Gods, Dharkan and mortals fight amongst themselves in their shadow.
And Time is on no one’s side.
The gods are outmatched.
Their talents are useless against the Nephlim’s technology.
Desperate, they turn on each other. New alliances form and fall apart, for there can be no peace when survival is at stake. Psyche, thorn between a goddess’ duty and a mortal’s hate, sets off on her own to learn the truth behind her fate, unaware of the danger following her. Meanwhile Chronos’ own agenda involves a power so dangerous and unpredictable it’s been long forsaken by the both the gods and the Nephilim. Will it be worth the risk?
About the Author:
Susana Imaginário is a misfit from Portugal. She moved to England to pursue a career as an aerialist and now runs a Board Gaming retreat in Ireland with her husband and their extremely spoiled dog.
Her hobbies include reading, playing board games, hanging upside down, poking around ancient ruins, talking to trees and being tired.
Her debut novel, Wyrd Gods, combines mythological fantasy with science fiction and satire in a strange way.
I’ve never been a big fan of books that take place in or around water. Books such as TreasureIsland, or even The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have never appealed to me. It’s just not my thing. So when I read a book with a watery setting that I actually really enjoy, it sticks with me. Here are a few boatish books that I’ve really liked.
The Bone Ships by RJ Barker (The Tide Child Book One)
I think my concern with books involving ships is that they will feel small. The opposite is the case with this series. The setting allows for a greater view and understanding of author RJ Barker’s world, which is magnificently developed. Plus, the characters are awesome.
It’s been a while since I’ve read The Girl From Everywhere, but I remember being impressed by the writing. At what point do you let go of a past sorrow to embrace a present happiness? The choices that Nix has to make encompass themes of family, loss, grief, and acceptance. Oh, and the settings are both familiar and mysterious. It’s quite the balancing act between adventure and the heavier storyline, but author Heidi Heilig managed it beautifully.
The One Kingdom (The Swans’ War Book One) by Sean Russell
A decent chunk of this epic fantasy involves travel on a mysterious river (yep, it’s a river that’s mysterious. It’s a thing, I promise). The things found both in and along the river tugged on my imagination, painting a vivid picture of a unique and creative world. The mythology behind the enchanter Wyrr is flat-out amazing. TheSwans’ War is one of my favorite fantasy trilogies, despite (or maybe because of) the water-travel.
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
At this point, I’m pretty sure Stuart Turton could write a novel about cardboard boxes and I would love it. His writing is outstanding and the mystery of The Devil and the Dark Water kept me riveted from beginning to end.
The Bone Shard Daughter(The Drowning Empire Book One) by Andrea Stewart
I would have to admit that I am sort of cheating on this one, except that this is my post and my rules. So there. Jovis’ storyline, in particular, has a lot to do with ships and such whatnot and he was my favorite character, so it counts. Right? Either way, I’m looking forward to the next part in this interesting series.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on May eleventh.
This book takes place in a fantastical version of Cairo. I loved the creativity of the world. The way it was described painted a vivid picture of a new twist on an already interesting setting. I’m a big fan of that steampunk sort of world, so I was immediately enchanted. Magic abounded and everything was just a little heightened. I happily began to expect the unexpected.
A Master of Djinn follows agent Fatma el-Sha’arawi, who works for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, as she tries to solve a murder that rapidly goes sideways. I wanted to like Fatma, I really did. However, she just sort of irked me. She really wasn’t all that…competent, to be honest. I had a hard time believing she was the experienced agent she is supposed to be. Worse, though, is her personality. She was judgmental and condescending and it just really grated on me. Thankfully, her new partner Hadia was pretty much the opposite of Fatma. She was smart, eager to prove herself, and a fun character to read about.
Of course, the mystery soon turned into a much bigger situation. I’m a big fan of stakes being raised, but I do sort of wish this particular mystery had stayed just that-a mystery, as opposed to being a huge conspiracy (for lack of a better word). I was hoping for a whodunnit. I got both less and more.
I ended up being entertained by A Master of Djinn, but I didn’t love it. I honestly think what took it from the “love” to “like” reaction was Fatma. The mystery itself was interesting, and the world was absolutely fantastic.
I suggest this book to readers looking for a fun puzzle, set in a unique, fantastical world.
Thank you to the author for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on July 20th.
The Cursed Titans is book two of the Tempest Blades series. I will do my best to avoid major spoilers for book one, but there might be one or two. You can find my review for book one (The Withered King) here.
One thing that I really enjoyed about book one was the subtle themes of redemption, and the ability to have that second chance that was included in an otherwise action-packed story. The Cursed Titans managed to again bring a deeper meaning into an action-packed storyline. In this case, it was mental illness.
It is difficult to find respectful depictions of mental illness in fiction, even more difficult to find it in the fantasy genre. Every time I see an author who uses mental illness as more than a prop in a story, I am incredibly impressed. Author Ricardo Victoria masterfully wove a story of depression, hope, and redemption in with a world filled with villains and magic.
Gaby was my favorite character in The Withered King. She was pretty high on the kick-butt-o’meter. However, it was Alex who stole the show in this book. I could identify a little bit with his battle with depression, although the way it is portrayed in The Cursed Titans is infinitely more creative and interesting than my depression happens to be. He had quite a bit of character growth, which I always appreciate.
Of course, this theme of mental illness was set against a unique backdrop, which had a bit of a My HeroAcademia feel to it. I don’t know why that jumps to mind for me, but it does. I happen to love My Hero Academia, so I was jazzed about that. Combine that with the epic video game vibe that carried over from book one, and The Cursed Titans was a win for me.
I was very impressed at the way the author balanced a fast-paced fantasy book with what feels like a deeply personal exploration of depression, its effects, and what it truly means to overcome. The Cursed Titans was very well done.
I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and/or the BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads tours team. All opinions are my own.
BBNYA (or Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award) is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. I was fortunate to be able to take part as a judge. It was a ton of fun and I was introduced to some fantastic books.
If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)!
BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (featuring gorgeous, drool-worthy books) and the book blogger support group TheWriteReads.
Congratulations to The Lore of Prometheus for its win as the 2020 Book Blogger Novel of the Year!
So, what is The Lore of Prometheus about?
John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.
It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.
Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive. (Amazon blurb)
About the author:
Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells.
A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals.
He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.
After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless horde of children.
To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.
In light of the recent shenanigans that have been going on regarding authors and bookbloggers, I’m feeling the urge to grab my soapbox. While it’s usually (as in, almost always) a bad idea for me to stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong, in this case I feel a bit validated in doing so. So, let me roll up my sleeves and dive right in.
First of all, I know that it stinks to receive a less than glowing review. I understand that authors put their hearts into their work and it must be incredibly difficult to read a negative review, or one that is seen as negative. If I were to write a book, I know I’d be heartbroken by a poor review, or what I see as a poor rating. Which is why I would choose to not read any reviews of my book at all. That’s…
I love this idea for a post! I was challenged by both Fantasy Book Nerd and The Swordsmith (two blogs you really should be following, by the way) to talk about a book trope that I’m a sucker for. Challenge accepted!
There are several tropes that are almost insta-reads for me, but I’m going to go with small groups involved with some sort of quest. You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t the the same as the “found family” trope?” The answer is, only sometimes. Sure, it can have that dynamic. It can either start out that way, or that found family trope can be a gradual development (I love that). Sometimes, though, certain members of the group don’t necessarily like or trust each other. Possibly they haven’t even met before. There is something brilliant about that. I think it takes a steady hand to write characters that work together without being particularly close, while at the same time keeping those kinds of relationships from becoming stale or annoying.
The quest aspect adds a sense of urgency that I really get sucked into. It doesn’t have to be something that will affect the entire world, although those are good too, but something that is of the utmost importance to the group involved. There’s something great about lazily drinking coffee while reading about others desperately trying to accomplish a nigh-impossible task. Let them go through the physically and emotionally taxing quests. I’ll happily relax and enjoy the ride.
Some great examples of group quests are:
The One Kingdom (Book 1 in the Swans’ War Trilogy) by Sean Russell
The Ventifact Colossus (book one in The Heroes of Spira series) by Dorian Hart (review found here):
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (review found here):
The Fellowship of the Ring (book one of the Lord of the Rings) by J.R.R. Tolkien:
Dragons of Autumn Twilight (book one of the Dragonlance Chronicles) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman:
The Book of Three (book one of the Chronicles of Prydain) by Lloyd Alexander:
I’m not tagging anyone here, although I’ll probably hassle (I mean, tag) a few people on Twitter. If you want to join in, though, the more the merrier!
In case you’re just checking in, this week has been a celebration of the amazing fantasy series, Dragonlance. There have been interviews, character profiles, an opinion piece or two, and a giveaway. Like all good things, though, this week is coming to an end. Below are some takes on what Dragonlance means to readers. It’s yet more proof that, even though they’re just words on a page, books carry a magic all their own. They can entertain. They can comfort. They can inspire.
What Dragonlance Means:
“What’s your favorite book?” It’s a question that I get asked frequently and my go-to answer for decades now has been The Dragonlance Chronicles (or if you’re picky, we’ll go with the first in the series, Dragons of Autumn Twilight). It’s honestly not a series that I pick up and read over and over like some other books but it will always have a very special place in my heart because of how it helped me to escape, engage, and inspire. Escape I read this way back in elementary school — probably around 4th grade? It was introduced to me by my sister after my brothers got me playing Dungeons & Dragons with them. This combination of D&D and reading is what made me fall in love with the fantasy genre. It was a beautiful escape from the complicated life I was living at the time. Where most people seem to face their worst bullies in junior high and high school, I faced mine in elementary school. I was considered a “sissy” and a nerd being unathletic, quiet, effeminate, and a ball of suppressed anxious and depressed energy from dealing with chaos at home. In my brother’s D&D campaign I got to be a different person — one that was fueled by the wild and fantastical literary world of elves, wizards, warriors, dragons, magic, and mysterious gods of Krynn. My struggles in life were transformed into joining the heroes in their battle against insidious draconians, restoring hope in the blessings of Mishakal, or navigating feeling lost between worlds with Tanis Half-elven. Engage It wasn’t because of how I could escape to the world of Krynn, however, that makes this series truly special to me. It was how I learned to re-engage in life here on Earth. I don’t know how, but I managed to become friends with a few other kids — people who didn’t quite fit in with much of the popular crowd — but somehow we became our own misfit party of the nerd, the cowboy, and the gangster. There were a few others that drifted in and out of our group but it was this trio that formed the heart of it for some key years of my youth. Me being the D&D nerd, I got them playing in my own campaigns — much of it based on the world of Krynn with guest appearances from legendary heroes like Raistlin and Tasselhoff. I suddenly had friends who journeyed with me through a fantasy world and that meant everything to me during a time I felt terribly alone. I learned I could use my creativity to reach others — to direct them through carefully planned hilarious or dramatic stories told through our characters and the roll of dice. Inspire My friends, although being the big tough cowboy and gangster types — Camarons to my Raistlin-like fragility — became interested in where I got my ideas for our campaigns and so I shared my copy of the book which inspired me. The “Gangster” once told me that his family doesn’t care for school and he never finished a book in his life but he picked up my copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight and couldn’t put it down. The rest of the series came shortly after and even though he was still out there on the streets ready to throw down if someone from a rival gang showed up he always had a book somewhere nearby. Sadly our trio split up as life took us in different directions. Years later, however, I managed to reconnect briefly with my old gangster friend and he told me something that still makes me smile. He was going to be the first in his family to go to college — funded by a scholarship for Medieval Literature. I am still dumbfounded how a book can kickstart a journey from gang-banger to scholar. I now live over a thousand miles away from where my sister first handed me that book and I can look at my shelf now and see it there, next to the other two books in the original trilogy still in its original old and worn boxed set. I look at it, and every time, I smile.
The Book Pyramid:
I wasn’t a very big reader as a kid. Sure I was happy to indulge in the newest release of Garfield, and I would never say no to following Lucky Luke’s latest adventures. But in general books didn’t occupy a significant portion of my time. That is, until a high school friend lent me his copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight. By then I had already fallen in love with role playing games like Dongeons and Dragons, and most video games I liked were all about a team of lovable misfits attempting to save the world with their swords, magics and dragons. So while I wasn’t that inclined to read actual novels back then, the theme of the story (and my friend’s enthusiasm) convinced me to give it a shot.
This was over 20 years ago, and since then I have become an avid reader of all things Fantasy. I have well stocked bookcases with over a hundred of my favorites titles, and some of them I hold in truly high regard, but none more than the books that started it all; that made me fall in love with reading as a teenager. Dragonlance means so much to me. The main cast of characters are people I feel I have known my entire adult life. They have helped me go through all kinds of challenges growing up. Battling through depression as a teen and cancer as a young adult, I sometimes needed a place to escape and let my mind be free to feel joy and amazement. Dragonlance gave me this and so much more. I am now in my mid-thirties and am manager of my own book store. I have so many good recommendations for people looking for their next Fantasy fix. But each time I get a teen or young adult looking for the next step in their passion for adventure novels, there is one book I always recommend first. I hope that in some small way, I am helping a new generation of fans discover this uniquely wonderful universe.
Behind the Pages:
When I think of Dragonlance I am immediately taken back to the day I found Dragons of Autumn Twilight. My mother and I were pursuing tag sales (for books of course) and low and behold I found this book with a cool dragon on the cover. Little did I know that by reading The Chronicles I would become swept up in the world of high fantasy.
Dragonlance became my entire world. It sparked my interest in D & D, I ran my first ever text-based role-playing website through Avidgamers (anyone remember them?), and started to read every day. Without Dragonlance, I don’t think I ever would have become a bookworm. I also became invested in writing, determined to join the Dragonlance team somehow somewhere. While I may have never written for Dragonlance, I went on to earn my degree in writing and to this day love to create my own worlds. I will never regret picking up that first book and diving into such an amazing world.
-Behind the Pages
Author Sean Gibson:
Everyone Knows the Best Thing About Dragonlance Is…
You know what’s weird? The best part about Dragonlance stories has nothing to do with either dragons or lances.
Don’t get me wrong—the dragons are metallic and chromatic delights, as are the pointy things used to slay them when it becomes apparent to all right-thinking creatures that their untimely demise would considerably improve the lives of the goodly folk of Krynn. No, the best part of Dragonlance stories is the complexity of Tanis’s and Kitiara’s relationship—it’s spicy, salty, and sweet, like a chili-chocolate-covered pretzel. Or maybe it’s the complicated codependency of the Majere twins, simultaneously compelling and heartbreaking. Or maybe it’s just watching part-time Lothario, full-time cantankerous coot Flint Fireforge chew out irrepressible troublemaker Tasselhoff Burrfoot. Or maybe it’s just kender in general, with their fearless, childlike wonder and delightfully innocent kleptomaniac proclivities. Though it could also be Sturm Brightblade’s tragic nobility. Or, maybe it’s the elegant way that a shared-world setting is coalesced around a single high-concept through-line that lends the entire undertaking a thematic and tonal consistency and coherence that should be impossible with so many people involved over the years beyond the redoubtable Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Yeah, maybe it’s that last thing.
Pfft. I’m clearly kidding. I mean, sure that stuff’s all fine and dandy. But, we all know the best part of Dragonlance stories is Otik’s spiced potatoes.
I Can Has Books:
What does Dragonlance mean to me? Well this was my time experiencing these wonderful cast of characters, but I did feel nostalgia. How you ask if I’ve never ventured into the world of Krynn. It is in the heart of the book, the concept of it. I understood why people revisit over and over. Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman’s characters are people you would want to know, some to be. Loyal, brave, strong, noble. Yes there are some wavering moments, but we all have wavering moments. They feel real, as real as one can in a Fantasy world. The nostalgia is for the time in which many others read them for the first time. I can picture myself loving these books if I had read them at a much younger age then I have. I can feel the 80s in this book and I don’t say that they are dated, I say this as a compliment because 80s and fantasy was top notch, and as a 90s kid the things in which I love today I can see the influence of Dragonlance and other greats of the time. This world is special, I am excited to continue on in my journey, to meet other lands and characters. To see old friends again. And then to return to the start sometime down the road and do it all again.
Author L.A. Wasielewski:
I’ll admit, Dragonlance was not my first foray into fantasy. I didn’t even start to read them until I was in my thirties. My first fantasy series was as an 80’s kid—Darksword—another masterpiece by Weis and Hickman. Those books started me on a journey that I’m still on, and never want to end. Even in my forties now, these books give me so much joy. They’re such a nice escape from being mom, wife, and author. There were nights—usually after an exhausting day chasing a toddler—where the only way I could relax was deep within the pages of a Dragonlance book. Krynn is a playground—even though it’s filled with Death Knights and evil wizards from time-to-time. And don’t forget those pesky Kender… If it weren’t for Dragonlance (and Weis/Hickman’s other fantasy series), I may have never summoned the nerve to try my hand at my own original fantasy books. They inspired me to create my own worlds, craft fantastical stories. To challenge myself to put to paper the stories that had been swirling around in my brain for years. I owe them both a debt of gratitude. Their words have not only inspired me, but an entire generation of readers and writers. And now, as I watch my teenager devour the same books I did, I see a new crop of fantasy lovers embarking on those same adventures—and it makes my heart happy.
Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub:
I’ve always loved books, especially fantastical ones. I read a lot of fantasy (possibly the understatement of the year right there, folks). There are many, many authors that I love, and I am lucky to continue to be drawn into new fantastical worlds and meet wonderful, creative characters. There is something about Dragonlance, though, that has caused it to stick with me through the years. It’s indefinable really. Something about opening those pages feels a little bit like coming home. I love everything about Dragonlance, from the settings to the artwork. I even love the way the pages smell (yes, I’m an unrepentant book sniffer). There’s something special about this series.
I first discovered the Chronicles right before a difficult time in my life. There was a lot happening that I couldn’t control, much of it scary and frustrating. These books helped me, in a way. When things felt gray and I struggled to find the motivation to move, there was Sturm who also felt like life was a dark shroud at times. He realized that he was useful and important, even when he felt otherwise. When I felt like I was at war with myself (there’s bipolar for you), there was Tanis, always at war with himself. He found peace. When I felt small or alone, there was Tasselhoff, doing the small, important things. These books gave me adventure, and excitement. They gave me dragons. They also gave me a way to process the scarier things in life.
I’ve moved past that hard time in my life. However, the feelings of adventure, excitement; and yes, those feelings of familiarity and comfort have stayed a part of me. I truly think that the right book at the right time can change a life. I reread the Chronicles every year (sometimes more, when things are particularly nasty in this big, bad world of ours). I open the pages, breathe in the smell, and am immediately whisked far and away- to a place that I both love and appreciate.
There are many kinds of magic.
About the Contributors:
The Book Pyramid: Max is a career book seller and long time book reader and collector. His passion for books is only rivaled by his unease at writing about himself in the third person. When he is not out camping or playing board games with his family, he can usually be found sitting near a window, wrapped up in a blanket and reading a Fantasy or Mystery novel, with a glass of his latest single malt found and his three-legged cat Peggy nearby.
Behind the Pages: Hello everyone! My name is Tabitha and I run a review blog called Behind the Pages. I am an avid fantasy reader, but dabble in other genres from time to time. I love writing and talking about books. Dragonlance is my absolute favorite fantasy series and I am so psyched to be a part of Dragonlance week.
Author Sean Gibson: Sean Gibson, “author” and slackonteur, is not a professional mini biography writer (if he were, this would be much more compelling). But, he is, unfortunately for the reading public, the author of several stories starring Heloise the Bard, including The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True, “You Just Can’t Hide from Chriskahzaa,” and The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple. He also wrote the Victorian-set fantasy thriller The Camelot Shadow and its prequel short, “The Strange Task Before Me.” He has written extensively for Kirkus Reviews, and his book reviews have also appeared in Esquire. You can hang out with him at www.seangibsonauthor.com, but goodness knows you’ve got better things to do.
I Can Has Books: Carrie (ICanHasBooks) can be found surrounded by tomes as books make up the foundation of who she is and possibly her home ,which is in desperate need of more walls for shelving, because like her name says I can has books? Yes Carrie, yes you can. When she is not reading, she can be found roaming around Azeroth (Wow Classic as her computer currently sucks), walking in graveyards or wandering in the woods. If you would like to follow her around:
Author L.A. Wasielewski: L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom. When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass. She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact.
Books 1&2 of her adult epic dark fantasy Alchemist Trilogy are out now, with Book3 due to debut Autumn 2021.
Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: Jodie is the creator of the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog and a contributor to Grimdark Magazine. She either lives in Florida with her husband and sons, or in a fantasy book-she’ll never tell which. When she’s not reading, Jodie balances her time between homeschooling her hooligans, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and lamenting her inability to pronounce “lozenge”.