Book Review: Cinders On The Wind by Louis Emery

Publishing Date: May 2019

Publisher: Unfurled Scrolls


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher’s Description: A strong-willed young woman prophesizes the future, triggers fiery telekinetic abilities, and discovers she holds immense power. A Kingsguard with past demons must protect this young Seer on a perilous journey, difficult for him to accept, but soon he risks everything for this woman who resembles the sister he lost. The Royal Asker for King Greenvale uses her sorcery investigating the murders of island lords. Can she find the perpetrator before she or the king is the next victim? A Cylarnti warrior leads soldiers on a volcanic island in the midst of rebellion. A conspiracy is taking place and the clock is ticking for him to unmask it. Who these four trust and who they fear are as unknown as the outcome of war. They must fight to vanquish the enemy in the shadows and on the wind.

Review: There were quite a few story lines that were carried by various characters, showcasing their unique perspectives in a world filled with medieval war. Throw in a speshul seer, a couple of dragons, a handful of wizards and some giant bears and the stage is set for a fantasy ride that is grounded in the arcane.

To say there was war is understating the approach. The kingdom of Greenvale is beset by war on multiple fronts and within the rebellious in-holdings lies another kingdom seeking to destabilize the regime, prior to invasion. There are savages in the woods that would sooner kill you than make you a slave with scrofulous indigents to ply their sickly mores upon your wasted frame. Hey, that was pretty good.

The only problem(s) I had with this novel was the use of descriptors that did not fit the period.  For instance, Malcom gazes up at the night sky, describing or rather internalizing what he sees in emotive vein. As he looks upon the stars he reflects…“Others, distant galaxies emanating from afar.” Now how does a knight that lives in a world that parallels our development in and around the 1100’s know anything about galaxies? The misplacement of verbiage, mainly descriptors used by the characters is scattered about the novel. “Evolution, Testosterone, Psychic, Graffiti and Anthropomorphic:” round out the list of “Not to use”.

I think there is more to come and would like to see where this all goes.


Book Review: The Gossamer Mage by Julie E. Czerneda


Publishing Date: August 2019

Publisher: DAW

ISBN: 9780756408909

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic.

Review: I was not real exited to visit Czerneda’s world again based on a previous work that left me less than thrilled. As a fellow biologist I began this novel firmly in her corner with pompoms.

This was not only surprising but just plain amazing. The prose, while stilted, adds a characters’ off tilt perspective on events as they unfold. Really unique approach to character development. Each story line wends and interesting way across the pages, diverging, then coalescing once again to a patterned whole. This sinuosity is built upon a solid foundation of world building so that you know exactly where you are in relation to each characters experience.

The minor downs of this novel were the limited quests that would have expanded the entirety of the world (denizens, geography, history, culture etc.). The movement is more inverted with expressive inner ruminations and lengthy dialogue. Not a bad thing, just different.

The mage craft is interesting and somewhat unique. Where the pen, ink, and words are used on paper in this novel, Victor Gischler utilized ink and words on skin in the  “Fire Beneath the Skin series 5-years ago.  Although different manifestations arise from each use of these disparate magics, the similarities are too coincidental to dismiss. But like they say, there is nothing new under the Sun.

This is a long novel that seeks to entertain through a character(s) ups and downs. Get it.

Book Review: The Mercenary Code by Emmet Moss

Publishing Date: May 2019

Publisher: Emmet Moss

ISBN: 9781093861358

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Centuries ago, the murder of a beloved king tore apart the Kingdom of Caledun. The land was plunged into chaos and thousands perished in the aftermath. A new order was established in an attempt to return Caledun to its former glory. It failed, but in its place rose the beginnings of the Code.

Review: This novel has quite a bit going on in terms of several separate story lines that seem to slowly converge. Each story is unique as it covers the expanse of the world in which it resides. The characters that ride each story line are impeccably built as are the supporting players, each with their own unique perspectives.

The evil that lurks on the periphery is a menace that continues to exert more and more influence as the novel progresses. This slow build creates tension that emotionally binds the reader to the characters creating intense immersion via visualization.

****Some slight spoilers ahead****

I enjoyed the “other” beings that reside in this world and would have liked to have seen more of the Dwarven story told. The Gath, Goblins and Earth Fiends are superbly written as are the Gorimn. What kept this novel from ascending to 5 star status was Kieri. The installation of the twembling damsel (hooker with a heart of gold) whom casts furtive glances towards her one love, Leoric, wore pretty thin. She doesn’t know Leoric yet constantly gets them all in deep shjt with their unrequited love. So while being banged for quite awhile by Joram, the camp snitch, she suddenly fights him off from having sex with her so she can bear the child that is Leoric’s. Really?

A really well crafted and thought out novel that continues on in a series. Hopefully without Kieri, but that is a wish not to be realized, as it is mentioned over and over that Leoric will find her again. Barf. A long novel that beckons each evening. So settle in and enjoy.

Book Review: The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd by Robert Davies

Publishing Date: August 2019

Publisher: BHC

ISBN: 9781948540919

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: When Evan Morgan’s brother Damon dies suddenly, Evan is shocked to learn he left him an inheritance, leaving him instantly wealthy and the owner of his country farm. Traveling to North Wales seems to be a formality: attend the reading of the will, pick up and dispose of any valuables, and head back home. But everything changes when he arrives in Denbighshire and meets his new neighbor, the alluring and mysterious Aline Lloyd. Suddenly, staying doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, especially since the ancient grounds surrounding his new home feel as if they are calling to him to stay.

Review: To quote a reviewer, “this is a fictional memoir” as seen through the eyes of someone really really boring. Oooh, she has POWERS! and stuff. Yap, yap, yap, yap………cutesy huggums wuvs hims. Yap, yap, yap…..MI5, no 6 is real interested in her.  Yap, yap, yap.  “Are you threatening her!!!!! Boy I oughtta talk you to smithereens!”.

This was as interesting as a dick in a bowl of hot dogs and as much fun as a bag of hammers.  If you like vague dialogue centered around a myopic egalitarian’s perspective, then this books for you.

Book Review: The 13th Key by Sarah Fisher


Publishing Date:April 2019

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

ISBN: 9780648182450

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Noah Chord is just an ordinary teenager … or is she? One day, hearing-impaired, budding fashion designer, Noah, is at school; the next she’s saving the world. Not her world though – a place called Talisker, a world woven from music. And it all started when she met that cat!

Review: Some reviews iterated that the plot was wooden and cliched, while another thought that the romance was rushed and the story line a bit boring. The reviews that lend 4-5 stars are not really reviews at all. A publisher and a couple of descriptive reviews that hold no narrative content. .  Where do I sit in all this? Read on!

Noah is speshul. Since she is a reluctant hero, she gets get points for being super speshully. Chase plays her venturesome sidekick along with an Alsatian, which is a snobby way of saying “German Shepherd”, pre-1970.  Rounding out the main characters is the evil and oh so hot and sexy Orville and plodding yet hunky, Emir.

The total immersion into the love Tribangle scene never came to pass and that I am thankful for. The gurl on guy on guy stuff kind of comes out of nowhere and suddenly Noah is blushing and stealing kisses from boys. Huh? Noah runs pretty hot and cold on boys but it becomes a constant theme towards the end of the novel. This forced foray into romance ruins what was once a solid YA fantasy adventure novel.

The story line and world building are a mixed bag. There is an evolving and interesting story that moves in unexpected creative directions. While some of those directions are entertaining, others just don’t mesh well with the overall plot. These disruptions/diversions seek to lend some much needed creative change to a pedantic story line.

While the premise that supports Noah’s lure in the adventure is really weak (fashion show) I had a good time reading this. There was some page flipping in scenes that were being beaten to death and hence the boredom issues with some reviewers is revealed. I think this is geared for the 13 year old crowd that yearns to be 16, but then again, wtf do I know about YA’s.

This really has no right to continue on in a series when the story could have been told in one go. To drag this tired old horse down another rocky path is just cruel.


Book Review: The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman


Publishing Date: August 2019

Publisher: Angry Robot

ISBN: 9780857668110

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Throughout human history there have always been sorcerers, once idolised and now exploited for their powers. In Israel, the Sons of Simeon, a group of religious extremists, persecute sorcerers while the government turns a blind eye. After a march for equal rights ends in brutal murder, empath, moodifier and reluctant waiter Reed becomes the next target. While his sorcerous and normie friends seek out his future killers,

Review: Cover art by Illuminati.

Wow this was dumb. Think, “Gay soap opera myopically internalized with feeeeeelings”. Heck, there are no Warlocks, Warlocking around with magic and strife filled  exchanges with moments of ennui.  Just moody gay guys manipulating feeeeelings.

Reed is a whiney, love-addled warbiotch who goes on all these “marches” to protest something that is never adequately defined. My guess is to get equal sorcerer (read in gay) rights?? I am not sure and neither will you be. They get attacked by another group that are labeled “religious extremists” because what would the point be unless you have Christianity as a convenient door mat.

I think the story line is a thinly veiled progressive message that seems to be running on automatic these days. The idea that everyone is bad if they are not on board with progressive rhetoric is absurd and dangerous. End times perhaps??

In this particular instance I reject the message as I do the messenger.

Book Review: Age of Legend by M.J. Sullivan


Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Grim Oak


Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all. With Age of MythAge of Swords, and Age of War, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther.

Review: It is interesting, at least to me, how all of the reviews that are 3 stars or less have no written content. Takes me back to the time I was a Beta reader for team Sullivan; when if you are more than honest about the content, you are summarily dismissed. As a lot of effort and time goes into Beta reading any expectations about receiving summary novels in the series are quickly quashed by the lack. Self-centered doesn’t quite describe that behavior but I suck too with having any expectations.

The first in this series was a dismal failure what with Persephone, well, being Persephone and the publisher did not approve any subsequent novels up until this one. Too bad, as this was very good. Not Riryria good but still compelling.  What this author excels at is developing characters over the course of a fast paced story line and even the newly introduced are woven into the mix and imbued with deep character. Very deft writing for sure.

I had a good time reading this despite my personal failures at forgiveness, and this might have received the full 5-star accolade, but there are gaps from the previous novels that needs filling. Perhaps once satisfied, then I can revisit this review with the alacrity it deserves.