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Epic Fantasy Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent Read. Right now for me, it’s a 5.

In the Black Prism, Weeks betters what he did with Night Angel.

The Prism offers a wealth of fantastic worldbuilding, good characters, action, war strategy, political intrigue, and plot twists to keep one coming back for more.

The magic system is well laid out. Simply put, a percentage of the populace known as Drafters have the ability to harness colors through light in a skill called Chromaturgy. This basically takes a force of will and belief to create Luxin which then can be used for everything from buildings to machines to weapons to fireballs. There are other subtleties. Let’s say I enjoyed it very much.

The characterization is good. The characters feel real and are engaging. You can sympathize with some and others you want to kick in the butt. At times, one of them can get annoying with his personality traits, and well almost a second personality. They more than served the story, the plot, the politics and scope of the world.

As usual from Weeks, when the action gets going, it gets going. The clash of Drafters reminds me of the Secret Wars comic books, as they do incredible things. Of course there are touches of mundane fighting, but when you have the magic embedded in this world, that takes a back seat.

The end was well worth the ride, adding another twist in a book chock full of them. Some people might carry on about tropes or cliches, but for me, it’s all about how they’re presented. After all, there’s just about nothing that can be done that is completely original. This is why I base my reviews of my enjoyment, rather than technical merits.

That is to say, I enjoyed this book immensely. Well done, Mr.Weeks.

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White Night : Urban Fantasy Review

White Night (The Dresden Files, #9)White Night by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll keep this simple. This is a great addition to the series. If you know Dresden then it continues much of the same. Great dialogue, awesome insight, witty banter and a way of writing that makes you feel a part of the man. You become attached to Harry’s plight and his issues. At times when he speaks on aspects of the human condition, I found that I could relate. Example at one point when he’s speaking about love, life and pain, I felt that pain. The plot twists and turns and is so well laid out that I kept turning page after page not wanting to put the book down. The magic was astounding and the attention to detail was there, that made me believe in the things that were being done.

If you are a fantasy fan and you have not read Dresden, pick up the series. I promise you won’t regret it.

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The Dragon’s Path : Epic Fantasy Review

The Dragon's Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1)The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm. Where to start. Well let’s say the rating system here on Goodreads won’t reflect this one correctly. I consider it a 3 and a half. But I’ll have to tag it with a three. Why not at least a 4?

Well, not that it wasn’t a good book, because a 3 says it was a good book. Let’s start with what I loved.

The world and most of the characters fascinated me. The plot was well-laid out and offered some nice surprises and fit together quite well throughout.

The many races, the histories behind them and the descriptions, foreshadowing and setting kept me going and made the world so believable. I could have used some more on the religions for me to better understand them since they ended up playing a big role at the finale.

Cithrin was a wonderful, amazing character. I was hooked on watching her maneuver, grow and change. The whole aspect of banking and dealing was phenomenal. She was so well done I felt for her and in ways, the book could have been just about her, Marcus and Geder and I would have been fine with it.

Geder had his good points but in the end he just seemed the same guy oblivious to the fact he’s being used. When will he learn did I keep asking myself? For a well-educated person, he came off more than a little … dumb, may be too harsh a word.

Marcus Wester, I enjoyed seeing him play the father figure and relive that old pain.

Dawson did little for me. He was basically “This is where status x person’s should lie in society.” Not once did he waver from that. He was simply too predictable.

Here’s my issue with The Dragon’s Path. I’m a magic and action man. When you have a book with such a vivid world, created by dragons and goddesses, I expect the magic to be more upfront. In this book, it was so downplayed as to be irrelevant although it wasn’t. It is what made the difference in the end.

Lack of action. I like my sword fights. There wasn’t a single one that stuck out for me in this book. In fact, my best memory is of Marcus practicing with some others and the very brief fight to hold the gates of Camnipol. The book just seemed slow at times because of this. All the nice plots and characters should eventually culminate in some nice action is how I feel. For the most part, this didn’t.

For a lover of action and magic, this just did not bring enough especially considering the incredible potential there to do so. However, most of the main characters provide enough and the scope of the world and what is to come has made me get book 2 and I will be reading it. I’m hoping he goes more into what I enjoy in the next one.

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Among Thieves – Epic Fantasy Review

Among Thieves (Tales of the Kin, #1)Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Recently, I’ve been reading quite a bit of thieves and assassins and the like. All of them have been good. Among Thieves does not disappoint.

I would consider this book more of a medieval style spy fantasy with a generous helping of sword fights and some well used sorcery. The main character Drothe is well done and so is Degan. Loved them both.

The sense of danger and intrigue is littered throughout this book and the prose style made me feel like I was Drothe. I could relate, his voice was that distinct. There are a lot of books that I don’t find that and when I do, I’m quite pleased.

The plot is deep and at times runs along at a breakneck speed which I quite enjoyed. Unlike a lot of fantasy, our main character isn’t very good at much besides spying, therefore when he’s in a sword fight, you tend to wonder, how will he get out of this now. But he manages, which at times left me smiling.

All in all, a good book and I look forward to more.

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Shadow’s Master – Epic Fantasy Review

Shadow's Master (Shadow Saga, #3)Shadow’s Master by Jon Sprunk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this series and this final book. While the first book was my favorite, Shadow’s Master had a lot going for it. Sprunk’s action as always is top notch and so are his descriptions and setting. Caim, I got into right away and was totally engrossed, watching as he follows blindly into the teeth of danger.

This time around, I found myself less attached to Josey. Something about her felt lacking. This may have been because I was so into Caim. Then there was the questionable feats she managed considering her state. Despite this flaw, by the time I got to the meat of her situation when her major obstacle arose, her PoV made for better reading that caught me up, although I did find myself wondering “How did she do that and not …” I’ll chalk it up to what Hirsch tells her at the end.

Beyond that, the battles were thrilling and the magic at the climax was something to behold. Some may find a fault with Caim’s grasp of being able to do what he did, but the man was special in many ways. This time around there were no great plot twists, but the unfolding events were nicely put together at a pace that should keep any reader going.

I would recommend this series to any of my fantasy friends. Thank you for the good read, Mr. Sprunk. I look forward to what you write next.

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YA Fantasy Review: The Between

The BetweenThe Between by L.J. Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Often, if a book doesn’t capture my interest within the first few pages, I lose interest. That wasn’t the case with the Between. It’s really my first YA book and I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

The beginning grabbed me with intrigue and action. In Lydia, I could tell there was a character for me to care about. Clive gave me that added mystery of a man battling to be more that what he appeared. Watching these two characters grow was fascinating to say the least. Their challenges, frustrations, losses, and triumphs were woven so well into the story that you could not help but feel for them.

I’m one who loves magic and a great world. Sprinkle in some mystery and a great story and I’m in. This book gave me all of that. The world created here in Faerie was one of political intrigue, darkness, all things magical, and one that was so well thought out that you will believe you are there. You will believe in the glamours you see upon the pages. You will feel the tenseness of the world, the grip of its King, the fear those of power instill upon others.

As for style. LJ has it nailed. Her prose flowed well. Not once did I get bored or wished to put the book down. Her descriptions were crisp and rich and kept you right there, living in the world of the Between.

From beginning to end, the Between makes for good reading. As I often do when I read a good book, all I can say now is: go get your copy.

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Epic Fantasy Novel, Prince of Thorns Review

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One word. Amazing.

Never have I read a book that made me love the anti-hero more. Then there was the prose. The blurb alone hooked me. “Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.”

The book follows the exploits of a broken boy who intends to become king. He has no qualms and no illusions about the cruelty of life and lives as such. Be warned, if you have something against rape, murder, pillaging, death, in other words, if you’re squeamish this isn’t the book for you. Go read some Potter.

However, if you like a book that doesn’t shy away from the evils that men have wrought, this is for you. Lawrence writes in such a way that leaves you hanging on the edge of every word. He bleeds life into his characters, even the ones that are dying. You sympathize, you hate, you love, but the biggest part is, you understand. At least, I did.

Oh, the book has plenty that’s magic, but with the way it’s written there’s no need to explain it. The cleverness of the battles both small and larger are well shown. The way he works his descriptions to his character and world are sublime.

Look, I could go on, but I won’t. If you want a book that’s about characters, life, and an anti-hero that you would love to hate, but you just cannot. Go get this book. If you want an amazing read, period. Get this book.

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