Kingshold, D.P. Woolliscraft

Kingshold is a difficult book for me to review. On paper, this book has everything I might want from a political fantasy – it’s tinged with humor and features some common but welcome fantasy tropes. The cover is some of the most beautiful fantasy artwork I have ever seen, and were I to see this…

Faithless, Graham Austin-King

There is no shortage of blacksmithing in fantasy. From the very beginning, we had dwarves pounding mithril in the ancient Mines of Moria, and after Tolkien, it is almost rare to find a fantasy novel without some type of weapon-smithing or armor-forging. But something being common does not mean that it is well-told nor interesting….

Kings of Paradise, Richard Nell

Kings of Paradise begins unlike any book I have ever read. I young boy sits before a fire, roasting parts of a human child over a fire so that he might cannibalize the dead remains. This circumstantial cannibal is Ruka, and he is one of the most complicated and intriguing characters I have ever read…

The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang

Upon finishing The Poppy War, I had two very pressing questions: Why was it called The Poppy War, and why does the cover show, presumably, its main character wielding a bow when she never even touches one within the book’s pages? I was not questioning the book’s plot, it’s quite solid, nor the characters, which are…

City of Kings, Rob J. Hayes

Originally posted over at Fantasy Hive One of the first fantasy books I ever read was David Gemmell’s Legend. Legend is the story of a siege and a retired hero who comes down from his mountain retreat to sacrifice his life to hold that siege. It’s a titanic book, even at a mere 345 pages,…

Nevernight, Jay Kristoff

It is rare for me to find a book, fantasy or otherwise, that I so immediately connect with and enjoy. It happened with my first Haruki Murakami novel, with Senlin Ascends of course, and to my surprise with Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy. If I judged books solely on their cover, I might have guessed…

Quill, A.C. Cobble

Quill is a new type of fantasy for me, but one that I feel has been lacking in my life. I have a fondness for the colonial periods of our world history, despite the innumerable horrors inflicted upon native peoples during the imperialist rampage. There is a sense of adventure and discovery to this time period…

Sin Eater, Mike Shel

If I had been the sole judge in 2018’s recently wrapped up SPFBO, I would have chosen Mike Shel’s Aching God to win it all. His elegant prose and measured pacing won me over from the start, enough that I had to order a print copy of the book halfway through because I didn’t feel that reading…

Seven Blades in Black, Sam Sykes

Sal the Cacophony is a hell of a character. I don’t know that I’ve read her equal, though Monza Murcatto from Joe Abercromie’s Best Served Cold is close. These deadly ladies share a few common characteristics, from their ability to extract death from the unlikeliest of circumstances, to their completely unforgiving and exacting attitudes towards any and every one. They are…