Fantasy Book Reviews, fiction

Book Review: The Border Keeper

Hello Everyone,

Title: The Border Keeper

Author: Kerstin Hall

Series: Book 1

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Tor dot com

Page Count: 300

Goodreads Summary:

She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.

Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.

The Border Keeper spins wonders both epic—the Byzantine bureaucracy of hundreds of demon realms, impossible oceans, hidden fortresses—and devastatingly personal—a spear flung straight, the profound terror and power of motherhood. What Vasethe discovers in Mkalis threatens to bring his own secrets into light and throw both worlds into chaos.

My Thoughts:

Beautifully told, excellent execution. This is a strange, yet lyrical story of demons, gods, and more. Despite that this was less than 300 pages (240 exactly) it still packed a punch. Each chapter was new and interesting. I’m going to ponder this for ages.

Notes:

While I can write the characters names please don’t ask me to pronounce them. I honestly have no clue. I don’t do audiobooks though I may try to figure out how to say Vasethe.

My Review:

Vasethe goes to the Border Keeper for help. Eris, the name that he chooses to call the Border Keeper-for she has many names-is unimpressed with him. This whole book revolves around the pair of them, as Vasethe catches Eris up on current history, culture, people and more. Together the pair work together.

I can’t tell you more about the plot without giving away spoilers. There’s a quest involved, sort of, and more questions than there are answers. There’s a curse, and limited time in searching for that they hunt. There’s betrayals and confusion and lots of near death experiences. Magical and enchanting, I recommend this for fans that like unusual settings and great characters.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

So I Read The Belgariad Series: A Review

Hello Everyone,

Such lovely fantasy covers, don’t you think?

Back in my teens, before The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time there was a little lesser known (or so it seems to me) fantasy series titled The Belgariad. I plowed through them all, one by one, and fell in love. There were actually women in here unlike in Lord of the Rings (where there were maybe a tiny handful barely mentioned) and the women were powerful, real, and not all of them magical. The writing was good and the characters were so real, I felt as though I was a part of their world if only for a while. Now granted, it had its flaws. Polgara could drive me insane after a while. Garion could be particularly stupid at times. But it had the atmospheric quest to defeat evil with a traveling company that I loved in Lord of the Rings and it also had powerful magical women that I admired out of Wheel of Time. It was the best of both worlds. And in 2009, I was saddened to learn that the author, David Eddings, had passed away.

Image found through Pinterest.

Now technically I have only read the first half of Belgariad. I’m right now on Guardians of the West and looking forward to plowing through the next half of the series. That’s also not including all of Eddings other books, series, and the like that I still haven’t read but hope to get to soon, when my insane tbr will let me.

I’ve just learned through Pinterest that there’s a prequel too. So fun! I’ll need to buy that, asap. But back to my review. If you liked the previous series that I mentioned (Lord of the Rings & Wheel of Time) and you enjoyed the series Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne, the Princess Bride by William Goldman and you liked Dresden Files by Jim Butcher you’ll probably love these books. There’s all sorts of side quests, a bit of politics down the line, a bit of romance here and there, a kidnapping, and plenty of battles filled with swords and magic both. The evil bad guys are numerous and the primary bad guy vaguely makes me think of the eye from the lord of the rings, but it’s all wonderful and worth investing in these books and reading them one by one. I suggest a fall reading. A cozy fire, and plenty of your favorite tea.

This is exactly the version that I have of the series!

I highly recommend this series it was one of my favorites and still is. If you haven’t yet read it, you definitely need to. Trust me, you’ll love it. It’s fun and entertaining and I hope they make a Netflix series for it one day.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews, fiction, Young Adult Book Reviews

Ebook Review: Brambles

Hello all,

New to me author and first review of October!

I have never read anything by Intisar Khanani but now she is high on my watch list. This is the short prequel to Thorn, that is the explanation of what Princess Alyrra had done to earn the court and her mother and brother’s hatred. (As described through Google/Goodreads). I won’t give away spoilers but I will list trigger warnings.

Trigger Warnings: bullying, mentions of flogging/beating, mistreatment of servants, abuse, emotional abuse?, physical abuse, and attempted murder

Now I’m unsure if it’s actually emotional abuse, but I feel it is. I can’t say without spoilers as it is a short story, but this is pretty hefty in how servants and the princess are treated. I would go in this with caution, if any of these triggers apply to you.

Goodreads Summary:

In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court’s contempt, her mother’s disdain, and her brother’s hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another’s. It’s a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani’s “Brambles” gives Alyrra’s account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.

~•~•~•~

My Thoughts:

For 40 pages I was enchanted by this world. Valka was a villain you just couldn’t help but get strong feelings for in all the negative ways. Princess Alyrra was definitely a character to root for and her brother obviously needs a lesson in manners. Forty pages and yet I’m still pondering all the actions and characters in this novella.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

First read of the month gets five stars! I’m hopeful that this is a good sign. Happy reading to all!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Book Review: Piper

Hello friends,

A bit of backstory about this “book”. I thought it was an actual book, that I had on my wishlist for Overdrive for years. I had no clue that it was a graphic novel! Imagine my surprise when I finally get it from the library in physical format and find out it’s a graphic novel-something that I rarely read.

Now, it wasn’t bad as far as graphic novels go, the art was actually really nice! It had a smooth flow for the story and the print wasn’t too small to read as it is with most graphic novels I pick up (or maybe that’s just me). I read it in one sitting and can feel safe in rating this 4/5 stars.

But how does one review a graphic novel without giving away most of the plot?! I’d really like advice for those who do read graphic novels and review them, it would be so helpful and I’d be glad to help in return anything y’all need help with!

But back to the story.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the tale of the Pied Piper, one of the first cautionary tales I learned about as a child actually, along with Rumpelstiltskin and King Arthur and fae. This was nicely handled, starting off with true accounts about missing children from an old town named Hameln. In that “something happened to our children”. And “one hundred years ago our children disappeared.” I find the historical aspects fascinating and would like to read the Chronicae Eccelsiae Hamelensis of AD 1384. I like when authors peak the historians in me interest!

Now, the story here keeps most elements the same, but I warn for bullying of deaf children, murder, and death of children as potential triggers.

And though the story is dark, as well as quite bleak at the end it was still beautiful writing. I really enjoyed this fast read, and do suggest that you give it a try! From one who rarely reads graphic novels and comic books this was a treat!

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book.

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Book Review: A Deadly Education

Summary From Goodreads:

Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. 

My Review:

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik is adult fantasy, with a unique story plot, featuring a girl named Galadriel and a boy named Orion Lake. I wanted to really like this more than I did, but I wound up dnf’ing the book at around 200 pages. Galadriel was rather harsh towards Orion, and the plot wasn’t keeping my attention.

The magic system was good. I liked the whole school set up. But otherwise? I hated how the students treated one another, as though each of them were nothing more than cannon fodder to the other. It seemed rather callous between the students. I understand the whole ‘fight to survive’ element going on, but it seemed as though they could have banded together to accomplish more.

The pacing for the story was well structured, and I did like how the characters all felt real. The magic system was slow to be explained as were the monsters within and without the school. I generally was overall? Not a huge fan, but still liked it enough to make it past the halfway point. I’d recommend this to those looking for another fun fantasy setting set at an educational school.

Final Rating: 3/5 stars

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Paperback Book Review: Magician Apprentice

Magician Apprentice

Title: Magicians Apprentice
Author: Raymond E. Feist
Series: Book 1
Genre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Page Count: 400
Type of Book: Paperback
Received: Purchased
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: Why did I wait so long to read this book?

I’ve found my next favorite “Pawn of Prophecy” series. Of course, it’s not the same at all, but it feels like it tried the same epic fantasy style, the great characters, and romances. It had the same feel good feeling Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings as well.

The story opens up with Pug attempting to outrun a storm after being out and about, and instead getting ill luck by twisting an ankle after falling of some rocks by the rocky shore, and trying to get through the woods yet being attacked by a boar and being rescued by a hunter and taken to the hunter’s companion who happens to be a magician. We learn that Pug is an orphan at the castle, and that his choosing day is coming up, where he chooses what kind of career he wants-rather, which craftmaster will take him on. It’s a whirlwind of activity when later on almost no one chooses Pug, and then the magician steps forth and asks him to be his apprentice. And, lo, we get why the book is now called ‘the Magicians Apprentice’.

There’s lots of dastardly good deeds, horse and sword training, friendships and rivalries, a princess that needs saving a time or two, and even magic performed throughout this book. On the whole, it reminded me very strongly of Pawn of Prophecy, as I mentioned, and I believe its from the same era as well. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to read this book-I’ve had it sitting on my shelves for a few months now, but I’ve such a backlog that it took me a while to pick up the book and dive into yet another fabulous fantasy series that’s been around for ages.

There’s shipwrecks in this book, a dangerous journey through snowy mountains and jungles, dwarves, elves, and even another world using magic to get into this one. It’s fantastical and magical, and I highly recommend giving this series a go, especially if you haven’t read it yet!

5/5 stars for a fun few hours with Pug and his friends, and I am definitely looking forward to buying the rest of the series so that I can continue the entertaining journey of how Pug eventually gets the rank of Master Magician.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews, Historical Fiction Book Reviews

New Release Review: The Lost Queen

The Lost Queen

Title: The Lost Queen
Author: Signe Pike
Series: Book One
Genre: Historical
Publisher: Touchstone
Page Count: 600
Type of Book: Hardback, New Release
Review Word Count:
Received: Library
Rated: 5/5 stars
Notes: Vivid, creative, and utterly captivating!

I voted for this book in the Historical Section of the Goodreads Choice Awards of 2018 just a day ago, in the first round of voting, because it was well deserved (and because I hadn’t yet read any of the other books, but shhh, let’s not go there). This book was captivating, from the first page to the very last. While the ending was a sad one, it was a good one, and I am hopeful that there will be a second book to follow up on everything. Even though it had things mostly wrapped up, killing off a good number of the characters at the same time, it still had things unresolved-as history often does.

The writer is a good story-teller, weaving the tale with practiced ease. The characters are lifelike, there’s loads of things going on, and I learned a few things-such as Boudica came about again and I’m beginning to think she was a hell of a badass, nearly wiping out the Romans so. I really need to do some more information on her, because she sounds like someone worth knowing about.

That’s the main reason that I am giving this five out of five stars, because if it’s a historical book it should make me want to go out and do more research on the time period, and the people it talked about. Not only do I want to learn more about the Pendragon era, but I also want to learn more about Boudica and how she nearly wiped out the Romans-if that’s true at all, and not another wild tale by the main characters brother.

This was a fascinating story, and I loved the characters (though don’t ask me to pronounce their names aloud!) and the book itself was a delight, despite the sad ending. I’m glad to have been able to read it, and I hope to one day get my own copy to put on my shelves.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

ARC Review: A Wizard’s Forge

The Wizard's Forge

Title: A Wizard’s Forge
Author: AM Justice
Series: Book One
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher:
Page Count:
Type of Book: ARC, Kindle Ebook
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 4/5 stars!
Notes: Apologies to the author for the long awaited review!

A while back I got on twitter and made a request of this book to the author, and I think it was almost a month (or two?) ago. My computer battery died, I got behind on reviews, though I did manage to read quite a bit because of it. I am heartily sorry for the long awaited review, and I sincerely hope that you like the review that I do now. This book is also going to be featured in my ‘Indie Must Read’ gallery off to the side, because it IS a must-read book!

This book drew me in, in part because of the cover. I know, I’m terrible judging books by covers, but sometimes I can’t seem to help myself. But it also helped that it was a fantasy and you guys know I’m always a sucker for a good fantasy story. My one regret is that I chose the start of yet another series. I have so many of them to read!

This book had it all-strong female characters, lots of action, adventure in spades. There were pirates, high seas, and even magical powers. There were girls being awesome, and plenty of world-building to go around too. I really liked this one for its science meshing in with the magic. The spaceship that landed on the planet, the people reciting logs for years to come even though those logbooks have long since lost meaning…it definitely painted a very vivid picture, and the book reminded me very strongly of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern at times for it.

Overall, the writing was good. The characters were very entertaining, and I definitely had a good time in reading it. I’m hopeful in getting book two soon, because if I don’t get it soon then it will be just one of many series that I’ve started and never finished, and I’m trying to get better about that. So, I’ve added book two to my amazon wishlist, and am eager to get started on it.

I’m giving this a four out of five stars, for an enjoyable time well spent while reading this fun and entertaining book. My sincere thanks to the author for providing me with a copy!

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book.

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Fantasy Book Reviews

Hardback Book Review: Daughter of the Forest

Daughter of the Forest

Title: Daughter of the Forest
Author: Juliet Marillier
Series: Book 1
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Publisher:
Page Count: 500
Type of Book: Hardback, Book I Own
Review Word Count: 500
Rated: 5/5 stars

Look at me go, reading 500+pages after I finished a 600+pages! Daughter of the Forest swept me away with its vivid characters, its in-depth plot, it’s breathtaking scope of world-building. I would rank this as highly as Naomi Novik’s “Uprooted”, because it’s just as beautiful, but instead of being just a stand-alone, this is a series.

Daughter of the Forest tells the tale of Sorcha, and while I loved Sorcha and her six older brothers, her father needs to loosen up and not be so hateful. Granted, his wife died, but that doesn’t give him the right to act like a complete and utter a** towards his children, especially the two youngest who looked the most like his beloved wife.

There’s plenty of magic to be had in this book, along with swans, women being awesome, bad guys, an adventure. There’s so much in this book, that I’m glad I own this because this means that I can do a re-read and see if I missed anything the first time around, which I have been known to do with great fantasy epics.

I really want to read more of this series, but sadly that will have to wait until my next venture to the library, or I find a copy of book two on book outlet. I hope there are some available in hardback edition, to complete the series, because this would be one of my favorite series to own, I think.

To conclude, I’m giving this a 5/5 stars as it’s a breathtakingly beautiful fantasy that I know I will remember for some years to come.

Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book

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Fantasy Book Reviews, Romance

Kindle Ebook Review: Larkspur

 

A Necromancer's Romance

Title: A Necromancer’s Romance

Author: V.M. Jaskierma

Series: Book 1

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Page Count: 50

Publisher:

Type of Book: Novella, Kindle Ebook, Temporary Freebie

Review Word Count:

Rated: 4/5 stars

Notes: Darker than what I typically read, but still worth it!

This was a strange, dark, and lyrical tale of a necromancer. It’s a bit unusual, as I typically am not a dark romance reader, though I’ve heard of this from a few friends and decided to give it a try.

Pierre Salvador is a surgeon and the heir to a duchy, returning to court after years away at University. Now the childhood friend he left behind has grown-up–and is still not wed. But she does not know of his dealings with Mora, the Lady of Death, or what the jealous goddess wants him to do in return for her dark magic.

~Description from Goodreads

I did think that this could use more, the slow build crescendo to the end was nicely done, though it left readers hanging. I liked Pierre, and I liked the idea behind the story as well. I was honestly more interested in the boy who wanted to bring back a girl (won’t say more due to spoilers), but the entire novel speaks of even more stories to be had in the next volume of the adventure.

I’m not going to say that this was one of my favorites, though it is one that I’m still thinking about days later. The ideas for the story are intriguing, and I would love to see how much more in depth the necromancy becomes. Will it be as unique as Dresden Files, for example, or will it not deal with magic but more of the romance? I have added the next book to my wish list, and hope to soon be able to purchase it when I am able.

As it stands, I’m giving this novella a 4/5 stars for creativity, a nice slow-build of a plot, and for the fascinating characters!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book.

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