Malice by John Gwynne #Review

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

#BookReview : Wildcat by JP Harker @JP_Harker

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Wildcat” by JP Harker. This is available in paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK and is the first in The Caledon Saga.

Synopsis:

Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself… 

Wildcat takes place in a fantasy land inspired by Iron Age Britain and follows Rhianwyn’s story as she encounters a civilisation unlike any she could imagine, and is constantly forced to learn and adapt through trial after deadly trial.

My Thoughts:

Rhianwyn (Rhia) is a woman you really do not want to mess with. She, like other women, is a  warrior of the Caderyn, women fight beside the men and are just a ferocious and deadly. As with all things, nothing stays the same. Change is on the way as the Gaians gradually take over land and the people. A truce between the Calderyn and the Gaians is formed with Rhia and her sister Gwen starting a new life to keep the peace.

This is an absolute cracker of a read and the author has created a story that is heavy in elements of Iron Age Britain. The references and general feeling of the story show the authors obvious interest for the period and at times I forgot this was actually a fantasy read. When the tribes are conquered there you understand who by as the references to them of their lifestyle, training and language is apparent. The fight for power and control took me through underhand politics and battles as the story was laid out.

The plot evolves around Rhia and her life and her roles within a tribe and also as part of the conquers family. I really liked the way the author had done this as it showed a contrast between two cultures through one set of eyes. I was able to see different traditions, rituals and lifestyles while following Rhia’s journey. It shows several sides to her as a person and I loved the way she had evolved from the first meeting to years later.

The descriptive passages of the surroundings, people and their lifestyle I really enjoyed, there was plenty to build up a vivid image but without going over the top. The author has balanced it well within the story so as not to disrupt the flow of the story. It is a story that spans several years and you get to meet a great many characters especially at the beginning, but the time span allows the other characters to be gradually introduced.

Now this is a fair old lump of a book, it is 500+ pages long and I devoured it in two evenings and was thoroughly caught up in it. I liked the historical feel to it and as I mentioned before, forgot that it is a fantasy based read with a historical inspiration. It is one I would say is an Epic Fantasy rather than a series as it has a great depth of  plot and characters.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like stories with elements Historical Fiction as well as fantasy. It is a book I completely lost myself in for several hours as it took me through a few emotions, especially towards the end. A series that I will definitely be reading more of and I would highly recommend this book to other readers.

About the Author:

JP Harker is the pen-name of James Thomas, an obsessive martial artist and history fanatic. A proud Welshman with just enough Saxon in him to make things interesting, James hails from glamorous Glamorgan, Old South Wales.

You can find JP Harker on Twitter  and his Website.

 

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BookReview : #Melokai by @RosalynKAuthor

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Today I am delighted to be sharing “Melokai : In the Heart of the Mountain”, Book One by Rosalyn Kelly. It is available as an eBook, but I would suggest spending the extra on the paperback version.  I was sent an eARC of this book from the author for my consideration.  My views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

Synopsis:

She thinks it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning.

“Trouble will come from the east. A wolf will claim the throne.”

Legendary warrior Ramya has successfully reigned over Peqkya as Melokai for twelve years. Prosperous, peaceful, and happy, her people love her… or so she thinks.

But Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy.

Is the sudden appearance of a mysterious cave creature from the east the trouble the prophecy speaks of? Or is the threat something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves… does the ferocious war with their kind mark the end for Peqkya?

Before Ramya can answer, she and her fearless warriors must first crush a catastrophic rebellion that threatens to destroy her and devastate her beloved nation.

My Thoughts:

This books starts with action from the outset and does not let up.  Melokai Ramya is told that “A wolf will claim the throne”, her throne no less.  The story that follows introduces several other races of people and their interactions with each other. Some of the races have trade agreements and tentative alliances that seem on the face of it, to work.  There is however an underlying discord, one that will threaten the fragile peace of all the races.

This is a great read.  Rosalyn has created a world that has vivid descriptions of not only the people but also the landscape.  Each race has its own distinctive physical characteristic, this compliments the land they live in, each land is also unique to each race.  Within the races there are factions that are unhappy and strange alliances are formed, they want change to those in power and also to the restraints that are placed on them.

I am always a little hesitant when I read fantasy books like this.  I spent a lot of time a few years ago, reading many books of this genre, some were great but I also found quite a few were lacking.  I am happy to say that Melokai falls into the first, it really was a great read.  It has a lot of attention to detail, not only has Rosalyn described the details of each race and their corresponding landscape, she has done it so I can visualise them.  For me this is an important feature especially in a fantasy book. The character list is very large, and this is why I suggest buying the paperback rather than the eBook version as there is a great list of people and places, as well as a map.

The story has been written in such a way that you are gradually introduced to the various races, it has been done that it makes sense and gives a great flow to the story.  This is all wrapped around a plot that is in essence a power struggle, but it has a real sense of depth.  There are many elements in this book that make for really interesting, intriguing and addictive reading.  This is the first book in a series, with the second due next year (2018), I for one am really going to be keeping my eye out for this.

This is a book is one I would highly recommend to readers of Epic Fantasy, with lots of different other elements.  It is a well paced book, very well written and a fantastic read.  I would like to thank Rosalyn Kelly for sending me a copy of this book.

About the Author:

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Rosalyn Kelly grew up in the magical New Forest ​in the south of England and has lived around the country ​as well as in the Middle East, and travelled all over the world.

She studied English Literature and Language at Oxford Brookes University before embarking on a PR and marketing career.

After ten years telling the stories of international brands and businesses, she decided the time had come to tell her own and her debut novel MELOKAI was written in 2016 after quitting her job, going travelling for four months and then writing solidly for the following four.

The inspiration for her epic fantasy trilogy came when she was trekking in the mountains of Nepal’s stunning Annapurna Sanctuary.

When she’s not putting her heart and soul into book two of the In the Heart of the Mountains trilogy, she daydreams about where to travel to next, paints with acrylic, reads voraciously and writes book reviews on her blog.

Follow the author on Twitter or on her Website
Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give a share.  Better still, go and buy this book.