“Corruption doesn’t take root in isolation, it embeds itself where the soil is fertile.” // Review of “Blackwing” by Ed McDonald

Title: Blackwing (Raven’s Mark #1)
Author:
Ed McDonald
Genre: Fantasy (grimdark)
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 04/07/18 – 27/08/18
Rating:
★★

Review:

I want to start this review by sayinig this is a really good book. If you’re into grimdark fantasy, you will probably love it. It’s just not really my thing, and I did struggle with it at times, but it is really well developed and the writing is tight, and the things that brought down my rating are mostly a matter of personal preference.

I really enjoyed the worldbuilding here. It’s a kind of grungy, darker Ankh-Morpok, with industry and factories and also magic. I think when I started Blackwing that was the sort of thing I was in the mood for, rather than a stock standard medieval fantasy. Things are  explained as the reader needs to know about them and there is a good balance of explanation and leaving it to the reader’s imagination.

I think the (anti-)hero, Ryhalt Galharrow, both worked and didn’t work for me. At times he was a loveable grump, and at other times, I just wanted him to stop wallowing and get on with things. Which isn’t entirely fair, because he had a lot to wallow about. I did enjoy his ragtag team. Nenn, especially, was a great addition.

The one big thing I did take issue with was the badass, competent female character wore a veil because she was scarred, and claimed that she couldn’t let Galharrow see her face because he would be disappointed as she “had nothing of woman about her”. And then it was up to Galharrow to validate her by telling her she’s beautiful anyway. I mean, yes, women are often insecure about their looks because of impossible standards of beauty, but that doesn’t mean it’s still disappointing to see that trope in a very capable mathematician/magician character.

The plot is interesting, and as I said earlier, the writing is quite tight. It does move slowly, though, and that is one thing I have trouble with. My reading slows right down when the book itself is slowly-paced, and that frustrates me.

I am probably not going to continue with the series, but I honestly do think that this a high quality example of its genre, so if it sounds like your thing, you should get on that.


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“My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.” // Review of “Legion” by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Legion (Legion #1)
Author:
Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Sci-fi
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 12/08/18 – 13/08/18
Rating:
★★☆

Review:

So this is slightly unusual. I knew I had read this book before. I hadn’t realised until I saw the cover was already uploaded to my blog that I actually reviewed it back then, too. I forgot to cross-post it to GoodReads, and I rarely go back further than a month or two in my blog archives, unless I have a reason to. You can read that first review here.

This time around, I didn’t have as much trouble settling into the world of the book, perhaps because I remembered enough from the previous read. Stephen and his halluncinations can be tricky to get your head around, though, since you are reading his interactions with all of them, despite the fact the other characters cannot see them.

I enjoyed the the book considers the tension between science and faith, particularly within one person. It never passes any judgement over which it thinks is “correct” – some characters feel one way while others feel another and they both get an even playing field for their stands.

The book is quite short (under 100 pages), and in some ways it does feel like a series opener rather than being able to stand on its own two feet. There is a mysterious woman linked to Stephen’s past, and the mysteries of the camera that can take photos of the past are not fully answered. However, I think casual readers would still enjoy this. I originally read it back when the second and third books weren’t out, and I don’t remember being too frustrated. That said, I have the second one on standby now so that I can go and read more of these characters.


(Technically, NetGalley provided me with a free copy of this book in the form of the Preview Excerpt for the multi-book volume. I requested it because I didn’t realise it was just book 1, which I already owned, but I appreciated the impetus to read it again. Thanks!).

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