Book Review: Magefall (Age of Dread #2) by Stephen Aryan


Publishing Date: 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.7/5

Review: Quite a step up from “Mage Born” which read like a disheveled nurse in a pox factory…….jumpy. There is still a bit of circuitous back story that slows the read and emotional introspection that fails to go deep enough to matter. Explaining to yourself why you are, the way you are based on your past, is rather myopic and fails to transcend the reader to a backing position of the character. In short, you really don’t care what happens to them. The characters that you do care for have established themselves in prior novels and benefit from subtle development. This can be applied to new characters as seen by the young mage, Kalina. She has a short and intense background which quickly establishes her persona and is able to drift through the story line in meaningful ways.

So Wren sucks, as the constant bombardment of speshulness is never ending as is the “splaining” of her emotions based on every single event. If it is not tied to Drassia and her family, then the faults are more immediate and external to her experience. “Oh, I get all weepy and stuff, oh and I twemble too when thinking of dummy who died in agonizing ways as I was protecting myself. But it’s still my fawlt, I’m just sure of it. Forget that these raiders have killed everyone in their path and we’re next but I can’t kill again, even though I didn’t really kill in the first place…”.  I thought Tianne would be the loser in this novel, but she turned out pretty good what with escaping a dead end predicament.

Balfruss and Munroe are really good, and the fight scenes between mages is really well done. There are a few show downs that drive the focus of this novel. Inventive magic is key here and the author delivers in spades.  Looking forward to the finale’.

Book Review: Mage Born (Age of Dread #1) by Stephen Aryan


Publishing Date: 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.3

Review: I had such high hopes for this series, based on Battlemage, that I purchased all of the Age of Dread series at once. After getting through what felt like a novella length read, I was disappointed in the layout of the story line. To wit, there were multiple paragraphs following one question that might be asked. These paragraphs spewed lengthy back story, odd self-recriminatory babbling or rehashing’s of the events previously endured. There was so much circularity to the story line, that at times I thought the author was attempting to drive home relevant issues. Nope. Just a way to kick start a series with character introductions.

The overall premise is weak. So, the masses are suborned into believing that all magic users are bad in less than a few months, to the point of mob rule. Kinda weak. The idea that a few people with a network of toadies can ply the populace in a criminal tangent is a stretch. I guess it’s not too far fetched as fantasy currently imitates real life. The other big hole in the story line is when the Red Tower is attacked by the untrained towns people, yet the mages and students have left because “It would make things worse”. Yet when the mages split, Garvey goes on a killing spree. So what was the point other than creating offshoots for successive novels?

This was slower than a slug at a salt lick, but I will say after having started Mage Fall, that there is hope to be had.

Book Review: Rogue Evolution (The Rogue Dungeon #4) by Eden Hudson


Publishing Date: 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Review:  Initially, this novel was a slow start. The power up verbiage, while keeping with the theme, is becoming redundant.  The action could have pulled more to the surface without the movement deadening, “magic explanations”. A bit restrictive when attempting to grow characters or introduce new ones.

The world has been built in prior novels and this creates an issue of repetitiveness when nothing new unfolds. Thankfully, there are quests galore (world expansion) with interesting scenarios and inventive creatures. At this point the novel clearly goes back into over-drive and what once was a chore to read has now captured my interest.

This series took off with a bang, got a flat tire and ended up crossing the line in good form. There is still more to come, and I look forward to it (them?).



Book Review: Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Publishing Date: 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Review: “Firefight” must have posed as a box you use to get the cookies hidden in the cupboard. This final installment rips along in pace and renders the imagination to visual heights. Or some-such.   A moving city of salt that renews itself on the leading edge and crumbles away on the trailing side? Way cool.

The movement is a constant and for that reason alone, I could not put this down. A good finale’.

Book Review: Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson


Publishing Date: 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.4/5

Review: This had a little less grit than the first but was still entertaining. The city of Babilar is creative as are the Epics that dwell within.

This installment was rendered a little flat as the characters were not forced to face their own dynamism. Megan is the only one that brings life to the pages as she struggles with the Darkness.

I will carry on.

Book Review: Steelheart by B. Sanderson


Publishing Date: 2013

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Review: Very YA oriented fantasy novel with a hormone addled teen as the hero. The Tropes are many among the Reckoners (A-Team). Abraham (Baracus): A soft spoken black man with muscles that does the heavy lifting and fixing of things. Prof (Hannibal): The leader of the Reckoners with a shaded past. Cody (Murdock): A can do-it-all kinda guy with a penchant for Haggis.

The Epics are well built and inventive in presentation. The bad metaphors that follow David are good for a laugh or two. I am glad that Megan made it through to the next novel and am kinda looking forward to see what happens. A quick, fun read.

Book Review: Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by B. Sanderson

Publishing Date: 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.7/5

Review: Ah yes, the quest to find a few thingies in the water fall city and save a cherished soul. Well it’s about dam time we had some travels, or as Wayne puts it, “Travails”.

Good movement and even better character development is always had when questing. It just makes it easier to evolve the characters along with a mysterious, ever-moving” story line. The same characters you have known before become a bit more amped up emotionally and are more central to the theme.

This is pure steampunk fun without the Victorian hangover. I had a good time and you will too.

Book Review: The Alloy of Law Mistborn #4) by B. Sanderson


Publishing Date: 2011

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.1/5

Review: A fun ride through the mists with a bit of high brow buckle swashing amidst a steampunkian background.

All the ladies are blushing and speaking softly, while the men run about with guns and allomancy a-blazin’. The best character never elaborated on was Lessie. A quick witted bounty hunter with the hots for Wax.  Al told, the banter is fun and the action well written. The characters stand on their own and suffuse the novel with vibrancy. I shall continue on with: “Shadows of Self”.

Book Reivew: Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by B. Sanderson


Publishing Date: 2015

Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk

Rating: 4.6/5

Review: For light reading, this was dam good entertainment. Love interests (tri-bangle), strange beings, terror killings via insanity and a city on the edge of implosion.

Sanderson draws the tension out with our hero’s overcoming somewhat impossible odds under continuous dire circumstances. Wax continues to grow as his past is revealed and you begin to hope he sticks it in……er, out with Steris. There is a fondness for Steris that only comes with building a character so wedded to her myopic ways yet fully aware of her short comings that you can’t help but hope that she lands in good hands. Very artful development. I will continue on with: “Bands of Mourning”.

Book Review: The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by B. Sanderson

Publishing Date: 2010

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.9/3

Review: Well, the evil thingy has been released thanks to Vin but all is forgiven, because most people that release pure evil into the world and bring about it’s destruction, are given a pass. While this not-so-clever plot device continued the series, the real winner in this installment, was movement.

Ah, where would a fantasy novel be without the quest? Nothing transforms a novel better than a good quest into the unknown. The movement is inherent and you have the story line to build and shape characters. The first 2 installments in this series failed at the revelatory level where the pinnacles of a grand culmination were never reached. Characters introduced trended toward the mundane without the bout of intense interaction. “Oh yeah this is Spook. He’s a Tineye. Oh, that’s Club. He limps from some war….”. Hero attempts to claim answers to the Ruin riddle by finding hidden caches that the Lord Ruler left behind and it is these caches that mimic the quest via the unknown. Weak, but there nonetheless.

The author attempts to answer the unsupportable biology of the planet with magical biological change in plants and humans with the shifting of a planet closer to the sun and ash mounts to cool it. The large ash particles depicted in the novel are not effective at cooling a planet. They drop out of the atmosphere quickly and never make it into the stratosphere. What is effective is sulphur dioxide that moves into the stratosphere creating sulfuric acid aerosols (with water). As there is never a mention of sulfur (smell) in the novel, one must assume that it is not emitting such gases. What is a more likely result of these particular ash mounts would be greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide/water) that would create an even hotter environment than the one depicted.

The ending is predictable yet plays out with inventiveness and brevity. Despite the research fails on a central theme that created the world building, I enjoyed this novel.