Book Review: Tree of Ages: Books 1-3 by Sara C. Roethle

 

Publishing Date: 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.45/5

Review: An average series that embraces world building via the quest while denuding characterization.

Book One: This type of series is usually not in my wheel house when there is a super speshully gurl that wanders around in a daze of self-deprecation and unawareness. There is some “Oh, I don’t know how, or if that was even me, that forced the ground to swallow three werewolves. Won’t you tell me?” Ho-hum. What makes Finn different from the rest is that she is fallible due to her innate lack of experience and often takes matters into her own hands. Sure she gets led around by the nose by people with bad intent but that is central to the story line. What really made this novel pop were the various characters that round out Finn’s experience. Aed is one of the best built characters I have read as are Anna and Keiren.

*3.7 stars*

Book Two: Aye, yai, yai, whadindafuk happened here? Finn has now become a boy infatuated gurl with a penchant for histrionics. She flounces about, STILL unaware of her power and cries constantly. Not to be outdone with a beat to shjt story line, she now has a pet baby dragon that is brimming with anthropomorphism. I had to suffer through this as I bought the set, but you should skip this p.o.s. and move on to the finale’.

*1.5 stars*

Book Three: Well, Finn is still a Drama Queen and begs everyone “Why haven’t you killed me?”. Well, I certainly would if I was writing this novel. I would have killed you off the minute your vague sense of self-importance reared it’s ugly head. But no, such self-sacrifice only means just how good she is within, and only external forces used her in such a despicable blah, blah, blah, blah.

There has been this weird tri-bangle developing throughout and of course one of the interested parties is named……wait for it…………..wait…………………KAI!. Because all shjtty romance novels feature a dude named Kai. When he appeared in the first novel, I thought “Fug me, this better not be a fukin’ fantasy romance novel…”.

Finn does seem to come out of her fugue state to realize her powers without yelling “Stop Fighting!!” then crying and crying.  The Faie Queen should have been expanded upon as she was a very good character. I think she should have been pitted against Keiren, the Queen of , er….bitches?

*2.5 stars*

Conclusion: This started out brilliantly with a character cleaner than a whistle in a virgins butt. Too bad the slate was ascribed with cheap romance novella type mewlings. This series could have been crazy good with a little inventive character building. Yeah, it is more involved and takes effort but at least your not in Trope-Landia. There is some redemption towards the end and I found myself enjoying the story line. And, if you happened to love this series, there is no conclusion so get ready for serialization.

Total rating for the series: *2.45 stars*

 

Book Review: Bibliomancer (Wolfman Warlock #1) by James A. Hunter

Publishing Date: 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Review: I am glad that I picked this up after my withdrawal pangs from the Completionist Chronicles. Much like the Dakota Krout series, this flows into the same world of Eternium yet with a different hero.

Sam is fun to follow through out the novel and the various characters remain interesting in their brief appearances. The snark is what you would expect from Hunter and Krout and brings levity when needed.

A fun read that demands more.

Book Review: The Spy That Came In From The Cold by J. le Carre’

Publishing Date: 1963

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 4.8/5

Review: This is my second le Carre’ novel and now I know why people rave for this writer the world over. This was originally published when I was one year old and le Carre’ was a Circus desk jockey. What is funny is the prelude he writes for this novel fifty years later-denying that this was a non-fictional account that even made people more entrenched in the idea.  His character ideas are borrowed from real interactions with ordinary people and not resident spies within his own organization.

Like the Constant Gardener, sometimes fiction imitates fact and I found most of this novel and the political intricacies relevant today. His prose is poignant and delivered without embellishment which creates a subtle impact through out the story line. The movement is constant and his main character shifts with emotional eddies as the tides turn.

This was at once visceral, haunting and splendid, that having once started there was no putting it down. This will probably be my last le Carre’ novel, as the endings are resolute in termination of the main characters.

Book Review: The Dreaming Stars (Axiom #2) by Tim Pratt

 

Publishing Date: 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Review: This was a long slog through relentless dialogue and an oh, so cuddly and perky Elena Oh. I had hopes for this series as the first was well done with inspired movement and inventive situational characters. Yeah, Elena sucked but for the most part, the supporting cast took up the slack.  We have a few characters that leave the ship only it is not the ones that should leave. The novel takes a dip here and continues to drag on with Ms. Snuggly Wuggims plying your brain with screeching nails.

Spoiler Alertio

What we know about the Axiom is admittedly horrific and should have remained that way. Only we find ourselves immersed in a virtual reality game that they have been playing for billions of years. Not-too-believable. My questions are many, but the few that are pertinent is: Why is an alien civilization that can control galaxies and abridge natural laws, immersed in a game world to escape “heat death”. What is the point of winning mock battles for millions of years subjective time in order to gloat over your enemies? Why does this sound really stupid to take in when writing this review? I should have stopped reading when they landed on planet stupid (Owain) with it’s artist refuge and lounging drug addicts.

I would continue on with this series (when it comes out) yet a forced lobotomy is not something I look forward to.

Book Review: Ruthless (The Completionist Chronicles #4) by Dakota Krout

Publishing Date: 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.6/5

Review: This was really a good finale’ to a wonderful series. Joe continues to grow as a character and the world building is getting some expansion, albeit late in the game. It is still hard to picture the characters as the author perceives them, but that is part of the allure of building your own mental imagery. We know that Lexi has black hair, possibly long. Jaxon is a fukin weirdo with a maniacal smile and two T-Rex heads for hands. Poppy…..no idea what he looks like. Bard is big and Scottish, but since Scots can look like anyone from anywhere…… Joe is bald and had facial hair but that is gone now.

Joe continues to build in abilities at an astounding rate, yet things don’t make sense in this world.  Joe can take down sage level entities yet has problems with lowly assassins attacking him. Big plot hole there. I get the fallible structure that endears a character to the reader, but in this case it does not fit the story line. In another instance in the prior novel, Joe has difficulty taking down a wall, but is able to infiltrate the “Arena”, scan it, raze and then lock it up permanently. All under the scrutiny of clown assassins.

 

This is not over. There are more worlds awaiting our heroes over the bifrost and I cannot wait to see them!

Book Review: Rexus: Side Quest (The Completionist Chronicles #2.5) by Dakota Krout

Publishing Date: 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.2/5

Review: Like the name says, this is a side quest with Jaxon, the douche chiropractor. Dunno why the author expended so much energy into a character that is not funny or interesting. It is really hard to make socially oblivious characters interesting.

The quest is inventive and interesting along with a new character addition for the main series. Still, well written and engrossing.

Book Review: Ritualist (The Completionist Chronicles #1) by Dakota Krout

 

Publishing Date: 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5

Review: This was a really inventive novel with an involved approach to developing specific magics. I was unable to put this novel down despite some inconsistencies. So hang on while I deride.

1) Joe: How does an experienced combat veteran get thrust into a game with similar stresses, somehow get constantly told what to do by a player that was a librarian or some shjt? He constantly errors in situations that he should be an expert in, or at least be cognitive. One avenue not explored is sex. Since Joe is in the game for good, where did his libido go?

2) World building: There is no ability to visualize the landscape and more importantly, the players as descriptions are never given. What does Tammy, Aten, Tank, Cel etc., look like? Got me. As they move through the country side wolves are hidden in the bushes or under trees. What trees? Conifers? Deciduous? Is the brush thick? Sparse? What color is anything? Is the terrain undulating? Flat? This was a big visualization downer.

Technically, the writing is superb and the story line moves smoothly and crescendos appropriately. Joe is an interesting character, unique in presentation and style. The writer imbues Joe with enough depth that you constantly root for his success.  An easy 5 star novel without the minor fall down(s).

Book Review: Magebane (Age of Dread #3) by Stephen Aryan

Publishing Date: 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Review: This was a really good end to a series that started in lackluster fashion and ended with a bang.

The characters continued to evolve along with the story line, in good ways and bad. When you have  immortal beings, it can be hard to develop the character, yet the author was able to move their perspectives by exerting external pressures. Very well done. Munroe and Wren fail to reach potential as one is mired in revenge and the other just gets more speshul, if that is possible.

There are quite a few holes in the story line which leads me to believe that this is not the end of this world. If Garvey and Balfruss are “Becoming”, then I assume that their ascension to godhood is imminent. Plus Garvey is a certain replacement for Kai since vacating his seat. There is still the issue of those hidden in the veil, and now with Kai and Akosh among them, the story line gets a ripe infusion of evil.

A dam good read.