A Class Above: D&D Classes in Books- Hub

Here is where to find all the posts from A Class Above: D&D Classes in Books. Enjoy!

A Class Above: D&D Classes in Books- Fighters and Barbarians

A Class Above: D&D Classes in Books- Paladins, Clerics, and Druids

A Class Above: D&D Classes in Books-Rogues and Rangers

A Class Above: D&D Classes in Books – Bards and Magic Users

A Class Above: Books for Fans of D&D

The Adversary’s Hand by Dorian Hart

Horn’s Company has saved the world—again.

The bad news? Dranko, Morningstar, Kibi, and the rest of the company are stranded centuries in the past. The magical gemstones that could return them to their proper time have broken.

The worse news? That’s only the start of their troubles.

With the world of Spira in dire peril once more, the heroes must make an impossible journey beneath the Iron Barrier, pursuing agents of the Black Circle who seek to unleash the greatest evil power ever to plague the cosmos.

In this final volume of the Heroes of Spira, Horn’s Company will face monstrous creatures, explore ancient temples and mysterious ruins, confront gods both living and dead, and show valiant resolve in the darkest depths.

Should they fail, the world will fall beneath the might of the Adversary’s Hand. (Taken from Amazon)

Thank you to the author for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The Adversary’s Hand is available now.

The Adversary’s Hand is the fifth and final book of The Heroes of Spira series. I will do my level best to avoid spoilers, but you have been warned. You can find my reviews for books 1-4 here: The Ventifact Colossus, The Crosser’s Maze, The Greatwood Portal, and The Infinite Tower.

The Adversary’s Hand was one of my most anticipated books of 2023 and it didn’t disappoint. The cast of characters known as Horn’s Company is back and facing danger far above their skill level. This evil takes them across worlds and through time, calling on every shred of bravery (or stick-to-it-ness) they possess. As with every book in this excellent series, The Adversary’s Hand immediately swept me away, taking me on the adventure right along with the characters.

The stakes continued to grow, as did the world. I have no idea how author Dorian Hart was able to have so much detail in this book without it ever becoming too much or slowing down the plot. However, The Adversary’s Hand moved at the perfect pace, neither too fast nor too slow. Once again there was a combination of the sort of threat that requires a sharp pointy object and the sort that needs to be solved by intelligence or cunning. Every member of the party was useful and things wouldn’t have worked out as they did without the contribution of every character. I loved that, despite there being several characters focused on, not a single one is ever superfluous.

I had no idea how things would work out, although I truly hoped they would. The Heroes of Spira has an undercurrent of hope running throughout that is so refreshing. Yes, things are dire at times and not everyone makes it out unscathed, but to balance out the bad were truly good characters. I was so invested in the outcome because of them. They had strengths, flaws, worries, and hopes that were relatable. Even their exhaustion at having to save the world again was easy to understand and believe. I loved the sense of frustrated resignation that a few of the characters experienced upon learning that still more was being asked of them.

It’s these wonderfully developed characters that have made me fall in love with this series. Kibi’s story arc was flat-out awesome and I loved Eddings (and his appreciation of a good pair of slippers). Ernie has been a favorite of mine throughout the series, as has Dranko. The way they have evolved throughout the series is nothing short of astounding. It was natural and believable. Basically, these fantasy characters felt very real, magical powers and goblin blood aside. I wanted them to succeed.

The Adversary’s Hand brought the imagination, excellent storytelling, and sense of wonder that made me fall in love with fantasy in the first place. I was sad to see the series end, although the ending was the sort that I like best. It was more of a beginning, really. Answers were given and things were wrapped up but there was also the idea that, years down the road, you could visit the world again and find new stories or characters to follow.

I can’t recommend The Heroes of Spira enough.

The Big, Long List of Awesome Indie Books

I like lists. I know, that’s a weird thing to have strong feelings about, but I do. I often have trouble sleeping and, while making lists doesn’t help with that, it’s a fun way to pass the time when I’m laying in bed overthinking something I said in the seventh grade. But I digress.

I’ve been working on a list of great indie books I’ve read for quite a while now. This is far from complete and I’m sure I have several favorites that I’ve forgotten to add. However, since yet another odd take on indie books is circulating online, I’m sharing this list today. I’ll keep adding to it as the list of indie books I enjoy grows.

Tell me what some of your favorite indie books are! Let’s show indie authors some appreciation!

*If I have mistakenly added a non-indie book to this list, please let me know.

  • Adjacent Monsters by Luke Tarzian
  • The Archives of Evelium by Jeffrey Speight
  • Around the Dark Dial by JD Sanderson
  • Blade’s Edge by Virginia McClain
  • Burn Red Skies by Kerstin Espinosa Rosero
  • Constable Inspector Lunaria Adventures by Geoff Tangent and Coy Kissee
  • The Dragon’s Banker by Scott Warren
  • Dragon Mage by ML Spencer
  • Duckett and Dyer: Dicks for Hire by GM Nair
  • Fairy Godmurderer by Sarah J. Sover
  • The Flaws of Gravity by Stepanie Caye
  • The Forever King by Ben Galley
  • Frith Chronicles by Shami Stovall
  • The Gifted and the Cursed by Marcus Lee
  • A Good Running Away by Kevin Pettway
  • The Hand of Fire by Rolan J. O’Leary
  • Henry by Christopher Hooks
  • The Hero Interviews by Andi Ewington
  • The Heroes of Spira by Dorian Hart
  • The Hummingbird’s Tear by CM Kerley
  • Justice Academy by Rob Edwards
  • The Legend of Black Jack by A.R. Witham
  • Legends of Cyrradon by Jason and Rose Bishop
  • Lexcalibur by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
  • Little White Hands by Mark Cushen
  • The Maer Cycle by Dan Fitzgerald
  • Mennik Thorn series by Patrick Samphire
  • Messengers of the Macabre by LindaAnn LoSchiavo and David Davies
  • Mirror in Time by D. Ellis Overttun
  • Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson
  • Oil and Dust by Jami Farleigh
  • The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True by Sean Gibson
  • Path to Villainy by SL Roland
  • The Return of King Lillian by Suzie Plakson
  • The Royal Champion by GM White
  • Sacaran Nights by Rachel Emma Shaw
  • Shadowless by Randall McNally
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton
  • Small Places by Matthew Samuels
  • Voice of War by Zach Argyle
  • The Tempest Blades by Ricardo Victoria
  • We Break Immortals by Thomas Howard Riley
  • Why Odin Drinks by Bjørn Larssen 
  • The Windshine Chronicles by Todd Sullivan
  • Wraith Knight by CT Phipps

    Books I am about to read/ am excited to read:
  • Arvia: Heart of the Sky by DH Willison
  • Heart of Fire by Raina Nightingale
  • How NOT to Murder a Boyband by Jason Roche
  • Lucky Jack by Sue Bavey
  • Vevin Song by Jonathan Neves Mayers

Mystic Reborn by Jeffrey Speight

Some paths are meant to be walked alone.

Mystic Reborn is the continuation of Paladin Unbound, the award-winning start of the Archives of Evelium.

After embracing his destiny as the last of the Paladins, Umhra the Peacebreaker is granted ancient powers by the gods. When he returns to the ruins of Antiikin to fulfill a promise, he embarks on a journey that will push the limits of his abilities.

As the Grey Queen’s arrival heralds the fulfillment of a prophecy that could mean the end of humanity, the kingdom of Evelium desperately needs a hero. Can Umhra once more rise to the challenge and save mankind from annihilation? (Taken from Amazon)

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Mystic Reborn will be available on April 1st.

Mystic Reborn is a sequel to Paladin Unbound so there might be some light spoilers. You really should read Paladin Unbound if you haven’t yet, but I’ll do my best to keep any spoilers to a minimum.

I loved Paladin Unbound and the world Jeffrey Speight had created, so I went into the sequel with ridiculously high expectations. I was not disappointed. Mystic Reborn continues a series that is a masterpiece of epic fantasy. As with Paladin Unbound, I found myself completely drawn in by the story and characters.

The group has been split (I know all TTRPG players are yelling “Never split the party!” at this point), and this decision allowed for both interesting character development and an expansion on both the lore and world itself, without ever becoming an info dump. Seeing the seemingly disparate threads of narrative eventually weave into one was a pleasure.

In this book, Umhra goes where the others can’t follow, in search of the last mystic and knowledge regarding his new powers. As is often the case with heroes, he gets far more than he bargained for. A truth-seeking journey becomes a desperate attempt to save Evelium. I was wondering how on earth he would manage it and if it was even possible, which is always a good place to be in a fantasy novel. The way his character grows and the decisions he makes are both smart and believable. The fact that he’s also encountering some of the most unique (and in some cases, skin-shivering) creatures I’ve come across just makes his parts of the book even more compelling.

While the others deal with far different challenges, they were no less dangerous or engrossing. In fact, they were in just as much danger both physically and morally. One of the characters (I won’t say who for fear of spoiling anything) discovered that someone they trusted had taken deplorable actions. I really felt for this character as he tried to come to terms with his newfound knowledge. Seeing his choices despite (or maybe because) of this letdown was a fascinating experience.

Different characters took center stage throughout the book. Shadow was a favorite in Paladin Unbound, but in Mystic Reborn it was Talus who stole the show for me. The things he dealt with and the way his character developed because of them were astounding. He found himself in several sticky situations (to say the least), but they drove the narrative. In fact, in some ways Umhra’s story arc opened up the world more, while the others served to further the events of this sequel. I guess you could say that Umhra’s storyline is playing the long game.

When the separate storylines became a whole, the book ramped up even more, racing with breathtaking speed into a climax that I couldn’t see coming. There were revelations that shook me and the stakes became ever higher. I have no idea what’s coming in the next book but I know it’s going to be even more epic.

I’ve read a lot of fantasy over the year. I mean a lot. The Archives of Evelium continues to stand above many others. Mystic Reborn floored me with a storyline vast in scope and a world fraught with peril. The characters’ narratives are extremely personal despite the roles they play in a prophecy much bigger than themselves. Every choice has the fate of the world hanging in the balance, yet it’s the small things about these characters- their relationships, faith, and even worries- that brings this series to a higher level. They are the beating heart in a book of monsters and gods.

These books deserve to be mentioned among the greats of the genre. I can’t recommend Mystic Reborn enough.

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical Featuring Joanna Maciejewska

My blog has been focusing on the idea of hope in the fantastical lately. It’s a theme found over and over throughout fantasy and science fiction (as well as other genres) and I was curious what authors would have to say about it. Luckily, several authors were generous with their time and opinions.

Today, I’m excited to feature a guest post from Joanna Maciejewska, author of Pacts Arcane and Otherwise.

Hope, Friendship, and Epic Fantasy

Hope is one of those feelings that often keeps us going when things turn dire, and when the world becomes a shade too dark for us to cope, we escape into fiction. That escape might take different forms: to find comfort in learning that there are worlds more cruel and darker than ours, or to find comfort in exploring worlds full of wonder and magic.

Yet, it seems like there’s no middle ground, and our choices are limited to going “all grimdark” or “full high fantasy”, and it’s hard to find worlds that carry the realism of the world live in and at the same time can provide a genuine injection of hope.

When creating a world and a story, it felt like a hard balance to strike, and my solution was… friendship. In the real world, I’m lucky to have a handful of wonderful friends. Not only are they there for me when I need support, but they offer their companionship, experience, and time. Thanks to them, things rarely feel hopeless.

That’s why I wanted to preserve that feeling in my story. The world of Pacts Arcane and Otherwise is full of things we know too well: evil, cruelty, betrayal, lies, corruption, petty people… you name it. There are even otherworldly creatures who are more violent and brutal than humans meddling in human matters and manipulating their human pawns.

With all of that, my books could easily take the grimdark turn, but I think putting friendship in the focus of the story softened the hard edges of the unforgiving setting. Kamira and Veelk, the main characters and best friends for years, go through a lot, together and alone, facing dangers and difficult choices, but their friendship never comes into question. At any point, either would gladly give his or her life for the other, and they keep no secrets.

I think that promise of the friendship never broken is what helps my books to be hopeful while avoiding the feeling of sugarcoated issues or lack of realism. And thus it helps to carry hope, that feeling we often need to survive, off the pages of the series and into the real world, because most of us has at least one close friend we can confide in and who stays by our side through the worst storms. And if Kamira and Veelk, working together, can stand against anything, maybe we could as well. This kind of hope is what I want to bring to my readers.

About the author:

Joanna might be a bit too cautious to do anything even remotely daring or dangerous herself, so she writes about daring adventures and dangerous magic instead. Yet, she found enough courage to abandon her life in Poland and move to Ireland, and then some years later, she abandoned her life in Ireland to move over to the US. She’s determined to settle there, once she finally chooses which state to reside in.

When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she plays video games or makes amateur art. She lives the happy life of a recluse, surrounded by her husband, a stuffed red monkey, and a small collection of books she insisted on hauling across two continents.

More about the series and purchase links: https://authorjm.com/books/pacts-arcane-and-otherwise-series 

Direct purchase link for By the Pact (first in series): https://books2read.com/ByThePact 

Website: https://authorjm.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJMac/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjmac/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorJMac/

Mastodon: https://indiepocalypse.social/@AuthorJMac

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authorjmac 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/joanna-maciejewska 

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical Hub

Below are the links to each guest post/interview on hope in the fantastical.

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical: Featuring Dorian Hart

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical: An Interview with DH Willison

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical Featuring Ricardo Victora

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical: An Interview with Raina Nightingale

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical Featuring JCM Berne

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical Featuring Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical Featuring Michael Lortz

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical: An Interview with Beth Tabler

Conversations on Hope in the Fantastical Featuring Joanna Maciewjewska

Giveaway: Pick One of My Recent Favorites

I feel like doing a giveaway! I read an amazing bunch of books in 2022, so I’m going to give one lucky winner their choice of a book from my favorite reads from 2022. All you need to do is take a look at my 12 favorites below and comment with which book you’d like to win. I’ll announce a winner Sunday the 26th.

You can find out more about each book, from description to reviews, here: Operation 2022: Success (Or Favorite Books From this Year)

This giveaway is U.S. only due to shipping costs.

Good luck!

The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning

Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons by Ben Riggs

Dragons of Deceit (Dragonlance Destinies book 1) by Margaret Weist and Tracy Hickman

The Hero Interviews by Andi Ewington (This one is only available as a Kindle book)

Empire of Exiles by Erin M. Evans

One Foot in the Fade by Luke Arnold (You can choose one of the previous books in this series instead, if you prefer)

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

The Oleander Sword (Burning Kingdoms book 2) by Tasha Suri (you can choose book 1 instead, if you prefer)

Small Angels by Laura Owen

The Hummingbird’s Tear by C.M. Kerley

Dragons of a Different Tail Edited by Marx Pyle

Strange Cargo (A Mennik Thorn Short Novel) by Patrick Samphire

The Sapphire Altar by David Dalglish

In this epic fantasy from a bestselling author, a usurped prince must master the magic of shadows in order to reclaim his kingdom and his people.

Cyrus wants out. Trained to be an assassin in order to oust the invading Empire from his kingdom, Cyrus is now worried the price of his vengeance is too high. His old master has been keeping too many secrets to be trusted. And the mask he wears to hide his true identity and become the legendary “Vagrant” has started whispering to him in the dark. But the fight isn’t over and the Empire has sent its full force to bear upon Cyrus’s floundering revolution. He’ll have to decide once and for all whether to become the thing he fears or lose the country he loves.(Taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Orbit Books and Angela Man for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The Sapphire Altar is available now.

The Sapphire Altar is the second book in the Vagrant Gods series. So much happened in book one, The Bladed Faith, that I was supremely grateful for the summary provided at the beginning of book two. It helped ensure that nothing was forgotten.

Wow! I was absolutely floored by the brilliance of the writing and the complexity of the plot. Religious fanaticism and rebellion interacted in ways that went far beyond “good vs bad”, instead exposing motives that were surprisingly nuanced. Themes of faith and redemption once again drove the book. This is a complicated story, one that asks for and deserves the reader’s full attention. Honestly, though, it was hard to put The Sapphire Altar down once I picked it up.

The Sapphire Altar serves to open the series up even more, focusing on characters other than just Cyrus (although I still find him fascinating). Reading more about what made the different characters tick made them all the more believable. Keles, in particular, stood out to me. There’s always something risky about writing a character who is dealing with a crisis of faith. If you are too heavy-handed, it loses its importance. If you don’t stress it enough, the emotional impact is lost. Holy moly, Dalglish nailed it. Faith can be tied to a person’s sense of self, so reading about someone’s struggle with it should feel raw and vulnerable. I was uncomfortable at times, reading about the shifts and loss of belief in different characters, but it was the sort of uncomfortable that comes from incredible writing and character development. These characters jump off the page.

The pacing was good, although it felt a little different this time around. I think that was simply because of the amount of emotional baggage that these characters were carting around. I’m sure it was heavy! There was a lot going on, but it was balanced with a large dose of introspection. I am a fan of characters who have to come to grips with their pasts and make decisions that reflect who they’ve become, so I was completely on board with this. The pace picked up at the end, galloping with almost reckless abandon into a conclusion that left me reeling.

The world is fantastic and continues to become more fleshed out. It is one that feels very well thought-out to me. I like that it seemed to grow as we see it in regard to what is happening. The fight scenes were killer (pun intended) and kept me on the edge of my seat.

I was left waiting desperately to see what happens next. In the words of the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz, “Curse you and thank you”, author David Dalglish. Thank you for an incredible book. And curses that I have to wait until 2024 for the next one in the series. Make sure to pick this one up, folks!

Cover Reveal: Mystic Reborn by Jeffrey Speight

I am thrilled to take part in a cover reveal for Mystic Reborn, book 2 in the Archives of Eveilum series, by Jeffrey Speight. I loved the first book, Paladin Unbound (review here) and Mystic Reborn looks equally amazing. Not only that, the cover is absolutely astounding!

Mystic Reborn is the continuation of Paladin Unbound, the award-winning start of the Archives of Evelium. After embracing his destiny as the last of the Paladins, Umhra the Peacebreaker is granted ancient powers by the gods. When he returns to the ruins of Antiikin to fulfill a promise, he embarks on a journey that will push the limits of his abilities. As the Grey Queen’s arrival heralds the fulfillment of a prophecy that could mean the end of humanity, the kingdom of Eveilum desperately needs a hero. Can Umhra once more rise to the challenge and save mankind from annihilation?

Check out this gorgeous cover!

Credit for this epic cover goes to Omer Burak Onal. I have been waiting impatiently to travel back into Evelium, and this cover has me almost salivating. Don’t forget to add Mystic Reborn to your “to be read” list and pick up Paladin Unbound if you haven’t already.

Jeffrey Speight’s love of fantasy goes back to an early childhood viewing of the cartoon version of The Hobbit, when he first met an unsuspecting halfling that would change Middle Earth forever. Finding his own adventuring party in middle school, Jeff became an avid Dungeons & Dragons player and found a passion for worldbuilding and character creation. While he went on to a successful career as an investor, stories grew in his mind until he could no longer keep them inside. So began his passion for writing. Today, he lives in Connecticut with his wife, three boys (his current adventuring party), three dogs, and a bearded dragon. He has a firmly held belief that elves are cool, but half-orcs are cooler. While he once preferred rangers, he nearly always plays a paladin at the gaming table.

Website: https://www.jeffreyspeight.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeffspeight

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeffsp8/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeffreyspeightauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21486809.Jeffrey_Speight

Where to find Paladin Unbound:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58022890-paladin-unbound

Literary Wanderlust: https://www.literarywanderlust.com/product-page/paladin-unbound

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1942856768

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paladin-unbound-jeffrey-speight/1139410896

The Giant’s Echo (The Barclan series #2) by C.M. Kerley

Starvation has gripped the kingdom. The King is nowhere to be found. War has come to Barclan, and death is coming from the mountains. Using sword and sorcery, murder and the machine of war the King must find a way to fight back the evil that has infected his kingdom.
In Kraner, An’eris the druid queen must rule over a land already in ruins, forcing her people to survive the horrors of war before so much as a battle cry splits the quiet morning.
Brennan and Cotta are searching for answers, lying and cheating their way past everyone who would see them fail, looking for answers to questions hidden in dark corners.
And across the kingdom, to save the kingdom, Calem must face the truth of his magic and decide, for the fate of everyone, is he man or is he monster. (Taken from Amazon)

Thank you to the author for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The Giant’s Echo is available now.

Reminiscent of “old school” fantasy, yet also treading into unfamiliar territory, The Giant’s Echo is a master class in storytelling. I was blown away by the creation myth in The Hummingbird’s Tear (book 1); the fantastic mythology and epic worldbuilding continue here as the stakes become higher.

In The Giant’s Echo, we have a small group trying to stem a darkness that is not only coming- it has already arrived on their doorstep. This book sees our characters fracture even more, with Brennan and Cotta looking for answers they don’t have. Their quest, for lack of a better word, shows their characters in a closer light and allows the reader to understand the desperation behind each decision. In fact, desperation and the things it can lead a person to do are overarching themes, lending an air of believability to everything. I love the way fantasy allows a skilled author to explore all facets of personality, and C.M. Kerly is an incredibly skilled author.

Calem, meanwhile, is on a different sort of quest: that of self-discovery. He needs to come to grips with who or what he is. Holy crow, his character development is amazing! I loved him so, so much. I’m zipping my lips so as not to give spoilers, but I could rave about him and his story arc pretty much all day.

New characters are added and others get extra attention, expanding an already well-developed world even more. While I wouldn’t call The Giant’s Echo grimdark, it does take on a darker tone as things become direr. Having an extra sense of urgency and danger made the characters and their inability to give up stand out all the more. I also enjoyed seeing morally complicated characters take center stage. I’m a big fan of murky morality in books, so I was thrilled.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy books with excellent mythologies and engrossing characters. I was happily sucked into The Giant’s Echo.