More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Robert R. McCammon's Boy's Life, winner of the World Fantasy and the Bram Stoker Awards, 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.

One of the best books I've read in a long time!

Here's the blurb:

An Alabama boy’s innocence is shaken by murder and madness in the 1960s South in this novel by the New York Times–bestselling author of Swan Song.

It’s 1964 in idyllic Zephyr, Alabama. People either work for the paper mill up the Tecumseh River, or for the local dairy. It’s a simple life, but it stirs the impressionable imagination of twelve-year-old aspiring writer Cory Mackenson. He’s certain he’s sensed spirits whispering in the churchyard. He’s heard of the weird bootleggers who lurk in the dark outside of town. He’s seen a flood leave Main Street crawling with snakes. Cory thrills to all of it as only a young boy can.

Then one morning, while accompanying his father on his milk route, he sees a car careen off the road and slowly sink into fathomless Saxon’s Lake. His father dives into the icy water to rescue the driver, and finds a beaten corpse, naked and handcuffed to the steering wheel—a copper wire tightened around the stranger’s neck. In time, the townsfolk seem to forget all about the unsolved murder. But Cory and his father can’t.

Their search for the truth is a journey into a world where innocence and evil collide. What lies before them is the stuff of fear and awe, magic and madness, fantasy and reality. As Cory wades into the deep end of Zephyr and all its mysteries, he’ll discover that while the pleasures of childish things fade away, growing up can be a strange and beautiful ride.

The Aeronaut's Windlass

As a big Dresden Files fan, I'm a bit shocked that it took me so long to give Jim Butcher's The Cinder Spires series a shot. And yet, given the fact that it took the author eight years to release the sequel, perhaps it was for the best. But when the folks at Ace sent me an ARC of the second volume, I knew the time had come to finally read The Aeronaut's Windlass.

Given the steampunk setting and the Victorian era dialogue, this series is a totally different beast than the Dresden books. Hence, if you weren't able to get into the Dresden Files, perhaps The Cinder Spires will be more to your liking. The Aeronaut's Windlass is more a swashbuckling fantasy adventure than steampunk science fiction, and it also features talking cats. Just saying!

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…

À la Mark Lawrence, Jim Butcher keeps his cards rather close to his chest as far as the worldbuilding is concerned. Though the author provides a ton of information regarding the ships that fly through the etherical currents and the technology that powers them, very little is disclosed about the Spires and their history. All we know is that ten thousand years before, the Merciful Builders created them to shelter mankind from the dangers of the surface and then disappeared. There are mentions of a God in Heaven, Archangels, and an ancient enemy, but that's about it. It's unclear whether or not this is an alien world or a post-apocalyptic Earth. The second installment provides more information in that regard, but The Aeronaut's Windlass is more of a self-contained adventure that deliver very little details about the greater scheme of things.

Unlike the Dresden Files, two of the lead protagonists are female characters. Indeed, the bulk of the tale unfolds through the eyes of Gwendolyn Lancaster, heir to one of the most powerful Houses of Spire Albion, and Bridget Tagwynn, a young woman forced to fulfill her family obligation and join the Spirearch's Guard. The other main character is Francis Madison Grimm, captain of Predator. The three of them are thrown together when agents of Spire Aurora attempt to cripple Spire Albion. The supporting cast is made up of a bunch of colorful men and women, chief among them Journeyman, Kettle, and the rest of Grimm's crew, as well as the etherealists Master Ferus and his apprentice Folly. Once again, Butcher sure came up with a great cast. Add to that talking cats and making them an important part of the plot and you're in for a fun and entertaining read.

The best and worse aspects of The Aeronaut's Windlass just might be the fact that it's too self-contained for its own good. Although it's evidently the first chapter in a much larger tale, the book does provide a few tidbits that promise bigger and better things to come, and its ending leaves the door open for a major conflict between Spires Albion and Aurora. Still, I would have loved to discover more about the world's more ancient history, the Spires themselves, the dangers lurking on the surface, and the etherealists, these mad wizard-like figures, and their powers. To fully enjoy this first volume, you simply need to buckle up, enjoy the show, and not ask too many questions. If you can do that, chances are you'll love this novel. If you can't, then your mileage may vary.

Butcher keeps the plot moving at a good clip and there's never a dull moment from start to finish. The Aeronaut's Windlass is definitely a fun romp. Even if I would have preferred more depth up front, there's no denying that this is a fun-filled adventure that will keep you turning those pages. With a thrilling endgame and a rousing finale, this novel sets the stage for what could be another exciting series. Time will tell if Jim Butcher can up his game and deliver more ambitious sequels and not just rely on the same recipe for what comes next.

The Aeronaut's Windlass is a swashbuckling steampunk fantasy adventure featuring a cast of memorable characters. If you haven't read it yet, with the second volume coming out this fall, the timing is perfect for you to give it a go!

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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Dan Frey's The Future Is Yours turned out to be one of my favorite reads of 2021. So when the folks at Del Rey got in touch with me to inquire about whether or not I wanted to get an early read of his forthcoming Dreambound, I immediately said yes.

Unfortunately, Frey's latest is nothing compared to its predecessor. If anything, it reads like something akin to a second draft, lacking polish and with lots of half-assed plot details. Given how much I enjoyed The Future Is Yours, this was a major disappointment for me.

Here's the blurb:

When Byron Kidd’s twelve-year-old daughter vanishes, the only clue is a note claiming that she’s taken off to explore the Hidden World, a magical land from a series of popular novels. She is not the only child to seek out this imaginary realm in recent years, and Byron—a cynical and hard-nosed reporter—is determined to discover the whereabouts of dozens of missing kids.

Byron secures a high-profile interview with Annabelle Tobin, the eccentric author of the books, and heads off to her palatial home in the Hollywood Hills. But the truth Byron discovers is more fantastic than he ever could have dreamed.

As he unearths locations from the books that seem to be bleeding into the real world, he must shed his doubts and dive headfirst into the mystical secrets of Los Angeles if he hopes to reunite with his child. Soon Byron finds himself on his own epic journey—but if he’s not careful, he could be the next one to disappear.

Told through journal entries, transcripts, emails, and excerpts from Tobin’s novels, Dreambound is a spellbinding homage to Los Angeles and an immersive and fast-paced story of how far a father will go—even delving into impossible worlds—to save his daughter.

As was the case with The Future Is Yours, Frey's new work is another epistolary novel. Which means that it is written as a series of documents such as emails, text messages, various transcripts, newspaper articles, journal entries, etc. Once more, I was a bit worried about such an unusual structure. But in the end, at least for The Future Is Yours, it worked superbly and made for quick and compulsive reading. Frey's modern take on the epistolary novel showed that you can write thought-provoking science fiction that's big on concepts and ideas with this sort of unorthodox narrative structure. In many ways, it was this particular framework that made the book such a page-turning experience. Alas, this same format made Dreambound a failure to launch. Though it does work rather well early on, it soon becomes evident that an epistolary novel didn't work to recount this story. Or more exactly, it didn't work for me. I found it hard for the tale to gather an sort of traction or momentum, and I found myself quickly losing interest the more I read. The more esoteric the story became, the less engaged I was with the plot. In my humble opinion, this format prevented the author from conveying the tale the way it was meant to be told.

The worldbuilding is probably the most half-assed aspect of this novel. I found it original how the Hidden World mirrors certain Los Angeles landmarks. Beyond that, however, everything that has to do with the Green Man and his world was bland and uninspired. It looks as though very little effort went into its creation and the execution of every scene taking place over there is decidedly subpar. Hard to believe that Rowling-esque Annabelle Tobin could have sold millions of books with such a lackluster universe. I felt that too little time was spent fleshing out Ciara's adventures in the Fairy Tale series, which probably explains why the Hidden World sequences felt so stale and derivative.

I know that epistolary novels appear to be Dan Frey's thing. Relying on brief extracts from various documents makes it easy to hide the fact that he is a screenwriter and not a novelist. Longer excerpts from fictional books show that his prose isn't always up to par and could use some work. This is particularly obvious in the Fairy Tale installments' extracts, which often read a bit like fanfic. Another problem was the collection of folk tales published in 1899, yet reads like something compiled and written last year by a young college student. These are the reasons why it feels as though this is just a draft and not the final copy edit of a book.

Characterization is also an issue. It's impossible not to root for poor Byron Kidd at the beginning. You can't help but feel for the grieving father hell-bent on finding his daughter and bringing her back home. Trouble is, the more mystical and mysterious his investigation becomes, too often the main character becomes dense on purpose to draw everything out and keep the plot from moving forward too rapidly. Other than colorful Misha, whom was almost made a caricature featuring every single SJW facet one could cram into somebody, the rest of the supporting cast are made up of people that left me completely indifferent.

Still, regardless of the clumsy execution, I believed that the endgame and the ending could still save the novel. Sadly, the last third of Dreambound goes down the crapper in spectacular fashion, delivering a piss-poor ending that was so nonsensical I wanted to throw the book as far as I could. It's too bad, because the premise truly had potential and the blurb had my curiosity piqued in earnest.

Disappointing. . .

The final verdict: 5/10

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

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You can now download Simon R. Green's Something from the Nightside 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:

Taylor is the name, John Taylor. My card says I’m a detective, but what I really am is an expert on finding lost things. It’s part of the gift I was born with as a child of the Nightside.

I left there a long time ago, with my skin and sanity barely intact. Now I make my living in the sunlit streets of London. But business has been slow lately, so when Joanna Barrett showed up at my door, reeking of wealth, asking me to find her runaway teenage daughter, I didn’t say no.

Then I found out exactly where the girl had gone.

The Nightside. That square mile of Hell in the middle of the city, where it’s always three A.M. Where you can walk beside myths and drink with monsters. Where nothing is what it seems and everything is possible.

I swore I’d never return. But there’s a kid in danger and a woman depending on me. So I have no choice—I’m going home.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 27th)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing maintains its position at number 1.

Quote of the Day

Grimm supposed the he had very little to say to anyone when it came to matters of relationships. The last time he'd seen his wife had been after airship-to-airship combat, and he'd been preparing to accept her surrender after she'd commanded transport in the devastating raid upon the skyport of Habble Landing that completely destroyed it, along with a dozen airships--Predator very nearly one of them. But she'd managed to escape, which was no great testament to his strength as a captain--or as a husband, he supposed.

- JIM BUTCHER, The Olympian Affair

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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 Andy Weir's "Randomize" for only 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In the near future, if Vegas games are ingeniously scam-proof, then the heists have to be too, in this imaginative and whip-smart story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.

An IT whiz at the Babylon Casino is enlisted to upgrade security for the game of keno and its random-number generator. The new quantum computer system is foolproof. But someone on the inside is no fool. For once the odds may not favor the house—unless human ingenuity isn’t entirely a thing of the past.

Andy Weir’s Randomize is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

You can also download Blake Crouch's Recursion for only 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Reality is broken.

At first, it looks like a disease. An epidemic that spreads through no known means, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. But the force that’s sweeping the world is no pathogen. It’s just the first shock wave, unleashed by a stunning discovery—and what’s in jeopardy is not our minds but the very fabric of time itself.

In New York City, Detective Barry Sutton is closing in on the truth—and in a remote laboratory, neuroscientist Helena Smith is unaware that she alone holds the key to this mystery . . . and the tools for fighting back.

Together, Barry and Helena will have to confront their enemy—before they, and the world, are trapped in a loop of ever-growing chaos.

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You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire 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:

It’s five years after the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and drove the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords, Grand Admiral Thrawn, has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build.

Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 20th)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing maintains its position at number 1.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download T. Kingfisher's What Moves the Dead 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:

A gripping and atmospheric reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” from Hugo, Locus, and Nebula award-winning author T. Kingfisher

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 13th)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing maintains its position at number 1.

Pierce Brown's Light Bringer debuts at number 2.

In paperback:

Stephen King's Fairy Tale is down one spot, finishing the week at number 14.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Suyi Davies Okungbowa's Son of the Storm 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:

From city streets where secrets are bartered for gold to forests teeming with fabled beasts, a sweeping epic of forgotten magic and violent conquests unfolds in this richly drawn fantasy inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa.


In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—except he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.

But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.

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You can now get your hands on R. A. Salvatore's The Crimson Shadow omnibus 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:

This “worthy, entertaining addition to fantasy literature” tells the epic saga of a righteous warrior/avenger who battles an evil wizard, dragons, and cyclopean armies to liberate an imperiled kingdom (Starlog).

The Sword of Bedwyr: Luthien Bedwyr vows to rescue the beleaguered land of Eriador from the evil reign of Wizard-King Greensparrow. But first Luthien must secure two weapons from a dragon’s lair: a legendary sword and a blood-red cape that renders its wearer invisible. Aided by a halfling thief, an ancient mage, and a beautiful elf slave, Luthien prepares for insurgence as the Crimson Shadow.

Luthien’s Gamble: With the rallying support of enslaved humans, defiant peasants, and Fairborn elves, Luthien has forged a path for the freedom of his kingdom as the avenging Crimson Shadow. But when his tyrannical adversary makes a bid for peace by calling back his army of cyclops, Luthien suspects the evil wizard is setting a trap.

The Dragon King: Luthien Bedwyr’s alter ego wields a magical sword and wears a scarlet cape that renders him invisible. But his greatest enemy, the evil Wizard-King, has a counterpart of his own: an unstoppable, bloodthirsty colossus of a dragon. Now the ultimate battle for a kingdom will reach its spellbinding endgame in the rousing finale to a trilogy “filled with memorable characters and compelling action” (Terry Brooks).

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You can now get your hands on the digital edition of TJ Klune's The House in the Cerulean Sea 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:

Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He's tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.

Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Robert R. McCammon's They Thirst 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:

A vampire turns Los Angeles into a city of the dead in this novel by the New York Times–bestselling and Bram Stoker Award–winning author of Swan Song.

The Kronsteen castle, a gothic monstrosity, looms over Los Angeles. Built during Hollywood’s golden age for a long-dead screen idol with a taste for the macabre, it stands as a decaying reminder of the past. Since the owner’s murder, no living thing has ever again taken up residence. But it isn’t abandoned. Prince Conrad Vulkan, Hungarian master of the vampires, as old as the centuries, calls it home. His plan is to replace all humankind with his kind. And he’s starting with the psychotic dregs of society in the City of Angels.

The number of victims is growing night after night, and so is Vulkan’s legion of the dead. As a glittering city bleeds into a necropolis, a band of vampire hunters takes action: an avenging young boy who saw his parents devoured; a television star whose lover has an affinity for the supernatural; a dying priest chosen by God to defend the world; a female reporter investigating a rash of cemetery desecrations; and LAPD homicide detective Andy Palatazin, an immigrant who survived a vampire attack in his native Hungary when he was child and has been hunting evil across the globe for decades.

Palatazin knows that to stop the Prince of Darkness, one must invade his nest. He knows it’s also a suicide mission. But it’s the only way to save the city—and the world—from vampire domination.

You can also download Robert R. McCammon's Baal for only 3.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A woman gives birth to a child whose evilness threatens all mankind.

Mary Kate is an ordinary woman: a waitress in a diner, stuck in a loveless marriage to an English-major-turned-cabbie. But whoever assaults her in a New York City alley is far from ordinary. As the man’s icy grip burns her skin, she couldn’t grasp the dark fate that awaits her. The rape leaves her carrying a child, who she and her husband name Jeffrey. As they try to live as a family, a mysterious force poisons them against each other. Finally overcome with hate for her husband, Mary Kate kills him, sending herself to jail and the child to an orphanage. There the boy takes a new name, Baal, and develops sinister powers that flourish as he approaches adulthood. When Baal becomes a man, the whole world will tremble before him.

Finally, you can also download Robert R. McCammon's Mister Slaughter for only 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

In 1702, Matthew Corbett is an apprentice problem solver for the Herrald Agency, currently tasked with accompanying serial killer Tyranthus Slaughter on a journey from a Philadelphia asylum to the New York City waterfront. But during the trip, Mr. Slaughter tempts Matthew and his colleague Hudson Greathouse with an unexpected offer—leading to catastrophic outcomes. This darkly compelling novel delves into both the mind of a murderer and the process of a city and a nation moving into the future.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (August 6th)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing maintains its position at number 1.

Chloe Gong's Immortal Longings debuts at number 14.

In paperback:

Stephen King's Fairy Tale returns at number 13.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Mervyn Peake's The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy 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:

A young heir matures within a bleak, sprawling castle filled with intrigue in this epic gothic trilogy, featuring over 100 illustrations by the author.

Titus is expected to rule this extraordinary kingdom and his eccentric and wayward subjects. But with the arrival of an ambitious kitchen boy, Steerpike, the established order is thrown into disarray. Over the course of these three novels—Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone—Titus must contend with a kingdom about to implode beneath the weight of centuries of intrigue, treachery, manipulation, and murder.

Intoxicating, rich, and unique, The Gormenghast Trilogy is a tour de force that ranks as one of the twentieth century's most remarkable feats of imaginative writing. This special edition, published for the centenary of Mervyn Peake’s birth, is accompanied by over one hundred of Peake's dazzling drawings.


I've been meaning to read Jacqueline Carey's The Sundering for years, yet I never got my hands on the novels. Running out of reading material during my latest hiking trip, I found both volumes at a used bookstore in Golden, British Columbia. Feeling that the universe was probably telling me something, I bought them and began reading Banewreaker immediately.

As you know, I'm a huge Kushiel fan. I know it's extremely unfair, but I will always judge anything written by Carey against that benchmark. Which is why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. Although it's a totally different beast, it just can't compare with the Kushiel novels and I couldn't get over that fact. For that reason, your mileage may vary.

Here's the blurb:

Following the triumphant success of her Kushiel series (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar), Jacqueline Carey now turns her hand to another startling fable, an epic tale of gods waging war in their bid to control an entire universe and the mortals they use as chess pieces in a most deadly game.

Once, the Seven Shapers dwelled in accord. First-born among them was Haomane, Lord-of-Thought and with his brother and sister gods, the Seven drew upon of the power of the Souma, claimed a race of beings for their own and began Shaping the world to their will.

But Haomane saw the ways of this new world and was displeased. For in his younger brother Satoris, once called the Sower, Haomane thought too prideful and in his gift, the quickening of the flesh too freely to the races...and to that of Man in particular. Haomane asked Satoris to withdraw his Gift from Men but he refused. And so began the Shapers' War.

Eons have passed. The war that ensued Sundered the very world. Haomane and his siblings lay to one end of a vast ocean unable to touch their creations, Satoris and the races of the world on the other. Satoris has been broken and left adrift among the peoples of the world and is reviled, with most of the races believing that it was he alone who caused the rift and depriving them of the balm of the Seven. He sits in Darkhaven, controlling his own dominion--seeking not victory but neither vengeance.

But still Haomane is not content. Through Haomane's whispers in the minds and hearts of the races of the world come a prophecy that if Satoris were defeated, the world could be made whole and all would bask in the light of the Souma again. And the few who stay by Satoris are viewed as the ultimate evil. And so the races come together to defeat Satoris, a being who helped engender them all but who is caught in his elder brother's warp.

Strong storytelling with evocative, compelling, and unforgettable characters, Banewreaker ultimately asks the question:

If all that is considered good considers you evil, are you?

The Sundering duology was meant to be some sort of deconstruction of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Hard to say how well the author managed to do that until I've read the second installment, Godslayer. But it's interesting to explore Carey's take on the Good vs Evil trope. It's rather rare that we get the bad guys' perspective. In a nutshell, Banewreaker is about what if Sauron wasn't as bad as everyone claimed he was?

What ultimately prevents this novel from gaining traction is the characterization. The Kushiel novels are told from a first-person narrative and everything unfolds through the eyes of a single protagonist. The problem with Banewreaker is that there are too many POVs. I understand that several perspectives from both sides are necessary to form a somewhat cohesive whole, yet the size of the book makes it impossible to make all of them three-dimensional characters and that hurts the tale in a myriad ways. A few, such as Tanaros Blacksword and Cerelinde, are well-drawn and to a certain extent take center stage. And yet, the bulk of the story is made up of the supporting cast's POVs and most of those show little depth. This lack makes it hard to root for them and I found myself skimming certain sequences the more I read. Many protagonists, chief among them Ushahin Dreamspinner, would have benefited from more exposition, but that would have hindered the momentum of the tale. Still, all the ingredients were there for a memorable cast. It's just that not enough "air time" was given to each of them.

As always, Jacqueline Carey's excellent prose makes for a nice reading experience. Having said that, it's not quite enough to make Banewreaker a completely satisfying read. The author's revisionist take on Tolkien's mythology and characters is interesting, but the execution is a little subpar and it makes it hard to maintain interest in all the storylines.

A part of me wants to know how it's going to end, but I'm not sure I can find it in me to go through another novel in which I don't really care what happens to about half of the protagonists. Time will tell if I'll one day give it a shot. . .

The final verdict: 7/10

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Quote of the Day

Choices made people; grim choices made grim people.


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You can now download Brandon Sanderson's The Lost Metal 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:

Return to #1 New York Times bestseller Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn world of Scadrial as its second era, which began with The Alloy of Law, comes to its earth-shattering conclusion in The Lost Metal.

For years, frontier lawman turned big-city senator Waxillium Ladrian has hunted the shadowy organization the Set—with his late uncle and his sister among their leaders—since they started kidnapping people with the power of Allomancy in their bloodlines. When Detective Marasi Colms and her partner Wayne find stockpiled weapons bound for the Outer City of Bilming, this opens a new lead. Conflict between Elendel and the Outer Cities only favors the Set, and their tendrils now reach to the Elendel Senate—whose corruption Wax and Steris have sought to expose—and Bilming is even more entangled.

After Wax discovers a new type of explosive that can unleash unprecedented destruction and realizes that the Set must already have it, an immortal kandra serving Scadrial’s god, Harmony, reveals that Bilming has fallen under the influence of another god: Trell, worshipped by the Set. And Trell isn’t the only factor at play from the larger Cosmere—Marasi is recruited by offworlders with strange abilities who claim their goal is to protect any cost.

Wax must choose whether to set aside his rocky relationship with God and once again become the Sword that Harmony has groomed him to be. If no one steps forward to be the hero Scadrial needs, the planet and its millions of people will come to a sudden and calamitous ruin.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Blake Crouch's Upgrade 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:

The mind-blowing new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter and Recursion—currently in development as a motion picture at Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners

“You are the next step in human evolution.”

At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different. He just feels a little . . . sharper. Better able to concentrate. Better at multitasking. Reading a bit faster, memorizing better, needing less sleep.

But before long, he can’t deny it: Something’s happening to his brain. To his body. He’s starting to see the world, and those around him—even those he loves most—in whole new ways.

The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy.

Worse still, what’s happening to him is just the first step in a much larger plan, one that will inflict the same changes on humanity at large—at a terrifying cost.

Because of his new abilities, Logan’s the one person in the world capable of stopping what’s been set in motion. But to have a chance at winning this war, he’ll have to become something other than himself. Maybe even something other than human.

And even as he’s fighting, he can’t help wondering: what if humanity’s only hope for a future really does lie in engineering our own evolution?

Intimate in scale yet epic in scope, Upgrade is an intricately plotted, lightning-fast tale that charts one man’s thrilling transformation, even as it asks us to ponder the limits of our humanity—and our boundless potential.

Quote of the Day

Only the dead are predictable--and even then, they are oft misunderstood.


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

After a short break, let's see if West can finally recapture the magic of the Sun Sword with this 6th installment in the House War series.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 30th)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing remains at number 1.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path 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:

Marcus' hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody's death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps.

Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation's wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords.

Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become.

Falling pebbles can start a landslide. A spat between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne is spiraling out of control. A new player rises from the depths of history, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon's Path -- the path to war.

Pet Sematary

As you know, for some time now I've been revisiting many of King's early works to see how well they've aged over the years. And I've been surprised by how "timeless" some of them turned out to be. I've waited this long to read Pet Sematary because it was my favorite King title way back when. It's definitely one of the books that stayed with me the longest afterward. But I'm no longer that young teenager and I was curious to see what I'd think about it now.

Brought it with me on my latest hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies and went through it in just a few sittings. Yes, even decades after its original release, Pet Sematary remains a veritable page-turner. Moreover, as an adult who has experienced grief in a myriad ways, I believe that I could feel for Louis in a more profound fashion and understand his plight in a way that the adolescent I used to be never could. After all, grief and loss are at the heart of this tale.

In the introduction, King recounts how this one was never supposed to be published. Upon completing Pet Sematary, he found the result so startling and so gruesome that he put the book in a drawer and thought that it would be the end of it. He was horrified by what he had written and believed that he had gone too far. And though King has never been sorry that he did write the book and ultimately got it published, he still finds it distressing and problematic. With that in mind, I sat down to give this one another shot and I wasn't disppointed!

Here's the blurb:

Now a major motion picture! Stephen King’s #1 New York Times bestseller is a “wild, powerful, disturbing” (The Washington Post Book World) classic about evil that exists far beyond the grave—among King’s most iconic and frightening novels.

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing…as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. Then there are the warnings to Louis both real and from the depths of his nightmares that he should not venture beyond the borders of this little graveyard where another burial ground lures with seductive promises and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. As Louis is about to discover for himself sometimes, dead is better…

Whether you've read the novel or seen the movie, the ancient Indian burial ground behind that old house in a small town of New England has become part of American pop culture. What actually blew my mind was the fact that such a pet cemetery does exist, or at least used to. In the introduction, Stephen King explains that there was one behind the house his family rented in rural Maine when he was invited to spend a year at his alma mater, the University of Maine, where he would be the writer in residence and would also teach a class in the literature of the fantastic. His daughter's cat was killed by a speeding heavy tanker truck from the chemical plant down the road and was buried in that pet cemetery. Children who had buried beloved pets there made a sign on the tree just outside this small makeshift graveyard that read PET SEMATARY. Not long after, King's youngest son, barely two years of age at the time, ran toward the road as one of those same trucks was coming, heedless of the danger. King managed to get to him before anything happened, but that terrible "what if" feeling wouldn't go away. The story that is Pet Sematary was born from those incidents. What would you do if you could bring a loved one back to life? That's the novel in a nutshell.

The characterization is particularly well-done. I loved how you really get to know the Creed family. Their interactions with the Crandalls across the road encompassed that small-town feel associated with many such places across New England and the rest of the USA. Jud, especially, is the kind of neighbor you wish you could have anywhere. Rachel's storyline, with the death of her sister and how it affected her and the rest of her family, added yet more layers to her relationship with Louis. Few authors can write children as well as King, and in typical King fashion he got Eileen and Gage just right. The supporting cast, especially Louis' colleagues at the clinic, were a nice addition to an already impressive cast of characters.

The better part of Pet Sematary is a slow burn. There is a somewhat long set-up stage during which King lays the groundwork for what is to come. Personally, I had no problem with any of it because it sets the mood for the emotional impact of what is about to take place. Hence, the heartbreaking loss of a child hits you like a punch in the gut and you can't help but feel for the Creed family and what they're going through. That scene of Louis running, hearing the truck barreling down the road, and then seeing Gage's shoe and cap full of blood. I've still got those images imprinted in my brain. From that point on, as grief sends Louis on a downward spiral of despair, the pace picks up and the novel makes for compulsive reading.

It's no secret that Stephen King has a problem with the ending of his books, but he totally sticks the landing in this one. If anything, the ending of Pet Sematary could well be his best one to date. Sure, some might opine that it lacks resolution. Still, for my money, it was the perfect way to bring this tale to a close.

Pet Sematary is definitely one of King's signature works! Read it for the first time, or reread it yet again. Either way you'll love it!

The final verdict: 8.5/10

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

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Michelle West's The Broken Crown 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. And this time, the novel is also on sale in Canada! So if my reviews have piqued your curiosity, this is the perfect time to give this superior series a shot! =)

Here's the blurb:

The first novel of the acclaimed Sun Sword series introduces readers to a war-torn world of noble houses divided and demon lords unleashed...

Tor Leonne—the heart of the Dominion of Annagar, where the games of state are about to become a matter of life and death—and where those who seek to seize the crown will be forced to league with a treacherously cunning ally....

Tor Leonne, ancestral seat of power, where Serra Diora Maria di’Marano—the most sought-after beauty in the land, a woman betrayed by all she holds dear—may strike the first blow to change the future of the Dominion and Empire alike....

Averalaan Aramarelas—that most ancient of civilized cities, the home of the Essalieyan Imperial court, has long been a center of magics both dark and bright. And though the Empire won its last war with the Dominion, and survived a devastating, magic-fueled battle with a far deadlier foe, both those victories were not without their cost....

But now the realm is on the brink of a far greater confrontation, faced with an unholy alliance that could spell the end of freedom for all mortalkind.

The second volume, The Uncrowned King, is still on sale at 5.99$ here. The Shining Court, the best of the first three installments, is 8.99$ here. So if you have a few dollars to invest in new books, this is definitely the trio to go for!

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Dan Simmons' The Hollow Man 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.

Here's the blurb:

Jeremy Bremen has a secret. All his life he's been cursed with the ability to read minds. He knows the secret thoughts, fears, and desires of others as if they were his own. For years, his wife, Gail, has served as a shield between Jeremy and the burden of this terrible knowledge.

But Gail is dying, her mind ebbing slowly away, leaving him vulnerable to the chaotic flood of thought that threatens to sweep away his sanity. Now Jeremy is on the run--from his mind, from his past, from himself--hoping to find peace in isolation.

Instead he witnesses an act of brutality that propels him on a treacherous trek across a dark and dangerous America. From a fantasy theme park to the lair of a killer to a sterile hospital room in St. Louis, he follows a voice that is calling him to witness the stunning mystery at the heart of mortality.

You can also download Dan Simmons' Drood 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:

On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens -- at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world -- hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.

Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?

Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, Drood is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Richard Swan's The Justice of Kings 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.

Here's the blurb:

Action, intrigue, and magic collide in this epic fantasy following Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor's Justice, who is a detective, judge, and executioner all in one—but with rebellion and unrest building, these are dangerous times to be a Justice . . .

The Empire of the Wolf simmers with unrest. Rebels, heretics, and powerful patricians all challenge the power of the Imperial throne.

Only the Order of Justices stands in the way of chaos. Sir Konrad Vonvalt is the most feared Justice of all, upholding the law by way of his sharp mind, arcane powers, and skill as a swordsman. At his side stands Helena Sedanka, his talented protégé, orphaned by the wars that forged the Empire.

When the pair investigates the murder of a provincial aristocrat, they unearth a conspiracy that stretches to the very top of Imperial society. As the stakes rise and become ever more personal, Vonvalt and Helena must make a choice: Will they abandon the laws they’ve sworn to uphold, in order to protect the Empire?

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 23rd)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing is up two positions, ending the week at number 1.

In paperback:

Stephen King's Fairie Tale is up two spots, finishing the week at number 10.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now get your hands on the digital edition of Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes 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:

An epic battle that will decide the fate of the North unfolds in this novel set in the world of the First Law from NYT bestselling author Joe Abercrombie.

Three men. One Battle. No Heroes.

They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud.

Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honor on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he's far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it's his own.

Prince Calder isn't interested in honor, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he'll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn't have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail.

For glory, for victory, for staying alive.

Quote of the Day

Being incompetent was surprisingly draining upon one's confidence. And annoying.

- JIM BUTCHER, The Aeronaut's Windlass

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 Neal Stephenson's excellent Quicksilver 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:

Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe -- London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds -- risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.

And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance.

A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life, Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time.

And it's just the beginning ...

Sword Catcher

DNF at 167 pages.

Advertised as Cassandra Clare's first "adult" fantasy series, this is anything but.

YA through and through. Clichéd characters with little substance, juvenile humor and dialogue, a rather bland fantasy universe that we've seen a thousand times before.

I have no doubt that this novel will be immensely popular and it will likely appeal to Clare's legions of fans. But for more discerning and demanding readers, this is no adult fantasy series by any stretch of the imagination.

Gave this one an honest shot, curious to see what such a bestselling YA author would come up with for her first supposedly adult epic fantasy series. Sadly, it's just not for me. . .

Here's the blurb:

Two outcasts find themselves at the center of world-altering change in the start of a riveting epic fantasy series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Shadowhunter Chronicles.

In the vibrant city-state of Castellane, the richest of nobles and the most debauched of criminals have one thing in common: the constant search for wealth, power, and the next hedonistic thrill.

Kel is an orphan, stolen from the life he knew to become the Sword-Catcher—the body-double of a royal heir, Prince Conor Aurelian. He has been raised alongside the prince, trained in every aspect of combat and statecraft. He and Conor are close as brothers, but Kel knows he has one destiny: to die for Conor. No other future is possible.

Lin Caster is one of the Ashkar, a small community who still possess magical abilities. By law, they must live behind walls in the city, but Lin, a physician, ventures out to tend to the sick and dying of Castellane. Despite her skills, she cannot heal her best friend Mariam without access to forbidden knowledge.

After a failed assassination attempt brings Lin and Kel together, they are drawn into the web of the mysterious Ragpicker King, the criminal ruler of Castellane’s underworld. He offers them each what they want most; but as they descend into his world of intrigue and shadow, they discover a conspiracy of corruption that reaches from the darkest gutters of Castellane to the highest tower of its palaces. As long-kept secrets begin to unravel, they must ask themselves: Is knowledge worth the price of betrayal? Can forbidden love bring down a kingdom? And will Lin and Kel’s discoveries plunge their nation into war—and the world into chaos?

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

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon

This novel wasn't even on my radar until I saw a Facebook post about it. I wasn't even aware that Wole Talabi had written a book. But since his short story "A Dream of Electric Mothers" turned out to be one of my favorite pieces from the Africa Risen anthology, I requested a review copy so I could read and review his debut.

The tale that is Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon began as a novelette published in 2016. The novel-length project clocks in at 315 pages and that's with all the back stories of everyone involved attached to it. And though the sum of all these parts work rather well, all things considered, like most short fiction writers it appears that Talabi might be better suited to writing short stories than longer works. Time will tell if that's the case. Yet as entertaining as this debut was, the story of the heist was a little thin. Be that as it may, I enjoyed the book and went through it in just a few sittings.

Here's the blurb:

The debut fantasy novel from an award-winning Nigerian author presents a mythic tale of disgruntled gods, revenge, and a heist across two worlds.

Shigidi is a disgruntled and demotivated nightmare god in the Orisha spirit company, reluctantly answering prayers of his few remaining believers to maintain his existence long enough to find his next drink. When he meets Nneoma, a sort-of succubus with a long and secretive past, everything changes for him.

Together, they attempt to break free of his obligations and the restrictions that have bound him to his godhood and navigate the parameters of their new relationship in the shadow of her past. But the elder gods that run the Orisha spirit company have other plans for Shigidi, and they are not all aligned--or good.

From the boisterous streets of Lagos to the swanky rooftop bars of Singapore and the secret spaces of London, Shigidi and Nneoma will encounter old acquaintances, rival gods, strange creatures, and manipulative magicians as they are drawn into a web of revenge, spirit business, and a spectacular heist across two worlds that will change Shigidi's understanding of himself forever and determine the fate of the Orisha spirit company.

Faith and religion as a corporate system, with its own treatises and codified rules and regulations having force of law between various spirit companies, was a most fascinating concept. It truly gives Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon its unique flavor. This was a very original twist, one that fully intrigued me and kept me interested throughout the novel. The panoply of disparate locales featured in this one--Nigeria, Malaysia, England, Algeria, Ethiopia, and more--also kept things refreshing. The occasional use of Nigerian slang gave this work an authentic feel, although I must admit that I had to look up a number of words, especially regarding clothes, to understand how people were dressed.

There are many flashback sequences meant to flesh out events and protagonists, most of them right before or after the scenes that made them necessary to make sense of what was taking place in the present. I know some readers have issues with flashbacks, but I feel that Talabi placed them at exactly the right time. As such, in my opinion they enhance the reading experience instead of getting in the way of the storytelling.

The title implies that Shigidi takes center stage, yet it's not the case. He is one of the main protagonists, true, but he shares the spotlight with a number of other characters. Given his past incarnation, one might be inclined to excuse his whiny and needy demeanor. Still, I found him a bit of a chore to put up with at times. Nneoma has way more layers and was a more fascinating character to discover. I won't spoil anything, but it was enthralling to consider the fact that she and her sister are figures from ancient religious mysticism. Perusing online reviews, it seems that some readers were put off by certain sex scenes. Personally, I didn't see any problems with those scenes. Nneoma is a succubus, so seducing and taking control of people through sex and desire are part of her nature. Hence, unless you are a veritable prude, there is nothing in this novel that should shock you. Aleister, a magician owing a debt to the succubus, is another POV character who has a role to play, both in the past and the present. The rest of the supporting cast is mostly made up of gods and goddesses from the Orisha spirit company. And I dare you to find a more disparate bunch of mortals and immortals!

The size of this book precludes any pacing issues and the whole thing moves at a good clip from start to finish. I was afraid that the flashbacks would slow the rhythm of the story, yet they are often more engaging than the heist itself. Indeed, these scenes are the glue that hold the plot together and the revelations they contain are what makes Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon such a compelling read. And though it's described as an adventure fantasy, or a heist, this novel is more about a star-crossed love story between a most unlikely duo. I would definitely read another work featuring this odd couple. The ending leaves the door open for future adventures/misadventures, so there is hope that we haven't seen the last of them. However, one has to wonder if we'll see them in another novel-length project. Given that this one barely a short novel, even with all the flasback sequences, it remains to be seen whether or not whatever comes next will be in novella or novelette form.

Godpunk isn't always accessible for Western genre readers. But Wole Talabi came up with a supernatural thriller that incorporates a tragic love story and various mythos, all of which culminating into an imaginative and entertaining fantasy debut that should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good story.

The final verdict: 7.75/10

For more info about this title, check out this Amazon Associate link.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

You can now download Mark Lawrence's New World, a novella featuring Jalan and Snorri following the events of The Red Queen's War trilogy, 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.

Here's the blurb:

This is the novella that appeared in omnibus for Jalan and Snorri's trilogy.

It's a 25,000 word story that takes place after that trilogy and was the start of a sequel I was writing but put aside in favour of other projects.

It covers a sea voyage to the New World and is a pretty self-contained tale, re-introducing us to the delights of Jalan's cowardly womanising and Snorri's good hearted Viking vibe. If you recall how much Jalan hates boats ... you'll get a sense of what's to come.

I had great fun writing this one - I hope you'll enjoy the read.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (July 16th)

In hardcover:

Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing is up five positions, ending the week at number 3.

In paperback:

Stephen King's Fairie Tale is down two spots, finishing the week at number 12.