Review: The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

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Spoilers in this review are marked like this: [spoiler] (highlight to reveal). If this doesn’t work for you, proceed with care.

Okay, first off: I went into this book with no great expectations. I picked it up on impulse, in a random kindle sale, intending to save it as light reading for the first time I go to the beach, whenever that will be. I knew I was probably the wrong audience and that there were likely to be things that’d piss me off, but whatever. Give me historical fiction about fencing and 19th century Spain. No need to be quality, just quick and readable.

Well, today the day has come. And turns out that yes, it pretty much lived up to those expectations – entertaining with a shit plot and more than a bit cliché. Which I was luckily more amused than irritated by.

Still, I would not recommend it.

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Reread: The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar (Olondria #2)

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Note: I have not read A Stranger in Olondria before The Winged Histories. It works perfectly fine as a standalone.

This is one of my favourite novels of all time along with The Gray House and more recently The Ten Thousand Doors of January. I first read it in the summer of 2017 and have been thinking it was a shame I never wrote up anything on it ever since. A book that means so much to me – that deserves words. Praise. Anything. So allow me to write something a little…extra ✨

I have breathed on shadows, as one breathes into a soap bubble, to give it breadth and life. I did it because I had to, because human beings cannot live without history, and I have no history or tradition that is not located in a pale, aggressive body lying in the dirt, or hanging from a tree. […] What is the difference between a genius and a monster?

It’s so hard to set expectations correctly. Anything, anything you knew about fantasy and the paths stories take, their structure – it goes right out the window. Forget it. As much of literary fantasy, it avoids the beaten path.

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Review: Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones (Alpennia #1)

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Daughter of Mystery has been this month’s pick for one of the bookclubs I sometimes participate in. Historical fantasy f/f romance seemed amazing, it has been recommended to me before, plus it’s pride month, so I thought why the hell not now? Except…this is not really romance. It calls itself one, but there’s 1) less of it than in most regular fantasy books not billed as romance, 2) it literally all happens only in the last quarter of the book, and 3) the ending is abrupt, unsatisfying bullshit.

How do I approach reviewing a book where the first three quarters are solid, enjoyable historical fantasy intrigue with religious magic and good worldbuilding, but where the ending to the “romance” part of it left me feeling angry and disappointed and betrayed instead of satisfied?

Due to the nature of this review, spoilers for the “romance” will follow, but there will be no spoilers for the historical fantasy portion of it.

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Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive #2)

Rezultat iskanja slik za Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

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This post contains no spoilers for The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1).

The Stormlight Archive is a series that needs no additional introduction. When I want something long and suitably epic, I can count on it to deliver. But while it works very well as a whole and is one of the better epic fantasy series I’ve encountered, the individual parts are far from flawless and I cannot separate it from the hype surrounding it. Because of that, this has been one of the hardest reviews to write.

For once, I’m not going to attempt to summarize the plot. A lot happens and unlike most epic fantasy, it doesn’t have a clear arc, not until the very end. A good or a bad thing? Depends. As usual, Sanderson holds his cards close and keeps information to  dribble right until the end, when he unleashes everything at once.

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Review: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (The Divine Cities #1)

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City of Stairs has been lying on my TBR since early 2015. It has been in my yearly reading plan every single year, and every single year I have somehow forgotten to get around to it. When I finally did…oh sweet fuck, it was good.

Perhaps no one on the Continent ever quite knew what they were seeing. And now that the Divinities are gone, we might never know. Time renders all people and all things silent. And gods, it seems, are no exception.

Decades ago, the gods of Bulikov were killed, their magic lost. The former empire and colonial power subjugated by the very people they used to oppress, their history erased. Now the the Saypuri historian researching the gods and the forbidden history has been killed and Shara, officially a minor diplomat but secretly one of the most accomplished spies, has been sent to investigate the murder along with her northern secretary/bodyguard Sigrud. And that’s only the start…

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Review: Witchmark by C.L. Polk (The Kingston Cycle #1)

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Witchmark ended up being the book that finally got me out of my March reading slump. It’s a charming, easy read, that hit precisely the right spot.

The plot is one third murder mystery, one third romance, and one third historical fantasy, which makes for a lovely mix. In a world where lower-class witches are persecuted and shut into asylums or enslaved, Miles only wants to lie low, be free, and work as a doctor in a run-down veterans’ hospital…until a mysterious stranger brings in a dying patient who knows who and what he is. Then, of course, things get complicated.

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Mini Reviews: Ninefox Gambit, Treason’s Shore, Prince of the Godborn (DNF), A Coalition of Lions

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You may have noticed there haven’t been any posts for a while. Since March started and I got hit with a full load of classes and assignments again, time and energy for reviews have been scarce. Writing takes a lot out of me. I faced quite the conundrum: I still wanted to review every book I read, but at the same time I’ve been way too exhausted to and in a massive reading slump besides. Blogging simply fell by the wayside.

This is a compromise: a series of mini reviews that don’t quite fit my usual format. It’s probably not going to be the last post of this type. I’m starting to feel better, there will be longer reviews again, but it’s probably still a while until I’ll be able to post with any sort of consistency.

Continue reading “Mini Reviews: Ninefox Gambit, Treason’s Shore, Prince of the Godborn (DNF), A Coalition of Lions”