Friday Firsts: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff


Welcome to Friday Firsts – a new weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. New Book: First paragraphs. First impressions. New favourite?


| Friday Firsts: March 30 |

Nevernight

Book One of The Nevernight Chronicle

by Jay Kristoff

Fantasy | 448 Pages | Published by Harper Voyager in 2016


| First Paragraphs |

People often shit themselves when they die.

Their muscles slack and their souls flutter free and everything else just … slips out. For all their audience’s love of death, the playwrights seldom mention it. When our hero breathes his last in his heroine’s arms, they call no attention to the stain leaking across his tights, or how the stink makes her eyes water as she leans in for her farewell kiss.

I mention this by way of warning, O, my gentlefriends, that your narrator shares no such restraint. And if the unpleasant realities of bloodshed turn your insides to water, be advised now that the pages in your hands speak of a girl who was to murder as maestros are to music. Who did to happy ever afters what a sawblade does to skin.

She’s dead herself, now – words both the wicked and the just would give an eyeteeth smile to hear. A republic in ashes behind her. A city of bridges and bones laid at the bottom of the sea by her hand. And yet I’m sure she’d still find a way to kill me if she knew I put these words to paper. Open me up and leave me for the hungry Dark. But I think someone should at least try to separate her from the lies told about her. Through her. By her.

Someone who knew her true.

A girl some called Pale Daughter. Or Kingmaker. Or Crow. But most often, nothing at all. A killer of killers, whose tally of endings only the goddess and I truly know. And was she famous or infamous for it at the end? All this death? I confess I could never see the difference. But then, I’ve never seen things the way you have.

Never truly lived in the world you call your own.

Nor did she, really.

I think that’s why I loved her.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| First Impressions |

Narrator led openings such as these always intrigue me –  giving away little details into the future of protagonists we are yet to meet, giving an impression as to their character, and giving clues as to how their existence affects the world around them.

Whoever the Pale Daughter is, and how she came by the names Kingmaker and Crow, I do not know – but I sure as hell can’t wait to find out!

What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?

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Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell



Spellslinger

Book One of Spellslinger

by Sebastien de Castell

Fantasy | 416 Pages | Published by Hot Key Books in 2017


| Rating |


With powerful mages, card-throwing wanderers and an unseen enemy, Sebastien de Castell’s first foray into young adult fantasy is an undeniable success. In a world defined by magic and a person’s ability to wield it, Spellslinger takes the reader on an exciting journey which blurs the lines between those who would be friends, those who are family and those who may become enemies.

Witty and absorbing, this novel tells the tale of a boy whose steady loss of power culminates in a dangerous confrontation with his own people and, through a series of unpredictable twists and turns, exhibits an extraordinary flare for adventure from beginning to end.

There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is simply to reach the age of sixteen. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.

MAGIC IS A CON GAME…

Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone.

As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. 

Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope… 

At the age of sixteen, all young Jan’Tep must face their greatest trial: the mage’s trial. The outcome of which will determine those that will assume ultimate power, wielding great magic and respected from afar, and those that will become Sha’Tep, the serving underclass of Jan’Tep society.

Kellen’s magic has dwindled over the years to next to nothing. He hasn’t broken any of his mage’s bands, he can barely perform a simple spell, and to make matters worse his little sister is likely to become one of the most powerful mages of all time.

Bullied by those who think him beneath them, abandoned by those he would have considered friends, Kellen is left with only his meagre powers, a dash of cunning, and sheer dumb luck to get him through his trials.

But when a strange frontierswoman turns up to help Kellen out of his trouble, he finds his path taking an altogether unexpected turn… for better or worse, only time will tell.

De Castell has created a vivid and ruthless society whose own sense of superiority has rendered them an isolated state. The world of the Jan’Tep is a world where a person’s magical ability defines their very place in the social order. A people who consider their own culture and society as the pinnacle of refinement and power, the Jan’Tep see those beyond their borders as outsiders, whose weakness is made apparent by their lack of power.

Those within Jan’Tep society who fail to display any magical prowess are doomed to become Sha’Tep. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters; all are parted when the magic in one fails to appear in the other. Those who are lucky may take a serving position in what was once their home. Those who are not are forced to work in the mines.

As skilfully as Jan’Tep society is wrought; where the arrogance that permeates their culture, even amongst Kellen’s own family and friends, threatens to make them all appear as an unreasonable and tyrannical culture, the characterisation of the principle cast is where the novel and the overarching plot truly excels. De Castell has created a cast of true and varied characters whose humour and apparent deficiencies carry the story to its dramatic conclusion.

As both protagonist and narrator, Kellen is a witty and self-deprecating companion throughout the novel. What he lacks in magical proficiency he more than makes up for in cunning, wit and in his ability for getting the backs up of almost every person he comes across. And though he drives the other Jan’Tep mages to distraction, and perhaps even his friends half the time, he is an instantly likeable character which makes the injustice of his situation all the more potent.

His companions, Ferius Parfax, an Argosi wanderer whose proficiency in both playing cards and using them as a deadly weapon is more than a little disconcerting, and Reichis, a squirrel cat who has a penchant for thievery, violence and eating his enemies eyeballs, are arguably my two favourite characters, creating a strange and humorous sense of comradery which only becomes more interesting as the novel develops.

Spellslinger succeeds in combining this interesting cast of characters with an exciting and unpredictable plotline, whose twists and turns never fail to turn up a surprise or two. Skillfully plotted and wonderfully executed, de Castell writes in a personable, almost conversational tone which creates a distinct connection with Kellen and emphasises the injustices which permeate Jan’Tep society.

The first in the Spellslinger series is a thoroughly enjoyable read which leaves me eager to join Kellen in future adventures. Brimming with magic, humour and more than a little danger, de Castell has created another novel which never fails to leave a lasting impression.

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Teaser Tuesdays: March 27


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: March 27 |

Nevernight

Book One of The Nevernight Chronicle

by Jay Kristoff

Fantasy | 448 Pages | Published by Harper Voyager in 2016


“She stepped into the pool without a word, the blood thick and warm between her toes. The tile was smooth, and she had to walk slowly lest she slip, out waist-deep into the centre of the red.

~ Chapter 16: Walk | 38% | Nevernight by Jay Kristoff


| Synopsis |

From New York Times bestselling author, Jay Kristoff, comes a dangerous new fantasy world and a heroine edged in darkness.

Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.

Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Church is no ordinary school. But Mia is no ordinary student.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads



The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Fantasy | 306 Pages | Published by HarperCollins in 1995


He had picked his way stealthily for some distance, when he noticed a place of dense black shadow ahead of him, black even for that forest, like a patch of midnight that had never been cleared away. As he drew nearer, he saw that it was made by spider-webs one behind and over and tangled with another.

~ Chapter VIII: Flies and Spiders | Page 156 | The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


| Synopsis |

The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves in search of dragon-guarded gold. A reluctant partner in this perilous quest is Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving unambitious hobbit, who surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and skill as a burglar.

Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves and giant spiders, conversations with the dragon, Smaug, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of Five Armies are just some of the adventures that befall Bilbo.

Bilbo Baggins has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of children’s fiction. Written by Professor Tolkien for his own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when published.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books That Take Place in Another Country


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Books That Take Place in Another Country |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! When the majority of your books take place in a fantasy world, finding ones that take place in another country is a far more difficult task than you might expect; particularly when the majority of historical fiction, classics and crime fiction you read take place in your own country! Scroll down for my Top Ten… Books That Take Place in Another Country!heart

| 1. |

Chicago, USA

The Dresden Files

by Jim Butcher

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In this gritty urban fantasy, Harry Dresden, a wizard P.I. who consults for the Chicago P.D., takes the reader on a journey through the streets, morgues and and crime scenes of Chicago. heart

| 2. |

San Francisco, USA

The October Daye Series

by Seanan McGuireheart

The Changling October ‘Toby’ Daye awakes from a curse to find herself living in modern day San Francisco; a San Francisco populated by the courts of the Fae where fairytale creatures abound.heart

| 3 |

Venice, Italy / Bangkok, Thailand / The World

The Gameshouse Novellas

by Claire North

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The Gameshouse has no fixed location but has appeared in various countries over the course of history to play with the lives and fates of kingdoms, countries and players of the ultimate high stakes game.
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| 4. |

Azincourt, France

Azincourt

by Bernard Cornwell

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This piece of historical fiction tells the story of Henry V’s invasion of Normandy, from the prolonged siege of Harfleur and the subsequent march to Calais, to the Battle of Agincourt itself. This is a tale of war and blood and death.
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| 5. |

USA

Vicious

by V.E. Schwab

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Vicious follows the lives of two college students, Eli Cardale and Victor Vale. Absorbed in their research into EOs, or ExtraOrdinary people, their discoveries lead them down a dark and dangerous path where morality, ethics and caution are thrown to the wind in their quest of discovery.
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| 6. |

Colditz Castle, Germany

The Colditz Story

by P.R. Reid

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Colditz Castle, located in the town of Colditz in Germany, was considered an impossible fortress to escape from. Over the course of its four-year history as a military prison, however, over 300 men escaped its walls, 31 of whom completed the dangerous journey home.  The Colditz Story was my introduction to military escape memoirs, which has since become one of my favourite sub-genres of non-fiction. 
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| 7. |

Stalag Luft III, Germany (Then) / Poland (Now)

The Great Escape

by Paul Brickhill

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The Great Escape tells the story of the escape attempt of 600 prisoners from Stalag Luft III during the Second World War. Like The Colditz Story, The Great Escape highlights the skill, ingenuity and bravery of those held captive; a group of men who would stop at nothing to attempt escape and make their way home.
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| 8. |

The Great Hunting Ground (Most of Europe + Part of Asia)

The Mortal Engines Quartet

by Philip Reeve
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One of my favourite series from my early teens, The Mortal Engines Quartet is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people live and work on traction cities, great tiered metropolises that move across the land on caterpillar tracks and hunt smaller towns in what is known as Municipal Darwinism.
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| 9. |

Rome, Italy

The Leone Scamarcio Thrillers

by Nadia Dalbuono

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Set in Rome, the Leone Scamarcio series tells the story of a young detective in Rome’s Flying Squad who must escape his mafia past whilst solving a number of complex and dangerous crimes. With beautiful description of Rome and its criminal underworld, this series transports the reader onto its streets and into the heart of danger itself.

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| 10. |

Edinburgh, Scotland

The Frey + McGrey Series

by Oscar de Muriel

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Combining crime, history and horror, The Frey and McGrey series transports the reader to Victorian Edinburgh, where paranormal crimes abound the unlikely duo of Inspector Ian Frey of Scotland Yard, and Adolphus ‘Nine-Nails’ McGrey must work together to solve dastardly murders and bring peace to its streets.
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What is your favourite setting? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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The Friday Face-Off: The Tower


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe


Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson


Welcome to the Friday Face-Off where this week we’re comparing covers that feature towers.

Featuring only a single tower between them, this week’s covers for Steven Erikson’s ‘Gardens of the Moon’ showcase the diversity in style in today’s fantasy books. Take a look and see which cover wins your vote this week!


Tor | Cover #1

Cover Art by Steve Stone

Subterranean Press | Cover #2

Cover Art by Michael Kormarck


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

The Tor cover, whilst not overtly eye-catching, creates a pleasing a fantastical composition. Bathed in green light, with a landscape shrouded in mist, the crumbling stone tower is a strong focal point, with the single illuminated window drawing the eye.  I love how the mist and the clouds filter to the dark black of the backdrop, and how realistically the landscape is rendered; and I love how the moon in the background lights the scene, creating an eerie green glow.

The Subterranean Press cover, however, is an entirely different creation. Focused on the back of a central, sword-bearing figure, this cover is bold, colourful and immediately draws the eye. I love the strong orange red glow of the sun which illuminates the figures face, the surrounding landscape and the birds which can be seen in flight; and I love the wisps of smoke that come off the sheathed sword. This cover was my immediate favourite.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Next week’s theme is:

A little soil to make it grow

A cover featuring seeds/spores

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

H.P. @ Every Day Should Be Tuesday

Wendell @ Bookwraiths

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

Steve Smith @ Books and Beyond Reviews

Lynn @ Books and Travelling with Lynn

Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum

S.J. Higbee @ Brainfluff

Brittany @ Perfectly Tolerable

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Waiting on Wednesday: Wrath of Empire


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme linking Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking The Spine and Can’t Wait Wednesday by Wishful Endings


| Waiting on Wednesday: March 21 |

Wrath of Empire

Book Two of Gods of Blood and Power

by Brian McClellan


The country is in turmoil. With the capital city occupied, half a million refugees are on the march, looking for safety on the frontier, accompanied by Lady Flint’s soldiers. But escaping war is never easy, and soon the battle may find them, whether they are prepared or not.

Back in the capital, Michel Bravis smuggles even more refugees out of the city. But internal forces are working against him. With enemies on all sides, Michael may be forced to find help with the very occupiers he’s trying to undermine.

Meanwhile, Ben Styke is building his own army. He and his mad lancers are gathering every able body they can find and searching for an ancient artifact that may have the power to turn the tides of war in their favor. But what they find may not be what they’re looking for.

Magic and gunpowder collide in Wrath of Empire, the explosive second novel in the Gods of Blood and Powder series.


To be published by Orbit on 15th May 2018

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Teaser Tuesdays: March 20


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: March 20 |

Dogs of War

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Science Fiction | 262 Pages | Published by Head of Zeus in 2017


“Revelation clicked into place in de Sejos’ head: not a pleasant moment. A second before she had been surrounded by monsters, but at least they had notional leashes; at least there was a human face somewhere behind them that she might have negotiated with.

~ Chapter 15: De Sejos| 33% | Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky


| Synopsis |

My name is Rex. I am a good dog.

Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he’s part of a Multiform Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, south-eastern Mexico.

Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he’s got to kill a lot of enemies.

But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow Bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads



The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Fantasy | 306 Pages | Published by HarperCollins in 1995


“That is Mr. Baggins, a hobbit of good family and impeachable reputation,” said Gandalf. Bilbo bowed. He had no hat to take off, and was painfully conscious of his many missing buttons.

~ Chapter VII: Queer Lodgings | Page 117 | The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


| Synopsis |

The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves in search of dragon-guarded gold. A reluctant partner in this perilous quest is Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving unambitious hobbit, who surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and skill as a burglar.

Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves and giant spiders, conversations with the dragon, Smaug, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of Five Armies are just some of the adventures that befall Bilbo.

Bilbo Baggins has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of children’s fiction. Written by Professor Tolkien for his own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when published.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books On My Spring TBR


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Books On My Spring TBR |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This Spring I intend to make headway into my vast, vast to-be-read pile, a huge and ever-growing thing that only ever seems to get bigger the moment I look away. This week’s Top Ten is just the tip of that literary iceberg, but encompasses the ten books I am most excited to read. heart

| 1. |

The Ninth Rain

Book One of The Winnowing Flame Trilogy

by Jen Williams

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The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.

But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war. For the Jure’lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall… heart

| 2. |

The Providence of Fire

Book Two of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

by Brian Staveleyheart

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.

Having learned the identity of her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire’s most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.
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| 3. |

The Air War

Book Eight of the Shadows of the Apt

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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An empress demands her birthright . . .

All is in turmoil as the world moves towards war. In Solarno, the spies watch each other and ready their knives, while Myna sees the troops muster at its border and emotions run high as it vows never to be enslaved again. In Collegium, the students argue politics, too late to turn the tide.

In the heart of the Empire, new pilots have completed their secretive training, generals are being recalled to service and armies are ready to march. Their Empress, the heir to two worlds, intends to claim her birthright. And nothing – either within the Empire or beyond it – will stand in her way.

A conflict is coming, the like of which the insect-kinden have never seen.heart

| 4. |

Wrath

Book Four of The Faithful and the Fallen

by John Gwynne

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Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he can open a portal to the Otherworld. Then Asroth and his demon-horde will finally break into the Banished Lands and become flesh.

Meanwhile Corban has been taken prisoner by the Jotun, warrior giants who ride their enormous bears into battle. His warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he hopes to survive. But can he bond with competing factions of warlike giants? Somehow he must, if he’s to counter the threat Nathair represents.

His life hangs in the balance – and with it, the fate of the Banished Lands.
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| 5. |

The Silver Tide

Book Three of The Copper Cat Trilogy

by Jen Williams
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Tales of the Black Feather Three and their exploits abound far and wide, and Wydrin of Crosshaven, Lord Aaron Frith and Sir Sebastian have become sell swords in demand. Having foiled powerful mages and evil magic, they now face a challenge unlike any before – in the form of Wydrin’s mother.

Devinia the Red, notorious pirate and captain of the Poison Chalice, is intent on finding the fabled treasure hidden within the jungles of the cursed island of Euriale. She needs the skills of her daughter Wydrin and her companions to get there, and our heroes cannot resist the lure of coin and adventure. But no explorer has returned from the heart of the island, and it’s not long before the Three find themselves in the clutches of peril. Deep within the island of the gods, there are remnants of forces best left undisturbed…
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| 6. |

Shadowblack

Book Two of Spellslinger

by Sebastien de Castell

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It’s a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind.

Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn’t blind, and who carries a secret that’s all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help – but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold – and Kellen can’t help but suspect his own people may even be behind it. 
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| 7. |

Half a War

Book Three of the Shattered Sea

by Joe Abercrombie
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Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.
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| 8. |

A Time of Dread

Book One of the Of Blood and Bone Series

by John Gwynne
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The Ben-Elim, a fierce race of warrior-angels, burst into the Banished Lands over a hundred and thirty years ago. They were in pursuit of their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim demon-horde. On that day a great battle was fought, the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim joined by allies from the races of both men and giants, and a great victory was won.

Now much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim, who have made this world their home, extending their influence and power as they swallow ancient kingdoms into the protective grasp of their ever-extending borders. But peace is fragile within the realm and the Kadoshim that remain are now amassing on the edges of the empire….

Threats long in the shadows are about to strike. 
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| 9. |

The Court of Broken Knives

Book One of the Empires of Dust

by Anna Smith Spark

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They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we piss gold and jewels into the dust.

In the richest empire the world has ever known, the city of Sorlost has always stood, eternal and unconquered. But in a city of dreams governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has become the true ruler, and has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The empire is on the verge of invasion – and only one man can see it.

Haunted by dreams of the empire’s demise, Orhan Emmereth has decided to act. On his orders, a company of soldiers cross the desert to reach the city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Marching on Sorlost, Marith thinks he is running away from the past which haunts him. But in the Golden City, his destiny awaits him – beautiful, bloody, and more terrible than anyone could have foreseen.

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| 10. |

Age of Assassins

Book One of The Wounded Kingdom

by R. J. Barkerheart

To catch an assassin, use an assassin…

Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land’s best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder.

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom.
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What books are you looking forward to reading this Spring? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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This Week by Proxy: 01 – 18 March


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I look back on the past week to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted and the goals I’ve completed.


| This Week by Proxy: 01 – 18 March 2018 |

I seem to have managed to avoid doing an end of week or end of month post for some time so this week’s post will be a little more beefy than usual! Even though it serves to make me look as though I’ve read a hefty amount of books, it really does highlight the abysmal number of reviews that have surfaced over that time. A big fat zero. I definitely need to schedule in a few more… or at least one. Yes, one would probably do it.

I hope you’ve all had wonderful weeks, happy reading everybody!


| Books Read |

| 1. |

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

A complete impulse buy, the hype surrounding this book completely went over my head. But wow, were they right. With a band of gritty and dangerous characters, Kings of the Wyld is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish.

| 2. |

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Following on from my Top Ten Tuesday post about books I could re-read forever, I realised it was about time I reread The Secret Garden, one of my childhood favourites. As charming now as it ever was, this book is an enchanting tale of growth, friendship and childhood in Edwardian England.

| 3. |

The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams

Having spent far too long on my bookshelf, the sequel to the wonderful Copper Promise lived up to all expectation as an exciting and dangerous adventure through icy kingdoms and frozen wastes. The Silver Tide, here I come.

| 4. |

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Another book from my Top Ten Tuesday list, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a book I can return to again and again and always find enjoyment.  Nonsensical and amusing, Lewis Carroll’s famous works never get old.

| 5. |

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

My favourite book of all time, this year’s re-read of The Lord of the Rings couldn’t come soon enough. The absorbing narrative, the beautiful descriptions and the intricately drawn characters all work together to create a book that is a perfect component of the whole.

| 6. |

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti is a beautifully wrought novella which, in its few pages, manages to create an absorbing tale with believable characters, and wonderfully succinct worldbuilding. I cannot wait to continue Binti’s adventures in book two.


| Currently Reading |

Shamefully I’m still currently reading The Vagrant by Peter Newman and The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. Neither of these books have really got my juices flowing so they’ve fallen a bit to the wayside, however I am determined to continue with them both!

Having also added two classic re-reads to my currently reading list, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë I’ve decided I’ll probably put together a Classics Club list in the very near future.

Added to this, I’m also re-reading The Builders by Daniel Polansky, a beautifully dark novella and Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell, the second book in the wonderful Spellslinger series.


| Posts |

Tough Travelling: Apprentices

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Could Re-Read Forever

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book Quotes by P.G. Wodehouse

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books With Plot Twists and Surprises

Teaser Tuesdays: February 27 – Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell + The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Teaser Tuesdays: March 06 – The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams + The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Teaser Tuesdays: March 13 – Binti by Nnedi Okorafor + The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hyena and the Hawk

Waiting on Wednesday: Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell

Waiting on Wednesday: Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Friday Firsts: The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams

Friday Firsts: The Builders by Daniel Polansky

Friday Firsts: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

The Friday Face-Off: Greek Mythology

The Friday Face-Off: …But Icarus Flew Too Close

The Friday Face-Off: I Got No Strings to Hold Me Down

Chapter + Verse – The Hobbit: Chapter IV – Over Hill and Under Hill


| March Goal Progress |

To read five books

Status: 5 of 5 Complete


What have you been reading this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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