Author: fantasyst95

Sunday Summary – 1st January 2023

Happy New Year friends! Welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas and New Year as I did.

In previous years, I have taken the time off between Christmas and New Year from blogging. However, I decided not to do that this year as I didn’t feel like I needed it. So, business was very much as usual.

On Thursday (slightly later than the planned date of Wednesday), I shared my review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling. As I said, I was hoping to get this out on Wednesday. However, by Wednesday evening I felt the review needed a little bit more work and polish before it went live. In the grand scheme of things, I thought it was more important to allow the extra day for that to happen. If you’re interested in my review and haven’t checked it out, there’s a link above for your convenience.

On Friday, I shared a First Lines Friday post. I featured the sequel to a young adult fantasy series I started in 2018. The motivation behind this post was to get excited to pick up this sequel later this year. Having read the opening lines and the synopsis, that is definitely the plan! If you want to check out what that feature was, you can find a link to that post here.

 

Books Read

Despite having family over a couple of days after Christmas, and then going back to work, I’ve still made really good reading progress. Last week I was just over 500 pages through Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. For the most part, progress with this book has been slow but steady. In my opinion, these aren’t books that you can ingest at high speed. They are dense, and there is a sizable page count to go with that.

This week, I had just over 360 pages to the end of this book, and I read every single one of them! It’s the most progress I’ve made on this book in any one week since I picked it up; I’m really happy with myself for that. Overall I really enjoyed the book. If I had one comment, I would say that it doesn’t need to be 880 pages long.

Then, yesterday, I started The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle. I already knew that I wasn’t going to be finishing this book in 2022. Although it is relatively short at 250 odd pages, that’s too much to read in one evening. Not impossible, but not likely either. Nevertheless, I decided to start it anyway as I was in the mood.

As of this Sunday Summary, I am one chapter in, equating to 11% and I am enjoying it so far. It’s full of interesting tidbits of knowledge related to literature, and I’m intrigued as to what I will learn from the rest of the book. Given that I managed to read this small section in a relatively short amount of time, this will be a quick read. Compared to Ship of Magic, it will be a very quick read! And, my first read of 2023!

 

Books Discovered

I was a very lucky girl and received a book voucher for Christmas from my mum and dad.

Needless to say, I was down at the bookshop at (almost) the earliest opportunity to spend it. As I was coming to the end of Ship of Magic by this point, I knew I wanted to try and get my hands on the next books in the series – The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny. Thankfully, Waterstones had both of these books in stock for the first time since I started looking for them. Needless to say, I promptly whisked them both off the shelf.

On my way down from a browse of the self-help section upstairs, I came across a few sale items they had left. One book in that section caught my eye. It’s a contemporary novel, which as you know, isn’t really the sort of thing I pick up on a regular basis. It was the title that grasped my attention; In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström. After picking it up and reading the synopsis, I knew I wanted to give this a try.

 

Coming Up…

The first week of January is always manic for a blogger like me, and this week coming is no exception!

Tomorrow, I will be posting my monthly wrap-up for December 2022. As usual, I will recap the books I read throughout the month and share links to the blog posts drafted and published in that period.

On Tuesday I am back with another post – I will be sharing my reading resolutions for 2023. With the exception of reading, I’m not one for setting resolutions. However, I prepared a list of things I would like to achieve in my 2023 reading about a month ago and I haven’t changed my mind on any of them. So, those are going to be my reading goals and I look forward to sharing them with you on Tuesday.

Thursday’s post will be my January 2023 TBR. We are already a few days into the month at that point and I may well have finished my first book at the time I share this post. However, I have a number of fantastic books on the reading list and I’m excited to share them with you!

On Friday, I will be publishing my review of 2022. In that post, I’ll be talking about the reading goals I set for myself this time last year and how I feel I completed them. I will also be talking about what worked and what didn’t so well so that I can take that feedback on board for a better reading year in 2023.

And as if that’s not enough already, I’ll be back at the same time next week with my Sunday Summary update! I’m hoping to make some reading progress amongst all the blogging, but we’ll have to see. Join me next week to find out!

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary.

What are you currently reading? Have you set yourself any reading goals for 2023?

 

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First Lines Friday – 30/12/2022

Hello all welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

For today’s post, I have been thinking about one of my reading goals for next year. I am conscious of the fact that I have a lot of ongoing book series at the moment. I want to reduce the number I’m reading at any one time. With that in mind, today’s featured book is a sequel to a series I started several years ago now.

Since reading that first book, I haven’t read or heard much of what the sequel is like. However, I really enjoyed the first book and so I want to give it a go anyway. If I enjoy as much as the first book, then there are more books to the series I can continue with. If not, then this is a series I can write off as one I’m not going to complete.

Would you like to read today’s featured introduction?

 

I try not to think of him.

But when I do, I hear the tides.

Baba was with me the first time I heard them.

The first time I felt them.

They called out to me like a lullaby, leading us away from the forest path and toward the sea. The ocean breeze ruffled the loose coils in my hair. Rays of sun spilled through the thinning leaves.

I didn’t know what we would find. What strange wonder that lullaby would hold. I just knew I had to get to it. It was like the tides held a missing piece of my soul.

 

 

Children of Virtue and Vengeance – Tomi Adeyemi

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 404

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co

Publication Date: 03 Dec 2019

 

 

Goodreads – Children of Virtue and Vengeance

After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

 

My Thoughts…

I read the first book of the series, Children of Blood and Bone, back in April 2018. That is obviously a long time ago now, so the finer points of the plot our way back down in the depths of my brain. I am sure that when I pick up Children of Virtue and Vengeance, the pivotable aspects of the plot will come back to me. I am in a position where I have also reviewed the Children of Blood and Bone, I can always go back to that to get the gist of my thoughts.

I remember really enjoying this fantasy story, even though it is aimed at a younger audience than I. Based on the synopsis of today’s feature, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, there are aspects of conflict and politics that should come together to create the conflict in this book. Where this may surpass the first book is that I’m looking forward to seeing how the role of magic affects the events and dynamic of the book. These are aspects I really enjoy in my fantasy, so I’m optimistic that this book will also be a hit for me.

I’m really excited to dive into this series once again. Have you read Children of Blood and Bone or any other books by Tomi Adeyemi? If so, I’d love to know what you think!

 

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Earlier this year I completed my re-read of the Harry Potter series. Now that I’ve made it through the books again, I’m making the effort to pin down my thoughts. Wher I can, I’ll consider my experience of the books compared to my initial read as a teenager. Before going into today’s review, if you would like to catch up with my reviews of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, here are the links to do so. 

Today I am reviewing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If you are unfamiliar, this is the third book in the seven-part series. This is the book in which the plot really starts to hint at the metamorphosis the series will undergo later on, whilst still short and digestible for younger readers.

The plot has a darker element to the narrative, and some of the more sinister characters start to introduce themselves properly. The early books are quite lighthearted in introducing you to the wizarding world. By the time you’re done with the series, you have explored its darkest avenues.

I grew up with these books (literally). I started the early ones in my late childhood/early teenage years and read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as an adult. This is something I have really come to enjoy in the series.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 317

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 08 Jul 1999

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

 

Goodreads – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…

 

My Thoughts

Plot

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban takes on a different tone compared with the first two books of the series. With a whole school year to pack into 300+ pages, you will not be bored making your way through this one. Whilst we are familiar with the school year and structure at this point, there are new and different things happening that keep the narrative fresh.

As I mentioned above, the more sinister aspects of the narrative really worked for me. Reviewing this in hindsight from the position of having read the whole series, this is one of the pivotal books in my opinion. Whilst short and sweet, it introduces characters such as the dementors, who go on to have a more significant role later on in the series.

 

Narrative Style

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a quick read. As this book is one of the last shorter ones of the series, it is still very approachable for the everyday reader. I managed to re-read this book in just over a week. And that is a very casual pace for me! Whether you are reading this book for the very first time or like me, going back into the series again, I don’t think it will disappoint. Even though the theme of the book is a shade darker than the previous two books of the series, it doesn’t detract from its readability whatsoever.

 

Characters

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we experience the narrative through the perspective of Harry Potter himself. Along the way our friends old and new. It is in this book that we are introduced to characters who are pivotal to the story later on in the book series.

The mix of familiarity combined with a touch of new makes the pace and introductions to new characters easy to follow. If there’s one thing I like about these books is that there aren’t so many characters that you can’t keep track. As somebody who read a lot of epic fantasy, this is something I find happens a lot. That is not the case in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I really enjoyed my re-read of this book and the whole series!

Have you picked up Harry Potter for yourself? Is this something you want to read?

 

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Sunday Summary – 25th December 2022

Good evening everybody – I hope you have had a lovely Christmas if you celebrate it, and a lovely day otherwise if not!

Whilst this post is intended to go live on Sunday, I do confess to drafting this week’s ‘reading progress’ as of Saturday night. If I’m honest, I’m not expecting to make any real reading progress on Sunday that will materially impact this post as I’m hosting our family Christmas celebrations this year!

Before we jump into this week’s reading progress, let’s quickly recap the posts shared with you this week! On Friday (admittedly a little later than initially planned), I shared my take on the 20 Questions Book Tag. I thought this post would be a fun way to share something of myself, but also it would be a nice and easy post to draft ahead of Christmas. Because I’ve been off work, my routine was off and that contributed to the lateness of this post. This also meant that my planned regular Friday feature post didn’t happen.

Then yesterday, I shared a short and sweet festive post. I just wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge the festive season and how fortunate we are to be together at this time.

 

Books Read

My primary focus this week has been to make further progress with reading Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was around 270 pages into the book. This week, I’ve squeezed in a good deal more reading and I am now a healthier 519 pages in! I’ve been doing a lot of preparations this week for Christmas, so I’m happy with the amount I’ve read. These books are chunky and quite dense, so there’s a lot to take in from what I’ve already read. In terms of managing my own expectations on reading pace, I need to learn these aren’t books you can read quickly. 

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been very lucky to receive some bookish gifts today. I received two books for Christmas this year (in addition to a book token that will very gratefully be spent sometime soon no doubt!)

Both books received are already on my TBR, so thankfully, my reading list isn’t getting longer. I received both Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

 

Coming Up…

Next week is the last week of 2022. In previous years I have taken a break from blogging between Christmas and New Year. However, I’ve decided not to this year. Instead, I’m going to be posting as normal.

On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my last book review of 2022. In that post, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling. Having concluded my re-read of the book series earlier this year, it’s about time I got on with my reviews of it!

Later in the week I’ll be back with my usual Friday feature. This week’s post ended up getting missed, so I’ll be posting it next week instead.

As always, I’ll conclude the week with my first Sunday Summary of 2023!

Have you had a good Christmas?

 

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Happy Holidays!

It is hard to believe, but we are just one day away from Christmas and just over a week away from the end of 2022! So, today’s post is to wish you Happy Holidays for the festive season! 

It has been a fun year. In some ways, we have been able to enjoy a sense of normality for the first time in a couple of years. I was finally able to go on the family holiday we had planned for 2020; although typically, most of us came down ill with covid whilst we were there. But, we were together – that’s what mattered!

However, this year hasn’t been all fun and games for everybody. It has come with its challenges for everyone. Although I think it is fair to say that comparatively, we can count ourselves lucky. For those living in Ukraine, I cannot begin to imagine what kind of year they have had.

In my household, Christmas is about family. Yes, it is nice to exchange presents. Ultimately, though, it’s about spending time with each other. We will be reunited for a few days over the festive period, and enjoying our time together. There are families who will not have the luxury this year. Whilst we are sat in our living rooms, or around our dining tables together, let’s take a moment of our time to remember all those affected. We are very lucky to be able to be together, and we should take a moment to appreciate that.

Whether you specifically celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you Happy Holidays! Enjoy spending time with your families, and any Christmas gifts given and received, and maybe even eating too much! I know I will! Afterward, we can look forward to rounding off the year and a fresh start in 2023.

 

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The 20 Questions Book Tag!

Hello everybody, and welcome to today’s fun post – the 20 Questions Book Tag! It has been a little while since I did a post of this type, and I thought it would be a fun way to wind down for Christmas, but also give you a way of learning a little bit about me.

I saw this post over on Books and Hooks, which was my inspiration for today’s post. Shall we jump into the 20 questions?

 

1: How many books is too many for a series?

It depends really. If it is a wider series that is broken down into lots of smaller ones, this is a lot easier to read. If you’re sticking with just one main series, I would probably say around 10 to 12. Otherwise, I think you could end up getting bored. 

 

2: How do you feel about cliffhangers?

Absolutely fine if you can just jump into the next book because it’s already published, but if not then they’re just a tease! But I mean, they work…

 

3: Hardcover or paperback?

Hardcovers are nice editions, but they are cumbersome to read. On the flip-side, paperbacks are a lot easier to read, but are far more likely to get damaged. There is no clear-cut winner for me in this.

 

4: Favorite book?

Asking me to choose one favourite book is like asking your parents to choose who their favourite child is. I’m a huge fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire series… but I can’t whittle it down further than that. Sorry, not sorry.

 

5: Least favorite book?

I read a lot of books, so I have come across a few I haven’t gelled with in my time.

Earlier this year, I read around about a third of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence before I then DNF’d it. I think this one hurt all the more because I loved and enjoyed another series by Mark Lawrence in the past – The broken Empire. Red Sister was full of promise, but it just didn’t work for me at all. I gave it a good try before I threw in the towel!

 

6: Love triangles, yes or no?

Generally speaking, no. However, I did recently read Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan which contains a love triangle, and I didn’t hate it.

 

7: The most recent book you couldn’t finish?

Malice by John Gwynne – another disappointment really. This was sold to me as a mash-up between Game of Thrones and possibly the Name of the Wind series – at least, two series I have read and really enjoyed. I only got three chapters into Malice before I decided I was done. I didn’t get on with it at all.

 

8: A book you’re currently reading?

My current read is Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. This is the first book in the Liveship Traders series, and the fourth book of the overall Realm of the Elderlings series.

 

9: Last book you recommended to someone?

One of my friends is interested in reading Babel by R. F. Kuang and was asking me about it on Saturday. Obviously, I’ve recommended it to her!

 

10: Oldest book you’ve read by publication date?

I had a look back on my Goodreads account to try and determine which is the oldest book, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a difficult question to answer. In a lot of cases, I have read more recent editions of books compared to their original publication date.

The oldest book on my ‘read list’ is Terry Pratchett’s 1985 edition of The Colour of Magic – the first book in his Discworld series.

 

11: Newest book you’ve read by publication date?

This question is a lot easier to answer as it is a book that I read as part of a publication blog tour. The most recently published read book on my list is Warrior and Protector by Peter Gibbons.

 

12: Favorite author?

Without a doubt, George R.R. Martin. I’ll make a mental note to never use this as a security question ever again –  it’s not exactly a secret he’s my favourite!

 

13: Buying books or borrowing books?

I tend to buy more than borrow, but it’s dependent on the type of book and the author more than anything. If I’m going to try anything new, I’m more likely to borrow to try it out before investing money. However, as I tend to read a lot of the same authors, this doesn’t happen very often.

 

14: A book you dislike that everyone seems to love?

I can’t say I dislike this particular series based on reading it, because I’ve never tried it. I really just don’t understand the fascination with Twilight. It was the book series to read when I was going through school, and I just never understood the appeal.

 

15: Bookmarks or dogears?

Anybody who deliberately dogears a book belongs in hell.

 

16: A book you can always re-read?

The first that obviously springs to mind is A Song of Ice and Fire. To date, I’ve read all the published books twice, read the first one a third time, and listened to the audio for it as well. I’m partway through the audio for A Clash of Kings too. 

No doubt when the next book(s) make it out into the world I’ll be re-reading again!

However, I’ve re-read a number of other books I’ve loved over the years. One of the most recent is the Harry Potter series. You can always get more out of a re-read!

 

17: Can you read while listening to music?

It mostly depends on the type of music. If I’m listening to something fairly neutral like classic or a soundtrack, then yes. Otherwise, not really. It’s a distraction.

Equally, if I’m out and about and there is music on in the background, it’s generally quiet enough not to bother me.

 

18: One POV or multiple?

I prefer books written in third person, so multiple definitely. I don’t object to books written in first person – though third is a distinct preference for me.

 

19: Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

I generally read books over a span of days.

If I ever read a book short enough to read in one sitting, then great! However, I mostly pick up 500+ page fantasy novels. I would love to have the motivation and time to be able to sit and read those in one sitting, but it isn’t going to happen!

 

20: Who do you tag?

I’m going to tag mistybookspace as she is a regular reader of my blog and I’d love to hear her take on the 20 Questions Book Tag!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 18th December 2022

Good evening everybody and welcome back to another Sunday Summary update post. I cannot believe that we are just one week away from Christmas day! Are you ready for it?

Earlier this week I shared my first audiobook review in quite some time. In that post, I shared my thoughts on the first book of the Greatcoats series by Sebastien de Castell, Traitor’s Blade. If you enjoy fantasy with in-depth world-building and lots of action, then I can certainly recommend Traitor’s Blade. I would especially recommend the audio as it is performed very well!

For this week’s regular Friday feature, I shared a Shelf Control post. In that post, I discuss a historical non-fiction novel on my TBR. I’m looking forward to reading this one as it will help me fill a gap in my knowledge of British history. It sounds like it’s full of interesting facts that will give me the opportunity to view England in a completely different light. If you’re intrigued to find out what the book is, you can find a link to that post here.

 

Books Read

I had a fantastic reading week last week. That’s not to say that this one hasn’t been a good one, but rather, I’ve had bits and pieces to do to get ready for Christmas and that has impacted my reading time.

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I was 136 pages into Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. This week, I have read a similar page count, taking me to chapter 12 which is 271 pages in. It’s not the most progress in the world, but I have really enjoyed this book this week. I am also going to be reading some more of the book tonight before going to bed, so I will have some more progress by the end of the night.

I expect to make a significant amount of progress with this book next week as I have the week off work! Whilst I will be getting the house ready for Christmas, you can bet that I will be making time for reading and relaxing ahead of the big day. I can’t think of a better book to do it with!

 

Books Discovered

Over the last couple of week’s I’ve added a number of books to my TBR. That is not the case for this week (thankfully!) I think I’ve added enough recently, and inevitably, I may be adding a few more very soon.

 

Coming Up…

I’ve decided to share something a little bit different this week. I am winding down a bit for Christmas, but I thought it would be fun to take part in the 20 questions book tag. This covers everything from book format preferences to how and where I like to read. It’s a fun post that will give you the opportunity to get to know me a little better!

On Friday, I’ll be sharing a First Lines Friday post. At the moment I haven’t christened how I’m going to decide next week’s feature – I’ll just see how I go! This will be my last FLF feature of the year. That’s a scary thought…

I also have an additional surprise post going live on Saturday. I’m giving nothing away about this one, so you’ll just have to check out the blog to see what it is.

Given that Sunday is the big day, I may or may not get around to sharing a Sunday Summary update with you. I’ll probably try and draft most of this ahead of time and chuck it out into the world if I have the chance. If not, I might publish it a little late on Monday instead.

For now, that is all from me! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and look forward to seeing you in the next one!

 

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Shelf Control #58 – 16/12/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to this week’s Shelf Control post! This week, I’m featuring yet another historical non-fiction novel. This one, however, is a lot closer to home than my previous feature. Before we jump into the details of that, here is a recap of what Shelf Control is all about.

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Now, let’s dive into today’s featured book!

 

The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England – Ian Mortimer

 

 

Genre: Non-fiction / History

Pages: 319

Audience: Adult

Publisher: The Bodley Head

Publication Date: 02 Oct 2008

 

Goodreads – The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England

Imagine you could travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see, and hear, and smell? Where would you stay? What are you going to eat? And how are you going to test to see if you are going down with the plague?

In The Time Traveller’s Guide Ian Mortimer’s radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. History is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived, whether that’s the life of a peasant or a lord. The result is perhaps the most astonishing history book you are ever likely to read; as revolutionary as it is informative, as entertaining as it is startling.

 

My Thoughts

The main reason I want to pick this book up is that my knowledge of British history is shockingly lacking. Considering this is something I should have learned throughout school, I know very little about British history in general. My school curriculum focused on far more world history, rather than local. 

From my understanding, life in Britain back in the 14th century was vastly different compared to today. Whereas it is more common in modern society for couples to marry and start families from the age of 30, most people wouldn’t even make it to the age of 30 in the 14th century. This is just one example of how stark the differences between life then and now are. Clearly, the difference 700 years can make is a massive one!

This is a time period of history that I’m not familiar with. The British history I have studied and read about in my own time generally picks up from the 1500s (the Tudors) onwards. I’m looking forward to stepping back even further and seeing the world from a different and more primitive point of view.

Do you read a lot of books about British history? Does this book appeal to you? If so, why?

 

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Audiobook Review: Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castell

In today’s audiobook review, I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book of the Greatcoats series, Traitor’s Blade. This is the first book I have read/listened to by Sebastien de Castell, but it’s not the first I’ve seen. If I recall correctly, I first saw Spellslinger.

However, I added Traitor’s Blade to my TBR as it’s a more typical fantasy with tropes I know and love. This was a massive hit and I’ve gone on to download the rest of the series on audio. To date, I have also listened to the second book of the series.

But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. We’re here to talk about the first book. Let’s dive in!

 

Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castell

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 325

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Publication Date: 10 Feb 2014

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Traitor’s Blade

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission.

But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

 

My Thoughts

Plot

If you enjoy your fantasy when it’s full of action, with plenty of fight scenes, Traitor’s Blade is the start of a series I would recommend to you! As somebody who typically enjoys fantasy with more magic than we see in Traitor’s Blade, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. Rather, I enjoyed the change of pace and emphasis within the writing.

Traitor’s Blade is the kind of book that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout. There is not a chapter that goes by without hasty retreat, violent clashes, or danger lurking around the corner. I can only liken the main characters of the story to the three musketeers in terms of companionship and the dangers, they find themselves in constantly!

Political turmoil is the driving force behind current events in Traitor’s Blade. There is plenty of backstory in the narrative to explain how Falcio, Kest, and Brasti wind up in less than favourable straits at the beginning of the narrative. I already enjoyed how much world-building there is already, but I hope to see yet more of it throughout the series. If anything, the plot is slightly more action-heavy than I would typically read, but that’s understandable. I hope a full explanation of historic events comes to pass in future books.

 

Narrative Style

I really enjoyed the narrative of this book. The writing style is really easy to read and approachable. If you enjoy your sarcasm and witty comments, then this will appeal to you. I really enjoyed the humour that shines through even in the grave situations our main characters end up in.

The narrative is told in first person from the perspective of Falcio. If I have to choose, my preference is to read in third person as it’s a neutral perspective. However, I really enjoyed this even though it was first person. The telling of this story from Falcio’s perspective gives us ample opportunity to explore his past and backstory in more detail – of which there is a lot to unpick!

 

Audio Experience

Whilst Traitor’s Blade already has a compelling narrative style, it’s really came to life in the audiobook edition. The narrator, Joe Jameson, brings each of the characters and the events to life. In particular, I think he does a great job with the sarcasm and witty remarks that form a significant portion of the dialogue between our three main Greatcoats. 

Each of the characters has their own distinct voice, and it was very easy to follow the narrative and dialogue because of this. The acting behind the events of the story really added an extra layer of enjoyment.

This was not a chore to listen to by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, this is a great companion listen to accompany you whatever you are doing. I listened to Traitor’s Blade whilst commuting, doing Pilates, or even when washing the dishes. It made everything more entertaining and is a great distraction from real life. 

 

Characters

Traitor’s Blade is told from the perspective of Falcio, the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. He was once head of this great order, however, he now finds himself with just a small band of friends. As a result of reading the story from his perspective, we get far more in the way of character development from him, and his experience in the past than Kest and Brasti. Whilst there is enough in the book to get a distinct feel of the characters and personalities, I hope to see a little bit more from them in the future.

The main characters are developed quite well, but there are a lot of peripheral characters that are honestly quite forgettable. Personally, I think the book would have benefited from focusing more on a smaller pool rather than adding in a vast array of characters that couldn’t be done justice in the page count available.

 

I enjoyed listening to Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell so much that I have already listened to the second book of the series! This was my first book by this author, and it certainly wasn’t going to be my last! I can’t wait to resume the series and see what heroic events await Falcio and the gang next.

 

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Sunday Summary – 11th December 2022

It’s that time of the week again folks – welcome back to my Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you’ve had a fantastic week!

Before I jump into the books I have been reading this week, let’s recap the blog posts I have shared. Earlier in the week, I shared my discussion post on why I think setting reading goals is beneficial. If you are considering setting a reading goal as a New Year’s resolution, and I’d recommend checking out this post.

On Friday, I shared a First Lines Friday post. In that post, I featured A book that I have recently added to my TBR and can’t wait to read! I’m not going to tell you any more than that. If you want to go and check it out for yourself, you can find a link here to do so.

 

Books Read

This week I have made great reading progress. It has been a week of fantasy books, which is something I always jive with.

However, these two fantasy novels are very, very different. The first of those is Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. As of last week‘s Sunday Summary post, I was just under 20% through this book. I very easily finished this book this week.

It is not the smallest book at about 560 pages, however, it is very easy to read. I really enjoyed the Chinese mythology background of this book. Typically, I read a lot of westernised fantasy novels. So, it’s not very often that Chinese mythology sneaks into these books. And that’s a shame, because this is one of the elements that sold the book to me. I really enjoyed the change of setting, customs, and characters. Based on my read of Daughter of the Moon Goddess, I’m definitely going to try and read more Asian inspired fantasy in future!

On Saturday, I moved onto a more traditional (western) fantasy novel by an author I have come to love this year. Ship of Magic is the first book in The Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb, and is part of the overall Realm of the Elderlings series. This particular series is sat in a completely different environment to that of the Farseer trilogy that I have read so far. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, however, I am now 136 pages in and comfortably settled.

This book is as chunky as its predecessors. At around 880 pages, my 136 page progress only equates to 15% through the book. I have a lot of reading to do in the next week! fingers crossed I’ll have a good update for you in next week’s Sunday Summary!

 

Books Discovered

Having added three books to my reading list last week, you think I would calm down. However, I had the opportunity to meet a colleague from another office in person for the first time this week. She is as fond of books as I am, and I have taken one of her recommendations on board.

One of the books she mentioned she enjoyed was Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris. I really like the premise of the book. The line of discussion we were having about this book is that even though the characters aren’t real in this particular book, these situations do exist for real people. Narratives such as this book make you angry/sad on their behalf.

Behind Closed Doors is a relatively short book, so will be a quick read whenever I get round to it!

We also discussed a number of books by Leigh Bardugo. I have started the Shadow and Bone series. I haven’t added any additional books to my reading list yet; I’m going to see how this series goes before possibly adding more later.

 

Coming Up…

The first blog post I have planned for you next week is an audiobook review. It has been a little while since I shared one of these. Having taken a look at my list of pending reviews, I have come up to Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. This was the first book of Sebastien’s that I have read (listened to), and I’ve already listened to and enjoyed the second book of this series as well. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you next week!

My Friday feature will be a Shelf Control post. If you are unfamiliar, this is a feature in which I take the opportunity to review books on my TBR and see if they are still relevant. If so, I think to them on my blog and share exactly why I’m looking forward to reading them! I hope you can join me for this week’s post, in which I feature a history book that aims to fill in the gaps in my British history knowledge.

As always, I’ll be back at the end of the week with another Sunday Summary post.

That’s all from me in today’s update – what are you reading at the moment?

 

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