I am delighted to be finally sharing my review for Raven’s Wand by Steve Hutton. I say finally because the publishers, Boddington & Royall sent me a copy of this book several months ago and it has taken me until now to read it, many apologies to them for the lateness of the this review. And to also add, Yes you were right, I did enjoy it! 😊
I have included this book in the #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge. It seems quite appropriate, and definitely unplanned, that this is the 13th book I read in the challenge! 😲
So, let me show you what it is all about…
Raven’s Wand sees two opposing secret societies waging a war of belief behind the skin of Victorian Britain. One uses magic to heal the world, while the other twists it into abominations and war machines. It is 1886 and a battle is about to be waged; Knight Superior Krast of the Illuminata is prepared for victory but fate is not wholly on his side.
Many years later, the survivors of that dreadful day will meet again. Kolfinnia has a great task set before her and, with the aid of the Raven wand, she dares more than she ever dreamed possible. A tale of two clashing worlds. The world of Kolfinnia and those who wish to eliminate her and all of her kind. Raven’s Wand is Book 1 in The Dark Raven Chronicles. Book 2: Flowers of Fate will be published Autumn 2016
The setting of 1886, Victorian Britain is absolutely spot on for this story. It is an era that still believes in the mysteries of the occult, witchcraft, superstition and traditional beliefs, it gives the perfect platform for witches and magic. On the flip side of the era coin is the the progression of industry, power, politics and propaganda. This is where the Illuminata come in, rounding up witches and destroying covens.
The story is focused around the Wildwood coven and of Knight Superior Krast. They both value the two sleeping dragons, the witches to protect them and Krast to possess them and their power.
I loved the contrast of the two sides to this “good ‘v’ evil” style story. The witches are very much at one with nature and is in harmony with living things, they nurture the young to understand their position in all things and their role in the world. Krast and the Illuminata however, well they want to possess and control things. The witches and the two hidden dragons have a power that can be harnessed and controlled, this has a double whammy as such, it means that Krast gets stronger and also the witches are destroyed. He builds great machines that cause devastation and destruction giving an almost steampunk vibe to the story.
The author has woven a fabulous story that just has a fantastic feel to it. He has successfully mixed in various things like, superstition, tradition, legend and folk lore into his tale. A nature ‘v’ man-made element is quite strong and so are the beliefs and politics that come with that, both believing they are right. It is one of those books that simply drew me in from the very beginning and had me eagerly turning the pages.
The characters are just wonderful, a maniacal power hungry Krast against the gentle coven, but don’t think for a moment that the witches are a walk over, they are most certainly not! The characters are very memorable and there are a few, but honestly, I found them easy to keep up with. the other thing I liked was that there were no strange names that I had to try and get my head around, this was great and also fitted with the time and setting of the story. The characters have traits and characteristics and as you get to know them you soon work out which side of the fence they sit, well most of them you do!
The setting is again another great contrast, the busy hustle bustle, smoke filled and noisy city of London is very different to the more rugged, tranquil, natural setting of the South West, an area that is full of legend, myth and folklore.
This is the first book in the series and it definitely wowed me. It is such an easy book to disappear into with a story that captured me and kept it’s hold. It moves along at a good pace and has a good amount of tension, intrigue, mystery and surprise.
In case you had not yet worked it out… Yes I loved this book a lot, a fantasy with wonderful characters, story-lines, settings and contrasts. These made it wonderful reading and has definitely left me wanting to know what happens next.
Raven’s Wand get a Definitely Recommended from Me!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx
Welcome to my review for Warlock Holmes – A Study in Brimstone by G.S. Denning. This is book number 7 of 20 in the 20 Books of Summer Rading Challenge.
Let me show you what it is all about…
Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius who uses the gift of deduction and reason to solve the most vexing of crimes.
Warlock Holmes, however, is an idiot. A good man, perhaps; a font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart flatmate. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.
An imaginative, irreverent and addictive reimagining of the world’s favourite detective, Warlock Holmes retains the charm, tone and feel of the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while finally giving the flat at 221b Baker Street what it’s been missing for all these years: an alchemy table.
Reimagining six stories, this riotous mash-up is a glorious new take on the ever-popular Sherlock Holmes myth, featuring the vampire Inspector Vladislav Lestrade, the ogre Inspector Torg Grogsson, and Dr. Watson, the true detective at 221b. And Sherlock. A warlock.
As you can see from reading the synopsis, this is similar to Sherlock Holmes and yet it is completely different!
Warlock is definitely a unique individual, you could say slightly mad, a little too mysterious and not altogether what you would expect.
This story is entertaining as I discovered the dynamics for this authors version of Holmes and Watson is more of a role reversal. Holmes is not the confident type of detective and in fact it is Watson who, once he gets to grips with the facts, takes the lead.
This is a re-imagined version of Sherlock Holmes, changing the name to Warlock and adding a more supernatural twist to it, actually worked rather well for me. I always think of the original Holmes as being mysterious and open to various thoughts and beliefs, and in some ways this lends itself to the way the author has taken with his version.
This is one of those books that I really enjoyed, although I do expect that it may not appeal to all. The books includes 6 stories and is entertaining reading. It does have the feel of the Conan Doyle original to it and I found myself quite engrossed wondering what on earth was going to happen next.
It is a book I would recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 x
I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike. This is a Young Adult book that is full of magic and that this Adult Reader enjoyed as well!
Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…
A stunning fantasy debut, enter the unique world of the Spell Breathers.
Spell Breathing does not come naturally to Rayne – she loathes the hours of practice, the stacks of scrolls, and the snapping mud devils that cover her mothers precious spell book.
But it is spell breathing that keeps her village safe from the dreaded monster curse that plagues their world. It is ancient powerful magic, but as Rayne learns to her horror . . . it is also fragile.
In one clumsy move, the magic that keeps them safe is broken, her village is plunged into danger, and an incredible adventure begins . . .
12 Year old Rayne is learning to be a Spell Breather and is an apprentice to her mum. They live in Penderin, a village hidden behind an invisible barrier that keeps them hidden from the world outside. The world is one where monsters roam. Raynes mother has to make a journey out of the village and leaves Rayne in charge of the Spell Book for safekeeping. It is not very long before there is an accident, the only person to help is her mum. So Rayne decides she will have to go after her.
This is a wonderful story that Older, as well as Young Adult Reader, will enjoy. The author has built up a magical story with an array of goodie and baddies and has a nice balance between the good and evil in the story. Magical is a pertinent word for this story as there are spells that are woven and spoken, being cast on the breath of the speaker. The spells are used to help people in their ailments, problems and also to provide protection, or at least that is what Rayne’s mum uses them for! On the flip side of this is what happens when the spells are used for self-empowerment.
The pacing of the story is good, the story flows nicely and it meant I wasn’t rushing the reading to find out what was going to happen next and still kept me turning pages eagerly.
There is a good range of characters, some good, some bad and some that left me which side they were on! Enough to provide a depth to the story but without being confusing trying to remember who was who and what role they played. They added diversity to the story that at times felt like a fairy tale.
I liked the focus on the words themselves that are included in the spell making. Not only using alternative words but also including the feeling a certain spell should feel like. It is a way of accessing feelings for younger readers. At the end of the book, the author has a great few pages about words and how you would create a spell. Using a thesaurus to find different words and then putting them together. I liked this inclusion because it encourages the younger reader to use their imagination and also learn new words at the same time. This is something that would have really appealed to me as I began my reading journey as a younger reader.
A great story that I, and older reader, thoruoughly enjoyed and would highly recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be sharing my review with you today for David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. My thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for accepting my request to join the tour and for arranging a copy of this book.
Let’s have a look and see what it about…
Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.
Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.
David Mogo is a godhunter. He is quite well placed to do this job and he has an advantage as he is a demigod. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, this story is one of gods, demigods and wizards. The area is embrioled in a battle after the gods fell to earth and try to carve out their own home, pushing people out or taking them over.
David himself is quite a complex character, well you would be if you were a demigod surely! Trying to work out who he is and finding a place to fit in. He would rather be human than part god. In some ways this story is like a two sided one, yes there are the battles, confrontation, and power struggles but there is also David’s story. Finding where he belongs and who he is and it runs alongside the gods taking over story well.
I did find this book challenging at times for a couple of reasons. There is quite a dark and disturbing section set around a character called Fati. The conversational language took me a little getting used to, though it is not used all the time in conversations. But that being said it sort of adds something to the story.
This is a book that is quite fast-paced and has a reasonable sized cast. I have to admit Papa Udi was by far my favourite, even though it was his speech that caused me to scratch my head working out what he was saying!
The setting has not been glamourised at all, the author paints quite a picture of the more destitute people in his story. Now I don’t have much knowledge of Nigeria, or it’s culture, traditions or religion. What I did find with this story was that these things came through very nicely through the story. This led me on an interesting interent search of the various Nigerian dieties mantioned.
This book is one of those that will divide readers, but for me it was a chance to read a book about a different culture to my own. A chance to broaden my reading horizons and dicover a new to me author.
It is a book I would recommend.
Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian writer of science fiction, contemporary and dark fantasy, and crime fiction. His work has appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Podcastle, The Dark, Mothership Zeta,
Omenana, Ozy, Brick Moon Fiction; amongst other magazines and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, and has worked in editorial at Podcastle and Sonora Review. He lives online on Facebook, tweets at @IAmSuyiDavies, and blogs at suyidavies.com. His urban fantasy novel about gods in Lagos is forthcoming in 2019.
See what other Book Bloggers on the Tour thought….
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx
I am very excited to welcome Stuart Reid onto my Blog today, I hope you are ready for bogies, snot, bottomburps and bums…I kid you not! If I say that this author has described as the “Billy Connolley for kids” that should give you some indication of how this post today is going to go!
Stuart is an author of the Gorgeous George books for Children, he is a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and tours schools bringing his books to children everywhere. . I admit I had great fun writing up this post. I hope you all enjoy it…
I don’t know about you, but for me I love Book Covers! Want to have a look at a couple of Stuart’s? (I apologise for reducing the synopsis for each book!)
Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits!
Bogies, baddies, bagpipes and bums! Farting, false teeth and fun!
A must read for children (and anyone else) who love crude, rude, exciting, silly, sometimes smelly and humorous books.
I must admit the kid in me is sniggering sssoooooo much 🙂 🙂
Okay now for the Q & A (aka – author interrogation!) – make yourself comfy…
1.When was the moment that you realised you wanted to write children’s books?
I’ve always loved writing. When I was 16, becoming a sports journalist would’ve been my dream job (basically being paid to watch football) but I studied Business Management instead because I thought it was sensible. After 25 years in business, I was running a 300-bedroom hotel in Dubai; I had a large house, a maid, a gardener, a swimming pool and two 4×4’s and I realised that I wasn’t happy. Work was unfulfilling and the credit crunch made things much harder. My wife persuaded me to start writing again… anything that would make me happy… and I began writing about people, situations and weird stories that I laughed at when I was 9 years old. I regressed back into my childhood and have never been happier.
I think being happy is your work is important, but still WOW…
2.Where did the idea of taking your books direct to your audience come from?
In 2009, I decided to give up my job… along with my salary, my car, my house, my healthcare and my pension… to start writing children’s books, so my family and I returned to Britain where I finished my first book. I was luckily enough to find a small publisher who agreed to publish the first book but he said “You’ll never make any money being a children’s author” so I started working as an area manager in retail again (which was soul-destroying). I realised that my target market meet together five days a week, forty weeks of the year… if I could tick the education box for the teachers, the reading inspiration box for the parents and the enjoyment and excitement boxes for the kids, then I might have a product that schools could benefit from. Six months after my first book was released my diary was so full with bookings from schools, libraries and book festivals that I was able to give up my proper job again and become a full-time children’s author. Since then, I have hosted over 1,500 events throughout the Uk and Ireland, as well as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, India, Hong Kong and Australia.
Finding your target audience was obviously important!
3.Is there a special standout moment from your books or from your performances?
Yesterday I was boarding a flight in Australia, returning from the Adelaide Festival, when an Emirates check-in staff member asked for my ticket and passport. She looked at the passport and then asked, ‘Are you the author? Were you performing at the Fringe? You asked my husband up onto the stage to be a lady elephant!’ – I nearly wet myself laughing. I also hosted an event in the Middle East with a group of boys from a royal family and almost started a riot. After one of my Edinburgh Fringe events last year, one of the parents described me as ‘Billy Connolly for kids’ – which is a massive compliment but one which I felt wholly inadequate to justify (didn’t stop me putting on my posters though). Writing scenes in my books where kids can help me bring the stories to life is great. Young volunteers help the audience visualise certain chapters by throwing false teeth at me, becoming snot zombies, enacting the water and the mountains and the tents around Justin Bieber’s campsite, as well as unleashing the two cheeky chimpanzees that amuse the crowd and terrorise the elephants.
Audience participation appears to be a key factor and also increases the fun!
4.Its obvious children love these performances from the video. I also noticed the adults loved it as well. Is this something you expected?
The more I’ve toured, and met mums and dads and teachers, the more I’ve found that most people still hold onto their inner child… the little person they once were that enjoys silliness, that laughs uncontrollably and helps them realise that it’s okay to have fun. Life can often be challenging but people need to laugh more, to enjoy life as much as possible and never take themselves too seriously. We’re only on the planet for a visit!
Yep, I have many silly, hysterical moments, and thats all I am saying about that lol
5.As I am a lifelong bookworm, I have to ask what were your favourite childhood books?
When I was about nine, I was hooked on a mystery series entitled Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators, where my love of an abstract adventure came from. Before that, the first book I remember reading by myself was Roald Dahl’s The Twits, and loved the monkeys gluing the furniture on the ceiling and Mr Twit pulling off the birds’ legs (which sounds a big gruesome nowadays). I also remember a hilarious book called Fungus the Bogeyman, as up until that point, I never knew you could put bogies in a book! And as a teenager, To Kill A Mocking Bird was the first book I ever read twice.
I remember The Twits and have heard of but never read Fungus.
6. And because I am nosy, what are your favourite books as an adult?
I am obsessed with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, and have recently started another Stephen King phase. My two teenager daughters are brilliant at recommending books too. I’ve just finished You by Caroline Kepnes, although it was a wee bit rude so I will be having words with that daughter! I couldn’t put John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars down, and it was the first book where I’ve actually cried buckets. Me Before You was very good and I shed a tear or two with RJ Palacio’s Wonder. I still enjoy reading children’s and young adult books, as I need to be aware of market and like to recommend books to little readers and their teachers.
Never too old to read children’s books!
7. And yes, I’m very nosy! What are your interests and hobbies away from books?
I love cooking and will always be experimenting in the kitchen – creating new tapas dishes is my favourite thing right now. My wife and I love to travel, so if she’s not joining me on my book tours, we try to squeeze in a cheeky wee holiday or weekend break every couple of months. And although my stage shows are quite energetic, and my fitness levels are okay, I don’t play football anymore, as I’m scared of breaking my leg and not being able to perform on stage. Playing FIFA on the PS4 is the best sport I can manage these days.
8. Apart from bringing stories to a younger readers, what are your future aims or dreams for your books?
If I was to allow myself to have a dream for my Gorgeous George books,it would be a movie or television series, with a young Rupert Grinch playing George, an older, balder Robert Carlisle wearing an enormous ginger moustache would play Grandpa Jock. A younger version of Letitia Wright (from Black Panther) would be Barbara and Allison would be played by the Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, if she had a time machine go back to being a kid again. The adventures would be a mixture of live action, bright animation and full-on CGI, with Simon Cowell as the villain in Giant Geriatric Generator. We’d need a cast of hundreds for the Zig-Zag Zit-faced Zombies story and Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright and Woody Harrelson would have feature too, with time-warp trouser trumpets, aliens, Loch Ness monsters, piles and piles of pink poo, a parody of A Christmas Carol would need to be the festive adventure and there’s also a love story for Grandpa Jock too. But to be honest, I haven’t really given it much thought.
Oh I agree no thought at all hahaha
9. If I could wave a magic wand what would you wish for?
Wow… you mean apart from the last answer? Well, I suppose I want every kid in the world to see one of my live events, and to feel inspired enough to want to read more books, more often. And not just my books, but any good book. And to learn to love reading, and to share that love of reading with their own children. My books are yucky… they are about boogers, bums and big bottom burps and my characters will never grown up… but I know that every little reader will, and they’ll leave Gorgeous George behind and read other books, better books and more intelligent books but I’d love it if my books were the inspiration for that. Oh, and world peace.
My love of reading started as a child and has been with me ever since!
10. Now the 3 W’s – What is next? Where Will it be? And When will it be?
It’s already shaping up to be another busy year. My diary is full for months with a short tour of N.Ireland, followed by my first gigs at the Brighton Fringe, then the launch of Book no.8 Gorgeous George and the Incredible Iron-Bru-Man Incident in July. My sixth year at the Edinburgh Fringe is in August with 60+ appearances there, more school events, Book Week Scotland and my first tour of schools in Qatar. There is also the possibility of hosting events in Australia again with Perth Fringe in January 2020 and back across to Adelaide again in February. It’s great to be so busy… I think I have the best job in the world!
Wowsers…very busy and I wish you all the very best. I agree, it does sound like you have the best job!!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be appreciated so much 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be sharing the Audible Version of Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve and Narrated by Barnaby Edwards.
Welcome to the astounding world of Predator Cities!
Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed.
In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage – and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.
“Predator Cities”… yeah, you read that right… cities that devour other cities! Not only do they devour cities they also float!
This obviously falls into the fantasy genre and is also a YA themed book and is the first in the series. I have seen this advertised as a film and while I am waiting to watch it I thought this might be as good a time as any to listen to the book.
Tom is the main character and he is a little naive to some of the more darker dealings and politics of the cities and its power-hungry leaders. Corruption is rife and puts Tom in danger. Along the way, Tom meets Hester. She is an intriguing character, nervy, watchful and, alert at all times.
The battles between the elite and the powerful as they strive to be bigger and better than others and have their cities to be bigger and better also. There is definitely one megalomaniac that stands out from the rest, he is evil and yeah slightly mad with his vision for the future. In with that, there is the struggle that the common people have, the comparisons intrigued me as I listened.
I really enjoyed some of the word-building and the play on words, as I listened I understood why this would be made into a film.
Barnaby Edwards does a great job with the narration and had a tone in his voice that didn’t jar or jangle. He had a good range to the voices and I found it easy to follow.
I enjoyed listening to this a lot and it has actually left me wanting to read the book as well! So now I am looking forward to the book and the film!
I am delighted to share my review for Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly. I won a copy of this book from Readers First so my huge thanks to them.
As a child I loved fairy tales, especially Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. They told of magical adventures and whisked me off to far away lands to meet all sorts of people and beasts. Step Sister is the story of what happened after Ella was found to be the owner of the glass slipper.
‘In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters – a maiden, a mother, and a crone – are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .’
Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . .
Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?
This is the story of Isabella, one-half of the “ugly sisters”, the other being Octavia. I was really interested to see how or where the author would go with this story. The author took a route that included Fate and Chance, it wasn’t the story I thought it would be. Instead, it was so much better than I could imagine.
I immediately got the fairy tale vibe as I started this story, and I was so glad of that. I think it is important to have this as it follows on from such a famous one. The main focus is Isabella and I learned of her childhood and growing up. More importantly, I discovered what the turning point was in her life for her to turn ugly.
The way the author portrayed the character and showed things from Isabella’s perspective was interesting and became very compelling. Instead of the flippant, high-maintenance and demanding girl instead, I found someone very different. A girl who so much wanted for her mother to be proud of her. A girl who was expected to become someone she didn’t want to be. A girl caught in an endless circle.
As this tale unfolded I was drawn deeper into the lives of the sisters. The story made me think about them in a different way as a new light had been shone on them. The author has given the sisters something different and for me, it worked really well. There was more of a feminism flare to the story, and as this strain started to make itself felt the fairy tale started to fade. There is still the magical feel but it just feels more grown up.
If like me, you still like fairy tales then Step Sister is one you should really take a look at. It has darkness that has been balanced with the various other threads of the story. For me, this version of what happened after is very good and makes for brilliant reading.
It has strong characters, a wonderful storyline and gives great escapism. It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx
If anyone asks me about my favourite books, I always mention The Darkest Hand Trilogy by Tarn Richardson. This is fabulous Dark Fiction that absolutely blew me away. A blend of historical fiction, fantasy and religious conspiracy.
Why am I letting you know about this, I hear you ask!
Well Tarn Richardson also has a novella, a prequel to the series and it’s called The Haunted. It is an amazing action packed, full speed intro to Poldeck Tacit and the best bit is that it’s FREE!
You heard me right!
A FREE download over on Amazon!
Do yourself a favour go and get a copy. It is 48 pages long so grab a coffee and have a read.
In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Tacit Poldek is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke.
With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Tacit Poldek. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.
THE HUNTED is the FREE prequel to Tarn Richardson’s gritty and compelling DARKEST HAND TRILOGY featuring the brilliant but flawed inquisitor Tacit Poldek.
I am so delighted to be sharing my review today for Malice by John Gwynn.
If you are after starting an epic fantasy series then you definitley need to cast your eyes to this The Faithful & The Fallen series. Malice is the first book.
The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle. An uneasy peace reigns, but now giants stir once more, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of gigantic worms. Those who can still read the signs see a prophecy realised: sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield.
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors and yearns to join them, determined that he will make his family proud. It is only when everything he knows is threatened that he discovers the true cost of becoming a man.
As the Kings look to their borders, and priests beg answers from the Gods, only a chosen few know that the fate of the world will be decided between two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. And with their coming will be a war to end all wars.
This is a great lump of a lump at 672 pages long and I have to say it was brilliant!
It is told in quick chapters that alternate between the main characters. There is quite a large cast that consists of various Kings, Queens, warriors, knights the list goes on and seems to include people from every walk of life. Rulers of the lands to the stable boy and all manner of others in between.
With this large cast, it would easy to think that it would be confusing to remember them all, this is definitely not the case. The author has created characters that are memorable for so many different reasons. Some are more intriguing than others, some are kind and others are mysterious.
With this being the first in what I think will be an absolute belter of a series, there is some brief history in the prologue to start the scene setting. This is then built upon in a wonderfully paced and totally gripping story. I did take my time with this book as I felt it required a little more concentration, but the further I got the more I could relax as I started to get the plots, characters and general feel of the story in my head.
I loved the setting of this story and map at the beginning was helpful. It made it easier for me to understand the placing of the various parts of the Banished Lands.
The story is EPIC! There are alliances that are not exactly set in stone. Loyalties can lie with whoever looks more likely to win, though not everyone is power mad and has questionable morals. It can be the most unlikely that show the most courage. These are the ones that just carry on the best they can, doing what is expected, trying to stay out of trouble!
With the threat of a prophesied God Was looming there are those who look for signs, they try to interpret them trying to get the upper hand. Others are hunting down and laying claim to ancient relics. It is an age-old battle for ultimate power. These struggles lead to skirmishes that then lead to bloodthirsty battles, they separate families and cost lives.
Oh my… I am waffling so much about this book and seem to be getting nowhere! I am trying to explain who bloody good this book is without giving details away…
Back to basics… John Gwynne has created a truly brilliant story. It is detailed and so absorbing, and even though it did require concentration, I loved everything about it. Quick chapters gave a quick pace. It has things that occur in everyday life for those who live in the Banished Lands and epic bloody skirmishes and battles. There are feuds, quests, vendettas and so, so much more.
If you like fantasy reads then you will love this one. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series as there are so many things that I want to know more about.
Would I recommend Malice? Well, absolutely I would!
Many thanks fo reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx
I have been a huge fan of Tarn Richardson’s The Darkest Hand Trilogy and I am so excited and delighted to be welcoming you all to have a look at the fabulous new look covers for this fabulous and Highly Recommended trilogy. Tarn has recently moved to Red Door Publishing and I wish him all the best for this new journey.
I first became aware of this fabulous trilogy when I read the short prequel called The Hunted. This is action packed from the very start and was when I first got to meet inquisitor Poldeck Tacit. This prequel is available free for download from Amazon and is the start to an absolutely amazing trilogy. If anyone asks me about some of the best books I have read, this series always gets a mention! Get your free copy of The Hunted HERE
In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Poldek Tacit is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke.
With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Poldek Tacit. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.
After reading The Hunted I wondered how on earth this author could maintain such a frenetic pace in a full length book? Well not only did he deliver a story he did it in a very intricate way.
The Damned follows and I realised what sort of journey I was on. Referred to as Dark Fiction, for me this series covers many genres. Historical fiction, fantasy, crime, thriller, alternative history, if you love reading any of these or like mystery, thriller and suspense then this is for you as well.
Here is a snippet of one of my reviews… “I fell in love with a little e-book called “The Hunted”. It had so many things going on its 45 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would transfer into a longer book, nevermind a trilogy of them. Tarn Richardson has brilliantly put together a huge story with a vast array of memorable and unique characters. I have loved some, loathed some and have been very wrong in my opinion of some. For me this shows what a great author he is, he has managed to bring his characters and his books alive for me in the words he has written. It is like reading a film. There has been a huge amount of research gone into this book and it shows, through the way he has intertwined his world into our own world history.”
The Fallen and then The Risen just cemented my love for this trilogy and I was gutted when I realised that I had come to the end of my journey with Polek and the other fabulous characters. This trilogy for me was simply sublime reading, it ticked so many boxes because of the many genres it spans. The attention and research to historical events is brilliant and very evident. There is conspiracy and intrigue at every turn as Poldeck battles his own demons and investigates others. This is a trilogy that was perfect for me and I think deserves far more attention than it has had. It is my sincere hope that as Tarn has now moved publishers The Darkest Hand gets the notice, attention and acclaim that it deserves.
So let’s have a proper look at the covers …
Now when it comes to covers I am one of those that tends to prefer the cover of a book I see. So for me I loved the original ones, but I to say that I am impressed with these new ones. I love that the original main colour was kept and the imagery is very suited to each book and link in to the main story. I will definitely be buying these new copies when they are published.
Tarn Richardson was brought up in a remote house, rumored to be haunted, near Somerset. He has worked as a copywriter, written mystery murder dinner party games and worked in digital media for nearly twenty years. He lives near Salisbury in England. The Damned is his debut novel, the first in a series of three featuring tortured Inquisitor Poldek Tacit.
Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.