'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Thursday, 31 December 2015

My Review of 2015

With the year coming to an end, I thought to I'd briefly mention the top 3 books that I've read this year (2015). 
Ok, so without much further ado.....

Coming in at number 3 -


Stiger's Tigers (Chronicles of An Imperial Legionary Officer Book 1) by Marc Alan Edelheit.




A superb military fantasy novel with fascinating characters, and pulsating action scenes.
My original review can be found here.


At number 2 -


The Flesh of War (The Warsworn Trilogy Book 1) by Ben Hale.




I never imagined myself reading a book about a troll, let alone let alone liking one. But Ben Hale has crafted such an affable, and inspiring hero that you can't help but root for. The author has definitely given me a new perspective on trolls.
My review can be found here.


And Finally Best Book of 2015 goes to......


Banshee Hunt by Greg Curtis.




Yes, that's right, Banshee Hunt!
And truth be told I only finished this book a few days ago, so I haven't even done a full review on it, but to my mind I can't think of any other book this year that left me with such a thirst to know what happens next, that I finished the book within the day.
I guess it came as no surprise for me, as Greg Curtis is one of my favourite authors, and having read many of his works, I had a fair inkling that this book would be good. I will hopefully do a full review of the book in due time.


---------------------

Until then happy new year and I wish you success, good health and contentedness with life. Make 2016 your year!





Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Tiger

The Tiger (Chronicles of An Imperial Legionary Officer Book 2) by Marc Alan Edelheit.


Front Cover







Synopsis


Abandoned and cut off from friendly lines, Stiger takes the fight to the enemy!  
A nobleman from an infamous family, imperial legionary officer, fighter, and a right proper bastard of a man…Captain Ben Stiger captured Castle Vrell and rid it of a minion of a dark god. Now he finds himself cut off from the empire with a hostile rebel army marching on the legion’s fortress where they guard the entrance to the Vrell Valley. It is not in Stiger’s nature to simply wait for the enemy. Badly outnumbered and facing odds greater than twenty to one, he sets out to impede the enemy’s advance and show them the steel that the legions are made of. To help him on his way he has the services of his friend, Eli one of the last remaining elven rangers. As if matters could not get worse, an army of dwarves is preparing to retake Castle Vrell, a sacred place they name Grata’Kor. 
There are forces at play greater than Stiger can imagine. To survive, he must not only contend with a well-supported rebel army, but a hostile dwarven nation intent on fulfilling a mysterious prophecy that has the potential to shatter the world and bring ruin to the empire. 
The battle to save the empire and the world continues in this action packed adventure.


My Review


For those of you who haven't read my review of the first book in the series, then it can be found here.
The Tiger follows on from the cliffhanger of the first book and immediately jumps back into the fold. The story follows Captain Stiger as he leads a - rag-tag now turned professional - company of soldiers against an army that out numbers them ten to one.

If I'm being honest I didn't think this book was as good as the first, which is no shame at all, as the first book was brilliant and set the bar really high. 

I felt the 1st half of the book let it down slightly. There was little development in terms of storyline and mostly filled with just action. Which is not a bad thing, but I prefer a balance of storyline, characterisation mixed with action, which then allows me to better grasp what is happening.

The 2nd half of the book, however, was a marked contrast to the first. New, fascinating characters were introduced and there was a step up in the plot, which both combined, made it a very interesting end to the book. There was also of course plenty of action, but not in an overbearing fashion.


Conclusion


For those of you who love military fantasy then this book is perfect for you. And even if you're not, this book/series still has a lot to offer. 
I don't normally read military fantasy but the author has done a great job in delivering a book that is both simple and easy to follow.

The story finished in such a way that left me eager for the next instalment and I can't wait to see what further misery can be heaped on Captain Stiger's shoulders.



Out of 10 Stars:


7 Stars


Buy it here:


Amazon US


Before I finish this post I would like to wish everyone a great Christmas/holiday and see you all next year!


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

This Fallen World

This Fallen World by Christopher Woods

Front Cover


Synopsis


In a world after the apocalypse left from the Corporate Wars, Mathew Kade does a job most cannot. He finds those who are lost using skills left from a time before the Fall. The city is a broken shadow of its former self with blocks controlled by Warlords and danger that lurks around every corner. Thugs and killers walk the streets and things could get even more complicated after a local Warlord places a bounty on the head of Kade. Bounty hunters from far and wide may be after his head, but this is just a short walk in the park for a former Corporate Agent....


My Review


I don't normally read books that are around 100 pages or less. I like to really get into the story and characters, and I don't feel I can get that with novellas. But I took a chance with this book and I'm glad I did.

The book was short, sharp and to the point but boy did I enjoy the ride while I was on it. The story follows Mathew Kade as he is asked to find a kidnapped girl. The book is based on a post-apocalyptic world and like another review mentioned, think Mad Marx. And having watched the latest Mad Marx film, I could certainly see the similarities.

What pleasantly surprised me was that the author managed to pack in so much characterisation and world setting in 111 pages. While reading the book I wasn't left clueless as to what was happening.

In terms of protagonist, I instantly developed a liking to Kade. He's exactly my type of hero, a proper bad-ass, where he's not too soft or too embittered with life, and does what needs to be done. His personality and the way he interacted with the other characters made me smile.

Conclusion


I'm struggling to think of another book I've read this year that has brought me more enjoyment than 'This Fallen World'. Suffice as to say that I hope the author doesn't stop and carries on with the series. Mathew Kade is a character I want to read more about.

Out of 10 Stars:


9 Stars

Buy it here:


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Keep Your Crowbar Handy

Keep Your Crowbar Handy by SP Durnin.


Front Cover 


Synopsis


Jake O'Connor has problems. 
His time spent overseas with Britain's SAS Regiment still gives him nightmares, his social life is in the toilet, and his best friend is an unrepentant adrenaline junkie.  
Unfortunately, just as things finally seem to go his way, decomposing corpses of the recently dead begin rising to gnaw on the living. Soon the streets are glutted with mindless creatures hungering for only one thing: human flesh. Jake's unlikely group of friends needs to make tracks for some kind of refuge before they end up as Hors d'oeuvres, but how to do that without being turned into drooling maggot-heads themselves? 
Now, a burned out combat journalist, a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, a health food store owner, and a ditzy pharmacy tech, have to hold their own against legions of walking corpses. At first glance, none of them are likely candidates to survive for long in The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse. But hey, stranger things have happened.  
Psychopaths, escaped criminals, and para-military white supremacists all stand in their way, not to mention the ever-increasing, zombie hordes. If Jake doesn't want to become one of the shambling dead he'll need to keep his whits about him, and his crowbar handy. 
KEEP YOUR CROWBAR HANDY drops the reader headlong into a frightening (yet sometimes comedic) zombie apocalypse, literally with a bang. S.P. Durnin captures the craziness of it all by focusing on an unlikely group of potential survivors as they attempt to work together dispite some rather odd personality quirks, not drive each other crazy, and try to stay alive in a world now overrun by the hungry dead. The author combines tongue-in-cheek humor with a healthy dose of gore-soaked apocalyptic adventure, and proves that love doesn't always conquer all. Sometimes, you gotta use a crowbar...


Review


An unusual title and a nice looking cover made me take a chance on this post zombie apocalypse book.

The main characer is Jake O'Connor. He's a war journalist who spent some time with the SAS before he returned home to America.
There are two other main characters. Kat and Laura, one is a Japanese beauty and the other is an Irish beauty. Both women are kick-ass, and have no problem wielding swords (katana's) or guns - in fact every single person in the book seems to be an expert at whatever weapon they have at their disposal.

The storyline is like most zombie books, and so I wasn't expecting anything new. Jake is the leader of his ever expanding group, as they try to find safety in flesh-eating world. They battle against zombies as well as fellow humans. 
But what did surprise me was the bizarreness of some of the plot lines, or should I say characters. For example;
You got Kat, who before the apocalypse worked as a pharmacy clerk, but afterwards suddenly becomes a samurai/ninja/Ronda Rousey clone.
You also have Jake's war veteran buddy, George who conveniently has a panic 'room' - which comprises of 3 floors, several bedrooms, numerous showers, kitchen, a gym, an arsenal equipped with all manner of weapons and lastly of course food to last several months. 

Every woman in the book seems to be Miss World contestant and the book spends more time analysing who's sleeping with who that I wondered at some point whether the zombies were a figment of my imagination, or had they naturally died off whilst the characters finally make up their minds who they wanted to have sex with.

Jake, wasn't someone I particularly liked. His personality didn't endear me to him. I mean one minute he was absolutely steadfast in his loyalty to Laura and the next he had his tongue rammed down Kat's throat. He also had a propensity to keep going about how great he was because he spent some time with the SAS (as a journalist) - which to be fair he really was, as the author made him into a younger Clint Eastwood, who excelled at everything, with everyone idolising him, only to be broken up with odd moments of self-pity at having to be the leader of their gang.

The funny thing is that this book isn't half as terrible as it sounds, and I did enjoy some of the quirky storylines. But then again I'm a male, who has no problem reading about how every woman is a Victoria's Secret Angel. The story really is every young heterosexual man's dream, of course, minus the flesh eating zombies, but then again they don't feature that much anyway.


Conclusion


For hardcore zombie lovers, you might want to steer clear of this book. But for those of you who want to read something that will bring a smile to your face, mostly from sheer amusement at the oddness of it all, then give this a read.


Out of 10 Stars:


5 stars 


Buy it here:


Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Flesh of War

The Flesh of War (The Warsworn Book 1) by Ben Hale.


Front Cover






Synopsis


Forged for combat, the rock trolls have no equal. They train from birth, endure brutal conditioning, and mark their skin with every kill. They have become the very flesh of war, but their history of honor has been forgotten. Now a bounty has been issued, one which calls for the extermination of their race. To survive they must awaken to what they have lost, before their enemies begin to gather. 
Born in the midst of a bloody conflict, Tryton bears a heart of peace. His talent will command respect, but his nature is the true weapon. To wield it he must rise to lead them all—without sacrificing his soul. The fate of his people lies with him, but the seeds of destruction have already been sown. 
And the harvest has come. 


My Review


The book is based on Rock Trolls, and I normally shy away from reading books that don't have a human as the main character, which, I suppose is strange, considering how much I love fantasy. I think the main reason why, is that when I read a book I imagine myself being that character, but if I'm reading about a orc then it makes it hard for me to picture myself as one. But after reading the synopsis, I liked what I saw and I'm glad I took that chance.

The protagonist is called Tryton, and the book begins with his birth and then continues to follow his life as he learns to become a warrior, leader and eventually a hero.

It was quite fascinating reading about the author's portrayal of trolls. Before I read this book I thought of trolls as giant, dumb beasts, like the one in LOTR, but Ben Hale creates intelligent, cunning creatures. They hold emotions such as love, sadness and hate, and though they did conform to their stereotypical violent selves, Tryton and his friends demonstrated depth to their character as they tried to fathom their purpose in life.

The storyline was a little too farfetched for my liking, but it didn't take away from the quality of the writing which I thought was superb, particularly, the action scenes. It's difficult to write a fight scene well, or should I say read a fight scene that doesn't have you flicking through the words, but Ben Hale does a fantastic job writing in such a way that keeps you on the edge of your seats - he keeps it simple but detailed enough that you can picture what's happening.

Conclusion


Fans of dark fantasy will love this book, especially if you've read David Dalglish's Half Orcs. Ben Hale has set the foundations for a thrilling series and he concludes the book in such a way that leaves you desperate for the sequel.

Out of 10 Stars:


7 Stars

Buy it here:


Monday, 31 August 2015

The Alloy of Law

The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel (Wax and Wayne series) by Brandon Sanderson.


Front Cover



Synopsis

The three hundred years since the events of Mistborn have shaped Scadrial. Ever taller towers race for the clouds, railways as well as canals criss-cross the land. But this is still a land of magic.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest may be part of history - or religion - but even as science reaches new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy still have a role in this reborn world. In the Roughs, the wilds beyond the cities, magic is a crucial tool for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice. One such is Waxillium Ladrian.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. He must assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the open plains of the Roughs.

My Review


Before I begin, I must admit I haven't read the Mistborn Original Trilogy (the 3 books preceding this book), and the main reason for that is that they've never really appealed to me. But, I stumbled across The Alloy of Law, and I immediately became intrigued by the description and after reading several reviews reassuring me that I didn't need to read the original trilogy, I bought it.

And I'm glad I did.

Brandon Sanderson is a well known author and is one of the A-list celebs when it comes to fantasy but apart from Elantris, I haven't really been wowed by his books - that's probably part of the reason why I avoided the original trilogy.

Main character in The Alloy of Law is Waxillium Ladrian - What a name to give your main character - Anyway, Wax (for short), is a law-keeper, who had spent a good 20 years defending the Roughs, a place where criminals and other shady characters live, but after suffering a personal tragedy, he returns to the city, Elendel. But trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes, and he soon finds himself involved in the recent spate of kidnappings that have plagued the city.

The book was short for a Sanderson novel, and it was interesting to learn that the author originally wrote the book as a creative writing exercise, not necessarily intended for publication, which may explain why the book was so succinct and the sentences to the point.
The action scenes were well written and the dialogue flowed effortlessly. Sanderson infuses a heavy dose of humour into the book, and he pulls it off superbly. Throughout the book, the interaction between Wax and his sidekick Wayne, had me smiling at their antics.

Wax is a fantastic character, who is instantly likeable and has real depth to him. In fact all the main characters are engaging, even the bad guys - I think it might the few times where I wanted to read more about the bad guy and learn about his past.

The storyline wasn't unique, but it was far from boring, and the pace of the book was such that you never got stuck in a rut.


Conclusion 


I really enjoyed the book and for those, like me, who haven't read the original trilogy, it's perfectly fine to read as a stand-alone. 
If you're a fan of steampunk and fantasy then I highly recommended The Alloy of Law, and if you've read the original trilogy then you don't need me to tell you to read it.

Out of 10 Stars:


7 Stars


Buy it here:


Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Arcanist

The Arcanist by Greg Curtis.


Front Cover




Synopsis


Edouard Severin was useless. Happily useless.  
The third son of Count Argus Severin he would not inherit the title of count nor the reins of House Barris. He was free to do what he liked with his life provided he didn't embarrass his family. And what he liked was to live in his ancient fort in the town of Breakwater, tinker with his machines and play with his magic. Life was good. 
Then the city of Theria was attacked by a herd of stampeding mammoths, his older brother Marcus turned up on his doorstep in the middle of the night demanding his help, and he suddenly had to put his skills to use in investigating the crime. 
Little did he know that the attack was merely the first step in a plan to seize control of the Kingdom of Therion, or that the one responsible would be a member of his own family. 


My Review



Greg Curtis is one of those authors that I don't need to read the blurb to know that it'll be a great book. I've read many of his works and they are all as good as the next one. Admittedly, his writing style is quite elaborate and he does have a tendency to go too in-depth with character's inner monologue and as a result leaves large chunks of texts between dialogue, sometimes, so much so, that I've had to go back several pages just to remember what the last conversation was.

The Arcanist is slightly different from his other books in that the main character is not a total recluse who has chosen a life of solitude due to some personal tragedy. Rather, our hero, Edouard, is loved by his family, well nearly all of his family members, and so it was interesting to see a softer, more caring, and less bitter character than Greg Curtis normally writes.

Edouard is the third son of a noble family and has accepted that in terms of pecking order, he's at the bottom. He lives a carefree life until that is the city of Theria is attacked by a herd of stampeding mammoths (yes, I did scratch my head a few times at that plot line), and finds himself dragged into the investigation to find the culprits.

Edouard is less physically imposing than what I'm used to in Curtis's protagonist's, but what he lacks in brawn, he more than makes up with in wit. He also has a spark of magic which allows him to cast fire. So he's not powerless, but he's not invincible.

There are also a host of other characters, main ones being, Marcus, his older brother, who is the warrior of the story, and Kyriel, a handmaiden to an omnipotent magical being.

I enjoyed the storyline, despite how predictable it was times. What I enjoy most from Greg Curtis's novels is the personality he installs into his characters, all of his characters have their own little idiosyncrasies, and they become flesh and blood, and not simply words on a page.

The world that The Arcnaist is set in is fascinating in that there is a blend of technology, such as cannons, pistols and hot-air-ballons, alongside traditional sword and sorcery. I normally hate reading books that try to marry the two but the concept was well written and didn't feel awkward.


Conclusion



Greg Curtis is one of my favourite authors and so it came as no surprise to me that I enjoyed his latest work, so if you haven't read any of his novels, then I not only recommend this book but his other books as well. 


Out of 10 Stars:



7 Stars


Buy it here:


Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt (The Godless Saint Book 1) by Thomas Galvin


Front Page





Synopsis

A controversial new story from a former believer.  
Caden Lyndsey was a Man of God. He battled demons, saw visions of the future, and wielded the fire of Heaven. 
He lost his faith, but not his power.
Now, his visions drive him toward rural Washington. A madman seeks to summon the Norse god Wotan and unleash the Wild Hunt on an unsuspecting populace. If he succeeds, hundreds will die. Caden must battle witches, monsters, and ancient deities in order to stop him.


My Review


I know its been awhile since I last posted a review. And for anyone who follows this blog - which I'm doubtful of - I apologise for my lack of activity. The reasons why has been partly down to work, but if I'm being honest, it was mostly down to not being interested in reading any books. I sometimes go through periods, which normally lasts for a few weeks, where I have no interest in books. And, I don't actually see it as a bad thing, rather, I see it as chance to recharge my battery and it's like that saying 'absence makes the heart grow fonder.'

Well, anyway getting back to this review.

The story revolves around Caden, a magic user, who after a personal tragedy, is suffering from a crisis in faith and is seeking his own path in life. He has visions of the future which usually portend to some supernatural disaster. And in his last vision he witnesses the pagan god, Wotan, rampaging through a small town.

It's been awhile since I've read an urban fantasy book, and after reading the blurb, I wanted to like this book. I really did. But, I finished the book glad to have gotten to the end, with little care to knowing what happens next in the series.

The main reason why I didn't enjoy the book as much as I wanted to was simply down to the storyline. If the storyline doesn't interest me then I struggle to read without getting easily distracted. Characters and prose can only take a book so far.

Also, the author at times tried too hard to make his main character witty, which, nowadays, seems to be a trait for most urban fantasy novels, much to my annoyance. I know I sound like a grouch but that's one of the main reasons why I don't read too many books from this genre. 
I mean you can pick up an urban fantasy book with a male protagonist in it and pretty much guarantee that the guy will be a P.I or something similar (is it that hard for an author to think up a different job), and he'll try his damnedest to be a wise ass, especially when in danger, and then proceed get beaten up every time he's in a fight but somehow win by luck. *Sigh* rant over.

One big positive is that the norse mythology was interesting, as well as the magic system. Also the main character has a mysterious past that did pique my curiosity.


Conclusion


The actual book is well formatted and I can't fault the writing. I can see this being an enjoyable read to fans of urban fantasy. And so I won't end this review by telling you to avoid this book - just read the sample first, and see what you think.

Out of 10 Stars:


5 Stars


Buy it here:


Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Sigil Blade

The Sigil Blade (Archon Sigil Trilogy Book 1) by Jeff Wilson

Front Cover 



Synopsis


The people of An Innis have fallen on hard times. Vengeful thieves, rumored to be men returned from death, have brought the island to its knees. Using a fleet of captured ships, they systematically plunder everything that enters or attempts to leave the coastal waters that surround the island. 
The Sigil Blade, the first book of the Archon Sigil Trilogy, tells the story of Edryd, a man who is trying to reinvent himself and conceal the truth about his past. His unexplained arrival as a stranger upon the island will change the course of its history and set in motion events that will ultimately shape the future of an entire world. He will duel with Aed Seoras, a master shaper who seeks to use and control him, and battle with immortal draugar and their human thralls as he struggles with dark powers over which he has no control. He must learn to shape the darkness around him if he wants to avoid a destiny which holds the promise of endless bloodshed and destruction. 
The tool he will need to do this… is an ancient weapon of power.


My Review


The story opens up with a mysterious man called Edryd, who has found his way on to An Innis, an island populated by some of the worst thieves.

After finishing the book, I was left scratching my head, slightly puzzled at what to make of it. The beginning of the book was confusing, and while I thought the plot was heading a certain way, it suddenly headed into another direction.
As the book wore on, the story remained a little perplexing, and I don't think I ever I got a tangible grasp on what was happening; instead just going with the flow.

The character, Edryd, was the main character, but I found him difficult to like. I'm not saying that because of any evil actions on his part but because of his indecisive nature and the decisions he made throughout the book.

Now, you're probably thinking I hated this book, but that's not true. There were parts of the book that I enjoyed, particularly the action scenes, and it finished on a high, which actually made me interested in the sequel.

Conclusion


While the book didn't captivate me, I can certainly see it being popular amongst other readers. So, I say give this book a try, as you'll be reading a highly polished book for a relatively modest sum of money (I only paid £2/$3, which is cheap for a well edited book).


Out of 10 Stars:


6 Stars

Buy it here:



Sunday, 10 May 2015

Stiger's Tigers

Stiger's Tigers (Chronicles of An Imperial Legionary Officer Book 1) by Marc Alan Edelheit.


Front Cover




Synopsis

The empire has endured many centuries but is now threatened by multiple wars and a major rebellion in the South.  
A nobleman from an infamous family, imperial legionary officer, fighter and a right proper bastard of a man… Captain Ben Stiger finds himself reassigned from a crack legion to the rebellion simmering in the South. Placed in command of a truly terrible company, the 85th Imperial Foot, he is unknowingly sent on a suicide mission to resupply an isolated outpost, the garrison of Vrell. Along the way he must rebuild his new company, gain the respect of the men he leads, survive an assassination attempt, fight bandits, rebels, and an agent of an evil god. His companions on this journey of discovery and adventure are one of the few remaining elven rangers and a paladin on a quest for the High Father.



Review


The story is based on the central character called Ben Stiger, a imperial legionary officer. His family is known throughout the Empire for their power and influence.
The book follows Stiger as he finds himself re-assigned to a remote place in the south where rebellion is rife. The story then follows his exploits as he tries to install order back to a dishevelled group of soldiers, while tackling a rebellion.

Truth be told I wasn't expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did. I knew it would focus heavily on a military storyline and I expected that I'd have to syphon through a lot of technical jargon to get to the crux of the story, but to my joy that certainly wasn't the case.
The book was so easy to read and the story flowed effortlessly. The author didn't attempt to flood the reader with military tactics and instead made it simple for the reader to grasp what was happening.

I thought the writing was superb and the sentences were concise and to the point. There wasn't any unnecessary filling to make it bloated and tedious.

The protagonist Ben Stiger was a well developed character who you got a real feel for. He was a character that you couldn't help but root for. He was a hard, unyielding man, and exactly the type of leader you would want to follow.

There were some minor criticism though; I thought for a military fantasy there wasn't enough action/fighting. It was only until the end that we got our first taste of violence. Although the end of the book does set it up nicely for an action packed sequel.

I also thought besides Stiger, there wasn't enough development for the other characters. For example, Eli, an elf who was Stiger's right hand man, was a character that I wanted to learn more about but wasn't given the opportunity to.


Conclusion


All-in-all this was a really enjoyable book and would definitely recommend it for those, like me, who enjoyed Jim Butcher's Codex Alera.

The book leaves on a bit of a cliff hanger and I can't wait to read the sequel.


Out of 10 Stars:


8 Stars



Buy it here:


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Age of Iron

Age of Iron (The Iron Age Trilogy Book 1) by Angus Watson.


Cover







Synopsis

LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE FORGED.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people. 
First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who's vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution. 
Now Dug's on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join �- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that's going to get them all killed . . . 
It's a glorious day to die.


My Review


I stumbled upon this book awhile ago and the sequel has just come out, so I thought I'd do a quick review of this book.

For the last few years I've stopped buying/reading published books, as I've found them much more expensive than indie books, but Age of Iron sounded intriguing and I'm glad I paid the extra money for it.

The novel is a historical fiction with dashes of fantasy in it. The storyline is set in Britain, just before the invasion of Rome and has three main characters. 
You have Spring, a rather precious young girl with a mysterious background, Lowa, a female warrior who finds herself betrayed by her king, and finally Dug Sealskinner, a veteran mercenary, and my favourite character.

I think one of the main reasons why I found this book so captivating, was not because of the action, which was written well by the way, but the characterisation. Each of the three main protagonists were fleshed out and had striking personalities.
And I must say, Angus Watson did a terrific job in creating Dug. I think I must have had a permanent smile etched on my face whenever I read his POV. Dug's actions and what he said at the most inappropriate of times, had me laughing. He's exactly what I want in a hero - someone who doesn't take life seriously and most often than not stumbles through to success.

What I also liked was the amount of strong female characters in this book. They were as equally ferocious as the men and fought just as hard, if not harder. While I didn't like Lowa for the decisions she made, I couldn't help but admire her will to fight.


Conclusion


This book had the perfect blend of humour and action, which made the story enthralling. And having bought the sequel already, this series is one to watch, or should I say read.



Out of 10 Stars:


7 Stars


***
Buy it here:


Monday, 16 March 2015

Red Ashes

Red Ashes (The Chronicles of a Vampire Book 1) by Justin Moore.

Front Cover




Synopsis


Being a vampire hunter is hungry work. John Magnus was your not-quite-so-average orphan-turned-Marine before his convoy was attacked by vampires, leaving him as the only human survivor. John's journey as a vampire hunter takes him to San Diego, where a vicious new foe--and a new family--await him. 
John's Uncle, a prodigious vampire hunter, trains John in the finer points of slaying the denizens of the night until an unexpected ambush turns everything upside down, and John is forced to fight against a new threat that he was just beginning to understand. 

My Review


This is an urban fantasy novel with the main focus on vampires. John Magnus, is a US marine who finds his team decimated by unnatural beings - after barely surviving the incident, he discovers that vampires are real. He also learns that he has special powers and that he has a long lost uncle who knows everything about vampires and other supernatural beings that go bump in the night.

This was a fast paced, action fuelled story that flies through the pages. It didn't take me long to finish the book.

I felt the main character, John, was likeable and believable, but there wasn't much flesh to him. The pace of the book also makes it difficult to grasp the other characters. However, this is the first book in the series so I'm sure the author has plans to introduce more scope to his characters.

The storyline was interesting to read and I enjoyed learning what made John and his uncle unique.


Conclusion


If you're looking for a quick, satisfying urban fantasy story then Red Ashes is definitely worth a read.


Out of 10 Stars:


6 Stars

***
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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Frontier Justice

Frontier Justice (The Survivalist Book 1) by Arthur Bradley.


Cover







Synopsis


The Superpox-99 virus has wiped out nearly the entire human race. Governments have collapsed. Cities have become graveyards filled with unspeakable horror. People have resorted to scavenging from the dead, or taking from the living. The entire industrialized world has become a wasteland of abandoned cars, decaying bodies, and feral animals. 
To stay alive, U.S. Deputy Marshal Mason Raines must forage for food, water, and gasoline while outgunning those who seek to take advantage of the apocalyptic anarchy. Together with his giant Irish wolfhound, Bowie, he aligns with survivors of the town of Boone in a life and death struggle against a gang of violent criminals. With each deadly encounter, Mason is forced to accept his place as one of the nation's few remaining lawmen. In a world now populated by escaped convicts, paranoid mutants, and government hit squads, his only hope to save the townspeople is to enforce his own brand of frontier justice. 
Halfway across the country, a killer is released from prison. With hopes set on a fresh start, he rescues a young girl desperate to get home. As they travel across the wasteland that once was the United States, they must call upon every bit of strength and courage to survive not only the horrors of the new world but also a violent government agenda.


Review



A virus similar to smallpox is released in America, decimating 99% of the population. Among the scattered survivors is Mason Raines, a deputy marshal, and one of the few immune to the virus. The story follows his adventures, as he faces a world filled with peril at every turn.

If you're a regular reader of TEOTWAWKI style novels then you won't find anything new in terms of the storyline. The main character, Mason, is an ex-army ranger, turned marshall, and as you can imagine, supremely gifted with the use of guns. He reminded me a lot of Raylen Givens (Justified TV series), in the way he'd draw his gun like a gunslinger and his casual attitude to intimidation.



But despite the storyline being somewhat predictable, I still enjoyed the novel. It was short, exciting and flowed along nicely. It wasn't bogged down by too much gun jargon and the author never went into that lecturing 'prepper' tone that so many books of this ilk do.

There is another sub-plot being played out and that involves Mason's father, Tanner Raines, a convict who takes advantage of the situation and frees himself.

There were some negatives to draw upon; I though the characterisation was rushed, and Mason, at times did feel a little too wild west for me. I admit, I like my protagonist to be strong, but he was like Raylen on speed. You have to allow for some sort of fallibility.

Conclusion


An enjoyable read and one that I would recommend if you're new or newish to the genre. Yes, the price is steep for a book that I finished within a day, but I didn't feel short changed at all.


Out of 10 Stars:


7 Stars



***
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