#SPFBO Review : Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.  My recent update in which I announced further cuts and two semi-finalists can be found here.

This week and next I will be posting reviews for the ten books I rolled forward to read fully.  Hopefully five reviews this week followed by an update and cuts and semi finalist announcements on Saturday.  I will then repeat this format the following week. I won’t be posting a rating for the books at this point.

KnightmareKnightmare Arcanist is set in a world full of magic and mythical creatures.  It’s a very enjoyable story that gets off to a really good start and in fact it pulled me in  immediately.  We meet Volke, apprentice gravedigger who longs to be an Arcanist.  To become an arcanist one must bond with a magical creature and as the book kicks off we find Volke gate-crashing a phoenix bonding trial hoping to bond with a phoenix himself.  Failing the trial Volke is still determined to follow his ambitions and he and his sister travel to a swamp where a boat carrying magical beasts is believed to have crashed.  The two both eventually succeed in finding and bonding with a magical creature.

From here we travel to a magical school (set on the back of a gigantic turtle) and the real adventures begin.

There are so many aspects that I really enjoyed about this book and I was  gripped almost immediately.  It really does get off to a very quick start.  We’re thrown into the world and there’s no tippy-toeing around.  I also love the whole idea of these young characters bonding with a magical creature that will enable them to wield magic – and of course there’s the magic school element.  Plus, the main mystery.  Let’s not forget the mystery.

The magical creatures are very interesting and Volke’s own bonded creature particularly so.  A Knightmare is a creature of shadow, in fact it can use the shadows in different ways.  It can take the form of a knight and can actually ‘join’ with it’s bonded human to fight.  Unfortunately Volke finds the bonding and use of magic very difficult, in fact painful, much more so than his fellow students.

The world building was also intriguing.  A terrible plague is spreading across the land, magical creatures touched with the plague become dark versions of themselves, insane and unstable and this disease can also affect humans, particularly if they’re bitten by an infected creature.  Arcanists are desperate to find a cure but travelling between islands is rendered dangerous by the number of pirates sailing the seas.

The characters.  There is a good cast, primarily of young adult characters faced with the sorts of dilemmas you would expect.  There is bullying and petty rivalry but also a really good attempt to build up lasting friendships.  Volke and his sister Ilia are joined by Zaxis and Atty, the two young adults who took part in the initial trials and bonded with a phoenix each.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I will point out before saying anything else that this was a very enjoyable book that kept me entertained.  That being said, I probably enjoyed the start of the book more than the conclusion – which is a little unusual in some respects because the conclusion is certainly action packed.  I think I had a slight feeling that the second half needed to pace itself a little more.  I also had a couple of slight irritations here or there which were predominantly as a result of feeling that some things just came too easily.  There’s also this element at the school of teachers not teaching at all – just telling students to do something without any sort of explanation and the mysterious disappearance of adults for large portions of time.  But, saying all this, I recognise that I’m not maybe the target audience here and none of these were real deal breakers.

Overall this is an action packed, dramatic adventure with critters aplenty, intriguing magic, trials, schools, pirates and a central mystery just waiting to be solved and as first books in series go it’s a very solid start indeed.

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

#SPFBO – My Next Steps

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.

So, this is slightly new territory for me in that this year I’ve left all my possible books to the final month to read and review and I’ve decided to leave things fairly loose.  To be honest I’d like to read all 10 books before choosing semi-finalists but I’m also conscious that time is moving on and I need to keep on top of things and not leave everything to the last few days.  With that in mind I’m going to provide an update after I’ve completed the first five books, 

And, the following (not listed in any particular order) are the books that I will be reading (slight spoiler alert, in case you’re thinking this seems like a lot to get through I can say I’ve already completed three of these so hopefully my first update will come on swift wings

  1. Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier
  2. Voice of War by Zack Argyle
  3. The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick
  4. The Child of Silence (The Burning Orbit Book 1) by Joseph O. Doran
  5. Trial of Thorns (Wicked Fae #1) by Stacey Trombley
  6. Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez
  7. The Usurper (Brutal Saga #0.50) by James Alderdice
  8. The Hammer Of The Gods: So You Want To Be A Star (The Druid Trilogy #1) by Andrew Marc Rowe
  9. Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall
  10. Incursion by Mitchell Hogan

On a final note – if any of my authors have audio versions available and would like me to check those out then just leave me a comment.

Good luck to everyone.

#SPFBO : My Second Batch of Books

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.  You can find my first batch of books here and my update here.

As with previous years I’m hoping to read a batch of books each month.  I will read at least 30% and hopefully will choose one or two books from each batch to roll forward and read fully and review before choosing semi finalists and a finalist.  My book list is chosen randomly and the six books I will be reading this month are outlined below:

 

Burn (Desert Deities, #1) by G. E. Hathaway

Burn ecover - G.E. Hathaway - Vickie L. H.

After a devastating power outage wipes out most of Tucson, survivors Liam, Noah, and Ellie have more than the hot summers to worry about. In the absence of modern technology, ancient spirits awaken and the Sun God and Rain Goddess resume their timeless war over the elements. Friendships are tested and lines between good and evil are blurred as the humans are thrust into a strange and dangerous journey that reveals the mysterious forces ruling the desert. When the Rain Goddess is injured and the temperatures rise, Liam, Noah, and Ellie must find a way to restore power to the city before they all burn.

Author Info : 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranger’s Oath (Arc of Radiance/Fall of Radiance #1) by Blake Arthur Peel

rangerThe barrier between worlds is broken. Only he knows the truth…

Magic has protected Tarsynium for a thousand years, shielding its people from being ravaged by bloodthirsty demons. When a young ranger’s apprentice named Owyn Lund discovers that the Arc of Radiance has been breached, he tries to warn anybody who will listen.

But legends aren’t supposed to be real.

When a village is mysteriously destroyed, rangers, mages, and rebels all point the finger, blaming each other for the demons’ brutality. However, Zara Dennel, a mage’s ward, has heard Owyn’s tale—and she’s inclined to believe him.

Together, they must prove that friendship is greater than intolerance, unity is more important than division, and that even the most powerful magic can sometimes not be enough.

Failure means the end of all things. A second—and lasting—Doom.

Experience the beginning of a thrilling Epic Fantasy series suitable for all ages. It’s perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas, and Brandon Sanderson.

Author Infoblakearthurpeel

Website: https://blakearthurpeel.com

 

Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall

KnightmareMagic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced fantasy with magical creatures for those who enjoy the Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Author Info:

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

 

The Edge of Nothing (The Lex Chronicles #1) by Crystal Crawford

EdgeofAn evil force terrorizes Arameth, but those out to stop it have a serious problem: their prophesied hero is dead.

Centuries ago, a malevolent magicborn overtook Arameth, fracturing their world and unleashing a devastating war between magicborn and their non-magic neighbors. To protect their magical heritage, the Ancients of Arameth sealed themselves off in The Core, wiping all memory of magic from the ordinary people. The remaining magicborns retreated into hiding, unable to use their abilities for fear of inciting the wrath of the Ancients’ dark regime—or the terror of their own neighbors.

Two hundred years later, the damage wreaked by the Fracture threatens to unravel their world. A dark energy from The Core is slowly corrupting once-beautiful Arameth, and the Worldforce, the source of all Arameth’s magic, is destabilizing. The heroes sworn to restore the balance fail catastrophically in their final battle, and tensions peak between the peoples of Arameth. Fluctuations in the unstable Worldforce bring frequent disasters.

But not all of Arameth’s problems come from The Core…

Lex is a seventeen-year-old with no memories before this morning, and no clue why a group of villagers want him dead. Realizing they have mistaken him for a destructive magicborn who slaughtered innocents in their village, Lex flees for his life—only to discover he’s more tangled in the conflicts of the past than he ever imagined. And the mysterious girl he stumbles upon during his escape creates a whole new set of problems…

An epic fantasy / portal fantasy / soft sci-fi mashup, this book is teeming with quirky characters, fantastical creatures, surprises and suspense. With subtle clean/sweet romance, high-stakes adventure, and a strong focus on friendship and second chances, this all-the-feels fantasy debut will keep you flipping the pages.

Author Info: cryscrawford

Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com

 

Mid-Lich Crisis by Steve Thomas

midlichIs trying to sacrifice your estranged wife to a bloodthirsty demon an irredeemable act of evil? This is the sort of question the Dread Wizard Darruk Darkbringer struggles with. After being called evil one too many times, Darruk sets off to find a new purpose in his life and become a beloved celebrity. Can a dark wizard come to terms with himself and prove to the world that a few atrocities don’t define who he is? You’ll feel guilty for laughing at his twisted tale of self-discovery.

Author Info:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chains of Blood (The Chaos Cycle #1) by M.L. Spencer

ChainsHe thought he was born Rylan Marshall…

…until he found out he wasn’t.

Instead, he was born the son of a demon.

Would that mean he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps?

Rylan was attacked, his young son murdered, his baby daughter taken. But his assailant left him with two gifts: the gift of magic…and an oath to darkness. Rylan blamed himself, even though he knew it wasn’t his fault.

The life he knew was over.

And war is coming.

A new enemy, stronger and more fearsome than any other, appears out of the night.

Will Rylan use his newfound power to make a stand? Will he learn its use in time to make a difference? Or will his oath to darkness guide him to the enemy?

And when he finds out they’ve taken his daughter…how far will he go to get her back?

Author Info: @MLSpencerAuthor

Website: http://mlspencerfiction.com

 

Once again, good luck to everyone.  If you’d like to visit my blog for a guest post, excerpt, etc, then leave me a note in the comments.