Review: Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

I’ve never been one to write a review where I talk about the entire contents of a book because I really don’t want to spoil it for people. I know plenty of people who write those types of reviews, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, but it’s just not my jam. I just wanted to put that out there.

When a book enters my TBR pile it usually happens one of three ways. One, a friend recommended it. Two, I read about it some place online. Three, I happened to be browsing ‘what should I read next’ lists or recommendations off of sites like StoryGraph or even here on GoodReads. ‘Age of Myth’ entered my pile from all three of these methods. I was searching for an epic fantasy book to read because I hadn’t read one for some time, and this one popped up on my feed. After I purchased the book I noticed that the back cover has a brief review from Mogsy over at the BiblioSanctum, who I adore and have been friends with for a number of years. We don’t always like the same books, but when she gives a 4.5/5 star review, I know it’s going to be a good read.

I was not disappointed at all with Age of Myth. It was everything I wanted – but not perfect. It was a book I found hard to put down, beautifully written (the world building is absolutely top notch) with a fascinating story. There are multiple story lines going at once, so if that’s something that doesn’t interest you, you might want to take a pass – on that same note, the stories do converge fairly early on, making it much easier to keep track of everyone.

Female protagonists, epic deities, a ‘big bad’ – and let me say that’s one thing that I actually think the book did not need. Further on you meet ‘a big bad’ on top of a few other ‘bads’ wandering around. You’ll know who I’m talking about when you meet him, and it is a very stereotypical ‘big bad’ and one that I think the book absolutely did not need. It felt a bit like HBO trying to force blood/gore/elicit emotion that I was already feeling before the ‘big bad’ even showed up. I’m not even sure their role was needed at all. I might be alone in that feeling, but it seemed unnecessary.

I finished this book within a week, it was that good. It was a great epic fantasy read, and exactly what I was hoping for. Thankfully the second book is already out, and I’m thinking of picking it up as an audio book because Tim Gerard does the reading and apparently it’s quite amazing.

5/5 stars

Review: The Dragon Round, by Stephen S. Power


This book started out pretty interesting. Tales of swashbuckling adventures, a mutinous crew, and an island where Jeryon and the apothecary from his ship are eventually stranded. The whole first half of the book was about their adventures in survival. Separated at first they find a way to survive and eventually meet up on the island. They create a camp together, and stumble onto a baby dragon hatching. All of these stories I enjoyed a great deal and it reminded me a lot of The Count of Monte Cristo in the way that the first half of the book was about revenge. Jeryon wanted revenge on the ship crew that left him stranded, and he decided to use the baby dragon to seek out that revenge. He starts training it, making plans, plotting his calculated revenge. He gets wrapped up in it.

As much as I enjoyed the first half of the book, the second half left me scratching my head in confusion. Instead of adventures and tales of heroic (and some not so heroic) deeds, it was about politics. Politics of the lands that Jeryon and his apothecary are from. Politics where a war is starting up and people are looking to place blame. The apothecary’s story (her name is Everlyn) is pretty much ignored from this point on and we don’t hear from her any more until the very end. Gone is the depth and personal connection we feel to any of the previous main characters as the focus suddenly shifts without any warning (and in my opinion, without any need). It was so sudden and jarring that a book I would have gladly given close to four stars to dropped down to a 2.5 (I round them up on goodreads). I almost started to wonder if the second half had been written by someone else, or after a long break where the author suddenly decided to change the story. It’s not a smooth transition, and that’s a shame because for the first half of the book there was just so much potential. The abrupt ending, especially, felt (to me) like it was rather slapped on.

3/5 stars

A Blight of Mages – by Karen Miller




Wow. It had been so long since I had a good fantasy book pull me in the way A Blight of Mages did.  I wasn’t even expecting it, which was the best part. I had the book in my to-read pile for quite some time, having read other books by Karen Miller (the Innocent Mage, the Awakened Mage, etc) and had just sort of forgotten about it. I’m incredibly glad that I finally got around to reading this one. Things started out a little slow for my liking. You’re introduced to Barl, who is an opinionated woman working at a job she doesn’t want to be in. She wants more out of life, as do we all. You learn about the relationship with her brother and the problems she has gotten into in the past. She is a low-born mage, and she isn’t allowed to progress the way she’d like, the way she knows she deserves. She wants to attend the mage college in Elvado, the capital city of Dorana, but she is denied. She is frustrated by this, and acts out a bit like a spoiled brat.

Things drag on for a bit until through a series of events, Barl meets Morgan. Morgan is broken, and Barl is his redemption. His first love is dead, his father is dying and begging for an heir. From here things get incredibly intense, and they move fast. Barl and Morgan fall in love. They start working together, creating together. It’s fast paced, and it’s passionate. The outside world becomes a blur as they wrap themselves up within each other and their project.

As a reader it was easy for me to become wrapped up in their affections as well. It was easy to miss the signs that not all was right. Suddenly faced with the realization that things are very wrong, it was like a splash of cold water to the face. I couldn’t believe it, I had been that wrapped up in the story. The book can get quite violent, but I felt that within the story it worked and it wasn’t out of place.

The book does a fantastic job at pulling at your emotions. Starting with indifference towards the characters, becoming wrapped up in their romance and happiness and then sudden horror and shock and sadness when the pieces finally slide together by the end.

Highly recommended.

5 / 5 stars

Fool’s Assassin – By Robin Hobb



For a little while I had fallen out of love with Robin Hobb’s writing. It was a shame, because I had always been such a huge fan of her work. Her last few books left me shrugging my shoulders with characters that I couldn’t ‘get into’ and a story that felt unnecessarily complicated. This book absolutely restored my faith in her writing.

We return to the story of Fitz and the Fool. A story that I fell in love with way back when (go read Assassin’s Apprentice). Fitz is living happily with Molly, in the comfort of his home in Withywoods. The book does start out slow, but it’s incredibly rich in detail about his every day life. Of course, all hell soon breaks loose. It starts out slow and then the reader is rampaging along and then before you know it – cliffhanger. Of course.


In the best possible way, of course.

Some people may not be comfortable with the amount of ‘mundane’ activities that the story delves into, especially during the first half of the book, but I personally felt that they were necessary and set the ground for the story. They refreshed my memory of Fitz and his character, and refreshed my opinion of why I had fallen in love with the series to begin with. These were characters I could relate to, characters I have loved. I realize that my review is skipping over any sort of specific detail but the book is really quite full of surprises and I’ve never really been one to give away spoilers. Suffice to say that if you were a fan of the first Fitz books, I am confident that you will also enjoy this book, and if you haven’t read any of them yet, you may want to look into it.

5/5 star review

The Third Kingdom – By Terry Goodkind


Disappointing. That’s what I thought of ‘The Third Kingdom’. I’ve happily read Terry Goodkind for years now, having fallen in love with Wizards First Rule way back when, but the Richard from these books is nothing like the one that I was familiar with. The book repeats itself from beginning to end and it feels like a whole lot of filler. If you’re looking for a story that involves Richard and Kahlan at all, you’re out of luck. Instead you get to meet another strong Goodkind female character, Samantha. This was probably the one bright spot in the entire book because Goodkind does write female characters very well.

It doesn’t become apparent until about mid way through the book what the link is between this book and the previous one, The Omen Machine. It’s filled with violence, and no one has an easy time of anything. It felt a little too over the top for me, but again I’m remembering Wizard’s First Rule and the writing style and characters that I initially fell in love with. What happened to the strong Richard, what happened to the proud Kahlan (oh, she got kidnapped, again..), how am I supposed to believe that Nicci and Zed are powerful wizards when their powers now mean nothing at all and they cannot help any situation?

I didn’t feel that I learned anything new from this book aside from within the final chapters, and I’m wondering if I should even continue reading the series because it is so lackluster.

2 / 5 stars.

Review: Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey



I am not sure how on earth I ever missed reading this book way back when, but miss it I did, and just discovered it in an old used bookstore here in Kelowna. Sure, I’m quite partial to the books I have on my e-reader, it’s easy to bring them where ever I go and simple to pick up books depending on my moods, but there’s something to be said for the feel of pages between your fingers, especially if the book has been owned previously. Anyway, I’m getting carried away here.

I typically don’t enjoy science fiction. Spaceships bore me, and space discovery has never been something I was interested in reading. However. When it comes to Anne McCaffrey none of these issues seem to bug me. There are a handful of authors that have this effect, where it doesn’t seem to matter what their genre about, I will drink it up and be eternally grateful for the chance to read their work, and this book was one of those.

Killashandra Ree.

She’s a stubborn girl who starts off by being let down by the world. Turned away from her main career choice, she ‘randomly’ meets a handsome stranger who cuts crystal for a living. The main requirement is perfect pitch, which she has (of course) and a few other specifications that I don’t want to spoil for readers.

I found the whole story to be incredibly well written, even though I can’t exactly pinpoint why. The genre is one that typically doesn’t interest me but because it was written in such a descriptive way, I felt like I was almost there, through her trials and tribulations. As Killashandra learns to become a Crystal Singer her class mates came to life, and in most cases they were actually more interesting than her – plus there’s that interesting love affair with her — well, I don’t want to spoil it. Lets just say this was a great read, and I’m sad that it took so long for me to finally read it. I have already picked up the second book and can’t wait to start.

Review: The Novice, by Trudi Canavan


This is book two in The Black Magician Trilogy, and I was incredibly disappointed. Sure, I didn’t rate the first book that high (3/5 stars) but I was hoping that by the second book things would have picked up a bit and the author would have found her groove. Instead things seemed to fall apart.

I had high hopes for Sonea as she progressed into the Magicians Guild and attended her classes, but instead she turned into an incredibly weak, meek, shy girl who refused to stand up for herself. The entire novel she let people push her around and did nothing about it. She didn’t retaliate, didn’t ask anyone for help, just sucked it up and dealt with it. I found this incredibly obnoxious and it spoiled what I thought of the entire story. I can overlook plot holes, I can get by with weak descriptions so long as there are outstanding characters and this book simply fell short. Of course by now I have read too much and I will have to continue on with the third book, but I really hope Sonea has grown up a bit.

Yes, the story line did move along, and parts of it were interesting, but they were ALL overshadowed by the weak woman that Sonea turned into and it just simply did not resonate with me at all.

2/5 Stars

Review: Red Rising, by Pierce Brown



This book has been going around my feeds as ‘the next big thing’ as far as books-to-read go. A few of my friends read it and loved it which is always a good sign that I may also enjoy reading it.

While I DID enjoy the book, it reminded me far too much of movies like Ender’s Game, and so I didn’t find the story unique at all. Darrow lives on Mars, and works beneath the surface at a very dangerous job. Some things happen that cause him to question what he’s doing, and who he is doing it for. Eventually through a series of events he gets recruited into an organization hoping to overthrow the caste system, but in order to help he has to impersonate one of the ‘higher’ races. He has to move through their ranks, starting with University, which is an us vs. them tactical game of capture the flag. The game turns all too real as the students are pitted against each other, and the teachers get involve taking sides. There are political undertones to the whole thing, which just makes the twists and turns more enticing.

The writing was fantastic and like I already said, I did enjoy the book but it was pretty much (to me) Ender’s Game, with more fantasy than space in certain parts of it (the university capture the flag game happens on a planet). Still, I do recommend picking up the book and giving it a read. The writing more than makes up for a repeat story, and it’s not COMPLETELY like Ender’s Game, it just reminded me a lot of it.

4/5 Stars

Review: The High Druid’s Blade, by Terry Brooks




The High Druid’s Blade started out with a strong story, but the writing style (in my opinion) did not do it justice. The reader meets Paxon, a young boy doing what he can to help out his family. He has a sister who he is very protective of. She gets herself into some pretty serious trouble, and he goes to rescue her out of it. It felt like the first half of the book was missing a lot of descriptions. I likened it to an overview, it went along the lines of “John got up. John had breakfast. John got on his airship and flew for 5 hours, then John landed.” – I couldn’t relate to the characters or their world because I wasn’t given enough information.

Through an unusual series of events (ie: I couldn’t believe just how things “worked out”) Paxon goes to stay with the Druids who are training him for combat. They need a protector after all. While he is staying with them his sister is kidnapped by the evil Arcannan (or so he assumes) and he once more has to go to her rescue. About mid way through the book the story shifts to the sisters point of view. Things start getting a LOT more detailed but because it’s a torture scene with an underaged girl it felt very awkward. Not because of the scene itself but because this descriptive writing wasn’t in the first half of the book and I found it frustrating that the author had decided to inject it only for the torture scenes. 

It felt like throughout the story things just naturally seemed to be ‘too good to be true’ making Paxon, his sister, the druids, and the small handful of other characters unbelieveable. Near the end things get more realistic, more descriptive and that is the portion I enjoyed. I started connecting to the characters just as the novel was ending. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series as this was only the first book, but it was enough to pique my interest. 

The book releases March 11th, and while I did have issues with the writing style I really enjoyed the plot. I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

3/5 stars 

Review: The Adversary by Erin M. Evans



Book three in The Sundering series was a welcome change from the incredible doom and gloom that I felt in the first two books. You’re introduced to two tiefling, Farideh and her sister Havilar. While the book is third in the series you’re more than welcome to read it out of order, the books (like the previous ones) only loosely tie together (they all take place in the same ‘world’). The world is still filled with doom and gloom but there are hints of romance and characters that I didn’t absolutely disdain which always helps.

Farideh makes a pact (or two, or three) with a devil in order to keep those she cares about safe from harm. Of course making pacts with devils never turns out the way you want it to, and she soon finds herself in over her head, serving a wizard who is rounding up the Chosen of the Gods for a purpose that she can’t figure out. Her sister is bent on rescuing her, along with her old patron, a group of harpers who think she is a traitor, and a red wizard. Each person has their own reason for finding Farideh, with their own outcome of the events.

I can honestly say this third book is my favorite so far. The characters were colourful and came alive in a way that I didn’t see in the previous books. It was nice to see characters that were not all good or all evil; they made mistakes, and paid for those mistakes. I found myself ‘rooting’ for each character as they neared their goal and while the ending may have been predictable, I was satisfied with how it carried out.

This book released in December, so it’s a great time to pick it up. I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I thank NetGalley as well as the publishers for the opportunity.

4/5 stars