Thursday, March 24, 2016


SnakewoodSnakewood by Adrian Selby
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Kailen's Twenty was a legendary group of mercenaries. They were so capable that whoever hired them won. Many years after they disbanded the members of the Twenty are being hunted down.

Promises of mystery, intrigue, and betrayal along with magic made Snakewood sound really interesting. Unfortunately those aspects weren't displayed in a compelling fashion. The story starts off with a scholar recounting various stories written with significantly different pacing. The choice to tell the story this way broke up any flow the story established. I personally feel this type of storytelling just hinders the success of first books in a series. The recounting of various stories and varied time periods is far more appropriate for a sequel, world book, or basically any story where the world is already established.

The story also bombarded the reader with terminology specific to the story with no explanation of what any of it means. The characters in Snakewood all utilize plants for a variety of purposes. A myriad of poisons are produced using the plants as everyone seems content to poison their adversaries. The characters also use a special drink called fightbrew to empower their fighters to battle. These brews take a toll on the users as their skin changes color from repeated use of the brew. I can imagine this being interesting with some early explanation, but the way things are explained just makes it all frustrating.

My biggest issue is that the general storytelling kept me from liking any of the characters. I can get past significant issues if I'm interested in the characters involved in the story, but when that's absent I quickly become disengaged.

In the end I have to say Snakewood wasn't for me.

1 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Ink Mage

Ink MageInk Mage by Victor Gischler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The city of Klaar is impregnable. It's Long Bridge and massive walls have never been bested by an enemy...until it was betrayed by one of their own. The Duke and Duchess were murdered, while their daughter Rina Veraiin was able to escape with the help of her bodyguard and teacher Kork. Kork following the Duke's last wishes takes Rina to an old mage who bestows upon her the special tattooed based magical power of an Ink Mage. Rina sets out to get help to reclaim her home.

When I read the synopsis for Ink Mage, it sounded interesting to me so I decided to give it a try. I didn't imagine I'd enjoy it as much as I did. Victor Gischler created an interesting world with compelling characters and amazing abilities.

By far the most interesting part of the story was the abilities of an Ink Mage. It's an old power that mages tattoo on people. A power source is tattooed on the back called a prime and additional tattoos can be added to provide different abilities. I've seen tattoos used to bestow power in other series, but never in such a unique fashion. It's somewhat akin to the wandering warriors from old stories who travel from master to master in search of new techniques. The difference is that instead of teaching techniques mages gift them to those seeking powers by tattooing them. No lessons needed really, it's simply a matter of gaining the tattoo and learning to wield the power.

The story is told from multiple point of views. The protagonists are the primary point of view characters, but the antagonists also receive point of view chapters from time to time. I enjoy having a story told by multiple characters, it gives a more diverse experience and allows the reader to really understand a multitude of characters rather than just one.

Ink Mage was perhaps one of the more sexually graphic fantasy novels I've read in a while. There is no fade to black when things get physical. There are quite a few of these scenes as a myriad of prostitutes appear throughout the story.

In the end I have to say Ink Mage was really a good story. I'm excited to read the sequel.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews