The Friday Face-Off: Just as it Seems


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. Check out Lynn’s-Books for upcoming themes!


Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks


Welcome to the Friday Face-Off!

Now I know that a multitude of covers exist which display a graceful hand holding an ominous, powerful or fruit-like object. I, however, cannot for the life of me find them – especially not after a bottle of wine. So this week I’ve settled for a small, yet deadly, contribution to the Face-Off with a blade, both hidden and otherwise.

The first cover for this week’s ‘object’ edition was published by Orbit in 2008 and features artwork by Calvin Chu, and the second was published by Bragelonne in 2009, featuring artwork by Frédéric Perrin.

Take a look and see which one is your favourite!


Orbit | Cover #1

Cover art by Calvin Chu

Bragelonne | Cover #2

Cover art by Frédéric Perrin


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

As much as I love the Orbit edition of the Night Angel Trilogy; the smoke-like splashes of colour, the bold and graphic typeface, and the solitary figure looming ominously out of the white, I cannot help but feel that this is hardly a contest at all, especially considering the fact that Kylar’s hidden blade is all but concealed by Brent Weeks’ magnanimous name.

Bragelonne have a reputation for producing beautiful and powerful pieces of artwork to accompany their published titles and Shadow’s Edge, or Le Choix des Ombres, is no exception. The drama and perspective of the artwork is beautiful and arresting, and the muted colours of the backdrop set off the eye-catching splashes of red and luminous eyes that emanate from the figure.  Frédéric Perrin has captivated the essence of the novel almost effortlessly which is why, almost without contest, it is this week’s winner!

The Night Angel Trilogy. Cover art by Frédéric Perrin

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:

Framed

  A cover featuring a frame, a picture within a cover, or a murder mystery set up

Remember to check Lynn’s Books for upcoming themes


| Links |

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books

Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum

Steve @ Books and Beyond Reviews

Nat @ Natrosette

Kristi @ Confessions of a YA Reader

Sarah @ Brainfluff

Mareli & Elza @ Elza Reads

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Tough Travelling: Apprentices


Welcome to Tough Travelling – a monthly feature created by Fantasy Review Barn and hosted by The Fantasy Hive. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, every month we set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.


| Apprentices |

Apprentices are people who are training for a trade or skill, which means they are usually quite young and bad at what they do. Most of the time they are like nurses during an operation, being there only to hand the master his told. They seem to have to do this for a good many years before they get to do anything more interesting, and it is therefore not surprising that some of them get restless and either try to do the interesting stuff themselves or simply run away. The Rules state that if an Apprentice tries to do the interesting stuff on their own it will blow up in their face. If they run away, they will learn all sorts of things very quickly and also probably prove to be the MISSING HEIR to a Kingdom.

The Tough Guide To Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones


| Apprentices from A to Pprentice |

Fantasyland, with its myriad worlds, lands, kingdoms and hovels, really does have a rather narrow career path for those wishing to earn a living. Under the careful guidance of their master, the next generation learn new skills and prepare for the discovery that they are in fact the chosen one.

With more apprentices inhabiting the world of fantasy than I’ve had hot dinners, we’re spoiled for choice with this week’s Tough Travelling. 


| 1. |

Reaper’s Apprentice

Mort

Mort by Terry Pratchett

In a dramatic case of interfering parents inadvertently altering the fabric of reality, Mort is taken to a job fair by his father in the hope that he would land an apprenticeship. Believing his son to have become apprentice to an undertaker, Mort has in fact scored a far more interesting position, and soon finds himself collecting souls under the tutelage of Death himself. 

| 2. |

Wizard’s Apprentice

Pug 

The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

From humble beginnings as a kitchen boy in Crydee, Pug, on his day of Choosing (whereby teenage boys are selected by craft masters to become their apprentices) is discovered by the magician Kulgan. Sensing potential in the boy (but not quite sensing the right amount), he takes him under his wing to begin his training in magic.

| 3. |

Super Crime Fighting Wizard’s Apprentice

Peter Grant

The Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch

Threatened by a life behind a desk, Constable Peter Grant is rescued from eternal inaction by Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. And Nightingale just so happens to be a wizard. Taking Peter under his wing, Nightingale begins tutoring him in the weird and wonderful world of magical crimes.

| 4. |

Thief’s Apprentice

Locke Lamora

The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora and his fellow Gentlemen Bastards were once apprenticed to Father Chains, a priest of the Crooked Warden, the god of thieves. Under Father Chains’ tutelage, they were trained in the art of deception; becoming accomplished liars, masters of disguise, and con-men with the most impeccable taste in fine cuisine. 

| 5. |

Assassin’s Apprentice

Azoth

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

Orphaned as a child, Azoth is taken – or rather forces himself – under the grim wing of Durzo Blint who agrees to train him in the arts of the ‘wetboy’. Despite this strangely coined term, Azoth is not trained as either a bed-wetter or a male prostitute, but as a completely bad-ass assassin who blends magic and martial skill to become a deadly human weapon. 

Who would you like to be apprenticed to? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the The Fantasy Hive and sign up!

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2015: A Year in Review


2015


| Books by Proxy – A Year in Review |

Welcome to my first end of year post – and what a year it has been! I started this blog on the last day of July and, over the last half of 2015, have found myself as part of a wonderful community of readers and bloggers. In my albeit limited experience, we book bloggers are lucky to enjoy a very friendly and supportive community, where sharing our books, our reviews and our experiences is all done for a love of reading and can be enjoyed by many. So thank you readers and thank you bloggers for making 2015 such an enjoyable year. I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!heart


| A Year in Books |
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I think we can all agree these two very similar and equally profound books, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, deservedly made it into my longest and shortest book categories.heart


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Donna Leon

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Leon 10

with ten books in her Commissario Brunetti series

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2015 - 6

P.G. Wodehouse

with nine books in total including seven from his Blandings series

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Jim Butcher

with eight books in The Dresden Files series

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AC - 6

Agatha Christie

with six books in her Hercule Poirot series

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best fantasyBlood Song

Book One of the Raven’s Shadow Series

by Anthony Ryan

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Best SciFiRed Rising

Book One of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown

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best novellaThe SerpentThe Serpent

The Gameshouse I

by Claire North

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best crimeThe Few

A Leone Scamarcio Thriller

by Nadia Dalbuonoheart

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best historicalLamentationLamentation

Book Six of the Matthew Shardlake Series

by C.J. Sansom

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best classicSomething FreshSomething Fresh

Book One of the Blandings Series

by P.G. Wodehouse

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There were so many more amazing books which deserve to be on this list but then it would just be most of 2015’s books!

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful 2016!

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Top Ten ‘X-mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree |

Ahh it’s almost Christmas and for this week’s Top Ten we’re listing the books we wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under our trees. A mix of both old and new releases, this is a pile of books I absolutely can’t wait to read. So sit back, crack open the mulled wine and mince pies, and take a look at some of the goodies that may or may winging their way to me this Christmas.

| 1. |

The Aeronaut’s Windlass

by Jim Butcher

The Cinder Spires is set in a world “of black spires that tower for miles over a mist-shrouded surface” and follows a war between two of the Spires: Spire Albion and Spire Aurora.

It’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock meets Hornblower. There are goggles and airships and steam power and bizarre crystal technology and talking cats, who are horrid little bullies.heart

| 2. |

Legion: Skin Deep

by Brandon Sanderson

Following the success of Legion, Legion: Skin Deep charts another fast moving and gripping adventure for Stephen Leeds, AKA Legion. Leeds is a genius, his mind contains too much information. And to cope it his split his skills off into individual personalities. They crowd his head and he lives with them in a vast empty mansion. While he can call on any one of them to solve a problem he also walks a line across an all-consuming madness.

Legion: Skin Deep is an all-new, action-packed novella starring one of the most fascinating and charismatic heroes ever.heart

| 3. |

Shadow’s Edge

by Brent Weeks

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?heart

| 4. |

Guns of the Dawn

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

A standalone, action-packed pseudo-Napoleonic historical fantasy adventure from the esteemed author of the Shadows of the Apt series.

Denland and Lascanne have been allies for generations, but now the Denlanders have assassinated their king, overthrown the monarchy and marched on their northern neighbour. At the border, the war rages; Lascanne’s brave redcoats against the revolutionaries of Denland.

Emily Marshwic has watched the war take her brother-in-law and now her young brother. Then comes the call for more soldiers, to a land already drained of husbands, fathers and sons. Every household must give up one woman to the army and Emily has no choice but to join the ranks of young women marching to the front.

In the midst of warfare, with just enough training to hold a musket, Emily comes face to face with the reality: the senseless slaughter; the weary cynicism of the Survivor’s Club; the swamp’s own natives hiding from the conflict.

As the war worsens, and Emily begins to have doubts about the justice of Lascanne’s cause, she finds herself in a position where her choices will make or destroy both her own future and that of her nation. heart

| 5. |

Rise of Empire

by Michael J. Sullivan

A puppet is crowned. The true heir remains hidden. A rogue’s secret could change everything.

War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists whom are fighting the Imperialists in the south. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own grab for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past–what he discovers may end their friendship and break Riyria in two.

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| 6. |

Angel of Storms

by Trudi Canavan

Tyen is teaching mechanical magic at a school respected throughout the worlds. News arrives that the formidable ruler of all worlds, long believed to be dead, is back and enforcing his old laws – including the one forbidding schools of magic. As teachers and students flee, Tyen is left with no home and no purpose… except the promise he made to Vella, the sorcerer imprisoned in a book. Tyen must decide what he is willing to do to free her.

After five years among the tapestry weavers of Schpeta, Rielle’s peaceful new life has been shattered by a local war. As defeat looms, the powerful Angel of Storms appears and invites Rielle to join the artisans of his celestial realm. But what will he require in return for this extraordinary offer?heart

| 7. |

Sorcerer to the Crown

by Zen Cho

In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal. And that’s only the first of his problems. He must juggle the conflicting demands of a wayward Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, where a faction schemes to remove him from his position by fair means or foul. He must cope with the Fairy Court refusing to grant Britain the magical resources it needs. And now the British Government is avid to deploy this increasingly scare magic in its war with France. He must also contend with rumors that he murdered his predecessor and guardian, Sir Stephen Wythe. But this task would be easier if Sir Stephen’s ghost would just stop following him around. And now he has to deal with something even more outrageous than any of these things: a female magical prodigy. 

Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she has drudged all her life, and a visit by the Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries – and she intends to make the most of it.heart

| 8. |

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is an epic geopolitical fantasy about one woman’s mission to tear down an empire by learning how to rule it.

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.heart

| 9. |

Ancillary Justice

by Ann Leckie

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.heart

| 10. |

Old Man’s War

by John Scalzi

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce– and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine–and what he will become is far stranger.heart

Happy Christmas fellow bookworms! What books do you hope to find under your tree this year? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015 |

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’re taking a look at some of my favourite newly read authors of 2015. From debut authors published in recent years to firmly established literary masters with a huge repertoire to their name, these are the writers whose work has crept to the top of my reading pile. In no particular order, here are ten of my favourites:

| 1. |

Michael J. Sullivan

with Theft of Swords

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| 2. |

Becky Chambers

with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

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| 3. |

Brent Weeks

with The Way of Shadows

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| 4. |

Pierce Brown

with Red Rising

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| 5. |

Bernard Cornwell

with Azincourt

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| 6. |

Victoria Schwab

with A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious

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| 7. |

Helen Lowe

with The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost

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| 8. |

Anthony Ryan

with Blood Song

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| 9. |

David Gemmell

with Morningstar and Knights of Dark Renown

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| 10. |

Kim Stanley Robinson

with Red Mars

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Who are your favourite newly read authors of 2015? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Homicidal Inanimate Objects


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Homicidal Inanimate Objects |

This Tuesday’s Top Ten will be looking at those homicidal inanimate objects that wreak havoc throughout fantasyland – much to the displeasure of many a protagonist. Whether artifacts of power, deadly weapons or household ornaments, these items will always endeavour to corrupt, maim and destroy.

| 1. |

1- c

The Blackstaff

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

“The Blackstaff itself pulsed and shimmered with shadowy power, and I got the sudden sense that the thing was alive, that it knew its purpose and wanted nothing more than to be used, as often and as spectacularly as possible.”

Changes by Jim Butcher

The Blackstaff is a wizard’s staff which appears to have a conciousness of its own and amplifies any act of black magic. It is wielded by a wizard occupying the position of Blackstaff of the White Council and protects the user from the backlash usually associated with black magic. If you like rocking the creepy black vein look, this is the staff for you!

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| 2. |

1 - wb

Nightblood

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

You didn’t use me much, Nightblood said, sounding hurt. You could have used me. I’m better than a shirt. I’m a sword.”

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is a sentient sword created to destroy evil. Except Nightblood is a sword and has no concept of what evil actually is. This results in the wielder being subjected to constant urgings to kill, slash, stab and destroy amongst innumerable snarky comments.

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| 3. |

1 - lotr

The One Ring

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“It was hot when I first took it, hot as a glede, and my hand was scorched, so that I doubt if ever again I shall be free of the pain of it. Yet even as I write it is cooled, and it seemeth to shrink, though it loseth neither its beauty nor its shape. Already the writing upon it, which at first was as clear as red flame, fadeth and is now only barely to be read.”

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Ahh the ultimate malevolent evil. The One Ring was created by Sauron to gain dominion over all the free peoples of middle earth and has the power to corrupt all those who wear it – the more powerful the bearer, the more powerful they could become. The One Ring exhibits sentient qualities which allow it to abandon its current bearer at opportune moments and to manipulate those who find the Ring to take it up.

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| 4. |

1 - tcom

The Luggage

Discworld by Terry Pratchett

“Rincewind watched it sourly. The Luggage had an elemental nature, absolutely no brain, a homicidal attitude toward anything that threatened its master, and he wasn’t quite sure that its insides occupied the same space-time framework as its outside.”

~ The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Luggage is half suitcase, half homicidal maniac. Capable of moving at astonishing speed, it is fiercely defensive of its owner, completely homicidal by nature and will consume anything that crosses its path with its big square teeth and pulsating tongue. It’s also not half bad as a suitcase.

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| 5. |

1 - twos

The Black Ka’Kari

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

“The ka’kari was rolling across the floor coming toward him. It wobbled as it rolled and when it climbed up his boot and dissolved into his skin, [he] felt a rush of power.”

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Black Ka’Kari is a magical item which bestows upon its bearer immortality, invisibility and extreme magical power. Known as ‘The Devourer’, it can devour almost anything, from the most powerful magic to your mother-in-law.

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| 6. |

1 - adsom

The Black Stone

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

“It’s the symbol for magic,” he said. “Vitari.” “A magic stone called ‘magic’? Not very original. What does it do?”

~ A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Black Stone is a source of pure magical power which can only have come from the sealed and effectively quarantined Black London. The stone is an ultimate corrupting and destroying force which is sought by and seeks evil, and is yet another magical item which allows one to rock the black veiny look.

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| 7. |

1 - hbp

Horcrux

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

“Even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But of course, existence in such a form…few would want it, Tom, very few. Death would be preferable.”

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Ahh the Horcrux, an artifact in which a dark witch or wizard can hide a piece of their soul; an artifact which can only be created by the ultimate act of evil – murder. Not only is a Horcrux inherently evil (splitting your soul is a big no no), but the fragments of the soul within the Horcrux can think for themselves, influence others and possess a last line of defence against impending destruction.

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| 8. |

1 - sb

Stormbringer

The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

“Farewell, friend. I was a thousand times more evil than thou!”

~ Stormbringer by Michael Moorcock

Stormbringer is a malevolent sword, or demonic runeblade to be precise, with a will of its own and a thirst for blood. Stormbringer endeavours to take over the one who wields it whilst feasting upon the souls of those who are unfortunate enough to be stuck by its pointy end. A definite hit at parties.

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| 9. |

1 - dm

The Blackened Denarii

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

“There was a glitter of orange-red light, the sigil vanished, and something clinked on the asphalt. A silver coin a little smaller than a quarter rolled away from the man’s head, bounced against my foot, and then settled on the ground”

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Blackened Denarii are thirty pieces of silver, each of which is bound to a particular Fallen Angel from The Order of the Blackened Denarius. These coins have a nasty habit of falling into the path of unsuspecting men, women, children and wizards, tainting those who touch them and tempting them with power. Those who take up the coin can draw on the Fallen’s power and are more than likely to be wholly corrupted.

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| 10. |

1 - mao

The Gonne 

by Terry Pratchett

“It called out to something deep in the soul. Hold it in your hand, and you had power. More power than any bow or spear – they just stored up your muscles’ power, when you thought about it. But the gonne gave you power from outside. You didn’t use it, it used you.”

~ Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

A firearm with a difference. Anyone who picks up the Gonne will hear its voice penetrating their mind which consequently turns them into an utterly power-hungry, incredibly homicidal, and thoroughly scruple-less maniac.

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Do you have a favourite malevolent artifact or weapon? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Bookish Beats: Assassin’s Creed III


Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


Assassin’s Creed III (Original Game Soundtrack)

Composed by Lorne Balfe


Listen to with:

An action-packed fantasy adventure

Such as:

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

Another day, another foray into the world of Assassin’s Creed. The soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed III, composed by Lorne Balfe, is a fantastic stand-alone album comprised of action-packed orchestral numbers, tense synths, sweeping string and soaring woodwind pieces which, nevertheless, sits well within the ever expanding AC catalogue. This is a soundtrack which gets better with every listen and provides an utterly thrilling and incredibly atmospheric backdrop to reading.

Those who love an action filled soundtrack will not be disappointed. Nearly every track picks you up and throws you along on a riot of non-stop action and, other than my top track in this category, Trouble in Town, The Battle of Breed’s Hill and Battle at Sea really stand out. Not to mention, anyone up for a bit of an Irish Jig have Fight Club and Beer and Friends to sample.

Assassin’s Creed III is not without a good dose of tension either, and though there is a tense undercurrent to many of the tracks, some pack more of a punch than others. Although I’m usually a fan of subtle tension, Eye of the Storm had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an almost overwhelmingly tense track, faintly discordant and brimming with action and movement. I defy anyone to listen to it without feeling that knot of tension build up inside.

This soundtrack is not without its slow, gently soaring moments either; tracks filled with emotion, tracks whose subtlety is perfect for those quiet moments. An Uncertain Moment and Speck of Dust are firm favourites in this category and the use of woodwind in Connor’s Life, Through the Frontier and Homestead create moments in which time stands still; incredibly beautiful and wonderfully contrasting when compared to the pace of the rest of the soundtrack.

The AC soundtracks may all be different, they are the work of many different composers after all, but they retain a consistently high standard which capture real emotion, danger and tension. The soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed III may not be as thematically strong as its counterparts but every listen surprises me, every time it gets better. It’s certainly one I intend to return to time and time again.

Favourite track

01 – Assassin’s Creed III Main Theme

Top track for action

03 – Escape in Style

Top track for tension

18 – Eye of the Storm

Top track for emotion

13 – Speck of Dust

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Review: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks



The Way of Shadows

Book One of The Night Angel Trilogy

by Brent Weeks

Fantasy | 645 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2011


| Rating |

4 and a half Stars


This novel had been hiding on my bookshelf for so long that it’d become a part of the scenery. When I finally remembered it existed, dusted it off and got around to reading it, I was instantly hooked. The Way of Shadows is a non-stop, action-packed, thrill ride which remains tense, dramatic and intriguing throughout; leaving me with only one question – why on earth didn’t I read this sooner?

The perfect killer has no friends, only targets. For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art. And he is the city’s most accomplished artist, his talents required from alleyway to courtly boudoir.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned the hard way to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.

The first two thirds of the book builds up the world and the characters, exploring their motivations and the various intrigues, wars and conflicts which plague the world of Midcyru. The plot twists and turns, the characters are all spurred by conflicting motivations and the potential for ruthless savagery at all times combine to keep you guessing right until the last moment. The last third of The Way of Shadows is a non-stop whirlwind of deadly action which I couldn’t get enough of. The fight scenes were beautifully written and choreographed; violent and bloody, throwing you right into the fray. If Shadow’s Edge starts where this book left off then readers are certainly in for a treat.

Midcyru is a vibrant and realistic world with enough description to add depth and perspective whilst keeping the narrative moving forwards.  It may take a few mentions to absorb all the different names of places and peoples but this isn’t a short novel, there are plenty of opportunities for soaking up all the detail. And sure, the term ‘wetboy’ is a little silly and incongruous with being a super-assassin but I still wouldn’t laugh in Durzo Blint’s face. This is a skilfully drawn out world populated by a myriad of fantastic characters which by all accounts will only get better.

Azoth is a great protagonist whose motivations are well thought out and implemented. I loved Momma K and Logan, who are both wonderfully contrasting characters with a lot of hidden depth. Durzo Blint is ruthless, merciless and absolutely fascinating; I couldn’t get enough of him. The horde of side characters are all intriguing, interesting and add more substance to the world… and who doesn’t love an absurdly weak and dangerously stupid king? The Way of Shadows is chock full of characters to love and hate with plenty of room left for growth and development in the rest of the trilogy.

The Way of Shadows is a great debut novel which surpassed all my expectations. If you’re looking for a whirlwind of fantasy action then look no further than The Night Angel Trilogy; Brent Weeks thoroughly deserves his reputation as a great storyteller and I am just itching to get my hands on the next book.


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