Gun-slinging mathematicians in an alternate history Wild West shouldn’t work, right? Right? Well, I am here to tell you that it, in fact, does because that’s exactly what we have in Stark Holborn’s two Triggernometry novellas and somehow she manages to make math look cool.
Review: Stones of Light (Threadlight #2) by Zack Argyle
Stones of Light is the sequel to 2020’s Voice of War and the second book in Zack Argyle’s Threadlight trilogy. Although I had a few issues with the first book (you can read my spoiler free review here), I am happy to say that its sequel improved on every bit that made the first book great AND resolved my very minor gripes. I am so happy to have gotten the opportunity to read this book early but, like, is book three almost done because I have QUESTIONS? Seriously, I had just recovered from the whiplash of the ending of book one and Argyle does this?
Review: Voice of War (Threadlight #1) by Zack Argyle
Voice of War is the self-published, debut fantasy novel from Zack Argyle. I was initially turned on to it a while ago when its cover art was updated to the current masterpiece that you see above. When an opportunity to review its forthcoming sequel, Stones of Light, presented itself then I knew that it was time to jump into this series headlong. And, boy am I glad that I did. With a new cover and a comfortable standing in second place (so far) in this years SPFBO contest, I am hoping that this book and its sequel will finally get the recognition that they deserve.
Review: In the Orbit of Sirens (The Song of Kamaria #1) by T.A. Bruno
I first learned about In the Orbit of Sirens when I saw the cover floating around on social media several months ago, and what a cover it is! Something needs to be said for not only the cover, but the artwork that appears before each section of the book. The handful of black and white drawings fully realize the beautiful, yet utterly alien environment of Kamaria. They also hearken back to the early days of the book, where Bruno first developed the idea for the story as a comic book.
Review: Vultures (Shadow Twins #1) by Luke Tarzian
I’ll admit that I am a little unsure how to approach this review. Vultures was one of the most unique approaches to storytelling that I have ever experienced. It was complex, dark, emotional, and raw. The characters are all nuanced and they practically bleed pathos. In many ways this was not an easy read. I was challenged as a reader in ways I haven’t been since Erickson’s Gardens of the Moon. In no way do I want to discourage you, dear reader, from picking up Vultures for yourself; I loved the story I found within, but I was forced to work for it.
Review: Legacy of the Brightwash (Tainted Dominion #1) by Krystle Matar
It has taken me a while to compose myself long enough to sit down and write this review. There is so much that I could say about Legacy of the Brightwash, so many things that I absolutely adored, and it’s not often that I am moved to silence by something. Krystle Matar has written something truly magical, a tour de force of character building which makes me yearn to be in her world, if only to meet Tashué and crew personally.
Review: Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne
I’ll admit that urban fantasy is one of the genres of speculative fiction that I am the least familiar with. For the longest time, I would see the covers in bookstores and just assume that they were like the fantasy romance novels that I grew up watching my grandmother tear through, one after another. I have since learned that this is not (always) the case. While undoubtedly Hearne’s most popular series, I initially found him through The Tales of Pell, a trilogy that he co-authored with Delilah Dawson, and then his epic fantasy series The Seven Kennings (both of which I actually liked more than Hounded).
Review: Oh, That Shotgun Sky (The Songs of Sefate #2) by Sarah Chorn
Oh, That Shotgun Sky picks up directly following the events in Of Honey and Wildfires (you can read my review of that here.) We follow a new cast of characters as they try to come to terms with the destruction of the Boundary and their newfound freedom from Shine Company. Like before, Sarah has managed to sift through the weeds of my soul, take hold of my feelings, and completely rip them from my chest. To be fair to the author, I had an idea of what to expect coming in to this fresh out of her previous novel.
Review: Of Honey and Wildfires (The Songs of Sefate #1) by Sarah Chorn
Of Honey and Wildfires is a rather short book, by fantasy standards anyway, weighing in at just over 300 pages. That’s not to say that this is a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in fact, because I don’t think I could have withstood reading much more than that. Let me explain. Generally speaking, I am a bit of a bleeding heart. I will be the first to admit that I cry in almost every movie, books often leave me sobbing, stirring music will move me to tears, and so on. However, this is a book that has moved me beyond my normal emotional response and left me empty; it has scooped out my soul, laid it bare, and revealed all of my insecurities. In other words, I loved it.
Review: The Warded Man (Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett
The Warded Man, published as The Painted Man in the UK, is one of the best epic fantasy books that I have read in a long time. Like most of the things I read, for one reason or another I put off reading this one entirely too long. Because of my manic compulsion to buy everything I see that even remotely piques my interest, I bought this book several years ago and it has languished in my TBR ever since. What renewed my interest in the series was, believe it or not, my manic compulsion to… you get the idea. Grim Oak Press, a small, independent publisher specializing in high quality, collectible editions of books, announced their intentions to produce a limited edition of The Warded Man and the only way I could justify spending that much money on a single book was if I really liked it. So, with the only option being to read it, I eagerly set myself to my task. Boy, was I not disappointed.
Review: Never Die (The Mortal Techniques #1) by Rob J. Hayes
Never Die combines the best parts of Wuxia cinema and Shōnen anime with the golden era of role-playing games and a splash of Dungeons & Dragons. The plot revolves around a young boy and the heroes of legend that are bound to serve him. Ein is a strange boy and the mystery surrounding him and how he came to get his power is fun and will keep you guessing and, likely, shivering, as there are several scenes in which he acts in very unsettling ways.
Review: The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier
Oh man, was this a breath of fresh air! The Phlebotomist started out as what I felt was a well-written but largely generic dystopian corporate thriller. However, at around ten chapters/80 pages in, there was a twist so well executed and unexpected that it changed the course of the entire book. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will be as vague as possible with my review.