Recent Reads

Book Reviews


The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings by US author Brandon Sanderson was a recent recommendation. This first instalment in The Stormlight Archive series is definitely an epic fantasy not just in the scope of the novel itself but the incredible detail paid to the world-building and the unique characters. The Way of Kings follows a handful of… Continue reading The Way of Kings

Vigil

One of my recent reads was the paranormal urban fantasy, Vigil by Australian author Angela Slatter. The first book in the Verity Fassbinder Series follows the paranormal private detective Verity Fassbinder set in an alternate version of Brisbane city, Australia where Verity acts as a mediator between the mortals (Normals) and the paranormal community (Weyrd).… Continue reading Vigil

Orphan Warriors

I recently read Orphan Warriors, the first installment in the Children of the Otori duology by British-born Australian author Lian Hearn. In the events following the aftermath of  the Tales of the Otori series, Orphan Warriors follows a young protagonist, one of the orphan sons of Arai Zenko, former friend and betrayer to Lord Takeo Otori.… Continue reading Orphan Warriors

Gideon the Ninth

I read Gideon the Ninth by New Zealand author Tamsyn Muir after hearing many great reviews for this magic-induced, science-fiction adventure. Gideon the Ninth focuses on the central character of Gideon from the Ninth House, an orphan raised alongside the ruling heir, the extraordinary necromancer, Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House. Harrowhark is… Continue reading Gideon the Ninth

City of Lies

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me . . .” – City of Lies, Sam Hawke One of my belated book reviews is the debut Fantasy novel City of Lies by Australian author Sam Hawke. The opening line is the best hook for a novel of political intrigue, murder, mystery… Continue reading City of Lies

Circe

I recently read Circe, a historical fantasy by Madeline Miller, a retelling and exploration of the maligned figure in Ancient Greek mythology, the witch Circe. Circe follows the unusual female figure of Ancient Greek literature, the witch daughter of the Titan god Helios, exiled to Aiaia by Olyimpium Zeus. The details of Circe’s strangely mortal-like… Continue reading Circe

The Institute

I read The Institute by US author Stephen King after many reviews discussed the social issues within the novel and the similarities with the psychologically challenging novels Firestarter and Carrie, both sharing with The Institute, children with powers of telekinesis and telepathy. The Institute focuses on twelve year old Luke Ellis, a boy of exceptional… Continue reading The Institute

The Bee and the Orange Tree

I read The Bee and the Orange Tree by Australian author Melissa Ashley. A wonderful historical fiction set during the early stages of the French Revolution but focused on the female literary circles surrounding Baroness Marie Catherine D’Aulnoy established as an author in her own right after successful publication career of several novels and fairytale… Continue reading The Bee and the Orange Tree

A Darker Shade of Magic

I had read many reviews of A Darker Shade of Magic by US author Victoria Schwab and in October 2019, I decided to delve into this popular series. I thoroughly enjoyed the world-building and unique characters of the first book in this trilogy. A Darker Shade of Magic follows Kell, one of two last magicians… Continue reading A Darker Shade of Magic

Zodiac Themed Anthology Series

I’m currently reading the second volume in a 12 part series, a Zodiac themed anthology produced by Aussie Speculative Fiction. Each month, a new anthology featuring that month’s zodiac sign will be released. This January-February, I’m reading Aquarius and because it’s also my own star sign. The Aquarius anthology features many unique interpretations of the… Continue reading Zodiac Themed Anthology Series

Muse of Nightmares

One of the best recent reads was the Muse of Nightmares by US author Laini Taylor. Following the events that brought the prequel Strange the Dreamer (read review here) to a dramatic conclusion, Lazlo Strange has transformed into one of the godspawn, awakening his dormant power to mould the magical blue metal Mesarthim. In a… Continue reading Muse of Nightmares

The Blue Rose

Recently, I read The Blue Rose by Australian author Kate Forsyth, a historical fiction novel that spans the French Revolution and the court of Imperial China. The heroine of The Blue Rose is Viviane de Faitaud, the intelligent daughter of the Marquis de Ravoisier. Raised knowing only her father’s displeasure and cruelty, Viviane leads a… Continue reading The Blue Rose

A Wizard of EarthSea

I have read many reviews about the late US author Ursula K. Le Guin but I had never read her works. After listening to fellow authors and the reading community discuss the impact of her work, I decided I must read A Wizard of Earthsea for myself. Despite my high expectations, I was not disappointed.… Continue reading A Wizard of EarthSea

The Copper Promise

I recently read The Copper Promise, the first novel in The Copper Cat Trilogy by UK author Jen Williams. The Copper Promise follows the unlikely group of adventurers, the female mercenary Wydrin of Crosshaven (the infamous Copper Cat), Sir Sebastian Carverson (an exiled knight) and Lord Frith (a crippled nobleman, dispossessed of his lands). Lord… Continue reading The Copper Promise

The City of Brass

The City of Brass is the first installment in the debut fantasy series The Daevabad Trilogy by American author S. A. Chakraborty based on early Islamic folklore and legends. The City of Brass follows female protagonist Nahri, a con-woman and thief who grew up an orphan on the Cairo streets during Ottoman-French occupation. Nahri has… Continue reading The City of Brass

Dead Beat

I recently read Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, the seventh novel in the Dresden Files. Harry Dresden is Chicago private detective and professional wizard, struggling to make a living and control the powerful magic he wields. Dead Beat is set three days before Halloween when Märvra, vampire Queen of the Black Court and Harry’s enemy,… Continue reading Dead Beat

Godsgrave

Godsgrave is the second volume in the adult dark fantasy The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff. Continuing from the dramatic conclusion of Nevernight, Mia Corvere is now a Blade in the Red Church and with Mr Kindly and Eclipse, she becomes suspicious of a single patron repeatedly requesting her services. After the attacks against the… Continue reading Godsgrave

Beautiful

I recently had the pleasure to read Beautiful by Juliet Marillier in audiobook format. I thoroughly enjoy all of Marillier’s re-imaginings and re-telling of classic folktales and mythologies. Beautiful was certainly as detailed and well-written as previous novels I have read by Juliet Marillier. The inspiration for Beautiful was the Nordic fairy-tale East of the… Continue reading Beautiful

Catching Teller Crow

The YA supernatural mystery, Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, explores Australian history, indigenous legends and cultural understanding through the characters of three young Aboriginal women.Catching Teller Crow follows Beth Teller, a recently deceased Aboriginal girl who has remained as a ghost, trying to stop the grief consuming her father by urging him… Continue reading Catching Teller Crow

Trail of Lightning

Trail of Lightning, a supernatural fantasy by American author Rebecca Roanhorse was a finalist for the 2019 Nebula and Hugo Awards. Trail of Lightning is set in the near-future, a world where legendary Navajo heroes, gods and monsters have re-emerged after a devastating flood leaves only Dinétah, the former Navajo reservation was protected and kept… Continue reading Trail of Lightning

Beauty in Thorns

I just finished reading historical fiction novel, Beauty in Thorns by Australian author Kate Forsyth. Beauty in Thorns was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite movement during the mid-to-late 1800s. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was initially founded by the painters William Holman-Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the late 1840s. The movement expanded to later… Continue reading Beauty in Thorns

Assassin’s Fate

Assassin’s Fate is the final volume in the Fitz & the Fool trilogy by American author Robin Hobb. Assassin’s Fate also marks thefinal instalment in the acclaimed series of novels following the Farseer dynasty. Assassin’s Fate sees the conclusion of the story surrounding Fitz, the illegitimate prince and assassin introduced in The Farseer Trilogy and… Continue reading Assassin’s Fate

Nevernight

Nevernight is the first instalment in an adult Fantasy series The Nevernight Chronicle by best-selling author Jay Kristoff. Nevernight is a complex book with many wonderful aspects and qualities revealed amid the violence inherent to the story. It is told on a grand scale and never pretends to be anything else. Mia Corvere is the… Continue reading Nevernight

The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch is the final volume in The Winternight Trilogy by American author Katherine Arden following female protagonist Vasilisa in this Fantasy series based on Russian folktales. The first book followed Vasilisa’s childhood and the burgeoning of her identity and powers as a witch. The second book set in Moscow explored Vasilisa’s… Continue reading The Winter of the Witch

Wolfskin

I recently read Wolfskin, the first volume in the duology, The Saga of the Light Isles by Australian author Juliet Marillier.Wolfskin begins in Rogaland among the Norseman of the Viking Age, following a young protagonist Eyvind on his journey to become a wolfskin warrior, one of the most esteemed warrior class in Rogaland. Eyvind befriends… Continue reading Wolfskin

A Court of Thorns & Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first novel in an adult Fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas. Although listed as young adult Fantasy like previous novels by Maas, A Court of Thorns & Roses is unsuitable for younger readers and contains appropriate warnings despite the booksellers listing and conflicting publisher imprint from Bloomsbury… Continue reading A Court of Thorns & Roses

The Girl in the Tower

I recently finished reading The Girl in the Tower, the second novel in the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. After the conclusion of The Bear and the Nightingale, Vasilisa’s life has changed forever. Unable to return to the simple life in her father’s holding, Vasilisa decides to travel. Although Medvedev, the Bear is bound again,… Continue reading The Girl in the Tower

Heart’s Blood

Heart’s Blood is a Historical Fantasy by Australian-New Zealand author Juliet Marillier, following the young female scribe Caitrin, who after fleeing her own dark past, takes a commission at the derelict ruins of Whistling Tor in the household of the mysterious Chieftain, Anluan.Caitrin soon earns Anluan’s trust and that of his odd household retainers, a… Continue reading Heart’s Blood

Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer is the first novel in the new series, of the same title by American author Laini Taylor. The previous bestselling trilogy Daughter of Smoke and Bone enchanted younger and older adult readers alike. ​Strange the Dreamer follows a new protagonist in a mythic world sharing some elements with the Daughter of Smoke and… Continue reading Strange the Dreamer

Lord of the Darkwood

The Lord of the Darkwood is the final installment in the  Fantasy series The Tale of Shikanoko by Lian Hearn. The Tale of Shikanoko is inspired by medieval Japan and although the series takes place in a fictional setting, the beautiful descriptions of the Snow Country and the wilderness of Japan are clearly taken from the… Continue reading Lord of the Darkwood

Spinning Silver

The best-selling US author Naomi Novik returns to her Polish heritage in a retelling of Slavic folktales. In Spinning Silver, Miryem is the granddaughter of a prominent Jewish moneylender in the city of Vysnia. In a small village outside Vysnia, Miryem’s father is poorly suited to his position as a moneylender, with his own family… Continue reading Spinning Silver

The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is the first book in the Winternight Trilogy, beautiful retellings of Russian folktales. The Bear and the Nightingale recounts the childhood and adolescence of Vasilisa, the youngest daughter of Pytor, a minor lord from northern Rus. Vasilisa, last child born to Marina, the daughter of the former… Continue reading The Bear and the Nightingale

Den of Wolves

Den of Wolves is the final volume in the Fantasy series Blackthorn & Grim by Juliet Marillier. After the events in Tower of Thorns, Blackthorn and Grim return to Winterfalls hoping the familiar routine will help regain trust with each other and reconcile some of the emotional upheavals. Despite this, they find themselves bound more… Continue reading Den of Wolves

The Darkest Road

The Darkest Road is the final volume in The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. This beautifully crafted trilogy began with The Summer Tree and continued with The Wandering Fire, following five University students from Toronto as they cross into Fionavar, another world, where fate awaits them. The Darkest Road is the epic battle between… Continue reading The Darkest Road

The Norse Myths

A clear and easily understood collection of retellings, The Penguin Book of Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland provides good foundations for later exploration into texts exploring the translations and topics from the Norse Poetic Eddas. The Introduction discusses some of the important elements of Norse cosmology and culture before detailing the different roles gods and… Continue reading The Norse Myths

Amerindian Folktales

The anthology Coming to Light was originally published in 1996 and edited by respected academic Brian Swann. The collected literature comprise translated oral tales, songs and poems sourced from numerous Amerindian cultural traditions throughout Canada and the United States. The anthology provides an introductory note by at least one academic or respected source detailing and… Continue reading Amerindian Folktales

Emperor of the Eight Islands

The Tale of Shikanoko, a new Fantasy series by Australian author Lian Hearn who thrilled Fantasy readers worldwide with the series Tales of the Otori, a mythic historical fantasy inspired by feudal Japan. This new series explores the intrigues of the Emperors’ courts and secretive dark magic of the forested mountains with the first installment,… Continue reading Emperor of the Eight Islands

Goddess

Goddess by Australian author Kelly Gardiner is a witty, complex and beautiful novel re-telling the life of French historical figure Julie d’Aubigny in the seventeenth century. Julie’s character is fiercely portrayed and utterly fascinating, the famous (and infamous) woman who boldly defied social convention instead honouring the truth of herself. Julie d’Aubigny was a remarkable woman… Continue reading Goddess

The Wandering Fire

The Wandering Fire is the second volume in the Fantasy trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay.  After the defining and devastating events at the conclusion of The Summer Tree, the main characters are irrecoverably changed. While some characters like Kim and Dave have found a sense of belonging and self-discovery, others like Paul… Continue reading The Wandering Fire

The Summer Tree

The Summer Tree is the first volume in the epic Fantasy trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. Five university students from Toronto are transported by a mage into another world, to Fionavar, under the pretence of witnessing a celebration, the enduring peace of a thousand years and the continued binding of Rakoth, a… Continue reading The Summer Tree

The Wild Girl

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth proved greater than expectations for a recounting of the romance behind the classic collection of fairy tales for which the Grimm brothers’ found fame.While The Wild Girl recounts the friendship and romance of Dortchen Wild and Wilhelm Grimm, the enduring romance provides a space apart from the bleak reality… Continue reading The Wild Girl

Tower of Thorns

Tower of Thorns is the second volume in the Blackthorn & Grim series by Juliet Marillier. Continuing directly from Dreamer’s Pool, Blackthorn and Grim face new challenges and old memories as Blackthorn struggles to endure the rules imposed upon her by the Fey lord Conmael. While visiting the Dalriadan court with Prince Oran, Blackthorn and… Continue reading Tower of Thorns

The Beast’s Garden

The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth is a meticulously researched historical fiction set in Germany during the rise and to the final days of the Third Reich. The protagonist for the novel is Ava, a German singer of gypsy heritage and daughter of a prominent Berlin academic and psychiatrist. Ava’s life-long and closest friends are… Continue reading The Beast’s Garden

Dreamer’s Pool

In the most recent trilogy by Juliet Marillier, Blackthorn & Grim begins with Dreamer’s Pool, the first volume following two emotionally scarred protagonists, healer and wise-woman, Blackthorn and the mysterious Grim, escapees from a prison and injustices of Mathuin of Laois. The unlikely rescuing of Blackthorn, and incidentally Grim, is orchestrated by Conmael, a member… Continue reading Dreamer’s Pool