Newest Fantasy Reviews

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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

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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

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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...

The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy 1) by Jen Williams

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Ebora is dying along with its tree-like god Ysegril but Hestillion is doing all she can to keep him alive. In fact she'll go to any lengths to save him… any lengths at all. Hest's brother Tormalin can't sit around and wait for the end so he's engaged by Lady Vincenza (Vintage) de Grazon to be her factotum and hired sword during her quest for knowledge. It's turning into more of an adventure than they'd planned even before Fell witch and fugitive Noon joins them. Now the trio must work together, putting prejudices and passions aside (others' as well as their own). The Ninth Rain is coming and more than Ebora is in danger. Full review...

The Lady of the Lake by Andrezej Sapkowski

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This book was quite captivating in the beginning. The idea that the truths of ancient history and mythology can be unearthed by exploring them in the dreams of a talented sleeper is rather enchanting. It's an interesting idea, one that merges history and fantasy creating an almost dream like feel within the writing. Full review...

Stanly's Ghost: Book 3 (The Bitter Sixteen Trilogy) by Stefan Mohamed

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Cynical, solitary Stanly Bird used to be a fairly typical teenager – unless you count the fact that his best friend was a talking beagle named Daryl. Then came the superpowers. And the super powered allies. And the mysterious enemies. And the terrifying monsters. And the stunning revelations. And the apocalypse. Now he's not sure what he is. Or where he is. Or how exactly one is supposed to proceed after saving the world. All he knows is that his story isn't finished. Not quite yet … Full review...

Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan

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The fantasy genre is home to some of the best books that I have ever read, but also some of the worst. The very nature of epic stories that span generations means that few fantasy books rock up under 400 pages and many are part of long running series or trilogies. When done badly, fantasy books are bloated and boring affairs that rattle of every cliché the genre has had to offer since Bilbo exited Bag End, but done well they can be brilliant. They can be Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan. Full review...

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver

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In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a peasant couple longs for a child. In despair they turn to gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, and one cold wintery night, the couple's wish comes true. But the silence that follows the birth forewarns of darker days to come. Strangers look on askance and fall speechless in the child's presence, and villagers protectively hush their children as they pass on narrow market lanes. Pavla is no ordinary child, but then this is no ordinary tale. Full review...

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...