Review: Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Publisher: Del Rey

Publishing Date: July 2017

ISBN: 9781101965368

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publishers Description: Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess renders them indistinguishable from gods?

Review: This is my second review, the first as a Beta reviewer and this review has been re-drafted as well.

The anticipatory suspense that canvasses each scene and rides the story line like a gay linebacker, is never resolved throughout the entirety of the novel. When scenes finally culminate in epic fashion, they are wholly unbelievable. I think that every chapter I reviewed I kept asking the question “what happened to this story line?”.  So what makes it suck? Persephone and a dreary story line that never moves in a direction to develop the characters in a way that draws interest. In short, you don’t care what happens to them.

 I was mildly disappointed by a few things. The final version did not change hardly at all from the Beta which leads me to believe that a) the author dismissed input in favor of his own ideas or b) most of the comments ran parallel with his approval. It is hard to believe that I am not all knowing BUT I know entertaining fantasy, and I know when a novel is derailed by a host of instances. In this case it was a combination of an uninteresting quest coupled with forced movement and characters that were unable to develop under the yoke of stilted scene progression.

This re-write is due in part to me coming down off being put off from Beta reading subsequent novels. Boo-hoo, yeah I know. But I take it seriously and consider it an honor while doing my damnedest to provide good input.  I felt summarily cast aside without consideration for past efforts and my little ego got bruised in the process. Beta reading is a thankless job and you really have to love reading and the author’s work in order to provide some avenues not considered when constructing a novel. I still believe this author is one of the best I have ever read so it is still unclear to me what happened. If I had to guess, I would say his wife is taking a stab at writing. 

Review: The Silent Shield- The Kingfountain Series, Book 5 by Jeff Wheeler

Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: August 2017


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: Courtly intrigue and rumors of invasion plunge Kingfountain into turmoil as the search for Trynne’s father begins in earnest. But Trynne’s quest to learn the truth of Owen’s sinister disappearance is sidetracked when tragedy strikes her family once again. Suddenly, the future of the kingdom rests in her hands as she struggles to learn—and control—the power that can keep the threatening Deep Fathoms at bay.

Review: Well here is my second re-write of this novel and while not being my favorite thing to do, I thought it required more discernment.

So despite the speshul 16 year old main character and her stoopid magic that saves her in every desperate situation and the 7 suitors that want to bang her, the story line does captivate. The ability to travel across realms through ley lines does add some much needed movement.

Most of the scenes were rendered in larping dialect and the princesses “tremble”, “shudder”, “shiver” while training to be the most fearsome only women warriors (trained by a man) in the known world. It is just endless the amount of high brow buffoonery that occurs. From a plethora of Kings and Princesses to mighty wizards and convenient magic for all.  

I really hate to admit that I liked the story line. Unstable Kingdoms, war, betrayal, quests (check) and I started to pull for dumb ass to make it, despite her super speshulness. While I thought this would be like opening a box of farts on Christmas day, I did reluctantly finish. 



Review: Gizzard Stones by Garth Upshaw

Publisher: Ragnarok

Publishing Date: September 2017

ISBN: 9781945528507

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Nail didn’t mean to become the first goblin in hundreds of years to escape the Queen’s clutches. Lianne, a young human on the cusp of adulthood, struggles to find her place in a society that sneers at her immigrant forbears. Everyone they care about must rise to the challenges of a new world… a world that comes at a deadly cost.

Review: So what’s inside? Much trampling upon the masses by a power hungry magical Queen. Goblins take much of her focus as they are unwittingly the source of her power.  A mutant human girl begins her journey to change her circumstances, and others, under the Queen’s rule while her father leads the underground resistance of “Believers”.  

Wow, this was really good writing. Dialogue without phrasing fillers is a relief as it allows the story line to breath and take flight. Characters develop deeply with the movement when unencumbered with stilted scene progression and this novel delivers riveting personalities at every level. For a first full length novel I am extremely impressed with the author’s ability to not only construct a solid presentation but to enable a highly creative world.

“So why you no give 5 stars!?”. Not sure what the point of Lianne was, other than to expedite another perspective and divvy up the story line to make it more interesting. And why she is chosen to be a princess and why that matters was a serious plot hole. She later leads the city in rebuilding and administrative efforts and everyone calls her princess. Wha??? Still, I liked her character even though it was misplaced.. GET THIS!


Review: Soul Jar: A Jubal Van Zandt Novel by Eden Hudson

Publisher: Shadow Alley

Publishing Date: July 2017


Genre: Scifi/Fantasy

Rating: 3.9/5

Publishers Description: The best thief in the history of the Revived Earth is on a literal deadline—find a cure for the plague or die—but when the universe drops the ultimate extortion fodder into his lap, what’s Jubal supposed to do, say no? 

Review: Jubal is back and is in fine form once again. Where Bloodslinger was pure genius and Beautiful Corpse  rendered a miserable flop, Soul Jar picks up the pieces and races to the finish line in fine form.  Half of this novel is Jubal on a quest of sorts, to retrieve Nick’s fractured soul and the other half is Carina, mired in a virtual reality game.

I loved the pace and ever evolving characters of this installment and although Carina is gaming in a make believe world, the story is fantastic.  “So why you no give 5 stars!!!”. Too dam short. These novels need to be full length space operas to really expand the world and develop immersive story lines. Also,  Nick keeps getting in deeper shjt, so you can only surmise that Jubal will eventually get to banging Carina. That is just a guess on my part. Hopefully I am pleasantly surprised.  Anyhoo a great recovery with more epic moments in store. GET THIS!!

Review: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780765392534

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Review: About the only thing I liked about this novel was the cover art. Many may find intense dialogue that goes nowhere real fast is their thing, but not so much me. This should have been categorized as LGBTQIALMNOP and not Fantasy. If you want to read something really fun, go to Goodreads and read the reviews for this novel. Wow, the lesbian crowd is sure opinionated, narcissistic and myopic. Someone should remind them that it is FICTION!

Review: Unfiction by Gean Doucette

Publisher: Orbit

Publishing Date: June 2017

ISBN: 9781546563334

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.6/5

Publishers Description: When Oliver Naughton joins the Tenth Avenues Writers Underground, he figures he’ll finally get some of the wild imaginings out of his head and onto paper. Yet, Oliver’s stories don’t just need to be finished: they insist on it.

Review: This guy can write. I got so pulled into the first story that when it ended abruptly after one chapter, I was literally angry. It was a short story that Oliver was writing as part of his club. I almost dumped the whole novel but decided to push through my disappointment through to the end. While the writing was eminently engaging and the story line clever, it just didn’t pull me in. The characters had depth but the backbone of the story was just not that interesting.  See, Oliver writes stories that become real, but are just fragments of the whole as he has not finished them. Mmmmkay. I know this is pure subjectivity (like most reviews) but dang, infuse this story with some interesting movement. 

Mostly I was bored what with all the dialogue that centered around writing styles and people living it as their reality. I know this has been done before but cannot recall the novel.  A big meh.

Review: Beautiful Corpse (Jubal Van Zandt #2) by E. Hudson

Publisher: Shadow Alley

Publishing Date: June 2017


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: A deadly plague is ravaging the world’s population and threatening to kill the only person Jubal Van Zandt cares about—himself. If he doesn’t find a cure soon, he’s dead. 

Review: I really loved the Bloodslinger. It encompassed a poetic blend of witty repartee’, great action and sexual tension all residing within a diverse world.  In Beautiful Corpse the one liners are so constant, that it detracts from the storyline and character development. The sexuality is forced and overt, rendering the characters as one dimensional. The elegance in the first novel gave way to this idea that if you liked the first , then hitting you over the head with Jubal in the second, will be even better.

Narcissistic sociopaths are usually rendered with a darker side, sans the witticisms, and usually embark on any venture with a high level of manipulation. They rarely admit their weaknesses and are not so glib as to share those machinations in casual conversations. So subtlety is eschewed in favor of entertainment. I get that, but not while sacrificing depth of character. The quest falls flat in terms of movement and the ending is truncated and obtuse. A short read that still had a some funny moments.