the plot’s story arc, but my main complaint is the characters, strange terms, and the weird names. There’s one character whose name is Umm. Seriously? Umm.

I get this is supposedly to be otherworldly fantasy. I get this was building up to something probably epic and awesome and thrilling for all. I get that, I do. But sadly, it just couldn’t keep my attention and I want to read things that I enjoy reading and not have to reach so hard to find the parts that I like. Therefore, unfortunately for me, this is a definite DNF. Maybe I might try again in the future, but it’s highly doubtful.

Overall, 3/5 stars and I feel as though I’m being generous.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Book Review: Small Spaces

Small Spaces

Title: Small Spaces
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher:
Page Count: 200
Type of Book: Hardback
Received: Library Loan
Rated: 4/5 stars
Notes: Warning for some bullying throughout the book, theft of a book, and the main characters mother has died and she’s dealing with it.

Small Spaces was a delightfully quick book to read, apart from the long fantasies that I’ve been doing here as of late. I flew through it in less than four hours, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The kids were a bit, well, juvenile at times, but they are kids so I let it slide. There’s also a bit of questionable bullying towards one particular character, but in the end it turned out all okay anyway.

The story was delightfully creepy at times, though little to pretty much no gore in this book at all, which made me very pleased. I dislike heavy amounts of mindless gore in creepy suspense novels, for obvious reasons. The stickmen and smiling man I was familiar with in regards to mythological stories that I have read over the years, but this was a new twist to it, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Overall, this was a fun and entertaining read, with the right amount of creepy vibes and dark tones that would make for a great re-read for Halloween, or for those of you who haven’t gotten around to it yet, I highly recommend it for Halloween. You won’t regret it. 4/5 stars!

Until next time,
Pass Me That Book

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