My 9th book: Final Stage: #SPFBO 16

FullSizeRender-10November 1st saw the start of the second stage of the SPFBO – the Self Published Fantasy Blog off organised by Mark Lawrence.  All the details can be found here.

Today I’m highlighting the final book that I will be reading for the SPFBO.  All the books have been drawn randomly and the books I’ve read so far are as follows:

  1. Shadow Soul by Caitlyn Davis, review here.
  2. Paternus by Dyrk Ashton (review here).
  3. The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French.
  4. Larcourt K A Krantz ( Fire Born, Blood Blessed #1) My review is here.
  5. Ráth Bládhma (Fionn mac Cumhaill #1) by Brian O’Sullivan, review here.
  6. The Music Box Girl by K.A. Stewart.  Review here.
  7. The Path of Flames by Phil Tucker.  Review here.
  8. The Moonlight War by SKS Perry – review to follow.

My final book is :

 

Assassin’s Charge (Echoes of Imara) by Claire Frank

assassinsA cold-hearted assassin. A boy with a price on his head.

Rhisia Sen is one of the Empire’s highest paid assassins. Living a life of luxury, she chooses her contracts carefully, working to amass enough wealth so she can leave her bloody trade. She is offered a new contract on the outskirts of civilization, and almost refuses—until she sees the purse. It could be the last job she ever has to take.

But when she reaches the destination, she discovers her mark is a child.

The contract, and her reputation, demand she kill the boy—if she can banish his innocent face from her mind. But another assassin has been sent to kill her, and a notorious bounty hunter is on her trail. She doesn’t know why the boy is a target, or why her former employer wants her dead. Saving the child could be her only chance at survival.

My 7th book: Final Stage: #SPFBO 16

FullSizeRender-10November 1st saw the start of the second stage of the SPFBO – the Self Published Fantasy Blog off organised by Mark Lawrence.  All the details can be found here.

Today I’m highlighting the seventh book that I will be reading for the SPFBO.  All the books have been drawn randomly. Book No 1: Shadow Soul by Caitlyn Davis, review here.  Second book Paternus by Dyrk Ashton (review here).  My third book was the The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French.  The fourth book was Larcourt K A Krantz ( Fire Born, Blood Blessed #1) My review is here.  The fifth book was Defence of Ráth Bládhma (Fionn mac Cumhaill #1) by Brian O’Sullivan, review here.  My sixth book out of the hat was The Music Box Girl by K.A. Stewart and my review for that will follow shortly.  My seventh book is The Path of Flames by Phil Tucker.  Check it out:

pathofA war fueled by the dark powers of forbidden sorcery is about to engulf the Ascendant Empire. Agerastian heretics, armed with black fire and fueled by bitter hatred, seek to sever the ancient portals that unite the empire – and in so doing destroy it.

Asho–a squire with a reviled past–sees his liege, the Lady Kyferin, and her meager forces banished to an infamous ruin. Beset by tragedy and betrayal, demons and an approaching army, the fate of the Kyferins hangs by the slenderest of threads. Asho realizes that their sole hope of survival may lie hidden within the depths of his scarred soul–a secret that could reverse their fortunes and reveal the truth behind the war that wracks their empire.

Unpredictable, fast paced, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Path of Flames is the first installment in a gripping new epic fantasy series.

My 6th book: Final Stage: #SPFBO 16

FullSizeRender-10November 1st saw the start of the second stage of the SPFBO – the Self Published Fantasy Blog off organised by Mark Lawrence.  All the details can be found here.

Today I’m highlighting the sixth book that I will be reading for the SPFBO.  All the books have been drawn randomly. Book No 1: Shadow Soul by Caitlyn Davis, review here.  Second book Paternus by Dyrk Ashton (review here).  My third book was the The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French.  The fourth book was Larcourt K A Krantz ( Fire Born, Blood Blessed #1) My review to follow shortly.  The fifth book was Defence of Ráth Bládhma (Fionn mac Cumhaill #1) by Brian O’Sullivan, again, review to follow shortly.  My sixth book out of the hat is The Music Box Girl by K.A. Stewart.

MusicboxFOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC, FOR THE MUSIC OF LOVE
Steam and steel are king, nowhere more so than Detroit, the gleaming gem of the world’s industrial crown. A beacon of innovation and culture, it is the birthplace of the mechanical automatons, and the home of the famed Detroit Opera House. It is where people come with their dreams, their plans, and their secrets.

A young man with the voice of an angel and dreams of stardom.

A globe-trotting heiress with a passion for adventure and memories of a lost childhood love.

A mysterious woman with a soul made of pure music and a secret worth killing for.

Beneath the glitter and sparkle, something sinister lurks at the opera, and three lives will collide with tragic consequences.

 

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French #SPFBO

greyThe Grey Bastards was the third out of nine books that I’m reading in the final stage of the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and before I go any further I have to say that I loved it. I want more of this world and these characters.  If I’m going to be honest I expected going into this a bunch of characters who were all tough nuts, I expected coarse jokes, maybe a touch of false bravado and perhaps even a few pissing contests – and, yeah, there is all of that going on in here.  This is without doubt a brutal world and the writing here doesn’t pull any punches in that respect.  But, what really took me by surprise was the amount of affection I felt for the characters.  Particularly the Jackal.  I tell you I was right there with him living through the wtf moments.  I really did share his pain and his sense of betrayal as certain aspects of the story unfolded and equally I shared in his moments of exhilaration and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of reading a book and being totally besotted with the characters.   It really is the best feeling even if it does result in a terrible book hangover when it all comes to an end and you just want more.  Anyway, enough of that.  To the review woman and don’t spare the hogs!

The Grey Bastards are a brotherhood made up of half orcs that patrol the Lot Lands keeping it’s borders safe from marauding orcs and other menaces such as centaurs.  Each of these brotherhoods are known as Hoofs and the Lot Lands are divided up into eight segments each with it’s own Hoof.

There’s a long history here involving wars that raged many years ago between the nobles of Hispartha and full blooded orcs.  Prior to that half orcs were kept as slaves until there actions in the war led to their freedom and the gift of the land that they now patrol.  Of course there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye with plenty of deceptions that will be slowly revealed as the story progresses. Put bluntly none of the inhabitants of this world seem to get along well, there are elves, orcs, humans, centaurs and half orcs and they all seem to spend a good deal of time just barely keeping threats from each other at bay.

As the story starts we’re introduced to Jackal and his merry band made up of Oats – a giant sized, more than half Orc (a thrice) and Fetch – the only female amongst the Hoofs.  A position that wasn’t easily won and even now causes some emotions to run high.  These three have been constant companions since childhood and enjoy that easy going banter that you would hope for and expect.

The GB’s warlord is a plague-ridden Orc called the Claymaster.  You fairly quickly come to the conclusion that he’s not enamoured of our young and ambitious Jackal, nor is he a fan of his two companions and so the fact that the three of them have just returned from a mission that seems to have gone spectacularly pear shaped has soured the mood somewhat and the three of them are in the hog house!  Now on top of this, and as a result of the aforementioned spoiled mission certain things begin to come to light.  Certain betrayals that need to be examined and of course as the Jackal is the main culprit he gets sent to do the dirty work.  At the same time another slightly suspicious character (or is he, maybe his arrival is just coincidental) arrives on the scene.  A half orc with magical ability. A sorcerer no less and something that the Claymaster has had a long hankering for – for what reasons nobody knows.  And finally, throw a she elf into the mix and not only do we have  a very compelling mystery but also the unravelling of the Jackal’s world.

I’ve probably made it all sound terribly convoluted but I promise you it isn’t.  In fact it’s a very easy book to get on with and the author has managed to find the perfect balance (for me anyways) between world building, characterisation and plot.  The pace is well planned, it’s not too breakneck that you don’t have time to regroup and at the same time it doesn’t suffer from any lulls that make you want to put the book down and not pick it back up again too quickly.

So, to my favourite aspects of the book.  The characters.  I’m always banging on about loving a book where the author makes me feel for the characters and this book achieved that and then some.  I felt like I knew our little band of three so well.  The plot – which really wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be!  It’s not that I necessarily want a book to be unpredictable, I’m quite happy with some predictability providing it’s a good book, but the levels of untruths, deception betrayal and other hidden elements going on here were really good.  I loved that everything was turned on it’s head and the life that Jackal was living was not quite what he thought.  Anyway, that way lies the way of spoilers and I really don’t want to go down that route.

Suffice to say that this was a thoroughly entertaining, down right excellent, read.  I loved it and definitely want more.  The ending does conclude on a note of possibility in that respect – although it also kind of wraps things up so all I can do now is raise one eyebrow expectantly in the author’s direction and try and outstare him until he caves in and comes up with more from The Lots!

In case I didn’t make it clear I recommend the Grey Bastards without reservation.

My 4th book: Final Stage: #SPFBO 16

Posted On 4 February 2017

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FullSizeRender-10November 1st saw the start of the second stage of the SPFBO – the Self Published Fantasy Blog off organised by Mark Lawrence.  All the details can be found here.

Today I’m highlighting the fourth book that I will be reading for the SPFBO.  All the books have been drawn randomly. Book No 1: Shadow Soul by Caitlyn Davis, review here.  Second book Paternus by Dark Ashton (review here).  My third book was the The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French and my review will follow very soon.  The next book on my list is: Larcourt by K A Krantz ( Fire Born, Blood Blessed #1).  Check it out:

larcourtBlood-beings can be chattel or char. 

Fire seethes through the veins of every Morsam, demanding domination and destruction. Combat is a hobby. Slaughtering the inferior blood-beings is entertainment. Life is a repetitious cycle in the prison fashioned by the gods. But mix-race abomination Vadrigyn os Harlo suspects the key to freedom lies with safeguarding the blood-beings; until her blood-born mother uses foreign magic to turn the Morsam against Vadrigyn. Betrayed, bound, and broken, Vadrigyn struggles against the dying of her essential fire. Yet the ebbing flames unleash the dormant magic of her mixed heritage… 

The magic to destroy free will. 

Seized by the gods and dumped in the desert nation of Larcout to stop history from repeating, Vadrigyn discovers her mother’s legacy of treason and slaughter still festers. To survive the intrigues of the royal court, the roiling undercurrents of civil war, and the gods themselves, Vadrigyn must unravel the conspiracy behind her mother’s banishment. But manipulating free will unleashes a torrent of consequences. 

If she fails the gods, she will return to the Morsam prison, stripped of all magic and all hope. 

If she succeeds, she can rule a nation. 

Kasthu. Roborgu. Inarchma. 
Live. Learn. Burn. 

 

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