Review: Thunder at Kadesh (Empires of Bronze #3) by Gordon Doherty

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

It will be the cruellest war ever waged, and the Gods will gather to watch…

1275 BC: Tensions between the Hittite and Egyptian Empires erupt and the two great superpowers mobilise for all-out war. Horns blare across the Hittite northlands and the dunes of Egypt rumble with the din of drums as each gathers an army of unprecedented size. Both set their eyes upon the border between their domains, and the first and most important target: a desert city whose name will toll through history. Kadesh!

Prince Hattu has lived in torment for years, plagued by the memory of his wife’s murder. Thoughts of her poisoner, Volca the Sherden – for so long safe and distant by Pharaoh Ramesses’ side – have sullied his dreams, blackened his waking hours and driven him to commit the darkest of deeds. Now that war is here, he at last has the chance to confront his nemesis and have his vengeance.

But as the ancient world goes to war, Hattu will learn that the cold, sweet kiss of revenge comes at a terrible price.

Review:

Thank you to Gordon for providing me with an ARC. These are my thoughts and opinions.

This is a wonderful, dazzling novel that puts you in one of the most epic battles of the Bronze Age Era. Thunder at Kadesh. The title is very apt. Cinematic visuals combined with excellent prose make you immersed in a well researched, well written historical world that comes alive to you. I always love historical fiction that focuses on the Bronze Age Era, especially Egypt, and Mesopotamia. I wish more fantasy would pick this up as a setting.

The Ancient Near East as you will know by its modern name today, the Middle East, is still a hotbed of conflict that hasn’t shown any signs of stopping. Consider this book as a prelude, a sort of history’s warning so to say. Before the days of the Romans and the Greeks, two massive empires in the Levant battled out for supreme dominance in the region of Ancient Syria. Or in those times, regions that were ruled by the Hittites. Both Egypt and the Hittites were gearing up for a battle that would rattle the backbones of both empires.

This map easily illustrates the situation to say:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hitt_Egypt_Perseus.png

Now you might be wondering, that’s all fine and good, but how does this factor into everything that happened at Kadesh? Quite simply put, Egypt had been under the rule of the Hyskos for quite a while. And they managed to throw the yoke of the tyrants that the Hyskos were. The Egyptians, quite possibly embarrassed at this national humiliation resolved to rebuild their empire to the glory it once was. Under Thutmose I, the Egyptian Empire had reached its furthest extent to Canaan. The days of those times however were gone. Seti I expanded his armies into the provinces as shown in Green. The Egyptians were keen to bring back the days of the Tutmosid Kings that had expanded their empire so gloriously. To bascially put this into perspective: peace was made with the Hittites and so the Egyptians had a gala time conquering small-time kingdoms. They were the old kids on the block that were aiming to bring back their old glory. Lo and behold, the city of Kadesh lies in both camp’s interest. The conflict resolves and that is when you get Seti I first dying, and his son Ramesses II (Yes, that Ramesses the Great) wanting to defeat the Hittites.

That’s the historical point of context from what we can gather here. Gordon is an expert historian and superb at his research. He spent a lot of time studying both sides, their military, and the way their society functioned. His depiction of chariot warfare is perhaps one of the best ways I’ve seen it written. Chariot warfare is not easy to write, because we don’t have that many records of how people would fight them. Now you might say, well that’s not true as we have records, yes, true. But chariots were the tanks of their days. A chariot rider would have had at least two warriors beside him also including that they had to protect him. Or get sliced under the wreckage should chariots collide with one another. There is brutal combat in this book.

And lo and behold, we have the Trojans! They make a welcome appearance in this book. And by the Gods, they make an excellent debut. They are powerful and vicious warriors. I won’t say their names but you will soon realize where they come from. I do like the hint that Gordon put here because they were the vassals of the Hittites. The characters in this novel are staggering. Each character feels three-dimensional and each of them has an actual motive. You’ve got Hattu obsessed with Volca, who was bascially responsible for killing Seti I, his wife, and many other innocent people.

And Volca’s a Sherden, one of the Sea Peoples that were involved in this fight. You tend to sympathize more with the Hittites and you see that the Egyptians when they are forced to become brutal, become brutal. I was disappointed that we did not see more of Ramesses’s son, Khepe. I would have wanted more scenes with him. Ramesses the Great, however, is a brutal man that you would never wish to offend in real life. His grand advisors and priests are the most corrupt force behind him. I believe. But if it was for anything, Egypt’s downfall came at the hand of its priesthood long into the Greek and Roman days.

The landscapes in this novel are very unique. The Empire of Bronze Series has been building up to this monumental battle at Kadesh. I think Hattu was too mewling, obsessed with killing Volca that it ruined his health. There are many Godly interventions written in this novel that are also well done. When I mean interventions, think of them as omens so to say. The Battle of Kadesh is written on such a magnificent scale that this novel could have been longer. I felt we spent too much time on the development of both armies building up their resources, gathering their allies, and then going for the final battle. Because Kadesh is bascially going like this: The Hittites spot the Egyptians too early. They attack. The Egyptians retreat. Ramesses leads a stiff-counter attack. The Hittites outnumber the Egyptians, they send more troops. They loot the Egyptian camp. Ramesses’s reinforcements arrive and the battle becomes a stalemate for now. While Egyptian records state that they won, Hittite records have also stated that they too won. That’s my basic understanding of what happened at Kadesh. I do hope I haven’t made a mistake!

And if you want an image to see how brutal this battle was, Gordon does a fantastic job in bringing it alive. It was truly a terrible battle. You’ll march through deserts, wonder in the palaces of both Hittite and Egyptian, and see the Gods in their full might. You’ll witness thirty thousand warriors on both sides, clashing swords while chariots collide and crunch at each other, generals and warriors boasting on both sides and taunting each other. You’ll see Prince Hattu prove his worth on the battlefield, and trying to correct a terrible mistake that led to Kadesh. You will see a lion cub soon becoming powerful…(and that’s a hint you’ll discover.) It is such a refreshing book, that I wish more fantasy was based on the Bronze Age. It was a time of great battles, wonderful achievements, yet a truly brutal era to live in. You will feel as if you are in this world. Amazing description, breathtaking cinematic battle scenes, and wonderful characterization.

It’s a 10/10 for me.

Review: How To Rule An Empire and Get Away With It (The Siege #2) by K.J Parker

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

This is the story of how the City was saved, by Notker the professional liar, written down because eventually the truth always seeps through.

The City may be under siege, but everyone still has to make a living. Take Notker, the acclaimed playwright, actor and impresario. Nobody works harder, even when he’s not working. Thankfully, the good citizens of Classis appreciate an evening at the theatre even when there are large rocks falling out of the sky.

But Notker is a man of many talents, and all the world is, apparently, a stage. It seems that the Empire needs him – or someone who looks a lot like him – for a role that will call for the performance of a lifetime. At least it will guarantee fame, fortune and immortality. If it doesn’t kill him first.

Review:

Thank you to Nazia and Orbit books for providing me an ARC. All thoughts are mine

How to Rule an Empire is one of the, if not, the most brilliant fantasy novels based on the Byzantine Empire that I have ever read. This is a tale of a conman, a tale of an actor that becomes something bigger than life. I really liked Notker and his ability to adapt in this world-changing novel. An actor that is threatened by three of the most powerful men in the city suddenly becomes privy to the politics of the city that forces him to become Emperor.

Firstly, I applaud Orbit for taking this Byzantine inspired fantasy and adding it onto my shelf. The cover really makes a lot of sense when you read the entire novel. I feel Notker’s mother never really liked him and really wished that in the sequel, we see their chemistry becoming repaired. I was disappointed not to see a map because I really want to see a map of this Byzantine inspired fantasy. I also wished to see more of Ogus and his scenes developing with Notker who becomes the Emperor in a way.

This is also, of course, inspired by the 1453 Siege of Constantinople. If you watch Netflix’s Rise of Empire: Ottoman, it provides a somewhat balanced viewpoints of the Roman and Ottoman viewpoints from the siege. If you get started with book 1, it’ll provide some very good context. Notker seems to be inspired from Giovanni Giustiniani, apparently a Genose Captain, part of the Imperial Byzantine titles: Imperial Stable Master.

Bascially put, he’s comes from one of the greatest families of Genose. Hired by the last official Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos, Giovanni proved to be a pain in the neck for the Ottomans. He would fight them back, and he would conduct schemes and ruses to trick the Ottoman attackers. Very similiar things happen. Except you can guess here: Like Notker, Giovanni also fled the city when the attack led by the Ottomans was led by a ferecious assault and Giovanni fled, but he succumbed to his wounds (he attacked but he was wounded very severly). Notker has something similar…but you can figure that out. And I did not like Hodda. I don’t think she was ever a good fit for Notker in the first place (in brain and cunning yes. In love? Never.) I think Notker needs some really positive women in his life. Both his mother and Hodda are horrendous in my opinion. Captain Very was also a great character 🙂

I had so much fun reading this in the first person, I felt I was actively involved in Notker’s story. I CAN’T wait to see where his story goes! Truly, this IS the performance of a lifetime. I daresay Notker has gotten a bigger role that was very…tremendous for an actor of his capabilities. I cannot wait to read book 3! 10/10 from me.

Review: Caspian’s Fortune (Infinity’s End #1) by Eric Warren

Rating: 9/10

Synopsis:

He needs a payday. He’ll settle for payback.

Betrayed and left to rot on the edges of the galaxy, Caspian Robeaux is deep in debt and stuck flying courier missions in an old rustbucket he can barely keep afloat. His only friends are an annoying robot named Box and a bottle of booze.

It’s a far cry from his once-promising military career, but Cas stopped caring a long time ago.

Things start to look up, though, when a stranger arrives and offers a lucrative job that Cas can’t refuse, with a payday big enough to change his fortunes permanently. His luck gets even better when Cas learns that the job might offer him the one thing he wants more than his next drink: A chance to clear his name.

But nothing in his life is ever that simple, and for a man trying to buy his way out of debt, the price of redemption might be too steep.

Review:

This is a book you need to get. Fun. Original in every sense of how it makes you engrossed into a new world. The influences from Star Trek are there. But you know what? So what? I’ve been reading too much hardcore sci-fi that this is a pleasant exchange. One, I love stories about ex-rogues getting their former positions back. Two, I felt that this story is a mixture of the best parts of Orville and Star Trek combined.

There’s a lot of alien species in this world. It had the trope of humanity’s behind and therefore they need to build some sorta secret weapon. I also wonder if humans only have the ‘naval’ aspect of warfare. Where’s the Generals eh? Ruttledge was a good villain, but I felt like I really needed to see more of his cunning. He needed more scenes. Box is one of my favorite side-characters. The dude is literally me watching tv shows all day hehe 

Honestly, I enjoyed this so much I just don’t have enough words to write anymore. Just know you’re going to be hurtled into space, and Cas really needs Evie as a girlfriend. There’s a lot of good things. I didn’t like Veena that much however, and felt I really needed to see more scenes of her manipulation. I was expecting her to play a much bigger role in this novel. Nevertheless, it’s fun, its great, and you’ll have a lot of fun reading it!

REVIEW: NOTES FROM SMALL PLANETS: YOUR POCKET TRAVEL GUIDE TO THE WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY BY NATE CROWLEY (BLOG TOUR)

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Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

Journey from fantasy mountains to super-cities, through piratical seas and up into space without missing any must-see sights – or putting a foot wrong with the locals! Whether you’re Lord of the shoestring-budget or Luxe Skywalker – Notes from Small Planets is your pastiche passport through the best worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Your ultimate travel guide to all the must-see locations in the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The perfect gift for self-professed geeks and fans of all things genre – from classic genre listeners to new young disciples of nerdery. From misty mountains to wizarding schools, from the homes of superheroes to lairs of infamous villains – visit your favourite worlds and discover new ones – all without ever missing a single landmark or traditional dish. What’s orc for ‘bon voyage’?

Review:

Thank you to Harper Voyager UK for allowing me to participate in this excellent blog tour. All thoughts are mine, and I was given an ARC in exchange for a review.

This is clearly the ultimate travel book if the Doctor from Doctor Who decided to write down his memiors which practically stretch for thousands of years echoing across human history. This feels like an ancient manuscript that has been lost to the echoes of time. This is primarly Floyd’s work, and his commentary is delightful as well as humorous. Though if it was one thing I didn’t see coming: The intensive maths. Since it’s treating you, the reader as a tourist, I slightly didn’t want to be reminded of the large economical cost that a holiday requires so I think it could have been better improved in this part. Don’t remind me of the Tudor currency that lies within this book! It’s so confusing!

You’ll be experience worlds taken inspiration from LOTR, the Terminator, Pirates of the Carribbean, Mad Max, Planet of the Apes and so much more. You’ll be in a Conan inspired universe in the next and then sitting in a bar drinking horrible stuff with Robots since they have no sense of taste. The most favorite part of this world is the Pirates. They have a code for everything. Plus there’s talking skeleton pirates that touch treasure and become skeletons (some type of curse apparently). And then there’s the back and forth, between Floyd, our main writer, and Eliza, the editor of a glorious manuscript such as this who no doubt has to deal with Floyd’s biases.

There is a huge amount of diverse cultures, and it would have taken a lot of time to chronicle each and every event you can do as a tourist. I would have wanted to see a bit less of the menu items (and there’s a lot!). Sometimes I was reading halfway through an interesting paragraph and then there’s the box showing more interesting information. That felt a little jarring. But then again, it reminds me of those old children’s books that made you want to experience new worlds. Another thing is while this book had some excellent drawings and illustrations illustrating what the world looked like, I would have preferred to seen more illustrations. More of this would have been very good.

There isn’t much for me to say but this is a enjoyable book. Easy to read. No complexity needed. Funny and humorous. And its just the book we need in these challenging times. I’d love to see a Netflix adapation of this some time… 🙂

REVIEW: THE TROUBLE WITH PEACE (THE AGE OF MADNESS #2) BY JOE ABERCROMBIE (BLOG TOUR)

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

Conspiracy. Betrayal. Rebellion.
Peace is just another kind of battlefield…

Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.

For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.

The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.

The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever.

Review:

Thank you to Will, Patricia and Gollancz for sending me an ARC. I was provided an ARC for my honest thoughts, and all thoughts expressed in this review are my opinion.

The Trouble With Peace is the aptest and accurate title to ever describe this book of such magnitude. I finished this in one day (apparently I can consume 500 pages but not 700!) and I am amazed. Not only at the technicality of keeping numerous events in this massive world from not veering off the chart, but through the way Joe has managed to keep such a complex style of politics simple! I was immersed in the politics of the Union a lot more than I expected to be. I wasn’t expecting to relate with so many characters. Be it a politician, a wounded veteran (and there’s a lot of them) and scared soldiers (also a lot of them), and young recruits. This is no small world. This is a very big world, a very complex world, and keeping in-check of all the politics reminds me of so many historical parallels, and at one point when I read industrial, I thought, the wait is this the fantasy version of Anno 1800?

The dialogue is engaging, not a moment is wasted at all. The world-building is well done. I’m caring more about the world-building than I am before. It feels like this takes all the fantasy stuff and gives it a fresh coat of paint. There’s no part I didn’t enjoy. Though while I’d wish to reveal the story, I’m keeping it non-spoiler because there’s a lot of stories here. It’s def continuing from book 1 but here’s the thing. It doesn’t feel grim-dark. You can get into this book if you haven’t read book 1 (Spoilers! Go read Book 1, its amazing! xD). But let me tell you which characters I liked and which I didn’t like the most.

I loved Orso’s development of maturity across his arc, but I did feel that he was too stubborn sometimes. Orso in my opinion has the most interesting characteristic of any King out there. I like his regal stance, his cleverness, his ability to adapt to situations that are thrown across his way. Orso represents in some kind of way, the Charles I of Austria-Hungary in WW1. Cue the historical context: In WW1, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was pretty much a corpse shackled it’s to a competent ally, Germany. It was corrupt, it was broken internally, having to house so many nationalities (A theme you will def find in this book a lot.), and the passing away of Franz Joseph in 1916 caused a tremendous blow to the Empire internally.

Charles had a useless general named Conrad that practically would have been a better commander in the Imperial German Army than the Austrian Army. The Austrians were completely unprepared for WW1, and they were taking the brunt of aggressive Russian attacks, especially the Brusilov Offensive that shattered the morale and backbone of the Austrian army. Charles inherited the throne of Austria but soon it went bascially something like this: A lot of his subjects revolted against him, and then declared independence. Charles was trying to keep the Empire united and tried to negotiate Austria Hungary’s exit from WW1 but the allies were having none of it. Charles even went and allowed the Empire to transform into a federal union. Boom. Independence. Bu the end of 1918, Hungary declared independence, Croats, Serbs, Czechoslovakia were just parts of the empire that broke away. Charles had to renounce participation but was soon dethroned by the Austrian Parliament in April 1919, and exiled to Switzerland. He was then, if I remember, exiled to the Portuguese colony of Madeira, after his second attempt at reclaiming the throne.

This is why I am finding comparisons between Orso and Charles of Austria. I’d say this is the alternate version of Charles in a fantasy context. This is what if, he was giving breathing room to expand his power perhaps? I’ve been watching a lot of series of WW1 episodes from the Great War (a great history youtube channel done by Time Ghost) that show and demonstrate the complexities of politics within WW1. While of course, the combat is medieval in many senses, it reminded me of Pike and Shot warfare quite a lot. Austria-Hungary is neglected out of the study I find, and its a perfect way for authors to pick inspiration from. Bear in mind, this is what came to my mind when I read the first opening chapter.

As for Savine, I didn’t agree with many of the decisions she made. But I cannot help but admire her cunningness. Her ability to manipulate and betray. She is cruel, vindictive, yet brave, solid and a strong lady that knows what she wants. I just feel that she needs to get out of these lands and start fresh. A new empire maybe. She reminds me of Catherine of Russia for one and Empress Theodora of Byzantium. Her father has the wittiest lines that you will be mind-blown at. And Bayaz. I feel this guy needs an entire series of his own. He’s such an interesting character I wished to see more of him. I also liked Clover and his ability to see the situations four steps ahead of everyone else. There are so many characters you’ll love it. And Leo. A bit prejudiced, but he is an innocent man that I feel that he needs to go away from fighting and start a new life. He needs to see whether he can become mature or not.

The action in this book is not as action-packed. I however feel that’s good. It shows the politics and the characters that make those moves. That said, I did want to see more scenes of Orso a lot more. I felt more related to him. I do feel that Savine’s time with Zuri could maybe have been shorter. I also feel that Joe pretty much covered the rest of the story – but maybe some more distinguishing between the Open and Closed Council would also add some more elements. I feel there needs to be a map because this world is big. I wanted to look at a world map and see where Joe referenced other nations, other people. Because he does a lot. There was an Arabic inspired world, and he referenced that character from there. I do wish we will start to see more of the world from other culture’s perspectives as well.

I do wonder if dragons exist in this universe. Plenty of characters, plenty of politics, and it sets things up nicely for the third novel. I just felt by the end, I knew the story, it picked up the pace so well I was like, no. No. No! There was more! There was more to this! And it finished quickly. Just when it got right there. A real cliff-hanger. It’s a lot to summarise, but I enjoyed this story a lot. A total of 10/10 from me. Great novel. Great stuff

REVIEW: STORMBLOOD (THE COMMON #1) BY JEREMY SZAL

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper, a biosoldier fighting for the intergalactic governing body of Harmony against a brutal invading empire. Now, he fights against the stormtech: the DNA of an extinct alien race Harmony injected into him, altering his body chemistry and making him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. It made him the perfect soldier, but it also opened a new drug market that has millions hopelessly addicted to their own body chemistry.

But when Harmony tells him that his former ally Reapers are being murdered, Vakov is appalled to discover his estranged brother is likely involved in the killings. They haven’t spoken in years, but Vakov can’t let his brother down, and investigates. But the deeper he goes, the more addicted to stormtech he becomes, and Vakov discovers that the war might not be over after all. It’ll take everything he has to unearth this terrible secret, although doing so might mean betraying his brother. If his own body doesn’t betray him first.

A vibrant and talented new voice in SFF: alien technology, addictive upgrades, a soldier determined to protect his family, and a thief who is prepared to burn the world down

Review:

Stormblood is one of those novels that blew me away. I finished reading this book in one day. Not only was I impressed with how beautiful this story is, I was also seeing the subject of wars and their brutal effects on humanity itself. Its an impressive debut. I read during the end Jeremy said he wished to see this book onto the bookshelves and worked hard on it. No doubt. He’s done an amazing piece of work. Amazing. The writing is mind-staggering. The dialogue is actually AMAZING. I cannot repeat it again. Oh. I will. It is AMAZING.

I loved every single second of this novel. Pat yourself on the back, you’ve made an amazing piece of work here. There is so much good in this. I felt I was watching a movie half the time. Cue in the references: The Orville, Star Trek, Cyberpunk 2077, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Star Wars, Marvel movies. I could point out to a lot of references within this novel. This novel is fantastic.

I don’t really have much to say but I don’t wish to spoil the story too much. But it follows a certain arc…that you’ll be quick to soon realise when you read this book. I loved Katherine, who I think is a great emotional character and has a great chemistry with Vakov. I also like the idea of the combination of the Russians and the Japanese – once at war in 1905 – and many generations later, you have new breeds of humans. That go away from all the racial conflicts that plagued them from the start. Vakov grew me on throughout the entire novel – and you’ll see why. He’s brave. He’s courageous. But he doesn’t act stupid. He knows when he makes mistakes. And Grim? A great character, I really need more of him. He’s a great complement and a great addition to the story.

There is a lot of blood-pumping action in this story. Brotherhood plays a big theme. And the Kaiji are now my new favorite alien species especially with their….you’ll figure it out. I won’t reveal much, but there’s war, there’s amazing descriptions of cities that make you feel really immersed into the sci-fi world that is introduced by Jeremy. You feel like, why the heck is this not a Netflix series or an amazing Hollywood adaption? It has all the right elements in place.

A great novel. Fantastic. Loved every single second of it. SO much amazing visual, splendour, it feels like a Hollywood movie. I cannot wait to read more adventures of Vakov, Katherine and Grim!

REVIEW: THE MEMORY OF SOULS (A CHORUS OF DRAGONS #3) BY JENN LYONS

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Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

Now that Relos Var’s plans have been revealed and demons are free to rampage across the empire, the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies—and the end of the world—is closer than ever.

To buy time for humanity, Kihrin needs to convince the king of the Manol vané to perform an ancient ritual which will strip the entire race of their immortality, but it’s a ritual which certain vané will do anything to prevent. Including assassinating the messengers.

Worse, Kihrin must come to terms with the horrifying possibility that his connection to the king of demons, Vol Karoth, is growing steadily in strength.

How can he hope to save anyone when he might turn out to be the greatest threat of them all?

Review

Thank you to Tor UK, Jamie-Lee Nardone and Stephen Haskins for providing me an ARC of this book.

This book is quite the book indeed. Imagine. A fantasy book that takes on the concept of an different dimensions and mind-boggling past lives that make a central connection all the way across this novel. It is a book that is slower paced within the fantasy genre. I think this series is perfect for the reader that loves indepth intrigues and complexity. I will admit, I too however got confused in the wildly well made labyrinth of political intrigues that stretch for thousands of years. I’m talking about Kihrin’s past life, Janel’s past life, the Goddess of Death’s son past life! There so much plot and intrigue involved that I am impressed that Jenn managed to keep all of this in a very restrained style. I did however point out that that there’s so much lore in this book, it’s like a bible of stories. Every new strand you find in this tree, has a story.

There is a story upon a story, a story upon a story, that I believe is the strength of this series, and yet it could also be a weakness. Why? Because you discover so many unhidden secrets that you feel – well. What is the point of having the characters go through such a traumatic experience when you uncover that there’s more hidden? Why more senseless death? Why can’t Gods fix everything they’re given? These sorts of questions will rise into your mind when you read this. You’ll be figuring out such stuff…that you will be mind-blown. You will feel transcended. This book has a lot of spiritualness and Gods and mad stuff. It has dragons, it has more fights than ever before.

And sometimes, are the so-called Gods really our beloved heroes? (I’ve just given a hint. You’ll figure this out). What makes them so different the demons of the afterlife? What is the afterlife you might even question? What is the old women’s role in all of this? Of the various Gods and Goddesses involved? There are so many questions to be asked. The plot was huge and immense, and it has taken me a while to process it. But if I were to summarise it in a way that it won’t spoil the story: Threat – Islands with Metallic structures – Rituals – Secrets of past stories and chemistry between characters that you know that they just need to do it. And I’m thinking Janel, Kihrin, and Theraeth all need a life that is free from all this nonsense. The ending will surprise you. That’s all I’m gonna say.

And I feel so much sadness for Kihrin’s parents. Therin who I have really begun to grow attached too needs a redemption arc. His mother as well. Janel’s mother. All of the fights, everything, all this big epic battles and dragons and stuff….what does it boil down too? A fight between Gods that were once human? All three characters are affected by the woes of their past and trying to remember their past lives. If I were in this story, I would abandon this world and never look to come back. So much backstory is involved…it makes me sad and smile at the same time because you know things will get better. Things can get better. Things will get better. There’s always a hope of light at the end of the day in this world of darkness.

This is…indeed, the Memory of Souls. I figure this could be a planet where humans colonised, forgot about their whole identity, and then created Gods. Grizzt and Relos Var make quite the cunning characters, including Talon. There’s so much to think about.

The Memory of Souls intrigued me…now I feel as if I have transcended above time.

I think I’ll leave it at that.

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REVIEW: THE NAME OF ALL THINGS (A CHORUS OF DRAGONS #2) BY JENN LYONS

Rating: 10/10

Synposis:

Kihrin D’Mon is a wanted man after killing the Emperor of Quur – and not in a good way. So he heads for Jorat, to find the fourth person named in prophesy, who will either save or damn the world.

He meets Janel Theranon, who claims she already knows him. And she wants Kihrin’s help in saving Jorat’s capital from a dragon, who can only be slain with his sword’s magic. Unwittingly, Kirin also finds himself at the centre of a rebellion. One which puts him in direct opposition to Relos Var, his old enemy.

For too long, Janel’s battled the wizard alone – even betraying her ideals to bring him down. However, Var owns one of the world’s most powerful artefacts: the Name of All Things. It bestows knowledge, which Var uses to gain what he wants most. This is now Kihrin D’Mon – and the world may not survive the consequences.

Review:

Thank you to Stephen Haskins, Jamie Lee Nardone and Tor UK/Tor for giving me an ARC of this book.

The second entry into the Chorus of Dragons triology is by far a mystifying and enchanting exploration of fantasy and combines the gender aspects into a wonderful narrative. This story is told through a flashback, which as you guessed, Janel narrating her story. Combine that with Brother Qown, and there a backstory is filled out for you.

In some aspects, I think the story could have been shorter. Most of the time, Janel presents herself as a devoted person, a heroic person. I’m getting the feeling that after finishing this book, she’s not that heroic as she presents herself. Sure, she questions the reader, forcing us to think on dilemmas that are very important. This book focuses on gender aspects a lot, and focuses on the role of women within society. Does freeing a band of women that are married to a Duke cause more issues for a male-dominated society? Or is Janel using them to cause something else? I feel she is the secret villain of this story. Some would agree with me, some would disagree with me. But as you’ll read on, you’ll figure out a lot of secrets for sure.

Kihrin’s story itself is under-developed – but there is a reason for this. To understand Janel’s relationship with Kihrin, this backstory has been developed. After all, it was Kihrin who was being tracked down by Janel and Qown to remind him of his past life. And all of this happens, dear reader, in three days. The fact that the entire flashback is narrated within the essance of three days is a brilliant writing technique. It’s hard to do. It’s not easy to do. It would involve the revision of writing many times as this story loves to jump forward in time. My favorite villains themselves were Relor Vars and Duke Kaen. I felt more affinity for them in some aspect. Because this story itself has dragons and battles, it has a badass Janel slaughtering demons in the afterlife. There are so many hidden secrets its a lot. The worldbuilding is extensive and it would be a lot for me to write it down. Therefore you’ll be able to figure out once you read. I do feel the story could have been shorter in some parts.

The writing is great, the story illustrates a tale of woe, tradegy and conflict. This is bascially the Crusader Kings III of fantasy. Recently, Crusader Kings III got praise for its marvellous handling of combining family dynasty politics and the Sims mechanics (As in you should play the game as if you were playing the Sims). I’ve been reading a lot of stories of players that have had wonderful interactions with their family trees, and a reviewer on IGN noted that the game’s potential had the ability to make well crafted historical fiction novels. He gave it a 10/10. I feel if there is an overhaul fantasy mod for CKIII, it should take some inspiration from her novel. Plus! This will be a fascinating discovery but Jenn worked at EA Games and the Lord of the Rings. So from me, I think she’ll be familiar with CKIII 

So far, I like this story. I did feel there’s so much story contained in this that it could be a series running on forever. Mind you, it wouldn’t be bad for a Netflix adaption or a HBO adapation for that matter. The series has that right potential. It feels like there needs to be even more lore. I will be reviewing Book 3 on September 4th. This book, is the novel version of CKIII combined with breath-taking lore and a lot of gore and blood. You really should get this.