Newest Fantasy Reviews

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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How did the Queen of Hearts become the monster we know from Alice's story? Welcome to Meyer's Wonderland and the peaceful kingdom of Hearts, where a young Lady called Catherine's heart's desire is to be … the best baker in all of Hearts. But while her mother tolerates her hobby, Catherine knows she will never consider it as a serious path for her daughter, unless Catherine can convince her. However, Catherine's dreams start to get that much more complicated once a mysterious stranger appears, a royal suitor materialises and deadly beast starts stalking the once safe Kingdom. What is Cath's destiny? To be the dreadful queen we all know or to be a dedicated bakery owner? Full review...

Freeks by Amanda Hocking

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In the spring of 1987, the carnival comes to small-town Caudry, Louisiana. Then events take a dangerous turn. For Mara Beznik, the carnival is home. It's also a place of secrets, hidden powers and a buried past - making it hard to connect with outsiders. However, sparks fly when she meets local boy Gabe Alvarado. As they become inseparable, Mara realizes Gabe is hiding his own secrets. And his family legacy could destroy Mara's world. They find the word 'freeks' sprayed on trailers, as carnival employees start disappearing. Then workers wind up dead, killed in disturbing ways by someone or something. Mara is determined to unlock the mystery, with Gabe's help. But can they really halt this campaign of fear? Full review...

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Scarlett Dragna has had one desire all her life: to visit a Caraval. These interactive events put on by magician and entrepreneur Legend are world famous but very exclusive. It's therefore a huge surprise when Scarlett and her sister Tella receive tickets. These will take them away from their sadistic father and prison-like island home for the first time. Caraval is never what one expects though and when Tella is kidnapped, Scarlett experiences the sinister side of a game in which nothing is what it seems. Full review...

Stardust: BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation by Neil Gaiman

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Tristan Thorn has never wanted to cross the Wall from his sleepy English village to the land of Faerie beyond. However, when the girl of his dreams – the beautiful Victoria Forester – promises to be his bride if he retrieves a fallen star, he has no choice. Without hesitation, Tristan sets out on a quest that will lead him into a series of bizarre adventures and set him against the dark forces of the strange and magical land of Stormhold. Full review...

Windwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard

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Merik Nihar, the Windwitch and former fleet admiral, must lay low on account of the fact that everyone believes him dead. He knows the attempted assassination was instigated by his sister, Vivia, but he doesn't yet realise how this attempt will change him and his powers. Safi meanwhile is regretting using her Truthwitch skills to help the Empress Vaness. Apart from anything else, it's deadly dull and has taken her away from Iseult, friend and Threadsister. Eventually though the dull disappears and it's not only Safi who's left with the deadly as allies appear from unexpected places and friendships are doubted while their world teeters. Full review...

Sealskin by Su Bristow

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Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous ...and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives - not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Full review...

Bane and Shadow by Jon Skovron

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I am beyond redemption

Bane and Shadow picks up a year after the final events of the first installment in the Empire of Storms series, which I highly recommend reading if you haven't already. Following the great characters we met in the previous novel, Bane and Shadow has even more action with brilliant battles, nail-biting tension and a new darkness to the story. Full review...

The Napoleon Complex by E M Davey

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Journalist Jake Wolsey's brush with the Book of Fate and that fatal Etruscan lightening isn't over. Historical quotes, intrigue and a call for help from former lover and MI6 operative Jenny start a whole new search for the source of power and destruction. This time it's linked to Napoleon Bonaparte and the odd inclusion of an Etruscan scroll in his portrait. If the scroll is what Jake and Jenny think it is, where has it gone? Our heroes aren't the only curious people and, while their search takes them across the world, it's as much about fatality avoidance as it is treasure hunting. Who will get the answer first and at what cost to themselves… and civilisation? Full review...

The Things We Learn When We're Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

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On the way to a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. Waking up in what appears to be a hospital, but a hospital in which wine is served for supper, everyone avoids her questions, and her nurse looks suspiciously like Sean Connery, it soon transpires that Lorna is in Heaven, or, at least, on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. At first Lorna can remember nothing, but as her memories return – some good, some bad, she realises that she has a decision to make, and that maybe, she needs to find a way home… Full review...

Death's Mistress by Terry Goodkind

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We start this novel as a Heroine and a hero travelling through the forest, in search of a witch. I immediately love it, when the focus is on the female lead and the male lead is painted as a bit of a pompous twonk, with more care for clothes and jewellery, than for saving mankind. However, it becomes harder to like her as the book winds its tale, when you realise that she is a heartless, murdering, uncaring, psychopath. It becomes relatively clear that she has been damaged from a young age (which was a while ago, seeing as she's almost 200 years old), that has had effects on how she has lived her life until this point. However, their goal of spreading the word of Emperor's Rahl victory over the evil Emperor Janang to the furthest reaches of his kingdom, becomes diverted, when prophecy leaves the world and an old witch imparts the knowledge of an old prophecy that foretells that Nicci will save the world. Full review...

The Liberation: Book Three of The Alchemy Wars by Ian Tregillis

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The war between the New Dutch and the New French continue aided and complicated by the Mechanicals' rebellion. In fact the day the world ended comes as a shock to everyone, not to mention a bloody mess. Let the apocalypse begin! Full review...

Dead Man's Steel (Grim Company) by Luke Scull

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The fehd move on, killing humanity with ruthless efficiency. The remaining heroes are trying to win the war but they've got issues of their own. Brodar Kayne, the Sword of the North, joins forces against fehd with Carn Bloodfist which has its problems since Brodar killed Carn's father. Davarus Cole and Sasha are slightly imprisoned whereas Eremul the Halfmage is still raging wherever possible. This raging takes turns with coming to terms with the shock of his apprentice's true identity. Indeed the former apprentice, Isaac, is fulfilling his true potential although not on the side that Eremul had envisaged. These heroes – all that remains of the Grim Company - are humanity's only hope… Good luck humanity! Full review...

Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson

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Brandon Sanderson is more cannon than man. He fires out more works than any other author of fantasy. Not only does he write an awe inspiring amount of novels, but he also writes various short fictions that go alongside them. And in here, for the first time, all the major ones are collected together. Full review...

Rise of the Dust Child by James Young

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An age has passed since the fall of the old world, and the rise of the malignant Dust people. Amongst the terrors of this new age, humanity still lingers within the wreckage of civilisation, held together by the promise of a better existence in the next life. But not all are satisfied by this dogma. Within the smoggy city of Fort Palmer, eight year old Doran and his friend Alena stand apart, struggling to retain the lost glory of their faith. But the unquiet dead and the forces of faith do not take kindly to those who try to fix a broken world. As the quest to save the future leads each of them down a dark path, they are cast apart - struggling to overcome the monstrous dusters and the fear within themselves, desperate to see each other again. Full review...

The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London 6) by Ben Aaronovitch

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When Lady Tyburn rescued Police Officer Peter Grant she put him in her debt. Now it's payback time as her daughter is implicated in a murder. Is this just another drug related killing? No, Peter is only involved in crime related to the supernatural side of life and since both Lady Ty and daughter are river goddesses, there's much to investigate. Full review...

Fireborn (The Seraphim Trilogy) by David Dalglish

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When the Center (the government that's meant to protect them) destroys the Academy Bree and Kael Skyborn take the only route open to them. They join the resistance and some allies who they'd be more wary of in other circumstances. Indeed the Prophet Johan may not have seemed that attractive to them in the past but he has resources that will come in useful as well as some interesting secrets. Bree and Kael will definitely learn a lot, including why the Skyborn family are so prized by the dictatorial organisation they now battle against. Full review...

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library Series) by Genevieve Cogman

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Think Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon or Jack West, with a sprinkle of the panache of James Bond and Raffles. Educated and courageous folk who risk all to obtain that magical talisman, that precious statue, that ancient scroll, and, now and then, to save the free world in the process. Place such a person in a multi-universe where on every world the same struggle is being played out: the dragons, who stand for order and control, oppose the Fae, who desire chaos and drama. And then turn your hero or heroine into a . . . librarian. Huh? Does not compute! Full review...

Class: What She Does Next Will Astound You by James Goss

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At Coal Hill School, things have started to get public. Kids have become obsessed with a website that demands you perform risky stunts, or tell it your most painful secrets. And Seraphin, everyone's favourite vlogger, wants you to get involved. All in the name of charity. At first people just get hurt. Then their lives are ruined. Finally, they disappear. As April's fragile group of friends starts to fracture, she decides she's going to uncover the truth behind thie site herself. Whatever it takes, whoever she hurts, April's going to win. But then, to her horror, she wakes up and finds her whole world's changed. What she does next will astound you. Full review...

The Shadow of What Was Lost: Book One of the Licanius Trilogy by James Islington

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Young Davian is an Augur; a once powerful race that has become almost extinct due to legislation. The surviving remnant stay silent about their powers lest they follow the same fate as their forebears – outlawed and then murdered by a harsh legal system. Up till now Davian has been safe within an academy for the Gifted: the Tol in Andarra. Then one day everything changes. Now Davian is running for his life, unaware of his capabilities or whom it's safe to trust. It's even worse than it sounds for this is a world on the edge of war, trying to suppress secrets that will endanger its very existence. Full review...

Class: The Stone House by A K Benedict

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There's an old stone house near Coal Hill School. Most people hurry past it. They've heard the stories. But, if you stop, and look up, you'll see the face of a girl, pressed up against a window. Screaming. Tanya finds herself drawn to the stone house. There's a mystery there, and she's going to solve it. But the more she investigates, the more she realises that there's a presence in the house. One that wants her. Something is waiting for Tanya in the stone house. Something that has been trapping others in its web over the years. Something that is far worse than any ghost... Full review...

A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky

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A City Dreaming guides us through a year in the life of the restless and enigmatic M as he returns to New York after travelling. A magical adept, well-known to the various non-human beings that frequent the alternative realities of New York City and not without power himself, you'd never guess any of it from his nonchalant hipper-than-thou attitude. He tries to keep out of local politics – opposing camps of magical affiliates in the city – but can be fiercely loyal to his closest associates. Though he reluctantly gets mixed up in various scrapes via his strange bunch of friends and acquaintances, and occasionally has to save the day, all he really wants is to be left alone to enjoy the sex, drugs and good coffee that abound in the city. Full review...

The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland

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The people of Porlock Weir have heard the rumours. King Edward III has fled with his family to the New Forest to escape the Plague in London. Will it remain confined to the city? The last time no one was safe and, according to Janveer, the strange woman fishermen rescued from the sea, it'll be the same again. Janveer has a proposition though. She can save Porlock and all it will cost them is one life. Full review...

The Wraiths of War (Obsidian Heart book 3) by Mark Morris

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Although not dead as he thought he was, Alex Locke feels no closer to finding his missing daughter across time or, indeed, unmasking the dark man. However, he knows what he has to do. Alex must use the obsidian heart to travel back and fight in World War I beside the ghostly soldier who visited him a century or so later. It's not as simple as it seems, as Alex keeps telling himself… or rather as Alexes (plural) keep telling himself. Full review...

Otherworld Chills by Kelley Armstrong

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I came to Armstrong's Otherworld quite late in its development and it seems that she's now wrapping it up to move on to other things. Billed as the 'final collection' of stories Chills allegedly completes several storylines of her best loved characters. I'd disagree. If Sherlock can survive Reichenbach then I'm sure Werewolves, Vampires and demi-demotic Angels can survive whatever state they may have been left in. Full review...

Floored by Mark Lingane

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1.Nemo has been brought back from death by Doctineer Viktor. The fact that she was once dead combined with her new form as a pleasure bot makes her worthless – a human/robot hybrid zero. But even zeros have ambitions, even if they're dangerous. Full review...

The Watcher of Dead Time (Relic Guild 3) by Edward Cox

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The Genii are winning and the Relic Guild is gradually being eradicated. Clara the changeling survives to fight but for how long? The trauma of what she's been through is taking its toll. However she's still Relic Guild so the fight goes on. Meanwhile elsewhere Samuel leads the search for the Nephilim who may be the key to good triumphing, but that's not straightforward either. Full review...

Time: The Immortal Divide (The Chronicles of Fate and Choice) by K S Turner

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As we open this, the third book of the trilogy, Tachra is on the threshold of either victory or death. As Arrun runs amok, Tachra's kutu allies disappear on paths that are separated from hers so she's forced to rely on her own wit and power. As Tachra and her people teeter on the edge of destruction, will that be enough? Full review...

Hope and Red by Jon Skovron

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Bleak Hope is a young girl orphaned at the tender age of eight when the emperor's biomancers – mystics of biology with the power to make living things grow, decay or change into something else entirely – massacre her whole village. The lone survivor, Hope sneaks on board a travelling merchant ship and by chance becomes a servant at the old Vinchen monastery, home to the empire's best warriors. There she is secretly trained by the greatest Vinchen warrior in history, and is driven by her dream of vengeance against those responsible for her parent's death. Full review...

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

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Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent's principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. Bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded, and whilst it'll never bring a man fame or wealth, he's not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. When a kidnapped girl forces Lynx to join a mercenary company, the job seems simple enough, and the mercanaries less stupid and vicious than most he's met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine... Full review...

The Waking Fire: Book One of Draconis Memoria by Anthony Ryan

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Mercenary Clayden Torcreek is blood-blessed, i.e. one of the few able to translate a few drops of drake's blood into an extraordinary attribute. It gets even better than that: Clayden is unregistered, making him unexpected and eminently hireable when the department of Exceptional Initiatives need someone to track the fabled white drake. His recruiter and contact is covert agent Lizanne Lethbridge who is currently gathering intelligence while posing as a maid to the spoilt young Tekela. It's worth it though – Tekela's father has something of interest. The problem is that Lizanne isn't the only one interested and so staying alive becomes increasingly difficult. Out at sea naval officer Hilemore is about to put his training to good use. Meanwhile in the inhospitable interior, Clayden's expedition only has to worry about savages and drakes of the gigantic, man-eating, fire breathing variety. That's alright then! Full review...

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

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When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she found Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rule and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But how did Victorian Oxford react to Alice's departure? When Alice's friend Ada, mentioned briefly in Alice in Wonderland sets out to visit Alice, she arrives a minute too late. Tumbling down the rabbit hole herself, she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and bring her safely home from this surreal world below the world. Full review...

The King's Justice by Stephen Donaldson

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Through the forests and the driving rain rides Black, a man never more aptly named. He's approaching Settle's Crossways, although that is of no concern to him, for he is merely following the scent of evil. All purpose and little pause or scruple, he is on the trail of a killer, and Settle's Crossways, as luck would have it, is in need of the King's Justice. Black seems able to control people's thoughts and deeds (and go without paying his way) just by rubbing an arm under his permanently-worn black cape, but when he sounds out the parity in the town between the churches of light and dark, he knows what exists there may take him to a darker place than even the last wars regarding the balance between those elemental forces – and to a place where he really cannot take the control he's used to… Full review...