Friday Face Off : Assassins


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 (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

I’ve added themes in below. For information, I’m trying out some new ideas so along with coming up with particular items for book covers I thought we could also look for certain elements contained within the book or that play a large part in the story – this really broadens things out because I have plenty of more ideas with this – I’ve gone for a few of the Tough Travel Themes (so a book with that theme – just choose any book – the theme isn’t necessarily on the cover, then compare covers), also, I’ve thrown in some genres and some colours.  Hopefully this will open things out a little and give us some more freedom to come up with new books.

This week’s theme:


Do you have a favourite?


9th Tough Travel Tropes – Darklord
16th Genre – Grimdark (most recent/favourite, etc)
23rd Decadent and rich – a cover that is purple
30th Completions – a satisfying conclusion to a book or series

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Can't Wait Wednesday

“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 : The City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V. Snyder.  I’ve enjoyed books by this author in the past and this one sounds very good.  Here’s the description:

CityofZirdaiThrough her courage and tenacity, Shyla Sun-Kissed has awoken the power of The Eyes of Tamburah. But this feat only marks the beginning of the challenges that the magical order, the Invisible Sword, faces to free the underground city of Zirdai.

Though they have allies among the monks and splinter cells inside the city, Shyla knows the Invisible Sword doesn’t have the strength to win. With the group fracturing due to the strain of losses from their latest ordeal, thinly veiled suspicions and endless disagreements, it’s up to Shyla to forge a new united order.

When both the draconian Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess learn of Shyla’s new powers, life becomes even more complicated as they will stop at nothing to capture Shyla and take the magic of The Eyes for themselves. Hunted at every turn and unable to hide, Shyla and the Invisible Sword must use every resource at their command – and unearth new ones – in their race to save the city from destruction. But their enemies always seem to be one step ahead. And the cost to win the battle may be more than Shyla would ever be willing to pay…

Expected publication : June 2020

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Navigating the Stars (Sentinels of the Galaxy #1) by Maria V. Snyder


I’m combining today’s Can’t Wait Wednesday with Sci-fi month, an event being hosted by One More and  Dear Geek Place (check out the #RRSciFiMonth hashtag to keep uptodate)

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Can’t Wait 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 : Navigating the Stars (Sentinels of the Galaxy #1) by Maria V. Snyder

NavigatingNavigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels’ parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.

Due for publication November 2018

Dawn Study (Soulfinders #3) by Maria V. Snyder

dawn-study2Dawn Study is the conclusion of Maria V Snyder’s excellent series that started a number of years ago with Poison Study and brought to us the characters of Yelena and Valek.  I think it’s very fitting that this final series once again brought to the fore those two characters that we all came to love so much from the Study books.  If you haven’t read the previous books in the series you might want to look away about now as this review will undoubtedly contain spoilers.  You have been warned!

So, we pick up virtually where the last book left off.  Yelena is pregnant and the baby seems to be drawing her magic in some unknown way, making her a magic free zone and  also leaving her incredibly vulnerable to any number of people who have come to hold a grudge over the years not to mention an assortment of assassins.  Yelena Is from Sitia and has (or at least had) very powerful magical abilities.  Valek, on the other hand is from Ixia.  Ixia lives in fear of those with magic and think all magic users should be eradicated.  The Commander of Ixia has very strong views on the subject and his feared assassin Valek has worked for him many years helping to keep magic at bay and in the process forming strong bonds and even a friendship of sorts with the Commander.  Unfortunately, however, in a strange twist of fate, and just as Yelena found herself powerless, Valek seems to have come into his own magical ability.  An ability that was buried so deep within that the possibility of him ‘burning’ out by not knowing his own strength was very real.  Yelena and Valek now find themselves on the Commander’s most wanted list.  On top of that it seems that the two countries are poised on the brink of war.  In a strange twist the Commander himself seems to be being controlled by one of the very magicians he fears so much and a large portion of Sitians seem to be under the influence of a drug that renders them little more than puppets.  Valek and Yelena, and the unusual friends and family that they have gathered around themselves over the years, need to uncover the full extent of the plot before the war and bloodshed begins.

I enjoyed Dawn Study, I think it brings the series to a very satisfactory conclusion, that’s not to say that I didn’t have some issues but overall I think Ms Snyder has created a very entertaining series with an ending that brings many of our favourite characters together and ties up so many threads along the way.

In terms of the plot, well, there is plenty going on and I thought the story was very fast paced.  There are various levels of deception and betrayal and a number of scares as one after the other of the characters are caught and held and potentially tortured for information whilst rescue attempts are planed and executed.

The characters.  Well, if you’ve enjoyed this series you’ll be pleased to know that many of your favourite characters will be not only putting in an appearance but also will be critical to the plot.  I’m not going to name them all but it feels like just about everybody has a role to play in preventing war and bloodshed.

What I particularly enjoyed about this final instalment is that the author has let the characters grow.  Valek and Yelena are a perfect example of this in that with a baby on the horizon their relationship has moved on.  They have more responsibility and a lot more at stake now.  That’s not to say that they’ve become predictable or boring in any way just that their relationship has matured in a way that you would expect and although Valek has the urge to stifle Yelena and wrap her up in cotton wool and put her on the top shelf out of the way of harm he also recognises that he can’t do so. Similarly, a number of the characters feel like they’ve moved on in terms of knowing what they want and where they want to be.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, it’s a catch 22 sort of situation.  In trying to bring so many characters back onto the stage it does leave the book feeling a little bit cluttered.  On top of that it doesn’t feel as though you spend any real quality time with any of the characters but I don’t think this is a surprise with so many being thrown into the mix.  And, there is a definite feel of repetition in terms of captures and escapes which kind of left me feeling like the characters were never in any real danger.

But, in spite of a few reservations I think that this is a great ending to the series and, yes, a pleasingly happy and satisfying one that I’m not afraid to say was just what I hoped for.

I’ve followed this series now for about 9 or 10 years and whilst it’s a bit sad to be coming to the end I can see that there are a number of openings here which could leave Ms Snyder with possibilities to revisit in the future and I, for one, would always be happy to revisit this world.

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


Weekly wrap up 22/1/17

So, another Sunday where I look back over the past week with a weekly wrap up post.  I went to see LaLa Land last week – and I loved it – I would go and see it again without hesitation.  It has a lovely old style musical charm to it, is beautifully shot and for a modern day film there is no swearing sex or violence – it doesn’t always feel easy to find a film like that these days and it was a lovely refreshing change!

Reading wise I finished a couple of my books and started the third one.  I read the third instalment of Chimes at Midnight which I’m loving.  I have three reviews to catch up with at this point.

Last week’s reads:

Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder.  Fans of this series, I think, will love the way this concludes.  A definite 4* end to series I thought.  Review to follow shortly.

Department Zero – a crazy story with plenty of non-stop action.  The start scared the bejesus out out of me with the spiders!  Feels like Lovecraft meets the Men in Black.  Highly entertaining.  Review to follow shortly.

Deadlight Jack by Mark Onspaugh – I’ve just started this one.  The start was very curious indeed and really drew me in – I have that certain feeling – the one you have when you really feel like you’re going to enjoy a book!

Next week I’m hoping to complete:

  1. The Grey Bastards, which is my SPFBO book – this is receiving some very favourable reviews and I’m really looking forward to picking it up.
  2. The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer – urban fantasy and evil Wickers – how could I resist??  Sounds amazing.

I also need to complete Rosewater – which I made a good start on at about 30% and am looking forward to getting back to.


And, finally, my cover compare this week:

I can see the reasoning for the grey cover with the stylised dragon on it but it isn’t as colourfully dramatic as the first.  My choice this week:


Which is your favourite – and what are you currently reading?

Weekly wrap up 15/1/17

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