Can’t Wait Wednesday : Charmcaster (Spellslinger #3) by Sebastien de Castell

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is a real woohoo moment.  I’m loving this series and No.3 is on the horizon : Charmcaster (Spellslinger #3) by Sebastien de Castell:

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

‘I was getting almost as good at running away from enemies as I was at making them in the first place. Turns out, I wasn’t running nearly fast enough.’

Kellen has begun to master his spellslinging and the Argosi tricks for staying alive, and he and Reichis have found a career that suits them both: taking down mercenary mages who make people’s lives miserable. But Ferius is concerned that Kellen is courting disaster . . .

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

Due out March – time for you all to read the first two if you haven’t already.


‘Every day in every way I’m getting better and better’


Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we all look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is :

Bookish resolutions

Which obviously I absolutely will/maybe/not keep:

  1. I will not rubber neck over people’s shoulder on public transport to see what they’re reading.  It’s just rude.  It actually gives me a stiff neck – and book envy (see No.2).
  2. I will not have book envy.  Under no circumstances will envy be a part of my life where books are concerned.  It hardly ever happens now so this resolution will be a piece of cake.
  3. Speaking of cake….
  4. I will write reviews immediately that I finish reading a book instead of leaving them until I have a backlog – because backlogs are not fun.
  5. I CAN walk past a book store. It can happen.  There is no try.
  6. Seriously – on a serious note – I would like to read some of my own books and make a dent in an ever groaning TBR.
  7. Being careful – I will actually be a bit more careful about requesting books.  I’m gradually getting my reading ratio to a reasonable level and I’d like to improve it a little bit more.
  8. Organisation.  This is a thing that I should be able to do.   Maybe, Almost certainly. Perhaps.
  9. Stop boring those people not at all interested about books with my book talk – when they’re clearly not book people.  Just stop.  Walk away.
  10. You decide – what should I do more of/less of/stop altogether.  Okay, I’ll just get my things..

Weekly Wrap Up : 14/01/18

Posted On 14 January 2018

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 14 responses

Hope everyone’s had a good week.  I’ve not read as much as I planned.  I’ve completed The Girl in the Tower (which was an enchanting read) and I’m about 40% through The War of Undoing which is my first SPFBO book. I’ve also read about 25% of Anthony Ryan’s The Waking Fire as part of the Fantasy Hive’s reading club and so far this is very intriguing and a great read.


Books read:

  1. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (which I’ve already started and reads beautifully)


Next Week’s Reads:

  1. The War of Undoing by Alex Perry (my first SPFBO book)
  2. Start The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (Vintage Sci Fi book)
  3. The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

Upcoming reviews:

  1. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  2. Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace
  3. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

 ‘More than one meaning have I’ – a cover featuring a knot/knots

Wow – did I struggle with this topic.  I have to choose some easier themes.  Obviously ‘knot’ can have more than one meaning – I’ve gone for the knot in a tree and chosen a favourite book – it feels like a bit of a tenuous link this week but if you scroll through the books you’ll see a cover with a boy climbing out of a tree knot hole – bingo: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly – I love this book:

A few of these are very similar but simply with different colours.  I quite like the fourth one along other than the red badge spoiling it.  My cover is the red one and I alway have a soft spot for the book with the cover I own.  But, I kind of like this one:


Something about the edges and the colours and the way the crooked man really jumps out.

Which is your favourite?

Next week – a cover that features only letters/words

Future themes:

19th January – You know your A, B, Cs – a cover made up only of letters/words

26th January – “The grass is always greener on the other side of personal extinction” – a cover featuring grass

2nd February – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – a Psychedelic cover

9th February – ‘My what big teeth you have’ – a cover featuring a cloaked figure 

16th February – ‘Groovy baby’ – a cover that is: Retro

23rd February – “There are too many steps in this castle, and it seems to me they add a few every night, just to vex me”  – a cover featuring a staircase

2nd March – ‘The only true wisdom is to know that you know nothing’ – a cover featuring something from Greek mythology

9th March – ‘…but Icarus flew too close’ – a cover featuring the Sun

16th March – ‘I got no strings to hold me down’ – a cover featuring a doll or puppet

23rd March – “When she was a child, the witch locked her away in a tower that had neither doors nor stairs.” – a cover featuring a Tower

30th March – ‘A little soil to make it grow’ – a cover featuring seeds/spores

6th April –  “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” – a cover featuring a family

13th April – ‘lawns and rocks and heather and different sorts of trees, lay spread out below them, the river winding through it’ –  a cover featuring a panorama

20th April – Where there’s fire there’s… – a cover featuring smoke

27th April – ‘Those darling byegone times… with their delicious fortresses, and their dear old dungeons, and their delightful places of torture’ – a cover that is positively mediaeval 

4th May-  ‘A Hand without a hand? A bad jape, sister.’ – a cover featuring a hand/hands

11th May – ‘Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth’ – a cover featuring a dinosaur/s

18th May – ‘Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;’ – a cover featuring a gravestone

25th May – Trip trap, trip trap, trip trap – a cover featuring footsteps

1st June – clinging and invasive – a cover featuring creeping vines

8th June – Raining Cats and Dogs – a cover featuring a stormy sky

A Time Of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne

Posted On 11 January 2018

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 11 responses

atimeofA few days ago I finished A Time of Dread by John Gwynne, and I loved it so much that it made my ‘best of’ list for 2017.  This is an author whose previous series, The Faithful and the Fallen, enjoys glowing reviews and yet for some reason I’ve never got round to reading them.  I genuinely don’t know why that is and having now read A Time of Dread my only dilemma is whether I now go back and start with Malice?  Anyway, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition so lets get on with a review and a bit of waxing lyrical about why you need this book in your life.

The long and the short of it – this book is epic – it has depth to the characters, it has scope to the story and it has meat on the bones in terms of world building.  I admit I hesitate to use the word epic – I don’t know why but it feels overused somehow and even dated in these days of grimdark so I’ll just say that this is a damn fine book.  The characters are amazing and the tension that Gwynne creates positively grows into a monster that has you holding your breath anxiously.

So, to the story.  Told from a number of perspectives this is basically a tale of good vs evil.  Of course it’s not quite as simple as that but bear with me.  Many years ago the Kadoshim, demons of the Otherworld, broke free from their spirit world to wreak havoc upon mankind.  Thankfully their enemy, the Ben-Elim, warrior angels, followed them into the Banished Lands, a fierce battle ensued but an alliance between the angels, giants and men left the Kadoshim out numbered, their Lord was encased in iron and they retreated to the shadows to regroup.  So, history out of the way, the story really starts at this point.  The Kadoshim are growing in strength and they’re making plans and none of those plans involve humans surviving.

Time has a way of making people forget and become complacent.  They no longer remember the lessons that the war taught them and indeed some have even begun to doubt that such evil exists.  Eventually the Kadoshim begin to feel like a long and distant memory at best or a child’s tale at worst.  During this period of peace the Ben-Elim have spread their rule through the lands, encroaching upon other borders. Not everyone is happy living under their rule and this is where the lines between good and bad become blurred.  The Ben-Elim may be angels but they are certainly not perfect. They’re arrogant.  They have a way of demanding rather than asking which in my mind makes the whole idea of the alliance a bit unbalanced.  They (or at least some of them) can be totally unwavering and a bit puritanical. On top of that – they don’t all agree with each other completely.  Now, no doubt the Ben-Elim would defend their actions by saying they’re defending everyone and risking their own lives in the process but it also feels that in doing so they’re setting themselves up as the ruling authority in the land, unquestioned and unapproachable.  They’ve trained and created their own army of humans (the White-Wings) and indeed have decided that a tithe will be required in future in order to sustain numbers.  I guess it begs the question of when does protection become something more akin to rule.  The peace that remains is tentative.  Factions have started to form and with unknown entities waiting in the shadows, planning their moment to strike its really only a matter of time before hell in a handcart comes looking for trouble.

The story is told from four points of view.  This is a method of storytelling that I particularly enjoy.  I like experiencing the world from different eyes, minds and places and the four characters that Gwynne creates are easy to like making the switch between chapters all that more enjoyable.

Riv is a young woman who has always lived within the walls of Drassil, the fort of the Ben-Elim.  She trains with almost a religious fervour to become a White-Wing, like her mother and sister before her.  Riv shows plenty of potential as a warrior but the temper that she is unable to keep in check is her worst enemy.  Her chapters allow us a birds eye view of life in Drassil and a look at how the Ben-Elim and the humans get along.  These are intriguing sections in themselves.  The people at Drassil are well aware of the Kadoshim and the threat they pose to their way of life and this is obvious in the way they live and train.  Of course not everything at Drassil is perfect as soon becomes apparent.

Bleda was taken from his home to become a ward of the Ben-Elim following an outbreak of war and to act as surety of good behaviour by his people.  He lives within the fort at Drassil and trains with the other potential white wings.  Bleda is a good character to read about.  He misses his home, even after living away for a few years, he doesn’t fit in at Drassil and at first it feels like he simply bides his time.  The Ben-Elim have plans for Bleda that they believe will help keep the peace.  Bleda is a strong character, he takes the right course of action even when it appears to be helping people that he doesn’t really like.

Sig is one of the giants.  I love her character.  She’s gutsy and just plain likeable.  The giants were part of the original alliance and are also very aware of the Kadoshim.  They patrol the borders protecting people from a threat that they’re not really even aware of.  The giants live at Dun Seren.  Their lives feel completely different to the Ben-Elim and if I was going to choose a place to live in this world it would be with them.  They work and train hard, they’re tough, but they enjoy life.  The giants ride on bears and have crows that not only talk but display intelligence and loyalty.  Sig is probably my favourite character to be honest.  She’s just a character that you warm to really quickly and then spend a good deal of time being worried about because she’s always throwing herself into danger.

Finally we have Keld.  He and his father Olin live outside of the Ben-Elim’s lands.  They make an existence as trappers which means they live in the wild for a good portion of the time.  They have a fantastic bond and Keld’s chapters make for really entertaining reading.  When they return to their homestead changes are clear.  Their little town has started to develop, people are leaving the Banished Lands to avoid living under the Ben-Elim’s rule and unfortunately this brings something of an unsavoury element into their lives.  The place in which they live as a lawless and almost wild west feel.  Keld and his father are governed by their own code of right and wrong and Keld has been brought up with a strict moral code but more than that he’s the sort of character that would always help someone in need.  I really enjoyed the chapters where they’re in the wilds surviving on their instincts.

There are plenty of other characters but the four main POV perspectives help to keep a grip on them all and stop the read from becoming a people puzzle.

In terms of the writing.  Well, it’s very impressive.  I have to say that Gwynne’s ability to write a vivid and exciting scene, be that a bear chase, a fist fight or a battle is absolutely excellent.  I don’t think I’ve read such dramatic scenes before that are quite so easy to picture.  He writes with practiced confidence and over the course of the early chapters shows the strength of will to take his time setting up the people and the place and this really pays off.  This is a strong world, full of intrigue, history and varied races.  Clearly Gwynne has already written a very popular series before and whilst I’m not in a position to compare the two I can’t help thinking that his past experience shines through here.

I don’t have any criticisms at all.  I think that there is one particular thread that is clearly building to a final reveal and, yes, it was easy to guess what was going to happen with that storyline.  But, I imagine that was the author’s intention to be honest.  And, not a criticism, but this book doesn’t step into the realms of grim dark as we’ve come to know it.  Of course there are battles and inevitably bloodshed but A Time of Dread manages to have an old school feel at the same time as breathing new life into the realms of swords and sorcery.

If it isn’t clear already, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait for No.2.  No pressure at all Mr Gwynne.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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