Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Night Stalker(Dead Loves Life Book 1) by RL Weeks

August 31, 2017 - 5:55 am No Comments

Night Stalker (Dead Loves Life Book 1) by RL Weeks

Published on 31st August 2017

151 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

When Casey and her boyfriend George visit Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees in Japan, she thought she was just seeing the sights. However, George a lover of the supernatural had other ideas. Whilst on one of their hikes, she thought she sensed that someone was following them. After a disturbed sleep when she thought she dreamt of a woman in the room, they flew back to Pleasant Springs, where once they arrived George was involved in an accident. One year later Casey is being stalked in her dreams, and now wants to move on with her life.

Casey is a very non-descript character, a normal girl from a normal family, torn up by grief after the accident. It is not till further into the book that Casey’s heritage slowly starts to reveal itself and you see the glimpse of the type of girl I hope she will eventually become. Her stalker is a man of mystery, from the outside he appears to be a nice guy in a bad situation, but as the story progressed, there are things he is not telling Casey.

RL Weeks is good a telling a story and I love her attention to detail, information Casey needed was found whilst reading an ancient book and not from someone telling her. The underworld she created reminded me of the city from Total Recall, where the lower class (humans) were being abused for the pleasure of other. You can already feel a connection between Casey and the mystery man and although she does not trust him, you just know something will happen. The introduction near the end of a strong female demon adds to Casey predicament, but as it finishes on a cliff hanger I will have to wait till Night Wanderers is out in December. Once you have finished the book carry on reading as the Author’s notes are interesting to read and explains how she came up the with idea, also there is a creature of the night glossary explaining all the paranormal creatures in the book   

VRES: Digital Quest by Zoe Adams

August 27, 2017 - 6:52 pm No Comments

VRES: Digital Quest by Zoe Adams

Released by Zombie Cupcake Press on 13th August 2017

150 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

I downloaded this on Kindle Unlimited.

 As technology progresses, many of us have heard of Virtual Reality or VR, a new way of playing a game where you feel that you are immersed in the game. Kamada-kun have created a brand-new game VRES a fantasy game, that no other game could compare to. Like all new games they required BETA testers, Felix and Erica both big gaming enthusiast both volunteer for an experience that would change their lives.

As the main character were gamers, they both had that need to conquer and win. Playing online you can be who you want to be and with Erica and Felix they were completely different. Felix in the real world was unemployed and a bit down in life and in the virtual world he was confident and adept with his fighting skills, but in both worlds, he was a really nice guy. Erica was in a nasty relationship in the real world and had lost all confidence, but when she put on that headset, she was like a woman possessed. Excellent blade skills, played dirty to get what she wanted. That was until she ran into Felix.

As a lover of gaming the minor details in the story really sold it to me. The problem of not having enough gold to upgrade your weapons, needing a health or stamina boost and it did have a touch of Skyrim about it. Throughout the story you follow the development of Erica and Felix’s relationship. This is a standalone story and it is well written, as it is only 150 pages I did read it in one sitting. I loved the idea that much of the story was set in the game.

I cannot wait to see where this author will take us next.   

One Cog Turning by Anthony Laken

August 22, 2017 - 8:36 am No Comments

One Cog Turning by Anthony Laken

Published by Luna Press Publishing on 1st July 2017

308 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

 

I purchased this book at the author’s book launch.

Lady Bellina Ressa was a noble of Estrian, not only was she the Lord Chancellor’s daughter she was also a cognopath. A cognopath is so much more than a mind reader and the further you read her story, the more you are amazed with her abilities. To stop war breaking out, her father sends her on a secret mission, accompanying her are Lord Elvgren Lovitz a pompous idiot and Major Cirona Bouchard, a female officer who knows nothing but army life. The mission seems easy infiltrate the Burkeshis and find out what is going on.

As the three main characters go, I loved Bellina, due to being a loner, she was still confident in herself. She had a fiery tongue and I enjoyed reading her one liners, which she used quite a lot to get help her in difficult situations. Elvgren was one of those poncey lords that pruned himself like a peacock, only looking after number 1 and was it wrong that I wanted the author to kill him off from the start of the book and finally Cirona, only knowing army life she came across as a bit of a robot, but the further you went into the story the more her human side comes out. Whilst the start of the adventure went a bit wrong, it gives the reader a chance to get to know the characters in depth. On the journey, you are introduced to other characters that bring out the best and the worse of the three. Two of favourite minor characters was Dargo a loving rogue and Torkwill when he was introduced showcased Bellina’s abilities  

I enjoy steampunk when it is set in another world as it gives the author free range to tell the story without the constraints of history and this story was one of them. Whilst the technology played a big part in the story, like our technology it does go wrong this gave the author to introduce us to exotic creatures and I imagined myself riding a big lizard across the desert. This story has adventure, fantasy, magic and even zombies make an appearance. This is a journey of discovery and as you follow the story you see how each of the characters change. The story flows smoothly and the tension is there when the journey gets difficult showcasing the rollercoaster of emotions that the characters have trying to complete their mission. The twist at the end left my mind reeling and hope I do not have to wait too long for book 2    

THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS by Aliette de Bodard

August 20, 2017 - 7:17 am No Comments

THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS by Aliette de Bodard, Gollancz, £14.99 paperback, 351 pages. ISBN: 978-1-475-21260-2

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

So much literature, whether SF, fantasy or general fiction is set in an English-speaking world, or has its main characters coming from that background. A handful of writers are willing to step outside the box. Ian McDonald is one, having set novels on practically every continent with rarely a westerner in sight. Alastair Reynolds Blue Remembered Earth trilogy has the majority of characters originating from sub-Saharan Africa. From American authors, it is only the likes of Octavia Butler whose characters are non-white. Thus it is refreshing to have a novel set wholly in another country and whose characters do not speak English.

The House of Binding Thorns and the earlier novel The House of Shattered Wings, are set in a Paris devastated by a magical war. In this world, the Fallen were once angels and have immense power. In The House of Shattered Wings the conflict between the rival houses of Silverspires, headed by Lucifer Morningstar, and Hawthorn, headed by Asmodeus, ended with carnage and the diminution of Silverspires. The House of Binding Thorns centres on Hawthorn.

Asmodeus became the head of the house by staging a bloody coup twenty years previously. Now he reclaims Madelaine from Silverspires, where she took refuge at the height of the coup. As his dependent, she has his protection as long as she is loyal and useful. He sends her as part of a delegation to the Annamite, or dragon kingdom which lurks under the Seine. She has visited before but this time notices the decay and shabbiness. Too many of the inhabitants have become addicted to angel essence, a drug made from the bodies of the Fallen and which slowly destroys the user. Madelaine knows as she is an addict herself. Ngoc Bich, ruler of the underwater kingdom, is herself under siege from rebels and is willing to form an alliance with Hawthorn. To seal the pact, a marriage is to take place between Asmodeus and Thuan, prince of the dragons and former spy in Hawthorn, a factor which immediately produces tensions.

Threads from the past weave consequences that emerge in the complex situation. Ngoc Bich’s rebels are being aided by House Astragale. Ciseis, who should have been heir to Hawthorn except for the coup, has taken refuge there and gradually set plans in action to take back the house from Asmodeus.

Another consequence of the magical war amongst the Fallen was the need for workers. Many of these were conscripted in Vietnam, the original home of the dragons under the Seine. Many of them still live in Paris, many are Houseless (not under the protection of any of the Houses of the Fallen). They are poor, living amongst the ruins of the city. Among them is Berith, Fall-sister to Asmodeus. She lives alone – a House of one – with her lover Françoise (not her birth name as the Viet names are difficult to pronounce and they tend to adopt French ones). Françoise, like many of her compatriots, is able to use the magical khi currents that permeate the elements. She is also pregnant.

Phillipe is another Annamite who was once attached to Silverspires and who feels responsible for the death of the Fallen, Isobelle. He knows that the Fallen can be resurrected and has vowed to bring her back. Much of his part in this novel is directed towards this.

The plot is complex, weaving together a number of strands, most of which have their origin in politics and the inter-House conflicts. In the first novel, much of the focus was on Morningstar and the Fallen of House Silverspires. Here attention

gives a wider picture of this Paris, encompassing a different set of passions. It is beautifully constructed and written. The characters are multi-faceted but it is worth keeping in mind that the Fallen are dangerous and ruthless, but like the angel essence that can be made from their bodies, they are addictive. A worthy sequel to the award winning The House of Shattered Wings.

Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga by SM Boyce

August 18, 2017 - 6:48 am No Comments

Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga by SM Boyce

Published 15th October 2011

402 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

 

To help with grief Kara loved to hike, but a strange gazebo in the middle of the forest takes her to another world. Ending up in Ourea, she unintentionally becomes involved in the politics of the world, but can she bring peace. To do this she needs to master the Grimoire and learn who to trust.

Kara was a bit of a loner, this has always helped her avoid uncomfortable issues, especially after her mom died. However, once in Ourea, she was thrown in to situations that she had to had no control over and had to learn to fight or die. Not knowing who to trust made her vulnerable but it also made her stronger.  Teaming up with Braedon helped her in a lot of ways and even when she knew his secret she wanted him around and was willing to take him into her confidence. My only moan was that I felt that Kara took to it so easy and it was only at the start that she freaked out. However, throughout this story she does rely a lot on Braedon and others to get the results she needs.

With a large world like Ourea and with 4 major houses in charge, there are quite a few characters. However, this is not confusing story to read, as the author concentrates on each ruling family separately. This also helps you understand the bigger task that Kara must accomplish. As this is a fantasy story there are a lot of weird and exotic creatures and whilst some are familiar, there are others that I had not heard of. This is the start of an epic fantasy journey and you find that much of the story is setting the scene to what is to come. Throughout this story you have the feeling that something big is going to happen and the author has a way of building up the suspense.    With this book being the 1st in the series of four, you know that Kara’s task will not be easy. As a new author to me, I enjoyed this book and will read the rest of Kara’s story.