Tag Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: “Fairhaven Rising”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (https://www.lemodesittjr.com) published the novel “Fairhaven Rising” in 2021. This is the 22 volume in his ‘Saga of Recluce’ series. Mr. Modesitt has published more than 80 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 continues the saga of Recluse. The primary character in this volume is White mage Taelya. 

Taelya is now 23 and is the adopted niece of Baltur. He was the main character in the previous three novels (The Mongrel MageOutcasts of Order, & The Mage-Fire War). Taelya has matured in the 16 years that elapsed since the story in the last volume. She is now an Undercaptain with the Fairhaven city guard. Under Baltur’s tutelage, she has also become a skilled mage. While not yet as strong as Baltur, she is powerful and is growing stronger. She is also developing as a leader. 

The Duchess of Montgren has agreed to ally with Certan. Fairhaven is part of Montgren. The agreement means that troops and mages must travel from Fairhaven. Taelya is one of the mages chosen to travel with the troops as a war mage. 

The trip takes several weeks on horseback through rugged country. They join with troops supplied by Montgren, then with those of Certan. Taelya practices her magic on the long journey. She also encourages the other three Fairhaven war mages to practice as well. Baltur has given the mages a specific mission. They are to support the Montgren troops but not put themselves in danger. As is so often the case the plans for battle do not survive first contact. The Fairhaven forces must survive a military confrontation. They must also deal with deceit and treachery. Will they be able to survive to return home? If they get home will it still be standing?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 19.5+ hours I spent reading this 455-page fantasy novel. This is the fifth novel by Modesitt that I have read. I found all to be very enjoyable. I like that he has moved the focus in this novel to a new generation of mages. You have the familiarity of continuing characters but also a fresh set of characters. The story includes excitement, conflict, and battle. It also includes political intrigue and a touch of romance. I like the chosen cover art. The scene is important to the plot. 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: “Shorefall”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Robert Jackson Bennett (https://www.robertjacksonbennett.com) published the novel “Shorefall” in 2020. This is the second book in the author’s ‘Founders Trilogy’. Mr. Bennett has published nine 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 a world with magic. 

Magic is not manifested through incantations in this world. The magic comes through scrivers writing out complex commands. Much like programming reality. Sancia Grado has led an unusual life. Once a slave now she is a powerful scriver. Grado has a close group of allies. With their help, she is planning to take the power to run the city of Tevanne. No longer will the powerful families hold control.  

They are on the way to success when the legendary Crasedes Magnus appears. He is one of the first hierophants. Thousands of years before he discovered how to write powerful scriving. He gave limited sentience to inanimate objects. This has become the basis for the magic that runs Tevanne. With his power, he now wants to remake humanity. 

Grado and her comrades must overcome scriven magic and survive many dangerous encounters. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 16+ hours I spent reading this 493-page fantasy. You could read this as a stand-alone novel. It would be best though to read the first novel in the series (Foundryside) beforehand. The cover art is dark and simple, but I like it. I give this novel a 4.5 (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: “The Infinity Courts”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Akemi Dawn Bowman (https://www.akemidawnbowman.com) will publish the novel “The Infinity Courts” in 2021 (April). This is Ms. Bowman’s fifth publication. This novel is the first in her “Infinity Courts” 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 mild violence and mature language. The primary character for this young adult novel is 18 -year-old Nami Miyamoto.

Miyamoto is just graduating from High School when she dies. She awakens in a place referred to as Infinity. She finds that others who have passed before her are in conflict with Ophelia an AI. Ophelia has somehow traveled to Infinity and is attempting to take over. Ophelia was popular as a personal assistant (think Siri or Alexa) when Miyamoto was alive on Earth. Miyamoto had spent hours talking to Ophelia before she died.


Now Ophelia is trying to rule Infinity with a population of androids. The people there are becoming their unwilling servants. Miyamoto becomes part of a resistance group. She has taken on an Android-like appearance enabling her to move among Ophelia’s minions.


I enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 480-page young adult novel. The book follows the typical teen thrown into an apocalyptic environment of many young adult novels. There are a few good plot twists and of course some romance. I do like the chosen cover art. 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: “Nameless Queen”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Rebecca McLaughlin published the novel “Nameless Queen” in 2020. This is her first publication.

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 scenes of mild violence. The story is set in another universe in the city of Seridan where magic is real. The primary character is a teenage girl known only as Coin.

Coin is one of the ‘Nameless’. Only those who have a name have status in this world. She has been living on the streets as far back as she can remember. Shortly after King Fallow dies she discovers the tattoo of a crown on her arm. That is the magical symbol of the heir to the throne. The only way King Fallow could have passed on his throne to her is by uttering her name.

How can King Fallow have named her when she doesn’t have a name? She wants to keep it hidden but when a close friend is in danger she reveals herself. No-one wants a Nameless in charge. She is constantly at odds with those in power, particularly General Demure. With no real education other than what she has learned on the streets, Coin has a difficult time fitting in.

Nameless have been disappearing in Seriden. Coin tries to investigate but does not receive much help from the authorities. She discovers a plot to take over Seriden but finds herself at risk.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 344-page young adult fantasy novel. The ‘commoner-thrust-onto-the-throne’ theme is not uncommon. This version does have some things to set it apart. While the novel came to a conclusion, there is plenty of room for a sequel. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4.5 (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: “Heir of Lies”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Mallory McCartney (https://www.authormallorymccartney.com) published the novel “Heir of Lies” in 2020. Ms. McCartney has published three novels and this is the first of her “Black Dawn” 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 a fantasy world. The main characters are late teens Emory Fae, Adair Stratton, Brokk Foster, and Memphis Carter.


All four have been students at The Academy, a school for those with special abilities. Stratton has always been a loaner and a little feared for what he could do. He was tolerated mostly because his parents were close to the Fae’s and founders of The Academy.


King and Prince Maher arrive from the Shattered Isles demanding a new treaty with Kiero. Soon afterward, there is a revolt. The Academy is destroyed. The four main characters find themselves on opposing sides.


The 14+ hours I spent reading this 456-page fantasy novel were interesting. I liked the plot concept, but it seemed to head in too many different directions. It needed more of a focus. The cover art does not connect with the story. I think that a better choice could have been made. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

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

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).