Review: Kokoro by Keith Yatsuhashi

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Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9780857666192

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publishers Description: On the planet of Higo, without the guidance of the Great Spirits, its people are descending into religious civil war. Baiyren Tallaenaq, Prince of Higo, is exiled after causing the death of his mother.
Freed from his responsibilities and the looming war, he steals their greatest weapon – a giant, sentient, armoured suit – and uses it to open a Portal to a world he never knew existed. A world called ‘Earth͟’…home of a magical young woman called Keiko.

Review: I am not sure what happened here. Where Kojiki was streamlined, Kokoro was laden with too much of, well everything. Characters, names and places and back history, all inter-leaved with constant over the top action. This process rendered the story line indiscernible and vague and subsequently lacked the detail required to visualize. 

 The cliché’ presented the form of Juno, really put me off this novel. Selfish, myopic (to the point of blindness), demanding but oh so hot and uber smart, Juno. Running from her bad CONSERVATIVE daddy who happens to be a US Senator and armed services committee chairman and into the mountains of China on a dig. Political bias. A big buzz kill no matter what side of the fence you’re on.  Well, while Juno flounces around demanding everything from everybody because she is an entitled little brat you get the sneaking suspicion early on that because the Heartstone is connected to her, that she is…SPESHUL!!!! YAY! Fug. Yup, speshulness rears it’s ugly head in this sequel in the form of spit and vinegar, hottie archeologist, Juno! See, she wuvs a pwince and he wuvs her so dang, hold on to your hotpockets cause here come the shjts. 

Besides the attempt at over-immersion, I would avoid the early e-ARC of this novel as every other page has about 1-4 sentences or a few words that are absent. Made for a really frustrating read when all the pertinent parts are deleted. Although this did not meet my expectations, I kinda knew that a great follow up to Kojiki was wishful thinking.

Review: Empress of the Fall by David Hair

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Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9781784291013

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.3/5

Publishers Description: Emperor Constant is dead and his rivals are scrabbling for power – but any misstep could plunge the land, already devastated by the shocking outcome of the Third Crusade, into a calamitous civil war.

Review: Not sure what to make of this. This novel was a roiling mass of naming conventions that is very hard to track unless you are familiar with the author’s world. This becomes an issue when it clouds the storyline. I get that this is a faction vs. faction vs. (etc.) novel that hints at replicating Game of Thrones, but it really needed an induction of simplicity in order to bring character focus and world building clarity.

I really liked everything about Ril. He was the only character that was built wonderfully with the movement. The rest of the players were somewhat muddied as they traipsed around a diminished storyline. Epic and I mean EPIC movement was utilized to balance the deficiencies in the novel.  There is no grand quest, or side quests for that matter that could have brought the world into focus and provided opportunities for character development and a gradual build to the finale. Yet, everything seemed compressed, almost rushed in order to “fit” all that the author had to say. Still, very good writing that is in need of serious storyline editing.

 

 

Review: Pirate Queen: Book of the Navigator by H.N. Klett

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Publisher: Raven Rock Press

Publishing Date: January 2017

ISBN: 9780997969917

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Rating: 3.7/5

Publishers Description: Hailey Heartstone’s life is swept into a storm of peril after she stumbles upon an ancient talking book, the book of the legendary Pirate Queen. Once unlocked, its dangerous power thrusts her into a world full of deadly mists and phantom pirates intent on recovering what once was theirs. Kidnapped from her family, Hailey must face true fear as she is forced into a journey to protect the power that she found and seek out those willing to help her save all that she loves before it is too late.

Review: I could have sworn that this novel was written by a woman as the perspective is spot on when viewed through Hailey’s eyes. Hailey is special, but that’s ok here because the pirate book tells her so and yet she still wanders around in disbelief. Hailey, like most heroines, are written as being at once really smart and dumber than a bag of hotdogs. Why this is so, is mainly to build the plot and embellish the story line. It really is not needed when you have a strong protagonist, yet some feel it is necessary in order to develop the supporting characters.

This was a fun and imaginative romp through a world imbued with sinister royalty, good pirates, ancient tech and an airship! This novel was not only creative but highly entertaining. “So why you no give 5 stars!!”. You will know it when you read it, but Orin’s demise was not needed as it halted the movement and destroyed a good chunk of the plot. Additionally there were numerous grammatical errors. 

I will definitely get the next in the series.

Review: Deathknight by Andrew J. Offutt

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Publisher: Endeavour Press

Publishing Date: December 2016/1990

ISBN: 9780441141593

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 /5

Publishers Description: When Knights of the Order are Killed, Falc must bring justice and seek revenge on the brutal murderer. With an unlikely companion, Falc ventures across the land to seek vengeance. HIs task is a difficult one, but will Falc uncover the truth and protect the Order?

Review: This is a work that is being republished 16 years after the first publication. While I don’t mind reviewing earlier novels, I would rather read and review what is currently trending. However, since it landed on my reader I am forced to wade through a rather misogynistic storyline in hopes of finding something compelling.  Initially my thoughts on this were biased, based on a couple of reviews. Stated issues include: too many characters and names that it was hard to track, contrived words without descriptors and lack of maps etc. While the only thing that bothered me was the high brow buffoonery, I quite enjoyed this novel.

Falc is weird. But more like assassin-monk weird with a penchant for ritualized dressing and young girls. He’s badass but not undefeatable. Jinnery is this wirey prune of a girl that was a street orphan used to plying men for paid services. This unlikely duo traipse across the storyline re-inventing themselves along the way. There is a conspiracy afoot and beneath it all, a hinted at ancient civilization where technology is still secretly utilized.

It is too bad that this is a stand alone novel as there were so many unanswered questions as well as the interesting epilogue that hints of a greater unveiling. A novel not to be taken seriously, but to have fun reading.  

Review: City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

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Publisher: Crown

Publishing Date: May 2017

ISBN: 9780553419733

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Revenge. It’s something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing. So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do—and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara’s killers deserve. 

Review: Boy am I late to the party on the Divine Cities series, missing out on the first two. Thankfully the writing is so good that you can jump in at any time and enjoy yourself. 

The character development was spectacular. The characters just grow and grow with the intense movement.   Sigrud has this very humanistic/Golem vibe that captures your attention. As you move through the storyline his opinions and perspectives on life change and what was once reddened fury becomes tempered in its approach. Very well drawn characterization. The world building is epic as you travel along with our anti-hero through different countries and hidden worlds. 

“So why you no give 5 stars!!!?”. As you may or may not know I am not a big fan of phrasing, especially when used repeatedly to expedite the scenes or transition dialogue. Fooking “said softly” was used 61 times. This phrasing was sometimes used repeatedly within a paragraph. Why use this vehicle when the author obviously has the talent to construct scenes that are complex in their approach? Anywaaay, a real good novel that hastens a prompt visitation each day.

Review: Tommy Hopps and the Aztecs by Vic Connor

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Publisher: IBPA

Publishing Date: December 2016

ISBN: 9782970074700

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.6/5

Publishers Description: When he takes a family vacation to Mexico City, Tommy Hopps is just a normal, fourteen-year-old kid — but that’s all about to change. Sleeping soundly in his family’s hotel room, Tommy is awoken by a ghostly presence: a threadbare pirate. When the unusual intruder attacks his parents, Tommy fights back … and gets transported to the Aztec Empire in the year 1521. He finds himself all alone in a strange world. Bizarrely, a few Aztecs seem to recognize him — as someone else. Pursued by warriors, strange creatures, and a mysterious woman who claims to be his wife, Tommy must rely on himself to survive while searching for a way to return to the present.

Review: This was made for young teens but at times is pretty graphic what with hearts being yanked out of chests and what not.

This was a pretty good read: Nice movement, good world building and average character development.  Tommy is a bit dumb at times…almost too dumb to be believable and the supporting cast was not very well developed due to the story line being devoted to the “Tommy Show”. Silence and Puma are built fairly well but we never get to go too deep into their pasts to generate much interest in them.

 I am not sure what direction this series is going to go, but I may hang out for the ride. 

 

Review: Island of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles, #1) by Erica Cameron

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Publisher: Entangled

Publishing Date: February 2017

ISBN: 9781633755963

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.0/5

Publishers Description: In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle. On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

Review: This was a really fooking good novel up to the Kindle 41% mark.  See, Kyha is a baddass that don’t need no body muthafuka, and you can take that shjt you bring and leave it in a cavernous bathing pool why she run muthafukin miles through the desert on patrol. So go fukof.  UNTIL, she meets a boy. Fug. Then it’s a fukin’ mess of shjt.  How do you go from a badass warrior/magic user to needing hims bigs stwong awms wapped awound her poor wittle self? She cans fweels his manwly manwiness as hims draws near. Kyha is now constantly needing Tessen to prop and hold her up and basically hover like an African Tsetse fly waiting for a bite. Lets see…..Can kill with multiple weapons and trained since birth, runs miles avoiding Teegras and other nasties, lives for days without food or water….but needs a douche to hold her up every time the going gets tough…….yeeeeeah.

Ok, done with the bad, now with the good. World building and character development were superb. The storyline really held your attention with the constant movement and subtle intrigue. Really a 5 star work without a couple of ruined characters. I may give the next novel a shot if dipshjt and horny toes behave like normal people or one of them dies off and sets the storyline straight again.