My Review of Thorns of a Black Rose

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Blurb:

Revenge and responsibility, confrontation and consequences. A hot desert land of diverse peoples dealing with demons, mages, natural disasters … and the Black Rose assassins.

On a quest for vengeance, Shukara arrives in the city of Mask having already endured two years of hardship and loss. Her pouch is stolen by Tamira, a young street-smart thief, who throws away some of the rarer reagents that Shukara needs for her magick. Tracking down the thief, and being unfamiliar with Mask, Shukara shows mercy to Tamira in exchange for her help in replacing what has been lost. Together they brave the intrigues of Mask, and soon discover that they have a mutual enemy in the Black Rose, an almost legendary band of merciless assassins. But this is just the start of their journeys…

Although set in an imaginary land, the scenery and peoples of Thorns of a Black Rose were inspired by David Craig’s experiences on a trip to Egypt, Morocco and the Sahara. Mask is a living, breathing city, from the prosperous Merchant Quarter whose residents struggle for wealth and power, to the Poor Quarter whose residents struggle just to survive. It is a coming of age tale for the young thief, Tamira, as well as a tale of vengeance and discovery. There is also a moral ambiguity in the story, with both the protagonists and antagonists learning that whatever their intentions or justification, actions have consequences.

My review:

Thank you to Elsewhen Press for sending me this ARC copy. Thorns of a Black Rose is a great novel I’ve read that deserves to be on the top selling lists of major book stores such as Waterstones and Barnes and Nobles. This book reads like an RPG of the Desert.

The world is rich and diverse in its settings inspired from Moroccan, Ancient Egypt and the Maghreb. I also love the hint of the Assassin Creed Influence here.

The characters in this story are finely developed. Tamira develops the most change in this novel, finding such friends that she would never have thought off. The setting is vivid, and the description takes you back to a world where dusty deserts and camels embark on a vast sweeping epic journey. There’s bandits, assassins, empires, merchant guilds, all jostling for power.

For Jassan, he’s a very rough man that is somewhat heroic, and somewhat isn’t. I’ll leave that up for you to decide. This novel has so much magic I’m flabbergasted that it is this well done. That said, I didn’t approve of Jassan’s actions sometimes, but I understand his role. In a harsh world like this, it was common for dangerous revolts, plotting and taking over new lands was common.

Read this book for Tamira. Shukara is a complicated character, where there are layers to her character that are slowly unveiled. She dabbles in magic and is a clever mage. However on some of the weaknesses of the novel, sometimes I did feel there was a little bit too much world building, as in more names and empires, but since I was given an ARC, there may have been a map in the published version, of this I am not sure. But don’t let the cover distract you, because THE COVER IS THE STORY! It fits right with this theme.

It is like Laurence of Arabia. But more importantly, this is a sweeping epic of a sword and sandal film. I didn’t see much involvement of the fantasy Ancient Egyptians but I suspect they are in for the sequel. This is book is like a 1960s Hollywood historical film that involves a lot of talking, hashing and revenge. The prose is well written. The writing is on point. The dialogue is great, and is there a sequel? my rating is 5/5

Shatter War by Shatter War (Time Shards #2) by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald

Image result for Shatter War by Shatter War (Time Shards #2)

Blurb:

Time shatters into shards of the past, present, and future. A group of survivors dodge threats from across history to locate the source and repair the damage before it’s too late.

WAR ACROSS THE TIMESCAPE

Earth’s past, present, and future have shattered in “the Event,” yielding a terrifying new world of prehistoric monsters, lost cultures, strange technologies, and displaced armies. Coming from different points throughout history, a desperate band of survivors join “Merlin,” a mysterious figure who may be their only hope to save the world–if he can be trusted.

When their twenty-third-century ship the Vanuatu is sabotaged by an unknown enemy and thrown far off its course, the team must discover who is responsible, even as they are split apart and fight to survive in the war-torn Shard world…

My Review:

Thank you to the wonderful Sarah Mather and Titan Books for sending me this great book.

Warning: Contains little spoliers.

This book is why need more sci-fi dealing with Ancient People interacting with other different people from different timelines. This book is the British version of 1636 only it has Merlin in it. This is such a great book, and I love the interpretation of Ancient People when they come to face to face with modern people. It is very rarely done. For another scene in a book, they should be introduced to social media. I wonder how they would deal with it.

At first I thought, what new perspective can they bring with Merlin? The answer is…so much. There is so much history interacting with each other on a SCALE that you will NEVER GET TO SEE. I WANT THIS SEQUEL NOW! That is how brilliant this book is.

I love the perspective of the Ancients interpreting this divine fate of fortune – I am a history buff, and I’ve enjoyed watching movies like the Mummy/Scorpion King and this very much contains an element of this.

I had read the Alexander’s Inheritance by Eric Flint which is what I would compare too….Cam and Kah-tep are my favorite characters. Why do I compare this to Alexander Inheritance? Because that involved a 21st century cruiser being stuck in Ptolemaic Times. Here, you get such a great diversity of cultures interacting with each other, it is just freakin’ aweosme.

I wish more authors would make use of the time travelling and instead of modern people from the 21st century travelling, why not have a Roman Legion interact with French Napoleonic soliders? Heck this was such an amazing book.

I loved one of the scenes where the French soliders sing the national anthem and the Egyptians sing along with them with their musical instruments.

I am saddened now that this is the first, even with 500 pages it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

And the reason why I say this, is because this is what I want to see in sci-fi and fantasy and time travel. We talk about the Ancients so much that they seem distant, but thanks to Creative Assembly and Ubisoft (video game developers) with their world famous IP franchises such as Total War and Assassin’s Creed, we can see history being bought alive. But we never see much alternate history or time rifts, and I def want to see the effects this has on the Far East and India for that matter.

This book is why need more sci-fi dealing with Ancient People interacting with other different people from different timelines. This book is the British version of 1636 only it has Merlin in it. This is such a great book, and I love the interpretation of Ancient People when they come to face to face with modern people. It is very rarely done. For another scene in a book, they should be introduced to social media. I wonder how they would deal with it.

At first, I thought, what new perspective can they bring with Merlin? The answer is…so much. There is so much history interacting with each other on a SCALE that you will NEVER GET TO SEE. I WANT THIS SEQUEL NOW! That is how brilliant this book is.

I love the perspective of the Ancients interpreting this divine fate of fortune – I am a history buff, and I’ve enjoyed watching movies like the Mummy/Scorpion King and this very much contains an element of this.

I had read Alexander’s Inheritance by Eric Flint which is what I would compare too….Cam and Kah-tep are my favorite characters. Why do I compare this to Alexander Inheritance? Because that involved a 21st-century cruiser being stuck in Ptolemaic Times. Here, you get such a great diversity of cultures interacting with each other, it is just freakin’ awesome.

I wish more authors would make use of the time traveling and instead of modern people from the 21st-century traveling, why not have a Roman Legion interact with French Napoleonic soldiers? Heck, this was such an amazing book.

I loved one of the scenes where the French soldiers sing the national anthem and the Egyptians sing along with them with their musical instruments.

I am saddened now that this is the first, even with 500 pages it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

And the reason why I say this is because this is what I want to see in sci-fi and fantasy and time travel. We talk about the Ancients so much that they seem distant, but thanks to Creative Assembly and Ubisoft (video game developers) with their world-famous IP franchises such as Total War and Assassin’s Creed, we can see history being bought alive. But we never see much alternate history or time rifts, and I def want to see the effects this has on the Far East and India for that matter.

That being said, the writing was great. The prose was great. The research was fantastic. That being also said, there were times where I felt the authors were constrained in how many POVs of history that they wished to present. The characters are good, but this feels more like a set up of a great series ahead. Cem was my favorite. Vivid descriptions, everything about this is great. I think this could be sorted out in the sequel. But it is rare we get great fiction in an alternate history setting with a time rift and the one I know of now is Eric Flint and his 1636 series. Fantastic book, loved it, giving it a solid 5/5 and I want the sequel now.

Review of Fire and the Falcon by Vacen Taylor

Image result for Starchild: The Fire and the Falcon Vacen Taylor

Blurb:With a treacherous ice journey behind them and Long’s health restored by the Healing Stone, Mai, Akra, and Kalin must now find the falcon guard called Tupuck in the fireruler’s city of Calor. It’s not long before they discover the city is ruled by a ruthless governor who has captured the falcon guard and the daughter of Ignis.

The four children become soldiers in a rebellion and aid in a plan to free the falcon guard and Ignis’s daughter. All the while the dark force of Piceptus continues to gather strength.

As the children fight in the rebellion, Piceptus increases his position and readies himself to receive an even greater army. Will the information the falcon guard holds help to bring the children closer to fulfilling the prophecy and stop Piceptus from conquering all of the nations?

My Review:

I was given an ARC from Henry at Odyessy Books. Note I have not read any other books from this series, and am solely reviewing this as a standalone.

This is quite a book. The characters from the start are likeable, and Kalin and Mai are my favorites. This is a world of danger, heroism and love and loss. There are guards, there are contraptions, steampunk elements, sci-fi and children on a quest to take back what they have loved.

The prose of this book is awesome, and is perfect for younger children. It reminds me of books I used to read when younger. The descriptions of this world are fantabolous and are def worth re-reading. Impelo strikes me as a Braveheart figure, and although he may be fighting for justice and freedom, he too desires powers.

The plot is very much like Avatar the Last Airbender, but I rec you listen to Star War Music when reading this book. It fits the theme of the book very well indeed. I loved it, and give it a solid 5/5. The ending was a little funny and I will not spoil what is to come next, but def a book I would rec.

Review of the Black Hawks by David Wragg

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Dark, thrilling, and hilarious, The Black Hawks is an epic adventure perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

My Review:

First off, thank you to Harper Fiction PR team for sending me this wonderful book.

Second of all, this is literally the English Adapation of the Wild West and Django Unchained, only its literally a Monthy Python sketch with a lot of swearing and blood and gore. This is like Django Unchained in so many aspects.

Third of all, finally a character with intelligence and doesn’t go my Queen all the time. He’s loyal to a default, good, but damn is he intelligent. Chel is one of the best characters I’ve read. Just read the first couple of pages and you will be laughing. Seriously.

The ending…seriously. The twists in this novel is so much you’ll be shocked. I seriously want Chel to have a girlfriend. And Prince Tafer? A great guy that deserves a lot more love and attention. Life has been cruel to this guy.

The Black Hawks? Literally the most competent group of mercenaries except their stragetic thinking isn’t great. Don’t trust Dukes, Princesses, Countesses or any of the sort. When war erupts, the nobility will abandon you faster than a flood will destroy your home. Backdoor deals, rivarlies etc.

Great on action, great on writing, great on prose, the acknowledgement page is something worth reading for. Just read it.

It feels like I’ve watched some Hollywood masterpiece get butchered with crude jokes, and Monty Python references including sexual innenoudos, fair joke, I had a teacher that used to make jokes about intercourses with animals, he was so damn funny. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Alright David. You did a great job.

Now give me that sequel.

I’m ready.

Rating: 5/5

Review of the Druid by Steven A. McKay

Blurb:

Northern Britain, AD430

A land in turmoil. A village ablaze. A king’s daughter abducted.

In the aftermath of a surprise attack Dun Buic lies in smoking ruins and many innocent villagers are dead. As the survivors try to make sense of the night’s events the giant warrior-druid, Bellicus, is tasked with hunting down the raiders and thwarting their dark purpose.

With years of training in the old ways, two war-dogs at his side, and unsurpassed skill with a longsword, Bellicus’s quest will take him on a perilous journey through lands still struggling to cope with the departure of the Roman legions.

Meanwhile, amongst her brutal captors the little princess Catia finds an unlikely ally, but even he may not be able to avert the terrible fate King Hengist has in store for her.

This, the first volume in a stunning new series from the bestselling author of Wolf’s Head, explores the rich folklore and culture of post-Roman Britain, where blood-sacrifice, superstition and warfare were as much a part of everyday life as love, laughter and song.

As Saxon invaders and the new Christian religion seek to mould the country for their own ends one man will change the course of Britain’s history forever. . .

. . . THE DRUID.

My review:

First of all, thank you to the great Steven A.Mc Kay for sending me this book. I now want to read on and find out what happens in the sequel.

The writing of this book is an excellent attention to detial. You are immersed into a rapidly changing world where Roman rule has become ineffective and the power of Christ is set to arise on Britian’s shores, culminating will become part of English culture for many decades to come.

It’s also fascinating for me. In many ways, the polytheist religions that we know were being destroyed. There’s one story of a Christian Bishop damaging Thor’s Tree in Germania and that Thor did not strike. I think there’s a deeper story to that. In many ways, this novel is about religion more than anything else. Rome’s infighting did not help in many ways for the Gods, and to the ancient worshippers of Jupiter, it seems that they held a viewpoint that after abandoning the ways of the Old Gods, the Empire fell.

This is however no longer relevant in today’s time and circumstances. Back in those days, it was. In many ways, I felt Bellicus was a man with his feet on the ground, but at times I felt he was too naive. In many ways I would have wanted Aldred, who is a great man, to have formed a friendship with Bellicus as the two had a lot in common. They despised Horsa equally, and Aldred did not deserve to die at all. At least he will drink his fill of ale and fight in Valhalla.

I also felt this novel could have had a couple of hundred pages more added into it. I understand that this was the first in a series, and thus there were many spots of worldbuilding that could have been used in other areas. It wasn’t nessecary to describe every single part of the geographic’s mystical elements, but I understand that writing about Dark Age Britian is tough due to the lack of resources that is needed to understand about it.

What really interests me is, what if the Polytheist religions of Europe had surivived and Christanity was never adopted? This would make for a cool alternate history and I’d love to see more authors pick this up in the future. Many of the characters were fresh, many of the new concepts were great, including the concept of a brotherhood of druids, and I cannot help but feel Steven got his inspiration from Asterix and Obelix in some funny way. I cannot wait to see what is in store for Catia’s fate in the sequel, and more importantly how will Bellicus fight against Christanity when it soon will dwarf his lands? I also want to see what his life was like under Roman rule before they left. My rating a solid 4.5/5

My Review of Silver Fire by Freya Pickard

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Title: Silver Fire

I was given an ARC in exchange for a review

Name: Freya Pickard

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:
When Otta and Erl are banished from their village for angering the gods, they embark on a peculiar quest. Commanded by a wandering god, Otta is obliged to follow the strange, elusive “unicorn’s trail.” Her twin brother, Erl, has lost his memory and is struggling to discover who he is. As they travel further from the shelter of the Homestead, the siblings discover unpleasant traits in their personalities. They must learn to adapt and change before they are driven apart. Who is the wandering god? Just what is the “unicorn’s trail” and where will it lead? What are the kaerlings? And who are the brown-robed travellers that trespass in Otta’s dreams? Silver Fire is the first volume in Freya Pickard’s epic fantasy series The Kaerling.

My Review:

Silver Fire is one of those novels that deserves to be promoted in the SPFBO blog by Freya Pickard.

This is the gritty version of what a Western setting of Avatar the Last Airbener would look like. I think Freya has done a wonderful job with the descriptions of her character, the elegance of her prose, and the good dialogue that is interspersed within this novel.

Without much spoilers, I read a quote on twitter saying that a reader wishes to be in the world. I can say that Frey a must have researched Celtic Mythology/Norse Mythology because I didn’t feel it was too Christian inspired which is a good thing. Much of Christianity’s origins came from the adaption of Celtic/Roman Paganism for that matter. I also felt that Otta’s character was good, but her emotional development needed more scenes. I wanted her to feel more remorse for her actions, and to feel a bit more compassionate in terms of scene development. Erl on the other hand was like an empty vessel in the ocean with a sentient soul trying to figure out in the middle of the ocean where he was. Although I did not understand the desire he had when there were many women around.

I would ask Freya if she could upgrade her cover. Because I could easily see this novel being promoted by HarperCollins or Harpervoyager, and the writing is so smooth and fluid I am flabbergasted that she has not been picked up. Really I am. I’d be happy to finish this trilogy and I understand that due to budget costs this may not be possible. I am immersed into this world. I can clearly see a large range of diverse cultures. I want to see a map for one. I did not feel that Otta’s parents got enough scene development myself, and would have wanted to seen more in the novel. This is a fantastic read. You are missing out on a wonderful novel and seriously, this is a fantastic debut. Your proof-editor did a wonderful job. My rating: 5/5

My Review of In the Hanging of the Shadow Tree by Micheal Mc Lellan

Publication Date: April 26th, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…
Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri
plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from
Confederate militiamen.
Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her
tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army
lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite
an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the
westward expansion.
Henry finds himself caught in the middle.
Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the
ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32886177-in-the-shadow-of-the-hanging-
tree?from_search=true

My Review:

For someone who hasn’t read about the aftermath of the Civil War, this was quite the eye-exposure. I wasn’t even aware of the relations that the US Government had with the Native Americans. In fact most Civil War in popular depictions of media and television don’t present the Native American Point of View. I like how it doesn’t portray that one side is good or that one side is bad. War is war. It will take anyone relentless of your colour, creed, your religion and your ethnicity.

In this novel, we get to see a different viewpoint of Native Amercians and their relationship with the African Americans. What I love about this novel is that Micheal doesn’t shy from showing that the explusion of Native Americans was meant for economic purposes. Both sides had a negative view point of each other. At this point, there was really no chance of peace between the American Government or the Native Americans for that regard. Does this mean it happened everywhere in the United States? No, because there would have been some Native American tribes that were unaffected, but that would have been a small minority.

I liked Henry’s character, his resolve, his cunning and his wisdom. Read this book for his wisdom, but it is a stark reminder that war can take away the ones you love the most. I loved Clara, and deeply felt for the emotional development she went through. I did not like John Elliot’s character as I felt he was too naive, and that he needed more character developments. I felt sometimes the POVs were difficult to read, and since this was an uncorrected ARC given in exchange for a review, I can forgive this, but sometimes I got confused with some viewpoints. I also felt there were a little too many characters and thus we were moving and shifting, but I fully understand that when you’re covering a subject as big the American Civil War, it affected a huge amount of people. The descriptions of war, blood and gore are present. Micheal doesn’t give you a side to pick, he doesn’t tell you hey look the Native Americans are good, or the Americans are bad, he tells you that there was a deeper picture that we, in the 21st century can’t judge by using our morals of good and bad. That was a different time, and we should be glad that such a conflict should never need to occur again. I liked this novel, but I feel it needed a couple more pages. A bit more was needed. Nevertheless, its epic in scale, visually brilliant, and my rating is a solid 4/5

Relic Book Tour: My review of Relic by Bronwyn Eley

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Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Blurb: In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.

As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.

It’s an appointment that will kill her.

As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.

A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…

As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.

Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series

Note: ARC with uncorrted proof exchanged for review, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review:

Relic is an amazing novel that  needs more attention. On the one hand, this was quite an amazing experience to read through. I liked Kaylon’s ability to use her powers to help in her when trouble came, but I felt she did not take enough ownership of the consequences of her actions as much as I would have liked too.


The prose, the dialogue and the pacing is all well done. 


I also loved Rover 🙂


This novel is quite complex in its characterisation. I felt Markus was a good love interest but he did not know enough about Kaylon. The two needed more scenes to get in touch with each other, and to develop the chemistry between them.


While I liked Kaylon I wanted her to take more action and being less hesitant. Rennard may have been an man that over time has become corrupt, which is true in history, but I would use the example of Empress Theodora. She was a prostitute yet the most powerful man in all of Byzantium fell in love with her. Kaylon would benefit from some inspiration from her. 


I felt Rennard was under-used as well as Jespar. Clearly there is a hidden history between the whole basis of the conflict that envelopes the town.


I like the concept of feudal lords utilizing people to work. This was what the Samurai Warlords did to their populations, and they killed unproductive workers.  If you’re in the UK and on KU, its free for what I believe is a limited time. Do not miss this at all.
I def want to read on this exciting triology and see what comes next. Thank you so much to Shealea for allowing me on this blog tour.

Order Now:

Review of The Fall of the Phoenix by Daniel Kelly

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

The long siege of Troy, the battles fought over it, and the city’s eventual capitulation and incineration are events which have often been retold since their first recitation by Homer. Seldom, however, will they have been narrated with such close attention to the minute particulars of battle, to its reek and terror and pain, as in this startling account by Daniel Kelly. Kelly looks minutely at every detail of archaic combat, as well as at the lives and feelings shaped by it. His Troy is not only a scene of shining glory, but also a grimy struggle for survival and mastery. And he introduces surprising questions: what if not everything in the Trojan war came to pass just as Homer tells us? What if the future of the Roman empire were hidden in the burning ashes of Troy’s – and not in the way we might expect?

Review:

I was given an ARC in exchange for a review. Many thanks to Daniel for sending me this excellent book.

This is a self-published novel that you MUST not miss. It has an alternate history, fantasy, heroic action, excellent attention to details of the fighting, city street combat. This is an epic journey to the city streets of Troy itself. I reviewed this book back in mid-2019. Now I feel this book needs that attention once again.

I loved the characters, the way Daniel has interpreted the novel, and it is clear he’s done his research. The plot of this novel is so good, that I will not spoil the twists or ending that come after this. The vivid descriptions of armor, battles. Everything about this novel is fantastic. This book had fantastic action sequences combined with a vivid sense of combat.

This book has a better interpretation of the Iliad than what the movie depicts. The movie depicted the elite nobles of both sides, Trojan and Greek scheming against each other. When in reality, this really wasn’t the case at all? Both sides knew each other pretty well. Daniel must have scoured through the annals of Greek literature to find some obscure references of which I am sure he will have added into this novel. Where they showed all the elites of both sides, Trojan and Greek scheming against each other when in reality the Trojans and the Greek nobility knew each other. Daniel must have read some obscure material and used it for this book. Diomedes was my favorite character in this book. I liked his innocence, because that war, whether it happened, took a toll on everybody. I imagine that was what the aftermath of WW2 was. Priam was excellent, and Agamemnon, he was a cunning old wolf. Odysseus is older than I interpreted. You also got to see the viewpoint of the Trojans, which is very rare. Also, search Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Ambient Music for 4 hours. This is perfect for the ambiance and immersion.

The dialogue, the prose, everything about this book is excellent. I’m in praise. What more can I say? I would have wanted this novel to be bigger, and more explanations as I have a lot of questions regarding this book. This could be an under-explored genre that, if Daniel capitalizes on, could work very well for him.

Thank you so much for writing this, Daniel. This is historical fantasy at its best.

This is a self-published novel that you MUST not miss. It has an alternate history, fantasy, heroic action, excellent attention to details of the fighting, city street combat. This is an epic journey to the city streets of Troy itself. I reviewed this book back in mid-2019. Now I feel this book needs that attention once again.

I loved the characters, the way Daniel has interpreted the novel, and it is clear he’s done his research. The plot of this novel is so good, that I will not spoil the twists or ending that come after this. The vivid descriptions of armor, battles. Everything about this novel is fantastic. This book had fantastic action sequences combined with a vivid sense of combat.

This book has a better interpretation of the Iliad than what the movie depicts. The movie depicted the elite nobles of both sides, Trojan and Greek scheming against each other. When in reality, this really wasn’t the case at all? Both sides knew each other pretty well. Daniel must have scoured through the annals of Greek literature to find some obscure references of which I am sure he will have added into this novel. Where they showed all the elites of both sides, Trojan and Greek scheming against each other when in reality the Trojans and the Greek nobility knew each other. Daniel must have read some obscure material and used it for this book. Diomedes was my favorite character in this book. I liked his innocence, because that war, whether it happened, took a toll on everybody. I imagine that was what the aftermath of WW2 was. Priam was excellent, and Agamemnon, he was a cunning old wolf. Odysseus is older than I interpreted. You also got to see the viewpoint of the Trojans, which is very rare. Also, search Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Ambient Music for 4 hours. This is perfect for the ambiance and immersion.

The dialogue, the prose, everything about this book is excellent. I’m in praise. What more can I say? I would have wanted this novel to be bigger, and more explanations as I have a lot of questions regarding this book. This could be an under-explored genre that, if Daniel capitalizes on, could work very well for him.

Thank you so much for writing this, Daniel. This is historical fantasy at its best.

Book Cover Reveal for Book II:

A Hero's Welcome (Heroes of Troy): Amazon.co.uk: Kelly, Daniel:  9781838047207: Books

Review of Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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I was given an ARC by Jo Fletcher Books and thanks to the wonderful Katya for sending me this book.

THIS is why my blog was started. To review diverse fantasy. And I got this book based on Mayan mythology. There is very little work based on Mesoamerica, and so I thank Silvia for creating a wonderful book.

First off, this is a book that I would reccomand for you to pick up. You like Mayan Gods? Check. You like elaborate description’s of the palaces of the underworld? Check. You like a female heroine that has a strong sense of mind and logic? Check.

I did feel that Caspoiea needed more scenes of her emotional development personally. I also think we needed to see more of her fun side a lot more often. The question that struck me about this novel is, do the Mayan Gods know of the Aztec Gods? Heck, do the Gods of Old Religions know each other in this world?

For me once it got going, it was like being on a long train journey. Everything about the worldbuilding makes you definitely feel the impact that Spanish Rule essentially did to Ancient Meso-America. And what the current descendents of those Spanish Colonalists now living bascially on the land where jaguars roamed and jungles were abundant. I would have liked to seen how the Old Gods saw Christanity and what they did to combat it. Because I am sure that the Mayan Religion is alive, but in very small pockets as compared to its historical past.

I also felt the novel was too short, and too long at the same time. Too short because I am sure Silvia wanted to show more of the Mayan Afterlife, and too long because the climax did drag a little to the end, but that is a minor nit-pick. Hun-Kame has become my favorite God. Very similar to Hades.

But I also appericate how difficult it is to research on Meso-America when the Spanish Conquistadores bascially removed the history of the Inca’s, the Aztec’s, etc. There are not many suriving sources and this is a shame. So kudos to Silvia on doing the best she could do with Mayan Languages. She’s done more research and it takes a lot of hard work to research on Mayan Mythology or even Meso-American Mythology as well. But I want to see more writers tackling this subject. If the Spanish Conquistadores had removed the history of these civilizations, then who is to say we cannot recreate them? There is still dispute even today about the Roman Legions wearing red for their uniforms in battle. Except the Romans had a lot of writing to bascially have as source materials. If we can spend time in destroying a culture, as human history as shown, then we can spend time in recreating it to the best of our ability. That is a opinion of mine and nothing more.

I throughly enjoyed the perspective of the Mayan Gods, and their unique look. They were not kind Gods, but you could also say the same about the Greek Gods. But we must also look at the fact that most of the harsh thing we hear about the Greek/Roman Gods came from a monotheistic perspective. Therefore when trying to understand these cultures, it is best to remove that perspective and understand for what it is. There must have been a reason as to why so many Ancients were worshipping the Gods as they did.

The prose of this book is excellent, the characters are excellent, and my rating is a solid 4.5/5. I really enjoyed this book, and you will not regret buying this at all

To other writers, I do want to read more books about Mayan Mythology, and I generally of the modern day mixing with Ancient. I’d rather be happy with a book that has Ancient stuff in it only because you get to see the glory of the Meso-American World. Heck, you get books based on the glory of Ancient Rome, so why not on the Toltecs, Olmecs, Zapotecs etc?