Today's Decameron

A love for (fantasy) stories!

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne – Day 1 — January 25, 2018

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne – Day 1

“They think we are broken.

We are not.

They think we are defeated.

We are not.” Gulls, High Captain of the Kadoshim

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A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne – the journey — January 24, 2018

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne – the journey

A Time of Dread is the first book in the second fantasy series by John Gwynne, called Of Blood and Bone. I loved his first series, The Faithful and the Fallen; a classic fantasy story compelling, with a strong plot, great characters; it was also an emotional story. A sword and sorcery fantasy with interesting twists (for instance, giants are a big part of the story!); the series also had another relevant factor which is a clear distinction between the good and the bad guys; John Gwynne also created two new races, to associate with the two sides: Ben-Elim (angel-like creatures) and Kadoshim (demon-like race).

A Time of Dread was published earlier this month, specifically on January 11, 2018 by Pan MacMillan.

After a quick glance at Goodreads, “A Time of Dread has 4.63 stars (out of 5)! Impressive!

A couple of additional notes: A time of Dread takes place in the same world as in The Faithful and the Fallen, only 130 years after the final events of the prior series. I like the fact that John Gwynne capitalizes on a world he spent time building and imagining, making sure that there was the right balance. I am hyped, ready to start this new adventure!

As a first time, there is the audio book for the story. Looking forward to checking that out and hopefully it will live up to the expectations .

My Hero Academia vol 1 by Kihei Horikoshi — January 21, 2018

My Hero Academia vol 1 by Kihei Horikoshi

In an effort to expand my reading horizon and try to incorporate more international aspects in my life life, I decided to read some manga in 2018.

My Hero Academia was a Christmas present and it was simply spot on. A reminder of good values, of the difficulties of pursuing dreams. It is a story of sheer will, of having a dream and pursuing it no matter what, to work very hard (even beyond that) to make sure the dream does not die. It is an inspiring story, really.

Obviously, story telling in a manga – or comics in general – is extremely different from a purely written story. Details have to be embedded in the drawing work and wording competes in a limited space, hence the need to be concise yet impactful. Hence even the adaptation in English of the manga has a huge impact in the overall success of the series.

This series is actually a Shōnen manga (manga series for teenage boys); yet, this classification really does not capture how this story can talk – and talks – to many more audiences, from women to more adult readers. Due to its setting, it might also be a story that more closely connects with the big Western names of comics (Marvel and DC Comics) which mostly address superheroes, super powers and the danger that these power might pose in the world (like the X-Men). In fact, My Hero Academia is set in a modern day Japan in a time in which 80% of the population has developed superhuman abilities while the remaining 20% is relegated to be “just” human. The rise in superhuman abilities (called quirks in the story) implied that the world is split between wrong-doers and good-doers. Villains and heroes; being hero also comes with significant perks, such as being government employees, being recognized in the streets and making more through advertisement and becoming celebrities. Kohei Horikoshi actually takes advantage of this detail in a very clever way, I find, and in the back cover he introduces some heroes advertisement; like the one on the first volume.

Mt. Lady in a hair product advertisement

My Hero Academia (at least in volume 1) is the story of two main characters, better one main character and his idol. Izuku Midoriya, a teenager who has a dream: to be a superhero; and All Might, Midoriya’s inspiration. Yet, to be a superhero you need a quirk; unfortunately for him, Midoriya is part of the 20% who has no quirks. This has not proven to be a limitation for him though: One does not need to have a quirk to be a hero. So Midoriya studies the existing heroes, their abilities, their fights, their tactics and fills several books with all that information, making him a virtual library of hero knowledge. In addition, he has a heart of gold and the aptitude to be a hero; he is willing to put himself in harms way to protect others. And he proves it by protecting people from a villainous attack despite being quirk-less. And this is the turning point for his ambition and future. This selfless act shows Midoriya as worthy of All Might’s attention. Midoriya’s act is the turning point in both lives introducing one of the best initial twists of the story; or setting the mood for the story, I guess.

The story also starts introducing other great characters, Bakugo, an explosive teenager (not only his quirk, also his personality); Ida, a composed young man with incredible speed; Uraraka, possibly one of the cutest characters of the whole series, a positive influence in the story really.

My Hero Academia is a remarkable work, genuinely a great story, represented visually in a very appealing way. An introduction to a brand new world, successful in introducing the characters and the dynamics that begin this world.

Blackwing by Ed McDonald – a journey starts! — September 18, 2017

Blackwing by Ed McDonald – a journey starts!

I received Blackwing by Ed McDonald from NetGalley; I thank the publisher, NetGalley and the author for this opportunity – all my opinions are my own.

Blackwing has been trending on Goodreads for quite some time and it has been praised by the vast majority of the readers. I could not wait to start and make my own experience!  This is the synopsis and I am itching to get started!

Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve.

Ready, set, go!

 

The Assassin’s Apprentice (book #1 of the Farseer Trilogy and book #1 in Realms of the Elderlings) by Robin Hobb — July 1, 2017

The Assassin’s Apprentice (book #1 of the Farseer Trilogy and book #1 in Realms of the Elderlings) by Robin Hobb

Shame on me for not having started to read this series (and all that come afterwards!) and learn about the queen of fantasy. Robin Hobb is most certainly an incredibly gifted author and the book genuinely reflects the intricacy and interest that the story brings with it.

Let’s start with the basics.

The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Published March 1996 by Voyager

I also love the cover that was used in the 2011 publication, lovely, simple, cool and highly influenced by the miniatures on books “printed” in Medieval times.

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I had so many thoughts while reading the book and I was entirely excited about every single line I was reading. Actually, the more I write about it, the more I feel like starting Royal Assassin immediately.

So let’s delve into the review! I know the book has been out there for quite some time but I still think the spoiler warning is key to avoid accidental spoilers!

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First and foremost, the book is a first person story and it is so successful in that. I rarely like books told in first person – it is difficult to keep my attention, to keep having the same point of view and not be fed with the character. This book instead could not be better, it took me a long time actually to rationally realize that the book was told in first person.

There is an aspect that mostly characterizes and makes the book stand out from other fantasy stories: The characters and their interactions; there is something magical and unique about the relationships that Hobb describes. Very authentic, very personal and very realistic I found. Fitz is an abandoned child, left in the care of a man he does not know, and having to find his way being a bastard son of a prince of the Farseer family.

He had to find his way in a difficult place, trying to be mostly invisible, trained to be invisible yet he is unique. I also love his fatherly relationships with Burrich and Chade, especially the one Fitz has with Chade, a man who lived a very similar life. Yet, there is one of the most important relationships that is cultivated in the second half of the story, the connection Fitz develops with Verity. Verity is so interesting, a great prince and a model king-in-waiting.

I also genuinely loved the magic system which is an aspect yet is not developed just yet, or at least I hope it is just the beginning of something more!
The Wit and The Skill, they are just spectacular. I love the use of the Wit, the ability to bond with animals; and I wish I had that ability in real life! And I love the Skill, the ability to use the mind, I guess it might be telepathy. I also like how the Wit is considered an ability that needs to be hidden (for fear of ones life really) and how it is considered secondary than the Skill. In particular, the Skill is actually fostered and trained in the Six Duchies. The training is quite brutal and we will find out that Galen, the teacher, attempts to kill Fitz in several occasions and that he is an ally to Regal and his plot to destroy Fitz (as collateral damage in this delusional approach to gaining access to the seventh Duchy with capital in Jhaampe.

Finally and most importantly. HOW COOL IS THE FOOL? I cannot wait to know all about the Fool. Who is he/she? Where does he/she come from? What skills (or Skill) does he/she have? There is so much to know and I cannot wait to understand who he is and what he does and how he does it!

Also, final thought is that you need so many tissues to get through the deaths of the dogs. They are so important, vital really to Fitz and his development. Fundamental really but the deaths hurt, they genuinely affected me.

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Have you read the book and/or the trilogy and/or the series? Do you agree with my comments above? Have you a different experience of the Six Duchies? Write your thoughts in the comment section below!

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1) – Gush review — June 18, 2017

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1) – Gush review

I just recently finished Age of Myth by Micheal J. Sullivan, published on June 28th, 2016 by Del Rey. Not only this is a gush review but the book is an actual 5 start out of 5 – hoping that the series will continue to impress me the same way!

I have read the Riyria Revelations last year and I had a blast. The best aspect of the series is the amazing relationship between the two main characters. After reading this book I believe it is safe to say that the aspect of Michael J. Sullivan’s stories that stands out are the characters and their interaction. There is one more element that I want to praise which is that each chapter start with a “quote” from the Book of Brin and, albeit is not an original idea, I just enjoyed every single quote being perfectly tailored to the events or narrative of the specific chapter.

When I found out there was going to be a brand new series, I just could not wait to read the new series by Micheal J. Sullivan. The book is moderately long – around 400 pages in its hardcover – yet I could not put the book down, it took me about 3 days (during the week) to finish it. I felt entirely invested in the story and the characters; it genuinely felt like Micheal J. Sullivan’s book yet with an additional level of maturity, a writer who has improved his story telling skills and it most certainly paid off, at least for me. And The Legends of the first empire is the hardcover book debut for the author: Well done – and deserved professional achievement!

Also, allow me to praise the cover of the book (MINOR SPOILER AHEAD: which actually depicts a scene of the book, possibly one the pivotal moments of the story contained in this book) which reminds me of the Impressionists, since it is an outside scene and it almost feels like the painting style is less precise and more brush strokes like.

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And now, beware of the spoiler!

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First things first. In the introduction, the author provides us with some general points of reference to the series – for instance, it takes place around 3000 years before the Riyria Chronicles and does not spoil any of the other stories he wrote so far. The most important (or at least interesting to me) aspect of the introduction is that the series is completed, before the first book was published. As a reader I understand there is going to be continuity in the publication – better said, the delay in publication would not depend on the story not being written – which is always a good anchor to stick to a story!

Let me start for the ending – because my review will be pretty much unusual, focusing mostly on the characters rather than the story itself – by stating very simply that it was one of the best endings I have read in quite some time. It opens up a significant plot twist or development and it does it without revealing much and, at least for me, I did not see it coming. Not at all. I will get into some details in my characters’ review!

The story itself is a “traditional” fantasy story, in a traditional fantasy setting. It is interesting to know that the world is pretty much divided between humans (called Rhune) and the gods (called Fhrey). One last side track from the review of the characters, is that the Fhrey are actually significantly more complex in social structure than the humans know, having different clans – and importance associated with the clan – and the highest are the Miralyth to which the royal family pertains to!

So let me quickly bring your attention to the characters.

Raithe, a young man who has fighting in his blood but wants to break free from it and his biggest dream is to settle down and have a family of his own in a peaceful place. The story though brings him since the very beginning to the opposite, making him the first (and so far) only Godkiller that the Rhune have. Raithe is fierce though and does not back down from a challenge, even when it seems impossible for him to survive, such as when he confronted the Galantias knowing that he would not be able to defeat seven gods and a couple of extras (specifically a giant and a goblin).

Malcolm, one of the funniest (better, sarcastic) characters in the whole story; ready to entertain the audience with the story of the Godkiller although he has an important part to play in making Raithe the Godkiller. He is also a slave of the Fhrey. Most importantly, he has a special ability to know gods unconscious by using a stone to knock them out. He is also a fairly good warrior – although he tries to hide it – which makes sense in light of the ending. He is (or was?) the slave of Nyphron and the last chapter showed that Nyphron seems to be stirring part of the narrative with his choices. But where were these choices lead? What motivated the decision? Most importantly, can we trust Malcolm?

Suri, the your seer with an extremely unusual behavior – more a wild animal rather than a human – and a tight bond to Minna, her loyal wolf who seems mostly a dog and, most importantly, with a taste for the adventures Suri takes her to. She is also a key initiator of the events in this story, bringing news to Persephone of impending doom for the Rhune, although she cannot clearly see what the actual danger is. She is also key to several development of the story and becomes the adopted daughter of Persephone through heart-breaking events. Furthermore, she is even interesting for the Fhrey – she is the only human who seems to know how to wield the Art (or magic really) which appeared to be a trait unique to the Miralyth only – and Arion takes a keen interest in her!

Persephone, probably the best character that Micheal J. Sullivan ever wrote in my opinion. We get to know her in a time of grief having lost her only son and husband to a bear attack (or what seemed to be a bear attack). A woman who was the wife of the chieftain of Dhal Rhen and is asked to leave her home to make space to the new chieftain. She is a strong and clever woman who has a heart and a keen interest in keeping Dahl Rhen wealthy and safe. She finds herself disputing many choices of the new chieftain primarily driven by her experience and common sense – not to mention guts that few have in the dahl. Her relentless search for the truth and will to protect Rhen are ultimately the shield that protects the village and start the events at a grander scale – is she going to unify all the human clans to fight against the gods?

Arion, a Fhrey woman with the ability to wield magic, a powerful, fair and accomplished lady who, after starting tutoring the young prince Mawyndule, is asked to find and bring back the leader of the Galantias who appears to have deserted. She also appears to have a complicated relationship her mother but the most important part of the dialogue I believe is around the Door. What role will the Door play in the next books? I cannot wait to explore the relevance of the Door . Arion is also the protagonist of one of the most impressive displays of power in this story, more powerful than all the Galantias together, in a great fight sequence! In addition, she is curious, openly so and not biased by the ranks and races, and Suri will peak her interest. She will be so interested in Suri – and her ability to use the Art – that Arion will pretty much take the side of the Rhune when Gryndal comes to kill Nyphon and the Rhune in the dahl incidentally.

Finally Nyphron and his Galantias, deserters because they claim did not want to kill an entire Rhune village in search for the Godkiller. Yet, it appears that Nyphron’s father taught Raithe’s father to fight, skill that were passed over to Raithe. I have to confess that I felt the Galantias were extremely underused in this book but I believe that the ending warranted their presence from early on. I cannot wait to see what Nyphron’s schemes are and what his goal truly is!

– – –

Have you read Age of Myth? What did you think about the book? Are there other elements that you would consider relevant in the book that I have not highlighted?

If you have not started reading the book just yet, I strongly encourage you to – or at least to add this book in your TBR list. This is an extremely rewarding story, if you are a fantasy reader!

 

 

 

The Masked City (Book #2 of the Invisible Library series) by Genevieve Cogman — June 4, 2017

The Masked City (Book #2 of the Invisible Library series) by Genevieve Cogman

“A secret agent. A missing assistant. And a world in danger.” Another amazing story by Genevieve Cogman (an amazing author who I hope you will discover and love as much as I do) with an intrepid, strong-willed and clever woman as the protagonist. A true strong female lead. A 4 out of 5 stars book!

This is the perfect summary of a great book that I enjoyed thoroughly. I would summarize the book a fun and classy story with a Victorian setting with a unique fantasy world; in other words, Tommy and Tuppence (yes, Agatha Christie’s detectives!) meet a fantasy version of McGyver (in the sense that Irene can make the most out a of magical version of a pin and a straw).

This book exceeds expectations in a number of areas. For instance, the writing style is impressive – the accuracy in the use of terms and the attention to details in building the dialogs.

But before we venture any further, let me use my favorite warning! Beware of the spoilers!

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The characters are great (for lack of a more elaborate word) and their interaction and friendship is the main driver of essential decisions of the characters in the book. And allow me to side track for a second. I heard so many positive comments about Truthwitch especially in light of the friendship between Safiya and Iseult. Quite frankly I just saw a one sided friendship in that case. So, in case you are a fan of Truthwitch, I urge you to experience The Invisible Library in which I believe there is a much healthier and realistic friendship.

Another asset to this book is the use of two majestic opponents on the verge of destroying all the worlds in order to determine who will rule. In essence, Fae – the masters of Chaos – and Dragons – the guards of Order – are on a verge of a conflict because of Kai’s kidnapping by the hands of the Gauntes, a Fae power couple with grand schemes and goals, wanting to be the most influentials Fae in existence. A great villain couple with understandable achievements and a clear will to become more important than they currently are. To some extent, I almost envisage the Gauntes as the Beckhams (no, I am not implying anything about the Beckhams, but the Gauntes are this incredibly interesting couple, famous and influential, independent yet strongly connected and with common goals; not to mention, particularly classy which is the main reason why I think Victoria Beckham was my impersonation of Lady Gauntes).

I enjoyed the change of scenery: The Invisible Library took place in London. The Masked City took place in Venice at its peak with fun tweaks to the history as we know it. I loved the description of the Carnival – and in this Venice, you can find Carnival all year long. The use of the city landmarks, the use of the gondolas and of the mist, the reference to Italian food.

There is another detail of this book that I truly enjoyed: Why should always be the prince to save the princess? Well, this book decides to do something about this and takes the prince – a Dragon prince no less! – and puts him in a “tower” unable to free himself and hoping that his friend and mentor, a woman, would come to rescue him. It actually took me a while to realize that the book was actually based on this preamble, I almost considered an obvious choice but there is a deliberate choice in choosing to revert the traditional fairy tale roles.

 

The main reason why I did not give 5 stars to the book is that it feels, to me, a “lighter” read compared to other amazing stories I am currently reading (Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, the Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler, Gods of Blood and Powder by Brian McClellan, The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne). But it is a mere personal taste factor that comes into play here – otherwise, this is just an amazing book (and series!).

 

I am looking forward to your thoughts about this book! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Crimson Campaign – book #2 in the Powder Mage trilogy. Gush review! — February 14, 2017

The Crimson Campaign – book #2 in the Powder Mage trilogy. Gush review!

Let me have my excited fangirl moment on this book. I am loving this series, I devoured this book (it genuinely took me only two days to read, sleeping was not as important as continuing reading this story). I believe this is another fast paced story; there is constant activity, the parties clearly are going through a lot. Yet it does not feel overwhelming. It is simply astonishing McClellan’s ability to condense all of this in one book.

As for this review, I want this to be mostly a collection of thoughts about the characters and their story lines. I genuinely love each of them; I have my favorites as always, and there is only one character I am not feeling much for (and to point fingers, Vlora) but I will expand a bit more later.

Just some details about the book and the publisher first!

The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan, published May 6th 2014 by Orbit

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Tamas
Gavril and Tamas relationship is adding a level of complexity to Tamas’ story line that is amazingly clever. It adds depth and interest to the human side of the parties.
Tamas is trying to get out of Kez alive, following his less than perfect strategy. Yet, it appears that he might have been betrayed. So is there still a Kez informant in this army/side?
I wonder if this story line took some inspiration from Napoleon’s Russian campaign – most notably his retreat. It also feels fairly authentic in the description of what a band like this would go through. Yet, the description never happens from the foot soldier’s perspective (which is a very smart choice) so it is difficult to judge.
Vlora – who grew on me with the novella – returned to be pretty meh. Sure, she messed up with Taniel and she is paying for the consequences. I just do not think her relationship with Tamas really helps her character develop – it helps in fleshing Tamas out though.
As always the dialogue between Olem (now Colonel) and Tamas are just hilarious.

Taniel
Taniel really got himself in an awful place. After waking up from the coma, he becomes even more addicted to a different substance. He wants to forget until news of his father’s death reach him and he resumes his role as the hero (despite his reluctance to do so) and goes to the front to battle against the Kez army.
Mihali keeps being this odd character, Adon reborn. The god and the chef, the god who manipulates through just breathtaking food. Yet, I want to see more of the Kresimir and Adon confrontation which is not happening yet – maybe book 3?
Also, Pole – I want to know a lot more about her and her magic. She is this “savage” with impressive (yet not disclosed) magic abilities. The more I read about her abilities, the more I think about voodoo religion especially when the description is about the dolls Pole makes. She is also fierce and brave, I have not seen a single instance in which she looked/sounded scared.
Mihali’s death was totally uncalled for and it genuinely had an impact on me: the brother who tried to stop the massacre, the brother who loved humans more than anything else was killed by his own brother in a moment, in a flash of blinding light.
Yet, I loved the confrontation between Taniel and Kresimir, it was an intense and felt moment; and I was absolutely enthusiast about Ka’Poel’s fundamental intervention (prior to the events) and her following Bone-eye sorcery with dolls (hundred of dolls) and scary immense power that can wipe the whole world, really.

Adamat
Adamat has one of the best family man driven stories I have read in a while. His family is all that matters to him and he is going through a lot of loops to get them back. He rescues most of his children at the very beginning of the book; yet his wife Faye and his first born Josef are still missing. This will send him in a mission to rescue them and win against this opponent Vetus. He is going to ally with the Proprietor and Bo who will help him in rescuing his wife. Faye has an amazing strong moment in the book followed by an extremely realistic PTSD moment – I cannot wait to continue reading about that.
Now that Josef still needs to be found, it appears he is also a powder mage – but how did Adamat not know about that before? This is a very odd situation.
Josef is going to be Adamat’s driver for the next book; specifically, he is going to be the drive to convince Adamat to help Bo in his quest. And what is going to happen to Nila?

Another character I am genuinely enjoying is Fell. She is stunning, creepy and mysterious. Very interesting – and I am wondering if she is not the daughter of Richard who is very secretive about why he hired/bought her. There is so much mystery around her and her abilities I cannot wait to read more!

 

Please let me know your thoughts down below!

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage, book #1) – Gush review — February 7, 2017

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage, book #1) – Gush review

Hello to you and welcome (back!) to my blog!

Today I want to walk through a brand new obsession for me, a series that took my time up and showed me I can be an obsessive reader.

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Hardcover, 545 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Orbit

 

To start with the audience who will be love this book, I would say that if you are into history and specifically into French Revolution, this is the book for you.
This is a book that will hook you in since the very first page and it will not leave you until you get at the end (of book three).

Let’s start from the beginning though: The cover is just great. Well, to be fair, it is an okay cover until you finish the book – and I am starting to love covers that very subtly give you hints as to where the story goes which you will find out only at the end of the story.

So what is the story about you would ask? It is a story about a coup to overthrown the aristocrats and establish a democracy. A bloody coup too in a world were you find very different type of magic systems that interact with each other and make the world a cooler (and/or scarier) place. Brian McClellan not only build an interesting magic system and world revolving around that, he also provided extremely strong (and likeable) characters that will keep you wondering what is happening to them.

In essence, this is a great fantasy story in which you have amazing magic, great characters and a compelling story (in the form on several story lines) that will make you vanish from the world for a couple of days – as long as you need to read the book.

So, let’s dive into the spoiler piece of the review!

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The story begins in an incredibly strong way – you are accompanying Adamat (one of our main and beloved characters) through the bloody corridors of the royal palace. Mages (really, the members of the Royal Cabal) have been slaughter and Tamas, the Field Marshall (the highest rank in the Adran army and the first common man to reach this status thanks to his military genius and his talent as a powder mage) is requesting Adamat to solve a riddle (specifically, “You cannot break Kresimir’s Promise” – I genuinely think this is how the book got its title).

So Adamat, who is a man gifted with the best memory you can think of, will be working throughout the book to find what this riddle really means, meeting with a lot of people, more or less reliable. His investigation will soon change and he will be asked to look into deadlier affairs (the traitor in the newly formed Adran democracy!) and his life will just get more and more complicated – and more at risk! He also show us his family man side. And that is the part of Adamat’s personality that I liked the most and that will be the drive for half of this book (when his family is kidnapped!): His family is his love and his strength and he will not stop at anything (including a risky betrayal) to have this family back.

There are two more point of view in this book, Tamas, the invincible Field Marshal and a powder mage, a man who appears to be fueled by a personal vendetta and he is not a stranger to violence; and his son Taniel, a captain in the Adran army who is a powder mage with a cool nickname: Taniel Two-Shots!

So what are powder mages you ask? Well, if you got here without knowing it, you have not read the book and I invite you to pick the book before continuing reading since we are in spoiler territory! And if you read the book, well you know well that this is a “despised” mage who has the ability to sense gun powder, who can use gun powder to his or her advantage and become much much stronger, faster and, ultimately, a super human when assuming gun powder. And by “assuming” I mean pouring the powder in your mouth or, and this is “interesting”, snorting it (and this detail is actually quite interesting because the only powder mage who I recall using this system to inhale powder is Taniel who can be considered an addict, a broken person on so many levels yet he is one of the best characters in the book, possibly my favorite storyline).

So Tamas is leading the coup and he is establishing the new democracy; yet, being a brand new democracy, there are so many machinations, traitors, infiltrators from Kez (one of the neighboring reigns that genuinely fuels Tamas’ revenge since Kaz brutally executed Tamas’ wife and Taniel’s mother). The enemies are on all fronts really and Tamas spends most of his time trying to find who is working against him and trying to stabilize the democracy. Most importantly, he is assigned a body guard, one of the best characters in the book, Olem. Olem is a gifted man, who is not a mage or a powder mage but has a Knack, an ability of sorts that makes him special. This ability can really range in multiple directions, we find someone in the books who has a healing Knack. Olem’ ability? Not needing any sleep which is pretty handy when you are a body guard.
Also, Tamas’ storyline introduces us to one of the most eclectic characters, Mihali. Who is not only an amazing chef but is a god! He is brother of Kresimir (yes, the name you read before connected to the promise) who is the god who created the world in which Adran is. And the mages – for instance the Royal Cabal – is connected to him. The book really ingeniously explains the connection and I found a particularly clever idea to like the Cabal to kill those who deposed the king because of the Kremisir’s promise (weapon used primarily to avoid that the mages will become the rulers of the world).

Let me jump to Taniel – I could continue talking about this book for hours – and how he is the broken man, the man who was engaged to Vlora, another powder mage, and found her sleeping wth another man despite being engaged one to each other. Taniel is broken and raw really but he is a soldier and, most importantly, he is a powder mage with a secret weapon called Ka’Poel. Now, Ka’Peol who is the best female character in this whole book, is a savage who is following Taniel wherever he goes; it seems like there is an unbreakable bond between the two. Taniel saves her life and Ka’Poel saves his life. It is a constant balance – yet, she is mute. So she is being portrayed through Taniel’s eyes and their interaction is simply spectacular. I just thought this couple – who is just a couple on the field but not in life – was the best in the whole book with Tamas and Olem.

Finally, let me point out how this book really draws so much inspiration from the French Revolution. There was a passage that I particularly loved between Tamas and one of his antagonists about the core of the Enlightenment philosophy:
According to Tamas’ words: “The world is changing. People do not exist to serve their governments or their kings. Governments exist to serve the people, so the people should have a say in those governments”.
I just thought this was such a powerful dialogue and so spot on.

In essence, great book, great characters, great innovation in the magic system, compelling story, and absolutely magnetic for me.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts around it? Please let me know in the comments down below!

January 2017 recap! — February 2, 2017

January 2017 recap!

Welcome back to you!

Today I want to go through my January reading experience. Let me highlight what a great month I had and I am so pleased to share with you the quantity and, most importantly, the quality of the reads I had the pleasure to encounter!

In 2017, I set a very aggressive goal yet January allowed me to outperform, although to be fair, some of these reads were started in December!

I will just go through my reads in chronological order, unless I read more than one book in a series in which case I will string them together. I will also provide you with my rating for the book.

  • The Alchemists of Loom by Elisa Kova. Best YA book I read so far, 4 stars out of 5. My in depth review on the blog here!
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik. A great new fairy tale, absolutely entertaining. 4 stars out of 5.
  • The Silent Army by James A. Moore. Last book of the Seven Forges series. Great characters, extremely interesting story, great ending. 4 stars out of 5.
  • Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. This is the first book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series and it was a re-read for me. I loved it more than the first time. 5 stars out of 5. My in depth review on the blog here!
  • Rise of Empire and Heir of Novron, both by Michael J. Sullivan. Second and third book in the Riyria Revelations. Great books, perfect continuation and end to the series and the love for Hadrien and Royce will just thrive and continue. 4 stars out of 5 for Rise of Empire and 5 stars out of 5 for Heir of Novron. My in depth review of the Rise of Empire here!
  • Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign and In the Field Marshal’s Shadow: Stories from the Powder Mage Universe by Brian McClellan. The first two are books 1 and 2 in the Powder Mage series and the last being a novella in the series. Amazing series, great characters, pure addiction. Once I start one of these books, that is the only thing I can do with my spare time. All 4 stars out of 5.
  • The Thousand Names by Django Wexler, first book in the Shadow Campaigns series. I loved it, it was a great fantasy tale and I gushed about it. 5 stars out of 5. My in depth review here!
  • Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, first book in the Books of Babel series. I liked it, it did not dazzle me though. This was a 3 stars out of 5.

All in all, I loved this reading month, I was lucky to string great books one after the other and I loved the interaction with the community on Goodreads.
Have you read these books? Do you agree with my opinions? How was your reading month? Any books that you want to highlight? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section down below!