More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Joel Shepherd's excellent Crossover, opening volume in the Cassandra Kresnov sequence, for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale. Follow this link to read my review from 2006.

The following volumes are all priced at 3.99$ each, which is a bargain for such a good series! These are definitely books that deserve more attention! Give them a shot and you won't be disappointed! =)

Here's the blurb:

Crossover is the first novel in a series which follows the adventures of Cassandra Kresnov, an artificial person, or android, created by the League, one side of an interstellar war against the more powerful, conservative Federation. Cassandra is an experimental design — more intelligent, more creative, and far more dangerous than any that have preceded her. But with her intellect come questions, and a moral awakening. She deserts the League and heads incognito into the space of her former enemy, the Federation, in search of a new life.

Her chosen world is Callay, and its enormous, decadent capital metropolis of Tanusha, where the concerns of the war are literally and figuratively so many light years away. But the war between the League and the Federation was ideological as much as political, with much of that ideological dispute regarding the very existence of artificial sentience and the rules that govern its creation. Cassandra discovers that even in Tanusha, the powerful entities of this bloody conflict have wound their tentacles. Many in the League and the Federation have cause to want her dead, and Cassandra’s history, inevitably, catches up with her.

Cassandra finds herself at the mercy of a society whose values preclude her own right even to exist. But her presence in Tanusha reveals other fault lines, and when Federal agents attempt to assassinate the Callayan president, she finds herself thrust into the service of her former enemies, using her lethal skills to attempt to protect her former enemies from forces beyond their ability to control. As she struggles for her place and survival in a new world, Cassandra must forge new friendships with old enemies, while attempting to confront the most disturbing and deadly realities of her own existence.

Here are reviews for the other installments:

- Breakaway
- Killswitch
- 23 Years on Fire
- Operation Shield
- Originator

Hungry Ghosts


After reading both Dead Things and Broken Souls, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into Stephen Blackmoore's Hungry Ghosts. Like its two predecessors, this third volume reads like the episodic early Dresden Files installments. Still, it looks as though we've reached the end of the first story arc of this paranormal and gritty noir murder mystery series. Time will tell what the author has in store for us in the subsequent books.

As was the case with the previous novels, expect blood and gore and a somewhat engaging protagonist, but not as endearing as Harry Dresden. Eric Carter continues to grow on the audience, but he remains a good-hearthed asshole with a knack for seeing everything he touches turn to shit. It's been fun for three books, no question, but I feel that it's time for the main protagonist to start getting his act together so that we don't lose interest.

Here's the blurb:

Necromancer Eric Carter’s problems keep getting bigger. Bad enough he’s the unwilling husband to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte, but now her ex, the Aztec King of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli, has come back — and it turns out that Carter and he are swapping places. As Mictlantecuhtli breaks loose of his prison of jade, Carter is slowly turning to stone.

To make matters worse, both gods are trying to get Carter to assassinate the other. But only one of them can be telling him the truth and he can’t trust either one. Carter’s solution? Kill them both.

If he wants to get out of this situation with his soul intact, he’ll have to go to Mictlan, the Aztec land of the dead, and take down a couple of death gods while facing down the worst trials the place has to offer him: his own sins.


I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, what I hate the most about urban fantasy works is that the market demands that they be short and relatively fast-paced reads. As a result, the first couple of installments are always parsimonious on the worldbuilding front. So far, Blackmoore did a good job explaining how necromancy works and how Carter can use his powers. Sadly, very little has been said about how the magical world at large and the theology underpinning it actually work. In Hungry Ghosts, the author finally unveils many secrets pertaining to Aztec/Mexican mythology. Having such Mayan and Mexican cultural influences gives the Eric Carter books a somewhat unique flavor. Problem is, I'm not sure we know enough three books into this series to get any idea where the story is going. Then again, the same could be said of the Dresden Files at the same juncture.

Given his propensity to turn every bad situation into a worse one, Eric Carter is an easy protagonist to root for. Once more, he's a foul-mouthed smartass who gets beaten to a pulp way too many times in the span of such a short novel, but there is still something about him that makes you care for the poor fool. He acts like an idiot for the most part because he's trying to protect those he loves without realizing that he's alienating them in the process. He has been running from his past for a long time and now it's finally caught up to him. As mentioned, as entertaining as he is, I guess that the time has come for some character growth to help him become a more balanced individual. In Broken Souls, Gabriella made for a nice addition to the supporting cast, and fleshing out Tabitha was also an improvement. Hungry Ghosts mostly features Carter and Tabitha, and I have a feeling that a more diverse cast would have been beneficial. Gabriella truly helped make the previous novel more interesting.

In Dead Things and Broken Souls, Blackmoore captured the LA noir setting extremely well. Most of the action in this one occurs in Mexico and Mictlan, the Aztec land of the dead, so the vibe is totally different this time around. Having said that, the Aztec underworld and the island of dolls were pretty cool. Can Carter somehow find a way to kill both Santa Muerte, his wife and patron saint of death, and Mictlantecuhtli, her ex-husband and the Aztec king of the dead, before he turns to jade and is forced to spend eternity in that prison? But how can he kill a god, let alone two of them, without dying in the process?

As I said earlier, it appears that we have reached the end of the first act. If you are looking for a gritty urban fantasy series featuring a deeply flawed male lead, the Eric Carter books are definitely for you. There is potential for bigger and better things to come, and the ending of Hungry Ghosts certainly leaves the door open for a lot more. It remains to be seen whether or not Stephen Blackmoore can up his game and elevate this series to another level. Will the fourth volume raise the bar, or will it be more of the same? We will see. . .

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could deliver, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian—while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.


You can also download Madeline Miller's Circe for only 4.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

The Song of Achilles by the same author is 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child -- not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power -- the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.



You can also download V. E. Schwab's The Invisible Life of Addie Larue for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.


This week's New York Times Bestsellers (March 10th)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing maintains its position at number 2. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Rebecca Yarros' Iron Flame maintains its position at number 3. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Sarah J. Maas' House of Flame and Shadow maintains its position at number 4. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

In paperback:

Ali Hazelwood's Bride is down two positions, ending the week at number 4. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Silver Flames is down one spot, finishing the week at number 6. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Sarah J. Maas' House of Earth and Blood is down two positions, ending the week at number 9. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Cameron Johnston's The Maleficent Seven for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

When you are all out of heroes, all that’s left are the villains.

Black Herran was a dread demonologist, and the most ruthless general in all Essoran. She assembled the six most fearsome warriors to captain her armies: a necromancer, a vampire lord, a demigod, an orcish warleader, a pirate queen, and a twisted alchemist. Together they brought the whole continent to its knees… Until the day she abandoned her army, on the eve of total victory.

40 years later, she must bring her former captains back together for one final stand, in the small town of Tarnbrooke – the last bastion against a fanatical new enemy tearing through the land, intent on finishing the job Black Herran started years before.

Seven bloodthirsty monsters. One town. Their last hope.


More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Bethany Jacobs' These Burning Stars for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

WINNER OF THE 2024 PHILIP K. DICK AWARD

A dangerous cat-and-mouse quest for revenge. An empire that spans star systems, built on the bones of a genocide. A carefully hidden secret that could collapse worlds, hunted by three women with secrets of their own. All the while, someone hunts them in return. This is an explosive space opera debut from one of the most powerful new voices in science fiction.

On a dusty backwater planet, occasional thief Jun Ironway has gotten her hands on the score of a lifetime: a secret that could raze the Kindom, the ruling power of the galaxy.

A star system away, preternaturally stoic Chono and brilliant hothead Esek— the two most brutal clerics of the Kindom—are tasked with hunting Jun down.

And tracking all three across the stars is a ghost from their shared past known only as Six. But what Six wants is anyone’s guess. It’s a game of manipulation and betrayal that could destroy them all. And they have no choice but to see it through.


More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Fritz Leiber's The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Volume Two: Swords Against Wizardry, The Swords of Lankhmar, and Swords and Ice Magic for only 3.99$ by following this Amazon Associte link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

The Hugo and Nebula Award–winning series of sword and sorcery—featuring two unorthodox heroes—from a Grand Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Long before George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones became a worldwide phenomenon, Fritz Leiber ruled the literary universe of sword and sorcery. This novel and two short story collections chronicle the adventures of Leiber’s endearing and groundbreaking antiheroes: the barbarian Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, a former wizard’s apprentice—in the series hailed as “one of the great works of fantasy in this century” (Publishers Weekly).

This is a must-read collection of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser short stories, featuring the Hugo Award–nominated novellas “Scylla’s Daughter” and “Stardock.”

Swords Against Wizardry: Bold Fafhrd and the sly Gray Mouser find adventure wherever they tread quick and lightly, whether it be in consulting a witch for advice, climbing Nehwon’s highest peak in search of riches, discovering that they may not actually be the greatest thieves in Lankhmar, or working both sides of a royal battle for the throne of Quarmall.

The Swords of Lankhmar: With a plague of rats teeming in Lankhmar, Fafhrd and the Mouser are hired by the city to guard a shipment of grain overseas. But when the duo returns, they discover the sentient vermin have taken over Lankhmar for themselves! And now it’s up to the barbarian and the thief to build a better rat trap.

Swords and Ice Magic: Fafhrd and Gray Mouser make their way by sword and stealth as they face death in many forms, earn the ire of gods whose names they rarely even speak in vain anymore, lazily drift on the Great Equatorial Current, and venture far into the icy wastes of the Rime Isle to confront a pair of deities and a pillaging fleet in this World Fantasy Award nominee.



You can also download S.A. Chakraborty's The Kingdom of Copper for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass—"the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind" (#1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir)—conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad's towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

Blood and Oil


As the conflict between Israel and Palestine continues, my interest in the Middle East has been growing. After finishing David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace, I bought a number of related works focusing on various countries and events. With Robert Lacey's Inside the Kingdom being such a great read, I knew that Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck's Blood and Oil had to be next.

Their concise history of the rise of one of the most powerful and enigmatic power players in the Middle East is an amazing read!

Here's the blurb:

From award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters comes a revelatory look at the inner workings of the world's most powerful royal family, and how the struggle for succession produced Saudi Arabia's charismatic but ruthless Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS.

35-year-old Mohammed bin Salman's sudden rise stunned the world. Political and business leaders such as former UK prime minister Tony Blair and WME chairman Ari Emanuel flew out to meet with the crown prince and came away convinced that his desire to reform the kingdom was sincere. He spoke passionately about bringing women into the workforce and toning down Saudi Arabia's restrictive Islamic law. He lifted the ban on women driving and explored investments in Silicon Valley.

But MBS began to betray an erratic interior beneath the polish laid on by scores of consultants and public relations experts like McKinsey and Company. The allegations of his extreme brutality and excess began to slip out, including that he ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. While stamping out dissent by holding 300 people, including prominent members of the Saudi royal family, in the Ritz-Carlton hotel and elsewhere for months, he continued to exhibit his extreme wealth, including buying a $70 million chateau in Europe and one of the world's most expensive yachts. It seemed that he did not understand nor care about how the outside world would react to his displays of autocratic muscle—what mattered was the flex.

Blood and Oil is a gripping work of investigative journalism about one of the world's most decisive and dangerous new leaders. Hope and Scheck show how MBS' precipitous rise coincided with the fraying of the simple bargain that had been at the head of US-Saudi relations for more than 80 years: oil, for military protection. Caught in his net are well-known US bankers, Hollywood figures, and politicians, all eager to help the charming and crafty crown prince.

The Middle East is already a volatile region. Add to the mix an ambitious prince with extraordinary powers, hunger for lucre, a tight relationship with the White House through President Trump's son in law Jared Kushner, and an apparent willingness to break anything—and anyone—that gets in the way of his vision, and the stakes of his rise are bracing. If his bid fails, Saudi Arabia has the potential to become an unstable failed state and a magnet for Islamic extremists. And if his bid to transform his country succeeds, even in part, it will have reverberations around the world.

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan for only 1.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

In a groundbreaking blend of science and imagination, the former president of Google China and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an urgent question: How will artificial intelligence change our world over the next twenty years?

AI will be the defining issue of the twenty-first century, but many people know little about it apart from visions of dystopian robots or flying cars. Though the term has been around for half a century, it is only now, Kai-Fu Lee argues, that AI is poised to upend our society, just as the arrival of technologies like electricity and smart phones did before it. In the past five years, AI has shown it can learn games like chess in mere hours--and beat humans every time. AI has surpassed humans in speech and object recognition, even outperforming radiologists in diagnosing lung cancer. AI is at a tipping point. What comes next?

Within two decades, aspects of daily life may be unrecognizable. Humankind needs to wake up to AI, both its pathways and perils. In this provocative work that juxtaposes speculative storytelling and science, Lee, one of the world's leading AI experts, has teamed up with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to reveal how AI will trickle down into every aspect of our world by 2041. In ten gripping narratives that crisscross the globe, coupled with incisive analysis, Lee and Chen explore AI's challenges and its potential:

- Ubiquitous AI that knows you better than you know yourself
- Genetic fortune-telling that predicts risk of disease or even IQ
- AI sensors that creates a fully contactless society in a future pandemic
- Immersive personalized entertainment to challenge our notion of celebrity
- Quantum computing and other leaps that both eliminate and increase risk

By gazing toward a not-so-distant horizon, AI 2041 offers powerful insights and compelling storytelling for everyone interested in our collective future.


This week's New York Times Bestsellers (March 3rd)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing is up one position, ending the week at number 2. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Rebecca Yarros' Iron Flame is up one position, ending the week at number 3. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Sarah J. Maas' House of Flame and Shadow is down two spots, finishing the week at number 4. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

T. Kingfisher's What Feasts at Night debuts at number 10. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

In paperback:

Ali Hazelwood's Bride maintains its position number 2. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Silver Flames is up two spots, finishing the week at number 5. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

Sarah J. Maas' House of Earth and Blood is down one position, ending the week at number 7. For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Myke Cole's Gemini Cell for only 3.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

You can read my review of the book here.

Here's the blurb:

Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with GEMINI CELL, an all-new epic adventure in the highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe.

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself – and his family – in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

It should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty – as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realises his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark – especially about the fates of his wife and son…



You can also get your hands on the digital edition of Myke Cole's excellent Shadow Ops: Control Point for only 3.99$ here.

You can read my review of the novel here.

Here's the blurb:

Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer.

Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze.

Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military's Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one.

The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down--and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he's ever known, and that his life isn't the only thing he's fighting for.

Imajica


As crazy as it sounds, Imajica was the first Clive Barker novel I ever read. Along with one of my best friends back in the day, I was a big fan of the Hellraiser movies. I did pick up a few of the author's books along the way and I guess I still have them in storage somewhere. So when the digital edition of Imajica went on sale a few months back, I knew it was high time to finally give Barker a shot.

Not sure if it was the right decision or not. Perhaps I should have begun with Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, or Abarat? Started the novel in early January, then brought it with me to Asia, and yet I only finished it last week. True, it's a long, sprawling, and complex novel. And yet, no matter how brilliant it can be, I found it quite difficult to maintain interest for prolonged periods of time. Which explains why it took me so long to read Imajica.

Here's the blurb:

From master storyteller Clive Barker comes an epic tale of myth, magic, and forbidden passion.

Imajica is an epic beyond compare: vast in conception, obsessively detailed in execution, and apocalyptic in its resolution. At its heart lies the sensualist and master art forger, Gentle, whose life unravels when he encounters Judith Odell, whose power to influence the destinies of men is vaster than she knows, and Pie 'oh' pah, an alien assassin who comes from a hidden dimension.

That dimension is one of five in the great system called Imajica. They are worlds that are utterly unlike our own, but are ruled, peopled, and haunted by species whose lives are intricately connected with ours. As Gentle, Judith, and Pie 'oh' pah travel the Imajica, they uncover a trail of crimes and intimate betrayals, leading them to a revelation so startling that it changes reality forever.


I must admit that it's the concept of the Imajica and its five Dominions which piqued my curiosity and made me want to read this book. The blurb promised a journey across those disparate dimensions and I couldn't wait to see what Barker had in store for his readers. And while a lot of work went into creating the various species that are encountered throughout the tale, what with most of them sharing that Clive Barker visual signature from his movies, the same cannot be said of the Dominions themselves. Considering the size of this novel and the amount of extraneous or overdone sequences, I would have thought that more work would have gone into the other dimensions and how they relate to our world and the rest of the Imajica. And while some locales like the Erasure or the Cradle of Chzercemit are amazing in the way they are depicted, most of the worldbuilding elements, even the city of Yzordderrex itself, are often lackluster or would have benefited from more exposition. In the end, no matter how multilayered Imajica truly is, there's always that feeling that something is missing, or that something should have been elaborated on a bit more. The Appendix at the end of the book helps a little in that regard, but it's not enough to really make that much of a difference. In addition, I feel that too little was explored regarding the sacred feminine divinity aspect, especially given its importance in the greater scheme of things. The God vs Goddesses dichotomy needed more exposition, methinks.

There was a good balance between the perspectives of Gentle and Judith, but I would have liked more POV scenes featuring Pie 'oh' pah. The assassin was by far the most fascinating protagonist of this novel. Not surprisingly, there is a whole slew of secondary characters, but few of them left their mark on the story. Personally, I feel that Clem is the one who stands out the most among the supporting cast and it's probably because he has a history with both Gentle and Judith.

The pace is an issue throughout the novel, no question about it. While at times the rhythm moves the tale at a good clip, there are long chunks in which the pacing is simply atrocious. And I guess that's why I had such a hard time getting into Imajica. It starts with a bang and the plot moves well for the first 150 pages or so. Alas, when the action leaves Earth and the journey through the Dominions begins, Barker completely lose himself in those outer dimensions. Basically every scene is overwritten, every conversation is longer than it needs to be, and the storylines meander in unpredictable yet inflated fashion. For that reason, though some scenes are awesome, it can be exhausting to read this book. For every remarkable sequence, you must wade through page after page of superfluous material that bogs you down in virtually every chapter. It's never dull, mind you. But for every moment that captures your imagination, there are also interminable streaks that make you want to put the book down. You're invested enough in the story and the characters to always come back at some point. Which is good. And yet, ultimately, the fact that it's so easy to stop reading Imajica in favor or something else doesn't speak well of it. Perusing reviews, it's evident that this is a very divisive work. Some people were hooked and couldn't let go. Others simply lost interest and couldn't get through it. Finally, some readers chose to persevere through this slog of slogs, hoping that it would be worth it before the end.

And that's another thing. Sometimes, as the saying goes, the journey is more important than the destination. And Imajica is a LONG journey. One would think that following hundreds of pages of build-up, once the roller-coaster goes down you'd get a thrilling endgame and a captivating finale. And although the endgame was exciting, I felt that everything was a bit rushed. It took the longest time for Barker to finally reveal the truth about the three protagonists and how they are linked. Yet the final stage of this tale could have used a little more exposition. Is the ending worth going through the entire novel? I would say so. I'm glad I didn't give up on it, that's for sure. Some images will remain with me for a long time. Clive Barker's prose is evocative and his words create a vivid imagery. I just wish he wasn't so long-winded. More like Guy Gavriel Kay and less like Brandon Sanderson.

Imajica is a journey unlike any you've experienced before. A tale of a supreme god and goddesses in hiding. A tale of our world and how it is sundered from the Reconciled Dominions. A tale of those who want the Imajica to be whole and those who oppose them. So if you're patient and can handle the slog, if you can deal with a bit of erotica because Barker cannot help himself when he writes sex scenes, this novel can be a rewarding read. But it is a slog.

The final verdict: 7/10

For more info about this title, follow this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass for only 2.99$ by following this Amnazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…


This week's New York Times Bestsellers (February 25th)

In hardcover:

Sarah J. Maas' House of Flame and Shadow is down one spot, finishing the week at number 2.

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing is down one position, ending the week at number 3.

Rebecca Yarros' Iron Flame is down one position, ending the week at number 4.

In paperback:

Ali Hazelwood's Bride debuts at number 2.

Sarah J. Maas' House of Earth and Blood is down five positions, ending the week at number 6.

Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Silver Flames is down one spot, finishing the week at number 7.

Sarah J. Maas' House of Sky and Breath is down seven spots, finishing the week at number 11.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now download Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian for only 2.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends?

The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler's dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad's ancient powers-one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil.

Elizabeth Kostova's debut novel is an adventure of monumental proportions, a relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful-and utterly unforgettable.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Janny Wurts' The Cycle of Fire: The Complete Series, an omnibus comprised of Stormwarden, Keeper of the Keys, and Shadowfane, for only 3.99$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

Now in one volume: three novels in the “epic tale mixing fantasy and SF . . . full of action, splendid scenes of magic and engaging secondary characters” (Publishers Weekly).

Stormwarden

A young girl, her brother, and a Firelord’s descendant are caught up in the rescue of the Stormwarden Anskiere—and the unbinding of the demons that could destroy all of humanity.

Keeper of the Keys

As Jaric struggles to accept his father’s heritage, Taen’s brother is possessed by the demons who use him as a pawn to hunt down and slay the Firelord’s heir.

Shadowfane

Jaric faces the Cycle of Fire that drove his father to madness, while Taen Dreamweaver is targeted by her brother and his demon overlords, psionically endowed aliens who have been revealed as mankind’s ancient conquerors.


More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Labyrinth of the Spirits for only 1.66$ by following this Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale.

Here's the blurb:

The internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author returns to the magnificent universe he constructed in his bestselling novels The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven in this riveting series finale—a heart-pounding thriller and nail-biting work of suspense which introduces a sexy, seductive new heroine whose investigation shines a light on the dark history of Franco’s Spain.

In this unforgettable final volume of Ruiz Zafón’s cycle of novels set in the universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history.

Nine-year-old Alicia lost her parents during the Spanish Civil War when the Nacionales (the fascists) savagely bombed Barcelona in 1938. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars of that violent and terrifying time. Weary of her work as an investigator for Spain’s secret police in Madrid, a job she has held for more than a decade, the twenty-nine-year old plans to move on. At the insistence of her boss, Leandro Montalvo, she remains to solve one last case: the mysterious disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls.

With her partner, the intimidating policeman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia discovers a possible clue—a rare book by the author Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’ office in his Madrid mansion. Valls was the director of the notorious Montjuic Prison in Barcelona during World War II where several writers were imprisoned, including David Martín and Victor Mataix. Traveling to Barcelona on the trail of these writers, Alicia and Vargas meet with several booksellers, including Juan Sempere, who knew her parents.

As Alicia and Vargas come closer to finding Valls, they uncover a tangled web of kidnappings and murders tied to the Franco regime, whose corruption is more widespread and horrifying than anyone imagined. Alicia’s courageous and uncompromising search for the truth puts her life in peril. Only with the help of a circle of devoted friends will she emerge from the dark labyrinths of Barcelona and its history into the light of the future.

In this haunting new novel, Carlos Ruiz Zafón proves yet again that he is a masterful storyteller and pays homage to the world of books, to his ingenious creation of the Cemetery of Forgotten, and to that magical bridge between literature and our lives.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!


You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Mark Lawrence's One Word Kill for only 2.49$ through the following Amazon Associate link. This OneLink will take you to the nearest Amazon site serving your country and you'll see if you can take advantage of this sale. The Impossible Times trilogy is the series that ties everything else Lawrence has written together, so you don't want to miss out on it!

Even better, the second volume, Limited Wish, is 2.49$, and the final volume, Dispel Illusion, is 1.99$. So you can download the entire series for about 7$!

Here's the blurb:

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons and Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.