Book Review: Chasm Walkers by Raquel Byrnes

Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: Pelican Group

ISBN: 9781611169416

Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk

Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher’s Description: Charlotte Blackburn—Legend, traitor, the Order’s worst nightmare —she escaped the torturous experiments by the villainous Viceroy Arecibo, but is forever changed. Now, she battles to retain her humanity as she fights to survive among the wild sky settlers of Outer City. But an old threat emerges and Charlotte must choose between revenge and redemption.

Review: Ah, where to start. Lets begin with the scene development. I think this author is a good writer, she just needs to find her voice rather than using established tropes. And when I say tropes, the author just doesn’t use one or two, she uses many to build her characters.

For example, Charlotte and Ashton are placed in scenes that you swear, came straight out of a Princess Bride movie. Ashton with his CHISELED JAW, flashing eyes and stalwart self-deprecation in times of heated stress, always professing his undying love for Buttercup…….er, Asshat. He is great with a sword (if you know what I mean <wink, wink>), and always shows up just in time. Of course he almost dies just like the dread Pirate Roberts. Charlotte is an idiot that runs around with a trembling lip because she bites it so much. She is petulant when the scene doesn’t demand it, so she comes off like a spoiled brat. She wants to save all the poor little puppies of the world and will not listen to reason as she pursues her goal as savior. She takes in “steadying breaths” and “muffles her yelps”, while biting her cheek so hard she tastes blood. She is at once a fainting speshul violet that turns into a disease ridden zombie slayer at the drop of her hat, that sits on her ass.  And that is just the tip of the Doucheberg.

So where would our story be without the villain(s), “Dun, dun, dun…..”. Viceroy Arecibo is a combination of Snidely Whiplash, Dr. Evil, Hannibal Lechter and The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He is so evilly evil-ish, that the mad cackles emanating from his chapped lips (he licks them a lot) send chills or drips of sweat, up or down Asshat’s neck or spine. He goes from a political savant to a savage killer, spilling guts without an ounce of remorse. Of course where would our villain be without his counterpart….an evil princess. And we know she is evil because she has red/ruby lips and smirks in an evil way.

So, as I conclude this review, I am often reminded that a good technical writer does not always guarantee a good novel. The author’s voice got lost in patterned cliché’s and determined outcomes where she relied on scenes well established in the romance genre to grind out a story line. There is no creative development in the characters and the only interesting thing about this novel is the premise, where a disease becomes an asset in a world of sky ships and dumb asses.


Book Review: The Golden Vial by Thomas Locke

Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: Revell

ISBN: 9780800723873

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Lady Shona, the newly crowned queen of the realm, is a leader without a throne. Pursued relentlessly by a dark force, her small contingent of loyal followers must make a difficult choice–flee or fight. Determined to save her land from nefarious threats, Lady Shona decides that she must seek out the enemy and attack them head on–a strategy that leads back to the region of the Three Valleys where Hyam was born.

Review: Another fantasy novel that starts out with a bang and then flounders in it’s own story line.  First off, despite the publisher’s description, this is not really about Lady Shona.  Sure she gets props for being a newly minted queenie but the most speshully person in the world is a wittle orphan gurl that whives in an animal pen, treated harshly by her wicked mistress and all the towns people. Dally or Asshat, is thrust into super speshul uber land by dint of her ability to do, well any and everything magical. There is no slow buildup in character development with some kind of quest that engenders the reader to care for her plight. Nope, just all of a sudden a super mage with some inner frailty that somehow is supposed to make the reader care for her. Nope.

So now we have a dipshjt mage that all the royalty bows and supports and then…….romance. Fug. Hunky Connell is well, hunky and her heart pitter-pats but “she felt once more this intense bonding. Which caused her to blush.”. Blah, blah, blah.  So with all the bonding with everyone she meets (dogs included) all her magic just comes naturally to her and all questions are foretold prior to the event because she is a far-seer or some shjt. Cool way to expedite the story line with ol’ Deus ex.

More than anything I wanted someone to kill her off so that the novel could become a cogent and interesting whole. As characters go, Lady My Sherona was good. She is royal, aloof, has some understated powers , steely in tense situations and can cry over spilt milk. Oh and she’s hotter than a popcorn fart.

At the end of the day the characters were rushed into roles with no formal build up. As a consequence they lacked depth and a believable persona.

Book Review: Nightblade’s Honor by Ryan Kirk

Publishing Date: April 2018

Publisher: 47 North

ISBN: 9781503953154

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.9/5

Publisher’s Description: With the realm on the brink of war, the once-celebrated blades have become an easy target for the rage of its devastated citizens. The nightblade warrior Asa’s lifelong quest for vengeance is over, but now she finds herself on the run from the people she sought to protect. As Asa forges a new course of action in an uncertain world, her path crosses with that of a young noblewoman.

Review: I am usually let down by a series when the first novel is spectacular. The second is usually tedious filler that sets up the finale’. If it is possible, Nightblade’s Honor is even better than the first.

Based on the publisher’s description, Asa takes center stage but there are a few characters that share in the novels progression and are as equally compelling. This highlights the author’s gift at building solid characters that grow and change with the movement. The scenes are vivid and the world building encompasses a grand scale of the known while embracing the unknown. I plowed through this novel faster than Oprah signing up for a butter convention.

Book Review: Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy) by Claire Legrand

Publishing Date: May 2018

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

ISBN: 9781492656623

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: DNF

Publisher’s Description:When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

Review: This was definitely written for the YA crowd with stilted emotional development and a penchant for maintaining relationships through cell phones. While the main characters were hyper-emotive, the magic or whatever it is, was over the top. Add in super powerful angel-like beings that are conveniently dense in order to expedite the story line (deus ex), and I am done.

Book Review: City of Shards by Steve Rodgers

Publishing Date: March 2018

Publisher: JKS


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher’s Description: The Wormpile district is the official canker on the capital’s bottom, a place where the people boil under the sway of a monstrous god. There, 16-year old Larin suffers from a magical outbursts, shouting nonsense words into decaying alleyways. Protected from the gangs by his drug-addicted warrior uncle Akul, Larin’s only friends are an outcast thief and an alcoholic priestess looking for excuses not to arrest him.

Review: Wanna get lost for awhile in a really well written novel with great characters and spectacular world building? Look no further than the “City of Shards”, book one in the Spellgiver series.

This story is told from Larin’s point of view, and the author does a great job rendering the world through this perspective. The supporting characters really deliver and the magic has limitations that ground the story line. I am really looking forward to “In the Claws of the Indigen”. GET THIS!

Book Review: EN by Michelle Reynoso

Publishing Date: April 2018

Publisher: IBPA

ISBN: 9780999718902

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: High School senior Faith McDaniels is struggling to find a place to belong. She never knew her father. She lost her mother to cancer three months ago. Now Faith is starting a new life with her brother Eddie in the small town of Madison, but this ‘fresh start’ is more than just a move to a new town and a new high school, it’s the beginning of a series of strange events that puts her on the precipice of discovering that pendants and portals, other worlds, and energy-bending are not just ideas from a fantasy story. It is her life. A life that is about to get even more complicated when Faith discovers her own extraordinary abilities to bend and manipulate energy, a power that can be the bridge, or the barrier, to saving the world of Enlitra and her own world.

Review: This was more like a novella in length, a rather quick read. I liked Faith as a character, initially. Then the novel gets patterned with her super speshulness and idiot friends and love tribangles.  Most of the story line resides in and out of an abandoned house which is supposed to scare you but comes off contrived. Because so much time is spent at the house the story line works at being relevant and interesting but comes off manufactured and boring.  Don’t worry though, there will probably be another 5 novellas that follow the unwilling trail of asshat …, Faith,  and her host of myopic and vacuous friends.

Book Review: Sygillis of Metatron by Ren Garcia


Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Publishing Date:  March 2011


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.0/5

Publisher’s Description: When an enemy Black Hat is taken prisoner aboard Captain Davage’s ship, the powerful Sisterhood of Light has every intention of executing her, to put her to a slow, painful death. That is what’s done to Black Hats, and no one dares challenge the Sisters’ authority. They are astounded when the Captain refuses to allow it.

Review:   The start of this novel was pretty cool. Lord Blanchefort shunning royal life in favor of military service. A saucy and dangerous former love plying the night in search of his destruction and a family riddled with questions about their sanity and fortitude. While fighting some galactic battle they run up against the Black Hats’, a murderous cult that utilizes dark energy in the form of Shadow Tech. After taking the Black Hat prisoner, Lord Blanchefort sees an uncanny resemblance to a friend that died and pursues a redemptive course rather than have her killed. Sygillus is way fooking creepy with her constant death iterations and vacuous approach to humanity. Like dealing with a hot Hannibal Lechter. And then………..

Have you ever been walking on a nice sunny spring day, sun warming your back and the scent of new life filling your lungs and then you step in a pile of dogshit. The glorious day suddenly leaves you while  frantically wiping the shit off on the grass. But still it hangs with you while you scrape the shit off the sides with a piece of bark. And, even though you get most of it off, it still rides your psyche back home until you can hose it off. That is what happened to this novel. Went from genius to pure shjt in a flash.

So, Lord Blanchefort presses on in his efforts to redeem a Black Hat, while his whole crew and the covenant of Sisters (The good witches) swear undying loyalty to him while wanting to bang him. As he works a miracle on Syg, she finally comes around and wuvs the Captwans with a jealous heart and plenty of sex kitteny like actions. Syg goes from a serial killer to a flouncy dim-witted romance figure with pedantic designs on marrying Lord Blanchefort cause she had a “vision”. The pure sap and corn continue to roll off every page in desultory fashion when it turns out she converted the Dark Shadow Tech into…..SILVER TECH!!! Fuk, she is just so damn speshul my balls ache. Well most everyone that is speshul has speshully powers in this novel so it is not surprise that they win at everything. The End.