“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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#WWW Wednesday – September 06, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel on my way to choir last Thursday. This was definitely as good as the first book. I love the way Sylvain Neuvel manages to both highlight the global effects of proof of alien life, and also focus on the person as well.

I also finished Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, which was fine, but with the exception of the main character having a bunch of self-aware hallucinations, it felt like a straight crime book and there were parts that weren’t that engaging. I’m still going to read the third book when it arrives at the library, though.

I actually posted reviews on both Friday and Monday this week! Quelle surprise! Haha. Click titles to read my reviews of All The Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1) by Ellie Marney and Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel.

What are you currently reading?

started Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel on CD in the car the other night, but I haven’t converted it and put it on my phone yet, so I’m not very far into it.

I am also reading Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Amerie. It’s… fine? So far, I’ve read about six and there’s one story that I’ve particularly liked. The Jack and the Beanstalk one struck me as particularly weird, mostly because part of the vegetarian character’s journey to becoming a villian was “I realise I have to eat meat to fullfil my destiny!” Um.

What do you think you will read next?

I still have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I’ve also picked up a couple of books by Indigenous Australian women because I realised I’m pretty behind on my Australian Women Writers Challenge for this year.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – August 29, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

Oh my god, I finally finished Blackwing by Ed McDonald! Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad book. It’s just grimdark fantasy is not really my thing. If it is your thing, you will probably love this book. I still enjoyed a lot of it, it just took me a long time to get through. I’ll try to review it soon.

I was very excited to receive an early copy of All The Little Bones, #1 in the Circus Hearts series by Ellie Marney, as part of a giveaway Ellie was running. I usually don’t lean towards YA fiction that is quite so heavy on the romance, but the writing sucked me in.  Also for various reasons, I’m really into circuses at the moment, so that probably helped. I’m going to have a review up of this on Friday,  in time for its release on Saturday.

I’m still behind on reviews but I’m slowly catching up. I posted my review of Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel and Legion by Brandon Sanderson since my last WWW post.

What are you currently reading?

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel made me teary while I was listening to it on the bus today. I have already had two of my three favourite characters die, I didn’t need more emotional turmoil! But seriously, this book’s as good as the first in the series.

All The Little Bones distracted me from Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, but I will get back to that now. This is somewhat interesting but I feel like the stakes will need to pick up or I’m not going to enjoy it as much as the first book.

What do you think you will read next?

I have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I actually didn’t finish the first Ellie Marney book I tried reading, but then I really liked the Circus Hearts book, so I’m hoping this experience will be closer to  that one.

I’ve also got Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel, from the library, so I need to put it on my phone so I’m ready to pick it up.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

“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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#WWW Wednesday – August 15, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I didn’t participate in WWW Wednesday last week because I didn’t feel like much had changed in my reading  from the week previous. Plus I’m currently in the midst of a uni course, so I decided that for the next month or so, I need to alternate my Wednesday blog posts between my two blogs, rather than doing both.

So what have I been up to in the last fortnight?

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel, the fourth in the Frey & McGray series and all there is of this series for now. I actually DNFed this about halfway through on audio but after a few days I realised I still wanted to know what happened, so I got hold of the paperback from the library. I’m glad I did finish it as it ended up being really addictive, if a little confusing.

I also finished  Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel on audio. This one took me a long time to warm to but at some in the second half I suddenly realised “Oh, I am actually invested in this, huh.” There’s not much plot, but it made me ponder on life’s big questions a lot. Not many books make me do that. I reviewed it here.

Then there was Legion by Brandon Sanderson, which I had read back in 2014 but forgotten the details of. It’s a really intriguing premise – that genius Steven Leeds cannot contain all the knowledge in his brain so it off-shoots into self-aware hallucinations that help him do things.  I actually reviewed this back in 2014 so it was interesting writing a new review and seeing how my feelings changed. That’ll be up on Friday.

And last but not least, just this evening I finished Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, which I recommend listening to if you are an audio book person because it takes the form of interviews and recordings. I really enjoyed this. It explores a lot of the geo-political situation that proof of ultra-intelligent alien life would create. And the unnamed interviewer is played by Andy Secombe, who also read the Frey and McGrey books, so it was interesting hearing him take on a quite different character.

What are you currently reading?

I am trying to finish Blackwing by Ed McDonald so I can give it back to my friend who loaned it to me. The second book is out now so he wants to re-read the first. It’s got a really intriguing plot, but there’s something about the pacing or maybe it’s the anti-hero main character. I just can’t get through much of it at once.

I also picked up The Fandom by Anna Day from the library, which I’ve had on my TBR since it came out. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those YA books where I get to the end and shake it and wish it had lived up to its potential. The characters only paid £10 for their photo-op at ComicCon, which makes me think the author doesn’t quite know enough about her subject matter. I also don’t think it’s going to be cleverly subversive like I was hoping. But I could be completely wrong.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ve  downloaded Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel and while I haven’t started it at time of writing, I am on the late shift at work tonight and will begin it while driving home.

legionskindeepcoverI also have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library, and my hold on Skin Deep, the sequel to Legion, came in today and I will pick it up tomorrow. So one of those will definitely be next.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily