Tag: Gollancz

Book Review: The God Game – Danny Tobey

Hi everyone! I’m glad you can join me for today’s book review of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I was very kindly sent a copy of this book for review by Gollancz. The synopsis caught my eye immediately and I knew this was a book I was going to really enjoy – I wasn’t disappointed! Thanks to Gollancz for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a review. As always, the opinions stated below are honest and my own.

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

For fans of Stranger Things and Ready Player OneThe God Game is a brilliantly plotted science-fiction thriller about a VR game in which the stakes are impossibly high: if you die in the game, you die in real life

Five best friends in a high school computer club get sucked into an underground hacker’s game run by a mysterious A.I. that thinks it is God. It’s all fun and games until people start to get hurt.

And the stakes keep getting higher. As the Game pits them against each other and turns their high school upside down, it offers the ultimate promise – win and learn the meaning of life; die in the game, and die for real.

 

Purchase Links:   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The God Game cleverly combines its sci-fi/fantasy genre with thriller to keep readers on the edge of our seats.

The most chilling part of the narrative is that, if such a game existed, I honestly think some kids today would buy into it. I graduated school a good few years ago now, but recently enough to remember what it was like. Peer pressure would definitely do its part in egging kids on to push the boundaries and do something they would regret later.

I enjoyed how well the sci-fi elements of the novel were written to be accessible to all. I didn’t find the language too technical or difficult to read. Anyone could pick this book up and understand what is going on.

I enjoyed the variety of characters in the novel. The dynamic of the group and the individuals within has a significant impact on the narrative and how each character responds to the circumstances they find themselves in. By the end of the book, I felt I knew them all well as if friends of my own. They aren’t the crowd I would choose, but the narrative is so immersive that you come to know them well by the end. The difficult and moral decisions they have to make give us an intimate knowledge of where their boundaries lie.

Sci-fi is one of those genres where I might not pick it up for a while, but then I’ll read a lot at once to make up for the fact. I read The God Game at the end of March this year and that was the fourth sci-fi book of the year. After reading it, I read another two books immediately after this. Despite this, the storyline of this particularly prominent and memorable. It’s a unique story and one that I think will be popular with a YA audience.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 19th April 2020

I feel really good about today’s Sunday Summary post and the updates I have for you all this week. I hope you have all had a good one?

I began the week with a fun Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t know about you, but in light of the current situation, I find myself thinking a lot about the books I could dive into to forget all the madness. If you do but are looking for some inspiration on what to pick up, then my top ten books for a little escapism might be of interest to you. Even if you already know your books of choice, you’re welcome to come and have a nosy at my recommendations too!

On Friday I shared another Shelf Control post. It’s unusual of me to have a collection of short stories on the TBR – I tend to read longer novels. There are a few exceptions to the rule, however. I received a beautiful copy of this week’s book from my aunt for my birthday three years ago.

 

Books Read

My main read over the course of this week has been The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. I did briefly start this last week to change up what I was reading midweek. I had read the first few chapters, taking me to 13%. As expected, I loved this book! I’ve really enjoyed reading the 2nd era Mistborn books over the last few months. I just have to wait for the last one, due out next year!

I’ve also made a start on my next read, Boom Time by Michelle Lowe. The intro is quite wacky, so I’m interested to see where the rest of the book goes. If it lives up to the blurb, I think it’ll be a good one!

In addition to physical reads, I’ve also made further progress with Moon Over Soho this week. I’ve slowed down a little compared to the progress I have been making in the last couple of weeks, but I’ve still managed to listen to about half of this. That takes me to about 75% of the way through, so fingers crossed I’ll have this finished shortly.

 

Books Discovered

As with last week’s Sunday Summary post, I’ve been very good again! I’ve been keeping myself distracted with the books I have and finishing my crochet project, so there are no new books on the TBR this week. Here’s my finished crochet baby blanket, which I am really proud of! My friend really liked it and it’s had a lot of love on Instagram as well, which is a bonus!

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About 5 years ago I taught myself how to crochet 🧶 using online resources (YouTube etc). I haven’t picked it up in a long while, but I decided it would be a great way to pass the time during isolation. My friend has also had a baby very recently, so I wanted to make a gift for her little one 👶🏼 . This is the end result! I found the pattern online (Daisy Farm Crafts) and I love it! I’m really happy with how it’s turned out! . What hobbies are getting you through social distancing at the moment? . #bookworm #bookblogger #happy #books #bookaddict #amreading #asongoficeandfire #georgerrmartin #adancewithdragons #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #booksofinsta #booklove #daisyfarmcrafts #crochet #crafting #blanket

A post shared by Rebecca @ Reviewsfeed (@reviewsfeed) on

 

Coming Up…

I want to try and work on some of the reviews I have outstanding next week. With that in mind, I am planning on posting my thoughts on two books. The first is going to be an audiobook review for Six of Crows by Leight Bardugo. I listened to this a little while ago now, however, the book and characters are still fresh in my mind from listening to the second part of the duology recently.

The second review of the week will be for the start of a series I devoured last year. I was a fan of Laini Taylor’s even before reading her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Now, I am even more so! You can find out why in that review!

This Friday I’ll be sharing another First Lines Friday post. The past few posts have featured books that I read some time ago, so this week I’m changing it up. I’ll feature a book that is currently on my TBR instead (and probably torment myself over how good it is and subsequently want to read it). That’s the life of a reader… what can I say?

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have enjoyed catching up with me! What are you currently reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 12th April 2020

Hey guys and welcome back to this week’s Sunday Summary post! Yes, I’m back to normal scheduling this week! How have you been? What have you been doing to entertain yourselves in these strange times? In normal circumstances, I would have been spending the day with my parents. I do every Sunday generally, but I would have spent today with them especially as it’s my dad’s birthday! I am gutted that I couldn’t get to spend the day with him (and my mum) to celebrate, but I did see them briefly to drop off some birthday presents and a takeaway of his choice since we couldn’t go out!

What have I been up to earlier in the week? Well, aside from working from home, I’ve been reading, continuing with my baby blanket crochet project and blogging of course! My first blog post of the week was a review of Circe by Madeline Miller. I actually enjoyed sharing my mixed feelings about the book… and found that I am not the only one that felt the same way about it!

On Friday I shared the opening lines to a book and series I started years ago. I also discovered that book 4 of the series is due out next year, so I might just have to re-read the first three books. It’s been a LONG time since I picked these up. I’m going to need a refresh.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I shared that my current read was Magical Intelligence by M. K. Wiseman. This has been the case most of the week. It’s not the smallest book – 426 pages according to Goodreads, and I had just started it that day last week. I could have read it faster, but I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I didn’t. I’m finding staying at home has made me quite restless and it’s affecting my attention span. That’s where the crocheting has come in handy really – it’s a break and change of activity!

For a break, I did also start reading The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson one night this week. I managed 13% of this one before falling asleep – so a respectable start! Since I have started it, this is the book I’ll be continuing on with next. I’ve loved reading The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self in the past couple of months, so I’m hoping I might find some improved concentration on this one!

If not, it’s not the end of the world. As I said, I’ve also been working on my baby blanket. Just because I am crocheting though, it doesn’t mean I’m not consuming books too! This week I managed to finish Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London and I’m about a quarter of the way through the sequel, Moon Over Soho. I’m so glad I chose to ‘read’ these as audiobooks! The narrator really brings all the characters to life.

 

Books Discovered

I have absolutely nothing to report here this week – I haven’t even so much as added a book to the TBR!
It’s a rare occasion, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts!

 

Coming Up…

I want to write something fun next week, so I’m lining up a Top Ten Tuesday post to fit the bill. A lot of people read as a form of escapism… I certainly do! So, I’ve decided my Top Ten Tuesday post is going to be recommendations for anyone looking for escapism in these uncertain (and unpleasant) times.

On Friday it’s the turn of my Shelf Control regular feature. This week’s featured ‘book’ is actually the first edition of a large collection of stories. These stories aren’t necessarily as we know them today; however, a lot of modern stories will have their roots with these early translations. I’m not giving you any more clues than that – it’s a big one as it is!

As always, my trusty update Sunday Summary post will round up the week!

Now that’s this week round up complete, I’m off to make myself another cuppa and crack on with my reading! What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 5th April 2020

Good evening readers and welcome back to my weekly update post, Sunday Summary. I hope you have all been able to make the most of the weekend in? I’ve been spending mine cleaning, doing washing, reading, listening to audiobooks and working more on my crochet baby blanket project!

It’s been a busy week too, not just the weekend. I had quite a few posts lined up, so I’ve spent a lot of time working on blog content as well! My first blog post of the week was a review for a book I read at the beginning of the year. I received a copy of These Are Not the Trinity Papers from the author Vale Zalecki and it was finally time to put my thoughts together into a review.

The next post I had lined up was my reading list for April. I can’t believe we are a quarter of the way through the year already… but here we are! In that post, I took the opportunity to review my challenges, as well as set myself an ambitious reading list. I don’t even have to make excuses to stay in to read at the moment… it’s great!

Friday’s Shelf Control post featured a historical fiction novel that I am keen to read. It is part of my Beat the Backlist challenge, so I’ll be reading it a little later in the year with any luck! It’s a completely new period of history to me, although I am hoping from the sound of it that it is reminiscent in tone to the likes of Bernard Conwell’s Saxon Stories (The Last Kingdom) series.

And finally, on Sunday I shared my blog tour review of iRemember by S. V. Bekvalac. Fans of science fiction and/or dystopian fiction should really check out this review (and the book)! I think you’ll really enjoy it. You may have noticed that this Sunday Summary is coming to you a little late – well, this is why!

 

Books Read

Picking up from where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I did finish The God Game as promised. I blitzed the last part of the book before I went to bed and I am glad I did! It felt good to finish it after having a bit of a slow week otherwise.

The next book I picked up was iRemember, in anticipation of the blog tour I have just taken part in. I spent most of the week reading this and finished reading it on Saturday, just in time to start drafting my review. I really enjoyed the book, but I have been quite distracted and found myself picking it up and putting it down a lot. Not a fault of the book at all – I think it’s cabin fever! As much as I joke about not having to make excuses to stay in and read… I do miss going out.

I started my next read quite late on today and I’ll be reading it before going to bed tonight. Since I am taking part in a blog tour for Magical Intelligence later on this month, I wanted to get prepared. So, I’m reading it nice and early. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far, but I’m already hooked on the storyline and can’t wait to see what happens next!

Now normally I report a small amount of progress with the latest audiobook I am listening to, but that’s not the case at all this week! I only typically listen to a couple of hours or so a week, but I have really excelled this week! It’s in part because I am working from home and have been doing some fairly basic and repetitive tasks. I’ve also found them good to listen to when working on my crochet project too – they help pass the time.

This week, I listened to John Scalzi’s Head On in its entirety and around two-thirds of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. That’s over 15 hours of audio!

 

 

Books Discovered

I read a great review this week for an interesting sounding thriller, due to be published next month. Dear Child’s synopsis caught my eye, and Drew’s review over on The Tattooed Book Geek was so good that I decided to pre-order a Kindle copy. It’s not out until next month, but hey, it’s not like I don’t have plenty of books to keep me occupied in the meantime…

 

Coming Up…

I want to start next week by reviewing a book that I read on holiday in October last year. Doesn’t that feel a long time ago? I doubt there will be any holidays in the near future too, sadly. Anyway, Circe was one of the first books I picked up on the week-long trip. I’ve seen lots of reviews on the book and I’m looking forward to sharing my opinion of it too!

This week I’ll be sharing a First Lines Friday post. I don’t normally have a particular book in mind so early on. However, there is a particular book I read years ago that I loved and want to share with you all now. I hope you’ll enjoy the introduction as much as I did!

Next week my Sunday Summary post will be coming to you on the prescribed day. It’s just as I was taking part in a blog tour this week that it’s a little late.

That’s all for now folks! Enjoy the rest of the week, stay safe, and most importantly… keep reading! Just kidding, stay in and stay safe friends!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 29th March 2020

Today’s Sunday Summary comes at the end of a very weird week. In less than seven days I have gone from going to work as normal to working from home; as an island, we have gone from quarantining all arrivals as a precaution to closing our borders and all residents under lockdown. It’s the right thing to do, but it is unsettling, to say the least!

I had scaled back my blogging this week in anticipation of moving house, but that has now been put off until everything settles down. I have no idea when that is, but I’m hoping it isn’t too long. So, aside from today’s Sunday Summary post, I have only shared one other post this week. On Wednesday I shared my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I had no idea what I was going to make of this book since it’s out of my comfort zone completely! I really enjoyed it though, even if it did make me cry!

 

Books Read

Picking up from last week, I am still reading The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’ve progressed nicely from the 70 odd pages I had already read and I am now just shy of 360 pages in. My aim is to finish this book tonight after this post goes live.

I’ve also been thinking about Good Omens, which I haven’t really revisited. After putting this down to prioritise blog tours, I really struggled to pick this up again. I’ve been mulling it over and I have decided to DNF it. I wasn’t enjoying it so much that I looked forward to reading it, and I can’t get back into it. My Beat the Backlist Challenge isn’t going so well at the moment – I’ve DNF’d 2/5 books I’ve picked up!

I’m a little disappointed I haven’t read more this week, but I understand why I haven’t as well. My routine has all been up in the air and it’s thrown me off. As moving date was initially pulled right forward to this Friday I spent Monday furiously packing the essentials I had been leaving until last. However, on Tuesday it was postponed and I spent Tuesday night unpacking again.

There is better news about listening to my Crooked Kingdom audiobook though – I finished this today! I normally listen to audiobooks in the car when I’m driving, but since I haven’t been commuting I was worried that progress on Crooked Kingdom would stall. I have found a way to make this work though! Something else I have taken up (again) this week to keep myself occupied is crochet. I’m making a baby blanket for my friend’s little one, who is due to make her appearance anytime soon! I’ve found listening to audiobooks whilst doing this really easy! If you want a sneak peek of the blanket, check out my Instagram page!

 

Books Discovered

I stumbled across an advert on Facebook for a locally based author on Saturday night, and so I started looking at a few of his books. I wasn’t sure if the advertised book was quite for me, however, I found The Seaside Detective Agency. The sound of this light-hearted mystery is perfect right now, especially with everything so sombre going on. Characters who are ‘bumbling idiots with the best intentions’ are what I need right now. I believe it’s set in my home town too, so I am interested to see how it’s portrayed!

If the novel were less satirical and more realistic, the PI’s in this would be brilliant. They’d know what was going on with you before you did yourself. Everyone knows the skeet* in Peel.

*Skeet is a Manx term, meaning gossip.

 

Coming Up…

My blogging schedule will be back to its usual self next week.

My first planned post of the week is a review of These Are Not the Trinity Papers by Vale Zalecki. I was kindly given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review at the end of last year. I finished reading this at the beginning of February, so it’s time to put my thoughts together and share them with you.

Next up will be my reading list for April. With only my last couple of blog tours left to do, I have a lot of flexibility with what I can read. I have more time too, so I am hoping to squeeze a good few books in.

On Friday I’ll be sharing the next book in my Shelf Control series. This week’s book features a historical fiction novel set in a new time period for me to explore. It also has an unusual main character! I’m not telling you any more than that – such a tease I know…

On Sunday I am taking part in a blog tour so you can expect a review from me on that day. You can check out the details of the book in my reading list post. Don’t fret though, my Sunday Summary post will be published first thing on Monday morning, so you’ll be able to catch my weekly update post then.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! How has your week been? What have you been reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 22nd March 2020

Hey guys and welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! I hope you are all well in this crazy world we are living in right now. Since you hear about it absolutely everywhere else though, let’s not talk about it and instead distract ourselves with talk about all the fabulous books we can!

So, what have I been up to this week? My first post of the week was published on Tuesday. It had been about three months since I last shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, so I was long overdue one. In this week’s post, I shared my top ten reasons I love being a book blogger.

On Wednesday caught up with a book review for one of my favourite books in 2019. Regular readers will know just how much of a fan I am for Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale. I really enjoyed revisiting and reviewing the sequel, The Testaments.

This week’s First Lines Friday post featured another of my favourite books. Sticking with my previous theme of sharing books I read pre-blog, I shared the introduction to a book I read for the first time as a teenager.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary update I was reading Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson and about a quarter of the way through the book. I really enjoy reading Brandon Sanderson’s books, so it’s hardly surprising that I managed to finish this one on Friday this week. It picks up from The Alloy of Law nicely, and since that was also a recent read I got into it straight away!

After Shadows of Self, I picked up my ARC copy of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’m just about 70 pages into the book at the moment and the story is coming into its own. I’m intrigued to see what this ‘game’ is and how the book progresses. So far it has been a nice and easy read.

And now onto the audiobook section. So, I still haven’t finished Crooked Kingdom yet, but I will VERY SOON! I have three hours and thirty minutes left, so I only have an hour more to listen to than I would get through normally in the week! I will finish it next week – I promise!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been really good this week and there are no additions to share. The sad news is, my local regular bookstore haunt is closing tomorrow until further notice. I’ll just have to make do with the hundred or so physical books I own already…
I wish I was joking. I counted them recently – it’s a ridiculous number. Am I ashamed? Absolutely not!

 

Coming Up…

Things are probably going to seem a little quiet here for the next few weeks or so. I am going to keep posting as much as time allows, but I do have some other commitments that are going to take up some of my time.
With that in mind, I am cutting down my blogging schedule to a couple of posts a week. I’ll post my Sunday Summary updates as usual.

Midweek, I want to share another book review. I have plenty to get through! This week I am going to be sharing a review of a book that I borrowed from the library last year. I borrowed it rather than getting my own copy as I didn’t know what I was going to make of it at all. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but I am glad I read it. I wanted to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes as it touches on the sensitive subject of euthanasia. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as I did!

That’s everything to look forward to next week and all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! What have you been reading?

 

 

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Reading List – March 2020

I can’t believe it is the beginning of March and I’m writing my reading list post already! Last month just flew by. I know it’s a short one, but still! I’m happy with my reading progress last month given that I had a few bits on. I didn’t quite finish last month’s reading, so I am carrying one book over.

Shall we take a look at the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

Good Omens is my carryover. I only just started reading this at the end of last week, so it’s hardly surprising I’ve had to carry it over to this month. That said, I’ve managed to make a good start over the past day or two and I am enjoying the book so far! It’s definitely got the flavour of Terry Pratchett’s humour I love so I can see myself finishing this book pretty quickly!

 

Songbird – Karen Heenan

Goodreads – Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father. As a member of the Music, the royal company of minstrels, Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor court, navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend, is her only constant. But as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

 

My first blog tour related read of the month is this historical fiction novel. I love the Tudor period of history and I haven’t picked up a book on it in ages! Also, books with politics in them really interest me, which is funny because I hate politics! At least, I hate ours!

 

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

I’m definitely reading more in the way of science-fiction than I ever have before. I have been fortunate to have picked up some great books recently, which means I keep gravitating back to the genre.

I love the premise of this novel. Artificial Intelligence is definitely relevant right now and there are plenty of people sat on the fence about its benefits and drawbacks. It sounds like this book might touch on that, so I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you in the upcoming blog tour!

 

Tooth & Blade – Julian Barr

Goodreads – Tooth and Blade

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm–beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

I love the idea of a mash-up of Norse Mythology and fantasy. Honestly, it’s so unlike anything I have read before that I wanted to give it a try.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

I really enjoyed reading The Alloy of Law back in January and I am keen to make even more progress with this series. It’s been on my TBR for a long time so it’s overdue! I honestly love every single Brandon Sanderson book I have ever read. The Alloy of Law was brilliantly reminiscent of the previous Mistborn trilogy, yet so much more! The change in setting and characters really worked for me. I can’t wait to get back to their adventures!

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

 

I was very lucky to receive a copy of this from Gollancz in exchange for a review. Again, I love the science-fiction vibe. If asked what my second hobby was (because reading is my first, obviously),I’d say it’s gaming. I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I used to spend playing games on my laptop, but I do enjoy it now and then!

The premise of The God Game combines my two favourite hobbies, so I have very high hopes that I’ll enjoy it. It reminds me of another book I received by Gollancz and reviewed last year – Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. That particular book blended these two together, as well as included virtual reality and I really enjoyed it.

So, that’s March’s TBR taken care of. Have you read any of the books on this month’s list? Have any of them caught your eye? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

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Book Review: The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

I was very fortunate to receive a copy of The War Within by Stephen Donaldson last year from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis caught my eye right away as something I would enjoy – and I did!

Before I could read The War Within though, I had to catch up with the first book in the series. I read Seventh Decimate in May last year when I found a copy at my library. If you haven’t checked out that review yet, catch up with the first instalment of the series here.

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

Goodreads – The War Within

It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace – and their marriage – has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their people into defiance…

 

Purchase Links: Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

The War Within is on a completely different scale to Seventh Decimate. Where the first book in the series follows a very personal quest by Prince Bifalt to assure the safety of his nation, The War Within has a grander focus on the fictional world as a whole. A larger plotline and conflict involving multiple nations open this story up significantly, and with that, we are also introduced to multiple perspectives.

The War Within was a bit of a slow starter for me. Getting through the first quarter of the book (150 pages) took the longest. But, once I got that far, I read the rest of the book in a week. I think because this book was so different to the first, and set so much later, it took a bit of time for the author to fill in that time gap to get us up to speed with events in between. It also wasn’t what I expected based on the first book, but it actually turned out better once I got into it!

Books written in the third person and from multiple character viewpoints are my favourite. I find it’s easier to get a lot more depth about a character, setting etc without any bias. For fantasy novels where there isn’t any form of intrigue, I like that. Bias has its place and if written well can add to a story. It wouldn’t have really fit into this novel though.

As a result of the stressful situations Bifalt has had to deal with, he’s actually difficult to get on with. His demeanour has completely changed from the first book to the point where he isn’t all that likeable anymore. It’s fitting with what has happened and I like that the author hasn’t been too protective over his characters. Books that have you worry about what could happen are a lot more entertaining than ones where you feel characters are “safe” because they are the hero of the narrative.

I’m interested to see how the story concludes and the character conflicts resolve themselves. There is a lot of potential for an epic conclusion – let’s hope it’s delivered!

 

 

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Book Review: Crowfall – Ed McDonald

I’m really excited for today’s book review of Crowfall by Ed McDonald. Why I hear you ask? Well, only because this is my favourite read of the year!!! So far, at least.

Having read the earlier books in the series, I requested and gratefully received a copy of Crowfall from Gollancz for the purpose of reviewing this epic conclusion to the Raven’s Mark series. I can’t wait to get started, but first, you can check out my review of the previous book in the series, Ravencry using the link here. Once you are all up to date, here are the details, and my thoughts, on Crowfall: –

 

Crowfall – Ed McDonald

Goodreads – Crowfall

Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.

‘Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart’ Mark Lawrence

A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings.

Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war.

Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all.

He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him – changed him – but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere.

They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.

 

My Thoughts…

You know that bittersweet feeling of wanting to finish a series to find out what happens, but then not wanting to finish it because then it’s all over? Crowfall is definitely one of those for me. The world, the magic and fantasy setting are truly unique. And the characters have to be some of my favourites. It turns out I’m a sucker for a reluctant, non-altruistic hero.

Grimdark is a genre I want to read more of as a result of this series. I have read a few other grimdark fantasy novels, namely Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series and I have plenty more on my TBR. I enjoy the blurred lines around “heroes” and the amorality of the characters. As a genre, I feel it has a sense of gritty realism – uncertainty as to how events are going to pan out. Classic fantasy has a lot of overused tropes, in my opinion. I want to be worried about my favourite main characters. In dark and life-threatening situations, I don’t want to trust that a character will make it through because they are pivotal to a story. As a reader, I thrive off the danger of knowing anything could happen at any moment… that no one is safe from harm.

Ryhalt is one of my favourite fantasy characters of all time. Before the events of Blackwing and Ravencry twisted him into the man he has become in the opening pages of Crowfall, he already had a sarcastic sense of humour that I loved. He has always had a cynical, pessimistic view of life which fits in so well with the tone of the novels. Corrupted my magic born of death and devastation wrought years earlier, he is far from the ideal candidate to prevent such devastation again.

Crowfall truly is the epic conclusion to this series, and I was hooked on it. I read it from cover to cover in a matter of days and I was absorbed from start to finish! I don’t want to spoil even a single thing so I am trying to comment as little on the plot as possible. All I will say is that I don’t think you will be disappointed. I wasn’t!

Will I be re-reading this series again? Absolutely! The world captured in the pages of these books is truly unique, and one I could re-visit again and again without getting bored.

 

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Book Review: Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my review of Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. After receiving a copy of The War Within, the sequel from Gollancz, I picked up a copy of Seventh Decimate at my local library. I cannot read books out of a series out of order, so I grabbed my copy of this a month before I planned to read The War Within. Seventh Decimate and The War Within have turned out to be on totally different levels of fantasy… but more on that below!

 

Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

Goodreads – Seventh Decimate

The acclaimed author of the Thomas Covenant Chronicles launches a powerful new trilogy about a prince’s desperate quest for a sorcerous library to save his people.

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists–the most devastating one of all…

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate–and reverse the fate of his land.

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains–and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…

 

My Thoughts…

Seventh Decimate is a classic coming-of-age tale and an intriguing introduction to what will be an epic fantasy series. Prince Bifalt has lived within the threatened borders of Belleger all his life. Constant skirmishes with their neighbours in Amika have been ongoing for generations, sapping all their resources. That is, until one day their magic is gone. Convinced Amika are responsible for their plight, Prince Bifalt sets out on a journey to restore their magic and learns just how small a world he has been living in. There are larger forces at play…

Prince Bifalt himself is far from perfect. As eldest son, he feels the pressure to perform his role and not fail his mission keenly. As the adventure unfolds the prince is filled with even more self doubt and a stubborn arrogance accompanying his birthright. He is ruled by honour and public perception dictates his behaviour a lot – and not always in a good way. I feel Seventh Decimate has set him up in a way that we can expect a lot of personal development from him in future books.

In addition to Bifalt a number of colourful characters are met along the way, which introduces the wider plot for us as the reader.

Seventh Decimate is an enjoyable tale in its own right, however compared to The War Within it’s a mere drop in the ocean. An introduction, really. I feel it deliberately mirrors the main character, Prince Bifalt and his experiences. Up until the end of book one, he is very small-minded about the world and his priorities. In book two he has a far larger weight on his shoulders… but I’ll save the details for my review on The War Within. I only mention it in passing to give an idea of how simplistic his character and plight is by comparison.

I think of Seventh Decimate as the prologue of the series, if I’m honest. Whilst the main action of the series will follow in later books, Seventh Decimate is the opening narrative to introducing the wider world and more complex plot of book two, and hopefully beyond.

 

 

 

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