Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Plague Arcanist

Plague Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #4)Plague Arcanist by Shami Stovall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Volke Savan finds himself in a place no arcanist would ever choose to be in, infected by the Arcane Plague. Volke has months before the plague changes him into someone unrecognizable and Luthair is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to avoid losing another Arcanist. There is one hope, Theasin Venrover. Theasin bragged that he will cure the plague, but it's not clear where he headed after Thronehold. Volke is forced to leave the Frith Guild on his quest. He is joined by Theasin's son Adelgis, the former pirate Fain, the Doppelganger Arcanist Karna, and the crew of the Sun Chaser. Together they seek Theasin for his cure, before Volke is driven mad.

Plague Arcanist had me hooked. From the moment Volke was infected by the Arcane Plague, I've been desperate to see him recover. The journey to Theasin is long and winding.

Witnessing Volke's character time and time again is one of the strongest parts of the book and series. Volke is a young man who should hate people and only think of himself because of the way the world treated him. Instead he wants to defend the same people who couldn't be bothered with his presence. I appreciate how Karna can't seem to get past Volke's genuine kindness and willingness to help others over himself. It's what draws her to him and makes her want to understand him.

I also appreciated the new characters and the development of the existing ones. Volke's influence has a strong impact on Adelgis, Fain, and Karna primarily. Adelgis is left changed by the near death experience of the Abyssal Leech, but his loyalty to Volke is clear. He's also a bit unnerving with the development of his powers. Fain has gone under quite the transformation. It was only two books ago where he wanted to kill Luthair, but now he stands with Luthair and Volke in their time of need. Karna is quite interesting as she delves to learn more and more about people and their nature. Her favorite subject being Volke.

Plague Arcanist is filled with unexpected twists and turns. I was hooked before I even picked up the book. The last few chapters were truly emotional and excellent. This is my favorite book in the series thus far.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Coliseum Arcanist

Coliseum Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #3)Coliseum Arcanist by Shami Stovall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Grand Apothecary of Fortuna, Gillie, has developed a way to guard against the Arcane Plague. In order to get the resources needed to put the defense into place, members of the Frith Guild head to Thronehold. Their goal is to beseech the Queen of Thronehold for resources. Unfortunate timing finds that a new sovereign dragon has hatched, which complicates matters for the guild. People flock to Thronehold for the bonding ceremony and a grand tournament that is taking place. Strange events are happening and Volke Savan has taken it upon himself to investigate.

Coliseum Arcanist almost feels like a response to anyone who might have said the first two books in the series felt like young adult. The tone grew darker and the stakes become deadly. While that happened Volke remains the same overly chivalrous individual, doing anything to uphold his values and protect others. I really appreciated the way the world is growing and how the danger is increasing.

Coliseum Arcanist is a true world builder of a book. Volke finds a guide to Eldrin that Adelgis's father wrote. It was a subtle way to expand the knowledge of the world while not feeling like a simple information dump. The tournament and the new environment introduced the reader to different Eldrin and also showed greater details of the strength of familiar ones.

There is so much more I'd like to say about the Coliseum Arcanist, but it feels too spoiler like for my tastes. I'm quite excited to see where the story heads next.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021


Bloodline (Cradle, #9)Bloodline by Will Wight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Dreadgod is heading for Sacred Valley. Lindon is determined to save the people from his home at all costs. Unfortunately Lindon and his friends are weakened by Sacred Valley's curse and the people of Sacred Valley are far from trusting.

Bloodline is largely what I expected in a very good way. Lindon is too good for the people of Sacred Valley. I needed to get that off my chest. It may simply be the nature of the Valley, but most of their leaders are absolutely ridiculous. It goes along with the idea that a dishonest man sees a lie in everything. If the majority of the leaders in Sacred Valley were on fire, they wouldn't let anyone outside their clan put them out.

Bloodline is by far the most serious and introspective book in the series. This book is about tragedy and survival more than anything. It just felt heavy. Nothing Lindon could do seemed to be good enough. He goes home to try to save everyone and despite his strength they treat him more like a usurper than someone attempting to help. The crew spend much of their time trying to convince people they needed to flee and avoiding the ambushes of the very people they're trying to save.

Bloodline was a strong book. Many unknown aspects are revealed which was greatly appreciated. I will need to read it again soon to find out what I missed on my first read.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Dread Pirate Arcanist

Dread Pirate Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #2)Dread Pirate Arcanist by Shami Stovall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Volke, his fellow apprentices, and Master Zelfree are tasked with protecting Griffins before their bonding ceremony. Tragedy strikes in the name of pirates. Not just any pirates, the pirates of the Third Abyss. Their leader Dread Pirate Calisto is the man who killed Illia's parents and cut out her eye. Illia is out for revenge while Volke wants to protect her.

The Dread Pirate Arcanist was a good book. There is a lot of emotional depth as many of the main characters focus on their personal tragedies. It felt more mature overall despite there being a lot of young adult themes throughout.

The magic system is also a way the book excels as the author has developed a solid magic system with Eldrin and their bonding. We also find out there's more to magic than we've learned thus far during a brief encounter between Zelfree, Volke, and another guild member. I hope that continues to expand as the series continues.

Dread Pirate Calisto is a frightening individual. He makes Gregory Ruma seem inconsequential by comparison. He's a prepared and brutal adversary to put it nicely. Not the kind of enemy one would like to make. Though Illia plans to see him dead no matter what.

I personally don't love the young adult aspects of the book, but I think it's likely my age. Kids saving the day don't interest me. Part of me wishes I could see the story from Zelfree's perspective rather than Volke's. Volke does present himself as the least young adult of his fellow apprentices, but teenage drama seems to gravitate around him.

Dread Pirate Arcanist was certainly better than it's predecessor.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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