Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review – The Skylark’s Song

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – J. M. Frey https://jmfrey.net(AKA Peggy Barnett) is the author of more than a dozen books. The Skylark’s Songwas published in 2018 and is the first volume of her Skylark Saga series. This was the 101st book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book/novel as R. The primary character is 17-year-old Robin Arianhod.

Sergeant Arianhod has grown up with the war raging between Saskwya and Klonn. As per the custom, she had begun her apprenticeship when she was only 11. She had finally earned her way to crew a glider. She was the flight mechanic responsible for aircraft maintenance. In combat, she rides behind the pilot and drops bombs when commanded. She also defends their ship with her gun.

That all changes the day that her pilot is confronted by the Coyote. The Coyote is a ruthless Klonn pilot that has brought many Saskwya down. After her pilot is wounded, Arianhod must take over. Amazingly she holds her own against the Coyote and lands their plane.

For that feat of courage, Arianhod is promoted to pilot, a mighty achievement for one of her class. Her exploits in the air against the Klonn grow, and she takes on the nickname of the Skylark. Eventually, she once again faces the Coyote. As good as she has become, her luck runs out, and she is shot down.

While Arianhod survives the resulting crash, her close friend and flight engineer Al does not. The Coyote makes her his captive. Instead of the treatment she feared, he treats her like an aristocrat. Their relationship develops, but as much as she is attracted to him, he is still the enemy.

When a strange, one-of-a-kind rocket pack falls into the Coyote’s possession, Arianhod decides she must escape. She has been repairing it, and now it is ready. If the Klonn can utilize the rocket pack, the war will swing in their favor.

Arianhod sees the rocket pack as her means of escape. She hopes she can then use it to bring the decade-long war to an end. But to do so, she must slip away. Once she has escaped, she will have to survive miles behind enemy lines. The odds are against her, but she always has been lucky.

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 288-page young adult, steampunk novel. This novel mixes intrigue, romance, and courage in a teenage girl’s life. The plot is infused with steampunk tech to give it an interesting twist. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 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 – Councilor: A Novel in the Grand Illusion

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – L. E. Modesitt Jr. https://www.lemodesittjr.com is the author of more than 80 novels. Councilor: A Novel in the Grand Illusion was published in 2022. It is the second book in the Grand Illusion series and the 62nd book I’ve completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to some scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. Steffan Dekkard continues as the main character.

Dekkard, now married, has been appointed to the Council of Sixty-Six as a member of the Craft party. The Commercers had dominated the Council for decades. They are not taking the rise of the Craft party well. It is well that both he and his wife are former security aids. More than one assassination attempt must be averted.

The controversy around him is intensified by his stand on unpopular issues to the Commercer party. Most important is his introduction of legislation to reform Security. His position on women’s rights has also stirred controversy.

Making matters worse is the growing threat from the New Meritorists.

I enjoyed the 23.5+ hours I spent reading this 521-page fantasy. The novel contains action and a lot of political intrigues. I have read six other novels by Modesitt, and they have been consistently excellent. Those books are EndgamesThe Mongrel MageOutcasts of OrderThe Fire-Mage WarFairhaven Rising, and, most recently, Isolate. The cover art for this novel is a bit dark but fits the story. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review – Isolate

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – L. E. Modesitt Jr. https://www.lemodesittjr.com is the author of more than 80 novels. Isolate was published in 2021. It is the first book in the Grand Illusion series and the 61st book I’ve completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. Steffan Dekkard is the primary character. He is an isolate, that is, one who is immune to empaths.

Dekkard has recently graduated from the Military Institute and security training. Now he is one of the Security Aides for Councilor Axel Obreduur. Not only must the Councilor be protected from political rivals, but there is growing unrest. With his fellow Security Aide Avraal Ysella, Dekkard must constantly be vigilant.

They both soon find that Obreduur is not the only target. They have become targets as well. The two find themselves attracted to one another, and romance soon follows.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 28.5 hours I spent reading this 601-page fantasy. The novel contains action and a lot of political intrigues. I have read five additional books by Modesitt, and they have been consistently excellent. Those books are EndgamesThe Mongrel MageOutcasts of OrderThe Fire-Mage War, and Fairhaven Rising. The cover art for this novel is a bit dark but fits the story. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review – A Touch of Light

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(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Thiago Abdalla https://www.tabdalla.com is the author of two novels. A Touch of Light was published in 2022 and is the first in his Ashes of Avarin series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R.

The story is set in the world of Avarin. There are two dominant groups, each with a radically different view on death. In the Domain in the north lives are long and death is seen as the ultimate sin. The bodies of those who die can be preserved, then brought back by the Seraph when she returns to Avarin. In the South are the clans. They embrace death to prevent the return of Zara the goddess of death.

A madness is spreading throughout the land without regard to religious views. There are three primary characters. In the North are Lynn and Adrian. Lynn is a rogue Sentinel warrior who is in hiding. She can call upon special powers when engaged in combat. Adrian is a Domain Prince who is leading an army. Nasha lives in the South. She is a cursed hunter and lifelong outcast. The story revolves around these three.

Adrian uses his army to confront the crazed who are attacking everyone. Lynn believes she may have the answer to combating the madness. Nasha is just trying to fit in with her people.

I enjoyed the 14.5+ hours I spent reading this 456-page fantasy. The book seems to be three relatively unconnected stories. There is plenty of action, intrigue, and political maneuvering. I give this novel a rating of 3.5 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

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

Book Review – Seven Deaths of an Empire

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – G R Matthews https://www.grmatthews.com/ is the author of a dozen novels. Seven Deaths of an Empire was published in 2021 and is the first work in his Six Kingdoms Series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as ‘R’. The novel has two primary characters. General Bordan commands the army of the Empire and is living in the capital. Apprentice Magician Kyron is far from the capital and is still learning his craft.

The Emperor died while on a campaign in the far North. His body is being escorted back south to the capital. There, the heir will be crowned as the new Emperor. Kyron and his master are with the honor guard. The road home is long and dangerous. Rebels in the surrounding forest would like to see them all dead.

Bordan is about to retire but feels it his duty to see the the heir crowned as the next Emperor. Rebellion, assassins, and political intrigue threaten the Empire. He must do what he can to protect the heir to the throne.

This is a story of intrigue and betrayal. Bordan has dedicated his life to supporting the Empire. He would rather die than see it fall. Kyron can barely control his magic. He is thrust unprepared into a dangerous world.

I enjoyed the 14.5 hours I spent reading this 471-page fantasy. The novel hops back and forth between Bordan and Kyron, giving each a chapter. The chosen cover art is a little plain. I give this novel a rating of 4.4 (rounded down 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: Engines of Empire

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – R S Ford https://www.wordhog.co.uk/ is the author of eight novels. This novel, Engines of Empire was published in January of this year. It is the first in his Age of Uprisingseries.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’. This is due to scenes of violence and mature language. The nation of Torwyn is run by the various Guilds. Each of those is dominated by a family. The Hawkspurs is one of those principal families. Sullivar is head of the Hawkspurs family and the emperor of Torwyn, his wife Rosomon the matriarch of the family. They have three adult-age children.

The story revolves around Rosomon and her three children. Conail is the eldest and an officer in the military. He leaves the capital for the frontier to establish a reputation for himself. He is committed to a life in the military even though many career officers consider him an interfering noble.

Daughter Tyreta is the middle child and a sorceress. She is learning to channel the power of pyrestone. That substance is the magic behind the industry of Torwyn. She leaves the capital for another part of the frontier. She discovers the truth behind the native population that is being suppressed.

The youngest child, Fulren, is a skilled artificer. The foreign emissary, Assenah Neskhon of Jubara, arrives from Nyrakkis. Fulren is tasked to be her guide around the city. After a few days, assassins attack the two. He is left wounded and framed for the attack. To prevent a war with Nyrakkis, he is sent there for punishment.

Once the children have all left the capital, Emperor Sullivar is killed in a coup. Rosomon must find a way to flee the city to safety. Each of the children faces their own dangerous adventures. They all must find a way to survive if the Empire is to be saved.

I enjoyed the 16.5 hours I spent reading this 625-page fantasy. The story is full of perilous adventures. It is also filled with plots, political wrangling, and conspiracies. If you like epic tales of fantasy, you will enjoy this novel. I give it a rating of 4.8 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

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

Book Review: Lord of Chaos

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Robert Jordan published the sixth novel in his ‘The Wheel of Time’ series, Lord of Chaos, in 1994. He published more than 20 novels during his writing career.

I recently listened to this book on Audible. I had read it once several years ago. When we heard that a TV series based on the Wheel of Time novels would be on Amazon Prime, both my wife and I decided to read/listen to them again. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because of scenes of violence. The fantasy series spans 15 novels.

Rand al’Thor, The Dragon Reborn, has taken Tear, Andor, and Caemlyn. His influence extends even further. He has established the Black Tower where men who can channel are training as Asha’man. The Aiel clans other than the Shaido have pledged their support to Rand. They see him as the Car’a’carn, their chief of chiefs.

The Aes Sedai are split, though both factions seek an alliance with or the domination of Rand. He is well aware of what they want and does his best to keep his distance from them.

The Forsaken and the Dark One are still plotting against Rand. Somehow they have changed the weather. Causing severe storms at sea, with heat and drought across the land.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 41.5 hours I spent listening to this 720-page fantasy. I like the art selected for the hardback cover. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “The Fires of Heaven”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Robert Jordan published the fifth novel in his ‘The Wheel of Time’ series, The Fires of Heaven, in 1993. He published more than 20 novels during his writing career.

I recently listened to this book on Audible. I had read it once several years ago. When we heard that a TV series based on the Wheel of Time novels would be on Amazon Prime, both my wife and I decided to read/listen to them again. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because of scenes of violence. The fantasy series spans 15 novels.

With the coming of the Dragon Reborn, the world has sunk into turmoil. The Shaido Aiel, led by a false Car’a’carn, have left the Waste. He is leading them on the trail of destruction. The White Tower has split, forcing Aes Sedai to take sides.

Rand al’Thor continues to learn the ways of the One Power. He still does not trust the Aes Sedai, not even Moiraine Damodred. He must use anyone, even his friends, to enable himself to be ready for the final battle.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 36.5 hours I spent listening to this 704-page fantasy. I like the art selected for the hardback cover. I rate this novel as 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 Shadow Rising”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Robert Jordan published the fourth novel in his ‘The Wheel of Time’ series, The Shadow Rising in 1992. He published more than 20 novels during his writing career.

I recently listened to this book on Audible. I had read it once several years ago. When we heard that a TV series based on the Wheel of Time novels would be on Amazon Prime, both my wife and I decided to read/listen to them again. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because of scenes of violence. The fantasy series spans 15 novels.

Rand al’Thor fulfilled one prophecy when he took possession of the sword Callandor. He now follows the Aiel back to the Waste. Before he goes to the final battle, he must complete another prophecy.

Once at the Aiel Waste, he is allowed to travel to the sacred city of Rhuidean. Once there, he, Mat, and Moiraine step through a ter’angreal doorway. Days pass, but all three eventually find their way out. Each has been changed in their own way. Most impurely, Rand now bears the dragon symbols on both of his arms. To the Aiel, he is the Car’a’carn. He is the chief of chiefs in their prophecies.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 41+ hours I spent listening to this 704-page fantasy. I like the art selected for the hardback cover. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “The Dragon Reborn”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Robert Jordan published the third novel in his The Wheel of Time series The Dragon Reborn in 1991. He published more than 20 novels during his writing career.

I recently listened to this book on Audible. I had read it the first time several years ago. When we heard that a TV series based on the Wheel of Time novels would be on Amazon Prime, both my wife and I decided to read/listen to them again. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because of scenes of violence. The fantasy series spans 15 novels.

The story of the three young men who are ta’veren and the three girls training to be Aes Sedai continues. Warfare has dwindled with the coming of winter weather. Rand has finally realized that he is the Dragon Reborn. He seeks to fulfill one of the Dragon prophecies – recovering the sword called Callandor. He must travel to the fortress called the Stone of Tear to obtain Callandor. Rand is not the only one who must endure danger and the forces of the Dark One. Moraine and the others have their own deadly confrontations.

I enjoyed the 24.5+ hours I spent listening to this 624-page fantasy. I am enjoying listening to this novel. It is every bit as good as it was when I read it the first time. I liked the cover art used on the hardcover edition. I rate this novel as a 5 out of 5.

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