The Red Knight has stood against soldiers, armies, and the might of an empire without flinching. He's fought on real and magical battlefields alike, and now he's facing one of the greatest challenges yet. A tournament. A joyous spring event, the flower of the nobility will ride against each other for royal favor and acclaim. It's a political contest - one that the Red Knight has the skill to win. But the stakes may be higher than he thinks.
I haven't written a review lately that required extra critical thinking & asssessment, but the series grabbed my attention the way a pitbulls jaws lock on unsuspecting postal workers. The author is continually developing a strong contingent of characters in the 3 books while introducing new or previously unknown POV from the surviving populace. Not to worry, the violence that befalls hero's, villians, & sell-swords alike range from magical emolation, eaten alive by monsters of the wild, or a disembowlment sword stroke. The scales of different battles between men of differing allegiances & goals, spectrums of creatures from mindless carnivores motivated by causing terror to ancient beings possessing wisdom spanning thousands of years, or court politics relying on manipulation to achieve dominance. This series has it all! Purest fantasy based on a clever magic system that reads like Sanderson but containing elements triggering nostalgic thoughts: The fluidity & elegance of casting ('weaving', ' potentia', 'ops') creates fantastically descriptive fights among those gifted in the arts. The magic system alone was well designed & enjoyable to listen utilized on a massive scale.
In the end, the main reason this book gets kudos is due to Miles C. skillful meshing of magic/mythologically based monsters & 'traditional' fantasy creatures (Wyverns, dragons, boglins, faerie knights, & demons to name a few) with medievil undertones surrounding human culture during a time of nobles, knights, & kings. If your a fan of creatures out a Dungeon & Dragons monster reference book, magic that is as brutal as any warhammer to the face, power struggles within court leaving throats cut & reputations permanently destroyed, & large scale battles leaving you amazed how easily the author enthralls you with changing adversaries & ever increasing chaos & destruction. All 3 books of series have been phenomenal & bring the forces of the wild (dungeons, mythology, legend) into the spotlight of fantasy again. Each book is well worth the credit
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Returned to Earth, Ellen Ripley learns that a colony has been established on LV-426, the planet where the crew of the Nostromo found the original Alien. But contact with the colonists has been lost, so she must accompany a unit of colonial marines to discover their fate. And to destroy any Aliens found on the planet known as Acheron. This is a groundbreaking sequel by science fiction legend Alan Dean Foster, with the wonderful characters and rapid-fire action that make Aliens one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.
In space, no one can hear you scream... On LV-426 there is plenty of that going on, plus pulse weapons, motion sensing trackers (one sound the movie uses dramatically well), smart guns, scampering of the spider-like alien parasites, & always entertaining banter between space marines. Similar to 'The Force Awakens' & novelizations they produce a few small twists & differences mainly due to readers ability to read/hear the characters own thoughts or additional descriptive depth. This book follows that route but for me 'Aliens' is a classic movie that helped sci-fi with its believable E.T. & viscerally terrorizing way these creatures produce young... The 1st movie had me grabbing my abdominal area reflexively for weeks after. But here, in this 2nd installment the reader see's what a platoon of hardened marines fare in a close encounter. Much more action, diff. Interactions between characters including Ripleys development, & consideration of the 'bigger picture'... What if a ship with a bunch of eggs survived a crash onto earth? Like the movie, the book is one you keep around to review for fun every so often! Well worth the credit if your a fan of franchise.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.
When I saw this book available for pre-order, it reminded me how badly I wanted to read the outcome of this trilogy. One major allure regarding Brian McClellan's approach to releasing his powder trilogy was that he released a number of small novella's about many key characters in his 'flint-lock fantasy' novel, which kept me anticipating the next book. Although it's not economically friendly, his method of story telling revealed characters past history, why, & how prior unknown actions/choices caused people's current consequences, detailing subjects only briefly mentioned/surmised in the main novels. I know certain readers will look at this negatively & I'd likely agree but McClellan was able to make it work, leaving me wanting more, not cursing attempts to take $ in exchange for subpar stories. If you haven't read any of the novella's I recommend a few, highly esp. the ones with Adamant & Tamas when they were younger men.
In the world of "Chronicles" & multiple books written by one author, it is refreshing to read a well-written trilogy that was put out in relatively quick succession & a well put together storyline with a few great character arc's & unique magic system involving different types of sorcery based on separate foundations (powder mages vs. privileged vs. those created by sorcery - Wardens). If you want an entertaining series of books that you won't have to wait 10 years for the entire chronicle to be finished or are looking for a distraction while waiting for said chronicles... The Powder Mage Trilogy & all the novella's that are related to this tale is a choice you won't regret. Not to mention Christian Rodska does a fantastic job of narration! Cheers to McClellan's debut trilogy!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Loyalty costs money. Betrayal, on the other hand, is free. When the Emperor is taken hostage, the Red Knight and his men find their services in high demand - and themselves surrounded by enemies. The country is in revolt, the capital city is besieged, and any victory will be hard won. But the Red Knight has a plan. The question is, can he negotiate the political, magical, real, and romantic battlefields at the same time - especially when he intends to be victorious on them all?
This is an excellent 2nd book to continue 'The Traitor Son Cycle' series after the solo debut novel "The Red Knight.' Anyone whose wondering why the story received 4 stars while the overall was given 5? The only real issue I had with this book was that small parts could be predictable at times BUT besides GRRM who could potentially rip your heart out while reading the 'GoT' series. It seems GRRM loves taking a character you love & believed was one of a handful of protagonists dies quite viciously similar to humans swatting flies lol.
Fantasy books no matter the caliber of author all tend to have a degree of predictability, certain tropes, & characters that fall into similar categories. Cameron is able to write an incredible story containing an assortment of commonly used fantasy pieces often spread between separate books & authors, but able to incorporate a cohesive tale so far in 2 books of the series. The complex themes & persona's include: medieval themes, knights, archers, beautiful princesses, mages/warlocks, clerics, weapons containing magical properties, all sorts of kick-ass, monsters such as dragons-wyverns-giants-golden bears-fairies-demons even gods, court intrigue containing the backstabbing & conspiracies that absolute power attracts, plus a few unknown powers that have not entirely been revealed.
The magical system structure is well thought out & those who possess this ability perpetuate both power & destruction within the real world while in the 'ethereal' plane they manipulate diff. types of energy/mana against each other similar to a game of chess. Those with faith can heal thru the gift of worshiped deity's & above them all are the unique class of warrior, both having prowess in hand to hand combat & casting of magic power. This sequel was at the same level of entertainment value as 'The Red Knight' IMO & perhaps even better due an overall picture of this world familiar in histories yet unique in regards to custom & universal laws.
I would HIGHLY suggest spending a credit & read the next installment of this captivating book that bludgeons you back to "hardcore" fantasy woven tales. Narration is above average, I could find little to complain about that doesn't occur at a point in all novels of this genre. Miles Cameron made me forget about GRRM's slow progress & along with other 2014 releases to come I see a great year to come.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Young Michael, an illegal immigrant escaping the troubles in Northern Ireland is strong and fearless and clever, just the fellow to be tapped by Darkey, a crime boss, to join a gang of Irish thugs struggling against the rising Dominican powers in Harlem and the Bronx. The time is pre-Giuliani New York, when crack rules the city, squatters live furtively in ruined buildings, and hundreds are murdered each month.
Would you listen to Dead I Well May Be again? Why?
Absolutely, there are 2 reasons I would listen to this book again: 1. Narrator did an excellent job, beyond excellent IMO.. I'm not Irish so its obvious that particular point could be questioned by indiginous persons McKinty is writing about. For me the voice sounded not only creditable but also added new dimensions in dialogue (i.e. slang, humor..).
2. The story is well written with balance between storyline, humor, violence, language, & romance. The genre I'd classify the book tends to be filled with excessive violence or language, tropes, & worst of all, predictable plots. McKinty is able to address all those issues positively.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
If 'edge of your seat' means when you listen to the whole book in 36 hour time period, than YES. The places McKinty literally takes the protagonist & development of all characters was well done, sprinkled with unique traits while containing the flaws that make a great story mesh.
What does Gerard Doyle bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
If Doyle's native tongue is American English he does an incredible job narrating a tale with characters that cover the spectrum of accents & street slang. Even if Doyle naturally speaks accented English or its not his primary language, the delivery is done in way that keeps a listener glued to his voice.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When you read about 'gansta', 'mob', or criminal elements of a world most people don't know or ignore its existance, often times the entire life or large portions of the books sensationalize the illegal lifestyle. McKinty adds twists & turns in the book taking the listener to levels of thought & locations you wouldn't expect. Michaels internal dialogue shows why his character separates himself as the protagonist yet not blocking the significance of his compatriots & the antagonist. There's a part that Michael must endure in order to exact revenge, without spoiling anything, that journey is pivitol in shaping his personality in the trilogy.
Any additional comments?
This was the 1st Adrian McKinty book I've listened to & plan to read his other series when time allows, he's pushed himself towards the top in literary prowess. DEF. worth the credit just to listen to him curse lol... luckily its the "full package."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.
Where does The Emperor's Blades rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
In terms of the fantasy genre it made it immediately to my top 5 & overall book it placed in my all-time top-50. The story started out VERY GOOD, the litmus test will be the 2nd book from basically a debut author (he might have had 1 other addition to novella's with Mark Lawrence & Tad Williams. Considering the fantasy books I've read over last year, this book catapulted its way into my life lol... I'm quite antsy & upset every author feels the need to write trilogies or 4+ books in series
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Emperor's Blades?
Going thru each POV of the main protagonists... This has been done in similar way by David Durham in 'The War with the Mein' but Staveley IMO was able to split the POV up better & the cohesiveness of the complete book is woven into a masterpiece using poetic storytelling, in-depth characters, fantastic world building, plenty of action, intriguing 'magic system' & of course... court intrigue with backstabbing
Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?
That is an extremely hard question to answer because the character POV make up almost entire book, Valyn is my favorite.... BUT all the POV are worth reading
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I tend to read 3-4 books at a time, jumping from books & genre's to keep things 'fresh' but similar to 'Lies of Locke Lamora' & 'Red Knight' when starting this book all the books on my 'currently reading shelf' ranging from thrillers to Sci-Fi were put on hold
Any additional comments?
Simon Vance is an excellent narrator as always & HIGHLY recommend this book, spend the credit, get this book, many times I would figuratively say "a perfect book to take up time before the next installment of book X comes out or will get your mind off how book X ended, etc.." but read this book because you will want more after its done & fantastic debut novel from Brian Stavely... its refreshing & worth the time... along with the credit.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
At the onset of the tenth century, England is in turmoil. Alfred the Great is dead and Edward his son reigns as king. Wessex survives but peace cannot hold: the Danes in the north, led by Viking Cnut Longsword, stand ready to invade and will never rest until the emerald crown is theirs.
I love Bernard Cornwell's writing from the 'Sharpe' to 'Thomas of Hookton' to one of my favorite series, 'The Saxon Series' which 'The Pagan Lord' as I believed was to be the last of the chronicles of Uhtred & formation of the country we now know as England during the 900's. Without spoiling any significant parts of the book I'm also going to complain for a sentence or 2 regarding how & if this is truly the end of this particular series. I was expecting a relatively clear ending to this series with the start of the small nation that would slowly turn into a world power, play a pivotal role in creating the USA, & remain a world power to this day. But its safe to say that not all questions were answered & since I know nothing of English history there's no way to place when certain events occurred in the nations rise to prominence
Its safe to reveal without spoiling the book that in this book:
* Uhtred will find much of the vengeance he deserves & has been searching for throughout the series using serpent breath while also tasting bittersweet sadness in other area's
* Uhtreds character growth jumps significantly if you compare it to the last couple books in the series. It seemed that while reading the last couple books the battles & barriers facing our protagonist are hard to clearly delineate due to similarities. This is by no means negative talk about Cornwell because even Cornwells average battle scenes & plot twist are far better than other authors best written novels. Due to Uhtreds age (a bit over 50) has him realizing that if he wants to see his dreams coming to fruition it must happen soon. So the reader gets a look at a "new" Uhtred that is older, grumpier, but by no means any less dangerous
* The reader will also see character growth in all 3 sons he has, well, 2 sons & Alfreds bastard who he treats like a son. This dynamic & seeing his sons take an active role in this story may lead to believe that a continuation of this series to involve the carrying on of his wishes by his bloodline, BUT that is not clearly stated in either direction. The reader will see how each son reacts & evaluate their standing with their famous father
* Although there is predictability in the story there are also many plot twists to make it interested & listening... I finished this book in 2 days, easy... so even though its addictive it won't take 20 hours to finish the book
* There are many old faces of friends, enemies, or characters whose allegiances are never completely predictable
* Finally, you see his usual hatred for priests of Christianity intermixed with the love of his men & Aethelflaed on one side & his own possible personal gain on another, therefore making hard decisions with a mind that is matured but still burning for payback
The book is an easy listen but well worth the credit just to find out if he reaches his ultimate goals? I believe Cornwell will have another addition to add to this series & if so, no matter how annoyed I may be expecting a final outcome I will be pre-ordering the next installment as well. Say a prayer to Odin & hope the corpse-ripper drags his enemies down as he battles for love & hate .
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Wool introduced the silo and its inhabitants. Shift told the story of their making. Dust will chronicle their undoing. Welcome to the underground.
FANTASTIC SERIES!!! There are once again so many great reviews for each of the books that make up this 'Omnibus Series' from 'Wool' to 'Shift' ending with 'Dust'.
This series had a great deal of 'talk' around it before I decided to go ahead & read the 3 books although I don't believe it was originally a trilogy but many smaller books. It doesn't matter because I was happy because it was a breath of fresh air even with the smothering of the series by avid readers hype regarding the content.
I don't really think I need to go into any detail about the content in a review for the 1st book 'Wool' but its this book that snared me into reading the entire series. Most likely I'll be parroting the plethora of reviewers before me. The books ability to transport the reader through great descriptive language & the grind of every day life within a Silo that was eerily an inhuman way of living but similar to the book 1984 if there were other silo's or countries that were all in the state of fear & not contacting each other how would the different populations of people end up living? You are born in a 'world' that has already been in existence for generations & is also essentially working in a symbiotic way between people of different jobs & from different levels. Similar to a country that has all the classes of people within it living in an enclosed space so ignorance of how people lived or thought could easily be present BUT if one wanted to confront a problem or go see visual proof of ones thoughts it could be done. It was a matter of traveling at times more than 150 floors downward, while passing each level a person could see what type of people, life, duties, & mindset a group of laborers have while contributing to the overall running of this only place they considered home. The intro of characters in the beginning & getting the basic world building was not too hard because it was done in a clever way IMO. Howey decided to try & keep many of the current world idea's & building in place but compacted into an upside-down sky scraper but with no view of the outside except thru computer screens & the laws of this world strictly enforced by death for those that questioned or caused too much trouble. That is where the story really begins to cascade & catch speed. When an older generation is murdered & the newer generation takes they're place it involves a 'changing of the guard' which leads to the ultimate questions that need answering for those with anti-establishment ideals or older generations that may be engrained to how society works but are still curious about what can be accomplished when a worker from a tight knit family of job related people look to help save they're friend from the fate of death by leaving the silo & going outside to a toxic world.
The protagonist, Juliette & her supporting characters start on a path that will inevitably end in disaster, but for who? are there others out there? whats the purpose of the silos? Well the answer is one that is quite the mind fuck lol. Which is the type of books I love. In 'Shift' the 2nd book where they change to a better narrator IMO & is the best book of the series the reader is brought back to 'present day' time while the silo's were being built, who was privy to the total information surrounding the silo's, the major players in silo 1 which are essentially the overseer's in this series & are introduced to a new cast of protagonist, antagonists, family members of both, & regular people trying to live they're lives. The reason I gave this book 5 stars vs. the other 2 was mainly because of the background & how the concept of silo's & why they were built in the 1st place plus described a great deal of background regarding this project & how certain people were compartmentalized regarding their duties. This might only be a small problem for a generation but think about the ramifications of shift after shift of people cry o-genetically frozen, re-thawed while select people were allowed NOT to take medication that made a person forget trauma & slowly who they were in a past life. By the time 'Wool' takes place its been over a hundred years & you have those in charge still frozen & awakened to run the project while others go thru the monotonous shift changes unaware of past memories or how they ended up in the silo's to begin with... without women in Silo 1 ! (it was a theory the women & children were kept frozen to ensure the men would work without creating problems that might put the women & children at risk). Apparently every human nature related issue was thought out in advance, but those in charge slowly realize that just like the other silo's, their "main hub, & center node of control' also can fall prey to the unexpected.
This last book 'Dust' was a very good ending although it did leave a few head scratches at the end. I'd like a reader to figure those out for themselves mostly but simple questions such as whether or not the entire world was involved in destruction or why the air was only contaminated in a certain circular area without dissipating were immediate questions most would probably catch. I really loved Donald & Charlotte who were completely flawed characters but once finding out what he did unknowingly, Donald got his own redemption in a way & Charlotte was a character I was pulling for although Darcy was also a new character I liked that didn't turn out like I thought it might. Without spoiling the ending its safe to say, people will die, silo's will crumble, power will be flexed, & the ultimate answer to all the readers main questions will be resolved in a believable manner. Perhaps not the best in some eyes but much better than many other endings to these dystopia type books. I will say as a minor spoiler that Juliette IMO got all she deserved in regards to her constant pushing while forgetting her mayoral duties, forgetting friends to the point of not meeting them face to face after contact, & with a character like Solo from book 2, he's not the type of person you want running around a "normally run Silo" without a bit of concern. She was too busy finding out the next new thing & perhaps the way the silo's were built made it so the easy gathering of people was harder to do, but Juliette had her life saved by many people who ended up getting a raw deal. I don't want to throw out numbers that one can figure out at the end, but I'd put her in a rather uncaring category as long as she got to potentially dish out vengeance, revenge, or perhaps something more profound? The end won't disappoint IMO.
I would highly suggest this book for anyone looking for a different POV than typical 'world destroyed dystopia' based books, which than evolves into what most readers believe to be unpredictable events in a civilization that has established societal norms they believed true come crashing down around them. As you read this you can see not everyone is new to these events happening or in some cases caused the events while others adapted & overcame hardships, while others burned they're own path by fire & explosives lol. How is that possible? Why? If you plan to get this series be prepared to get the 2 books after 'Wool' because the 1st book takes place in the future while the 2nd jumps back & forth while the 3rd does all three, to include a climatic conclusion. Start to remember as you stop taking your shady medication, wonder who you were & perhaps where you came from & get the wool pulled down from around your eyes in this unique look into the depths of human nature.
After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover, and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke's own long-lost love. Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life, and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds, Sabetha has just one goal-to destroy Locke forever.
** My rating was closer to 5-stars but the 1st book still holds that
I was lucky enough for this book to be released while reading Red Seas Under Red Skies so I knew there would be an immediate book 3 to go directly onto once done. Once again Lynch does not disappoint, especially when the book is based off a character that is only mentioned a few times within the 1st & 2nd books. Kudos to him for the ability to create a character we can set on the backburner without being inordinately annoyed & when she is mentioned taking an active role also the history between her & Locke Lamora, as a reader you are hooked before even starting to read a chapter or 2 of this book.
As mentioned with the last book of 'The Gentlemen Bastards' its hard to envision a way to top the original The Lies of Locke Lamora but just like book 2 this book is another lateral step on the same plane of excellence. Without spoiling any important points this book:
* Resolves the problems facing Locke & Jean at the end of book 2 which leads directly into the teeth of The Republic of Thieves smoothly with content that is once again new & refreshing while still testing the same skills the duo is known for
* Has extended past memories of Locke, Jean, & Sabitha that include the original crew of bastards with Chains (Chains happens to be a favorite of mine, plus the twins
* Obviously includes how Locke 1st met & fell in love with Sabitha & how they became lovers. These flashbacks happen while the current dilemma facing the 3 past friends is occurring
* The flashback story is a great confidence (big surprise) the bastards pulled off in the past while the current issue is one that matches the wits of 2 bastards who've been a dynamic duo against the 1 older, potentially wiser bastard that's been missing thru the series since book 1 but from similar upbringing therefore leveling the 'playing field'
* You will learn of Locke's past, what makes him so unique, & why this curiosity would be inevitable answered but will he wish he never found the answer out?
This book once again turns what we think about Locke upside down & created a new path, agenda, & birth of a new enemy with old grudges. Take a stroll thru Locke's love life, memories of love, & what 3 old, close friends would sacrifice for each other but also what 2 lovers do when faced with the true nature of 1 of them. Make sure anything valuable is locked & accounted for as plunge into another epic tale.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows - to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry.
When it comes to his type of genre I see Vince Flynn (RIP), Silva, Ludlum, Le Carre, Clancy, early Follet, Coonts, even Coes (also relatively new compared to others but IMO better books than Greaney) as overall better writers & the alias known as 'The Gray Man.'
This book was the much better than the earlier 3 although they are all worth the read if you are into the genre & have a credit handy. This book involved more specific people within the government hunting Court Gentry & contained a great deal of new technology mixed with old spy craft & not entirely 'eye rolling' action like authors in the genre all walk the line on. I felt the first couple books were mediocre & lacking in character depth besides implying "agent has global currency as -awesome-, one man army, & not subtle to pull a trigger' regardless of the reminders the author tries to claim his protagonist is low key & avoids confrontation. In this book you meet another legend trained like Court & his obsession with Court in a world of killers & spies is not exactly a pragmatic POV. Although it gave us a small look into his past & about history the other books rarely mention let alone write about.
The 3-star rating may seem low but for this type of action book its the average entertaining good read in my ratings. There are few authors that elicit 4-5 stars in this genre because as mentioned before even though its fiction when the book is filled from front to back with violent action its hard to give it the same stars I give a book written by Brandon Sanderson or Neil Gaiman or a non-fiction/'based off true event' type book regarding the military, i.e. Navy SEAL past actions or experiences based off true accounts of different battles thru history. Writers like Silva, Le Carre, & Flynn tend to draw my attention more (also recent author Ben Coes) as a cut above the rest IMO. Perhaps its because the portagonists are refined thru more books than 3-4 (although Coes with Andreas has the same) but also because large parts in the book focus on past history regarding how the operative was trained, pre-operations, less raw action & more cloak & dagger 'spy craft', use of assets in non-violent ways, or global implications without crossing into a political soapbox. 'Deadeye' avoids most of this but revolves around a cat & mouse chase of trained killers as they leave a wake of bodies thru every country they step foot in. Entertaining, Fun, but as with many in the genre just a satisfying read better than its predecessors.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful