Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: “Before the Broken Star”

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(See all my Book Reviews) – Author Emily R. King (http://emilyrking.com/) published the novel “Before the Broken Star” in 2019. Ms. King has published 5 novels. This is the first in her “Evermore Chronicles” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in another world. The primary character is 17-year-old girl Everley Donovan.

Donovan saw her family killed. She was attacked too but somehow survived. She lives because of a miraculous mechanical heart. She has always assumed that her uncle, a skilled clockmaker, had created the heart. She has been living for years with her uncle and hiding as his adopted apprentice.

Donovan’s father had been an explorer and that is somehow tied to the family’s death. Her father’s former partner Killian Markham comes into the clock shop. It was he who had killed her family and attacked her. She knows she must avenge her family. Now Governor Killian Markham is leading the colony on Dagger Island.

Donovan gets charged with a crime to be sent as a potential wife to the Dagger Island colony. Dagger Island was the last place her father and Markham explored. Donovan wants to revenge the death of her family and find out why her father had to die.

First Lieutenant Jamison Callahan had first seen Donovan in the clock shop. He is the Governor’s aid and is in charge of the women convicts being transported to Dagger Island. Much to Donovan’s annoyance, Callahan seems to have feelings for her.

Donovan must survive the journey by ship and fit into the colony until she can take her revenge. Dagger Island has many myths and there are dangers there to avoid. She must also find a way of being consigned to an unwanted husband.

I enjoyed the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 294-page young adult fantasy novel. I liked the characters and the plot. This has the makings for a good series. The selected cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The Mercutio Problem”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) –  Carol Anne Douglas (https://www.carolannedouglas.com) published the novel “The Mercutio Problem” in 2019. This is her fourth novel and the second in her ‘Merlin’s Shakespeare’ series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains Violence and Adult Situations. The story is set in contemporary times and in the realms of Shakespeare’s plays.

The primary character is high school actor Beth Owens. The wizard Merlin again sends her back to the age of Shakespeare. She must struggle with Richard III. He has become a mixture of the character from Shakespeare’s play and Merlin’s arch-enemy Mordred.

Richard is fomenting a revolt of Shakespeare’s characters to get their stories rewritten. He not only is causing problems in the world of Shakespeare but also in the real world. There are some characters who want to keep the stories just as Shakespeare wrote them. They have become Owen’s allies.

The young High School student Owens must lead the opposition.

I found the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 296-page young adult fantasy were interesting. I read the first novel of this series (Merlin’s Shakespeare) and hoped this one would get better. I’m disappointed to say that it didn’t. The basic plot was good, but it felt weak as implemented. There is a bit of LGBTQIA woven into the plot. The selected cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “American Magic”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Zach Fehst (https://www.zachfehst.com/) published the novel “American Magic” in 2019. He has published two novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the contemporary world.

One day magic begins to happen. Not everyone has the ability and strength varies, but there is suddenly magic in the world. The US government must find the cause and stop the spread of magic or chaos will reign across the world.

The CIA reaches out to former agent Ben Zolstra. Zolstra is not a team player and has had many confrontations with the CIA Director. He has resigned because of that. Now with great reluctance, he rejoins the agency.

Eila Mack is a young black woman who is amazed to discover that she has magical ability. One day she is showing off for her friends in the neighborhood. The next she is being held as a prisoner in a government safe house.

When the CIA Director relieves Zolstra of his post, Zolstra sees only one option. He decides to do what he does best, he takes the mission solo. He grabs Mack and they soon are on the trail of the source of magic. Of course, they are also being pursued by government agents. The two must find the source and stop it before the world falls into anarchy.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 320-page fantasy novel. This was an interesting plot with a mix of thriller and fantasy. I like the cover art for the novel, but I don’t see how it relates to the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Do you read Science Fiction or Fantasy?

Updated 4/17/20

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(See my other Reading related posts) – I have been following Baen Books for a few years. I first posted about them several months back. With the current ‘shelter-in-place’ policy I thought it deserved another look.

Not only does Baen Books offer more than 70 eBooks for free download, but they also have dozens of short stories. And of course, you can buy ebooks through them as well at a low cost. There are more than 2200 books currently available from them. They also offer several different 7-book bundles for only $18 per bundle.

Some of the recent short stories are:

  1. “Waiting for the Talisman” by P.C. Hodgell https://www.baen.com/talisman 
  2. “Voodoo Magic” by Robert Buettner https://www.baen.com/voodoomagic
  3. “Burners” by Matt McHugh https://www.baen.com/burners 
  4. “Treason Properly” by J.J. Cragun https://www.baen.com/treason 
  5. “Talk Girl” by Wil McCarthy https://www.baen.com/talkgirl 
  6. “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller https://www.baen.com/galaxyballroom 
  7. “Next Giant Leap” by Patrick Chiles https://www.baen.com/nextgiantleap 
  8. “The Red Sea” by Mercedes Lackey & Cody Martin https://www.baen.com/redsea 
  9. “Adrift” by Frank Chadwick  https://www.baen.com/adriftfc 
  10. “The Policeman’s Daughter” by Wil McCarthy https://www.baen.com/policemansdaughter 
  11. “Peregoy’s Wolves” by Nancy Kress https://www.baen.com/peregoyswolves 

If you are looking for more eBooks to help pass the time at home, Baen is a good source!

Book Review: “The Mage-Fire War”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author L. E. Modesitt Jr (https://www.lemodesittjr.com) published the novel “The Mage-Fire War” in 2019. Mr. Modesitt has published 80 novels. This is the 21st in his “Saga of Recluse” series. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains Violence. The story is set on a fantasy world. The primary character is Black Mage Beltur. 

Beltur and his wife, along with another mage and his family have traveled to the country of Montgren. The Duchess of Montgren offers them the position of Town Councilors of Haven. Of course, they must bring it out of a state of decay. Beltur and the Council face opposition from some of the townspeople.  They all soon find themselves under threat of invasion as well. They must fight for their new home 

Beltur’s prior experience as a war mage and a scout is critical. His abilities are key in their struggle against the invaders. The struggle does not leave the town of Haven unscathed. 

I enjoyed the 16 hours I spent reading this 538-page fantasy novel. This is the fourth Modesitt novel I have read. I enjoy this author’s work. This is a continuation of the founding story of Freehaven. I have read both of the other books (The Mongrel Mage and Outcasts of Order) in this subseries of Recluse. I have enjoyed these three novels. Modesitt weaves a good tale with rich characters. I look forward to more of his work. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The History Behind Game of Thrones”

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(See all of my Book Reviews and Game of Thrones related posts) – Author David C. Weinczok (http://castlehunter.scot/) published the book “The History Behind Game of Thrones” in 2019. This is his first book. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The book compares the ‘history’ from the Game of Thrones novels and TV series to the real history of Scotland. The book highlights the similarities between the fantasy world and Scottish history.

I have read all the novels published so far in the “A Song of Fire and Ice” series. I have enjoyed watching the TV production on HBO. I am of Scottish descent and have a rough idea of Scotland and its history. Unfortunately, I am not familiar enough with Scotland to completely appreciate many of the comparisons drawn in this book. Those from Scotland, or at least very familiar with Scotland, will appreciate it more.

I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 248-page history. There are several comparisons made to Game of Thrones. This book is, more than anything else, a history of Scotland. There were a few photos included in the book. I would have gained more if there had been more photos and especially some detailed maps. I like the cover art. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The Soul of Power”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Soul of Power” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Callie Bates (https://calliebates.com). This is Ms. Bates’ third novel and the third book in her “The Waking Land” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in another universe and place, one that allows magic.

The primary character of this book is Sophy Dunbarron. Dunbarron is the illegitimate daughter of the king. Now, since she joined the rebellion led by Elanna Valtai’, she has assumed the throne of a once divided country at the age of 21. Her position is far from secure as there are many who oppose her and she must respond to an open rebellion.

She fears she has lost her close friend Valtai forever when Dunbarron learns that Valtai has been captured. She also discovers a secret about herself that could cost her the throne. Will she and her forces be able to qualm the unrest at home and hold off the forces that want to take her country.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 13 hours I spent reading this 464-page fantasy. While the lead in this novel is 21, it still has a Young Adult feel to it. I have read and enjoyed both of the earlier books in this series (“The Waking Land” and “The Memory of Fire“). I think that Ms. Bates has created a very engaging fantasy universe. I liked that this book in the series took a different point of view than the earlier volumes. It is also written in the first-person view of Dunbarron. While this could be read on its own, it would be best to read the prior two books of the series first. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Timebound”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – The “Timebound” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Heather Albano (http://www.heatheralbano.com). Ms. Albano has published three novels with this being the third book in her “Keeping Time” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set across the last few centuries. This time the primary character is Maxwell Carrington.

Carrington has been separated from the other time travelers. Inadvertently one of the time travel watches is found by agents of Nazi Germany. This adds an additional layer of difficulty to Carrington and his colleagues. They struggle to set the timeline back to what it should be.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 200-page steampunk science fiction tale. I have enjoyed all three novels in this series, but I think that this is the best of the three. I think that the author did a good job of concluding the trilogy. Definitely, I would recommend reading the first two books of the trilogy before this one. The chosen cover art is OK, but something closer to the plot would have been better in my opinion. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Timekeeper”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Timekeeper” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Heather Albano (https://www.facebook.com/heatheralbanoauthorpage/). This is Ms. Albano’s second publication and the second in her “Keeping Time” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set across time in Europe. The primary character is 17-year-old Elizabeth Barton. She, along with her love interest William Carrington and mysterious friend Maxwell, continue their fight to put the timeline back the way it should be.

They use their time travel pocketwatch to move to one critical moment in time after another. They are fighting a very dangerous battle to keep both the Frankenstein like monsters and the metal giants from ever being created. They must also find a way to keep Napolean from victory at Waterloo.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 280-page young adult steampunk thriller. This novel is just a continuation of “Timepiece” the first novel in the series. The characters are much the same as in that first novel. I have enjoyed the first two novels in the trilogy and look forward to the third. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Trailer for “Jungle Cruise”

I will be looking forward to seeing Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” when it comes out on July 24, 2020. I rode the Jungle Cruise ride for the first time at Disneyland back in the late ’50s. The ride can now be enjoyed at four of the Disney parks: Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland. It was one of the top-level rides when Disneyland opened in 1955. The synopsis per IMDB:

Based on Disneyland’s theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles, but with a supernatural element.

This looks like it will be another fun movie with Dwayne Johnson.