Review: Prince Of Thorns By Mark Lawrence


THE THORNS TAUGHT HIM A LESSON IN BLOOD

A PRECOCIOUS, VENGEFUL PRINCE INDULGES IN WANTON ATROCITIES IN PURSUIT OF REVENGE AND HIS AMBITION TO CLAIM THE THRONE.

 

Book CoverPrince Of Thorns
(The Broken Empire Trilogy, Book 1)

Mark Lawrence

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback, 416 Pages
Date: 12th April 2012 (First Published 2011)

ISBN-10: 0007423632
ISBN-13: 978-0007423637

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Survivor; royalty; bandit leader; petulant murderer; callous rapist; and quite possibly deranged. Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath is all these things and more, yet only fourteen years old. Though his immoral behaviour is impossible to justify, Jorg is, nonetheless, a damaged, vengeful personality whose motives go beyond a burning desire to exact a terrible revenge. He harbours ambitions to become king by the age of fifteen, and he might just pull it off. But is the path he walks one of his own choosing? Or is Jorg merely a puppet on someone else’s strings?

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Review: The Painted Man By Peter V. Brett


ENTER A WORLD WHERE DARKNESS BELONGS TO DEMONS

IS HUMANITY’S LAST HOPE FOR SURVIVAL ONE BOY GUIDED BY ANCIENT TALES OF TAKING THE FIGHT TO DEMONKIND?

 

Book CoverThe Painted Man
(The Demon Cycle, Book 1)

Peter V. Brett

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback, 560 Pages
Date: 31st January 2013 (First Published 2008)

ISBN-10: 0007492545
ISBN-13: 978-0007492541

 
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For three centuries humanity has lived in fear of the setting of the sun, for dusk marks the rising of the demons from the earth―to spend the hours of darkness slaughtering anyone and everyone they can find. The only protection against the ravenous hordes from The Core are magical, defensive wards to keep the demons at bay until the sun rises. For one young boy, a life of cowering inside warded habitations at night, hoping not to be torn to pieces, is no life at all. Inspired by ancient tales of a time when humanity successfully waged war against the demons, killing the seemingly unkillable with the long lost knowledge of offensive wards, Arlen Bales resolves to one day take the fight to the denizens of The Core, once again.

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Review: Sabriel By Garth Nix


SHE WALKS IN DEATH WITH SWORD AND BELLS

WITH UNWAVERING DEVOTION TO HER FATHER, SABRIEL MUST RETURN TO THE LAND OF HER BIRTH TO CONFRONT AN AWAKENED EVIL

 

Book CoverSabriel
(The Old Kingdom, Book 1)

Garth Nix

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 311 Pages
Date: 3rd June 2014 (First Published 1995)

ISBN-10: 0062315552
ISBN-13: 978-0062315557

 
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In stark contrast to all her peers at Wyverly College, Sabriel had a highly unusual upbringing―not least because she was born on the other side of The Wall, in The Old Kingdom, where Free Magic and Charter Magic are an everyday, accepted reality. As the daughter of the Abhorsen, a necromancer dedicated to protecting the world by ensuring the dead remain dead, her childhood was spent learning the legacy of her forebears: how to crossover into Death and use the tools of the “trade” to banish the dead, preventing them from returning to the world of the living to wreak havoc. But now Sabriel’s absence from the land of her birth is about to end. Her beloved father has gone missing as an ancient darkness awakens in The Old Kingdom. She must leave the safety of boarding school life in Ancelstierre and head back across The Wall in search of her father, for only she has the power to find and rescue him from Death before it’s too late.

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Indie Focus: Review Of Flash Gold By Lindsay Buroker


A GIRL’S GOTTA DO WHAT A GIRL’S GOTTA DO!

A PRECOCIOUS HEROINE GETS MORE THAN SHE BARGAINED FOR WHEN ENTERING A RACE TO WIN THE PRIZE MONEY NEEDED TO LEAVE TOWN

 

Book CoverFlash Gold
(Flash Gold Chronicles, Book 1)

Lindsay Buroker

Genre: Alternate History, Steampunk
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook, 56 Pages
Date: 27th March 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1458028129

 
This is a perma-free ebook available from:
Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
 

Kali McAlister is a precocious young inventor whose innovations seem far too good to be true, causing some of the inhabitants of Moose Hollow to view her as a witch. The epithet may not be accurate but Kali is in possession of a secret bequeathed to her by her father, that not only enhances her inventions but also holds the key to obtaining the riches that will allow her to escape the life of drudgery she lives in the town. But little does she know that the secret of “flash gold” makes her a target for people who will stop at nothing to obtain it from her. If she is to realise her dream, Kali will need all her resourcefulness to thwart the machinations of her adversaries, and maybe even the help of a mysterious stranger, to win a three day cross-country race.

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Review: The Gauntlet By Karen Chance


NOT WITHOUT HER DAUGHTER!

BEING BOTH WITCH AND MOTHER WILL DRIVE GILLIAN URSWICK ON TO SAVE THE LIFE OF HER CHILD, NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES.

 

Book CoverThe Gauntlet
(A Kit Marlow Short, Book 1)

Karen Chance

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook, 52 Pages
Date: 12th October 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1458125934

 
This is a perma-free ebook available from:
iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
 

Few things in life can match the strength and power of the bond between a mother and her child. There are no lengths a mother will not go to, or no hardships and trials she will not endure to protect her offspring. It is a lesson the War Mages holding Gillian Urswick in brutal captivity, while systematically exterminating the covens of her sister witches throughout Europe, will learn to their cost. Gillian is a witch whose love for her daughter will not only drive her to survive her ordeal and break free of her captors in order to save the life of her child, it will also become the catalyst for a power greater than she has ever wielded being bestowed upon her, along with a duty and responsibility that may turn the tide against the War Mages of The Silver Circle.

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Indie Focus: Review Of Just Breathe By Sarah Doughty


URBAN FANTASY’S BEST KEPT SECRET!

AN UNFORGETTABLE HEROINE MUST DISCOVER HERSELF IN ORDER TO CONQUER THE DEMONS OF HER PAST BEFORE IT DESTROYS HER

 

Book CoverJust Breathe
(Earthen Witch, Book 1)

Sarah Doughty

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook, 409 Pages
Date: 28th April 2015

ISBN-13: 978-1310871580

 
This is a perma-free ebook available from:
Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
 

A young writer burdened with terrible psychological baggage from her past, struggles to make sense of her life and who she is in the wake of discovering a long-held family secret revealed by her recently deceased grandmother. If learning that she is a witch wasn’t hard enough to contend with, nothing can prepare her for being thrust to the centre of an unseen conflict in the paranormal world that will see her confronted by those who wish to destroy her, those who wish to steal her power, and an implacable enemy determined to do both. If she is to survive, she must be stronger than she’s ever been before. Stronger than she believes she can be.

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Review: Blood Price By Tanya Huff


NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE…

A GREAT PROTAGONIST JUST ISN’T ENOUGH TO ELEVATE THIS RUN-OF-THE-MILL STORY TO GREAT HEIGHTS.

 

Book CoverBlood Price
(Vicki Nelson Series, Book 1)

Tanya Huff

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
Date: 7th October 2004 (First Published 1991)

ISBN-10: 1841493562
ISBN-13: 978-1841493565

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

A series of brutal murders in Toronto gives rise to sensationalist reports about a vampire terrorising the city; all the victims had their throats torn out and their bodies drained of blood. Of course, nobody―not even the headline writers―believes that vampires are real, and one man in the city has a vested interest in ensuring this remains the case. Henry Fitzroy sleeps during the day, works at night, and hasn’t noticeably aged in four centuries. Joining forces with a former detective turned private investigator, Vicki Nelson, he sets out to eliminate a supernatural killer before anyone discovers there is more to him than meets the eye.

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Review: Undead And Unwed By MaryJanice Davidson


CHICK-LIT IN URBAN FANTASY CLOTHING!

A HEROINE WHO MAKES SOOKIE SEEM DEEP. A TALE SO BAD IT’S GOOD ENOUGH TO BE A GUILTY PLEASURE.

 

Book CoverUndead And Unwed
(Queen Betsy Series, Book 1)

MaryJanice Davidson

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Piatkus
Format: Paperback, 288 Pages
Date: 2nd February 2006 (First Published 2004)

ISBN-10: 0749936452
ISBN-13: 978-0749936457

 
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There are certain books that can only be enjoyed when approached as guilty pleasures, not to be taken too seriously (or at all). MaryJanice Davidson’s comedic urban fantasy debut, Undead And Unwed is one such book that’s so bad it’s good enough to qualify. But in taking the comedy route the author cleverly sidesteps a lot of potential criticism of her story’s lack of literary merit by establishing that this is a book not to be taken seriously. It is played for laughs from beginning to end, and reads much like a supernatural incarnation of Ally McBeal.

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Review: Queen Of The Slayers By Nancy Holder


SUNNYDALE WAS ONLY THE WARM-UP…

NO VACATION. NO BENEFITS. AND THE ONLY RETIREMENT IS AN EARLY DEATH. THIS BOOK SHOULD LIKEWISE BE PUT OUT OF ITS MISERY.

 

Book CoverQueen Of The Slayers
(Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

Nancy Holder

Genre: Media Tie-in, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: Paperback, 392 Pages
Date: 30th June 2014 (First Published 2009)

ISBN-10: 1500369489
ISBN-13: 978-1500369484

 
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It has been mentioned in a previous book review that media tie-in novels have a poor reputation, and that this negative perception is well earned. There’s no need to repeat, here, the various reasons for this; it is enough to state that everything wrong with media tie-in novels is present in Queen Of The Slayers―a hopelessly irredeemable Buffy The Vampire Slayer novel. As a result, this review will likely be very short given that this book has practically nothing going for it.

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Review: Master Of Crows By Grace Draven


A ROMANCE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!

EQUAL PARTS FANTASY AND ROMANCE THIS MUST READ TALE SKILLFULLY BLENDS EVERYTHING THAT’S GOOD ABOUT BOTH GENRES

 

Book CoverMaster Of Crows
(Master Of Crows, Book 1)

Grace Draven

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Self-Published (Createspace)
Format: Paperback, 392 Pages
Date: 30th June 2014 (First Published 2009)

ISBN-10: 1500369489
ISBN-13: 978-1500369484

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

There has long been a stigma attached to self-published books. It is generally assumed that such works are of poor quality, and of lesser merit for lacking the validation of a publishing house behind them. In other words, a self-published author is a writer who wasn’t good enough to get an agent let alone a publishing contract. This attitude isn’t entirely unjustified. There is an abundance of material out there that isn’t fit to be published, and the advent of the ereader and the associated ebook marketplaces (most notably Amazon’s Kindle Store) has exacerbated the quantity of dreck available. However, the automatic assumption that self-published books are less worthwhile has started to shift. An increasing number of self-published gems are being unearthed by readers prepared to look, and among them is Master Of Crows.

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