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.
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.
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.
I found about this book when I happened to run across a blog post by the author on WordPress. The author demonstrated a lot of enthusiasm for the story, which is what truly won me over into reading it. However, the beautiful cover didn’t hurt either.
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.
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.