The Empire’s Ghost – Book Review

Paths of Lantistyne #1 By: Isabelle Steiger
Published On: May 16, 2017

*May contain spoilers*

Before picking up this epic fantasy novel, I did what I often do when attempting to decide if the book in question is one that I would want to read: I took a look at other reviews. Overwhelming, what I read over and over again was that there was a large cast of characters that left some confused during reading. For me, I generally like to read fantasies with large casts so when I got the book I dug right in. To help anyone who is considering this book determine if there are too many characters for their own preference I have attempted to create a list of the more major characters and their kingdoms or groups. My copy of the book did not contain this type of list, so I am hoping that the publisher will consider this in future books in the series.

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The Killing Fog – Book Review

The Grave Kingdom Book 1
By: Jeff Wheeler
Published on: March 1, 2020
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 404
Cover Designer: Shasti O’Leary Soudant

The Killing Fog is the first in a new Asian-inspired fantasy series by Jeff Wheeler. I’m ashamed to say I have seen his other works, but never got around to reading them even though they have been on my list for a while. So, I am very happy to be able to read this first one in his new series.

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Master of Sorrows – Book Review

The Silent Gods Book 1 by Justin T. Call
Published on: August 8, 2019

So many thoughts rolling around in my head in regards to this epic fantasy story that I don’t know where to begin. Too many, in fact.

Master of Sorrows follows a boy named Annev who attends the Academy where he is attempting to get promoted to Avatar of Judgment. To do so, he must win the Testing Day contest against his other classmates as well as friends. This is the last Testing Day he will be permitted to take part in. Failing to win means becoming a servant to the others and to make it worse, it is also the last Testing Day for two of his close friends as well.

With the Testing Day as the major plot line in the first half of the book, the author also uses the events surrounding this as a way introduce you to the protagonist/antagonists, religious structure and most importantly religious politics and prejudices. The leaders of the Academy and townspeople all believe that sons of Keos are cursed and are considered evil. They are identified when they are born with a deformity and are immediately killed. If somehow an individual isn’t discovered at birth then what awaits for them is being stoned to death once they are discovered. Annev was born without an arm past his elbow. He’s been able to keep it hidden for 17 years through the use of a special glove, but being found out is one of his greatest fears.

As you might expect with any epic fantasy story, there is a lot of lore/knowledge information within this first book that can sometimes slow the story down a little at times. However, I was surprised by how much I liked the sections about the gods (Keos and his siblings). I usually skip or fast-read those sections, but instead found the sibling relationships and responses to certain events rather interesting.

Overall, Master of Sorrows is an enjoyable epic fantasy read with a beautiful cover too. As I read through the story, I found that the characters and their different choices and decisions was one of my favorite parts and not just Annev’s story. Of course, the decision Annev makes in determining the content of his own character and what he believes in is one of the best aspects of the book. The Masters at the Academy see the world in black and white, but Sodor, Annev’s mentor, has slowly been teaching Annev to think for himself and watching the progression within Annev is one of the many highlights of the story. But choices other characters made was just as intriguing.

While reading I came to the conclusion that this might make a decent fantasy book club read. There are a lot of opportunities for points of discussion – from the gods and the religious politics to the Testing Day contest there’s no shortage of topics to bring up.

Rating: 4 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

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The Children of Never: A War Priests of Andrak Saga – Book Review

The War Priests of Andrak Saga Book 1 By Christian Warren Freed
Published on: July 15, 2018

A tale that hints of the dark-side of fantasy with moments of mild horror and suspense, but one that is also rich in storytelling and world-building. The Children of Never is the follow-on novel to The Purifying Flame, which won honorable mention in the Future Contest.

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The Throne of Five Winds – Book Review

Hostage of Empire Book 1 by S.C. Emmett
Published on: October 15, 2019

I absolutely loved this rich, complex story, which is filled with what feels like a multitude of characters that each have their own motives and purpose within the story. The Throne of the Five Winds is simply beautifully written and one I whole-heartedly recommend.

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[ARC Review] Lies of Descent

Fallen God’s War Book 1 by Troy Carrol Bucher
Published on: August 20, 2019

In this new epic fantasy series a world has been created full of enemies that have opposed each other for hundreds of years. The Draegora and Esharii drew sides against each other long ago, but even amongst themselves they have competing factions vying for power.

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[ARC Review] – Beasts of the Frozen Sun

Frozen Sun Saga #1 by Jill Creswell
Published on: August 6, 2019

 

I really wanted to like this one. I really enjoy the fantasy genre and felt I had recently been spending too much time away from it, so when I picked it up I was ready to dive in and fall in love. What I found was a nicely done book that just wasn’t for me.

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The Carbynarah Chronicles

The Carbynarah Chronicles #1 by Jon Franklyn
5-stars

From the very first page of The Carbynarah Chronicles, you are thrust into a story that has already begun. The story is in play and you and the first 2 characters you meet are there to catch up. There is war and it is in progress and from the first page on you never stop being in a battle or preparing for a battle. You always feel like you are driving toward a destination only to meet another diversion or reason that takes you and the main character away to fulfill the need of another part of the war. Although the entire book is set within a war, the actual main story revolves around a Maiggii named Yron. (Maigii meaning not full wizard). As he is pulled into the needs of the moment, we watch his journey and magical growth. However, the magical growth comes with questions and more questions.

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