Newest Fantasy Reviews

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Forever After: a dark comedy by David Jester

4star.jpg Paranormal

Michael Holland is a cocky and brash young man who dies and gets made the offer of his lifetime; immortality. We follow Michael, a grim reaper and his friends Chip (a stoner tooth fairy) and Naff (a stoner in the records department) as they grapple with their long lives and finding a clean surface to sit on in their flat. Full review...

The Two of Swords by K J Parker

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This is a difficult book to review, to be honest, because I am still not sure if I liked it. It is the first book of a trilogy so I expected that a lot of it would be to set the scene and the characters but this doesn't really happen. The novel is set during a long standing war between east and west that has been going on for so long no-one is really sure why they are fighting. Currently in command are the Belot brothers, each one a military genius and each one fighting for the opposing side, there is also the guild of craftsmen whose purpose we never fully know and their role is to manipulate and interfere to serve their own interests. Full review...

Mageborn (Age of Dread) by Stephen Aryan

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Magic will destroy us all

Ten years after the devastating battlemage war when mages used their immense power to tear each other apart and sundered the world itself, suspicion of those who wield magic is at an all-time high. With the recent resurrection of the Red Tower, an institution for students to learn to control and expand their magic, Seekers visit villages each month to test children for magical abilities. But for those children and their families it is not a gift, it is a cursed For Habreel, who will never forget the destruction during the war, the elimination of all magic will save countless lives and is the only solution to long lasting stability. He will stop at nothing to achieve his aim; he will deal with the devil, crush villages and kill anyone in his way. Full review...

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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I've read several of Alice Hoffman's novels, although strangely, not the one she's most famous for Practical Magic, which went on to be made into a film. The Rules of Magic is the long-awaited prequel to that book, and tells the story of three siblings of the Owens family; Franny, Jet and Vincent. The two sisters, Franny and Jet, go on to become the two aunts in the Practical Magic story. Full review...

Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

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imon would not have considered himself a hero. In fact, by all accounts, particularly that of his parents, Simon is an epic failure. He's large, he's hairy, he has a ridiculously oversized nose and he's been kicked out of boarding school and kept on a federal watch list. But Simon is sure something is up with his friend Kat. She won't speak to him. So he resorts to buying an incredibly expensive new virtual reality video game for them both - Otherworld. Otherworld engages your senses with graphics so good, you'll swear they are real, and it's here that Simon really wants to talk to Kat. But it isn't real, it's a game… until a turn of events lands Simon in Otherworld in an all together different way. This time, whatever harm his avatar suffers has real consequences. And if it dies? Simon would rather not think about that. If he wants to save Kat, he has to keep pressing on. Simon is the chosen one, this is not a game. Full review...

The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

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The Raverran Empire is run by a doge and the council of seven, the governing group formed by the aristocratic families of Eruvia. The Empire thrives from trade, culture and the obedience of the cities surrounding Raverra. The Empire has obtained this power and dominance by harnessing and controlling the magic of Eruvia and all the mage-marked that possess it. For years the Raverran empire has known peace, but with whispers of a rebellion, the discovery of a fire-warlock and the disappearance of children, the Empire's authority over Eruvia is in danger and war is looming on the horizon. Full review...

Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson

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The Seventh Decimate is not a book with compelling characters or buzzing personalities; it is not a book that allowed me to invest in the struggles of its protagonist, Prince Bifalt, with any particular ease. Though it is a book about war and the desperate extremes a nation will go to ensure absolute victory against its greatest foe. Full review...

Infernal Machines by John Hornor Jacobs

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Having discovered the evil intent of the Autumn Lords, Livia Cornelius is trying to beat the inferno that the ensuing war is creating in order to get back to her husband Fisk. That's not as easy as it sounds though as she and her entourage including (her sister Carnelia and Livia's baby) will be caught up in the conflict more than they'd like to be. Meanwhile Fisk along with fellow mercenary Shoe, doesn't have it any easier… and the world is burning. Full review...

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

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Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things

The Last Namsara revolves around Asha, a fierce young woman who has whispered stories to dragons all her life. But where once she told them in friendship, now she uses stories to hunt all those that still plague her father's fracturing kingdom. Full review...

Son of the Night by Mark Alder

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In Son of the Morning, author Mark Alder plunges the reader into a chaotic, dangerous world, taking them back to the turbulent reign of Edward III and the dangers of the Hundred Years War. Adding elements of fantasy and theology to the mix, Alder created an intriguing read which is continued in Son of the Night. With Lucifer, Satan, God, Devils and Angels interacting with a cast of real and well researched characters, Alder continues his exploration of the Hundred Years war whilst rather incredibly keeping his readers as educated as they are entertained. Full review...

Wilderness of Ice by Keith Devine

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Hans Schröder was not best pleased to be going to the Nazi party headquarters in Alexanderplatz, Berlin. It was a snowy night in December 1937 and even then Heinrich Himmler of the SS Protection Squadron had something of a reputation. Schröder know that his beliefs were not completely in tune with those of the party hierarchy, but on this occasion it was an order which would find him leading an expedition to Tibet in search of the yeti: Hitler and Josef Mengele were keen to see if improvements could be made to the master race and the thought of a humanoid with amazing capabilities was too tempting to dismiss. In January 1938 the expedition was on its way via Transylvania. Full review...

Princess of Blood by Tom Lloyd

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Toil – unpredictable and dangerous even for an assassin, now wears the Princess of Blood on her jacket. Mercanery Lynx still has his doubts about her – but a new mission to escort a dignitary soon throws the old team back together. Travelling to an ancient city that conceals a mysterious labyrinth, the situations go from bad to worse, with new threats and worse horrors on every corner. The group argue and bicker as they go along – but will they be too concerned with their own disputes to see the far blacker evil that threatens to surround them? Full review...

The Iron Hound by Tim Akers

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Ruling with an iron hand, the Church has eliminated the ancient pagan ways. Yet demonic gheists terrorise the land, hunted by the Inquisition, while age-old hatreds rage between the north and the south. Three heroes Malcolm and Ian Blakeley and Gwendolyn Adair must end the bloodshed before chaos is unleashed. Full review...

City of Circles by Jess Richards

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Danu is a tightrope walker who is mourning her parents, after a disease has ravaged the circus where she grew up. Her mother has entrusted her with a locket that hides a secret. Over the years, Danu pushes away her grief and develops elaborate and successful high-wire acts with Morrie, a charismatic hunchback who wants to marry her. When the circus returns to Danu's birthplace, Matryoshka, Danu is enchanted by the temples, spice mists, and pleasure seekers within the intoxicating outer circle district. Here, she finally gains the courage to open her mother's locket, and discovers the name of a stranger who lives behind the locked gate of the Inner Circle. Fated to remain in Matryoshka, Danu attempts to resolve this mystery. Will she and Morrie ever be reunited, or will something far more unexpected be waiting for her in the mysterious heart of the city? Full review...

Fighting Fantasy: The Port of Peril by Ian Livingstone

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As I promised I would when I looked back at the beginning of the 35 year history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (here), I took to the brand-new-for-2017 volume with my pen, mapping paper, and most importantly, dice. For the first time in a long, long time, I would not read a book for review. I would play it. And so, armed with healthy stamina, reasonable luck but frankly embarrassing skill, I set off. This is the report of that journey – as well as hopefully being the usual useful book review. Full review...

The Legion of Flame: Book Two of the Draconis Memoria by Anthony Ryan

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WARNING: There are spoilers for Book 1 from the beginning. Lizanne Lethridge, Blood-Blessed and secret agent of the Exceptional Initiatives Division has survived another mission, only to be forced to go out again. This time it entails a man-hunt in a place from which no one has emerged alive. Talking about alive, Claydon Torcreek, having escaped several types of death in the jungles now goes to the southern ice with Hilemore in their current attempt to defeat the dragons and put the world on a safe footing. What if all that waits for them is more dragons and more inventive ways to die? That's a thought that's soon banished from his mind. 'This is where we save the world' says Clay… but he's been wrong before! Full review...

Words of Fury: Volume 2 (Words of Power) by Ritchie Valentine Smith

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Warning: Spoilers ahead… Emmanuel (Man) Kinross, Yoshi, Joah, the Voice and Dirk Faslane are all fleeing the Lord of the North in a giant floating bubble. This is a delicate conveyance when you consider that the stakes are high and, if caught by the evil Lord of the North, the world as they know it will end. They just need to get to the Waning of the Moon, a psychic fortress that spells safety but there's still a long way to go and the odds are very much against them. The Lord of the North has more power than they've seen yet and more devastating ways to use it. Full review...

Strange Practice: A Dr Greta Helsing Novel by Vivian Shaw

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I don't suppose it's worth trying to convince you it's too dangerous?
Not in the least.
Meet Dr Greta Helsing, a highly talented, well respected physician with her own specialised medical practice, known and adored throughout London for her great work… well, at least amongst the supernatural community. Greta is in fact a descendent of the vampire hunter Professor Abraham Van Helsing, but relations have improved since then and she now spends her days carrying on her father's legacy treating vampires, werewolves, mummies, ghouls and the like. So early morning emergency calls are not uncommon; what is uncommon however, is a vampire's stab wound that won't heal. Full review...

Chaos Queen - Dark Immolation (Chaos Queen 2) by Christopher B Husberg

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Warning - spoilers ahead for Book 1 which should be read first: Winter is presumed dead by Knot, Jane, Astrid and Cinzia. To be honest, rotting in the dungeon of Lord Daval she may as well be. Daval himself hasn't been the same since he was possessed by the Lord of Fear and leader of the Nine Daemons. He sees it as a positive but there's a high price to be paid in blood for everyone else. Our remaining adventurers return to Jane and Cinzia's home as they continue their search for truth. Cinzia may still be a Priestess of Canta but Jane's heretical ideas are making more and more sense to her. Meanwhile Knot is having severe problems with his multi-occupancy body but there are worse problems on the horizon. The Nine Daemons are out and doing what Daemons do best: dragging a world's population towards a particularly evil form of destruction. Full review...

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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They need something to believe in, something beyond crowns and kingdoms. They need to believe in the old stories. In the power of the land.

It was fourteen years ago that Elanna's life changed completely. Fourteen years ago that her father's plans of revolution fell through, and at the tender age of five, King Antoine held a pistol to her head and took her hostage. Raised by the King, Elanna grows into adulthood suppressing her magic and resenting the parents she once loved. Now twenty, Elanna prepares for either study or marriage, until King Antoine dies and she's condemned to death for treason. On the run, Elanna encounters her father's men, and finds herself moving from one imprisonment to another. Her father it seems, wants to carry out the revolution that failed fourteen years ago, he wants to unite the people in creating a fair kingdom and he wants Elanna to be the face of the rebellion. He wants her to be the Steward of the Land capable of powerful magic to make the very Earth move. Elanna must to decide which side she'll align with and how she will shape her destiny. Can she deny her people the help they desperately need to build a new world? Full review...

Warlock Holmes - The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles by G S Denning

4.5star.jpg Paranormal

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories, but not that many novels. Holmes adventures were mostly kept to a short story length that allowed a quick build up and reveal that would fit into an episodic telling. The best known novel is The Hound of the Baskervilles and anyone who parodies the great detective would eventually need to cover the tale of the cursed Baskerville family. They don't come more parodic than Warlock Holmes and although he may have died at the end of the last book, this won't stop him investigating one of his greatest cases. Full review...

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

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Everybody has their own story to tell, and more often than not people only see things from one perspective. In the original Peter Pan Captain Hook is an angry, perhaps slightly jealous, tyrant. But why is he this way? Christina Henry weaves a terrifying narrative together in response to such a question, a response that has the potential to alter the reader's perception of the original work forever. Full review...

Our Dark Duet by V E Schwab

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Monsters, mayhem, revenge

Six months after the final events of This Savage Song, Verity is in chaos. All-out war has broken out and the city is now divided into two – with monsters gaining more and more territory in the North and humans battling for survival in the South. At the centre of the action is August Flynn, a monster of incredible power who once longed to be human. He will now stop at nothing to fight and play the part he believes he must. No matter what the cost, no matter how much of himself he loses. Meanwhile, Kate Harker, V City escapee and kick-ass monster hunter, has been busy in Prosperity. But with the arrival of a new monster leaving devastation in its wake and heading straight for Verity, Kate knows she must to return. She must fight for humanity's survival and play her part just like August. Alliances will be tested; old enemies will rise from the dead and past mistakes will come to haunt both August and Kate at every turn. Will they be enough to save the city? And will they each be enough to save themselves from the darkest places within? Full review...

Age of Assassins by R J Barker

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Age of Assassins is a very ordinary fantasy novel, which at the same time manages to slip in the occasional surprise. The central protagonists are a pair of assassins, Girton Club-Foot and his master, Merela Karn, also known as Death’s Jester. They find themselves hired by a Queen to protect her son, an obnoxious prince, and to find out who is behind the threats on his life. In doing so they discover a host of plots and problems, leaving no part of life in the castle untouched. Plots and Machiavellian figures are evident at every turn as noble families fight over the throne of a dying king. In the meantime between sorcerers in the stables, bitter rivalries between the young men who vie to be heir to the throne, and the moves of great families, there is no lack of suspects. As such the novel is as much a mystery as it is a fantasy and as much as coming of age story as it is either of those. Full review...

The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt

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Imagine, if you will, that the local deity and his well-beloved son Jay decide to retire from the god business and go fishing instead. After all, they've been working on, and for, the planet for millennia, and it is really is time they took a break. And the Venturi brothers, who already manage several other planets, have made them a very generous bid for the franchise. Full review...

Bound: An Alex Verus Novel by Benedict Jacka

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Warning: From the beginning this contains spoilers for past books. Alex Verus, seer, mage and former owner of a now incinerated London magic shop, is no longer under a death warrant but that doesn't mean that people don't want him dead. His only chance of survival isn't promising either: he's gone back to the place of nightmares. He and Anne are now working for his old apprentice master, Richard Drakh. Richard's reasons are never straightforward so it's a mystery as to why he's made Alex an offer he'd be killed to refuse. Unsurprisingly, Alex isn't the only one who wants to the answer either. Oh and remember Rachel? She's back and… well… shall we say she has issues? Full review...

BL!NK (Hadron Damnation Book 1) by Mark Lingane

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iYe is a smasher: a child who is capable of sending back pictures of the future by travelling out to where the past and future meet. Smashers don't usually live to see their teens as the information generally returns without them. However iYe's mother, Captain Trix Raiden, is determined he'll be different and, indeed he is, in many ways. Not only does iYe survive, he is a chip off the same block as Cally, the planetary hero. However there is a darker side: iYe carries a message that Earth doesn't want to hear. The planet is used to dealing with the aliens that Cally originally fought but worse is on its way. We are coming to kill you. Full review...

The Never King by James Abbott

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The land of Stravimon is in chaos. Cedius the Wise died leaving the traitorous Mardonius to ascend to the throne. In far off Hell's Keep (the most deadly and remote prison in the Kingdom; a place no prisoner has ever returned from alive) Xavir Argentum is contacted by Cedius' former Spy Master, Landril. Betrayal, intrigue, violence and magic follow as we travel across this strange but familiar land on a quest for vengeance, justice and freedom. Full review...

Masquerade (Micah Grey Trilogy) by Laura Lam

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It's been a remarkable journey for our young protagonist. It wasn't long ago that Micah Grey was still living the life of Iphigenia Laurus, daughter of a noble family, trapped in a gilded cage forever hiding her true self. Since running away, Micah has managed to reinvent himself, first as a circus acrobat, and then as a magician's apprentice. Along the way he's discovered love and friendships that have helped keep him afloat, even as betrayal and tragedy seem ready to strike at every turn. But there's only so long he can keep running. His powers are growing, the Chimaera are returning, and Ellada is about to reach a violent tipping point. Full review...

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley

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"Love is like killing," she said. "You do it with every part of you, or not at all.” Pyrre is a skullsworn; one who is devoted to the God of Death. Trained as an assassin and having studied under the deadliest killers in the world since she was eight, Pyrre is about to embark upon her final trial. A trial in which success will mean elevation to the rank of priestess, while failure will mean death. Full review...

A Conjuring of Light by V E Schwab

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The Darker Shade of Magic trilogy concludes by continuing with the story of Lila Bard, finding her way through the different Londons', one with magic, one without magic, a London where magic has near enough destroyed their world and the last London, which balances precariously on the edge of oblivion. Full review...

The End of the Day by Claire North

5star.jpg General Fiction

At the end of the day, Death visits everyone. Right before that, Charlie does. You might meet him in a hospital, in a warzone, or at the scene of a traffic accident. Then again, you might meet him at the North Pole - he gets everywhere. From jungles to deserts to tundra, you may come across Charlie. Would you shake him by the hand, take the gift he offers, or would you pay no attention to the words he says? Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which. Full review...