Review of a Child of Love and Water by DK Marley

Free on KU

Genre: Historical Fiction

Author: DK Marley

Publication Date: 19th Oct 2018

Publisher: The White Rabbit Publishing

Free on: Kindle Unlimited

My Review (contains some spoilers)

Child of Love & Water is a very emotional book. Many times I find myself sympathizing with many of the character’s problems. It’s such a unique concept that you have people from all different cultures interacting with each other because of the character Muirin.

She has a tragic start, being the daugther of an Irish Mother, and a Quaker Preacher who dies early on. Since then, her mother only teaches her love. And as the reality of the world sets in, Muirin is exposed to this in a fashion like in the Disney movie, Pocahontas.

If you are a lover of music, you should search Outlander Season 4 soundtrack and Frontier (Netflix series) soundtracks. Especially play the track of An American Dream (In the Outlander season 4 playlist) it FITS the book so well.

Ekana was by far one of the best characters in the book. I swear he is an warrior, but he’s also soft-hearted but he doesn’t show it. He has some of the best comebacks. Aidan was an alright character but I suppose there were plenty of men like him that didn’t wish to serve in the army, but had no choice. I would have wanted to seen a more begruding respect building to their friendship, at least a couple of more scenes. In some regard, the world in which Muirin dreamed off is similar to the 21st century even though racisim and wars still exist. However if you took Ekana, Ruha and Aidan to this world, I think they would find themselves living in some measure of peace. Not all, but the 21st century would still be a good time of peace as its not a lot of wars happening.

Tragically, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, two royal families caused an epic conflict that lasted 40 days. The result? Both sides knew each other. Both sides wanted a portion of the throne. And the outcome? Only the father, Dhritarashtra who was born blind from birth, ended up weeping. That was the start of Kali-Yug. In another story, a King was marching through the forest when he saw a man trying to drag a cow with one of his legs damaged. The King asked what was the cause of this? The man begged and said he was the bringer of Kali-Yug, the time of chaos, great misfortune and evil. The King immediately told him to go. After much ardous conversation, the man said that the King could not stop the progress of time. The King told him he could go with prositution, war, greed and lust. The man accepted it. And Kali-Yug arrived into this world. This is according to the Hindu belief.

It is a novel of great love and emotional strength, and yes it makes you wonder why should they fight? Check out the Waterloo scene in youtube where French cavarly charge the British squares, and one of the soliders shouts from the top of his lungs, why should we fight each other?

Otherwise, this was a great novel. Loved it.

My rating: 5/5

My Review of A Magistrate Zhu Mystery: The Balance of Heaven and Earth by Laurence Westwood

Image result for the balance of heaven and earth laurence westwood

Title: A Magistrate Zhu Mystery: The Balance of Heaven and Earth by Laurence Westwood

Author: Laurence Westwood

Series: Magistrate Zhu #1

Genre: Historical Fiction

Date of Publication: 30th September 2018

Publishers: Shikra Press

Blurb: I have been unable to write a judgement that does not seem to offend my conscience, or indeed Heaven, in some manner. Because I do not wish to influence your thinking unduly, I have destroyed all my personal papers and notes in regard to this dispute, preferring you to start afresh. Forgive me for this. All I ask is that you consider and examine Jade Moon most carefully before coming to a decision. I find her fascinating and unsettling in equal measure, and fear the consequences of a wrongful judgement. I will say no more.

My sincerest best wishes to you and your family,

Magistrate Qian
Fifth District, Chengdu Prefecture
1st day of the 2nd Moon, 1085


So ends the letter of welcome (and of warning) to Magistrate Zhu, newly arrived in the remote border town of Tranquil Mountain. He has travelled far from his extensive family estates on the outskirts of Kaifeng – the glorious Song Dynasty capital – hoping to find atonement for past mistakes.

Yet he quickly discovers that Tranquil Mountain is anything but tranquil. The town is beset with simmering tensions since the death of his predecessor. Before Magistrate Zhu even has time to accustom himself to his inexperienced and wayward constabulary and the lowliness of his new surroundings, there is a mysterious murder, rumours of ghosts and blood-thirsty bandits out on the streets, and a disturbing kidnapping to solve – as well as the tragic and tangled legal circumstances of the local heroine Jade Moon to unravel.

For the balance of Heaven and Earth to be maintained, and to prevent catastrophe coming to Tranquil Mountain, Magistrate Zhu is well aware that not a single injustice can be allowed to stand. As he struggles to reach the correct judgements, he realises he has no choice but to offer up his career and perhaps even his own life for the greater good. And, in so doing, he discovers that as Jade Moon’s fate rests in his hands, so his fate ultimately rests in hers.

My Review:

Thank you to Laurence for sending me a ARC of this wonderful novel. 🙂

This novel is the reason I want to see big publishers such as Harpercollins, Canelo, Angry Robot, Orbit do more settings in China, be it historical, or sci-fi, or alternate history. Or more historical fiction. Here I am, as a reader that wants to see more locations in historical fiction, thinking of a novel being written about maybe the Han Dynasty. And here comes this novel based on the Song Dynasty.

This novel has a simplistic plot and I prefer it that way. Most Traditional Chinese stories are complex to understand. And Laurence has done a fantastic job in simplifying the names. I can only imagine that they were difficult to translate into.

It is a historical mystery series similar to the celebrated cases of Judge Dee, who is similar to the Tang Dynasty figure, Di Renjie, who served as the chancellor of the Tang and Zhou Dynasties. It is the Chinese version of case crime novels so to say. Imagine Sherlock Holmes for a moment, and you get the idea.

The world-building, the characters, the setting, the description, the research, all of it has been done to a meticulous level. You feel as if it immerses you in Song China. You feel and see many character’s regrets, motivations, and the struggles of power conflict. I wished to see more of Jade Moon’s maturity and to understand more of her character. I felt that Magistrate Zhu is one of those incorruptible people that you cannot bribe with. People like him are very rare. One thing I liked about the novel was the plot’s setting. That a peaceful village has a disturbance. I felt its similar to China’s history. It builds an empire before downfall happens and is a constant repetitive motif in Chinese history. This happens a lot throughout the novel. So just watch out for any references made about empires and barbarians and the law. And civilization.

The novel’s approach doesn’t stifle you with complicated names or grand candour or anything of that sort. It’s short, it’s simple, it’s direct. You will get to know characters such as the infamous Deng Brothers (please do read their parts) and Horse. Horse is a character that if you’re familiar with watching Chinese/Korean historical dramas, resembles that a lot.

This could easily be a Netflix series. I can imagine a great TV show being made of this. I can’t wait to see what other mysteries come up. Though I would like to see Magistrate Zhu dealing with Japanese Pirates or travelling to Josean at the request of the Empire. This is a solid novel. If you want more diverse settings, if you want a Chinese historical fiction novel, then READ THIS AND BUY IT NOW

My rating: A solid 5/5.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42413793-the-balance-of-heaven-and-earth

My Review of the United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas

Image result for United States of Japan
Image result for United States of Japan

Blurb:

Decades ago, Japan won the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and nobody believes that Japan’s conduct in the war was anything but exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washingtons – a shadowy group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest subversive tactic is to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.

Captain Beniko Ishimura’s job is to censor video games, and he’s working with Agent Akiko Tsukino of the secret police to get to the bottom of this disturbing new development. But Ishimura’s hiding something… He’s slowly been discovering that the case of the George Washingtons is more complicated than it seems, and the subversive videogame’s origins are even more controversial and dangerous than either of them originally suspected.

Part detective story, part brutal alternate history, United States of Japan is a stunning successor to Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

My Review (Warning contains spoilers)

If you’ve watched the Man in the High Castle’s last and final season, and you’re in the mood for more alternate history scenarios like the Axis’s powers winning WWII, look no further than the United States of Japan.

First off, I wish to see more points of view from an Asian perspective especially in sci-fi/alternate history. The Japanese Viewpoint is relatively under-explored in WWII. Second, the writing and the prose is top notch. Third, this is a book full of gore. Fourthly, that was a feature of the times, especially in Japan.

I like how Peter displays the stunning incompetence that the Japanese Military leadership had with the ruling of their empire. The Japanese military had been quietly removing ministers of the civilian cabinet that led to the invasion of Manchuria without the Emperor’s approval. I feel that the amount of research is impeccable. And that Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire were two corrupt regimes. The military acted much like the feudal warlords of Japan, whose main aim and purpose had been to keep the Emperor a figure-head. In many ways, I love how Peter built this new world. Showing us how Japanese culture influenced America, and literally most of American history has been reduced to shreds.

The concept of video games as a device of war is also a brilliant idea. They are used by the Empire as a propaganda tool to control their population. The Martha Washingtons remind me of Juliana Crain and the Resistance. Akikio and Beniko Ishimura. I feel these characters had the most tragic endings. Read onto the page, and Beniko’s build-up and character plot has been well done. Beniko is a character that will make you cry, laugh and surprise. That is all I can say. The fanaticism of the Japanese military has also been well reflected in society.

It confused me what had happened to the Nazis, however. I would have liked to see more viewpoints of theirs. This book is hefty, well written, well researched, and there are so many tiny details that I cannot pinpoint all of them out. But this is a fantastic novel. It needs to be read. This will be the book of the century. I feel Amazon should pick this show up and develop it in two years to not develop fatigue setting so to say. The sequel will now be released for 2020 and I cannot wait to read it.

My Rating: 5/5

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25809801-united-states-of-japan

Ready on 5th March 2020

Review of the Skyweaver (Iskari #3) by Kristen Ciccarelli

Image result for Skyweaver book

Release Date: 12th November 2019

Publisher: Gollancz

Genre: YA Fantasy

Review Copy: Yes

Blog Tour: Sky Weaver Blog Tour organised by Gollancz

Blurb:

At the end of one world, there always lies another.

Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard—helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.

Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as the Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman power to move between worlds.

When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?

Now Safire and Eris—sworn enemies—find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara. From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Star Isles, their search and their stories become woven ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they’re hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world—and the next.

My Review: (Warning contains minor spoilers)

Note: I have not read the first and second books, so I am reviewing this as a standalone.

This book was very emotional for me. I felt as if this was a very good conclusion to a series. The best parts were the fight scenes and the dragons. Sorrow is one of my favorite characters. I wish he had been more used in this novel.

With Jemsin and Kor, I did feel they were also under-used in the latter parts of the novel. I would have liked to seen them come to their punishments as they deserve. They were effective as villains, and Kor was a character that no one would like. I would have liked to seen some more scenes of his cunning.

The use of flashbacks and the viewpoints contrasting between Safire and Eris were also a great way to get into the novel. So even if you haven’t read the first and second, you can easily get into this book.

This novel had some very striking scenes, that had an emotional impact. I feel this novel was written by someone who understands the struggles of the world and wrote this novel as something hopeful.

I feel like writing anymore would make want to spoil, so I’ll stop here. I feel the writing, the novel, everything about this was great. Thank you to Kate Moreton for sending me this book.

Rating: 5/5.

Links to Amazon/Goodreads Review:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3048590334

Amazon: Currently in submission process

Five Unicorn Flush by T.J.Berry

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Blurb:

Only one woman with a magical parasite can unite the galaxy, in the mind-blowing SF sequel to Space Unicorn Blues

The Bala, magical creatures, have hidden themselves from cruel and destructive humanity, leaving the galaxy in shambles. Without unicorn-powered faster-than-light travel, mankind is scattered, starving and isolated across the stars. Cowboy Jim has the sole surviving FTL drive, and he and his Reason soldiers are determined to track down and re-enslave the Bala. But on their new planet, the Bala are on the brink of civil war: should they accept Unicorn rule, or follow necromancer Bao Zhi and exact revenge on their human oppressors? Only Captain Jenny, with her new elfin parasite, can return peace to the galaxy.

My Review: (Contains spoilers)

Thank you to Gemma at Angry Robots, and Angry Robots for sending me what is one of the wackiest, Monty python style sci-fi novels I’ve read. It’s like if you mixed the Expanse, the Orville and Star Trek all together. It’s that wacky. And very enjoyable.
What can I say about this novel? It’s amazing in the sense it has epic spaceship fights. It’s amazing in the sense that it shows disabilities and I applaud this. Jenny is a lucky woman because staying in a wheelchair is not the best option, and her partner, Kalia is there for her. I have not read the first book, but now I will.


Gary Cobalt is the Jesus Christ of this Universe. He’s literally the epitome of all goodness. Many times I sympathized with this half-unicorn and the half-human creature. I wonder if the Bala do worship Gods?

Or is there a religion at all? He has a big problem trying to get the Bala (all creatures of magic that we’ve read in our mythology) to live in this world when its basically just a big prison and no one dares venture out.


Well Actually and Stagecoach Mary was two well done AI characters. I really wanted to see more of them in the novel. Their viewpoint of interpreting this whole mess is unique. I also feel that the Human Experiment failed badly.

You’ve got wars, killings, etc. All the stuff you’d get in a basic sci-fi show. In a sense, it’s very much like Doctor Who.


The dialogue, the writing, the prose is fantastic. I did feel many times for Jenny, but she’s done wrong and she’s willing to make up for it. You don’t often find people like that. Gary’s father, Findae is a representation of the old arrogant English aristocracy. He’s literally the best enjoyable character in the book.


It’s also funny that some of the Bala had a comfortable life with their human masters and want to go back. I do feel Spartacus must have sensed this when he lead the slave revolt against Rome as well. Sometimes the slave became the master. And well, it is an odd thing really.


Even so, this novel has its serious moments, and it has gore. But not too much that it would strike you instantly on the face, there’s a setup. What I love is how Berry always an explanation for what’s happening. So crazy Russian mafia go on a ship and riot ensures?

The result of that doesn’t need to be explained, you’ll figure that out quickly. So you are well accustomed to what comes next, but it is there.


Horm, I felt was more under-used in the novel. I would have liked to see her more of her viewpoint. I do feel Gary needs a partner to defend him. He tries to do good but nobody wants it. Could this make Gary turn into something else? Who is to say.


My rating is a solid 5/5. Can’t wait to read the first book, and then for the third 🙂

Until We Meet Again by Rosemary Goodacre

Until We Meet Again

The Great War drove them apart – but love kept them together

Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.

The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to be wed, eager to start a new life together – but their happiness is short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.

Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters sent from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all – can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?

A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 – readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love.

Purchase Links

Amazon https://amzn.to/2miX2vD
Apple https://apple.co/2ncLTg3
Kobo http://bit.ly/2m4UgKB

Author Bio –

Rosemary Goodacre has previously worked in computing and teaching. She has had short stories published and a novella, A Fortnight is not Enough.

Her father’s family came from continental Europe and she loves travelling.
She enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives with her husband in Kent, England.

My Review:

Brilliantly done in the style of Ken Follet. Vivid emotional scenes, and the hopeless loss of lives in WW1. I feel this novel is one you need to pick up and read.
No one I believe in WW1 believed that the war was just for good vs evil, it was more than that. Men of other sides died in a war that ultimately showed the true devastation of war. However, the preclusion to WW1’s terrible nature goes back through two epic wars in history. The American Civil War was the setting stage for what would happen in WW1. Imagine if you’re a Confederate/Union soldier walking through the fields of battle as shrapnel, canister, and gunfire shoots at you. The muskets themselves had a powerful rate of fire and accuracy as compared to the Napoleonic Wars. Walking in lines and columns was tough. Though, during the latter end of the war, Sherman did the March across the sea, burning and devastating the South. Railways were used often, and this would later spell out the tactics used in WW1. I’m imagining Edmond, or any officer walking through cannon fire knowing that you march and march until you can get there. And then, you fight. It is a harrowing experience. It is no wonder that Edmond suffered PSTD, and this has been prevalent throughout history.
The mothers in WW1 lost brave sons fighting for this cause. It is a terrible experience. I also liked the depiction of the British Army and how basically they were in difficult conditions. There wasn’t much you could do. Moving on, I do feel Amy was quite a good character, though sometimes I did feel that she was following the events more, than being actively involved. For example, the rift between the Derwent Family and Amy. I did not get enough scene development to show the rift between them eventually calmed down. I would have liked to have seen the Derwent family coming to terms with the fact that WW1 was changing the shape of society. Mr. Dervant certainly showed this. Edmond’s sister and mother, not so much.
I would have liked to have seen Amy as a VAD nurse being more shocked and horrified at the camps of wounded men. Because then I think where Rosemary could have built another emotional sequence was showing Amy’s fragility. Sure, she signed up to be a nurse and be closer to her husband. But she would also have seen the countless men out that had a wife or a girlfriend. Edmond could have been any one of them. This is foreshadowed later in the novel when Edmond says to Amy to be prepared for the worst.
There was that Colonel who successfully put her in prison because of her involvement in the Suffragette movement. I do feel that his assault on her, which Amy survived, should have been more of a karma payback to that dastardly colonel. The Colonel may have been well connected in the army, but I would have liked to see how karma would essentially bite him.
There are many great characters, many great moments, and many emotional moments that would make you cry. I see WW1 as a conflict that need not be started. Everyone in WW1 was imagining a short war. How wrong they were.
My rating is a solid 4/5.

My Review of Radical Politics of Indian Love by Rachita Ramaya Singh

Blurb:

‘Radical Politics of Indian Love’ is a collection of short stories of fiction in an Indian political landscape.
India is a land of unity in diversity, organized chaos, but most importantly, India is a land of love. These bitter-sweet stories on how love co-exists in a backdrop of cultural differences, age-old traditions, honor-killings, and political dynamics can be inspirational and relevant. ‘Treesome’, ‘Modern Indian Widow’, ‘The writer, the lover and the doctor’ are stories of love that thrive in an era of conflict. ‘No Man’s Refuge’ is a science-fiction story that touches on the future of the South Asian war zones.
‘The Bollywood Hero’ and ‘The Royal Bengal Tigress’ are stories of romance and friendship that need to be told.

My Review:

Radical Politics of Indian Love is defiantly bittersweet. The prose is great, the writing is great, and the Bollywood story is my favorite. It represents everything bad that is common in the industry and why I wish sometimes we would change this industry for good. If Bollywood wants to become global, it has to change a lot of things first in terms of improving pay for screenwriters.

This isn’t my genre usually, and I assume the author has done a good amount of research. From an NRI perspective, life in India is to be put like this: complicated and messy. But still people live such difficult lives in India.

In Treesome, I didn’t get the impression that the main character was a tree until I realised it at the end. It was very bitter-sweet. In Royal Bengal Tigress, I liked her bodyguard more.

At some points, I think the point of view could have been more simplified with two instead of three in the Writer and Doctor and the Lover, but I thought this was a nitpick of mine. I didn’t like Veer but neither the Doctor. I mean dude, Veer is a friend of Amby, turning to get Amby when he’s in the hospital is a bit weird. That was my reaction with the doctor.

The saddest story was Shiv, the army officer and his depressed wife. Indian army soliders face the most extreme and difficult circumstances out of all the armed forces in the world. They are in regions where you would never want to be. No food, no electricity, no water, no wifi. None of the modern comforts. Yet these are the most bravest men because while I love playing war games, they are just men and women at the end of the day. They feel for their families. I found how hard it was for Shiv to deal with his wife, especially since you’re dealing with something that is bigger. It made me think that had Shiv and his wife sat down and spoke, a lot of things could have been resolved.

This world may be morally grey, but the stories in this book isn’t. It’s a constant reminder of how we can improve our lives and learn from the mistakes of others. I bet there are plenty of real life stories like this. This could easily be a web series. Solid rating 5/5.

Free on KU UK!

Review of Time Shards by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald

Image result for Time Shards (Time Shards #1)

Blurb:

It’s called “the Event.” An unimaginable cataclysm in the 23rd century shatters 600 million years of the Earth’s timeline into jumbled fragments. Our world is gone: instantly replaced by a new one made of shattered remnants of the past, present and future, all existing alongside one another in a nightmare patchwork of different time “shards”—some hundreds of miles long and others no more than a few feet across.

San Diego native Amber Richardson is stranded on a tiny fragment of 21st century Britain surrounded by a Pleistocene wilderness. She crosses paths with Cam, a young warrior of a tribe from Roman Brittania, and together they struggle to survive—only to be imprisoned by Cromwellian soldiers. One of their captives is a man who Amber calls “Merlin, and who claims to be the 23rd century scientist responsible for the Event. Together they must escape and locate Merlin’s ship before the damage to the timeline is irreparable.

My Review: (Warning Contains spoilers)

This is time travelling, time displacement, and dinosaurs all in one heck of a book that made want to read on.

This is, if not, THE BEST book EVER. I mean that in every possible sense. I WANTED MORE! MORE! Heck, LET THE TIMELINE BE DAMNED! Ha, but seriously this is the amount of excitement I had when reading this book. It went so fast that the writing, the dialogue, the prose was fantastic.

If you’re wondering why a group of Cromwell’s soliders are charging a Celt, an Englishman, an American lady, with witchcraft, you’re in for a treat. The dinosaurs. BBC! This is the NEW Doctor Who. If you want a time travelling show just look at this GEM! Honestly, you SHOULD read this FIRST before reading Shatter war. It has such a wild imagination, and Cem! Literally the wildest, badass, and most respectable man on the planet. I LOVE his views, his intepretation of the world, and in a way I think we need to return to that. Poor Amber, she was on a date and well….I won’t say anything more than that. Amber and Cem make a very good couple.

At Titan Books, for the 3rd book, you must say and literally say: Time travelling with dinosaurs in a fractured timeline. I’ve enjoyed this so much I think it’s the British version of Baen’s 1636 series, in where a 21st century American State is time-dropped into 1636. This is wilder, this has beasts, this has dinosaurs, damn it! Honestly this is a rather under-rated gem. All the characters are great, everything about this novel is great. If it was 448 pages, it felt like 250. That’s how good it was.

It is a rather short review, but what more can I say that this is amazing. Read this book first, then Shatter war! Cannot wait for the third now.

Solid 5/5. BUY IT NOW!

UK LINK

Review of the Song of the Ash Tree

Blurb:

Raef Skallagrim wants to take the sea road. His ship is fast and sleek, his crew skilled and eager, and they will seek out new lands and win fame in the eyes of the gods. But Raef’s father refuses to allow the journey and when a stranger brings word that the king is dead and a gathering has been called to choose a successor, Raef must set aside his dream for his duty to his ancestral lands and his father.

When factions split at the gathering to choose a successor, Raef finds himself mired in bloodshed and treachery. Forced to make an uneasy alliance with a man he does not trust, Raef must navigate the tides of a war among three kings while seeking revenge for cold-blooded murder.

But winter has come early to Midgard, and even the gods will feel the cold

My Review: (Warning Contains Spoliers)

Ragnarok is unraveling in front of Raef Skallagrim, and there is not much he can do about it. That is the impression I got from reading this series. Note that I have finished book 1 and will continue to finish book 2 & 3. This book, 900 pages of great writing prose, breathtaking description and snow! Lots of it. For 99p is a steal. Get it NOW! It is long, but if you want a Norse trilogy that has reminiscent themes of LOTR, you need to READ THIS.
If you like music when reading, then play the God of War Youtube unreleased soundtrack and Wardruna. Thoroughly gets you in the mood. If not feel free to skip this part.
This novel focuses on Raef’s journey, and for once I do feel much better about reading a character that is competent from the start when he loses everything dear to him. That said, I felt Raef was always a bit aloof, not using his head as he should have. But he’s a young man. When you’re an older man you have the benefit of maturity to make decisions. When you’re young, you’re either lazy or you’re really smart or you just don’t care and try to circumnavigate through this political game of thrones that Raef is thrust into. I think he qualifies for the third position.
By becoming too subservient sometimes towards the Hammerling, I felt like Vakre and Siva have his best interests at heart. Sometimes I was like, Raef, listen to them! Raef is a ladies man. Lucky….well that’s all I’ll say. But Raef I think has not known a true relationship with a woman. It remains to be seen how mature he will become. The Hammerling is one proper bastard that’s like Rollo from Vikings. Cunning and ruthless. The Palesworld is a manifestation of evil. Eira was a great character but I wanted to see more of her in the novel. I sometimes feel Vakre and Siv needed some more scenes, to at least tell Raef what he was doing was a bit of a strategic error.
And Ravens! How I loved the use of Ravens to show the use of Odin’s watchful eye. Odin is very comparable to Zeus in many areas. Odin is keeping watch over the world of mortals. The mythology in this is amazing. There was one moment where one of the characters was going to tell a story and then it didn’t happen (I assume for one of two reasons. First, probably to save up on the dreaded info dump that authors have to contend with in fantasy novels for that matter, or two, it could have dragged a bit) though for me I was a little underwhelmed at that. There are far more Christian stories/folk tales than there is Norse Mythology. Calling it Mythology could mean its just a bunch of tales, but some people worship the Norse Gods even today, and I would call it a small religion compared to its glorious days. Its a shame not many of the old religions of the Ancient World don’t exist because of history and time, and so many stories written then are lost to us. I would have wanted to see more narration of some tales, but that’s me.
There is so much sword-fighting I am astounded how well Taya kept her watch on it. There isn’t a moment you’ll want to skip. The sword fighting is top-notch. Alright. Top-Notch. That’s how good it is. So much snow I wonder if they’re living in the snow all the time, all the characters in this book.
Even though this is a fantasy world, I would have wanted Taya to do something different. Imagine if we had Medieval Knights. You might think Medieval knights and fantasy Vikings? Sure that works, or maybe not. But hear me out. By the time of the Christianization of Europe, Christian monks went out of their way to convert the Norse Peoples. Now imagine if they had failed. What would temples look like? What if the Norse people had established their own churches similar to the function of the Christian churches? What would medieval armor look like? I would have wanted to see a Medieval Viking knight with plate armor but with a new design etc. Much of the setting I got came from the 8th century of the Viking Period. I would have wanted to see more of this.
I’ve only finished book 1 and I cannot tell you how excited I am to go onto the others. This is a fantastic book, full of swordfights, snow, and lots of it. It’s great. 5/5.

UK USERS: FREE ON KU AND 0.99P!
UK Link for the first book in the series