Wednesday, June 30, 2021


Awakened (The Quintessence: Crucible #1)Awakened by C.M. Carney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Humanity was rescued from a dying Earth by the First Ones and brought to Crucible. There humanity trains to harness their Quintessence to help the First Ones battle the Phage.

Awakened was not what I was hoping it was. The most disappointing aspect is that I don't like the main character Aryc Tal Venn. The kid is obnoxious to put it mildly and it's amazing that his family hadn't disowned him by the beginning of the book. It's been a while since I've encountered a main character I just don't care for.

The descriptions of the abilities felt particularly forced. I realized every world has to have an explanation of the aspects of the world, but having the main character simply think things out in detail is disappointing. At times it felt as though there was simply page after page of internal dialogue discussion of the world's abilities.

Awakened in the end unfortunately just wasn't a book for me.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Knightmare Arcanist

Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #1)Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Volke has lived a difficult life in his few short years. His parents were criminals who are no longer in his life. Unfortunately for him, he lives in a place where individuals are judged by the deeds of the family. Volke is viewed by those around him as untrustworthy. He was basically orphaned at the age of 5 and adopted by/apprenticed to the gravedigger William. Volke desperately wants to flee that life and become an arcanist. He's studied hard and has a plan. Fortunately for him his adopted sister Illia has a plan as well.

Knightmare Arcanist was a solid book with clear inspirations that the author didn't bother to hide as she lists them in the description. Arcanists are people who bond themselves to magical creatures to share their power. These magical creatures can't grow stronger without bonding with a human. It's an interesting take on the typical coming of age tale. Volke himself is somewhat different as well as he's been punished for crimes his parents committed.

I have to say my biggest issue with this book is the description. I can not believe that the author spoiled the biggest twist in the description. If this point remains hidden it changes the whole feel of the book, but instead I knew the twist before I read the first page. I really am shocked any author would do such a thing. On top of that almost all the significant threads are tied up in one book. There seemed to be aspects worthy of being carried over multiple books. Oh well.

The main characters are largely stereotypes with the misunderstood hero, the damaged youth, the awkward youth, the perfect one, the arrogant one, and the one with rough edges. No real surprises from any of them. The magic carried the day, but it's largely Pokemon mixed with Cradle like power bonding. Throw in some young adult angst and you've got a nice YA book.

Knightmare Arcanist was what I've come to expect from the young adult genre. I just wish it offered more.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A Call For Brighter Days

A Call for Brighter Days (The Aeriel Chronicles, #2)A Call for Brighter Days by Nupur Chowdhury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The former Aeriel Queen, Tauheen, was killed. In the wake of her death more turmoil is impacting the world. Some of Tauheen's followers are now working with dangerous criminals called the feather mafia. They hunt and Aeriels for their feathers. Ruban and the IAW are working to stop the Mafia with Shwaan's help. However Shwaan is keeping secrets of his own which may have dire consequences.

A Call for Brighter Days revolves around the aftermath of the first book, mainly the death of Tauheen and Reivaa. Ruban is still working with Ashwin/Shwaan while keeping it secret from Simani, but she's getting suspicious of Ruban.

The story moves quickly and isn't afraid to jump from point to point. While this is a good for pacing, the characters suffer somewhat. Every character was focused on events that most of them don't have the opportunity to truly put their character on display. The point of view characters Ruban and Ashwin do display growth. Kaheen and Janak Nath also get the opportunity to grow and change throughout. Janak and Kaheen are nuanced individuals though Janak is somewhat of a villain for the sake of it.

A Call for Brighter Days was a solid sequel.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 9, 2021


RefractionRefraction by Wick Welker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story told in three parts in three different times. In 1986, Timothy Straus hears voices that guide him towards grand scientific achievement. In 2098, Caleb Stanger hears voices that lead him to revolt against the government. In 2155, the only sentient robot on Mars tries to lead the people past fear and a dangerous individual in the shadows into a brighter day. Despite the span on time and space these individuals are connected in unforeseeable ways.

Refraction is a thought provoking book to put it lightly. Many ideas are discussed from scientific, to political, to human nature, and beyond. The characters in the book find themselves fundamentally fighting against human nature along with the apathy of those with plenty.

The three timelines used were done in an excellent fashion. The timelines tease the story out slowly and I would have never imagined the end at the beginning. Some interesting events occurred starting with scientific discovery from Timothy Straus. I wish I could get into more, but any elaboration feels like spoiler territory. The revelations later in the book are well worth the read, even if they do feel heartbreaking.

Refraction is a mystery with tragedy seeping into nearly every aspect of it.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Of Killers and Kings

Of Killers and Kings (The Elder Empire: Shadow, #3)Of Killers and Kings by Will Wight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Great Elders, humanity's ancient enemy, are always plotting. With a crack in the sky they are ready to move. The Independent Guilds are ready to make peace with the Imperial Guilds to stop the Great Elders from getting what they want, but who knows exactly what any of the Great Elders have planned...

Of Killers and Kings was a good story. I wish, as I have with the entire series, that it didn't go over the same information as it's parallel novel. It just removed too much of the intrigue when so much of what happens has already been told. It doesn't make the books into equals, it makes whichever book you read second into a companion novel that simply fills in gaps.

Shera has been made into the Guild Head of the Consultants against her will and she's bristling at the unwanted promotion. I have to say after Of Darkness and Dawn, I never imagined I could come to like her...but I have. Having her vessels, Bastion and Syphren, voices in her head made her more intriguing. I was happy to see her gain some balance.

I didn't really find any other consultants all that interesting, but the Regents Estyr Six, Jorin Curse Breaker, and Lorelei were great characters. The Emperor's companions were quite the group. Estyr all power and rough edges, Jorin the scientist, and Lorelei the heart. I would have loved more from them.

So this is book 6 of 6 for me in my reading of The Elder Empire. The series had a rocky start for me as I began with Of Darkness and Dawn, but I slowly went back to it. I read all three books of the Sea side because the greater world building elements fascinated me. Then I decided to go back to the Shadow side which I found I enjoyed more than I imagined after book 1. Will Wight created quite the terrifying world and situation along with people who fought to make the world better. I loved the greater view we gained on the Emperor and how we learned despite all his power, at his core he was a man who cared deeply for humanity as a whole. He also lived through a world full of horror that the inhabitants today couldn't relate to which made some of them view him as harsh. The Emperor simply knew what was a stake.

In the end I'm glad that I read the Elder Empire and I'd be happy to revisit it down the line, hopefully without parallel novels. I'd have to call it a tie between the Shadow and Sea side for which trilogy I enjoyed more.

View all my reviews