Review: Bitten By Kelley Armstrong


Few will escape the sense of deja vu; you’ve read this story numerous times before.


Book CoverBitten
(The Women Of The Otherworld, Book 1)

Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 464 Pages
Date: 6th May 2010 (First Published 2001)

ISBN-10: 1841499188
ISBN-13: 978-1841499185

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

When Kelley Armstrong’s debut novel, Bitten, was first published in 2001 the urban fantasy genre was still very much in its infancy, hence the book didn’t need to do much to stand out; Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series was more or less the only high profile competition. As the market was not yet as saturated as it is today the tropes that readers now come to expect of the genre had not been established. One obvious benefit of this circumstance is that readers at the time would more than likely not have viewed the story as lacking in originality. Sixteen years later, however, anyone reading the book for the first won’t be able to escape the feeling they’ve read it all before.

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Review: Blood Song By Anthony Ryan


The self-published phenomenon that went mainstream is a welcome addition to the ranks of essential epic fantasy tales.

Book CoverBlood Song
(Raven’s Shadow Trilogy, Book 1)

Anthony Ryan

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 768 Pages
Date: 20th February 2014 (First Published 2010)

ISBN-10: 0356502481
ISBN-13: 978-0356502489

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

In recent years there have been a number of notable examples of self-published books which have garnered considerable critical praise and admirable sales, turning their authors into “overnight” sensations. This success, for some, has led to traditional publishing deals, helping their books to reach a larger prospective audience of readers. Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking are probably the best known beneficiaries of the now more viable self-publishing market. But you can also include the name of British fantasy author, Anthony Ryan, to the growing list.

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Review: Ender’s Game By Orson Scott Card


Is Ender Wiggin humanity’s last best hope for the future, or a monster in the making?


Book CoverEnder’s Game
(Ender Saga, Book 1)

Orson Scott Card

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
Date: 1st December 2011 (First Published 1985)

ISBN-10: 0356500845
ISBN-13: 978-0356500843

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

One of the most noteworthy things about reading Ender’s Game today is that thirty years after its initial publication the book hasn’t noticeably aged much, if at all. In fact, if one were unaware of its publication history it would be easy to believe that author, Orson Scott Card, penned his science fiction classic within the last couple of years. There is little, if anything, contained within the book that is obviously outdated.

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Review: Shadowfall By James Clemens


A truly exceptional dark fantasy that obliterates and breaks free of the shackles of its numerous tropes.


Book CoverShadowfall
(Godslayer Chronicles, Book 1)

James Clemens

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 480 Pages
Date: 5th May 2005

ISBN-10: 1841493945
ISBN-13: 978-1841493947

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

In a world where gods walk among men. Where magic wielding knights defend the established order. One man finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, to stand accused of an impossible crime. A fate that sets him on the path to personal redemption; becoming the nexus for a disparate group to be brought together to assist a young child fulfil a great destiny. You might well assume that you’ve read this all before, but you’d be wrong. You have never read a novel like Shadowfall.

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Review: The Last Stormlord By Glenda Larke


A water resource war is brewing in a land where whoever controls the scarce water supply, holds the reins of power.


Book CoverThe Last Stormlord
(Stormlord Trilogy, Book 1)

Glenda Larke

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 640 Pages
Date: 4th March 2010 (First Published 2009)

ISBN-10: 1841498114
ISBN-13: 978-1841498119

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Have you ever pondered why the villains in literature, particularly in fantasy and science fiction are invariably defeated? Why their schemes are constantly thwarted at every turn? Personally, it’s not something I ever gave much thought to. But reading the first book of the Stormlord Trilogy inadvertently brought both the question and the answer into sharp focus for me. The villains, even when their motivations make sense (which is very rarely), their decisions and actions in pursuit of their aims are so stupid and counterproductive that it almost seems as though they want to fail. The principal antagonist of Glenda Larke’s, The Last Stormlord, certainly appears intent on following in that fine tradition of incompetent villainy.

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Review: The Fallen Blade By Jon Courtenay Grimwood


An alternate history tale that promises so much, but delivers so little.


Book CoverThe Fallen Blade
(The Assassini Trilogy, Book 1)

Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
Date: 5th April 2012 (First Published 2011)

ISBN-10: 1841498467
ISBN-13: 978-1841498461

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Having picked up the book on a whim, knowing next to nothing about its premise, ergo having no expectations going in, there is a part of me that feels almost guilty for being disappointed with The Fallen Blade. So much so that I read it twice hoping that a second reading would dispose me to viewing the book more favourably; it didn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Review: The Ambassador’s Mission By Trudi Canavan


The first book of this follow up to The Black Magician Trilogy misses the mark. (By quite some distance.)


Book CoverThe Ambassador’s Mission
(The Traitor Spy Trilogy, Book 1)

Trudi Canavan

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 560 Pages
Date: 7th April 2011 (First Published 2010)

ISBN-10: 1841495921
ISBN-13: 978-1841495927

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

There is an adage which teaches us that, “you should never go back”. This saying is usually used in reference to romantic relationships, but perhaps it should also serve as a warning to authors wanting to revisit past glories; though the temptation to do so is, of course, perfectly understandable. Returning to the scene of a previous triumph no doubt seems like the safe and easy path to take. But how often does it turn out not to be the case? Certainly, The Ambassador’s Mission, provides a perfect illustration as to the wisdom of the words, “you should never go back”.

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Review: Voice Of The Gods By Trudi Canavan


A disappointing book brings a disappointing trilogy to a disappointing conclusion.


Book CoverVoice Of The Gods
(The Age Of The Five Trilogy, Book 3)

Trudi Canavan

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 672 Pages
Date: 3rd April 2008 (First Published 2006)

ISBN-10: 1841495174
ISBN-13: 978-1841495170

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

It’s fair to say that the first two books of The Age Of The Five Trilogy were underwhelming to me. In spite of this I held on to the hope that history would repeat itself; that the third instalment of this Trudi Canavan trilogy would blow me away in the same manner as book three of The Black Magician Trilogy, had done. Regrettably, my hope was misplaced. Not only is Voice Of The Gods not in the same league as, The High Lord, it is also the weakest book of this trilogy.

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Review: Last Of The Wilds By Trudi Canavan


Two new characters help to alleviate some of the disappointment of the first book of the trilogy.


Book CoverLast Of The Wilds
(The Age Of The Five Trilogy, Book 2)

Trudi Canavan

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 624 Pages
Date: 4th March 2010 (First Published 2006)

ISBN-10: 1841499641
ISBN-13: 978-1841499642

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

The first book of Trudi Canavan’s Age Of The Five trilogy was a decidedly underwhelming affair; this is especially true for those readers who loved The Black Magician Trilogy. With that being the case, one could be forgiven for approaching book two, Last Of The Wilds, with a sense of trepidation. In fact, I would recommend that readers keep their expectations in check, for while this sequel is an improvement on Priestess Of The White, it is not a significant one.

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Review: Priestess Of The White By Trudi Canavan


If it was worth the wait is debatable. Fans Of The Black Magician Trilogy should brace themselves for disappointment.


Book CoverPriestess Of The White
(The Age Of The Five Trilogy, Book 1)

Trudi Canavan

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 688 Pages
Date: 4th March 2010 (First Published 2005)

ISBN-10: 1841499633
ISBN-13: 978-1841499635

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

So what do you do after writing a critically acclaimed, best selling fantasy trilogy? That was the question facing Australian author Trudi Canavan after the success of The Black Magician Trilogy, which earned her a legion of fans who would eagerly await whatever she wrote next. Her answer appeared in the form of, Priestess Of The White, the first book of a new trilogy called The Age Of The Five, which, unlike its predecessor, is not aimed at the Young Adult audience.

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