Weekly Wrap Up : 12th January 2020

A little later than planned here is my weekly wrap up.   This is in fact my first weekly wrap up of 2020, I’m still catching up following my two week Christmas break.  So, this week I’ve read two books.

Here’s my week in books:

  1. The God Game by Danny Tobey – I loved this and my review can be found here.
  2. The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

What I’m reading next week:

  1. The Other People by CJ Tudor
  2. The Woods by Vanessa Savage
  3. Crownbreaker by Sebastien deCastell

Upcoming Reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Queenlayer by Sebastien DeCastell
  3. The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher
  4. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
  5. King of Assassins by RJ Barker
  6. Where Gods Fear to go by Angus Watson
  7. The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

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

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Spellslinger 6: Crownbreaker (Spellslinger #6) by Sebastien de Castell

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 : Spellslinger 6: Crownbreaker (Spellslinger #6) by Sebastien de Castell.  I love this series – in fact it’s a little bit sad that it’s coming to an end.

crown.jpgThe sixth – and final – instalment of the inimitable SPELLSLINGER series.

Kellen and Reichis are settling into their new lives as protectors of the young queen and dealing with the constantly shifting threats to her reign and to her life. For the first time in his life, Kellen feels as if he’s becoming the kind of man that his mentor Ferius had wanted him to be. Even Reichis has come to appreciate having a noble purpose – so long as no one minds him committing the occasional act of theft from the royal treasury.

But what seems to be a simple card game between Kellen and an old man is soon revealed to be a deadly game of wits in which a powerful mage has trapped the queen’s spellslinger in order to kill him.

Expected publication : October 2019


#wyrdandwonder: Throwback Thursday : The Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell


Wyrd and Wonder – a month long event that is a celebration of fantasy.  Check out the details hereand join in the fun in whatever way you would like to do so.

ThrowbackThursday.pngThrowback Thursday, is a new feature created by Tenacious Reader with the aim of  highlighting books from your reading past. This can be virtually anything, a book that you previously read and loved, a book that you want to highlight again, maybe it’s a book in a series and the next book is due out shortly so you want to focus some attention on the series.   Anything goes – so long as your book isn’t a current release as there are already plenty of ways to highlight the latest books.  

Today I’m highlighting The Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell.  I’m absolutely loving this series.  It’s the perfect combination of good storytelling, wonderful characters and crazy adventures where everything and anything can go wrong and it’s a series that is growing in seriousness with each instalment.  I’ve read the first four books already and hopefully will pick up No.5 soon.  If you’re loving this series you may be pleased to learn that No.5 is now out there – in the big wide world and No,6 has been announced with an expected publication date later this year.  So there’s never been a better chance to give this series a shot.  Here are the first four in series:

I love these covers and so I’ve also posted the fifth cover below for your convenience:


Soulbinder (Spellslinger #4) by Sebastien de Castell

SoulbinderI’m absolutely loving Sebastien deCastell’s Spellslinger series and I think quite possibly Soulbinder is my favourite so far although there’s very little to call between them as I’ve enjoyed every book to date.

If you haven’t picked up this series yet then I would implore you to do so – are you afraid to be happily entertained?!  Seriously though if you’re planning on picking up these books then this review could possibly contain spoilers so beware.

The story this time around is decidedly darker, our outlawed boy Kellen and is wise cracking-butter-biscuit-loving squirrel cat are alone.  If you recall from book 3 they took off without their companions in a bid to save dragging people they care for into further danger. Kellen is still desperately seeking a cure and is still being relentlessly pursued by bounty hunters employed by his own people ever since he displayed signs of the Shadowblack.  There’s talk of an Ebony Abbey which Kellen thinks may offer some answers to his troubles.  He’s been searching relentlessly and trying to get answers any way he can, all whilst trying to stay alive.  It seems his search has drawn attention.

I really like what Castell did with this instalment.  He chucks Kellen into a situation where he can’t rely on others and it’s definitely a great way of making him grow as a character and whilst I missed the sass and wit that Ferius usually brings to the story I think this was a cunning plan and I’ll tell you why.  Just like Kellen himself, I was constantly expecting somebody to rescue him when he fell into any sort of danger and to be honest this shook me out of that comfortable lazy reverie and was frankly much needed.  With this book he has to start to rely more on himself – he also keeps thinking that somebody will come to his aid and with the sudden dawning of light that it isn’t going to happen he is forced to become self reliant.

I have to hand it to Kellen, he’s really coming on as a character.  There were a number of touching events that happen in this book, you observe him as he comes to realise that he’s left everything he knows behind, which is definitely a lonely feeling, you see him deal with loss, and come to a number of realisations about his own family.  Having found a bunch of other people also with the Shadowblack you have a moment of thinking that he may have found a place to settle down with similar people and then you watch him struggle to come to that moment of truth when he realises that he doesn’t really fit into either this Shadowblack camp or back home with his own people.  Here are two different camps, both so steadfast in their own beliefs and ways that they refuse to compromise.  Maybe Kellen will be the unexpected catalyst of change.  Difficult to say at the moment.

This book brings to us more insight into the Shadowblack – not everyone considers it to be evil although there is evidence here that it’s use can lead to madness and possession.  I really loved finding out the ways in which other people with the Shadowblack use it’s magic.  The fast travel was really intriguing and learning a little more of what Kellen is capable of.

I can’t really talk too much more about what happens in the book.  There’s a big old show down.  Kellen’s family become involved and as a result there are betrayals and revelations.  And the ending, well, I didn’t see that coming at all and it’s a very interesting development – well two interesting developments now I think about it.

I feel like this is a very brief review but I would point out that the length is not a reflection of my feelings for this series.  I read this and book number three within days of each other and if book five was available right now – oh yes, that bad boy would be in grubby little mitts right now.

This is a wonderfully entertaining, well written, creative series that is a great deal of fun to read.  It’s becoming much more involved as the tale progresses and the threats become a lot more deadly and I’m so attached to these characters now.  I hope Ferius has more involvement in the next book and Nephenia too for that matter.  They’re a great team and I care about them.  Which reminds me – *shakes fist* and side eyes author – you know why mister.  That is all.

I really hope this series gains the success it deserves.

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

Charmcaster (Spellslinger #3) by Sebastien de Castell

Charm3Charmcaster is the third in the Spellslinger series and true to its name it certainly cast a charm on me.  I’d say that this series is fast becoming a firm favourite of mine and I sincerely hope that plenty more adventures are in the pipeline.

I won’t elaborate on the plot too much here.  Our characters, Kellen, Reichis and Ferius are still on the hunt for certain ‘victims’ following the revelations in book No.2,  Shadowblack.  Their search is reaching its conclusion and they find themselves on a path that will lead them to Gitabria.

As with any review for a book midway through the series I would just place a warning here about potential spoilers, particularly in relation to earlier books.  I would also suggest that you read the whole series – I know that can be a deterrent to some readers as being behind by 3 or 4 books can seem such a hurdle BUT – this book is such good fun that I really don’t think you should cheat yourself of the pleasure of reading it from the start.  Also, part of the love of this series is the way the characters are being allowed to grow and that’s definitely something that you’ll miss if you don’t start at the beginning.

A different kind of review for me with this one.  It’s going to be more a list of what I like and a couple of minor niggles.

The reason I’m loving this series is primarily the characters.  I find myself just really liking them all which I think is a rare achievement.  Kellen is the main character and each new installment sees another layer added to his persona.  He’s growing up and learning what he’s capable of.  To be honest, a good deal of the time he feels very young and vulnerable and has barely more than a simple bag of tricks to arm himself in a world which for the most part seems pitched against him.  But, he certainly has something about him that makes you like him and seems to see him gather stalwart friends.  Ferius is another amazing character – I love her to pieces and could happily read a book of her adventures.  And of course we have the crazy squirrel-cat Reichis.  I love that pesky varmint, I really do.  Strangely enough, his character reminds me a little of my own dog – Dude.   He has this ‘don’t-even-try-to-cuddle-or-pet-me’ thing going on which feels so familiar and he brings a certain something with his antics and butter-biscuit loving ways.  Yes, I found myself smiling aplenty whilst reading this and in fact laughing out loud at some (okay many) points.

This story returns to us a character from the first book – Nephenia.  I can’t really say too much about how she ends up finding herself once again in the company of Kellen as that will lead to the land of spoilers but I enjoyed her role here very much and thought she was a great addition to the story.  That is all – I hope I’ve intrigued you a little with that particular teaser.

The other thing that I love about this series is the writing.  DeCastell just has a way with words that makes it so easy for readers to find themselves transported.  There’s no heavy handedness here.  On top of that although this has a comic book feel to it underneath the surface are some much more serious issues – of course, I’m saying that with the added benefit of already having read No.4 but it surprises and really pleases me to see the overarching plot here and to notice the way that the series is becoming more serious and a little darker with each addition.  Maybe that’s because the central character is growing up and as readers we’re getting to watch him as he changes.  I guess in that respect, and although the two are not alike in terms of storyline, this reminds me a little of the Harry Potter series.  The two of them share a character who over the course of the book is maturing – obviously Kellen is much older than Harry when his story beings but even so this seems to me to have successfully captured that element where readers become attached to a younger protagonist and then continue to read about him as he comes of age.  It’s a great hook and one that keeps you coming back for more.

In terms of criticisms, I think the only thing I would mention is that this has a little bit of a bridging book feel, although, again, in fairness I’m not quite sure whether I’m feeling that way because I’ve already read No.4 – it’s difficult to say now because obviously I can’t ‘unknow’ what I now ‘know’.  I guess the best way to clarify would be to say that this story has a familiarity to it that, whilst it didn’t stop me from flying through the pages, did lead me to reach conclusions ahead of the game a little.

Overall, and insignificant niggles set to one side, this series is just excellent.  It’s fun, it’s creative, it has loveable characters and crazy adventures against the odds.  It’s a series that frankly gives me a lot of enjoyment every time I pick up the latest instalment and makes me feel a little bereft when I complete the journey and find myself waiting, not so patiently, for more.

I would highly recommend this.

Where I got my copy: bought

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