God of Night (God Fragments #4) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: God of Night
Series: God Fragments #4
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 421
Words: 145.5K



Synopsis:

When the Cards released the seals on Magic, not only did more magic enter the world, thus stirring up all the creatures that used and fed on magic, and not only did it make mages more powerful, but it also had the side effect of making the god fragments even more powerful. One of the Militant Orders has figured out that if they can bring enough god fragments of their particular deity together, it might just resurrect it. And with a resurrected god on their side, they’ll rule the Riven Kingdoms as undisputed masters.

Does anyone think the Cards are just going to sit back and let this happen? Of course not. When they discover that one of their mages of Tempest has the ability to destroy god fragments merely by touching them, they hatch a plan, a daring plan to capture as many of the god fragments as possible and destroy them. Doesn’t matter that most god fragments are housed in the Militant Orders most secure locations, nothing is going to stop the Cards.

Using double and triple dealing, backstabbing, betrayals and general kick assery, the Cards manage to destroy the majority of fragments from 3 of the 4 Orders. The last Order is the most powerful however, and it’s cache of fragments is located in a duegar stronghold underground and is currently being overrun by magical underground creatures.

Once they’ve gotten into the Stronghold, the Cards find out that the gods were using a chained creature of magic to siphon power from. Now that the gods fragments are being destroyed and the magic has been released back into the world, this elder god is awakening. The Cards must therefore defeat the final god fragments, which are reassembling into its god AND defeat a creature so powerful that it made gods from mere duegar hundreds of millennia ago.

Tons of people die, the Cards succeed and Lynx is elected the new leader of the Cards because Anatol was one of the people killed. There are still god fragments in the world and the warlord of his people is still alive, so Lynx figures their new mission will be to invade So-Han and kill the warlord. Thus the book and the series ends.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this but by the end, with some realizations, was glad this was the end of the series.

The fights were awesome. Realizing what the Militant Orders were up to was even awesomer. Finding out there was an elder god involved and that the Cards were going to kill it was the awesomest of all! The final massive battle in the Duegar ruins between the Cards, the remaining Militant Order personnel, the magic monsters and the elder god was everything I could have asked for. Magic galore, flintlock fantasy bullets and grenades by the metric ton and a monster so huge and gruesome that it made the monster from the first book look like a teddy bear? How could I not like everything about that? Even the ending was good. Lots of the Cards die. Important Cards die, like Anatole. Lynx becoming the new Master of the Deck slotted in perfectly with the series.

Unfortunately, and this is ALL me, was that I was used to the god fragment bullets and the grenades and bombs, etc. They didn’t have the same impact on my as they did in the first book. I also realized, after finishing reading, that Lloyd had worked in some homosexual characters without playing it on a trumpet. I suspect if I were to go back and re-read the other books, I’d be finding more understated circumstances like this. Hence why I’ll be done with Lloyd from here on out.

In regards to the series overall, I really enjoyed my time reading each book and short story and thought it was about 100 times better than Lloyd’s Twilight Reign series. I’d recommend this wholeheartedly if mercenaries using dead god bodies to power their flintlock guns sounds like your kind of thing.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Knight of Stars (God Fragments #3) ★★★★☆

knightofstars (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Knight of Stars
Series: God Fragments #3
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 472
Words: 128K

 

Synopsis:

The Cards have taken a small, easy job for Toil. All they have to do is bust into a small headquarters which owes a banking consortium some money and hold the place until the banking soldiers can establish control. It is easy as predicted and now everyone can relax in a city made up of islands. Of course, it is also Teshen’s old stomping grounds (he’s the titular Knight of Stars) and back in the day he was a big to do. He was exiled after a failed coup and him coming back is not something people want.

The islands are also home to the lands most powerful mages, which gives the islands their name, Mage Island (how original huh?). Toil wants to find a source of god fragment bullets as the stunts that were pulled in the previous book means that the main source of god fragments won’t be supplying her city. To accomplish this she dangles the marked Cards (those who all got a leaf mark from the magical tree construct) in front of the mages. She also takes up a contract with another mage to have her Marked Cards work on a duegar artifact.

The magical tree artifact from the previous book turned out to be a plug that the duegar used to seal a lot of magic out of the world. With the Cards having activated it, more magic is now available in the world. Do they learn their lesson though? Of course not. They proceed on their merry way and get a bunch of the lesser mages marked and powered up with this new artifact and release even MORE magic. Which has a lot of unintended consequnces. Like stirring up a double handful of the monsters that eat magic from the first book.

After a humongous battle in which they wipe out the monsters but the island is pretty much wiped out too, the Cards are forced to leave the Island as the inhabitants all want to kill them. They take several of the marked mages to be new Cards and return to Toil’s home city.

 

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not as much as the first book but I think that one, with Lynx as the main character, is simply going to be the high point of the series. I saw on devilreads that Lloyd stated there will be one more book in this series. I’m good with that too. Sometimes a series needs to just tell one story and then be done. I’m glad Lloyd has chosen that route instead of dragging this out forever, even if I am sad that he’s not going to be writing more about Lynx.

Each of the books’ titles has referred to one specific character within the Cards. First we had Lynx, then Toil and now Teshen. Sadly, neither of the latter hold a candle to Lynx. I’m glad that Toil and Lynx have hooked up simply because it means we get to hear more about Lynx than if he was just one of the main named characters.

I liked that the setting was very different from the previous 2 books. Both of those dealt with Duegar underground areas, while this was out in broad daylight on some tropical like islands. Of course, that doesn’t stop the monsters from being totally bad-ass and destroying everything they can. Lloyd can write some seriously awesome monster fight scenes. The Cards are as Black Company-lite as ever and come across as drunk, curmudgeonly and greedy, just like they are. It is fun to be honest.

The reason this gets 4 stars and not 4.5 or 5 is because Lloyd flirts with the idea of same-sex relationships without actually inserting it into the story. That is part of why I’m glad he’s ending this when he is. I’m a touch concerned that he’ll cross the line and I’ll have to stop reading him. This way I can finish the series and he can do whatever the frell he wants to in other stories and both of us, one as writer and one as reader, are happy.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Stands a Shadow (Heart of the World #2) ★★★☆☆

Stands A ShadowThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Stands a Shadow
Series: Heart of the World #2
Author: Col Buchanan
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Flintlock Fantasy
Pages: 481
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Empire of Mann begins it conquest of the Free Isles. The Empress goes along because she is pissed off about her son dying. The real ruler of Mann, an old magician, sends along a Mannian “Diplomat” (code for assassin) named Che to make sure the Empress never runs from battle or acts like a coward. He also sends along 2 other Diplomats to take care of the first Diplomat once his job is done.

The military leader of the Free Isles goes against all expectations and leads an army into the field to confront the Mannian host. Using even more unexpected tactics, his goal is to slay the Empress and stall the army until winter sets in. The Empress is killed by the Diplomat for trying to run from the fight and the Mannian army is divided as the general and a noble vie for control. The leader of the Free Isles succumbs to the pressures he’s been under and has a heart attack.

Che realizes his life is over since he killed the Empress and begins a running fight with the other 2 Diplomats. He survives and hooks up with a girl from the Free Isles and is trying to start over. He accidentally reveals that he is from Mann and the girl turns him into the authorities.

Meanwhile, Ash, the Farlander from the previous book, is trying to assassinate the Empress himself. He finds out that Che is an ex-Roshun and has betrayed the Roshun and that they are destroyed. The book ends with Ash asking the surviving Roshun to fight the Empire of Mann while he goes on a quest to bring his dead apprentice back to life.

 

My Thoughts:

If you divide this book up into 100 parts, not even 1 part would be “magic”. It’s definitely Flintlock fantasy, but the magic is so under utilized that I really hesitated to even call it “Fantasy”. It is also very bleak and borders on the Grimdark.

It was written well and at no point was I jarred out of the story. That being said, I also never wanted to “read more” if I had to stop for bedtime or something else.

However, I won’t be continuing this series for the following reasons. The nobles of Mann regularly partake in orgies of sex and drugs and while nothing is graphic, there are enough objectionable things mentioned that I want nothing to do with it. “Magicless” fantasy doesn’t do it for me. Bleak doesn’t do it for me. In general, the whole world and all the characters just leave me feeling very blasé. Blase doesn’t do it for me either, in case you were wondering. Add in the fact that it took me 3 years to even search out the sequel to Farlander and that tells me something too.

Now I just have to decide what to replace this series with on my kindle. I’ve got the Caverns & Creatures series by Robert Bevan or the Dead Enders trilogy by Mike Resnick. Decisions, decisions.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

Guns of the Dawn ★★★★☆

dawn (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 

Title:        Guns of the Dawn
Series:     ——
Author:   Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating:    4 of 5 Stars
Genre:     Flintlock Fantasy
Pages:     673
Format:  Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Denland and Lascanne, two countries, allies. Until Denland overthrows its King and begins to make war on Lascanne. Inspired by their King, the people of Lascanne give their all. They sacrifice and sacrifice and things end up with a draft of the women from each household, as all the men have already been taken.

We follow Emily, the middle daughter of a noble family which is now impoverished. A brother-in-law has gone, the only son drafted, food slowly disappearing, bandits appearing, no news from the front. And to make things even better, the man who drove her father to suicide many years ago is in charge of the town. But Emily is a fighter and she does what she can to keep her family together and functioning.

When Emily gets drafted, she is sent to the Front in the swamps. She learns about war, about the leaders of her country and in the process learns a lot about the Denlanders. What she learns shakes the foundations of everything she thought she knew and that knowledge will lead to make a decision that will affect both countries.

 

My Thoughts:

First, only ONE bug reference. Considering how much time we spend in a swamp, I was expecting a lot more.

If I had any doubts about Tchaikovsky’s writing ability [and after 12 books, you’d think I’d have made up my mind. Go figure], this put them to rest. This was really, really, really well written. There were a couple of instances near the beginning of the book where I just didn’t like ANY of the characters and I was wondering if I’d have to DNF the book. But what it did was make the characters deeper and fully fleshed out.

Tchaikovsky continues his little fight against authority. If someone is in authority, they’re lying bags of excrement and what is Right is actually Wrong. Having read Spiderlight, I saw the whole Denlander/Lascanne thing coming from a mile away. I really hope he doesn’t keep this up in future books because it’s getting a bit tiresome. Sometimes Right actually is Right. Just accept it.

Emily was a great character to follow. Her romance with Cristain was such a slow burn, it reminded me of an Austen romance. Then when she has feelings for a Warlock, instead of being a love triangle that I hated, I actually liked it. You could totally see this happening in a war. Nothing is clean cut or easy. It’s as messy as the mud the soldier wade through day after day. It made sense, it fit with the characters and it never felt forced or drama for drama’s sake.

The ending, with Emily having to make a decision about continuing the war against Denland or to put her heroic role away, was great. I didn’t know which way she was going to do, whether she would pull the trigger or not, until I read the sentence. Isn’t that exactly what we’re looking for as readers?

Great book, well written, lots of fun.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3)

 aaddbf9190557d4005f2d0057c67c76dThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Autumn Republic

Series: Powder Mage

Author: Brian McClellan

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 619

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

Synopsis:  Spoilers

Tamat is back. Taniel is being chased by Adrom forces, his own forces. Adamat is acting as a go between for forces beyond his imagination.

The gods are at war and they are being killed,one by one. That god/god slayer is convinced that HE will rule the world as a paradise. Can what is left of the Powder Mages fight a god, an invading army and win an election. Not without blood, sweat and black powder.

 

My Thoughts:

This ends the series on a bloody, dirty, gritty note, just like how it started. It is a relatively satisfactory ending and as much of a happy ending as you can expect from a Flintlock Fantasy.

Even after 3 books, I was still confused with various names of people, nations, etc. It all just blended in together and I went a long for the ride. I’m sure I missed out on some details and what not, but honestly, I just didn’t care.

I know that isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement but while I liked the overall plot and ideas, I just couldn’t get past the grim grittiness of it all. If you like that kind of thing then you’ll love it here.

The Crimson Campaign (Powder Mage #2)

048c7d37b64c255a2013bcd0d3f92889This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Crimson Campaign

Series: Powder Mage

Author: Brian McClellan

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 628

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers Ahead

Tamas is trapped behind enemy lines and must make his way back, all the while dodging the enemy and not knowing of Taniel is alive or not.

Adramat is desperately trying to find his missing wife and son. In the process, he uncovers an elite academy graduate who is wreaking havoc in Adopest. He must rescue one of the former Cabal, the only one powerful enough to face the graduate.

Taniel is on the front lines. But there is a traitor among the generals and that traitor wants Taniel dead. And Kresimir isn’t dead.

And now he’s not only pissed, but he’s probably insane from the bullet in his head.

Good times for everyone.

 

My Thoughts:

While I enjoyed the first book, it has taken me over 2 years to work up the “oomph” to actually go through the trouble to borrow the next 2. This is flintlock fantasy, and as such, it is grim, dirty and violent. And just like the first book, it is excellently written.

I have to admit, I had a hard time dealing with the 3 different viewpoints of men all having lots of T’s, D’s and A’s in their name. I found myself having to concentrate to make sure I knew who I was reading about.

I’d like to say more, but honestly, the same apathy that I felt after the first book is still in place. I liked the story, the writing was good, but it just didn’t do it for me. I suspect that I’ll feel the same about the next and final book, no matter how good it is.

Farlander (Heart of the World #1)

4d339c706e83b86a639be27c99be36f5 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.\

 

 

Title: Farlander

Series: Heart of the World

Author: Col Buchanan

Rating: 4 of 5 Battle Axes

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 402

Format: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Ash, a Farlander and an assassin, is forced to take on an apprentice. Soon after the apprentice’s training is finished, an assignment comes up that will take them into the heart of the Empire to kill the prince.

The Empire knows they are coming.

 

My Thoughts:

Much more than just an assassin story. A full blown, Empire growing, religious strains, etc, etc. It also does not have a happy ending.

And yet it drew me in, kept my attention and interest and even when things happened that I wasn’t expecting, or liked, it was ok. I’ll definitely be checking out the second book in this new series soon.

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1)

cover

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis

General Tamas overthrows the king of his land because said king was going to pretty much sell the country out to pay off his debts.

Only problem is, there’s a god’s curse. So Tamas not only has to deal with making his country work again, but plan against an invasion and investigate what this god’s curse is and what it means.

 

My Thoughts

This was flintlock fantasy. So while I liked it, it was grim, gritty, dirty, bloody, smoky and violent. I also liked the idea of there not only being magicians, but also people who could use black powder to power themselves up.

As for characters, it was a real mixed bag. General Tamas is a control freak who wants things done his way the first time and if it doesn’t work, then somebody didn’t follow orders. His son, Taniel is considered to be one of the most skilled of the Powdermages, but he’s addicted to powder and is snorting the stuff the whole book through.

And those are the good guys.

Turns out that the god, Kresimir, was real and because Tamas has killed a king, he’s coming back to destroy the land and start things over. And we find out Kresimir isn’t the only god kicking around. Then you’ve got the magicians, who all hate powdermages and a foreign power getting ready to invade.

This was not a light read. At over 600 pages, I felt like I’d been dragged through the blood and muck right along with everybody else. Betrayal, distrust, weakness, disbelief, helplessness, all were there in spades. The bright hopeful spots were few and far between. Definitely not something to read if you’re feeling low or depressed.

I found the writing itself to be topnotch. I don’t normally like or continue reading very dark and gritty books but I do plan on reading the short stories and the rest of this series when it comes out.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Author: Brian McClellan

Promise of Blood

Powder Mage #1

The Thousand Names

The Thousand NamesThe Thousand Names

The Shadow Campaigns #1

Django Wexler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

I actually started reading this because of the author’s name. I kept singing “Django, Django Wexler, King of the wild Vordanians” [sung to the tune of Davey Crockett] until I got sick of it. Then I sang it a couple more times 🙂

I liked the story a lot more than I thought I would. Not a big fan of the musket era of weaponry, but this worked well.

However, due to some of the morals the author introduced, which I’m guessing will be expounded on in later books, I’ve decided that this will be enough for me.

Temeraire: In Service to the King

His Majesty’s Dragon
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Temeraire #1-3
Naomi Novik
fantasy
3 stars

set in the era of the Napoleanic wars. Dragons are a part of life. The worlds’ armies have learned to domesticate them and use them for warfare. A special group of the military, called Aviators, has come into being. Follows the adventures of Captain Laurence as he goes from being a British Navy Captain to an Aviator.

First book, about him and Temeraire[the dragon] was good. Temeraire hatching, growing up, learning to fight, etc. It was a well written adventure yarn.

The 2 following books, on the other hand, I didn’t enjoy that much. Follows them to China and then as they make their way back to England. Political intrigue, dragon rights, etc, filled these stories instead of battle and action. I would have a hard time reading any further about Temeraire if future volumes[if there are any] continued in this vein.