Blog Tour: Deepwater King – Claire McKenna

Blog Tour: Deepwater King – Claire McKenna


Series:
The Monstrous Heart Trilogy #2
Release Date: June 24th 2021
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

Review

Deepwater King is the second instalment in the beautiful Monstrous Heart trilogy by Claire McKenna. Monstrous Heart is a book that’s been on my radar for quite a while and I ended up reading both books back to back. Deepwater King picks up immediately after the events of Monstrous Heart and I found it so easy to get sucked back into the story. We are once again following Arden as she heads out on her journey to complete the rite and return Jonah’s spirit to the court of the deepwater king.

While I really enjoyed Monstrous Heart I enjoyed Deepwater King even more. The world is so unique and – it’s a Victorian-style world full of mysterious sea creatures and fascinating abilities. The blood magic was something that I was particularly intrigued by and the way McKenna incorporated that into the world. I liked that we got the opportunity to learn more about it as the series progressed. It took me a little while to get to grips with the world in book one so I found it much easier to understand what was going on in book two. McKenna has an absolutely beautiful writing style and the vivid writing really made the story come alive.

Arden is an interesting protagonist – she’s the light mistress and in this second instalment there is danger wherever she turns. She’s quite a strong-willed main character and she will do whatever she can to fulfil her promise. She has been on such a journey since the first book and I really enjoyed seeing the character development. I also liked Jonah who is much more than we first suspect in Monstrous Heart. Deepwater King is definitely a book I found myself thinking about when I wasn’t reading it and I was always desperate to get back to the story. I ended up reading the last hundred pages of the book in one sitting, and I am desperate to see how it all ends in the final instalment. If you’re looking for a captivating fantasy story with plenty of twists and turns, this is definitely one to check out.

Blog Tour: The Tsarina’s Daughter – Ellen Alpsten

Blog Tour: The Tsarina’s Daughter – Ellen Alpsten


Release Date:
8th July 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

When they took everything from her, they didn’t count on her fighting to get it back…

Born into the House of Romanov to the all-powerful Peter the Great and Catherine I, beautiful Tsarevna Elizabeth is the world’s loveliest Princess and the envy of the Russian empire. Insulated by luxury and as a woman free from the burden of statecraft, Elizabeth is seemingly born to pursue her passions.

However, a dark prophecy predicts her fate as inexorably twined with Russia. When her mother dies, Russia is torn, masks fall, and friends become foes. Elizabeth’s idyllic world is upended. By her twenties she is penniless and powerless, living under constant threat. As times change like quicksand, an all-consuming passion emboldens Elizabeth: she must decide whether to take up her role as Russia’s ruler and what she’s willing to do for her country – and for love.

Review

The Tsarina’s Daughter is the incredible new book from Ellen Alpsten, author of Tsarina. Having never read Tsarina I ended up reading both books back to back. I was just so engrossed in this story. Russian history isn’t something I know too much about but I was fascinated by the complex characters Alpsten has brought to life. The Tsarina’s Daughter follows the life of Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great and Catherine I. She is a beautiful young woman, the envy of all Russia and free to spend her time how she likes. When Elizabeth’s mother dies her world is turned upside down and she must learn to navigate the treacherous world she finds herself in.

The Tsarina’s Daughter is filled with beautiful writing and it’s one of those books that just completely sweeps you away. As mentioned I don’t know much about Russian history but it felt like an immense amount of detail and research has gone into this book and Alpsten has crafted some really brilliant characters. Despite knowing nothing everything was well explained and I never once got lost in all the characters and titles. I really enjoyed her writing style and her descriptions of the lavish court life lept off the page.

The story is full to the brim with political intrigue, with every man out for themselves. Alpsten depicts the treacherous life at court, where you never know who you can trust. The Tsarina’s Daughter is a really gripping read and if you’re a fan of historical fiction this is definitely one to try. Part of what intrigued me about these books is the quote from Daisy Goodwin saying ‘makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme.’ This definitely rings true and I think if you’re someone who reads a lot of fantasy books you’d love these ones too. While the two books are linked you can absolutely read The Tsarina’s Daughter as a standalone but you won’t regret picking up book one. If you’re looking for a book to keep you entertained on a long summer evening, definitely check this one out. I cannot wait to read more from Ellen Alpsten and these books have without a doubt rocketed on to my favourite historical fiction books.

Blog Tour: Dragon Mage – M L Spencer

Blog Tour: Dragon Mage – M L Spencer


Series:
Rivenworld #1
Release Date: January 8th 2021
Publisher: Stoneguard Publications
Pages: 982
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received a copy of this book through Storytellers Tours
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Aram thinks he’s nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known.

But Aram is more. Much, much more.

Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.

Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.

Review

Dragon Mage is a book that I have seen around quite a lot recently and I have heard nothing but incredible things. I went in with pretty high expectations and this brilliant coming of age story has immediately rocketed into my favourite books of 2021.

Dragon Mage follows Aram, a young boy living in a small fishing village. Seen as an outcast, all Aram wants is to make friends. What Aram doesn’t know is that he has a rare and powerful magic within him – magic that people would kill him for, or use him for their own gain. This magic earns Aram a place at the academy – a plan to train and become a dragon rider. With this comes the chance to be a Champion, something the world has not seen for hundreds of years. When the world of magic becomes in danger of a vengeful god, only a champion will be able to stop them. But will Aram survive?

Dragon Mage is a big book, coming in at just under 1000 pages. The story Spencer has created is incredibly well crafted and I was so invested in Aram and his journey. I was never once bored and completely fell in love with this world and these characters. This coming of age fantasy adventure is everything I could possibly have wanted and I am so excited to learn there will be more books in the series.

Spencer has created some truly wonderful characters in this book and that is most evident with our main protagonist Aram. From the very first chapters, I was rooting for him, when all he wants is to have a friend. Dragon Mage is this epic journey as he finds himself and his place in the world. I similarly really liked Markus, Aram’s friend who sticks by him no matter what. I loved seeing their relationship grow as the story progressed and they are tested in ways they don’t expect. The worldbuilding in this story is excellent and everything felt really fleshed out. I can’t wait to see where Spencer is going to take us next.

The world of Dragon Mage is a dark one, and there’s plenty of action scenes to keep the reader hooked. I really enjoyed Spencer’s writing style and it was so easy to get lost in this world for hours at a time. There were definitely moments I sat down to read a chapter or two and glanced up and I’d been captivated by the story for several hours. Dragon Mage is a brilliant, gripping read – one that classic fantasy fans will adore.


Blog Tour: The Family Tree – Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry

Blog Tour: The Family Tree – Steph Mullin & Nicole Mabry


Release Date:
June 10th 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

The DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree…

Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…

The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.

Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?

A gripping, original thriller for fans of My Lovely Wife, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and anyone who’s ever wondered what their family tree might be hiding…

Review

The Family Tree is the gripping story of Liz Catalano, a young woman living in New York with her cousin Andie. When Andie gets her a DNA ancestry kit as a present Liz signs up only to discover she’s adopted. As she goes in search of her biological family she is contacted by the FBI and becomes entangled in an investigation to discover the Tri-State Killer – a serial killer who has been abducting and murdering pairs of women for forty years. Can Liz uncover the truth behind her family, and can she do it in time to save his latest victims?

This was such a compelling read and I ended up reading it in one day. I thought this was such a unique concept and it was so well executed. It was a dark and engrossing read and I definitely did not want to look away. I loved the way the story was told from Liz’s perspective and from all the different victims of the Tri-State Killer. This definitely added to the suspense as we learn more about how the killer is getting away with his crimes all these years. As you would expect this story has plenty of twists and turns and there were more than a few creepy scenes that sent a shiver up my spine.

The Family Tree contains some really compelling characters and it was fascinating seeing Liz attempt to cope with learning about her birth family and what happened to them. I really liked the close bond between Liz and Andie and their portrayal felt really realistic. I loved the short chapters that had me turning pages faster and faster and the ending definitely wasn’t what I expected. The Family Tree is an inventive and chilling read, unlike any thriller I’ve read before. If you’re looking for something to keep you completely hooked on a long summer day, The Family Tree is exactly what you’re looking for.

Blog Tour: Black Water Sister – Zen Cho

Blog Tour: Black Water Sister – Zen Cho


Release Date:
June 10th
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.

Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there’s only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she’s determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god–and she’s decided Jess is going to help her do it.

Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she’ll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.

Review

Black Water Sister first caught my eye when I heard the story described by the author as “A stressed zillennial lesbian fights gods, ghosts, gangsters & grandmas in 21st century Penang.” If that doesn’t intrigue you I don’t know what will! Black Water Sister is the engaging story of Jessamyn Teoh, a young woman moving from the US back to Malaysia with her parents. When she starts hearing a voice in her head she assumes it’s the stress of the move, but when the ghost admits to being her recently deceased grandmother, Jess ends up entangled in a plot to get revenge on a gang boss who has offended a god.

Black Water Sister is such a unique read and I got completely wrapped up in this magical story. The story is excellently plotted and well-paced, I found myself racing through the second half of the book because I wanted to know what was going to happen. This is my first book by Zen Cho and I enjoyed her writing style immensely, it was so easy to picture the sights and sounds of Malaysia. I love learning about the gods and the culture, especially as I don’t think I’ve read many books set there. Whilst this is my first book by the author it definitely won’t be my last and I will definitely be ordering Sorcerer to the Crown!

In this story, we meet some truly compelling characters and it was the incredible characters that really made this book for me. Jess is a brilliant protagonist – she’s trying to find herself, never having fit in in the US or in Malaysia. She’s trying to have a long-distance relationship with her girlfriend and her parents don’t know that she’s gay. There’s a lot going on, but Jess made for a really likeable character and I was rooting for her to succeed. I was similarly fascinated by Ah Ma, the snarky Grandma who is much more than she seems. I loved the way Cho mixed the magical mystery elements with typical family drama, it made for such a compelling and intriguing read.

Black Water Sister is a beautifully written, vivid tale of ghosts, mystery and family. If you’re looking for a fantasy read that’s completely unlike anything you’ve read before – this one is a must-read.

Blog Tour: The Maidens – Alex Michaelides

Blog Tour: The Maidens – Alex Michaelides


Release Date:
June 15th 2021
Publisher:  W&N
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

Review

The Maidens is the all-new thriller by The Silent Patient author Alex Michaelides. The Silent Patient was one of my favourite thriller reads of 2019 and I was really excited to see what Michaelides did next. The story follows Mariana, a group therapist who becomes obsessed with the maidens when a friend of her niece is found murdered in Cambridge. Mariana knows for sure that even though he has an alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of murder and she will do anything to prove it. As Mariana becomes more and more obsessed, she soon finds her credibility and her closest relationships falling away from her – but can she stop the killer?

Just like The Silent Patient, I found myself getting completely lost in this story and raced through it in a few gripping sittings. The story captivated me from the outset and Michaelides has such a brilliant writing style that I was completely swept away in this story. It’s fast-paced with pretty short chapters that kept me completely hooked. The story is full to the brim with twists and turns and given the surprises in his first book I knew anything was possible. Michaelides has such a great way of making you a bit suspicious of everyone and the final reveal definitely wasn’t what I expected.

The Maidens is a dark and compelling read, one I think thriller fans will completely adore. Mariana is an interesting protagonist she is someone dealing with grief who very quickly spirals into obsession. I really liked the Cambridge setting in the story, which definitely came to life in the vivid descriptions. If you’re a fan of gripping psychological thrillers you can’t look away from, The Maidens should definitely be your next read.

Blog Tour: Monstrous Design – Kat Dunn

Blog Tour: Monstrous Design – Kat Dunn


Series:
Battalion of the Dead #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: June 10th 2021
Publisher: Zephyr Books
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

1794, London: Camille and Al are desperately hunting Olympe’s kidnapper. From the glamorous excesses of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to the city’s seedy underbelly, they are caught in a dangerous game of lies and deceit. And a terrible new enemy lies in wait with designs more monstrous than they could ever imagine… Can Camille play on to the end or will she be forced to show her hand?

In Paris, the Duc is playing his own dangerous games. With Ada in his thrall, old loyalties are thrown into question. The Battalion are torn apart as never before, and everything – Ada’s love for Camille, her allegiance to the battalion itself – is under threat.

Review

Monstrous Design is the second instalment in Kat Dunn’s thrilling Battalion of the Dead series. The story picks up right after the events of Dangerous Remedy. We follow Camille and Al as they attempt to get Olympe back and we follow Ada and Guil as they attempt to find where the Duc is hiding out. As the stakes get higher alliances are soon called into question – but will the battalion of the dead be able to survive their latest adventure?

Dangerous Remedy was one of my favourite books of 2020. It was one of those books I still thought about months after reading it, and Monstrous Design was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021. Monstrous Design is action-packed – it’s a rollercoaster ride that does not stop till the very last page. It’s a pretty fast-paced story and despite being nearly 500 pages I read it in a single day. Dunn really hooks the reader in with this addictive plot that’s full of twists – with everyone playing their own game I never quite knew what was going to happen next.

In Monstrous Design we are transported to England as well as France and Dunn really makes the sights and sounds of both cities come alive in the story. My favourite thing about Dangerous Remedy was the brilliant characters and that was definitely the same in Monstrous Design. I loved being back with the Batallion again and it was fascinating seeing how the characters grow in this second instalment. I think Al is still my favourite, but I honestly love them all. I also really liked getting to know James more and learning more about his motivations as a character. He was a really fascinating POV character – he is really complex and torn between loyalties. Like wise I loved Camille and Ada, they are such compelling characters and I think I could read a dozen books about the crew and their daring heists.

Monstrous Design is a brilliant sequel and I am incredibly excited to see where Kat Dunn will take us in book three. If you’ve been curious about this series I definitely recommend picking it up and if you’ve already read Dangerous Remedy, you need to pick up book two now!

Blog Tour: Threadneedle – Cari Thomas

Blog Tour: Threadneedle – Cari Thomas


Series:
The Language of Magic #1
Release Date: May 27th 2021
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 576
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.

Magic is the first sin. It must be bound.

Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.

It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.

Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?

Review

Threadneedle is the first book in a new fantasy series from Cari Thomas, following Anna a young girl living with her incredibly strict aunt. Anna is warned about the dangers of magic – it killed her parents and is a sin. In one year’s time, Anna’s magic will be bound and she will join her aunt as part of the Binders. Nothing will stop her from following the plan her aunt has laid out for her – or will it?

Threadneedle is a spellbinding read. It hooks you in from the very first chapter and you become completely lost in this magical story. It definitely gave me Harry Potter vibes but the story is incredibly different. This is quite a slow-paced story, giving the reader a chance to get to know the world and the magic. I really enjoyed getting to know the magic system in this world and the story kept me turning pages long into the night. Despite it being nearly 600 pages, I read this one pretty quickly because I just could not put it down.

Thomas has a gorgeous writing style and I found it easy to dive back into the story when I picked it up again. Anna is a fascinating protagonist and it is very much a coming of age story as we see Anna progress and find her place in the world. I also thought Effie was a really interesting character and enjoyed seeing the way a friendship forms between the two girls. Threadneedle felt like such a unique and interesting take on the witchcraft story and I couldn’t get enough. I was kept guessing right till the end and I cannot wait to see where Thomas takes us in book two.

Threadneedle is a compelling and unforgettable read, full to the brim with magic. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy – this one is a must-read.

Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid

Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid


Release Date:
June 8th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

Review

The Wolf and the Woodsman is the dark and captivating tale of Évike, the only woman in her pagan worshipping village without magic. When the king demands a pagan girl as a blood sacrifice, the village offers Évike up. En route to the capital with the deadly Woodsman, they are attacked, leaving only Évike and the captain left alive. She soon learns he is more than he seems and the two must reluctantly team up to stop an attempt to seize the throne that will have catastrophic repercussions for both the pagans and the Yehuli people.

I’ve been trying to find a book that will fill the hole left by Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy and this is absolutely it. With beautiful writing and a wonderful fairytale-style story, The Wolf and the Woodsman completely sucked me in and stole my heart. This book has immediately catapulted to one of my favourite books of all time. I loved everything about this book. Reid has a really lyrical writing style, the world she has created practically leaps off the page and I was completely fascinated by the magic in this story. There is lots of body horror and quite a bit of gore in the story, but it’s an incredibly well-executed story, and one I did not want to end.

One of the things I loved most about this story is the incredible characters Reid has created. Évike is a really compelling protagonist, attempting to understand where she fits in the world being half pagan and half Yehuli. Gáspár is similarly a really fascinating character and I loved watching the relationship between the two develop as the story unfolds. The story is steeped in Jewish folklore and mythology, which I found completely fascinating. The story also very much focuses on the horrors of religious persecution and ethnic cleansing, inspired by events in Hungarian history.

The Wolf and the Woodsman is the sort of book that I was completely torn between racing through to see how it ended and taking my time to savour every moment. This is an incredible debut, and I cannot wait to read more from Ava Reid. It’s definitely the kind of book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. This book has already been getting quite a bit of hype and it is absolutely well deserved. If you’re a fan of books by Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik, this is a must-read.

 

Blog Tour: The Blacktongue Thief – Christopher Buehlman

Blog Tour: The Blacktongue Thief – Christopher Buehlman


Series:
Blacktongue #1
Release Date: May 27th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.

But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

Review

The Blacktongue Thief is the first in an all-new fantasy series from acclaimed horror author Christopher Buehlman. I have long been intrigued by Buehlman’s horror books, but when I heard about this epic fantasy tale I knew this was going to be a must-read. The story follows Kinch Na Shannack, a man trained by the Taker’s Guild to lock-pick, steal and a whole host of other useful skills. Kinch owes the Taker’s Guild a great deal of money for his education and has no choice but to steal from those travelling through the old forest road. When Kinch chooses the wrong mark, he ends up tangled up with Galva, a knight and warrior from the goblin wars, who is on an epic quest to find her missing Queen in a far off city that has been ravaged by giants – what could possibly go wrong?

The Blacktongue Thief is one of those books that sit down to read a few chapters of, it sucks you in and before you know it it’s 3am and you’ve finished the book. This is a fast-paced story, full to the brim with magic, action and adventure. Buehlman has created an absolutely fascinating world with a detailed history and intricate world-building. I loved learning about the goblin wars and I was completely fascinated by the magic in this story. Kinch’s magic centres on luck and this felt like a really unique idea.

The Blacktongue Thief has some of my new all-time favourite characters and if you love stories that are equal parts dark and hilarious, this is definitely a book for you. There are tons of funny moments, particularly as Kinch and his crew get further in their quest to find the Queen. I definitely found myself laughing out loud at some of the situations they end up in. There are plenty of complex characters and while Kinch was my favourite I really liked Galva and Norrigal too. I definitely found myself rooting for these characters and I can’t wait to see where Buhelman takes them in the next instalment.

This story is full of detailed action scenes and features so many things fantasy fans will love. If you want a shadowy, scheming guild, flesh-eating goblins, krakens, giants, witches and a whole lot more, you’re going to love what The Blacktongue Thief has in store. This will absolutely be one of my favourite books of 2021, and I can’t wait to read more from Christopher Buhelman.