Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Series That Should Have Screen Adaptations


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… Series That Should Have Screen Adaptations |

After a rather terrifying experience the week before last, I didn’t get round to completing last Tuesday’s Top Ten post and I’ve been perpetually behind ever since! And with an inordinate number of books I would love to see adapted for TV or film, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to finish last week’s post for distribution to the wider world.

Scroll down for this week’s Top Ten… Books That Should Have Screen Adaptations!

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| 1. |

Superheroes | Science Fiction | Antiheroes

Villains

by V.E. Schwab

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| 2. |

Urban Fantasy | Supernatural | Mystery

Rivers of London

by Ben Aaronovitch

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| 3. |

Time Travel | Retro | Science Fiction

Impossible Times

by Mark Lawrence

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| 4. |

Italian | Corruption | Crime Thriller

Leone Scamarcio

by Nadia Dalbuono

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| 5. |

Heroic | Fantasy | Adventure

The Rigante

by David Gemmell

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| 6. |

Fantasy | Comedy | Caper

Rogues of the Republic

by Patrick Weekes

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| 7. |

Supernatural | Comedy | Horror

Sin du Jour

by Matt Wallace

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| 8. |

Underdog | Fantasy | Adventure

Spellslinger

by Sebastien de Castell

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| 9. |

Magical | Assassin | Fantasy

The Nevernight Chronicle

by Jay Kristoff

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| 10. |

Fae | Urban Fantasy | Mystery

October Daye

by Seanan McGuire

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Which series would you love to see an adaptation of?

If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books with Black in the Title


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 with Black in the Title |

Following last week’s post, in which I discussed all my favourite books read and unread featuring the colour red, this week I will be looking at books with the colour black in their title. With books I’ve read, books I’ve reviewed and books that are firmly planted on my TBR, scroll down for this week’s Top Ten… Books with Black in the Title.

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| 1. |

Shadowblack

Book Two of Spellslinger

by Sebastien de Castell

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| My Thoughts |

Shadowblack, and the Spellslinger series as a whole, are some of my favourite YA novels to date. They’re frequently action-packed and engaging, always funny and fast-paced, and often keep you guessing to the very end. Kellen’s character is only surpassed by the wonder that is Reichis, the angry, thieving and quick to bite squirrel-cat that accompanies him on his journeys – his business partner, some might say – and the swaggering Argosi, Ferius Parfax. A highly recommend series which I only wish hadn’t concluded after Book Six, Crownbreaker.

Rating

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| Synopsis |

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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| 2. |

Empire in Black and Gold

Book One of Shadows of the Apt

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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| My Thoughts |

Despite the fact that I’ve still not finished this series – book eight here I come – I have so much love for the Shadows of the Apt series. They were my introduction to Adrian Tchaikovsky’s writing and I can honestly say that I have never looked back. Empire in Black and Gold, the first book in the series, introduces a detailed and complex world full of insectoid humans and their struggles between race, power and warring kingdoms. This is a unique world with unique characters which I could easily rate as one of my favourite series of all time.

Rating

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| Synopsis |

The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace for decades, bastions of civilization, prosperity and sophistication, protected by treaties, trade and a belief in the reasonable nature of their neighbours.

But meanwhile, in far-off corners, the Wasp Empire has been devouring city after city with its highly trained armies, its machines, its killing Art…And now its hunger for conquest and war has become insatiable.

Only the ageing Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, can see that the long days of peace are over. It falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of his people, before a black-and-gold tide sweeps down over the Lowlands and burns away everything in its path.

But first he must stop himself becoming the Empire’s latest victim.heart

| 3. |

Blackwing

Book One of Raven’s Mark

by Ed McDonald

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Ed McDonald’s debut is a solid and vividly written fantasy which follows the tale of Ryhalt Galharrow – Blackwing Captain and bounty hunting mercenary – as he undertakes the bidding of the Nameless master, Crowfoot, in an ages long war against the Deep Kings. With battles, magic and grim-beings aplenty in a landscape blighted by a catastrophic war, this is a unique and refreshing grimdark novel which has me itching to read it’s sequel, Ravencry.

Rating

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| Synopsis |

The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.

The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.

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| 4. |

The Black Prism

Book One of Lightbringer

by Brent Weeks

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| My Thoughts |

With a fascinating and unique magic system, and a wonderfully imagined but complex world, The Black Prism is a stunning start to the Lightbringer series. Well-written and exquisitely rendered throughout, The Black Prism features engaging characters, interesting politics, and a fast-paced narrative that I couldn’t tear my eyes from. The only let down is that I still haven’t picked up the next in the series!

Rating

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| Synopsis |

Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

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| 5. |

Black City Saint

Book One of Black City Saint

by Richard A. Knaak

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| My Thoughts |

With Black City Saint, a book filled with saints, dragons and long-dead emperors, Richard A. Knaak has created an instantly compelling protagonist on a backdrop of dark magic and mob violence. An absorbing, inventive and humorous read, this stunning debut is high on my list of urban fantasy favourites. And, had I remembered this series sooner, I would have had two further black titled books to add to today’s list – Black City Demon and Black City Dragon.

Rating

My review of Black City Saint can be found here.

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| Synopsis |

For more than sixteen hundred years, Nick Medea has followed and guarded the Gate that keeps the mortal realm and that of Feirie separate, seeking in vain absolution for the fatal errors he made when he slew the dragon. All that while, he has tried and failed to keep the woman he loves from dying over and over.

Yet in the fifty years since the Night the Dragon Breathed over the city of Chicago, the Gate has not only remained fixed, but open to the trespasses of the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk. Not only does that mean an evil resurrected from Nick’s own past, but the reincarnation of his lost Cleolinda, a reincarnation destined once more to die.

Nick must turn inward to that which he distrusts the most: the Dragon, the beast he slew when he was still only Saint George. He must turn to the monster residing in him, now a part of him…but ever seeking escape.

The gang war brewing between Prohibition bootleggers may be the least of his concerns. If Nick cannot prevent an old evil from opening the way between realms…then not only might Chicago face a fate worse than the Great Fire, but so will the rest of the mortal realm.

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| 6. |

The Black Jewels Trilogy

Daughter of the Blood

Heir to the Shadows

Queen of the Darkness

by Anne Bishop

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| My Thoughts |

I first discovered this trilogy when I was fifteen years old and my rating almost certainly reflects that. It was like nothing else I’d ever read before – dark, passionate and grim with highly adult themes throughout and a female-dominated world and magic system to boot. It hit teenage me right in the sweet spot.

Despite my young age, I can almost certainly say that this is not a YA book (sex, violence, torture and slavery abound) and I wonder, given the mixed reviews, whether I would enjoy it as much now. It would, however, be dishonest of me to not give the same rating I gave all those years ago so perhaps The Black Jewels Trilogy is due a re-read.

Rating (Sixteen Years Ago)

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| Synopsis |

Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her web of dreams and visions.

Now the Dark Kingdom readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But she is still young, still open to influence–and corruption.

Whoever controls the Queen controls the darkness. Three men–sworn enemies–know this. And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent young girl. And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love–and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining…

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| 7. |

The Black Magician Trilogy

The Magician’s Guild

The Novice

The High Lord

by Trudi Canavan

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| My Thoughts |

Despite none of the individual titles having the word ‘black’ in them, it would be remiss of me not to include The Black Magician Trilogy in this list. I first read The Magician’s Guild when I was sixteen years old and, like The Black Jewels Trilogy, my rating will be influenced by that fact.

The first in the Black Magician Trilogy is an exciting and magical tale of a young girl with strange and dangerous powers who finds herself elevated to the position of novice in the Magicians’ Guild. This is a YA fantasy that began my love of Canavan’s writing, which I have enjoyed over the many years since, and I would be more than happy to re-read this trilogy again.

Rating (Fifteen Years Ago)

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| Synopsis |

Each year the magicians of Imardin gather together to purge the city streets of vagrants, urchins and miscreants. Masters of the disciplines of magic, they know that no one can oppose them. But their protective shield is not as impenetrable as they believe.

Sonea, angry, frustrated and outraged by the treatment of her family and friends, hurls a stone at the shield, putting all her rage behind it. To the amazement of all who bear witness, the stone passes unhindered through the barrier and renders a magician unconscious.

The guild’s worst fear has been realised… There is an untrained magician loose on the streets. She must be found before her uncontrolled powers unleash forces that will destroy both her, and the city that is her home.

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| 8. |

The Black Hawks

Book One of Articles of Faith

by David Wragg

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| My Thoughts |

The Black Hawks is a dark, action-packed and witty fantasy featuring a whole host of mercenaries, pompous princes and strangers willing to stab each other, quite literally, in the back. This debut novel by David Wragg is a solid read, which leaves the reader on a knife’s edge and was just shy of greatness.

Rating

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| Synopsis |

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

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| 9. |

The Black Song

Book Two of Raven’s Blade

by Anthony Ryan

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| My Thoughts |

Having still not completed the brilliant Raven’s Shadow series, it may be a little early to put the second book of the follow-up series on the list, but it does feature the colour black and Anthony Ryan is a masterful writer. It really is about time I delved back into the world of Vaelin Al Sorna.heart

| Synopsis |

The Steel Horde has laid waste to the Venerable Kingdom, unleashing a storm of fire and blood. Now the leader of this mighty host – Kehlbrand, the warlord who thinks himself a god – turns his eyes to the other merchant kingdoms. No one can stop his divine conquest.

No one, perhaps, except Vaelin Al Sorna.

Yet Vaelin is on the run, his own army in disarray. Worse, the new blood song he has acquired is as much a curse as a blessing, and seeks to guide him down a path far darker than he could have imagined…

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| 10. |

The Black Company

Book One of The Chronicles of the Black Company

by Glen Cook

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| My Thoughts |

This classic, dark fantasy has influenced so many fantasy authors that it is a wonder I’ve never read it. Credited with being the progenitor of grimdark, and with mercenaries, anti-heroes and villains by the bucket-load, The Black Company is one book that is firmly placed on my TBR.

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| Synopsis |

Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hardbitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead – until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more.

There must be a way for the Black Company to find her..


Click here to see last week’s post:

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books with Red in the Title

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Which ‘Black’ book is your favourite?

If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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My Top Ten Books of the Past Two Years


Welcome to My Top Ten of the Past Two Years series, where I look back at my favourite books, games and TV series (amongst other things) during my blogging hiatus.


| My Top Ten Books of the Past Two Years: July 2018 – July 2020 |

Although my numbers have been down over the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to read a whole host of stunning, thrilling and darn right bloody books, and it would be remiss of me not to share them with you all.

And here we hit the crux of the problem…

There are far too many five star reads to choose even ten favourites; but endeavour I must. In an effort not to wind up umm-ing and aah-ing over a mountain of books all day, all series, finished and unfinished, have been lumped together and tied with a bow!

In no particular order, here are My Top Ten Books of the Past Two Years!


| 1. |

Kings of the Wyld

by Nicholas Eames

What a debut! Kings of the Wyld is a funny, action-packed adventure full of mercenaries, manticores and mages. This is a novel which hooks you in early and takes you on a perilous ride to the end – with more bloody battles, monsters and aged mercs than you can shake a stick at.

It’s just so damned good!

Next in Series:

Bloody Rose

| 2. |

Wrath

by John Gwynne

Just as I took my prolonged break from blogging I finished Wrath, the final instalment in John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series. It wrapped events up so perfectly, and delivered such a brilliant conclusion, that The Faithful and the Fallen stand out as one of the best fantasy series I have ever read.

With A Time of Dread already tucked under my belt, it’s safe to say that it’s about time I revisited the Banished Lands once again.

| 3. |

Book of the Ancestor

Red Sister + Grey Sister

By Mark Lawrence

I cannot even begin to describe just how much I love this series. The first two instalments of the Book of the Ancestor are written so well, are so immersive, and have some of the most brilliantly crafted and multi-faceted characters, that they would probably top my list of favourite reads ever – never mind in the past two years!

Holy Sister here I come.

Next in Series:

Bound (Short Story) + Holy Sister

| 4. |

The Iron Ghost

by Jen Williams

Jen Williams is amazing. Her worldbuilding is amazing, her characters are amazing and every book she writes is just.. well… amazing.

The Iron Ghost, the second book in the Copper Cat Trilogy, is chock full of excitement, adventure and good humour, and lived up to all my (very high) expectations.

Next in Series:

The Silver Tide

| 5. |

The Ninth Rain

by Jen Williams

In the first book in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, Jen Williams pulls out all the stops to create a vast, beautiful and original fantasy that is sure to be enduring.

The Ninth Rain was so utterly absorbing, and the plot so exciting, that I had to stop myself from reading it all in one go. Not to mention the characters and world building being one hundred per-cent on point.

Next in Series:

The Bitter Twins + The Poison Song

| 6. |

The Greatcoats

Traitor’s Blade, Knight’s Shadow, Saint’s Blood + Tyrant’s Throne

by Sebastien de Castell

Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series takes us on a thrilling journey across troubled lands. Balancing fun and danger in equal measure, this is a world inhabited by complex, amusing characters, where a duel is only a challenge away.

Not a moment went by across all four books where I wasn’t lost in the lives of Falcio, Kest and Brasti – the Three Musketeers of fantasy – and I don’t regret a moment spent with them!

| 7. |

The Grey Bastards

by Jonathan French

Live in the saddle. Die on the hog.

The Grey Bastards is an amazing piece of foul-mouthed, blood soaked, grim and gritty fantasy literature. The winner of 2016’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO), this novel sits uncontested in my top ten books of the past two years and I cannot wait to continue the ride.

Next in Series:

The True Bastards

| 8. |

Orconomics

by J. Zachary Pike

And another SPFBO winner graces my top ten list… which does make me wonder about all those other amazing self-published books I had no idea existed – and probably still don’t!

Orconomics is a wonderful, satirical, comedy romp through fantasy-land which manages to excite, entertain and even tug on the heart strings at times. Gorm Ingerson and his unwanted band of less-than-merry misfits have become firm favourites.

Next in Series:

Son of a Liche

| 9. |

Sins of Empire

by Brian McClellan

When I first read Promise of Blood, I enjoyed it so much that I had to create a whole new five-star-plus category when reviewing it; but as time and life caught up with me, I simply forgot to pick up the next two books in the series.

In the interim, Sins of Empire managed to slip its way onto my Kindle, a book set after the events of The Powder Mage Trilogy. In completely uncharacteristic fashion, I cracked it open and waded through a whole swamp of Powder Mage spoilers to its wonderful conclusion. And it didn’t even matter. Sins of Empire is brilliant, Brian McClellan is brilliant, and I think I could read any of his books in any order and would still enjoy the ride!

Next in Series:

Wrath of Empire + Blood of Empire

| 10. |

The Nevernight Chronicle

Nevernight + Godsgrave

by Jay Kristoff

I was reading Nevernight just as I stopped blogging in 2018 and never got to share just how wonderful this book is! Nevernight and its sequel, Godsgrave, are dark, grim and treacherous, and an absolute bloody joy to read.

Kristoff is a master of suspense who takes us through a labyrinth of twists and turns before an always brilliant conclusion. I hadn’t expected to love this series as much as I do and it’s opened a world of Kristoff’s writing that I never even realised existed!

Next in Series:

Darkdawn


Stay tuned for my follow up posts:

My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years

and

My Top Ten TV Series of the Past Two Years 


What have been your favourite books of the past few years?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By


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… Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday!

Fantasy and crime fiction are known for their lengthy and world spanning series and, as two of my most read genres, it comes as no surprise that they top this week’s Top Ten. In fact, seven of my top ten authors are tied with ten books read each!

Scroll down for this week’s Top Ten… Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By.heart

| 1. |

Ellis Peters | 20 Books

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| 2. |

Brandon Sanderson | 16 Books

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| 3 |

Jim Butcher | 13 Books


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| 4. |

P.G. Wodehouse | 10 Books

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| 5. |

Adrian Tchaikovsky | 10 Books

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| 6. |

Trudi Canavan | 10 Books

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| 7. |

Sebastien de Castell | 10 Books

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| 8. |

Mark Lawrence | 10 Books

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| 9. |

J.R.R. Tolkien | 10 Books

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| 10. |

Donna Leon | 10 Books

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Who is your most read author? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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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 camaraderie which only becomes more interesting as the novel develops.

Spellslinger succeeds in combining this interesting cast of characters with an exciting and unpredictable plot-line, whose twists and turns never fail to turn up a surprise or two. Skilfully 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.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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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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Waiting on Wednesday: Charmcaster


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 07 |

Charmcaster

Book Three of the Spellslinger Series

by Sebastien de Castell


The third book in the page-turning SPELLSLINGER fantasy series.

Kellen, Reichis and Ferius are on their way to Gitabria, a city where amazing inventions are dreamed up and sold across the land of the Seven Sands.

But when the three of them stumble across a tiny mechanical bird, magically brought to life, they quickly realise all is not as it appears. If someone can bring a bird to life, is there anything to stop these inventive Gitabrians creating a pack of mechanical dragons…?

Meanwhile two strange Argosi appear, carrying secrets from Ferius’ past, together with an unlikely Jan’Tep ally.

And as time ticks on, all the cards in Ferius’ deck point to the emerging tides of war…

Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.


To be published by Hot Key Books on 17th May 2018

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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Friday Firsts: The Iron Ghost


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


| Friday Firsts: March 02 |

The Iron Ghost

Book Two of the Copper Cat Trilogy

by Jen Williams

Fantasy | 544 Pages | Published by Headline in 2015


| First Paragraphs |

It was Siano’s turn to walk the sky-chain.

She touched the tips of her fingers to the pitted rock of the cliff face behind her, taking satisfaction in its familiar solidity. Below her the tiny province of Apua crowded within its crevasse, the stacked red bricks of the monasteries fighting for space, and on the far side, the twin to the cliff she now perched on sat like a thick bank of storm cloud. Between the two cliffs hung the greatest of the sky-chains; the sky-chain for the Walk of Accuracy.

The chain itself was a wonder, each link a foot wide, and made of gold. Or at least, that was what Father Tallow said, although personally, Siano suspected the gold was only a covering and, underneath, the chain was made of something a little more reassuring. It stretched away from her and dwindled to a fine golden line high above even the tallest of the monasteries, until it met the far wall. Beneath it, Apua was teeming with people going about their daily lives, but you could be sure that there would always be a few pairs of eyes looking up, because you never knew when someone might attempt to walk a sky-chain. You never knew when someone might fall.

Siano had walked all three chains more times than she could count.

She stepped out from the small platform built into the rock and placed her foot on the first great link, testing its strength, feeling the soft thrum as the wind pushed against it, and the slower, more gentle rocking underneath that. She had taken her boots off and her bare foot looked warm and brown against the sun-bright gold.

‘Are you going to take all day, Siano?’ came a voice from behind her. She glanced back to see Leena grinning at her, nervous energy making her step from foot to foot. She was another of Father Tallow’s pupils, but she had yet to walk a single sky-chain or take a single life. Siano pitied her.

‘Please.’ Siano stepped fully onto the chain, the drop yawning away beneath her feet, and sketched a brief bow. ‘If you have finally gathered your courage, you are more than welcome to go first.’

She watched a grimace spasm across Leena’s face.

‘Just get on with it.’

Siano smiled and turned back to the chain in front of her. To either side the other sky-chains stretched into the distance: black iron for the Walk of Silence, blistered lead for the Walk of Secrecy. Taking a deep breath, she let herself feel the weight of her own body and its place in the universe. She let herself feel the texture of the link under her feet, warm and rough and solid. And then she walked.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| First Impressions |

With the second book in The Winnowing Flame trilogy just around the corner, it was high time I continued my journey with Jen William’s debut fantasy –  The Copper Cat Trilogy.

Just a short way into the book and those expectations seem to be confirmed. The Iron Ghost opens with some beautiful worldbuilding, and already features new characters and new locations. This detailed and fast paced opener is characteristic of the style I so loved in The Copper Promise and I haven’t been able to put it down since!

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

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