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Joshua S Hill profile

Place of birth: Melbourne, Australia
Now living: Melbourne, Australia

3 favourite authors

3 favourite books

3 favourite films

Joshua S Hill's 339 reviews

The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen)

Picking up where Lee left off and having the chance to review Steven Erikson is a dream. Reviewing his books is like what I imagine it would have been to review Tolkien when Two Towers and Return of the King hit shelves. It is being part of an epic in the making, and one that could very well usurp Middle Earth as the greatest literary creation....

10/10

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Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen)

Rating a book is inherently dangerous. Well beyond the normal trials of dealing with authors who believe they’re the next Tolkien but are lucky to know how to spell Tolkien, it’s the really good authors that provide the greatest problems. For example, I finished my review for the Bonehunters by Steven Erikson over a week ago. At the ...

10/10

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Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen)

What can you say about the ninth book in a series that you haven’t already said in the previous eight, especially with the tenth and final book currently propped open on your lap. Not much, especially not much if I don’t want to just repeat myself.So I will break form and say something about the story itself.Read around...

10/10

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy)

Every now and again a book comes out that deserves all the hype that it is getting. A lot of the time a book will come out that doesn’t deserve any of the hype it’s been getting. And probably more often than we like to admit, a book comes out that doesn’t get any hype whatsoever and is absolutely breathtaking.That is the...

10/10

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The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn)

I have read a lot of books. My library is large and filled with many books, mainly fantasy, sci-fi and non-fiction, and I’ve written over a hundred reviews for Fantasy Book Review.In all that time I honestly do not believe I have read a book as compelling and as flawlessly executed as the third and final in Brandon Sanderson’s...

10/10

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The Crippled God by Steven Erikson (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen)

Much of what I want to say on having finally completed ‘The Crippled God’, the final book in Steven Erikson’s ‘The Malazan Book of the Fallen’, has to do with my feelings on the series as a whole. Ten books is a long time to be reading, a lot of investment, and I want to take my time to say what I have in my head. S...

10/10

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The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle)

The only way that I can legitimately start this review is by saying that I am unsure of what I think of this book.As with any right-thinking fan of fantasy literature, I loved ‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss. I raved about the skill of the writing, the lovingly crafted words, and the magical storyline.Unlike ...

10/10

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The Fall of Arthur by JRR Tolkien

As someone who has read and studied the work and life of J.R.R. Tolkien for nearly two decades, one of the most important things I wish people knew about the authors of The Lord of the Rings was that he was so much more than just the author of The Lord of the Rings.If you open up Wikipedia, you’ll find that J.R.R. ...

10/10

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Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch)

Every now and then, for one reason or another, a book sometimes gets lost in the shuffle and ends up back on the shelf, a bookmark forlornly flagging the few pages I managed to read before my brain gave out on me. This happens more often than I would like, and it happened in late 2015 when Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy arrived on m...

10/10

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Age of War by Michael J Sullivan (Legends of the First Empire)

Being able to craft a fantasy story is no easy feat: Most of us who read fantasy know this, and it is one of the things we love most about the genre – the tireless work and creativity that goes into creating the books we read.There are a lot of authors who can craft a fantasy story which we love – that’s what Fantasy...

10/10

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Legion: Lies of the Beholder by Brandon Sanderson (Legion series)

It is something of an unwritten rule that, one of the greatest signs of a great writer is their ability to write as well in longform as in short. In fact, in my opinion, there’s an argument to be made that says writing a brilliant short story requires a greater level of skill than is needed to write a full-length novel – but that&rsq...

10/10

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The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

There has probably been no author to have such a dramatic impact on the world of Science Fiction & Fantasy in the last decade as that made by Ann Leckie, whose debut novel Ancillary Justice walked away with every major genre award available to her. We...

10/10

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Age of Empyre by Michael J Sullivan (Legends of the First Empire)

I’m going to be honest with you all: I read Age of Death and Age of Empyre – the final two books in Michael J Sullivan’s ‘The Legends of the First Empire’ series – back to back, and am reviewing both books having read both books. However, considering that Sullivan published both books so closely together, and ...

10/10

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Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb (Fitz and the Fool)

Anyone who has read reviews here at Fantasy Book Review for any length of time will probably remember the love Lee (our editor in chief) and I have for anything written by Robin Hobb. For many years we struggled over just how important we considered her 9-volume work – ‘The Realm of the Elderlings’, now including the 4 ‘R...

10/10

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The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

When I am asked to pick my favourite Terry Pratchett book, The Fifth Elephant is always on my mind as a contender. Granted, it’s a contender insomuch as the Rock would be versus Ali, but it’s still in there! There are books that follow that outshine this book, but only in the way that one star outshines a slightly smaller star....

10/10

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is the first volume in a projected ten book epic fantasy series, set on the world of Roshar where constant storms have caused the ecology to evolve into something resembling a rock pool or a coral reef. This 1000 page door stopper is a large undertaking for many readers, and with the second book not even out...

10/10

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The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn)

A lot of writers return to worlds that they have created; it’s such a waste after all to discard all those places, peoples and cultures that you’ve brought to life. But Sanderson went a step further! Instead of, as he phrases it, clinging to “[...] the idea of fantasy worlds as static places, where millennia would pass and tech...

10/10

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Cold Fire by Kate Elliott (Spiritwalker)

I have never been more teasingly frustrated as I was whilst reading ‘Cold Fire’ by Kate Elliott. You see, I am – at the core and heart of it all – a hopeless romantic. I might be a Christian and all, but when it all comes down to it, I want the boy to get the girl, the girl to get the boy, and for there to be no stupid mi...

10/10

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Nation by Terry Pratchett

In what can really only be called a tour de force by an author who is arguably the greatest living English novelist, Terry Pratchett has pulled out all the stops for his latest book, Nation. Pratchett is best known for his Discworld series of books, which stretch across a monstrous 36 books (of which the majority does well to score below 7 out o...

10/10

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Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

It has taken me a little while to work up the courage to write this review. Terry Pratchett has always managed to write a book a year for the last little while, and as a result has provided me with a sure-fire birthday present for my father; no questions asked. This year was no different, and when I got my copy of Unseen Academicals in the mail ...

10/10

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Once Walked With Gods by James Barclay (Elves Trilogy)

I’ve made no secret that one of my favourite authors is James Barclay. My personal friendship with the man aside, I think he has exceptional talent that is unmatched in fantasy writing originally pioneered by David Gemmell. While his scope doesn’t always extend as far as authors like Steven Erikson or Joe Abercrombie, Barclay’s...

10/10

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The Broken Kingdoms by NK Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy)

In March, 2010 new author N.K. Jemisin released the first book in her Inheritance Trilogy - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. The book was fantastic, as evidenced by her Hugo and Nebula nominations for it, as well as it being listed on both the Amazon and Publisher's Weekly Science Fiction/Fantasy Top 10 of 2010. If the second had not come out ...

10/10

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Corvus by Paul Kearney (The Macht)

Never let it be said that Paul Kearney takes his time telling a story. In fact, let’s get down to brass tax, and make it very clear from the outset that if you start a book written by Paul Kearney, you better be willing to read straight through till 6am the next morning, because it’s going to be bloody hard to put it down again once ...

10/10

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle)

When friends hand me books to read, I am always suspicious of whether the books will be any good. Maybe it is my own great arrogance (or maybe one of many), but I just figure that – unless they are of a special few – I am the better judge of books. Thankfully, twice this theory has fallen by the wayside.The book is called The ...

10/10

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The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle)

We’ve been waiting four years for the sequel to Patrick Rothfuss’s hit debut, ‘The Name of the Wind’, and we’ve finally been granted what we’ve been waiting for.Mostly.‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ has been long anticipated. Rothfuss has spent many long months rewriting and polishing th...

10/10

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The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin (Matthew Swift)

When you review books for a site called “Fantasy Book Review” you’re going to get a lot of stuff that harkens back to Tolkien, or Brooks, or Lewis, or whoever. So it’s wonderful when you get something that doesn’t seem to harken back to anything, or if it does, it’s Neil Gaiman.Kate Griffin is one of th...

10/10

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The Neon Court by Kate Griffin (Matthew Swift)

If a book is able to leave you feeling at once saddened and emotionally drained as well as leaving you wanting, no, needing more, than in the end the author has obviously done something right.With her third book featuring Matthew Swift as our fearful hero, The Neon Court, Kate Griffin has once again shown just how capable she is of wringi...

10/10

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Haven by Joel Shepherd (A Trial of Blood and Steel)

Joel Shepherd’s ‘A Trial of Blood & Steel’ has been a fantasy series unlike so many that populate the shelves of our local bookstores (electronic or otherwise). It has much of the flavour of Robin Hobb’s ‘The Realm of the Elderlings’ series, with political wrangling and lessons in right versus wrong. Finis...

10/10

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games)

This is going to be a difficult review for me to write, but maybe in the end it will be a cathartic one. To say that I have read very few books which have left me emotionally wrung out is an understatement: I could probably count them on one hand. I don’t cry easily, but then again it is not impossible to make me cry. I can care about a ch...

10/10

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Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (Skyward)

We all have favourite books. We have favourite books, favourite authors, favourite series. My favourites include The Lord of the Rings, The Night Circus,...

10/10

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A Game Of Thrones by George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire)

As warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must ... and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at cour...

10/10

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Night Watch by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

Whenever someone new comes to review books, there is always going to be a measure of consternation at their choices for best books. It gets worse when you narrow it down to genre, because then not only have you narrowed down the people, but in a most perplexing mathematic equation their passion for those books increases.This is all to say...

10/10

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A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

One of the great character templates in literature is the often dim-witted, often humorous sidekick who is allowed a moment of center stage wisdom. If done poorly, it can be nothing short of horrible. But when it is done well, there is seldom anything that can beat it. And in a series of more than 30 books that are all pigeon-holed into the fant...

10/10

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The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

When a new series begins, often you will expect book two to be better than book one, and so on. It makes sense. The writer will get better as they go on. Sadly, life is not always so neat, and there will be writers, like Terry Pratchett, who go out of their way to break the mould. This is what happened when Pratchett wrote The Wee Free Men, the ...

10/10

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Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

One of the things that I have found as I have read fantasy book after fantasy book, is that life is different in those books. Of course it is, ya daftie, I hear you cry, but bear with me. I obviously know that life is different, that’s why I read them: when you are a freelance writer, you look for any chance possible to jump out o...

10/10

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Nightchild by James Barclay (Chronicles of the Raven)

One thing that is always tinged with a measure of trepidation is the treatment of children in a fantasy world. A measure of reality must always be held in one hand while you attempt to watch over them. For as much as you would love to see them always come through unharmed, happy, and well, it is just not how it would have played back in the midd...

10/10

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Cry of the Newborn by James Barclay (The Ascendants of Estorea)

With his Raven series, James Barclay made himself a cult hero. With the Ascendants of Estorea, Barclay stepped away from the action adventure realm and settled into a very fantasy style book. More character focus and interestingly enough styled after the Roman Empire, Cry of the Newborn – the first in the series – makes for an intere...

10/10

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The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney (The Macht)

Very rarely does an author manage to leave you heartbroken while still allowing you to have enjoyed the book you’ve read. Steven Erikson managed it in ‘Deadhouse Gates’ and Paul Kearney manages it in his book ‘The Ten Thousand.’ I have just finished reading the book, and feel both dispirited and glad for having read...

10/10

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Hawkwood's Voyage by Paul Kearney (Monarchies of God)

I was ranting this afternoon regarding the fact that I always come across brilliant series after they have finished. It happened with Star Trek Deep Space Nine, it happened with Star Wars, and now it happens with pretty much every second fantasy book I buy/receive. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, because you start in on a series, review the f...

10/10

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The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide by Terry Pratchett

One of four Terry Pratchett related works published this year is (in full) ‘The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide Comprising the New Street Map, Trade Directory & Gazetteer, Along with a Glorious Artist’s Impression of This Great City in its Entirety’ written by Terry Pratchett and ‘Aided and Abetted by The Discworld E...

10/10

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Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive)

I know I’m late to this particular party, but as the man who beat me to it said, I “just had to get words on a page to decompress” after finally finishing reading ‘Words of Radiance’ by Brandon Sanderson.When Words of Radiance finally rocked up on my doorstep those few months ago, I looked at it with fear. Su...

10/10

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Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan (Raven's Shadow)

One of the only issues I ever had with Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen was the required memory and knowledge a reader was supposed to bring into every book. This was not a complaint that affected my rating of a book, and for the most part had very little impact on my enjoyment of the book. However, from time to time, i...

10/10

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Beren and Luthien by JRR Tolkien

One of the great joys of my life is reading anything (and everything) by (and about) J.R.R. Tolkien. Ever since the release of The Fellowship of the Ring in cinemas back in 2001, which was immediately followed by a week-long plunge through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I have been an avid and obsessive fan of T...

10/10

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The Fall of Gondolin by JRR Tolkien

I was delighted when I heard about the release of this book because in Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien erroneously stated that it was going to be the last restoration of his father’s work he undertook. He changed his mind. And I thank him for it because this is a glorious tale, showcasing much of Tolkien’s brill...

10/10

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Age of Death by Michael J Sullivan (Legends of the First Empire)

When Michael J. Sullivan’s 2018 Age of War arrived on our doorsteps we discovered within the first few pages via an Author’s Note that ‘The Legends of the First Empire’ trilogy would be expanded to six books – “two closely related trilogies under a single banner.” (p. xii, Age of War)...

10/10

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Forged by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

Now that we’re close to the end, it finally feels like Alex Verus has found his sense of purpose; in this book his true self is revealed. And it is incredible.Alex has been faffing around for a while now. Before things started to come together in Book 10, it seemed like either Benedict Jacka or Verus, or both, didn’t really kn...

10/10

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Shadowmarch Quartet by Tad Williams (Shadowmarch Quartet)

...

9/10

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Shadowfall by James Clemens (Godslayer)

I like finding books that I really enjoy. I come away refreshed and happy, knowing that if ever I need to go back and reread a book to make myself feel better – to hide myself from the wealth of mediocrity that rocks up on my doorstep each year – I have yet another book to read, and from first appearances, Shadowfall by James Clemens...

9/10

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Shadow Games by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

Did you know, not everyone understands intrinsically what ‘Vietnam war fiction on peyote’ describes. That’s how Glen Cook’s Black Company novels are so often described as, thanks to a quote made by Steven Erikson of Cook’s writing. I was asked recently to explain just what that means, and here’s what I came up...

9/10

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Dreams of Steel by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

What happens when your main character gets enthralled by the bad guy girl and no one knows? You swap to another character and have her tell the story until the main character is healthy enough to add his own perspective to the story.Which is exactly what happens with Dreams of Steel by Glen Cook, the fifth (?) novel in The Black Company s...

9/10

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Tracato by Joel Shepherd (A Trial of Blood and Steel)

Having taken so long to read ‘Petrodor’ by Joel Shepherd, the second book in his ‘A Trial of Blood and Steel’ series, I figured that I should jump straight on to the third book, Tracato (and then the fourth). I’m really glad that I did, because upon completion of this book I realised that Joel Shepherd has stepped u...

9/10

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games)

Sequels are such a tricky proposition for an author, especially one who has found success – both critical and popular – with her original outing. I am unsure of the progression of her writing, publication and success, but Suzanne Collins has once again captured my heart and mind with her second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, &lsqu...

9/10

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Starsight by Brandon Sanderson (Skyward)

Is there any period in life more difficult to navigate than adolescence? Worrying about school, figuring out which hottie you want to smooch, and finding new ways to act rebellious can be exhausting. Then there’s the aliens. The screaming stars. The mysterious AI, and your cytonic powers of understanding faster-than-light radio signals. It...

9/10

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The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman (Eona series)

Stereotypical modern-day fantasy is based on medieval Europe. It’s just the way it is these days, thanks in part to J.R.R. Tolkien and his beautifully fleshed out Middle Earth, which was, in his own mind, an attempt at giving England a mythology it sorely lacked.So when I come across a fantasy book that is not set in that stereotype...

9/10

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The White Rose by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

Good writing is sometimes extremely difficult to come across. Writing that tears you out from the insides and makes you weep for characters you hardly knew is like looking for a needle in a field of haystacks. Trust me, when you find it, you want to make sure that you read everything from that author that you possibly can, and then you’ll ...

9/10

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Snuff by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

I've been a fan of Sir Terry Pratchett since my late teens, but of all his books the Sam Vimes titles have always been my favourite. I love the stories about the Watch, of Sam’s rise from gutter alcoholic in a dying Night Watch to His Grace the Duke, Commander of a blooming City Watch, hero of Koom Valley and proud father to Sam junior...

9/10

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Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch)

They made me kill thousands, but I only have one target now.The Radch are conquerors to be feared - resist and they'll turn you into a 'corpse soldier' - one of an army of dead prisoners animated by a warship's AI mind. Whole planets are conquered by their own people.The colossal warship called The Justice of Toren ...

9/10

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The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (The Gentleman Bastard Sequence)

Well, given it only took six years to produce the third novel in a planned set of seven, we might be having to settle in for a long one here. At this rate it'll be 2037 before we know what happens. I'd like the author to speed things up a little if he can. Maybe one a year?Anyway, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen are back after their ...

9/10

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The Silver Spike by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

If there were two things that J.K. Rowling did with her Harry Potter books, it was that she cared about her readers and she gave them a decent epilogue at the very end of the series. Having just finished ‘The Silver Spike’ by Glen Cook, I can say with some certainty that Glen Cook does not have the same regard for his readers as Rowl...

9/10

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This may sound slightly biased, but I am always excited to read a Neil Gaiman story and as soon as I had read the prologue to this story I knew I was already hooked and looking forward to the adventure this book would take me on. The prologue itself serves as a reminder that some memories, however hidden, are not truly forgotten, but may just ne...

9/10

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The Battle of the Five Armies Chronicles: Art & Design by Daniel Falconer

Are you a fan of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies? Have you spent hours watching the behind the scenes discs, marvelling at the creation of Middle Earth for the silver screen? Have you ever wished that you could have John Howe and Alan Lee sit on your coffee table, explaining to you the making of these bloc...

9/10

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Battleaxe by Sara Douglass (Axis Trilogy)

How do you review a classic that has preserved for 20 years? The simple answer is you do not. You remind people of the quality of the work and the sense of the story that Sara Douglass gave us in the first of the Axis Trilogy. Battleaxe was and is still a steadfast epic fantasy novel, no less true now than when it was first released.Battl...

9/10

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The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams (Bobby Dollar)

To be honest, before beginning this book I was unsure of the story and concept Williams was portraying. However, I have always enjoyed Tad Williams books and I know he does like to mix up his writing style so thankfully I was pleasantly surprised in The Dirty Streets of Heaven. I found the main characters and view to be engaging. The principle c...

9/10

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Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody (The Obernewtyn Chronicles)

When you put your mind to considering some of the greatest writers of the English language, it is a source of continuing pity that Isobelle Carmody’s name is not up there along with some of the greats like Tolkien, Lewis and Hemmingway. Though some of her work has been criticized, writing science fiction, fantasy, children’s and youn...

9/10

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games)

I came to the Hunger Games series late in its popularity. Way late. Less than a month's time to the release of the highly anticipated film adaptation (an adaptation written in part by Suzanne Collins herself, one of the credited writers of the script) and I've known about the series less than a year, and having only read the series a few...

9/10

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Kings of Morning by Paul Kearney (The Macht)

Paul Kearney has been described by some as a master of military fantasy and by me as an author who can combine the best parts of fantasy “with grit and realism an enough blood to drown a horse.” These facts – as I believe they are facts – are brought to a head in the final book in ‘The Macht’ series, ‘Ki...

9/10

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The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skilful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor's sceptre, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new sou...

9/10

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Dawnthief by James Barclay (Chronicles of the Raven)

Every now and again you come across an author who manages to write unlike any other. This is not something that will happen often, and I’ve personally only ever come across a handful (Tolkien, Pratchett, Hobb and Erikson). But one author who manages to write such a compelling story that you never want to put the book down is James Barclay....

9/10

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A Clash Of Kings by George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire)

A Clash of Kings, book two of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, is the follow-up to George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones.Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark are dead; the crown rests with King Joffrey but Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon all lay claim. The comet in the sky is seen as a sign of war and incest, frat...

9/10

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The Black Company by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

Every now and again I get to read a book or series of books that have not been touched by other reviewers on the site, but really should have been. The Black Company series by Glen Cook is one of those series, and I apologize for taking so long to get to these wonderful books. With them, in the words of Steven Erikson, “Glen Cook single-ha...

9/10

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

In what is one of his most celebrated works, up there along with Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is one of the best books of its genre. The real dilemma presented us however is understanding just which genre Gaiman was writing. This is not a negative opinion of his writing ability, suggesting that he doesn’t seem to have any ide...

9/10

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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I was totally mystified, baffled and downright confused when I hit up Wikipedia to find that Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman, a book that I had just finished and thoroughly enjoyed, was nothing more than an adaptation of a television series. That might sound like I have a measure of distaste for adaptations, and you would be right. But since I didn&r...

9/10

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Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb (The Soldier Son Trilogy)

It happens far too often that books that are not worthy of wide recognition achieve it, and those that are worthy of it only achieve success in smaller amounts. It is a never ending source of frustration for fans of those books and authors, for they see actual talent being ignored in place of flashy and insubstantial books that do nothing but ca...

9/10

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Noonshade by James Barclay (Chronicles of the Raven)

In a true example of why James Barclay is one of the best modern day fantasy writers, Noonshade continues on his Chronicles of the Raven series, and sees the story continue and his talents grow. Barclay sets this book literally half an hour after Dawnthief is finished, and never misses a beat. I came to these books late, and was able to read all...

9/10

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Elfsorrow by James Barclay (Legends of the Raven)

One of the greatest and most often committed faults of English literature, specifically of the fantasy genre, is the emotional attachment to characters by their authors. Though budding and experienced authors alike may start out with all intention to realistically treat their characters as they should, more often than not, by the end of the stor...

9/10

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Shadowheart by James Barclay (Legends of the Raven)

One of the underlying threads that have raced through James Barclay’s The Raven series has been the ever building conflict between the four colleges of magic on Balaia. Shadowheart sees the climax of this collision. Not surprisingly, the “dark” college is the one to strike, but thankfully the reader is not necessarily forced in...

9/10

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Demonstorm by James Barclay (Legends of the Raven)

When I first started reading Demonstorm, I was under every impression that it was Barclay’s final say in the world of the mercenary band known as The Raven. The ending of the book definitely gives that opinion as well, continuing Barclay’s well worn killing off of his characters. But before the end comes, Barclay manages to pull off ...

9/10

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Shout for the Dead by James Barclay (The Ascendants of Estorea)

Following in the wake of its predecessor, Shout for the Dead continues James Barclay’s magnificent step away from his impressive Raven series. No longer are we watching masses of enemies being slaughtered. This time we’re in for a political ride akin to the latter days of the West Wing (I love Barclay, but I’m not giving him po...

9/10

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Making Money by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

Following on from his successful introduction of the character Moist von Lipwig, Terry Pratchett decided that he would bring the ex-con artist back in an attempt to restore the Ankh-Morpork Mint.In short, Pratchett once again gets an entire book to have his way with the utilities and the running of a city.The story once again follo...

9/10

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Shadows Linger by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

When you read a second book of a series, it’s really the do-or-die book. It’ll either be great, draw you in and promise you that they’ll all be of a similar quality or higher, or it will be less than the original and suggest you shouldn’t pick up the third.There is no such problem with Shadows Linger, the second bo...

9/10

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Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 1 by Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise)

Once again I’m going to step away from reviewing something that is strictly fantasy for something that is of such great quality that I simply can’t ignore it. Following on the heels of my review of Terry Moore’s first trade paperback of Echo, I’m going to look at the book that made Terry Moore famous; Strangers in Paradis...

9/10

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Echo by Terry Moore

Fantasy Book Review exists for one purpose: to review fantasy books and help people decide what to read next, realize what they’re missing and discuss. But sometimes we the reviewers have to take a chance on something that isn’t strictly “fantasy.” Sometimes an author is just too good, or a series is too well written, to ...

9/10

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The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (Chalion Series)

Finished 5 hours into the new year, I still count this as a 2013 review, even though it’s publication will still fall into 2014. And, when I realised – a third of the way through this book, by virtue of some diligent online research – that the characters of this story would be, mostly, left behind in the subsequent two editions...

9/10

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I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

One of my favourite authors is Terry Pratchett. There’s no secret to that if you’ve spent even a little bit of time browsing FBR; he notches ten-out-of-ten books regularly, in my opinion, and has one of the keenest minds and greatest storytelling abilities I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.Not surprisingly then, Sir Pra...

9/10

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Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 2 by Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise)

As readers we find ourselves sometimes needing to branch out, and one of those branches for me has always been comic books, in particular the more “independent” comic books. One of the best examples has to be Strangers in Paradise.The second pocket book collecting the famed ‘Strangers in Paradise’ series written by...

9/10

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The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn)

What if the Dark Lord won?The Final Empire, the first book in a trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, is a tale of a subjugated people known as the Skaa, and their fight for freedom against a seemingly invincible God known as the Lord Ruler. The Lord Ruler has ruled this world for a thousand years through his Inquisitors and Obligators. ...

9/10

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The Krytos Trap by Michael A Stackpole (Star Wars: X-Wing)

Set: 7 ABYThe Rebels have taken Coruscant, but their problems are far from over. A killer virus called Krytos is wiping out the indigenous population, and a counter-revolution is exploding. At the center of the storm is the highly charged treason trial of Rebel hero Tycho Celchu. While agents provocateurs carry out their acts of terrorism...

9/10

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Tales from the Perilous Realm by JRR Tolkien

Josh S Hill reviews Leaf by Niggle, Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham, three acclaimed modern classic fairie tales included in the collection entitled Tales from the Perilous Realm.Leaf by NiggleAscribing the word ‘allegory’ to anything written by J.R.R. Tolkien comes with a slight measure o...

9/10

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Petrodor by Joel Shepherd (A Trial of Blood and Steel)

Thank the Good Lord of green pastures for a good book over the holidays, because I was beginning to go crazy. It’s not surprising that when December hits, my supply of reading material dwindles, so I had to go looking through my shelves for a series I hadn’t finished.Which is what made me pick up Petrodor by Joel Shepherd....

9/10

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Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey (Expanse Series)

I have been an avid reader since I was about ten or eleven, and an even more-avid reader of fantasy since the age of sixteen. Over that time I have read hundreds of fantasy books and dozens of Star Trek, Star Wars, and other franchise books. However, in that time I have very rarely turned my attention towards science-fiction (obviously classifyi...

9/10

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The Art of the Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

The Art of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina ScullThere is a plethora of J.R.R. Tolkien material available for the layman to read, and I am more than willing to admit that delving beyond The Silmarillion is going to be unlikely for the general populace. People want story and narrative, not necessarily the hist...

9/10

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Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (Spiritwalker)

I have not been as surprised and thrilled to find myself loving a book in a long as when I started reading ‘Cold Magic’ by Kate Elliott. The book had been placed on a pile of books sent to me that I would leave for a rainy day; nothing special, I thought. How wrong I was.As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin B...

9/10

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Rise of the TaiGethen by James Barclay (Elves Trilogy)

Fantasy Book Review Book of the Month, August 2012One day as I was working on parts of the website I discovered that the release of James Barclay’s latest book, ‘The Rise of the TaiGethen’, had somehow completely bypassed me. I had no idea it had happened and was now even closer to the release of the third book in the se...

9/10

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Prince of Dogs by Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars)

A word of advice for writers out there: the second book in your series will make or break you. A second book is somewhat like the ending to a standalone novel or short story; if you can’t stick the landing, that’s all the judges are going to remember. But with the second novel, even if you do stick the landing on your first novel &nd...

9/10

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Inside HBO's Game of Thrones by Bryan Cogman

It was the middle of 2002 and I was in my final year of secondary education here in Australia. The previous Christmas had been spent anticipating the release of the highly popular ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ and that August I bought the DVD. Later that same year I bought the extended edition, and while watching the movie again with extr...

9/10

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A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett

With no full-length Discworld books published this year, it is somewhat surprising to know that we in fact received four separate Terry Pratchett-authored books in 2012, though all in various guises: a collaboration, a child’s story, a ‘reference’ book, and this collection of short stories.Over the past week or so I have...

9/10

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The World of Poo by Terry Pratchett

For those of you who have not had the wonderful pleasure of reading Terry Pratchett’s novel ‘Snuff’ and may find the title of this book somewhat of a surprise then I present this following excerpt;Vimes looked at the cover. The title was The World of Poo. When his wife was out of eyeshot he carefully leafed through it. W...

9/10

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Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson (Legion series)

While Brandon Sanderson can hardly be called a lazy writer, one wonders how much further along in his The Stormlight Archive we’d be if he didn’t spend so much time running around in his other Cosmere shards and non-Cosmere universes. That being said, I wonder if that’s what I actually want from hi...

9/10

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Caliban's War by James SA Corey (Expanse Series)

A sequel is a tricky proposition at the best of times. ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was definitely better than ‘Star Wars’, but the second ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies were both less than the first. The J.K. Rowling’s second ‘Harry Potter’ book was better...

9/10

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Chosen by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

In reviewing the first three Alex Verus novels by author Benedict Jacka, I have focused primarily on their setting in London. This time around, however, it would simply be unfair to focus on such a secondary aspect of the book, and to ignore the powerful character-driven story that predominated.I have enjoyed immensely the introduction of...

9/10

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Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

"If you can't trust governments, whom can you trust?" - good to see Pratchett has decided to try and answer the unfathomable in his latest Discworld novel. For an author whose powers must be declining due to his unfortunate health issues, every novel that comes from his prolific pen becomes even more of a treasure. There are quite ...

9/10

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The Thing Beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss (The Adventure of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle)

Though possibly not strictly a fantasy book, Patrick Rothfuss’s The Adventures of the Princess and Mr Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed is definitely worthy of comment here. Not only because Patrick Rothfuss is author of one of the better fantasy novels, but also because the book has ... a ... castle.Image: The Adventures of the Pr...

9/10

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Blood Song by Anthony Ryan (Raven's Shadow)

In the same vein as Miles Cameron’s ‘The Red Knight’, ‘Blood Song’ by Anthony Ryan was a book that had sat on my shelf for a while, forlornly hoping I would pick it up and give it a shot. In this end of year doldrums, I’ve been forced back to my shelves of ‘books I should read one day’ and, as with...

9/10

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The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron (The Traitor Son Cycle)

One of the greatest literary highlights for me in 2013 was finding ‘The Red Knight’ by Miles Cameron. Released at the beginning of the year, I came to it with only a few days of the year left, but it still ranked as one of the best books I’d read. Discovering that I was therefore only a month or so away from the sequel left me ...

9/10

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Dangerous Women by George RR Martin

Edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, ‘Dangerous Women’ was probably the biggest anthology release of the past few years that I’m aware of. Filled with the fantasy genres biggest names (and, I believe, big names from other genres), this anthology manages to compile together some of the best short stories around....

9/10

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Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan (Raven's Shadow)

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to binge through a batch of new books that had come out throughout 2013 and very early-2014, and ended up finding some new favourite authors – names such as Miles Cameron, Brian Stavely, Brian McClellan, and the topic of today’s review, Anthony Ryan. I ended up reviewing ‘Blood Song&rsquo...

9/10

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Assail by Ian C Esslemont (A Novel of the Malazan Empire)

For years now we have been teased with the prospect of visiting Assail, writing partners Steven Erikson and Ian C Esslemont weaving hints and rumours into their epic series’ so as to leave us completely hooked on the idea of this threatening landmass. Covered in ice, but home to some of Malazan’s most important figures, ‘Assail...

9/10

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Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch)

When an author breaks new ground, the general consensus is that to remain relevant and loved, that author must continue to break new ground. However, the inherent problem with this is that, instead of breaking new ground, the author simply digs themselves into a hole from which they can’t escape.So when your debut novel not only doe...

9/10

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Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (A Reckoners Novel)

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed ‘Mitosis’ by Brandon Sanderson, the small short story published in advance of the author’s latest entrant into his ‘Reckoners’ series – ‘Firefight’. I was not pleased, if for no other re...

9/10

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The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan (The Powder Mage Trilogy)

In 2014 I read both of Brian McClellan’s ‘The Powder Mage Trilogy’ books – ‘Promise of Blood’ and ‘The Crimson Campaign’. I loved both of them, though by the end of the second book it had started to lag somewhat. Regardless, that momentary lapse had obviously not stuck with me, as I only just remem...

9/10

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The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns)

One of the most enjoyable books I read in 2014 (though published in 2013) was The Thousand Names by Django Wexler. I had Wexler’s name around the traps for a little while, and the book had popped up as a recommended title in my regular searches through A...

9/10

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Crossed Blades by Kelly McCullough (A Fallen Blade Novel)

As I continue to plough my way through Kelly McCullough’s A Fallen Blade series, I am continually impressed with just how enjoyable each of these books are. It is a stark reminder that, not since I read Michael J. Sullivan Riyria books, have I so enjoyed losing myself in a series of books, and being able to just read one after another afte...

9/10

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Veiled by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

I could not have been more excited when Veiled by Benedict Jacka arrived on my doorstep the other day, and le Tour de France be damned, two days later I can now report that it was just as good as the rest of the series, confirming Jacka’s status as one of my favourite authors currently writing.Some readers may dislike Jacka’s ...

9/10

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Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb (Fitz and the Fool)

The past few months have been difficult to find much reading time and even harder to find time to sit down and review that which I have read. But one of the most telling things to come out of that is the fact that I was still able to plough through Robin Hobb’s latest addition to her masterful Elderlings universe, Fool’s...

9/10

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The Story of Kullervo by JRR Tolkien

Over the past several decades, the collection of published work by the brilliant J.R.R. Tolkien has expanded greatly beyond the few most will have heard of – The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion – thanks t...

9/10

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The Price of Valour by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns)

Fantasy Book Review Book of the Month, November 2016When I finished reading The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler, the second book in his ‘The Shadow Campaigns’ series, I was struck by just how unsure I was about the motivations...

9/10

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The Battle of the Five Armies Chronicles: The Art of War by Daniel Falconer

With the release of the final extended edition for Peter Jackson's ‘The Hobbit' trilogy comes with it the release of the final Chronicles book, orchestrated by Weta's own Daniel Falconer, who has worked on all six of the Tolkien-inspired movies.Featuring a foreword by Lee Pace, the actor who played Thranduil, and an afte...

9/10

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The Death of Dulgath by Michael J Sullivan (The Ryria Chronicles)

I love Michael J. Sullivan.   I want to put that out there from the beginning, because I need to admit this review may be somewhat biased or swayed by that existing love. Even before I began reading Michael J. Sullivan’s latest book, The Death of Dulgath, this bias was evident in that I picked it ahead of Brandon Sand...

9/10

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Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe (Wall of Night)

Sometimes, I think that fantasy authors from Australia and New Zealand do not get the attention they deserve. In some respects, this has not always been the case – and I can’t claim to be 100% certain of it now, either. However, when talk of “best fantasy writer” reaches my ears, I am left hearing the same handful –...

9/10

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Stiletto by Daniel OMalley (The Checquy Files)

It is with great disappointment that I must report that I have finished reading Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley, depicting the adventures of Felicity Jane Clements and Odette Louise Charlotte Henriette Clémentine Leliefeld. I realise that this may not come as much of a disappointment to you, who haven’t read Stiletto yet, but for ...

9/10

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Burned by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

The arrival of a Benedict Jacka book on my doorstep is a “drop everything else” occasion. At just under 400 pages, these smaller-than-average books are some of the best urban fantasy that has been written. They aren’t a long read, and are generally over much quicker than I want. Each book is a self-contained story, and I am sur...

9/10

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The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by JRR Tolkien

Edited by Verlyn FliegerFans of J.R.R. Tolkien rejoice (or despair) for your Christmas list just got one item longer. The latest edition in the series of Tolkien's published posthumous works, The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun, was published early-November, and it's just as beautiful as all that have come bef...

9/10

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The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library Series)

For whatever reason, I was completely taken aback by the arrival of Genevieve Cogman’s The Burning Page on my doorstep last week, but there it lay, and I couldn’t have been happier. Genevieve Cogman quickly became one of my favourite authors when I read her first book, The Invisible Library: Write a story about a se...

9/10

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The Guns of Empire by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns)

It is important to realise that no one has ever consumed any media in a vacuum. Whether it be TV, a movie, opera, or book, no one has ever consumed it separated from their own history, personality, likes and dislikes, fears, and psychological-makeup. Some people proclaim that they are able to do so, but they are lying to themselves – they ...

9/10

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Tyrant's Throne by Sebastien de Castell (The Greatcoats)

Never has a book made me so apoplectically angry as Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell, the fourth (and surprisingly final – I really need to start paying attention to these things) of The Greatcoats Quartet (see, it’s right in the name). It’s my own fault, of course, for reading any book while I&rs...

9/10

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Salvation Lost by Peter F Hamilton (The Salvation Sequence)

Back in 2018 I broke the unwritten rules of Fantasy Book Review and submitted a review for a science fiction book – which, of course, is not actually breaking the rules at all. I love reading science fiction, but I normally reserve science fiction for myself, rather than needing to read with a mind to review. But there are some authors who...

9/10

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The Ankh-Morpork Archives: Volume One by Terry Pratchett (Discworld Anthology)

When the award winning and knighted fantasy author and satirist Sir Terry Pratchett passed away in 2015, the world lost a literary giant. Even though we knew, intellectually, that his early-onset Alzheimer’s disease was catching up on him, his death was a shock.Acknowledging that his death had a much greater personal impact on his f...

9/10

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Fallen by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

I’ve made no secret of my love for Benedict Jacka, nor for urban fantasy set in London. It might be a very particular genre, maybe overly specific, but in my experience it is one of the most enjoyable genres to read. And yet, I missed the publication of Fallen, the tenth book in Jacka’s ‘Alex Verus’ urban fantasy series, ...

9/10

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The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library Series)

As Genevieve Cogman wrote in the introductory Acknowledgements for The Secret Chapter, “There had to be a heist at some point in the story, didn’t there?” After all the detective genre, spy, and theft books, it was inevitable that Cogman’s brilliant ‘The Invisible Library’ series would go on an ‘Ocean&rs...

9/10

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The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library Series)

As a reader I am often subject to the whims of life, work, and my own current interests. As a fantasy book reviewer, this can become difficult, because books can pile up while work or other projects take all my time, or when my health or interests mean I’m watching more TV or playing video games. Subsequently, in 2020 I was for...

9/10

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Windhaven by George RR Martin

Maris wants more than anything to be a flyer after seeing them as a child. Her harsh days spent foraging for clams with her mother were eased if only a little by watching them on the beach. Maris even befriended one, but she found early on that she would never be a flyer as only the firstborn child is allowed to inherit the metal wings as their ...

9/10

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Ravensoul by James Barclay (Legends of the Raven)

When James Barclay told me that he was working on a seventh Raven book, I was ecstatic. Life had another marker for me to plan towards, just like the days when I had Lord of the Rings movies and DVD's to divide my year into irregular thirds. But I knew that it was going to be a farewell book; a completion to one of the most action packed, we...

9/10

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Jingo by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

I’ve made it clear that the earlier Discworld books by Terry Pratchett aren’t as good as the latter. But when does “early” become “latter”? It happens with book number twenty, Hogfather, and continues into the twenty first novel, and the fourth City Watch story, Jingo.This is easily one of the better bo...

9/10

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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

My Brandon Sanderson-athon has been continuing, and I’ve been enjoying myself immensely. While I was a third of the way through rereading ‘the Way of Kings’ I decided I would start ‘Elantris’ (mainly so I could read the soon-to-be-read-and-reviewed ‘The Emperor’s Soul’). It’s taken me two fal...

9/10

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

I have found myself in a bit of a Brandon Sanderson mood, of late, thanks mostly to my lacklustre feelings surrounding ‘Steelheart’, and while I have pulled ‘Way of the Kings’ off the shelf to re-read, I also remembered that ‘Warbreaker’ had a bookmark left in the first 150 pages that I hadn’t returned t...

9/10

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Blackveil by Kristen Britain (Green Rider series)

When Steven Erikson and Robert Jordan started writing their epic series’, I knew what I was in for; an epic series. When I read Kristen Britain’s first book – The Green Rider – I assumed I was in for a series that lasted four books at the most.Imagine my great delight and surprise that, upon reaching the conclusion...

9/10

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The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett (Long Earth)

As I read this collaboration between Pratchett and Baxter I found myself drawing comparison with the marvellous “Eon” by Greg Bear and anything written by S M Stirling. Both of these authors produced excellent novels, the former dealing with the now-fairly-common theme of multiple human worlds/time threads being on a linear “co...

9/10

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Blood and Bone by Ian C Esslemont (A Novel of the Malazan Empire)

In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted another expedition in a bid to tame the neighbouring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit-realm and half of the ear...

9/10

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The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library Series)

I have never before in my life wanted to write in someone else’s created world more than I do now that I have read Genevieve Cogman’s ‘The Invisible Library’.And, as a writer, that is essentially the highest praise I can think of giving a piece of fiction.When I first read the blurb for The Invisible Library...

9/10

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The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (The Night Angel Trilogy)

I Twittered the other day (follow me at Twitter.com/JoshSHill/) that I had just realized people don’t actually want good writing, they just want to be entertained. This might seem like a realization I should have made earlier, but there it is. And while some may think that that is obvious, I thin...

9/10

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The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone)

I like getting to a third book and knowing that it isn't the last book in a series. Even if it's the second last book, I'm ok, because it means a deviation from the standard as well as there is more story to come. Such was the case when I got stuck into Greg Keyes' third book in his 'The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone' series...

9/10

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The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain (Green Rider series)

The third book in Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series is even thicker than the previous book, which was even thicker than the first. Honestly? I love it. There’s nothing quite like holding a thick book in your hand and knowing that, even if you’re halfway through, you’ve still got ages of good story to go.And good...

9/10

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Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London series)

There is something eminently satisfying about coming across a new author and finding that he is utterly brilliant. That is exactly what happened when I received Ben Aaronovitch’s book ‘Rivers of London’ the other day. I had been looking for books that were similar to Kate Griffin’s series of books focusing on Matthew Swif...

9/10

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Shadowmarch by Tad Williams (Shadowmarch Quartet)

This is the first of 4 books in the Shadowmarch Trilogy (The 3rd book was split into 2). Like all Tad Williams books, this is multi-thread as well as character. In this world, the northern continent seems almost medieval in context, whilst the southern continent, is more like the Persian Empire. With both stories there are similarities such as t...

9/10

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Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London series)

It has been brought to my attention that when it comes to reviewing books, I may be a little lenient when it comes to scoring. This comes down to the fact that I sort of have a different scoring system for certain authors; which is to say, if a book gets anything above 9.5, then it’s being ranked in another league.That being said, I...

9/10

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The Dragon Arcana by Pierre Pevel (The Cardinal’s Blades #1)

“Give me a world where dragons and magic are real but everything else is historically accurate with France of the mid-17th century, and I’ll be hooked on the premise alone.”I wrote that almost a year ago when reviewing Pierre Pevel’s second book translated into English, ‘The Alchemist in the Shadows’, a...

9/10

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Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”– Obi Wan Kanobi, Star WarsThere is a growing focus on gritty, dirty, realistic tales. Les Miserables was an almost too realistic view of revolutionary France, with all of the dirt, grime, sores, blood, and sweat associated with a poor underclass soci...

9/10

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The Thousand Names by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns)

I’ve been finding it difficult to start this review. All of the various combinations of opening paragraphs don’t seem to work - leaving me wishing I could better express my thoughts. I wanted to start with mentioning how it had taken me a long time to finally read a Django Wexler book. Then I wanted to make reference to the character...

9/10

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The High Lord by Trudi Canavan (The Black Magician Trilogy)

Book three of The Black Magician Trilogy: The High Lord, is an excellent read, arguably the best of the trilogy.This highly rewarding book draws all of the storylines together, smoothly. This is some achievement, considering that there are so many sub-storylines, and that the intensity and lively pace remain.You are reminded of jus...

9/10

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Hinterland by James Clemens (Godslayer)

Authors have to tread a very fine line between “great storytelling” and “contrived storytelling.” It’s a difficult line to walk, because you usually have a small set of characters to whom everything happens. It’s like watching an episode of 24; sometimes you’ll get a well written episode which works, and...

9/10

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Legion by Brandon Sanderson (Legion series)

Stephen Leeds, AKA "Legion," is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his "aspects" are drawn into the search for the missing Baluba...

9/10

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Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (The Powder Mage Trilogy)

The alchemy of gunpowder fused with the magic of sorcery. In a time of upheaval, resurgence and corrupted Royalty Privileged, one-man’s love for his lost wife and his country burns and fuels a new order where all can be treated equally.Sometimes to build new you must burn the old.Legends long hidden may rue the day when Old G...

9/10

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Deadhouse Landing by Ian C Esslemont (Path to Ascendancy)

While J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and his wider ‘Silmarillion’ remains the most impactful and influential fantasy work ever written, I think it is not that difficult to argue that the combined efforts of Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont will be marked as the most important contribution to fantasy literatu...

9/10

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The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (The First Law)

I was up until half five yesterday morning reading intensely to finish off this story. I didn’t write the review then as it would have been a tired, mumbled mess with little to no eloquence and it wouldn’t have included any cool sounding words. Let’s see how I get on now after a good night's sleep…Prior to rea...

9/10

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Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

For a long time, Terry Pratchett focused very intently on several groups of characters. He would often return to Sam Vimes, the Witches, Death or Rincewind. However over the past several years he has invested time in planting new characters into his Discworld, and one of the greatest inclusions – without a doubt – has been Moist von ...

9/10

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Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb (The Rain Wild Chronicles)

I have found it very sensible to always listen when my editors speak. In a past review I happened to mention my souring love for Robin Hobb, which subsequently cued the recommendation-instincts of my editor here at FBR, Lee, who mentioned in an email that I should give Robin Hobb another shot; like a lover once spurned given a second chance at r...

9/10

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Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E Feist (The Empire Series)

At age 17, Mara's ceremonial pledge of servantship to the goddess Lashima is interrupted by the news that her father and brother have been killed in battle on Trigia, the world through the rift. Now Ruling Lady of the Acoma, Mara finds that not only are her family's ancient enemies, the Minwanabi, responsible for the deaths of her lo...

9/10

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The Briar King by Greg Keyes (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone)

For me, the arrival of Christmas and the Hill family Kris Kringle often means that I’ll walk away with a lovely Borders gift voucher (thanks Amy!!! ). This year was no different, and I had a lot of fun one night doing some searching for new books I would like to start in on and one day at Borders spent finding those books I’d written...

9/10

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The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert von Stein Redick (The Chathrand Voyage)

What do you get when one of the fantasy genres literary mainstays over the past three decades recommends a book and suggests that he hasn’t read anything so “enthralling” since “when [he] first read Phillip Pullman”?You get the Red Wolf Conspiracy, which is pretty much like Phillip Pullman’s ‘His ...

9/10

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The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn)

What happens when the story you thought would take three books to finish, finishes before you even reach the second book. It’s a nice surprise, and where I found myself when I jumped hurriedly in to Brandon Sanderson’s second of his Mistborn trilogy, The Well of Ascension.And the story of book two is simple; what happens after...

9/10

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Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L Howard (Johannes Cabal)

After having read Jonathan L. Howard’s first ‘Johannes Cabal’ book, concisely titled ‘Necromancer’, I was hooked, and wanted more. Thankfully, I have come along at just the right time to be able to jump straight into the sequel, ‘Johannes Cabal the Detective’ which is as good a book, if not better, than ...

9/10

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Orb Sceptre Throne by Ian C Esslemont (A Novel of the Malazan Empire)

The tumult of great powers colliding has passed and the city of Darujhistan and its citizens can at last get on with what matters: trading, bickering, politicking and enjoying all the good things in life. However, not all are ready to leave the past behind. A treasure hunter, digging amongst the burial grounds that surround the city, is about to...

9/10

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Vision of the Future by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars: Hand of Thrawn)

Set: 19 ABYThe Empire's master plan is under way. The New Republic is on the verge of civil war and the rumor that the legendary Admiral Thrawn has returned from the dead is rallying the Imperial forces. Now, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and their allies face the challenge of their lives. They must infiltrate a hidden fort...

9/10

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Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars: Hand of Thrawn)

Set: 19 ABYThe Empire stands at the brink of total collapse. But they have saved their most heinous plan for last. First a plot is hatched that could destroy the New Republic in a bloodbath of genocide and civil war. Then comes the shocking news that Grand Admiral Thrawn—the most cunning and ruthless warlord in history—has app...

9/10

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Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy)

There is one thing that every reader should hope for when reading a new authors’ work, and that is continued growth: growth in the authors’ ability to tell a story, growth in the stories themselves, and technical growth. In time, books that reviewed middlingly will evolve into books that achieve higher and higher rating.When I...

9/10

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The Gathering of the Lost by Helen Lowe (Wall of Night)

I have found over the years that an author who has a great imagination and story to tell does not necessarily need to be perfectly technically proficient to entertain me. However, an author who is technically proficient but doesn’t have a healthy imagination is always going to leave me disappointed. Long story short, tell me a good story a...

9/10

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Bleak Seasons by Glen Cook (Books of the Glittering Stone)

You may simply have to suck it up and realise that not all books will be written in the same style or with the same flow as the majority. This does not mean they are any less brilliant, it just means you have to stop for a moment and think.With each book of Glen Cook’s The Black Company series this is a mantra I would suggest to any...

9/10

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She is the Darkness by Glen Cook (Books of the Glittering Stone)

The seventh novel in Glen Cook’s Black Company series, ‘She is the Darkness’, picks right up where ‘Bleak Seasons’ left off. If you’re reading it from the omnibus, it’s just a flip of a page, and you can convince yourself you’re reading one big book. That sometimes makes it hard to review, because ...

9/10

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The Minority Council by Kate Griffin (Matthew Swift)

The fourth book in a series is always a little difficult to review. You can't say much you haven't said already, and any praise you heap on the book may end up ignored as repetitive.But the simple fact of the matter is that sometimes an author continues to churn out brilliant novel after novel. Needless to say, this is exactly my ...

9/10

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King's Dragon by Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars)

I started reading fantasy literature just after the release of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films in 2000, and as a result, I have not found there to be a lot of epic fantasy stories completed; books running over the 5 book mark. Recently we’ve seen the completion of Steven Erikson’s ‘The Malazan Book of the Fallen&rsquo...

9/10

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Shadow Gate by Kate Elliott (Crossroads series)

Marit was pretty sure she had been murdered. She vividly recalled the assassin’s dagger, and her dying vision had shown her the next world - but her spirit had not made the journey. She woke alone, sprawled on a Guardian s altar, with more questions than answers. The Guardians once ruled the Hundred, but disappeared in ages past, leaving r...

9/10

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The Rook by Daniel OMalley (The Checquy Files)

There has been a lot of noise around ‘The Rook’ by Daniel O’Malley, and it has sat on my shelf for a little too long before I finally got around to reading it. Award-noise from the Sword and Laser podcast finally pushed me over the edge, and I pulled it from its place on the shelf and ploughed through it in about two days. It t...

9/10

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The Red Knight by Miles Cameron (The Traitor Son Cycle)

I live life surrounded by books, none more so than when I’m in my library (unsurprisingly). Many are books that I have read, some are books that are just waiting for a specific time to be read, and others are books that I may never get around to reading. I was lost for something to read last week, and so I went to that particular shelf &nd...

9/10

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The Crown Tower by Michael J Sullivan (The Ryria Chronicles)

I’m not the greatest at reading books if they are not recently published. Oftentimes they will sit on my shelves for years at a time, before I finally get to them – regardless of whether I’ve read the author before or not.Towards the end of 2013 I ploughed through all three of Michael J Sullivan’s ‘The Riyria...

9/10

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The Twilight Herald by Tom Lloyd (The Twilight Reign)

It’s been over four years since I last read a book by Tom Lloyd, four of six ‘The Twilight Reign’ books sitting on my shelf for years, untouched, but ever calling me to read them. Finally, despite a seemingly impressive backlog of new books I should be reading, I turned to my shelves and picked up ‘The Twilight Herald&rsq...

9/10

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Water Sleeps by Glen Cook (Books of the Glittering Stone)

Glen Cook’s “The Black Company” series has been oft-heralded as a landmark in fantasy writing, thanks primarily for its turn towards gritty realism and ground-level storytelling. In many ways, ‘Water Sleeps’, the eighth novel in the series, is the book that most captures this idea.Narrated by Sleepy, the book...

9/10

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The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J Sullivan (The Ryria Chronicles)

When just one sequel isn’t enough, some people get worried. Just look what happened to Star Wars – and any other number of TV, movie, and written properties out there. But put a prequel story that deserves to be told into the right hands, and you have an absolute winner.‘The Rose and the Thorn’ by Michael J Sulliva...

9/10

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The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library Series)

I have not been exposed to a great deal of alternative-Earth fantasy, nor a lot of steampunk fantasy, but ever since I read Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library I’ve been hankering for more of the same.Which meant that when the sequel, The Masked City, rocked up on my doorstep earlier this month, it went straight to the to...

9/10

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The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn)

Suffice it to say, I forgot that The Bands of Mourning was actually the second book in a trilogy, and not the third. Despite appearances, The Alloy of Law is actually a standalone novel, followed by a trilogy, and so I was quietly surprised when I turned the page to the Postscript in The Bands of Mourning and found myself reading of not only a t...

9/10

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Kellanved's Reach by Ian C Esslemont (Path to Ascendancy)

Anyone who pays attention to the Fantasy Book Review Twitter account (@FanBooRev) in early January might have seen a burgeoning contest to see who would write the first review for the much-anticipated Kellanved’s Reach by one of our favourites, Ian C. Esslemont.I h...

9/10

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The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan (The Black Magician Trilogy)

This stand-alone book is linked to - and precedes - The Black Magician Trilogy but was actually published a significant time after it. Seemingly more confidently written than the trilogy, it has a stronger adventure element, and arguably the most lively and adult-themed interplay between characters.Although the book was imaginative, enter...

8/10

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The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone)

Finding myself into book three of a series that I've failed to review book two is always a bit mysterious. Normally I'm really good at remembering, but somehow I just forgot with Greg Keyes second book in his The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series.But don't let that be a comment on my enjoyment of The Charnel Prince, for the bo...

8/10

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Green Rider by Kristen Britain (Green Rider series)

You're taught very early on that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Sometimes though, it totally works for you, as happened for me when I saw the cover to Kristen Britain's 'Green Rider.'My girlfriend decided to send me into this book with some preconceptions of her own, but I've never been duly affected by o...

8/10

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First Rider’s Call by Kristen Britain (Green Rider series)

When a fantasy author wants to step out of the boundaries of the stereotypical, they have a hard path ahead of them. Fantasy readers want something very specific with their reading, usually, and if you try to mess with that formula, then you’re in for some heat. This will sometimes lead to authors purposefully or unsuspectingly mimicking t...

8/10

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The Alchemist in the Shadows by Pierre Pevel (The Cardinal’s Blades #1)

Give me a world where dragons and magic are real but everything else is historically accurate with France of the mid-17th century, and I’ll be hooked on the premise alone. Combine that with fascinating characters and a story that really does keep you turning the pages well into the early hours of the morning, and you’ll leave me a ha...

8/10

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Isolation by Dan Wells (Partials Sequence)

Two decades before the events of Partials, the world was locked in a different battle for survival: a global war for the last remaining oil reserves on the planet. It was for the Isolation War that the American government contracted the ParaGen Corporation to manufacture the Partials—our last hope in reclaiming energy independence from Chi...

8/10

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The Raven's Shadow by Elspeth Cooper (The Wild Hunt)

Three moons are rising. They are rising over the snowy Archen Mountains, where Teia struggles through the high passes to carry her warning to the Empire: the Nimrothi war band is poised to invade and at their head stands Ytha. She means to release the Wild Hunt - and with it Maegern the Raven, the Keeper of the Dead. In the desert of Gimrael, th...

8/10

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The Children Of Hurin by JRR Tolkien

When you begin reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s work many start with The Hobbit and then move on to The Lord of the Rings. That is often the extent to many people’s Tolkien-intake – and it’s certainly the easiest route to take, for if you take even a one step more,Now far ahead the Road has g...

8/10

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (The Gentleman Bastard Sequence)

When an author decides to interweave multiple stories together into a larger story, a lot of talent is needed to back up such an ambition. Some authors pull it off with an ease that leaves you breathless, and staggered at how – several books later – everything is tied up neatly. Other authors leave you giddy with confusion.Ame...

8/10

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The Rogue by Trudi Canavan (The Traitor Spy Trilogy)

When an author allows themselves to spend time in a universe across time I’m rather happy. By this I mean when an author publishes books from the same universe, but not necessarily the same time; allowing themselves to tell a larger-form story over a period of decades or centuries.I’ve found myself lucky in regards to reading ...

8/10

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Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Trilogy)

Little did I know when I first picked up a copy of Veronica Roth's Divergent that it was quickly becoming a sensation of its own. Not quite of the scope of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, but some sizable movement. More surprising was that Divergent is Roth's first book, which she wrote instead of doing ...

8/10

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Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky (Low Town)

Welcome to Low Town. Here, the criminal is king. The streets are filled with the screeching of fish hags, the cries of swindled merchants, the inviting murmurs of working girls. Here, people can disappear, and the lacklustre efforts of the guard ensure they are never found. Warden is an ex-soldier who has seen the worst men have to offer; now a ...

8/10

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Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson (The Kharkanas Trilogy)

It is the Age of Darkness and the realm called Kuruld Galain - home of the Tiste Andii and ruled over by Mother Dark from her citadel in Kharkanas - is in a perilous state. For the commoners' great warrior hero, Vatha Urusander, is being championed by his followers to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage but her Consort, Lord Draconus, st...

8/10

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Beyond the Mists of Katura by James Barclay (Elves Trilogy)

This review deserves some context. It requires you to realise that for the past few months Tor.com has been releasing excerpts from the soon-to-be-released ‘Words of Radiance’ by Brandon Sanderson, the sequel to his massively popular ‘The Way of Kings’. I have received my copy already, and have had the opportunity to read...

8/10

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The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe (Wall of Night)

How many times have you heard the phrase “never judge a book by its cover”? It's a fair question, but I think that sometimes, as readers, we need to go further and never judge a book by its premise. I'm beginning to find that just because a book has what appears to be a stereotypical premise does not necessarily mean that the...

8/10

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Red Glove by Holly Black (Curse Workers)

I don’t like lazy writing. I don’t like convinced convenience. In the end, if you can’t make me understand why something is happening using formulae from the world I live in, then you’ve screwed up. Using magic or blaming something on the juvenility of teenagers does not cut it.That’s why, at the end of the d...

8/10

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The Novice by Trudi Canavan (The Black Magician Trilogy)

Book 2 of The Black Magicians Trilogy continues the light reading style from Book 1. It is written at a fast pace, and oozes intensity. The storyline is extremely enjoyable, with a good amount of progression, intrigue and mystery. It is perhaps the least ambitious of the trilogy, but the flow is probably the best. Book 3 is the brilliant reward ...

8/10

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The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan (The Black Magician Trilogy)

The Magician’s Guild is a fantastic first book to begin The Black Magician Trilogy. I found it to be simply written, yet original, unpredictable, fast-paced and throbbing with intensity.It was easy to be transported into the world described, and quite often I felt present on the journey with the likeable lead character. I did, howev...

8/10

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The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts (The Wars of Light and Shadow)

With a style that mimics Tolkien in its scope and detail, but with its own air of mysticism and depth, Curse of the Mistwraith is Janny Wurts entry into the Wars of Light and Shadow.Probably best known for her random collaboration with Raymond E. Feist, Wurts began introducing readers to the Wars of Light and Shadow in 1993. Since then an...

8/10

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (The Gentleman Bastard Sequence)

Let’s just get this out of the way straight off the proverbial bat; I am a sucker for a good thief story. It’s why I like the Oceans movies so much, and why I loved Scott Lynch’s first entry in his ‘the Gentleman Bastard’ series. Lynch returned after ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ with ‘Red Seas Under ...

8/10

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Onslaught: Dark Tide I by Michael A Stackpole (Star Wars: New Jedi Order)

Set: 25 ABYIt is a perilous time for the New Republic. Just when unity is needed most, mistrust is on the rise. Even the Jedi feel the strain, as rogue elements rebel against Luke Skywalker's leadership. When alien invaders known as the Yuuzhan Vong strike without warning, the New Republic is thrown on the defensive.Luke must w...

8/10

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Rogue Squadron by Michael A Stackpole (Star Wars: X-Wing)

Set: 6.5 ABYThey are sleek, swift, and deadly. They are the X-wing fighters. And as the struggle rages across the vastness of space, the fearless men and women who pilot them risk both their lives and their machines. Their mission: to defend the Rebel Alliance against a still-powerful and battle-hardened Imperial foe in a last-ditch effor...

8/10

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Fool’s Bargain by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars: Survivor�s Quest)

Set: 22 ABYOnce infamously known as “Vader’s Fist,” the legendary 501st are the best men for the dangerous objective at hand—capturing the Warlord alive. It’s a risky mission that might be jeopardized when Imperial unit commander Twister and his comrades, Shadow, Cloud, and Watchman, are waylaid by a band of ...

8/10

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Triple Zero by Karen Traviss (Star Wars: Republic Commando)

...

8/10

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Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper (The Wild Hunt)

I love it when authors get better. It makes it all worthwhile!Elspeth Cooper is an author I have befriended over Twitter, beyond just the “OMGOSH! I love you!!!” tweets. We've actually had interesting conversations, albeit limited to 140 characters. Seeing her skills grow, her storytelling abilities sharpen, is a real plea...

8/10

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Reamde by Neal Stephenson

I was 30 pages into Neal Stephenson’s Fall, or Dodge in Hell when I came across the word “T’rain” and I remembered that a) this book was a sequel from Stephenson’s 2011 Reamde and b) I had never finished reading Reamde. In fact, a bookmark had been sitting close to halfway through the mamm...

8/10

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Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War by Christie Golden (World of Warcraft)

I am in almost every regard your stereotypical nerd, not the least because I’m about to review a fantasy book based in the world of a video game. I should remind people that I am actually a rather larger proponent of franchise fiction these days, as it has gained a larger mindshare than ever before and, therefore, a greater level of qualit...

8/10

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Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough (A Fallen Blade Novel)

Reviewing books can, at times, be quite difficult. There are the bad books and authors you have to wade through – which is an obvious difficulty. But more troublesome to me is the need to differentiate between “one-of-a-kind” authors and “great” authors. Not everyone gets to be a “one-of-a-kind” author, ...

8/10

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Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: J.R.R. Tolkien by Colin Duriez

Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: J.R.R. Tolkien is the authoritative collection of facts about the man behind Middle-earth, and his remarkably detailed imaginative world of Hobbits and Elves.Though undoubtedly an academic, there was much more to J.R.R. Tolkien. He was ‘kidnapped’ as a baby in South Africa, orphaned, and ment...

8/10

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A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence)

I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks now, which means I will invariably resort to reading more and more in a vain attempt to find some escape from being sick – it might not be hot chicken noodle soup, but it works pretty well for me. I will therefore normally find myself scouring Amazon’s Kindle store for some fantasy books tha...

8/10

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The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in a new YA gearpunk trilogy which is all about drawing the best chalk monsters and using them to battle against other chalk monsters that have either been drawn by other people or that have come into being naturally. I really enjoyed this book, as I do with every Sanderson book, but I don...

8/10

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Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell (The Greatcoats)

When I read Sebastien de Castell’s debut novel Traitor’s Blade last year, I knew immediately that this was an author I wanted to keep an eye out for. Subsequently, when the sequel was released, I was eager to get my hands on it as soon as humanly possible.Thankfully, Knight’s Shadow rocked up this week, and two days late...

8/10

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Scion)

I was late to Harry Potter, never understood the charm of Twilight, and only got to The Hunger Games after all three had been published and optioned. I’ve never been around for the beginning of a popular success, but I think maybe that is about to change, with Samantha Shannon’s ‘The Bone Season’.People are describ...

8/10

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The Hunt for Pierre Jnr by David M Henley

I have made it an unwritten rule of my reviewing work that I don’t guarantee a review to books I am sent unsolicited. There are enough books out there that I have requested without also committing to reviewing every other book that is sent to me in the hopes that I might read it. I have found that, sometimes, I overlook very enjoyable book...

8/10

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Diablo III: Book of Cain by Deckard Cain

For those of you who haven’t been around FBR long enough to know, I’m a big fan of Blizzard Entertainment’s games; Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo (also The Lost Vikings, but most of you are going to be too young to remember that). I also really like good franchise work, and that’s what Diablo III: Book of Cain is; really...

8/10

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Heir of Novron by Michael J Sullivan (The Riyria Revelations)

There is a point in each year when I like to just plough through a handful of books that are quick, basic, but beautifully written and astonishingly fun to read. A week or so ago I started Michael J Sullivan’s ‘The Riyria Revelations’ series, and tonight I finished ‘Heir of Novron’, the final book containing the fin...

8/10

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Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell (The Greatcoats)

After finishing a book like Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Words of Radiance’, it seems sort of unfair to start reading anything else straight away. The comparisons are going to be hard to avoid, and it’s hard to imagine that anything will be as good as what you’ve just read. Even as a reviewer with over 250 reviews under my ...

8/10

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The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan (The Powder Mage Trilogy)

The Crimson Campaign is the second in the Powder Mage Trilogy and much like The Promise of Blood, it is simply fantastic. Gods, overt and introvert, magic, a struggle for survival and desire for revenge, bundled up across three main story arcs.In the first, Tamas struggles to survive after a massive defeat at the hands of the Kez, trapped...

8/10

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Fall or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “underwhelm” as “Fail to impress or make a positive impact on (someone)” and “disappoint”. The opposite of that, then, would seem to be ‘succeed in making a positive impact’ but, like much in the English language, the obvious is not a...

8/10

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The Ice Dragon by George RR Martin

I actually really like George R. R. Martin’s work, and have for a long time. I, however, have some very serious issues with anticipation and waiting, so I’ll often just ignore stuff he writes in the hope that one day I can read it all at once and enjoy it then, without the fear of being left hanging. It’s not a good excuse, but...

8/10

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Broken Blade by Kelly McCullough (A Fallen Blade Novel)

After finishing a book that I loved as much as Django Wexler’s The Shadow Throne, it can be very difficult for me to just jump into whatever is next on the list. For whatever reason, I simply need to read something similarly engaging – and in this case, that meant wonderful writing, great characters, set in a fantasy world.Luc...

8/10

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The Penitent Damned by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns)

In a completely unsurprising turn of events, when I finished Django Wexler’s The Shadow Throne, I was really hoping to be able to read some more by the author. His other main series is for younger readers, but luckily for me, Wexler bears the same love for short stories that I do.Enter The Penitent Damned, a book that takes place be...

8/10

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Bared Blade by Kelly McCullough (A Fallen Blade Novel)

When starting a new book, there is almost no better news than finding out it’s a good book. One piece of news that is better, however, is finding out that there are already sequels to read. Such was the case after I started reading Broken Blade by Kelly McCullough last week, when I found out that there are already numerous sequels that I&r...

8/10

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Blade Reforged by Kelly McCullough (A Fallen Blade Novel)

It’s been a fortnight since I discovered author Kelly McCullough’s A Fallen Blade series, and having just finished book four, I can safely say that I’m still utterly grateful to have found these books. The opportunity to lose yourself in a pre-made world with more than one title available is a real selling point, to be honest, ...

8/10

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Darkened Blade by Kelly McCullough (A Fallen Blade Novel)

And here ends one of the most impressive and enjoyable recent epic/heroic fantasy series of the recent era. Darkened Blade by Kelly McCullough is the final book in his Fallen Blade series, following the adventures of Aral Kingslayer, and his ever-growing cohort of companions, friends, and enemies.I have loved this series from beginning to...

8/10

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Dancer's Lament by Ian C Esslemont (Path to Ascendancy)

When Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont appeared on my doorstep the other day, it was unfortunate for the other books and activities I had been in the middle of. I had not expected it to arrive so quickly, but when given the opportunity to read about the early days of Dancer and Shadowthrone, I dropped everything and started reading....

8/10

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The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley (Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne)

I have said it time and time again, but I simply love when I get to watch an author improve over time. I have been reviewing fantasy books for over a decade now, and in that time I have read a lot of books – unsurprisingly, a mixed bag of OK, good, and brilliant (I’ve rarely come across something I truly despise). A number o...

8/10

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Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson

Admitting that I am a Brandon Sanderson fan is like an alcoholic admitting he likes a little drink every now and again – we all know it, it’s not news. So I was unsurprisingly stoked when I heard news of Arcanum Unbounded, a collection of Brandon Sanderson’s short Cosmere-related fiction.Having the book in my ha...

8/10

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Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan (Legends of the First Empire)

In reading Michael J. Sullivan’s latest book, Age of Myth, the first book in a new series called The Legends of the First Empire – a series set in the same world as Sullivan’s Riyria series – I learned two lessons:Make sure you always read the words on the page, and not your perceive...

8/10

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Princess of Blood by Tom Lloyd (The God Fragments)

One of my favourite discoveries of this year was Tom Lloyd’s Stranger of Tempest which was published earlier last year. I’m a sucker for a good new fantasy series that has the ability to immediately drag me into a rollicking good time. I will...

8/10

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Age of Swords by Michael J Sullivan (Legends of the First Empire)

I think it is probably safe to say at this point that Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favourite authors. While spots at the top of my ‘list’ are hard to secure, Sullivan’s ability to craft an engaging and captivating fantasy world surpasses most any other fantasy author out there, and puts him alongside names like Sanderson an...

8/10

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The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library Series)

Though my preference is for lengthy books, no matter the genre, whenever a book by Genevieve Cogman arrives on my doorstep I am tremendously happy. Her Invisible Library series are all quick reads, which might suggest that the books are therefore perfunctory and brief, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.The fourth ...

8/10

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The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter by Michael J Sullivan (The Ryria Chronicles)

Michael J Sullivan is, simply put, one of the best writers writing today. But his story is unlike so many others (and again, so very similar).Sullivan wrote for years but got nowhere with agents. He then wrote six stories and self-published them. They were then picked up by a publisher and published as three books (each with two stories e...

8/10

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The Infernal Battalion by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns)

And so comes to an end a series that will go down as a trend-setting fantasy book of the 21st century. Django Wexler’s ‘Shadow Campaigns’ series has been a truly wonderful experience, going all the way back to The Thousand Names which was published in 2013. Since then, we have journeyed with Raesinia Orboan, Marcus D’Ivoi...

8/10

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Salvation by Peter F Hamilton (The Salvation Sequence)

I don’t normally review science fiction books for the simple reason that I prefer to keep my sci-fi reading for myself, rather than having to read with a frame of mind to later review. However, sometimes I make an exception, and for one of the planet’s premiere sci-fi writers, Peter F Hamilton, it was a no brainer.Hamilton&rsq...

8/10

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War Cry by Brian McClellan

There is something tremendously enjoyable about short stories and novellas. They give you a chance to jump in, feet first, right into the deep end, of a world familiar or new, meet new people, and then jump right out again. For many, this is a problem – they would rather a 17-book series with 12 more to follow. There isn’t a problem ...

8/10

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Age of Legend by Michael J Sullivan (Legends of the First Empire)

As Michael J Sullivan continues to make his way through his increasingly expansive prequel series to the much loved Riyria Revelations and the Riyria Chronicles, we as readers are invited inside the evolution of a story alongside the author as he discovers the many trails and hidden stops along the journey.Originally int...

8/10

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The Immortal Prince by Jennifer Fallon

When Harper Collins sent me Australian author Jennifer Fallon's most recent book, the conclusion to her 'The Tide Lords' series, The Chaos Crystal, I was pleasantly surprised by my interest. I requested the previous three books, and have just completed the first book, The Immortal Prince.It isn't often that you get an auth...

8/10

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Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

In the third instalment of Terry Pratchett’s City Watch storyline, and the nineteenth novel overall in his Discworld universe, Pratchett introduces yet more ethnic groups into the City Watch and provides us with the most unlikely of replacements for Ankh-Morpork’s Patrician.One of the continuing plotlines for Ankh-Mopork is th...

8/10

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The Painted Man by Peter V Brett (The Demon Cycle)

There isn’t anything quite as lovely as a fresh idea. Whether we’re talking about a new way to cook pork or a book, it’s the same; a new idea is everything. But you don’t always come across new ideas, especially when we’re talking about fantasy novels. One need only look at the ruckus caused by authors like Terry Br...

8/10

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Night of Knives by Ian C Esslemont (A Novel of the Malazan Empire)

Well... I'd claim to be a prolific fantasy book reader... yet I am one who, for some reason, has never read Steven Erikson. In my defence I do have the series on a shelf but just never quite got round to reading them.So... a reviewer who has not read anything of the Mazalan Empire starting with Canadian author, Ian C Esselemont. Given...

8/10

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Hard Contact by Karen Traviss (Star Wars: Republic Commando)

Set: 22 BBYAs the Clone Wars rage, victory or defeat lies in the hands of elite squads that take on the toughest assignments in the galaxy—stone-cold soldiers who go where no one else would, to do what no one else could….On a mission to sabotage a nanovirus research facility on a Separatist-held planet, four clone troo...

8/10

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True Colours by Karen Traviss (Star Wars: Republic Commando)

Set: 21 BBYAs the savage Clone Wars rage unchecked, the Republic's deadliest warriors face the grim truth that the Separatists aren't their only enemy—or even their worst.In the Grand Army's desperate fight to crush the Separatists, the secret special ops missions of its elite clone warriors have never been more c...

8/10

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Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L Howard (Johannes Cabal)

I really like anti-heroes. I don’t mean those grey characters you create in your pen and paper role playing games at home which are really just antagonistic good guys. I mean the guys out there doing the really bad stuff, but not because they’re trying to rid the world of humanity, but because they’ve got a girl they want to sa...

8/10

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Cursed by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

There is not a lot that I can say ‘generally’ about Benedict Jacka’s series of Alex Verus novels, so I will copy and paste a section from my previous review for ‘Fated’, before moving to some specifics to do with ‘Cursed’ (if for no other reason than I really liked my review of Fated).It’s p...

8/10

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Taken by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

A convenient twist of review-deliveries, recently finished books, and a desire to hold off finishing an advanced copy of a book I won’t name yet, left me picking up the recently arrived ‘Taken’ by Benedict Jacka, the third book in the author’s Alex Verus novels. The fourth comes out later this year, and I will soon have a...

8/10

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Willful Child by Steven Erikson

I love Star Trek. I probably love Star Trek more than you do. I don’t, however, love Star Trek more than Steven Erikson does, as is proved by reading Steven Erikson’s latest book, ‘Willful Child’.Willful Child is the Star Trek-spoof every self-professed Star Trek fan wishes they could have written. It is a blatant ...

8/10

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Sasha by Joel Shepherd (A Trial of Blood and Steel)

Every now and again I am surprised by a book that turns out to be entirely genuine and entertaining. Many books come to me with the foreknowledge that they are such, and many more simply fail to live up to hype. So when I picked up Sasha by Joel Shepherd at my Borders the other week, I hoped that the blurb would come through as being at least so...

8/10

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The Riddle by Alison Croggon (The Books of Pellinor)

As happens from time to time, I have recently found myself ignoring the copious amount of fantasy books on my shelf. Sometimes it all just gets too much, and I have to revert to my Star Wars novels. However at the completion of Darksaber, I decided to make myself a pile of books that I was to read. On top, was Alison Croggon's The Riddle....

8/10

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Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

It’s no secret that Terry Pratchett is probably one of my favourite authors. Ever since dad made me read Mort I’ve read pretty much every book he’s written in the Discworld, and a few others. I quickly found though, as I read on, that one of my favourite character veins was the Night Watch series of books, starting with Guards!...

8/10

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The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan (The Traitor Spy Trilogy)

Continuing a series is always a perilous decision for a writer, as sometimes they can simply push the story beyond what was feasible and other times they can create something better. Trudi Canavan has added to her 'Black Magician trilogy' twice now, first with the prequel 'The Magician's Apprentice' and now with the first boo...

8/10

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The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks (The Shannara Trilogy)

One thing that seems to be lacking in fantasy stories these days is a variety of magic within a series. By this I mean that, in most series the type of magic being used will be pretty much the same in each book. Lord of the Rings relied upon Gandalf and his staff, Wheel of Time sees the One Power grow minimally and in Barclay's Raven series ...

8/10

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The Heretic Kings by Paul Kearney (Monarchies of God)

Book two of Paul Kearney's 'The Monarchies of God' series - The Heretic Kings - continues on very much in the same vein as the first book, so I would recommend you start by reading the review for that book first, Hawkwood's Voyage. I loved that book, and book two has a lot of the same about it.That can be both a good and a...

8/10

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Malice by John Gwynne (The Faithful and The Fallen)

"That is my prayer, what use is prayer to a God that has abandoned all things..." - HalvorGwynne's debut is the foundation of what will arguably be a perplexing but ultimately breathtaking fantasy saga. One that is flowing with age-old and perhaps cliched elements preparing for the ultimate battle. Good vs. Evil. It...

8/10

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The King Beyond The Gate by David Gemmell (The Drenai Novels)

David Gemmell is one of those beloved authors whose name has been written in stone as a fantasy author that has to be on a serious fantasy fans shelf. I don't begrudge that at all, because it's mostly true. But it's true in the same way that the Original Series of Star Trek has to be on a Trekkie's shelf, even though it isn't...

8/10

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Fire by Kristin Cashore (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy)

It comes as a real pleasure to be able to recommend a book so highly as Kristin Cashore’s latest book, Fire. A book described as a “prequel-ish companion book” to Cashore’s first book, Graceling, Fire is a beautiful and wonderful story that every fantasy reader should read at least once.Set somewhere around 30 year...

8/10

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The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett (The Demon Cycle)

“There isn’t anything quite as lovely as a fresh idea,” I said when I reviewed Peter V. Brett’s first book, The Painted Man, and I was spot on, which is always nice. Reading a lot of fantasy it is hard to always find a book that comes along with a new idea, something that, even if it’s been done before, is done in a...

8/10

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Fated by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

Hidden in the lanes and byways of Camden London sits a shop, just a little shop, but if you know where to find it and have need of something a little magical, then the Arcana Emporium is the place for you. The owner already knows you are on the way; being able to see into the future helps with that.Alex Verus has hidden from the world for...

8/10

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Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper (The Wild Hunt)

Sadly, there isn’t always a constant stream of books by big name authors to keep you reading day in day out. I used to consider this the downside of reviewing books, but I recently found that I was wrong. My pile of “books that I’ll get to one day” became must reads.‘Songs of the Earth’ by Elspeth Coope...

8/10

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Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott (Crossroads series)

For hundreds of years the Guardians ruled the Hundred, but these unearthly beings have faded from human sight and no longer exert their will on the world. Only the reeves, patrolling from the skies, still represent the Guardians' power. But there is a corruption in the land that not even they can control, and fanatics are devastating village...

8/10

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Hidden by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

Released late 2014, it’s taken me a little bit longer than I would have liked to get to ‘Hidden’ by Benedict Jacka. But prowling around my library the other night, looking for something fun to read, I spied Hidden, living up to its name amidst a pile of ‘to-read’ books. I quickly sped through the last few chapters o...

8/10

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Dream London by Tony Ballantyne

Sometimes a character can be written in such a way that it is inherently good or bad – characters like Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings or Regal from the Farseer trilogy come to mind as effortlessly-read good or bad characters. There is no hemming and hawing over their motivations or personality quirks – they are fully realised,...

8/10

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The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks (The Shannara Trilogy)

Maybe in an attempt to separate his work from comparisons to Lord of the Rings, Terry Brooks took a step I have rarely seen in a fantasy series in his second installment of the Shannara series, by letting time pass. More often than not, when a second book in a fantasy series is released, it is a direct continuation of book one. For Brooks, his s...

7/10

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The Cardinal’s Blades by Pierre Pevel (The Cardinal’s Blades)

Enter into the world of 1633 Paris, where dragons live and want to rule the world. Honestly, it seems to me that this would have been how the real 1633 Paris should have been like, but sadly wishes are not horses.The Cardinal’s Blades, written by Pierre Pevel, is the English translation of the book Les Lames du Cardinal, and is a ro...

7/10

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The Gift by Alison Croggon (The Books of Pellinor)

When my girlfriend informed me that I would be reading Alison Croggon’s ‘The Gift’ and subsequent sequels, and would enjoy it, I found myself under a modicum of pressure. What if I weren’t to like it? What if Croggon has the same writing abilities as a cockroach named Paolini (was that too low?). I was a little worried, a...

7/10

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Stonewielder by Ian C Esslemont (A Novel of the Malazan Empire)

Even after all of this time I still get frustrated and baffled that people don't seem to realise that an author is not beholden to his readers. What frustrates me even more than that is when a reader feels that they can judge the book on a perceived lack of content; unless the book is the finale in a series and the author has died, you have ...

7/10

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Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects by Christie Golden

While I may not play World of Warcraft as much, whenever there is a new book to read, I’m all over it. I really enjoy the additional information and time in the world without the daily grind of playing a computer game. Seeing past the code-generated speech’s programmed into characters and stepping into the way they think and see the ...

7/10

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (A Reckoners Novel)

Is it a bird? Is it a Plane? Is it a 1990’s Rock band? No, its tyrannical super-human dictator, hell bent of crushing the will of the masses! Ridiculous name and all.The best way I can description the world Sanderson is laying out for us is a bastardised smash up of Watchmen and Superman’s DC Universe. This is neither a good o...

7/10

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Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Let me start by making one thing very clear: Joe Abercrombie has a very special gift with words. He is capable of writing beautifully vivid or dangerously horrific scenes with the same quality. I enjoyed ‘The Blade Itself’ well enough, though sadly not enough to continue reading the following two books in the trilogy (“one day&...

7/10

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The Ships of Merior by Janny Wurts (The Wars of Light and Shadow)

One of the greater joys in my life is when I can look on my many bookshelves and see numerous books that I haven't read yet, and that I want to read next. I've got five of Janny Wurts' books sitting on my shelf. I've read two of them, and I'm a third of the way through the third. Sadly, Wurts' books are not an example of ...

7/10

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Ruin: Dark Tide II by Michael A Stackpole (Star Wars: New Jedi Order)

Set: 25 ABYThe alien Yuuzhan Vong have launched an attack on the worlds of the Outer Rim. They are merciless, without regard for life—and they stand utterly outside the Force. Their ever-changing tactics stump the New Republic military. Even the Jedi, once the greatest guardians of peace in the galaxy, are rendered helpless by this ...

7/10

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Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A Stackpole (Star Wars: X-Wing)

Set: 6 ABYIt is the evil heart of a battered and reeling Empire: Coruscant, the giant city-world from whose massive towers the Imperial High Command directs the war. The Rebels will invade this mighty citadel in a daring move to bring the Empire to its knees. But first Wedge Antilles and his X-wing pilots must infiltrate Coruscant to gain...

7/10

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Vector Prime by RA Salvatore (Star Wars: New Jedi Order)

Set: 25 ABYThe Galactic Empire has ended the war with the New Republic, but the galaxy is far from peace. Unrest is spreading everywhere, and threatens to destroy the New Republic's tenuous reign.Into this fragile moment comes Nom Anor, a mysterious and charismatic firebrand who is sowing seeds of mistrust and anger through his...

7/10

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Survivor’s Quest by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars: Survivor's Quest)

Set: 22 ABYAfter fifty years, the remains of Outbound Flight—a pioneering Jedi expedition viciously destroyed by the alien warlord Grand Admiral Thrawn—have been found on the planet Nirauan. The beings who reside there wish to turn over to the New Republic the remnants of the doomed mission. Accepting the gesture will mean a l...

7/10

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The New Rebellion by Katherine Rusch

Set: 17 ABYSomewhere in the galaxy, millions suddenly perish—a disruption of the Force so shocking it is felt by Luke at his Jedi academy and by Leia on Coruscant. While Leia must deal with an assassination attempt, a rumored plot against the New Republic, and allegations that Han Solo is involved, Luke seeks out a former Jedi stude...

7/10

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Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London series)

Ever since I first read a Kate Griffin book I’ve developed a serious love for urban fantasy set in London. I’m sure I could be persuaded to read books set in other locales, but really, London is my favourite. So I’ll pretty much take any chance I can get to head back to a magical London, which was why I was so excited for Ben A...

7/10

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The Emperor’s Might by John Blanche

Forged by forgotten science and driven by their eternal duty, the superhuman Space Marines are mankind’s foremost defence against a dark and brooding universe. Honed by years of the most rigorous training and equipped with the finest weapons and armour, the Adeptus Astartes hold back the darkness, protecting the Imperium from the alien, th...

7/10

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The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb

Returning to the fictional universe of a favoured author is often fraught with disappointment, much like returning to the playing grounds of your childhood: nothing is quite as you thought; nothing is as enjoyable or perfect.A few years ago Robin Hobb released the first in a new series of books that I felt were horrible. I could not even ...

7/10

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Star Trek Enterprise: The Good That Men Do by Michael A Martin and Andy Mangels

Beware – significant spoilers aheadThere is simply no way to review this book – and those coming after – without revealing a major plot point. It isn’t so much a spoiler if you have finished reading ‘Last Full Measure’, but for those who maybe haven’t gotten that far in their own reading, I want t...

7/10

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Star Trek Enterprise: The Last Full Measure by Michael A Martin and Andy Mangels

As a book reviewer you have to be careful about how much you agree to review. Review everything you read and you end up loathing the sheer sight of a book. The trick is in finding the balance between the joy of not having to buy books and the joy of reading. I made the mistake of requesting a Star Trek Enterprise book be sent to me for review, t...

7/10

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Star Trek TOS: Allegiance in Exile by David R George III

I am, if nothing else, a sucker for a good read. My preferably method of absorbing a story is through the written word, preferably on paper – though I’ll survive if it’s on my iPad. Subsequently, though most people’s introduction to the world of Star Trek comes through one of the many TV shows or movies – especially...

7/10

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Star Trek Enterprise: To Brave the Storm by Michael A Martin

Michael A. Martin has been involved in each of the ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ novels set in what is colloquially known as the Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch. I’ve been relatively unimpressed with Martin, as well as his writing partner for most of the novels, Andy Mangels, who have both lacked the grasp on characters and races need...

7/10

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Fade to Black by Francis Knight (Rojan Dizon Novels)

There are times when the way you read a book simply does not truly reflect the quality of the book you are reading. For me, specifically, there are simply times when a certain genre or sub-genre of book is of less interest to me than, for example, consuming an entire season of a TV show – primarily because of the laziness factor.Thi...

7/10

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Rise of Empire by Michael J Sullivan (The Riyria Revelations)

With Christmas behind me and 10 days’ worth of holidays ahead of me, it’s time to plough through as many books as humanly possible. With ‘Theft of Swords’ by Michael J Sullivan finished a week or so ago, I had desperately wanted to dive straight into the second book in the series, ‘Rise of Empire’. Collecting ...

7/10

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The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley (Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne)

Brian Staveley’s debut novel, ‘The Emperor’s Blades’, left me feeling absolutely turned around – at once I was in love with the story and the idea, but I felt that the writing left something to be desired. Nevertheless, I was excited for the release of the sequel, and ‘The Providence of Fire’ finally mad...

7/10

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass)

Throne of Glass is one of those novels where I did the ultimate sin and judged it by its cover… And I'm very glad I did.It is a great fantasy story about the prodigy assassin Celaena Sardothien, who is dragged out of a prison camp to compete to be the champion of the man who put her there (the King of Adarlan) by the Crown Prin...

7/10

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The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan (The Traitor Spy Trilogy)

I’m always a little disappointed when I leave a book sitting on the shelf too long – long enough for the author to release another book. I feel even worse when the book on the shelf is the end of one series, and the beginning of a new series arrives on my doorstep before I find the time to get back to the one on the shelf. S...

7/10

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Mystic by Jason Denzel

Every now and again publishers send me books unlooked-for – TOR do it to me a lot, and I’m falling unhelpfully behind as a result. Because, somehow, each and every blurb on the back of these unlooked-for TOR books seems to have a hook or story idea that completely captures my attention. During the beginning of the year, when new fant...

7/10

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The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron (The Traitor Son Cycle)

When I first read Miles Cameron’s fantasy works, The Red Knight and The Fell Sword, I was immediately enthralled by the world that had been created and the depth to which the author had gone to bring the reader into that world. I was therefore unsurprisingly excited for the release of the third book in the Traitor Son Cycle, which was publ...

7/10

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Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell (The Greatcoats)

In my library I have many shelves, upon which are placed the hundreds of fantasy books that I own. In my library, much pomp and circumstance is given to author’s such as Steven Erikson and Terry Pratchett, Brandon Sanderson and Robin Hobb. This is all as it should be, of course, given the nature of their writing and my love of their storie...

7/10

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Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (A Reckoners Novel)

This year has been absolutely atrocious for me. That might seem an odd way to open a book review, but I believe it somewhat necessary to preface my review with the possibility that the last several months of more-intense-than-usual depression I have been enduring might have negatively affected my enjoyment reading Calamity by Brandon Sa...

7/10

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Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan (Gods of Blood and Powder)

When I first heard that I would be allowed back into the world of Brian McClellan’s guns and sorcery, I was immediately excited. Upon reading the first few chapters, my excitement grew as I realised I was going to be reunited with old friends. Because some of the revelations that graced the pages were unexpected to me, I’m going to ...

7/10

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The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams (A Novel of Osden Ard)

One need only spend a few minutes traversing the massive catalogue of reviews we have here at Fantasy Book Review to realise that there are a lot of fantasy books out there. Similarly, it is not difficult to acknowledge that we only have so much time in our lives for reading – though we each may wish for more. There are a lot of a...

7/10

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Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive)

Reviewing a book like Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, the third book in his The Stormlight Archive, was always going to be tricky. There are very few books that can be claimed to be similar – Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn is the only book on my shelves I can compare it to – and the hype for...

7/10

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Firebrand by Kristen Britain (Green Rider series)

As I mentioned in the review for Mirror Sight, and as long-time Fantasy Book Review readers will know, Kristen Britain’s ‘Green Rider’ series is one of my all-time favourite series. The beautifully-written lead character, Karigan G'ladheon, and the concept of a group of messengers on horses serving their k...

7/10

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The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini (Tales from Alagaësia)

When it comes to any genre of literature there is always a mixture of talents vying for attention. There are those who are peerless, and those who are decidedly not. Realistically, these are rare, as brilliance is often as hard to come by as true literary rubbish. More common are those who occupy the space in between – ranging from mediocr...

7/10

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Rejoice by Steven Erikson

Creators around the world have been expressing their various levels of distaste and concern at the state of the world and its leaders forever. This is especially the case for creators who are able to use fantastical cut-outs for their commentary: Think of ‘Star Trek’, back in the 60s, as a prime example of this, replicated by The...

7/10

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane Illustrated Edition by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Illustrated Edition) by Neil Gaiman and Elise HurstIn 2013 Neil Gaiman released The Ocean at the End of the Lane to much acclaim and critical praise – as is often the way with new Neil Gaiman releases. The blurb to the book begins thus:"A man returns to the ...

7/10

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A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E Feist (Riftwar Saga)

As Prince Arutha and his companions rally their forces for the final battle with an ancient and mysterious evil, the dread necromancer Marcos the Black has once again unleashed his dark sorcerery. Now the fate of two worlds will be decided in a titanic struggle beneath the walls of Sethanon, as the link between Kelewan and Midkemia is revive...

7/10

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The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb (World of Warcraft)

The guardians of Tirisfal are a line of champions gifted with godlike powers, each one through the ages charged with fighting a lonely secret war against the Burning Legion. Medivh was fated to become the greatest and most powerful of this noble order.Licensed properties seem not to concern themselves much with overburdening the reader wi...

7/10

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Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle)

I have not been the greatest proponent of Christopher Paolini’s work. Eragon was filled with such potential and a great story and world that I immediately looked forward to sequels that would see the author grow in his craft. Sadly, for the next two books, Eldest and Brisingr did not live up to that potential. Poor storytelling and a massi...

7/10

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The Day of the Dragon by Richard A Knaak (World of Warcraft)

As an avid World of Warcraft player, this day was inevitable. I do not dislike licensed properties, and one look at my library will convince you of this. A love of sci fi and fantasy has seen my library take shape thanks to large donations to Star Trek, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Naturally, my money would eventually end up lining the pocke...

7/10

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Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden (World of Warcraft)

In the second novelisation for the Warcraft series, bestselling author Christie Golden returns to the world of Azeroth and the raging battle between good and evil. Slave. Gladiator. Shaman. Warchief. The enigmatic Orc known as Thrall has been all of these. Raised from infancy by cruel human masters who sought to mould him into their perfect pawn...

7/10

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The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (The Tearling Trilogy)

I have been reading and reviewing books for nigh on seven years now, and in that time I believe I have noticed a creeping trend migrating from the world of comic books, infiltrating the world of genre literature. No longer is a book written solely for the purpose of entertaining a hoped-for reader, rather, some authors view the book-stage of the...

7/10

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Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London series)

I’m not always in the mood for urban fantasy, which is why sometimes these books stay on the shelf a little longer than I may have intended, or preferred. But nevertheless, I will always return to them, eventually, and begin to merrily delve back into the world of (if I have my preference) magical London. Foxglove Summer by Ben...

7/10

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Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson

Short fiction – be they short stories or their longer cousins, the novella – is an artform that not everyone can master. It requires the ability to tell a self-contained story that feels as if it has been taken straight out of the middle of a book whilst at the same time giving it its own three-act structure – beginning, middle...

7/10

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The Shattering by Christie Golden (World of Warcraft)

I’m going to write this review with the summary first and everything else second. Why? Because my recommending this book to you comes down to one thing; do you play World of Warcraft? If so, then you will want to read this book, and you will probably really enjoy it. If you don’t play World of Warcraft, then you’ll be utterly l...

6/10

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Defenders of Ulthuan by Graham McNeill (Warhammer)

I have often felt the need to make the case for franchise books. I have utter faith in some franchises, and know that almost every book they provide us will be of decent quality. Not only in the world they have to work with – which is normally always rich and vast – but also in the style of writing.Sadly, however, there are th...

6/10

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King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist (The Firemane Saga)

Sometimes, as a reviewer, the job of analysing a book and crafting a review is the simplest job in the world. The author has crafted a beautiful tale and written it wonderfully, fleshed out the characters beyond a two-dimensional stereotype, kept the pace upbeat without being hurried, and told a tale worth telling. Other times, the job is a litt...

6/10

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy)

I haven’t had much experience with “Young Adult Literature,” as I was one of those kids who skipped over that genre because it was for “kids.” However I was recently sent Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and spent two lazy afternoons this past weekend reading what turned out to be a really enjoyable book.The bas...

6/10

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Ambush at Corellia by Roger Macbride Allen (Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy)

Set: 18 ABYA trade summit on Corellia brings Han Solo back to the home world he left many years before. Arriving on the distant planet with Leia, their children and Chewbacca, Han finds Corellia overrun with agents of the New Republic Intelligence and finds himself part of a deceptive plan whose aim not even he understands. One thing is c...

6/10

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The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook by The Shire Collective

In the age of men, one must face myriad challenges: epic quests, imminent danger, the evil gaze of Sauron… okay, so maybe not. But wouldn't life's day-to-day challenges be easier if one were to take a cue from the diminutive hobbit? With The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook as your guide, you'll be ready to brave the difficulties, d...

6/10

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Star Trek Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru by Michael A Martin and Andy Mangels

Beware – significant spoilers aheadThat’s the last time I’ll write a spoiler warning on these Enterprise reviews, as at some point you will have already caught up. However these books – set moments before the Romulan War novels – still rest in that space where a reviewer needs to be careful about what he give...

6/10

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London Falling by Paul Cornell

Paul Cornell is a name known to many thanks to his work in ‘Doctor Who’ fiction and comics writing, having written some of the best British-related DC superheroes in recent history. I loved his run on ‘Knight and Squire’ and much has been said of his ‘Captain Britain and MI: 13’ series. So when I saw he had wr...

6/10

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The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley (Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne)

It has often been said that writers start writing because they think they can do a better job writing than someone else, or that they can make better use of an idea. I have found this to be the case time and time again in my life – it was in fact the reason I started writing at all.And upon finishing ‘The Emperor’s Blade...

6/10

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Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

I have been a fan of Neal Stephenson’s writing for a while now, and at least two of his works can easily be brought to mind when someone asks me for something brilliant. But I have had a horrifying tendency to not finish Stephenson’s more recent, and more mammoth books of late, and when Seveneves finally arrived on my doorstep, I mad...

6/10

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The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan (Draconis Memoria)

Anthony Ryan, the “New York Times bestselling author” of the Raven’s Shadow books, has written a new book to start a brand new series in a very different setting than his previous efforts. Dragons are hunted for their blood, which give one in every thousand amazing powers, and help power the machinery of this ...

6/10

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A Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron (The Traitor Son Cycle)

One of the reasons that we love the fantasy genre so much is that, so often, we aren’t given only one book, but rather one book of three, five, ten, or however many Raymond E. Feist has written. There are any number of standalone novels that do in fact stand on their own (Night Circus, for example) but a lot of the novels...

6/10

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Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain (Green Rider series)

In early 2014 a book by one of my favourite authors rocked up on my doorstep. Four years ago, I was apparently not in the mood to have the rug pulled out from underneath me, because when I began reading Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain and I quickly realised that one of my favourite characters in all of fantasy literature had been summar...

6/10

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Bound by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series)

Urban fantasy is one of those fantasy subgenres which can be a little hit-and-miss for me – not every brand of urban fantasy is up my alley. If it is set in London then I’m pretty much in no matter, but otherwise it’s a bit up in the air whether or not I’ll love it or not. I know what I like and it’s hard to describ...

6/10

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Port of Shadows by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

When it was announced that Glen Cook would be penning his first new The Black Company novel in seventeen years the hype was, understandably, at fever pitch. There are very few authors who have revolutionised a literary genre like Glen Cook did for fantasy fiction. ...

6/10

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Knight of Stars by Tom Lloyd (The God Fragments)

I have had a confusing relationship with British fantasy novelist Tom Lloyd’s ‘The God Fragments’ series. I have loved both Stranger of Tempest and Princess of Blood – the first two books in the series – but have only rated them 7/ and 8/ out of 10 respectively. As I wrote in the introduction to my review...

6/10

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God of Night by Tom Lloyd (The God Fragments)

My confusing relationship with British fantasy novelist Tom Lloyd’s ‘The God Fragments’ series continues with the fourth entry in the series, God of Night. Published late-2020, I finally managed to get around to reading it this year and, while I continue to enjoy the series and the characters, I nevertheless remain unconvinced ...

6/10

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The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (The Shannara Trilogy)

One of the more frustrating assertions to come from the so called “literary critics” are claims that “so and so author” is copying “so and so.” They use this derogatory critique as a way to deprive the author of any originality in their storytelling. And while I can't speak for every book that has received...

6/10

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Warcraft: Of Blood and Honour by Chris Metzen

The Warcraft Archive contains three books and a novella entitled ‘Of Blood and Honour,’ written by Chris Metzen, who has risen to be Vice President of Creative Development at Blizzard Entertainment. Having worked at Blizzard for a long time, Metzen has played a large role in crafting the story of the Warcraft universe, both in-game a...

6/10

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Cowboys and Aliens by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg

With the release of Cowboys and Aliens in cinemas quickly drawing nearer, I was pleased to receive a copy of the new release copy of the Trade Paperback from which the movie is derived. Created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and written and drawn by a veritable host of talent, I’ve been looking forward to the movie since I first saw the trail...

6/10

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The Long War by Terry Pratchett (Long Earth)

The problem with creating a science fiction "opportunity" such as the one The Long Earth presents is that you need a space opera to do it justice. When The Long Earth came out with its Pratchett notion of a potato inspired device (quickly forgotten in this latest because it was a tad too ridiculous) that gave rise to an infinite series...

6/10

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Eona by Alison Goodman

I have recently had an uncanny good run of books to read and review. One of those books included Eon by Alison Goodman, and so it was natural that Eona would be on that same pile of books for me to read and enjoy.Instead of anything cataclysmic happening in my life to make up for the supremely well written books I was reading, life just s...

5/10

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Across the Face of the World by Russell Kirkpatrick

Thus begins yet another “epic” fantasy story, written by Russel Kirkpatrick. I'd been really excited to read this book for a long time, and finally found myself desiring once again to read epic fantasy. So with this on my shelf, there was nothing stopping me. That I've finished it at all, I think, speaks more to my strength o...

5/10

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Assault at Selonia by Roger Macbride Allen (Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy)

Set: 18 ABYImprisoned on the planet Corellia, Han Solo finds himself at the mercy of his evil cousin, Thracken Sal-Solo. Thracken plans to restore the Imperial system and seize total power -- no matter what the cost. Han has one chance to stop him. But to do so he must turn his back on his human cousin and join forces with a female alien....

5/10

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Showdown at Centerpoint by Roger Macbride Allen (Star Wars: The Corellian Trilogy)

Set: 18 ABYWhen a loyalist ship approaching Selonia is blasted out of space, Han Solo quickly realizes that rebel forces are turning planetary repulsors into weapons of immense destruction. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian manage to discover the terrifying secret of Centerpoint Station. It is the infamous Starbuster itself, ...

5/10

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Star Trek Enterprise: Beneath the Raptor's Wing by Michael A Martin

With its publication nearly four years ago I had assumed that the ‘Star Trek Enterprise: The Romulan War’ would run for several books, outlining one of the most formational aspects of humanity’s history – at least in the Star Trek universe. However, much to my surprise, the entire war seems to have been done and dealt wit...

5/10

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The Knight by Pierre Pevel (A Tale from the High Kingdom)

I have no doubt that translating a work of fiction from one language into another is no easy task – even more so, I suspect, if that work of fiction is fantasy or science fiction. However, that being said, the rampant mistakes and poor flow of The Knight by Pierre Pevel are at least partly the result of the work of the translator, Tom Cleg...

5/10

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Royal Exile by Fiona McIntosh (The Valisar Trilogy)

Authors that rely upon convenience to make their story work will always have a hard road ahead of them. It does not always mean that the book is bad or not worth reading, but you will often reach the last page and feel a little cheated.One such author who is guilty of this contrived convenience is Fiona McIntosh. And while I won't dwe...

5/10

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The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind (The Legend of Magda Searus)

Let me preface this review by saying two things:I’ve never read Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series (though I started once)I do not like mediocre writing, for I think writers and editors can do betterSo when The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind rocked up on my doorstep a month or so ago, I was sc...

4/10

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Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson (A Reckoners Novel)

I do not like false advertising. I never have, and each time I am suckered in by false advertising I am left with a bad taste in my mouth.Brandon Sanderson is the last person I would have assumed would trick me with false advertising, but after only 44 pages were done of the ‘Mitosis’ copy I had to review, I found myself at th...

4/10

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Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive)

In the 21st Century world of fantasy literature, no author has proven to be more polarising than Brandon Sanderson, for whom all objectivity seems to disappear for his fans and detractors. A societal misunderstanding considering the value of ones’ opinion underlies a fundamental inability to understand the difference between subjective opi...

4/10

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The Thief-Taker's Apprentice by Stephen Deas

Good books are hard to come by these days, and so are bad books, funnily enough. Sadly, though, mediocre books are a dime a dozen, and they all seem to find their way to me.'The Thief-Taker's Apprentice' by Stephen Deas is another example of mediocrity that shouldn't have been let past the editor's desk, but somehow di...

4/10

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Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle)

When there grows a significant span of time between reading books in a series, sometimes the books will acquire a certain measure of unfounded love. You forget just whether the book is any good or not, and tend to give it the benefit of the doubt; because if nothing else, you’re looking forward to the forthcoming book, right?Brising...

3/10

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