Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter


Release Date:
April 13th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and could only be broken by true love’s kiss. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating – and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I-

I am the villain.

Review

I am an absolute sucker for a fairytale retelling, so when I heard about Malice – a sleeping beauty retelling where Princess Aurora falls in love with the villain – I was immediately desperate to get my mitts on it. This story was everything I wanted and more – it was an incredibly dark and compelling read.

The story follows Alyce – the one and only Dark Grace. Feared and shunned for her powers, Alyce has very few friends and knows almost nothing about her Vila heritage. Meanwhile the kingdoms last remaining heir – Princess Aurora – has turned twenty, meaning she only has one more year to find her true love before she dies. Can Alyce find a way to lift the curse – even though she’s the villain and we all know how that story ends?

As soon as I picked up Malice I was completely hooked and I was swept along in this gorgeous story. I loved the world Walter created for this. It was beautifully imagined and there was plenty of well-explained world-building to allow the reader to get to know the world more. The story is pretty fast-paced but I found that just kept me turning the pages quicker and quicker because I didn’t want to miss anything.

Our main character Alyce is a really fascinating one. She’s the ‘wicked villain’ but she’s so much more than that. I really enjoyed seeing her learn more about her powers and there’s tons of character growth. I found myself quickly becoming sympathetic towards Alyce and I was rooting for her from the get-go. I love morally grey characters and it was such a fascinating exploration of the evil sorceress character.

Malice might be inspired by Sleeping Beauty but I felt like this was such a unique story that brought a fresh perspective to a familiar story. I loved the slow burn romance in this story too, it was well executed and I loved seeing Alyce and Aurora’s relationship develop. Malice was an incredible read and one I know fantasy fans are going to absolutely fall in love with. This has been one of my favourite books of 2021 so far and I cannot wait to see what Walter writes next.

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark


Series:
Magic of the Lost #1
Release Date: March 23rd 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

Review

The Unbroken is the first book in an all new fantasy series. This is a dark and brutal story that follows Touraine, who was stolen from her home as a child and raised to be a soldier for the empire. Now she is returning to her homeland to help put a stop to the rebellion. As Touraine fights alongside her battalion she begins to question where her loyalties really lie – to the empire who trained her or the homeland she barely remembers? Luca is a princess doing everything she can to quash the rebellion, but she needs help to stop it while she attempts to remove her uncle from the throne. Touraine and Luca form an alliance, but will it be enough?

I loved every second I spent reading this book. This is such a compelling read and despite being nearly five hundred pages I raced through it – it’s one of those books you just can’t look away from. Clark has a really lovely writing style and it was so easy to get lost in this gripping tale. It’s a pretty fast paced book, with lots of action. It’s brimming with political intrigue and really focuses in on the themes of colonialism and racism. It’s an absolutely stunning book, that is at times painful to read.

The world building is excellent in this story, Clark has crafted a fascinating world and I cannot wait to see where the story will go in book two. This is a queernorm world and there are some incredibly compelling characters – Touraine is such a conflicted character and goes through so much in this story. I thought Luca was also a really fascinating character and it was so interesting to see two characters from such different worlds come together. Both characters go through quite a bit of growth in this story as they form an alliance and if anything that has just left me wanting more and more.

The Unbroken is a complex story that Clark has executed incredibly well. It’s full of tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an incredible tale with a slow burn romance, tons of political intrigue and just a hint of magic. The Unbroken is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of 2021 and if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks


Series:
The God-King Chronicles #1
Release Date: February 18th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Epic world-building at its finest, in an upcoming author’s fantasy debut. The Black Coast is the start of an unmissable series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and crowd-pleasing battle scenes.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

Review

The Black Coast is the first in an all new fantasy series by Mike Brooks. This is my first time reading a book by Mike Brooks and I was completely sucked in by that absolutely stunning cover. The story follows two different cultures in their attempts to make peace, The people of the Black Keep see ships on the horizon and immediately prepare for an invasion. But the people aren’t coming to raid as they normally would, they’re looking to stay there and flee the horrors of their homeland. As the two cultures attempt to live together war looms on the horizon and the Black Keep will become caught in the middle – but will they be able to survive?

I honestly loved every second of this book. The world building is superb, it’s well plotted and incredibly detailed. I enjoyed spending time in this world and I can’t wait to see how Brooks continues to expand the world in later instalments. This is quite a chunky book so there is plenty of time to get to know the characters and the world. The Black Coast felt like such a fresh take, with the focus being on working together rather than fighting and conquering. I really liked seeing these two different cultures interact, particularly as they had different systems and beliefs in place.

That being said there is plenty of action and tons of intrigue that keeps the reader hooked and I definitely found myself reading late into the night with this one. I really enjoyed the writing style in The Black Coast and it was easy just to get completely lost in the story. We are treated to multiple POVs in the story which I really enjoyed, although Saana and Daimon feature most. Each of the characters felt really well crafted and I can’t wait to see more of them in book two.

Brooks has weaved a really compelling story, one that’s full of dragons, magic and intrigue. If you’re looking for your next addictive fantasy read, The Black Coast will definitely be it.

Book Review: This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria

Book Review: This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria


Release Date:
February 2nd 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible: she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father – their nation’s greatest traitor – once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother… and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Review

This Golden Flame is the fun and fast paced adventure of a young orphan woman named Karis who is forced to serve at the Scriptorum for the rest of her life. All Karis wants is to be reunited with her brother, but he was shipped away by the scribes and she has no idea where. In her search for answers she uncovers a hidden automaton with a mind of his own. This discover rockets Karis onto a path of danger and rebellion as she attempts to find her brother and stop the Magistrate gaining unlimited power.

This Golden Flame is set in a really fascinating world and I really liked the Greek inspired setting. The idea of automatons was really interesting and I enjoyed learning about their lore and history. The story is a bit on the predictable side but nonetheless it was well paced and enjoyable to read. Victoria has a really nice writing style and the story is well structured.

The thing that most intrigued me about This Golden Flame was the characters. There’s great representation in this story and it was really great to read a story that focuses on platonic friendships rather than a romance. The story is told in alternating POVs from Alix and Karis and I liked them both as main characters. Although they were interesting my favourite character was Zara, the pirate Queen turned rebellion leader. I would love to read more about her and it would be fascinating to read a story from her perspective.

Overall This Golden Flame is an exciting adventure and a solid debut from Emily Victoria. If you love fast paced YA stories with fascinating worlds, this could definitely be one for you.

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick


Series:
Rook & Rose #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling and darkly magical fantasy adventure by Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing together as M. A. Carrick

Review

The Mask of Mirrors is the first in an all new adult fantasy trilogy from authors Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms. The story follows Ren, a street rat and con artist who is attempting to scheme her way into one of the noble families of Nadezra. As she becomes drawn into the world of House Traementis she becomes ensnared in a web of secrets and nightmare magic.

As soon as I read the synopsis I knew this was going to be my perfect kind of book. I loved everything about this story. The Venetian style setting was beautifully described and the world building is incredibly detailed. It took me a little while to get to grips with everything in this world but I was completely captivated by it. The story is quite a slow paced one and it gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the world and the characters. I really liked the magic system in this story too and I’m so intrigued to learn more in the next instalment.

Carrick created some really fascinating characters and I loved Ren, she’s clever and stubborn – doing whatever she can to make her schemes work. I also liked her sister Tess who moonlights as her handmaid and it was so fascinating to have the emphasis on clothes and fashion as Tess attempted to make Ren look like one of the nobility. I also really liked Grey as a character and I cannot wait to see where Carrick takes the characters next. I absolutely love heist/con stories and this is an incredibly well executed one – despite it being nearly seven hundred pages it was such an easy read and I raced through the last two hundred pages in one go.

Mask of Mirrors is an impressive start to a new fantasy series. With a compelling plot and impeccable world building, this is an absolute must read for fantasy fans.

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse


Series:
Between Earth and Sky #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Rebellion Publishing
Pages: 454
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

Review

Black Sun is the first book in a new series from Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Trail of Lightning. The story is a multi-perspective tale following different characters on the lead up to a rare solar eclipse in the holy city of Tova. We follow Xiala, captain of a ship that is carrying a strange man to the city. The passenger – Serapio – is a blind and scarred young man with much more to him than meets the eye. Then there is the Sun Priest, preparing for this celestial event and attempting to navigate the politics of the order. As the solar eclipse begins, the three characters must battle for survival.

This is my first time reading a book by Rebecca Roanhorse but I absolutely loved it. This well executed fantasy tale gripped me from the very beginning and I found myself picking this book up at every opportunity, even getting up early in the morning just to squeeze in a few extra chapters. I loved the complex and diverse characters that Roanhorse created in this world. Xiala was my favourite, she’s much more than a down on her luck sea captain and I loved seeing the relationship grow between her and Serapio. I similarly found Serapio fascinating, he’s an ambiguous character and you’re never quite sure if he’s a villain or not. Roanhorse created incredible characters in this wold and I’m so excited to see where they end up in the next instalment.

The world building is well plotted and we are treated to lots of information and history without feeling info-dumpy. I really loved the world and the magic in this one and I can’t wait to learn more as the story progresses. The story was quick paced with plenty of action to keep the reader hooked in. If you’re a fan of dark and fast paced fantasy this is definitely one to pick up. Black Sun will absolutely be in my favourite books of 2021 and I’m already dying to get my hands on book two.

January TBR!

January TBR!


I can’t quite believe 2021 is here already! I’m so excited for all the 2021 releases that are coming out and I’m determined to try and stick to the TBRs I make this year. I’m looking forward to reading so many of these so lets dive in!

1. The Once and Future Queen –  Clara O’Connor
In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, two starcrossed lovers fight to ignite the spark of rebellion…

Londinium, the last stronghold of the Romans left in Britannia, remains in a delicate state of peace with the ancient kingdoms that surround it. As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city.

But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood.

A boy who will make her believe in soulmates…

When a mysterious sickness starts to leech the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council sets their schemes in motion. And so Cassandra must make a choice: the Code or Chaos, science or sorcery, Marcus or Devyn?

2. The Burning Girls – C J Tudor
500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

3. The Heiress – Molly Greeley
As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.

4. Last One to Die – Cynthia Murphy
One of Us is Lying meets This Lie Will Kill You but with a chilling supernatural twist that will keep you guessing until the very end . . .

Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London.

16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for the summer, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her.

Determined to make it through her Drama Course, Niamh is placed at the Victorian Museum to put her drama skills to the test, and there she meets Tommy: he’s kind, fun, attentive, and really hot! . . . Nonetheless, there’s something eerie about the museum.

As the two strands of present-day serial attacker and sinister Victorian history start to collide, Niamh realises that things are not as they seem. Will she be next?


5. Hall of Smoke – H M Long

Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.

While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller, atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path, Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.

Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.

Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.

6. The Island – C L Taylor
Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

So those are the six books I’m hoping to get to in January. I’m hoping to get to a few more over the month but I’m trying to make my TBRs manageable so I complete them each month. I’d love to know what you’re planning to read in January and if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know your thoughts!

Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse – Kate Mascarenhas

Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse – Kate Mascarenhas


Release Date: November 12th 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls since the early 1800s. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the Kendricks, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…

Review

The Thief on the Winged Horse is the beautifully told story of the Kendrick Family and their infamous doll shop. The dolls are magic, evoking a feeling or emotion with a single touch. Though the craft was founded by sisters, the secrets of the magic are now known only to the men of the family. Persephone Kendrick is desperate to be a sorcerer, but her family refuses to allow her to learn the craft. When a stranger arrives at the shop claiming to be a long lost relative, Persephone knows this could be her chance to get what she’s always wanted. When one of the most famous Kendrick dolls is stolen, the family are pushed to the limit as they attempt to discover who could have stolen such a precious item.

This is my first time reading a book from Kate Mascarenhas and I completely fell in love. This is such a gorgeous story, full to the brim with lyrical writing and a gripping plot. I absolutely adore magical realism stories but this has got to be one of my favourites. I thought the concept was fascinating and I ended up reading this one almost in one sitting I just didn’t want it to end. I almost wish there was another book because I would love to know more about the Kendrick family and their incredible dolls.

The plot was well executed and it was quite a quick paced story. I was really intrigued by the mystery of the missing doll and attempting to discover who had taken it. I did guess quite early on but that absolutely didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. It was a brilliant story and it was so interesting watching the family dynamics change as the story progressed and Persephone learned the skills she’s always wanted to learn.

While this is my first Kate Mascarenhas book it definitely will not be the last. Her characters were superb and I loved how complex and fascinating they are. Persephone in particular was my favourite. She’s stubborn and determined to learn the skills for crafting the enchantments, even if that means having to stay with her drunken father. Larkin was also a really interesting character and I was constantly questioning his motivations and how truthful he was really being. I similarly really liked Hedwig, who on the surface seems so sweet but had so much more going on. The characters were probably my favourite part about this book, they were vividly described and so gripping to read about.

The Thief on the Winged Horse is one of those books you find yourself thinking about long after you’ve finished read. A beautiful and compelling tale and one fantasy fans will absolutely adore.

Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked – Kerri Maniscalco

Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked – Kerri Maniscalco


Series:
Kingdom of the Wicked #1
Release Date: October 27th 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 448
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

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

Review

Kingdom of the Wicked is the first in an all new series from Kerri Maniscalco. This is my first time reading a book by this author – I’ve long been intrigued by her Stalking Jack the Ripper series but I’ve never gotten around to reading it. When I heard she was releasing a new book featuring princes from Hell and a quest for vengeance, I was immediately sold. This is a dark and compelling tale – it’s beautifully told and definitely one of my favourite reads of 2020.

The story follows twin sisters Emilia and Vittoria. The sisters come from a long line of witches who live secretly among humans. When Vittoria is brutally murdered Emilia swears she will find out who the killer was and have her vengeance. She will stop at nothing to find out who is behind it – even using the dark magic her Nonna has forbidden her to use.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved the vivid Italian setting, the fascinating magic system and the idea of the seven princes of hell. Emilia’s family run a restaurant and there’s quite a lot of descriptions of food that sounded so incredible it made me want to get on a plane to Italy right now. The story is really fast paced and there’s plenty of action as Emilia tries to solve the murderers, out-manoeuvre the princes of hell and battle some demons in between.

The characters are also incredibly well depicted in this story. Emilia is a clever and headstrong protagonist. She does what she has to do to protect her family and find out the truth of Vittoria’s murder. I also thought Wrath was a brilliant character – he’s so sarcastic and aloof, I absolutely loved seeing the banter and relationship evolve between the two.

Kingdom of the Wicked was a book I didn’t want to end and as soon as I turned that last page I was desperate for more. If you’ve been curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up and I will be eagerly awaiting the second instalment in the series.

Blog Tour: Ashes of the Sun – Django Wexler

Blog Tour: Ashes of the Sun – Django Wexler


Series:
Burningblade & Silvereye #1
Release Date: October 1st 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy.

Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.

Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

Review

Ashes of the Sun is the first in an all new epic fantasy series from Django Wexler. This is my first time reading a book by this author and I had so much fun! The story follows Gyre, who hasn’t seen his sister since his parents sold her off to the Twilight Order. Hellbent on seeking revenge for his sister, Gyre goes in search of an artifact that will give him enough power to destroy the Order, but in doing so finds his long lost sister. She is much changed, a hardened warrior for the Order. As civil war looms, the two find themselves on opposite sides of what is sure to be a devastating fight.

Ashes of the Sun is a really gripping read and a fantastic opening book to the series. The world building is superb and I was fascinating by this world that is still attempting to rebuild after a magic war. I really enjoyed Wexler’s writing style and it was easy to become completely absorbed in the story. The story was well paced, giving the reader time to understand the world without being info-dumpy. There was plenty of action to keep the reader hooked and I found it particularly hard to put the book down during the fighting scenes.

Wexler has created some truly brilliant characters in this book. We are treated to the POVs of Maya and Gyre and I really liked both characters. I loved seeing the relationship dynamics change as the story progressed. Gyre in particular I found fascinating, he’s so determined to get revenge he will stop at nothing. While it is quite a serious story there are plenty light-hearten moments in the story too, particularly in the witty banter between the characters.

All in all Wexler has created a really fascinating and compelling story and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next instalment. If you’re looking for an excellently plotted epic fantasy to keep you hooked over the winter months this should absolutely be your next read.