Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.
To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.
It’s been a while since I posted a review. In all honesty, it may be a while before my next one as well. Due to changing personal circumstances, I’ve stepped back from the blogging sphere entirely. But I actually managed to both read and review a book in time for its publication date, so figured that was a good one to get up online. Here’s my review on The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne.
The synopsis for this made it sound a gritty and compelling read. While the latter is true, it didn’t have the grimdark vibes I anticipated. Instead, it was a softer tale pivoting around how far someone would go for love and duty. Here’s my review on The Wolf of Oren-Yaro.
Publisher: Little Brown, Book Group | Date: 2020 | Genre: Fantasy
Plot: ‘They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.’
Born under the towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien inherited a deeply divided kingdom, devastated by years of war. Her marriage to the son of a rival clan was meant to herald peace, yet her fiancé disappeared before their reign could even begin.
Now, years later, Talyien receives a message that will send her across on the sea. Yet what was meant as an effort to reconcile the past leaves her stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with assassins at her back and no idea who she can trust.
If Talyien is to survive, she must embrace her namesake.
After lamenting last month about taking too long to tackle my TBR, I was delighted to be approved for this ARC! Reading a series almost back-to-back and getting a review up near publication date? What’s happened to me? Keep reading for my review on A Psalm of Storms and Silence.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Date: 2021 | Genre: Fantasy
Plot: Karina lost everything after a violent coup left her without her kingdom or her throne. Now the most wanted person in Sonande, her only hope of reclaiming what is rightfully hers lies in a divine power hidden in the long-lost city of her ancestors.
Meanwhile, the resurrection of Karina’s sister has spiraled the world into chaos, with disaster after disaster threatening the hard-won peace Malik has found as Farid’s apprentice. When they discover that Karina herself is the key to restoring balance, Malik must use his magic to lure her back to their side. But how do you regain the trust of someone you once tried to kill?
As the fabric holding Sonande together begins to tear, Malik and Karina once again find themselves torn between their duties and their desires. And when the fate of everything hangs on a single, horrifying choice, they each must decide what they value most—a power that could transform the world, or a love that could transform their lives.
I’d seen a lot of glowing reviews for this author and couldn’t wait to start reading this one. Hands down, one of my favourite books of the year. It made me laugh; it made me cry (in a heartfelt good way). Check out my review on Under the Whispering Door.
Publisher: Pan MacMillan / Tor | Date: 2021 | Genre: General Fiction/Fantasy
Plot: When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
I can’t do spooky. Or creepy. Or scary. Or, pretty much, anything that is vaguely related to Halloween. Any book that advertises itself as being a Halloween read normally has me running for the hills. Last year, however, I had quite good fun deciding what I’dwatch that had Halloween themes, but weren’t technically that genre. So, I thought I’d do it with books… here’s 5 fantasy series to read this Halloween if you don’t do traditional ghouls and ghosts.
This was supposed to be a general list, but it turned into fantasy through no fault of my own! Okay, the fault is mine, it’s mainly what I read but hey, you should know that by now.
I loved the sound of this from the synopsis and was eager to dive in. Although it took until halfway before I was properly immersed, I enjoyed it. There’s an intriguing plot but it’s the characters who made this work for me. Here’s my review on Wake of the Phoenix.
Publisher: BooksGoSocial | Date: 2021 | Genre: Fantasy
Plot: War Hero. Thiefmaster’s apprentice. Traitors. Every title comes with a price.
Arkaen is a gods-damned saint. He sacrificed his childhood innocence fighting for the beleaguered rebellion in a civil war and relinquished a comfortable life with the man he loves to reclaim his place as high lord from corrupt nobles. Now, a hidden enemy is manipulating his lower lords into talk of rebellion, including the powerful Rogue Baron who is slowly swaying the city into questioning every move Arkaen makes.
With the help of his near-omniscient lover’s gift of foresight, Arkaen finds a potential ally in Niamsha, a reluctant thief trying to pay for her brother’s education. But Niamsha owes an insurmountable debt to the mysterious leader of her thieves guild and failing to pay means death—for her entire family. When her guild leader demands she join forces with the Rogue Baron himself, she finds herself caught in a political battle beyond her skills. Torn between protecting her family and following her conscience, Niamsha doesn’t know who to trust.
If Arkaen can win Niamsha’s loyalty, he might just prevent a second civil war and the destruction of everything he fought to protect. Or he might get them all killed.
Let us return, fair readers, to the bane of my existence: obtain a book, do not touch said book for a year, read it, curse not reading it sooner. Needless to say, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is one of my top reads for 2021 – my review explores why.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Date: 2020 | Genre: Fantasy
Plot: For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
After mixed feelings about previous Cassandra Clare books, I started Chain of Iron without high expectations. I enjoyed it more than expected, however, and found the plot had more momentum than previously due to focusing on more than unrequited love triangles. I’m sharing my full Chain of Iron review below.
Publisher: Walker Books | Date: 2021 | Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Plot: Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.
But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.
Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.
The synopsis for this one caught my eye. I know nothing about the Ming Dynasty, and the premise is intriguing. I’d heard enough that my interest was piqued. A gripping and compelling tale with powerful writing complementing an intricate plot: here’s my full review on She Who Became The Sun.
Publisher: Pan MacMillan | Date: 2021 | Genre: Fantasy
Plot: In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.