Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: “The Gilded Wolves”

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Book Reviews – “The Gilded Wolves” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Roshani Chokshi (https://roshanichokshi.com). Ms. Chokshi has published six 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. The story is set in 1889 Paris, though in an alternate history – a  timeline that includes magic. The primary character is treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie.

The powerful Order of Babel forces Alarie to help them on a mission. He recruits some well-known associates to help. There is the engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a near brother. They, along with Hypnos, the young heir of House Nyx, must confront other houses of magic, avoid the efforts of a fallen house, and protect the Babel Fragment held in Europe.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 400-page alternate history fantasy. I think better cover art could have been chosen. I liked the plot and the different approach to magic in the alternate universe. The principal characters are an interesting assortment. I give this novel a  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).

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Book Review: “The Iron Codex”

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Book Reviews – “The Iron Codex” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by David Mack (http://davidmack.pro). Mr. Mack has published nearly 40 novels. This is the second novel in his “Dark Arts” 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 and Mature Language. The story is set the contemporary time frame, but in a slightly alternate world, one with magic. The primary character is Russian Anja Kernova who has been hunting former Nazis in South America.

There are three other principal characters: The American Cade Martin who works for British MI6, but who is now under suspicion because he has been disappearing;  The German Briet Segfrunsdóttir who now serves as the master magician of the Pentagon’s top-secret magickal warfare program; and the Spanish Father Luis Roderigo Pérez of the Monte Paterno Monastery who has been studying White Magic for the Catholic Church.

World War II has been over nearly a decade. Kernova is using her abilities to hunt Nazis. She comes into possession of the Iron Codex that contains many magical secrets. That causes her to be the target of pursuit by agents of the Vatican, Russia, and others. Complicating the situation is the effort by a cabal led by Dragan Dalca to open the way for demons.

Kernova calls on Martin for help. Both Segfrunsdottir and Pérez are drawn into the fray on the side of Kernova. There are many competing groups all wanting to control the Iron Codex for different agendas.

I enjoyed the 12 hours I spent reading this 375-page alternate history fantasy. I found this novel a little hard to read without having read the first novel in the series, but it wasn’t too bad. I thought that the plot was interesting, mixing magic and spies. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

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

More Interesting Music on YouTube

Music – Last Monday on the Aethereal Engineer website he posted “Epic Music: Graham Plowman — Of Elder Things and Shoggoths“.

Now I am not a big music fan generally, but I liked this as it is all instrumental. I will often play instrumental music while I am working or reading. The music in this post fits well with that use case.

In fact, you might want to check out all of the posts that the composer of the above-mentioned music, Graham Plowman, has. He has many (more than 80 at the time I write this) videos there of his music. All of his titles are based on horror, fantasy, or science fiction themes. If you want some interesting instrumental music, you might want to try them all.

macOS New App Release – Once upon a Dungeon 1.9

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Product Announcements Koto Games of Rzeszów, Podkarpackie is pleased to announce the anniversary edition of Once upon a Dungeon 1.9 for macOS and Windows, a roguelike game with a dense atmosphere and challenging gameplay. Explore dark dungeons full of dreadful foes. Defeat them using physical power or mighty spells. Meet Slavic gods, discover how to awake them and unleash their power. Craft magic items, collect unique ones, enhance your attributes and face the main antagonist – Fallen One.

The most important features of the game include:

  • Turn Based – each entity in the game level performs its move one after another
  • Procedurally generated – each time you play the game, the layout of dungeons will be slightly different. Loot collected from monsters, as well as chests, will also be random
  • Hack oriented – the goal is to kill monsters and find powerful treasures in order to kill stronger ones and then repeat the process
  • Classic quests such as cleaning up an old cemetery, and game specific ones like defeating the Wawel Dragon
  • Permanent death – it’s an optional feature

If you played it on its release date, new features shall make it worth a second look. If you did not, and you enjoy old school dungeon crawlers, you might give it a try – especially if it’s going to be part of an anniversary sale Jan 19-21, 2019. It can be purchased through Steam.

Short Story and Review: “Father Avenir and the Fire Demons of Yellowstone”

Short Stories – I read the short story “Father Avenir and the Fire Demons of Yellowstone” that was posted on the Baen Books website. This short story was written by Kevin J. Anderson (http://kjablog.com) and Sarah A. Hoyt (https://accordingtohoyt.com). Mr. Anderson has published more than 140 books. Ms. Hoyt has published a dozen novels in various genres.

I categorize this short story as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in early America. It is hard to tell if this should be categorized as an Alternate History or just a Fantasy. A priest traveling alone in the west enters Yellowstone and confronts his demons.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 35 minutes I spent reading this fantasy. I liked the story enough, but it wasn’t clear to me where it was going. I think it needed more explanation. I give this short story a 3 out of 5.

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

 

Book Review: “Changeling”

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Book Reviews – “Changeling” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Molly Harper (https://www.mollyharper.com/). Ms. Harper has published more than thirty novels. This is the first in her “Sorcery and Society” 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 ‘G’. The story is set in an alternate history of sorts where magic is possible. The primary character is 14-year-old Cassandra Reed, aka Sarah Smith.

In this timeline, those with magic have risen up and taken over the world. Those without magic, the Snipes, are ‘taken care of’ by those with magic. Those with magic grow richer and more powerful, while the Snipes simply become servants and tradesman.

Smith is a Snipe and has grown up living in the Warren. She and her family serve the magical and powerful Winters family. Once Smith accidentally demonstrates a magical ability of her own, things change. Snipes are not ever supposed to have the ability to use magic. Smith, has the ability and it is powerful. The Winters change her looks and enroll her as a distant cousin in Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies.

The Winters foster the coverup as it would be just as devastating to them as to Smith and her family for the truth to get out. Smith struggles at the school having to deal with snobby girls. She finally finds a couple of friends there who are each an outcast in their own way. Her jealous sister threatens their subterfuge and everyone is threatened by a witch that wants to raise the dead and use that army to take over the world.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 271-page young adult fantasy. The characters were interesting and the plot, while not new, was well implemented. I did think that the end to the story came more quickly that it could have. The final confrontation might have been strung out a little more. Certainly, a firm footing is laid for follow-on novels in the series. The cover art is OK, but a scene from the story would have been better in my opinion. I give this novel a 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: “Time’s Children”

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Book Reviews – “Time’s Children” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by D. B. Jackson (http://www.dbjackson-author.com). Mr. Jackson has published six novels. This is the first of his “Islevale Cycle” 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 and Mature Situations. The story is set in another world where magic is possible. The primary character is fifteen-year-old Tobias Doljan.

Doljan is a student of magic with a specialty as a Walker who can travel through time. He is sent to the court of Daerjen. The sovereign of Daerjen, Mearlan IV, asks him to Walk back in time fourteen years, far beyond what is normally allowed. Doljan agrees to take the risk and the burden of aging himself fourteen years in order to stop the war that has been going on.

Doljan survives the trip back in time, but Mearlan and his court are unexpectedly attacked and killed, disrupting the timeline. The only survivor is Doljan and Mearlan’s baby girl. Doljan, though only fifteen in the body of a thirty-year-old man, must find a way to save the princess and evade the invaders.

Doljan’s close friend and love from the magic school, Mara, senses the disruption in time when Mearlan is killed in the past. Though she has forgotten who Doljan is, she knows she must follow him into the past to correct the change in history.

Plots that span time. Magical creatures. Threats from foreign powers. This has the making of a great fantasy series.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 13 hours I spent reading this 528-page fantasy. I liked the plot and the characters. I think the twist of aging those who travel through time adds to the story. I like the 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).

Short Story Review: “Sufficient Unto the Day”

Short StoriesReviews – As I sat down to have lunch today I decided to read one of the many on-line short stories I have been accumulating. This one, “Sufficient Unto the Day“, was written by Tim Powers (http://www.theworksoftimpowers.com/) and posted on the Baen Books website.

As it turns out this short story is a tale of Thanksgiving dinner with a very dysfunctional and magical family. If you have had ‘issues’ with your family this past Thanksgiving, read this short story and you will begin to look back at your Thanksgiving dinner more fondly.

The Coldharp/Hoffman family was preparing for their annual Thanksgiving celebration. A few folks were coming from out of town, while others were making an appearance from the ‘other side’. It started out well, but things began to fall apart. You know how it is – plates flying apart, silverware flying and bending, and kids being sucked into a cartoon program on TV.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 32 minutes I spent reading this seasonally appropriate fantasy short story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

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

Epic Music: Clamavi De Profundis — Song of Durin

I have always really liked Tolkien’s stories of Middle Earth.

This is an original composition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Song of Durin” by
Clamavi De Profundis and published to YouTube in April of 2017.

If you like Tolkien you will enjoy this!

Aethereal Engineer


~*~ Epic
~*~*~ Music
~*~*~*~ Monday!

I love epic music! For me it is a perfect combination of the classic orchestral scoring, chorales and electronica music that I have enjoyed for decades. This stuff inspires me, and is a great companion as I write away on an exciting piece of fiction.

Discover more Epic Music Mondays.

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