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Book Review: The Watcher of Dead Time – Edward Cox

Today, I am really looking forward to sharing my honest thoughts with you all about the final book of an amazing trilogy. Before I was offered a copy of the series by Gollancz in exchange for a review, I’ll freely admit that I hadn’t heard of Edward Cox before. The Relic Guild series has made a huge impression on me… so much so that Edward Cox has been added to the small list of authors I’ll auto-buy books for.

Quite an impression, wouldn’t you agree?

If you haven’t read my reviews of The Relic Guild or The Cathedral of Known Things, please take a minute to check these out!

 

The Watcher of Dead Time

Goodreads – The Watcher of Dead Time

 

Labrys Town, home to a million humans cut off from the rest of the universe, has been invaded. Those who protected it have been deposed.

The Relic Guild are scattered across the worlds of the Aelfir. Many of them are dead or dying. The Genii control everything. The war is almost over.

Clara, a young woman barely able to control her werewolf side, has seen her friends and mentors killed in front of her. She is the last hope for Labrys Town.

But someone else is watching…

The dramatic conclusion to the award-nominated fantasy trilogy which began with THE RELIC GUILD.

 

My Thoughts…

There are so many amazing things that I really enjoyed about this series that I don’t really know where to begin! The world-building, magic system, characters – each is unique, refined and complements the other. They work together to build a detailed, cohesive narrative that flows and lulls us on to read the ever-famous “just one more chapter”.

First, let’s talk about the world-building! The concept of the Labyrinth and its history is unlike anything I have ever heard of before. Built to serve as a neutral place for warring houses, Labrys Town becomes a sought-after weapon. Each House is separated by what is called the Nothing of the Far and Deep, (which in my head I equate to something similar to Space) but portals can link these Houses and Labrys Town together. After narrowly neutralising the threat 40 years ago, most of Labrys Town’s portals have been deactivated. They are cut off from all houses but one. However, that puts them in more danger further down the line… Genii, powerful magickers strive to take over the Labyrinth.

The rich history of the world really shines through throughout the trilogy.

The entire narrative is split between two timelines, the first during the first Genii War and the second forty years later. Each timeline concludes in this final instalment. Whilst in the latter timeline we have a vague idea of how the war ended previously, there are enough secrets kept to make that ending just as exciting as the present day conclusion! Each timeline is also written cleverly so as to be well-distinguishable from the other. There are many overlapping characters in both timelines, but there are also enough subtle differences to serve as a reminder.

There is such a diverse range of characters that there is someone for every reader to relate to. Clara is new to the Relic Guild, having endeavoured to hide her power of transforming into a werewolf. She is the first Magicker in forty years. Through her we get to learn the history of the Relic Guild and their sacrifices for the residents in the Labrys Town. The veteran Magickers are easy to warm to as well. Despite their struggles to win an impossible war, we cannot forget how human and vulnerable they are. Old Man Sam, a mistrustful sharpshooter and Marney, whose power is empathic, are my favourite characters. I’m not one for gushy romance, but even I lamented the loss of Marney’s potential relationship with Van Bam.

The Watcher of Dead Time has a brilliantly immersive narrative. I was eager to see how events in both timelines reached their conclusions. Alternately switching between then and now keeps a steady momentum, but the chapter lengths aren’t so short that this becomes chaotic.

What’s next…

Once again, a huge thank you to both Gollancz and Edward Cox for the opportunity to read and review this amazing series! It’s the first series I have been sent in entirety to review and I am really glad I have!

I expect great things from Edward Cox, if The Relic Guild is anything to go by! I’ve already been looking ahead to see if he has any other works in the pipeline, and I wasn’t disappointed! The Song of the Sycamore is expected to be published in August this year! I can guarantee I’ll be picking this one up for sure!

 

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Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Stain on the Soul – Elizabeth Davies

A Stain on the Soul is the second book in the Caitlyn series by Elizabeth Davies. If you want to read my thoughts about the first book, Three Bloody Pieces, please do and then come right back!

 

Good morning, fellow blog lovers! I hope you are well! As ever, I’ve been looking forward to this blog tour! Who doesn’t love a blog tour?!

I’ve recently read A Stain on the Soul in anticipation of the tour; I am even more excited about the series because the THIRD book of the series, Another Kind of Magic, landed in my inbox last night!

A Stain on the Soul has taken everything I enjoyed in Three Bloody Pieces and succeeded in making it better!

 

Pre-Order Link

Goodreads

Resigned to another lifetime of being a witch’s familiar, Caitlyn has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

But that peace is shattered when she returns to her native land only to come face-to-face with her past, and fall in love with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

 

My Thoughts…

Caitlyn, our sassy protagonist, is back and better than ever! Enthralled to Arlette, former protégé of Herleva, she is bound to serve and protect her only son, the Duke of Normandy. Raising him almost like her own child, she would happily give her life in exchange for his. In the depths of a political minefield, Caitlyn must be careful procuring other’s secrets whilst guarding her own.

Whilst she doesn’t age, Caitlyn has certainly matured since the first book. Her wild hopes of returning to her former self after the death of Herleva are dead. She is more resigned to her fate… but a small ember of hope remains that the power binding her will weaken. She is no longer the naive young girl she was. Adopting a motherly role has changed her… and for the better, in my opinion.

The plot tackles mature themes well; death, witchcraft (obviously) and the odd intimate encounter run throughout the book, but aren’t so graphically detailed so as to put a sensitive reader off. Anyone following my blog will know I’m not a fan of anything detailed by the way of romance or intimacy. I didn’t cringe away from it on this occasion, although it was close. It’s just a personal thing – it can make me feel awkward if I’m honest.

The narrative picks up from the first book really well. Whilst I think it advantageous that I have not long read Three Bloody Pieces, it isn’t essential. There are more than enough hints to remind you of events in the first book if you haven’t read it recently. This is done very well, so it doesn’t clutter the narrative of current events either. I found the pace and flow of the text better developed than the first book. Overall, I found A Stain on the Soul a little easier to read, with a greater depth of historical background.

 

Author Bio

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

 

 

Giveaway!

Win signed copies of Three Bloody Pieces and A Stain on the Soul plus a magic mug and a coaster. (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter – ENTER HERE!

 

Audiobook Review: Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

I feel like this review is a little overdue, just because Nevernight took so long to listen to.

It’s no fault of the audiobook at all – I loved it (and I’ll go into more detail on that below). I haven’t been able to listen to it as quickly as I would like though. Typically I listen to audiobooks in the morning, whilst getting ready for work. Lately, I’ve been finding it difficult to wake up and get out of bed. As a result of being tired, I can’t concentrate, so I didn’t want to start listening to Nevernight and find myself lost.

Anyway, less self-pity and more of the review!

 Nevernight

Goodreads – Nevernight

Synopsis…

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook because the narrative is easy to follow. Holter Graham does a fantastic job of bringing each character to life in his own style. The text is itself written as a narration, and the “narrator” is incredibly sassy. No one is safe against a witty remark or sharp retort. There is as much friendship in storytelling as there is training to become an assassin, apparently. I love it!

Naturally with fantasy books, there is the need to impart information about how the realm differs from others. I have to say, this is written exceptionally well; there is never too much information put upon you at any one time. There are gentle reminders to certain facts to refresh the reader’s memory, rather than outright telling us again and treating us like idiots.

The plot itself unfolds in an unexpected way. An environment full of assassins is hardly going to be safe and predictable. Jay Kristoff has developed each of his characters so well, however, that anything can happen. And I mean anything. That can also include some… steamy things. Things that I shouldn’t want to listen to at 7am in the morning. But I kinda did? It wasn’t too alienating; otherwise, I wouldn’t like it AT ALL! It was okay though. I don’t think it contributed a whole lot to the storyline, but you can’t help but want the two characters to reach out to each other.

The magic in the book is desirably dark. Mia thrives in the shadows, and the amount of distrust for her kind adds a new depth to the mystery of those known as Darken. Just when you think you have seen Mia at her most powerful, cunning and daring, she will surprise you yet again.

 

Conclusion…

All these things make a great combination within dark fantasy. It is deadly, gruesome, brutal and backstabbing, and as a result I loved every second of it. I cannot wait to listen to Godsgrave.