Book Review: Calliope Jones and The Forests of Mist by Haylie Machado Hanson

 

Publisher: Books Go Social

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN:9781978465923

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 0.5/5

Publishers Description: When seventeen-year-old Navigator Calliope Jones and her robot World Diver leap into a whirlpool gateway to escape her nemesis, Shadowmancer Nathaniel Ormonde, she has no idea the world she discovers on the other side will be just as deadly as her enemy.

Review: Other than self-absorbed pre-teen escapists and  myopic millennials I really can’t see anyone enjoying the tropes that litter the pages of script. Insta-love, super speshulness, tantrums, narcissistic dialogue, super evilly thingies that glance “menacingly”, lots of “shuddering”, slut shaming and a pet cuddly robot scamp were the mainstays of this novel. Strangely the story line is fantastic. An alternate world diving robot tripping across dimensions of space time. Delete all the characters and follow the sentient robot through time and you have a winner.

So if you drive around looking for potholes to hit, by all means GET THIS!!!

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Book Review: The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

Publisher: Simon

Publishing Date: February 2018

ISBN:9781476778150

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service

Review: Well everyone that has read this novel so far, have loved it. Even the ones that rated it 3/5 raved about it like a pundit voting for the other side. This had all the elements that make a good novel, especially the intangibles like; looking forward to reading sessions and feeling comfortably warmed by the entertainment value that resides in well built characters.

“So why you no give 5 stars!!?”. For an extravagantly built world that is fantastic in it’s creative allure, I found the story line a bit too safe. It just did not marry well with the sigil magic premise. Trencher’s as a constant threat was the evil dichotomy that was soon rendered a bit thin by overuse. I was not hoping for war, so much as an adventure outside the realms of societal norms. Still a fantastic author to watch out for.

Book Review: A Meddle of Wizards By Alexandra Rushe

Publisher: Kensington

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9781635730104

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description:  Ruled by unpredictable gods and unstable nations, Tandara is a land of shapeshifters and weather-workers, queens and legends. Ravenous monsters and greedy bounty hunters patrol unforgiving mountains. Riverboats pulled by sea-cattle trade down broad waterways. And creatures of nightmare stalk Raine herself, vicious in the pursuit of her blood.

Review: Wow what a crap cover. Editor out snorting coke that day?

Raine, once transported to an alternate universe finds herself in the company of  2 wizards, a warrior and a giant named Tiny. The movement is constant and within each passage the characters continue to develop along with the movement. Coupled to this movement is a world revealed to be at once complex as it is interesting. The magic is not over-the-top and the characters have to work at it to be successful

“So why you no give 5 stars!!?”. The bad guys were a bit patterned without seemingly a lot of effort put in to make them unique. Casual cruelty in the guise of a black wizard does not a scary character make. The story just crosses over the “Fairy Tail” line, imbuing it with a corny kind of character and scene delivery. And then we have fooking Raine, whom goes from a great character diminished by illness to super speshul wizardy gurl. She’s hotter than a popcorn fart while getting lost in Raven’s (lol) tawny eyes. Fug. Ruined within a few chapters by romance. The final nail in this coffin was the stoopid hatchling snake that talks in Raine’s head like a baby Smeagol.

The vote is still out on this one. I liked the world building as it is very expansive when coupled to good movement. The characters were a kind of let down as they dissolved what could have been a wonderful story line.

Book Review: Weaver’s Lament (Industrial Magic; Book 2) by Emma Newman

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN:9780765394101

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.0/5

Publishers Description: Charlotte is learning to control her emerging magical powers under the secret tutelage of Magus Hopkins. Her first covert mission takes her to a textile mill where the disgruntled workers are apparently destroying expensive equipment. And if she can’t identify the culprits before it’s too late, her brother will be exiled, and her family dishonoured…

Review: Not much to say here. Good writing, interesting characters and a storyline that kept you interested. As this is a novella, it rates a max 3 stars due to the truncated nature of the work. There is a mild love tri-bangle that does not attempt to over run the plot which was refreshing. Why Charlotte is always dumbed down and confused is a state that could wear thin in a full length novel. As it is, this world begs for expansion.

Book Review: The River Keepers by Michael F. Stewart

Publisher: The Publishing House

Publishing Date: December 2017

ISBN: 9780993757969

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.8/5

Publishers Description: What would you do if your sister turned into a skunk? How about a mouse? Or a frog? Would you want to be a snake? Have you ever wished to swim like an actual fish? Wouldn’t you worry that a snapping turtle might take a bite out of you? In The River Keepers, two sisters must rise to meet an unexpected challenge. It’s a story infused with the magic and drama outside their backdoor — perhaps yours, too.

Review: A short Fantasy novella for the YA that was entertaining and well written. Certainly begs for an expanded world and characters that come of age in the Watershed.

Book Review: Flotsam by R J Theodore

 

Publisher: Parvus

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9780997661361

Genre: Mixed but mostly Steampunk

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Captain Talis just wants to keep her airship crew from starving, and maybe scrape up enough cash for some badly needed repairs. When an anonymous client offers a small fortune to root through a pile of atmospheric wreckage, it seems like an easy payday. The job yields an ancient ring, a forbidden secret, and a host of deadly enemies.

Review: A crazy blending of Steampunk, Fantasy and SciFi that takes you on a genre bending wild ride through the skies of Peridot.

The world building is incredibly epic for a newly minted author and hints at uncovering even more as this series evolves. The characters were not only well developed with the movement but continued to draw interest as their personal histories unfolded.  At one point I thought this novel was going to take a nose-dive into many buckles being swashed and overly elaborate descriptors on how they were dressed for battle (if hot looking sky pirates are your thing). Thankfully the instance was short lived and the novel gained in grittiness what it lost in glamour.

Although mixing genres has been done before, this author elegantly combines the visceral and fantastical into a salable whole. Well done noob.

Book Review: The Mongrel Mage by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

 

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN:9780765394682

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: In the world of Recluce, powerful mages can wield two kinds of magic—the white of Chaos or the black of Order. Beltur, however, has talents no one dreamed of, talents not seen in hundreds of years that blend both magics.

Review: A wonderfully written tale about a young mage finding his true place in the world of magic. Although Beltur is a little dense at times, he manages to escape death at the hands of the ruling Prefect and finds a corner of the kingdom to hide while discovering a different form of magic.

Wow, this was really good world building and character development. So much so, that you feel a part of the story line and manage to care what happens. I looked forward to the nightly immersion while reading about the travails and successes of Beltur.

The only minor drawbacks in characterization were the lack of character flaws in Beltur and Jessayla. Jessayla is all vim and vinegar while being hotter than a half-fugged fox in a February forest fire. She gives so much of herself that she almost dies while healing all the sick and injured. There is also a weird insertion of gay characters that strangely works in this novel as it isn’t this overt rendering that most authors like to parade around.

Get this and enjoy yourself for awhile.