Wondrous Words and Can’t Wait Wednesday : Sidewinders, (The Fire Sacraments #2) By Robert VS Redick

Every Wednesday I take part in Can’t Wait Wednesday, I’m also hoping to take part in a new meme being hosted by Elza Reads called Wondrous Words Wednesday.  I’ll be combining these into the same posts as they’re both short and sweet.

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 :Sidewinders, (The Fire Sacraments #2) By Robert VS Redick.

SidewindersTwo brothers flee an army of fanatics across a vast and magical desert in this white-knuckle sequel to Master Assassins from Robert V.S. Redick, author of The Red Wolf Conspiracy.

The worst of rivals, the closest of friends, the two most wanted men in a war-torn world: Kandri and Mektu Hinjuman have cheated death so often it’s begun to feel like a way of life. But nothing has prepared them for the danger and enchantment of the Ravenous Lands. This sprawling, lethal desert is the brothers’ last hope, for they have killed the favorite son of Her Radiance the Prophet, and her death-priests and magical servants are hunting them day and night.

But there are dangers even within their caravan. Some of their fellow travelers worship the Prophet in secret. Others, including Mektu, have become obsessed with a bejeweled dagger that seems to afflict its owners with madness or death.

At stake is far more than the lives of two runaway soldiers. Kandri is carrying an encoded cure for the World Plague, a disease that has raged for centuries—while far from the desert, certain criminals have learned just how lucrative a plague can be. Are they using the Prophet, or being used by her? Who, in this game of shadows, can Kandri trust?

He knows one thing, however: they must reach Kasralys, great and beautiful fortress-city of the east. Only there can the precious cure be deciphered. Only there can Kandri seek word of the lover who vanished one night without a trace.

But Kasralys, never conquered in 3,000 years, is about to face its greatest siege in history.

Expected Publication July 2021

WWW

This meme was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion Blog and has now been adopted by Elza Reads.

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.

No rules just enjoy and for further info check out Elza Reads.

My word this week is :

OPHIDIOPHOBIA

Ophidiophobia is a particular type of specific phobia, the abnormal fear of snakes. It is sometimes called by a more general term, herpetophobia, fear of reptiles. The word comes from the Greek words “ophis” (ὄφις), snake, and “phobia” (φοβία) meaning fear.

About a third of adult humans are ophidiophobic, making this the most common reported phobia.

Are you afraid of snakes or are you an Arachnophobe?

Anyway, this is the book that inspired the thought process:

TheLastHOuse

Master Assassins (The Fire Sacraments #1) by Robert V.S. Redick

Master AssassinsMaster Assassins is a great first book in series.  It’s overall scope is epic but at the same time it manages to shine the focus on the love and rivalry between two brothers.  The world building is really strong, it’s packed with imagination and twists and it promises more goodness yet to come.

Before sinking my teeth into this review I must say that the title could be, unintentionally I might add, a little misleading.   The two brothers are indeed fleeing for their lives but the idea that they’re master assassins is a misconception on the part of their would-be capturers.  In actual fact the two really stumbled into trouble by accident rather than by design but it does become apparent as the story progresses that whilst they might have bumbled into trouble they clearer have a much bigger role to play in future events.

The story starts by introducing to us two half brothers, Kandri and Mektu.  The two are soldiers in the Army of Revelation fighting for the Prophet who released their people from slavery.  The war camp is a miserable place to say the least.  The soldiers are weary of the constant conflict, the Prophet they serve and her 11 sons seem to have turned into tyrannical despots and as if that wasn’t bad enough rumours circulate the camp of a demon that can take over a person’s body and use that body to then cause mischief and harm.  The overwhelming feel of the place is one of fear and there’s almost a sense of impending doom which comes to a head when the brothers stumble into trouble and are forced to flee the camp or face torture and execution.

I don’t think I’ll go into much more detail about the plot as there are already a number of glowing reviews that make a good job of doing so.  Instead I’ll talk about the elements of the book that worked really well for me.

The writing style.  I really enjoyed Redick’s approach.  He has a way with words that make his descriptions really lovely to read and incredibly easy to conjure in the mind’s eye and in fact I think this was one of my favourite aspects of the story.  The writing just brought everything to life so easily for me.  The world building is rich and layered and the place seems to come alive in a deceptively easy way.  I particularly enjoyed reading about ‘The Land That Eats Men’.  A dangerous place that few survive (I guess the name gave that away).  Here live massive creatures in forgotten towers and deserts that were once magnificent seas with thriving ports at either end that are now littered with boat corpses and haunted by the past.

Kandri and Mektu’s stories are gradually relayed to us through flashbacks.  I don’t know if this style works for everyone but I found it to be a great way to split up the story and it allowed us to get to know the brothers, providing them with detailed histories and breaking up the story of their flight into more manageable bite size pieces.  These flashbacks allow us to see how Kandri and Mektu finally came to live under the same roof, their initial squabbles and reluctant friendship and the rivalries they share in terms of family and the love of a certain woman.  It all helps to give you a picture that is complex and relatable.  They don’t unconditionally like each other, in fact at times it feels like they could quite easily become enemies, but their shared experiences have helped to forge a strong bond.

On top of this there is a great supporting cast that the brothers eventually seem to gather around themselves.  Their ‘Uncle Chindilan’, a straightforward, no nonsense character who has been keeping a watchful eye over the two young men in their father’s absence.  Eshett a woman who was abducted by traffikers and sold into slavery from a young age, now trying to find her own family and a young woman called Talupeke who is a rather kick-ass soldier in the rebellion movement against the prophet.   They make a strange band of characters indeed.  They’re chased by the Prophet’s death squads, the Rasanga.  Notorious warriors, virtually unbeatable in combat who ride huge beasts such as the sabre toothed cat displayed on the cover.  The two brothers have set in motion events that could change everything.  To some they’re a symbol of hope and change.  To others (and the majority of their own people) they are despised and outlawed following their actions.

The other really intriguing thing about this story is the elements of mystery – quite a number of which still remain unanswered.  The boy’s father.  Definitely an unusual man and one to keep an eye out for.  And Ariqina – the love interest for both Kandri and Mektu who I imagine we will learn more about in book No.2.

In terms of criticisms.  I don’t have a great deal to offer.  The only thing I would make mention of is that the first half of the book differs in terms of pace than the second half.  The first half takes it’s time a little finding its feet and it certainly isn’t something you can breeze through.  Although the first half has a slower pace I think Redick uses the time well to establish everything.  I’m sure that this could have been edited to make it more snappy but personally I think that would have resulted in everything becoming more jumbled.

Epic desert style adventure with harsh and unforgiving landscapes.  Prophets and warlords battling it out for supremacy.  Monsters and ghouls and a twisted finale.  I very much look forward to the second instalment.

Friday Firsts: Master Assassins by Robert VS Redick

FridayFirsts

Friday Firsts is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraphs of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.   This Friday I’m reading :  Master Assassins by Robert VS Redick

masterA‘By the third day the rumor can no longer be contained.  It is whispered in the black tents, shared like smokes among the men on patrol, murmured in the drill yard before the bellowed morning prayer.  It is weird and horrific and yet a curse no one can fail to understand.  Someone’s mind has been stolen, and the thief still walks the camp.

The signs are innumerable.  The Master of Horses finds two stallions lamed overnight.  An armory clerk displays a broadsword twisted into a spiral like a blade of grass.  A cook discovers worms thick as men’s fingers writhing in the belly of a well-roasted boar.  And the Prophet’s eldest son has a toothache.

These calamities, and others shared over dawn biscuits or evening rubbish-fires or blazing midday marches, point to a single conclusion.  The camp is under attack, and the assailant can only be a yatra, a spirit-thief, which as everyone knows can work dark magic from within its victim’s pilfered soul.

 

My First Impressions

Oh my, colour me intrigued.  Superstitions running amok in an army camp.  Can’t wait to sink my teeth properly into this one – I’ve heard very good things about this book and I will admit my expectations are running high.  I already like the writing style so this bodes well.

What you reading this Friday??  What are your first impressions??

*The above excerpt was taken from an advanced reader copy and it is possible that the final version may have further changes.