Reading books. Reviewing books. A Fantasy Blog.



*BOOK REVIEW* Aftermath by Joe Reyes

*BOOK REVIEW* Aftermath by Joe Reyes

Book blurb;

 What was once the United States has become a savage post-apocalyptic environment where the worst of the worst prosper and the remaining good hide. The series features a brutal setting, where seven characters in different parts of the United States must adapt to this new environment. The “fight or flight” mentality plays into the story, as the nation is divided into factions fighting for control of the country. The government is outnumbered, outgunned, and forced into hiding as well to recoup their forces. The novel follows a fast paced momentum from the first page to the last word. The plot pits these characters against the elements and each other, with plot-lines intertwining on opposite sides of the war effort. And one character’s quest for revenge can jeopardize not only the war outcome, but the reshaping of the entire nation. With an ever-changing storyline and evolving characters, the Aftermath series gets more intense with every chapter. But what these characters don’t realize, the terrifying evil making its way across the ocean

Aftermath  is a story told from the point of view of seven different characters; Ron, Sara, Eric, Carmen, Ian, Alice, and Justin. The story takes place about  5 years after the “bombs fell” and we are now seeing how each of the survivors is managing to get by on their wits, cunning, and often, luck.

The post-apocalyptic genre is not something that I’ve read too often and I was keen to pick up Reyes’ book because of the ‘darkness’ I thought would be hidden within, and I wasn’t wrong; it’s here in shed-loads, and the scary thing is, it’s all from the survivors, in Reyes’ new world we don’t need zombies to be scared shitless.

In Aftermath, there’s blood, there’s violence, and there’s a lot of fear for the characters. That’s one of the features I liked most about this story, you never quite know whose time is up, and once you’ve bought into the characters, you’re scared to find out! The threat from the surviving population feels so real that you end up assuming that every other person is a bad guy/girl because the world created by Reyes is generally so stark and devoid of humanity. It hit me like a freight train when I first thought if it; the population is fighting, clawing, to preserve the human race, whilst sacrificing their humanity to do so, damn!

There are a few bright spots however, the characters we follow through the story each have their own situations and you get to see what happens to those who have something to cling to. There are those attempting to settle and create a new life with others, and there are those willing to kill to ensure they aren’t snuffed out.

The only difficulty I had with Aftermath was the sheer amount of characters. Having that many is a difficult thing to attempt, especially when trying to make each of them unique and relevant. Reyes does a fairly good job of this, however, I do feel that at certain points in the story, a character will be brought in but with very little to say and it feels a little forced. I think a lesser amount of characters would have negated this and allowed the author to develop the others a little more.

Overall I really enjoyed Aftermath; as a lover of the grimdark genre, this post-apocalyptic story had grit and darkness in abundance and it was used well. Reyes has created a truly bleak world, but there is hope, even if it is over a mountain of dead bodies.

Where to find Aftermath;


Where to find Joe Reyes;






As ever, thank you for reading my latest review. Feel free to like, share, and comment 🙂




*Book Review, Guest Post, and GIVEAWAY* Ashael Rising by Shona Kinsella

*Book Review and Guest Post* Ashael Rising by Shona Kinsella


Book synopsis for Ashael Rising;

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.


Ashael Rising Cover (1)

Ashael Rising is a fantasy novel with a real spirituality at its core, you get the feeling that the main players in the story are at one with the world built by Kinsella, they actually belong there. This was the true triumph for me, and some thing that I haven’t found in many fantasy novels.

I am a sucker for the protagonist eventually realising their abilities and developing as the story goes on. Ashael was exactly what I wanted from Kinsella, a ‘chosen’ one who is yet to realise her full potential, it got me!

My favourite thing about Ashael Rising is the world created by the author, a true natural society that is at threat from an ancient yet advanced evil race. What Kinsella does best is make you, the reader, go all in on on the underdog, you actually care who wins and who loses, just what I needed. This is high fantasy meets sci-fi in a fusion that won’t leave you disappointed, a definite recommended read. It’s safe to say that I really enjoyed Ashael Rising and I will be looking out for the rest of the series.

Now on to the brilliant guest post provided by Shona, a closer look at ‘world building’!.

Where to find Ashael Rising;


*Guest Post* Approaching World-Building by Shona Kinsella

One of the most enjoyable and most challenging parts of writing fantasy is the world-building. There are fantasy writers who spend years creating a world before they feel ready to write a story set there. They have maps, detailed histories, notes of the flora and fauna and knowledge of political factions in every country – but they don’t have a book.

I’m very different from this. I’m what is sometimes known as a pantser (as in flying by the seat of the pants) although the term I prefer is discovery writer. What this means is that I discover the story, and the world, as I write.

When I sat down to write Ashael Rising, I knew very little about KalaDene. In fact, it didn’t even have a name until the third draft or so. My world-building was all done as I went along. I once heard an excellent description of the process; it explains just what it feels like to me so I’m going to share it here. World-building for me is like walking through a tunnel (the world) with a torch (the story) so I can see as much of the world as the story shines a light on and a little bit around the edges but everything else is just fuzzy shapes in the darkness, with maybe a puff of cool air indicating that there might be a door to somewhere else off to the left.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. For example, sometimes I could spend most of my writing time for the day trying to figure out how the limits to the magic system worked or whether the climate I’ve described would support the plants that I have my characters eating. That’s not a particularly efficient use of my time and would not have come up had I built my world in advance. On the other hand, people who have created an entire world before writing a book will often find that they have wasted time in building details that they do not need for the book – time that could have been spent writing.

The only major drawback that I’ve experienced is that, since I make things up as I go along, I have no idea what will end up being important and I must try and keep the elements of an entire world straight in my head – something the planners don’t have to do. I have taken to keeping a world-building file open while I write, somewhere to make notes of characters that I’ve introduced, plants that I’ve made up along with their uses, distances between places and so on. The thing is, I’m pretty bad at actually updating the file. While I’m writing, I’m too involved in the story to keep stopping and starting and switching files. More than once I’ve found myself having to search back through the text to check how I spelled something a few chapters ago or whether or not I said a particular plant was poisonous or what someone’s name is. Again, not the most efficient use of my time. Still, efficient or not, it is the way that works for me and it’s the way I’ll continue to work for the time being.

I’ll leave you with some worldbuilding advice that has been invaluable to me:

1 – Use your worldbuilding details like seasoning; a dash here and a sprinkle there enriches your story but too much of anything is overwhelming.

2 – Your reader is looking through the character’s eyes. What’s important to the character? Those are the details they’ll notice. How the character reacts to the world tells us a lot about both.

3 – Worldbuilding should serve the story, always. No matter how cool something is, if it doesn’t serve the story, you don’t really have space for it.

About Shona Kinsella

Ashael Rising - Author Pic

Shona Kinsella is the author of Ashael Rising, (Unbound, 2017) the first in her series, The Vessel of KalaDene. She is also one of the editors of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, Horizons. When she is not writing or wrangling her three children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

Where to find Shona Kinsella


Click the link below  for your chance to win a signed paperback copy of Ashael Rising!


*BOOK REVIEW* Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

*BOOK REVIEW* Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Ready Player One book Blurb;

‘In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.’

I bought this book just a week ago, and it has been a crazy, non-stop ride since! I had seen the book a few times but had never really been eager to buy it, until I saw a write up on The Creative Issue.

I also borrowed the image cover from them so all credit is due there. I love the contrast of the book covers, and there are actually more than that. Anyway, back to the book and what I thought of it…

First of all, let me say that I’m not an 80’s kid – I was born at the very back end of the decade – but I do like a lot of 80’s movies, games, and music so I had a decent grounding when it came to the sheer number of 80’s pop culture references within the book.

The first 30 pages of Ready Player One were a little slow and I struggled to plough through those pages (they’re basically setting up the Hunt) but once I did; HOLY SHIT! This book reached into me, pushed every geek button in my body, gave me a wild ride, and spat me back out at the end.

The action throughout the book is just – and pardon the cliché – rip-roaring. It’s constant, it’s tense, and it leaves you blown away. Also, it has by far the coolest action scenes I’ve ever read. A slight spoiler (highlight for text), but ROBOT BATTLES IN SPACE!!!!! I mean, come on! Who isn’t up for that?!


The protagonist, Wade Watts, is an obsessed hermit with a burning goal to find the egg, his journey will take him through different planets, movies, oh, and romance (although not too much, thankfully). I love this character, he’s geeky, quirky, and the absolute underdog. I found myself rooting for him throughout the book and I never found myself at odds with anything he did, a rarity for me.

Cline’s writing style is one that complement the subject matter perfectly. He is clearly an 80’s geek and any author less skilled than this could have gotten totally caught up in the references and complexities, but not here; it’s smooth, it’s exciting, and it’s the best book I’ve read in years.

I would recommend this book for every single reader who craves action, suspense, a disestablishment complex, and some damn cool toys. An absolute must-read. I can (and should) say no more. Awesome.

Feel free to like, share, and comment if you’ve read Ready Player One. I’m dying to find out what people thought of it





*BOOK REVIEW* Blood and Tempest by Jon Skovron

Blood and Tempest (Empire of Storms 3) by Jon Skovron

Blood and Tempest is the third and final book in the Empire of Storms trilogy by Jon Skovron. If you’ve ever read this blog before, you’ll know that I am a HUGE fan of this guy. I have read and reviewed all three of the Empire of Storms books now, and they are relentlessly good. Click the links to see my previous review of Hope and Red, and Bane and Shadow.

The blurb for Blood and Tempest;

Still reeling from the events on Dawn’s Light, Hope struggles to understand what it means to be a warrior who has vowed to never again take up a sword. Her search for enlightenment gives her mastery of surprising new abilities, which leads her to uncover some disturbing clues about the true origin of the empire.

Red has excelled in his new role as an imperial spy. Now he’s been assigned to the one task he’s desired all along: recruiting Hope and Brigga Lin to help rid the empire of the council of biomancery once and for all.

But the council have set their own plans in motion. Their increasingly tenuous grip on the empire has left them desperate and willing to do anything to maintain their power . . .

eos map

Once I’d finished Blood and Tempest, I was a little unsure of how I felt about the final instalment in the trilogy. There is more weight on a final book in a trilogy, quadrilogy, or series. If the reader has bothered to buy it and read it then it’s fair to assume that they have fully bought into the characters, world, and the author. And this is true for me. I like the author’s style of writing, I think the world he has created is awesome, and I absolutely love the characters. However, it’s the journey in this final book that has me scratching my head and searching for my true feelings around it. Hopefully during this review, I can properly explore that and give a fair summary. So, down to it, what was GOOD about the book?

First of all, the writing. Skovron has a real knack for creating liquid prose, you know, the kind that has you turning pages at a frantic pace because the story is just so damn good. The story s all there but the writing, the vehicle, is as smooth as ever. The conversations between the characters hold real value and aren’t there simply just to fill the space between the action. The language used by Red and the other ‘Wags of the Circle’ is as crude and perfect as it is in the preceding books.

Now, the action. Throughout Blood and Tempest there is plenty of action, whether it be a slaughter by a highly skilled maniac, or an all-out assault by something much larger, it is here in droves. Skovron also has a way of dealing with the action that is clear, concise, and not too self-indulgent. However, it is bloody and it is frantic, and you now that someone will end up missing an appendage or losing their head, I love it!

Ah, the characters. What can I say? I could read about Red and Hope all day long, hell, I have! They are yin and yang. One is from the bottom, a street-smart quick witted, foul mouthed rogue. The other is highly trained picture of morality, but with a bloody past and a need for vengeance. Their journey through the trilogy is a winding one, with more than one bump along the way. Again, I love it! Skovron has a hold of these characters and he mills then for all they’re worth. Throughout Blood and Tempest, we also see the ending of arcs for the peripheral characters, some end, and some have new beginnings, but all are essential. I always think that peripheral characters are dangerous because they can become collateral for the writer, an easy way out if a death is needed, or an easy explanation if something doesn’t make sense. Not here. Skovron writes all of his characters in a way that makes you think “Shit, I’d love to read a book about this guy/girl”. They each add another dimension and actually bring something to the story. Again they’re essential.

Oh, and there may be another side to the biomancers, just sayin’.

Now, to the however part.

The biggest difficulty I had was with where I thought the book fit into the series. It felt to me as if it could have been a standalone novel. And not just that, some of the character arcs felt a little rushed, as if their ending was too soon and it left me thinking “Come on, they could have been so much more!”. That was my main issue with Blood and Tempest; it was just a little rushed.

Would I recommend this book? You’re damn straight I would, and I AM! It’s swashbuckling dark fantasy at its best. And, all-in-all a worthy ending to one of my favourite fantasy series EVER!

Where to find Blood and Tempest


Barnes & Noble


Where to find Jon Skovron




If you enjoyed the review please like and share. Also, let me know what you thought of the book, I’d love to chat about it and hear what you thought of it 🙂


My Approach to an Antagonist by Linda Ferreri

‘My Approach to an Antagonist’ by Linda Ferreri

As part of the Blog Tour for A Matter of the Crown by Linda Ferreri, and thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources I have been fortunate enough to be given a little insight into the creative mind of the woman behind the words…

My approach to an antagonist is slow, that is gradual. I think it is important to bring this person onto the scene, i.e. the reader, such that we are not certain about him or her. The uncertainty of the character adds to the tension. So I would say that the arrival of the antagonist on the scene is subtle in my writing, at first. My writing does not usually involve a “bad guy” who jumps right out at the start.


We have to get to know the antagonist, i.e. to learn about him or her and so why s/he does this or that. We have to wonder, and of course to worry. Is s/he bad or a problem? Is the deed a problem? What might s/he do next and how will the protagonist cope? For that to work, I have to come up on it slowly and offer the reader choices about who really is an antagonist and who is not.

Possibly all of this is that I myself am an overly trusting person, I have found. I’ve often given people in my own life too much rope, only to learn late that they were antagonistic. So the protagonist becomes an even more engaging character when the reader uncovers the antagonism slowly, in horror, as I have had to do at times. The reader starts to worry early, but has to go through it with the protagonist and then pray to God that s/he finds a solution. Might I say, then, that the antagonist’s mischief has to play off of the protagonist’s character? I think it does, in my writing.

Of course, I cannot spoil the plot of The Matter of the Crown for the reader. Its predecessor book, One Sacred Crown, had a more obvious antagonist than this novel. In some ways, that antagonist was easier to shape than this one, but this one is much more delicious when s/he is unveiled and fully at work. The Matter of the Crown is possibly a more “entertaining” story because I studied the antagonist “out loud” for the reader. We both, the reader and I, have to come to understand this person and then determine whether or not there is a problem and just how big it is. Ultimately, what s/he does is quite natural for such a person.

In working on a fresh novel here as I write this, I am struggling again with the timing of the “pounce.” That is what I might call the moment when it becomes absolutely clear to one and all that the antagonist is just that. For the pressure to mount, time has to pass. For the problem to become acute enough to spin the story, it has to jump out at the right moment and carry the story beyond it.

I should add this: I do what many writers do. I study people when they aren’t watching me. And sometimes, modeling an antagonist on a person I have met and studied works beautifully. In The Matter of the Crown, that was a tremendous help. The psyches of people are mysterious until they aren’t.

Where to find the Blog Tour:

blog tour - crown

More on Matter of the Crown

The Crown of the Andes, one of the world’s most precious and beautiful sacred objects, has been stolen right off the stage at Satterling’s Auction House in New York City. Five pounds of magnificent baroque gold that ransomed the Inca Ruler Atahaulpa, and hundreds of perfect Colombian emeralds, all gone without a trace! Will this legendary treasure be destroyed for its gold and emeralds? Claire, the heroine from “One Sacred Crown,” braving danger and emotional turmoil, is in hot pursuit.

Where to find Matter of the Crown;


About the Author

Well known lecturer, art historian and international art lawyer, Linda Ferreri is the author of several books. Her most recent is the mystery The Matter of the Crown. Like One Sacred Crown, it involves the famous and real Crown of the Andes, now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Where to find the author;


Twitter: AndesCrown

I hope you enjoyed this insight into creating an antagonist. If you did, please like, share, and comment 🙂


Featured post

*BOOK REVIEW* Faithless by Graham Austin-King

*BOOK REVIEW* Faithless by Graham Austin-King

‘The temples of the Forgefather have fallen. The clerics and defenders that could once be found across the nine lands are no more. Priests huddle in the great temple, clinging to the echoes of their lost religion. But the Father has fallen silent. There are none who still hear his voice.

The mines of Aspiration lie far below the temple’s marble halls. Slaves toil in the blackness, striving to earn their way into the church and the light. Wynn has been sold into this fate, traded for a handful of silver. In the depths of the mines, where none dare carry flame, he must meet his tally or die. But there are things that lurk in that darkness, and still darker things within the hearts of men.

When the souls bound to the great forge are released in a failed ritual, one novice flees down into the darkness of the mines. The soulwraiths know only hunger, the risen know only hate. In the blackest depths Kharios must seek a light to combat the darkness which descends.’

Faithless tells the story of Wynn, a farmer’s son who is ‘sold’ to a nearby temple where he becomes an ‘Aspirant’; someone who is bound to the mines below the temple, working day-to-day to mine the metals forged by the priests in the temple. Also there is the story of Kharios, a boy who has passed his ‘test’ and has advanced to become a novice but is then disgraced and is returned to the mines. Their stories intertwine and the secrets of the religion are revealed.

‘Faithless’ is a book of fantasy and religion and these are intertwined with the ‘world’ that is created by the author; and it’s a unique world. The story takes place in two places; Aspiration, and the Temple and this is rare for a fantasy novel. usually a lot of time is spent building a gigantic world however the author focuses on the characters that operate within their world.

Aspiration is a place of toil and darkness, populated by miners and their crews. Despite being an underground town, Aspiration has a social stratum, bottomed by the ‘Blackers’; those who mine coal, and is topped by the ‘Gilter’ crews; those who mine gold. Aspiration is controlled by the Sefin, a guy who rules with Martial Law. Those who do not make ‘Tally’ (their monthly quota) are sentenced to lashes, those who are subordinate or rebellious are sentenced to death. There are members of Aspiration who are not happy with the regime and so seek to rebel, leading to a nice side-story.

Within Aspiration there are many ‘crews’ and they are tasked with mining the different metals that are needed for use in the Temple. And it’s here that a lot of the story happens as the reader is introduced to a whole host of colourful characters. One of my favourite parts of the book is the dialogue between the crew members.

Faithless is kinda strange in so far as, for the first 70% of the book, very little actually happens in terms of real action, but I still found myself wanting to read more and that was because of the relationships created by the author. The style of writing also lends itself to easy reading, it did not get bogged down in page-long descriptions of a table or some other such pretentiousness, the conversations are direct and the descriptions are practical.

The characters in Faithless are built well, they each have a purpose and are not too many that you can’t remember who is who. The main character, Wynn, brings a sense of naivety to proceedings and is at stark contrast to the rest of the grizzled folk of Aspiration. This works especially well as a foundation for Wynn’s character as an aspirant and gives him a real low starting point to his character arc.

My favourite character was Father Ossan, a real piece of work who has alternative motives behind the boys he chooses to be his novices. Father Ossan is the key to finding the secrets of the lost religion, and to his own surprise, the darkness within the mines is revealed.

There is a reveal at the end of the book and the real fantasy element comes to the fore through this. Overall I enjoyed the book and think that the characters are very strong, also it was excellently written. The world created by the author is dark, claustrophobic and ultimately fitting with the theme. For me, the final third of the book was its weakest, the story seemed to wain slightly and when the souls are released, it smacked too much of cliché for me. The action was written well and horror sequences worked but I couldn’t help but feel it was anti-climactic.

Faithless is a good book written by a good author but has some flaws that hold it back from being great. 3.5/5

Where to find the author:




Where to find Faithless:



Thank you to Netgalley for providing a copy of Faithless for review.

Thank you for reading, please feel free to comment, share, and like 🙂


*YA BOOK REVIEW* Spellslinger (Spellslinger #1) by Sebastien De Castell

*YA Book Review* Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell

‘There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is simply to reach the age of sixteen. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.

Magic is a con game.

Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone. As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope…’

Spellslinger tells the story of Kellen, a young mage who hasn’t yet sparkedhis ‘bands’; the key to channelling and controlling the six different forms of Jan’Tep magic. Kellen’s family are one of the most powerful Jan’Tep clans and his younger sister is a prodigy, which adds to his feelings of inadequacy. Kellen meets Ferius Parfax, an Argosi wanderers who introduces him to a different kind of magic and to the secrets of his people.

Spellslinger is a book that I really enjoyed, it was fast-paced, original, and didn’t get too caught up in the usual YA tropes. I mean, it does include them, obviously, for example, awkward love interest, bullies seemingly around every corner, and a young boy who has lost his friends and is a little different to everyone else. Cliché right? Wrong. What the author has done is created a YA book that focuses less on these stereotypes, and has channelled the story through Kellen’s intelligence.

As I mentioned above, there is an awkward love interest angle within the story but it is very minimal, and only used when it should be. One of the main gripes I have about modern YA is the constant focus on the lone solo hero who is crazy in love with another character but can’t seem to find the words, and so on, and so forth. For me, the author has included it but has kept it appropriate, no overly done mushy nonsense.

One of my favourite things about Spellslinger is the world that has been created by the author. Whilst the focus is on the Jan’Tep people, there are constant hints throughout to other countries, specifically Daroman and its ‘Fat King’. I like the fact that this this whole world can be introduced subtly throughout the novel without re-shifting focus or taking away from the tale being told of Kellen.

The Jan’Tep people are powerful, proud, and, ultimately, elitist. The author manages to story the people and give the reader a good picture of Jan’Tep society before introducing conflicting views and sowing doubt in the reader’s mind. This works brilliantly and I was drawn in almost immediately to the story and the intrigue.

Before reading Spellslinger, I had found myself growing increasingly despondent with the bulk of YA available at the moment. To archetypal and too (dare I say it) girly (I know, misogynistic pig right here). What I mean by that is, I was finding that I couldn’t relate to the female antagonist, particularly within this genre, and it was causing me to miss out on a boat load of good writing and good books. However, every now and then I find a gem, and this is certainly one of them.

The writing is soo smooth that I found myself racing through the book and cutting through 100 pages a night, after work!! Almost unheard of recently for me but honestly, it flowed so well and was just FUN! I loved the characters, even those that I couldn’t actually like, and I think it was one helluva series-starter.

In order to provide some balance and to ensure I don’t use 700 words just purely gushing over the book (which would be easy to do) I have thought about a few things that I didn’t like. The first is the sometimes over-brooding of Kellen. YeahI get it, he’s a 15-year-old boy who hasn’t found his place in society because he can’t use his magic and is jealous of his sister. But, it could have been toned down slightly in places, to the point where I found myself getting annoyed with him.

Another factor that I didn’t like was Kellen’s constant attempts to spark his bands, when in actual fact, you just knew it would fail. I felt that this could have been done once or twice, just not too much and the author flirted with it a little too long for me.

Other than the two notes above, I can’t actually think of anything else. And to be fair, the things I don’t like may be down to the genre itself and not so much the author. Just a thought though.

So, to summarise, this book is flipping fantastic (I debated on using another f-based curse word but decided against it). It’s got cool-as-hell magic, a cracking antagonist (as well as a few intriguing others), and a whole lot of originality about it.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that reads fantasy, there’s something here for pretty much every reader. The best thing is that the second book Shadowblack is already out (and added to my pile!!!!) so you can dive straight back in!

A very firm 4.5/5 for me and a newfound love for the fantasy YA genre. Thanks Mr De Castell, you Canadian-connoisseur-of-fantasy you!


Where to find the author:


Twitter: @decastell


Where to find Spellslinger;



If you have made it this far, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed my review of Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell. If you liked the review, please like, share, and do whatever else it is you crazy cats do.



*BLOG TOUR BOOK REVIEW* Discoucia by Nicholas Lovelock

*BLOG TOUR BOOK REVIEW* Discoucia by Nicholas Lovelock

Discoucia: A Victorianish Fairytale
‘Revolution, romance and technological wonders are all in a day’s work for the decorated hero of Alavonia, Sir Arthur Pageon.

An acclaimed explorer and inventor, Sir Arthur Pageon takes his unofficial role as defender of the realm of Alavonia very seriously. A fantastical world, Alavonia is home to the Discoucian Monarchy, as well as monstrous creatures and secretive academies for the highly gifted.
Upon returning from his most recent exploits aboard on his personal flying galleon The Nostradamus, Pageon is treated to a hero’s welcome and celebratory procession through the streets of Alavonia’s capital, Evermore. Little does Pageon know he’s being followed by a mysterious group known as the Purple Guard, whose devious leader is his estranged sister, Queen Lily Pageon of Harrha Island. Fiercely intelligent, Lily specialises in dastardly technological inventions with the aim of bringing down the Discoucian Monarchy so that she may reign as its dictator. However, the heir to the throne is one Princess Josephine Olandine, whose youth and royal position masks her role in the Discoucian Secret Service.

Joining forces, Princess Josephine and Sir Arthur’s adventures will take them across the whole of Alavonia — from the fog-bound shores of Karga, to the secret underground shanty town beneath the frozen prison of Icester, south to the verdant city of Proceur and from there to the affluent Starfall Academy — in their quest to foil Lily’s revolutionary plans.’

First of all let me just say, this book is  a little bonkers! But that’s what makes it so unique. The characters bounce off each other really well and the author has a good grasp of what he wants from each character in each scene which makes for interesting reading.

One thing about this novel that will make itself clear yo the reader from the very first page is the author’s style of writing. It’s quite frenetic and almost un-punctuated – obviously it isn’t but still feels like it. This isn’t to the point of excess or tot he extreme of being unnecessary but it does take some getting used to. The dialogue is delivered quickly and incorporates even the smallest of small talk, again, something that takes a little getting used to. Once you’ve read the first 100 pages or so, you start to get a real feel for the author’s writing and style, at this point the book becomes sooo much better!

The characters throughout the book are varied and fun, they also have detailed back stories which help when identifying and rooting for them. the author has done this well and I found myself caring about the characters and what happened to them, an absolute must for me as a reader. My favourite character though was Sir Arthur Pageon, he’s a real beauty. I found him to be funny’ quirky, and the type of character every book should have. His relationship with Princess Josephine is great and the author does a good job of contrasting their personalities.

The real gem within this book, for me, is the world created by the author (he was also kind enough to do a a guest post for me about his process of world building, you can read it here). Alavonia is a world that just feels absolutely massive and has places like “Icester” that just feel so British but also so…fantastical(?) it is just brilliant. Alavonia has a lot more to give and hopefully the author will write more within this world in the future.

There is a slight steampunk theme throughout the book and the mot glaring is the flying galleon, The Nostradamus, that is owned by Sir Arthur. Overall though, this is not overbearing and doesn’t rely on trying to market itself to this niche, it’s just about right.

I liked this book and I think there are a lot of readers out there who have been waiting to read something like this.

About the author: Based in a small village in Oxfordshire Nicholas Lovelock is the author of the Alavonia series. As well as a passion for history, Nick holds a keen interest in Numismatics —the study and collection of coins, banknotes and medals— counting a 200 year-old 1826 half-crown and coinage of monarchs like Queen Anne, Elizabeth the First and Henry the Eighth as part of his collection.



Thanks for reading, I hoped you enjoyed this stage of the blog tour for Discoucia. Please comment on and share this post if you enjoyed it. And remember that every time you share, you’re not just helping out a lowly blogger, but also an author who’s spent a load of time creating/developing/nurturing their story.

Thank you


This is not a drill!! Oathbringer is here! (Well, soon)

This is not a drill! Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive Book Three) by Brandon Sanderson is now available to preorder!

It has a release date of November 16th 2017 and is sure to be the fantasy book of the year. Oh yeah, I’ve called it!

There is no blurb released for it yet but I know that it is going to blow my head off! I don’t get this excited often but now I know that Christmas has been rescheduled for November; I am now!

If you haven’t read the first two books, nay, TOMES, they are absolutely fantastic and a must read for any fantasy lover! Get involved, you won’t be disappointed.

The link to preorder the book is here

The countdown starts NOW!


Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: