#BlogTour The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

This is one of my favourite fantasy series, so it is my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Winter of the Witch, the last part of The Winternight Trilogy (a damn shame) by Katherine Arden.

About the Author

Born in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent her junior year of high school in Rennes, France. Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrolment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature.

After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crêpes to serving as a personal tour guide. After a year on the island, she moved to Briançon, France, and spent nine months teaching. She then returned to Maui, stayed for nearly a year, then left again to wander. Currently she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.

She is the author of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. These novels make up the first two parts of The Winternight Trilogy.

Follow @arden_katherine @EburyPublishing on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit katherinearden.comBuy The Winter of the Witch

About the book

One girl can make a difference…

Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.

Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders. But she may not be able to save them all.

Review

This is the third and final part of The Winternight Trilogy. I really wish it wasn’t, perhaps there will be a spin-off one day. Then again why mess with a perfect series of books. If you are just stumbling on this author or this book then I recommend you go back and read the other two books. You won’t be disappointed.

At the end of book two a huge fire rips through Moscow. Vasya finds herself exposed and revealed, which leads to her nearly being killed by a frenzied mob, all thanks to the meddling of her old nemesis Konstantin. There are plans to burn her as a witch, but her life comes at a terrible price and sacrifice.

Everything that has gone before, every creature, demon, witch and tale comes together to bring this majestic and magical story to its conclusion. Vasya must face peril without the safety-net of Morozko and the two of them must finally come to terms with the obsessive pull of their relationship.

The entire story is like a magical spiderweb that is spun by Rumpelstiltskin like figures and spread over the Russian landscape by the magic that floats in the air and lives in the shadows.

Arden combines the artful storytelling skill of an old Russian master with fairytales, folklore and myth. The result is a fantastical vision of nightmares, daydreams and reality. It’s innovative and compelling fantasy fiction written with a passion for folklore.

Arden manages to bring consistency to the table with each of the three books. they are all equally poetic, beautiful, well-written and breathtaking.

Buy The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ebury Publishing; pub date the 3rd October 2019 – Paperback • EBook • Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Winternight Trilogy #1 – The Bear and the Nightingale Buy here

Read my review of Winternight Trilogy #2 – The Girl in the Tower Buy here

#BlogTour The Ruined Land by Clare Rhoden

Today it’s my turn on this three book BlogTour for The Chronicles of the Pale series. Today it’s the third book – The Ruined Land by Clare Rhoden.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT)

About the Author

Clare Rhoden is a writer, speaker and reviewer inspired by politics, culture and the march of history. Her thought-provoking stories and popular characters inspire hope and optimism through challenging times, with novels ranging from wartime history to the dystopian world of the Pale.

Follow @ClareER on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram,Visit clarerhoden.comBuy The Ruined Land

About the book

Exiled from the Pale, humachine Hector has found a home with the tribes Outside. Or has he?

While the canini struggle to care for the human twins, Feather travels Broad Plain to reunite them with their father. But his own family is scattered as the Pale sends out its terrifying army and the land itself buckles beneath them.

Can anyone survive the ruination of the land?

In this gripping conclusion to the Chronicles of the Pale, the citizens of the mighty Pale have as much to lose as the communities of the Outside.

Review

This is the third book in The Chronicles of the Pale series. I would suggest reading all of the books to get the full gist of the plot and the characters.

In The Ruined Land everyone faces the same dilemma. The one aspect of their existence they can’t control or manipulate – the environment. It is stronger than the battles between the groups, and it is much more unpredictable.

For a moment it appears as if the tribes, the groups, have finally understood that survival means collaboration and seeking common ground, however pride and possession gets in the way. It seems as if the most human element of all of the groups is what leads them closer to extinction and destruction. Food for thought.

The foundling twins play a big role in this part of the story. They way they are accepted into the inner fold by some and yet completely rejected by others for being different. Diversity is a non-factor in this game of survival. There is no trust and plenty of paranoia. This lack of compassion threatens to tear the groups apart.

This is an ambitious post-apocalyptic series with elements of sci-fi and speculative fiction. Rhoden brings plenty of 21st century fears to the table and combines them with a futuristic plot. In a strange way it makes the story more relatable, because the traits, actions and fears are things we recognise at a base level.

Buy The Ruined Land at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Odyssey Books; pub date 31 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Amazon Au.

Read my review of Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden

Read my reviews of Broad Plain Darkening (The Chronicles of the Pale #2) and The Pale (The Chronicles of the Pale #1)

Enter the Giveaway to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#BlogTour Broad Plain Darkening by Clare Rhoden

Today it’s my turn on this three book BlogTour with the second book in The Chronicles of the Pale series, Broad Plain Darkening by Clare Rhoden.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT)

About the Author

Clare Rhoden is a writer, speaker and reviewer inspired by politics, culture and the march of history. Her thought-provoking stories and popular characters inspire hope and optimism through challenging times, with novels ranging from wartime history to the dystopian world of the Pale.

Follow @ClareER on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram,Visit clarerhoden.comBuy Broad Plain DarkeningAbout the book

The safe world of the Pale is under threat.

Inside the policosmos, the new Regent Adaeze strives for dominance over the all-powerful Senior Forecaster, but the Pale’s humachine citizens are unaware that their city is close to collapse.

Outside on Broad Plain, the exiled human Hector undertakes a dangerous trek to find a safe haven for the orphaned twins. How can anyone survive as their world shifts underneath them?

Review

This time I got my map and glossary, which made me a lot happier, but then I discovered via the map that the world of the Pale is much more complex than I thought. This is the second book in The Chronicles of the Pale series. I highly recommend reading the first book, the Pale, to get a better understanding of the story.

The policosmos, which is ruled and run by machine augmented humans, find themselves in a similar predicament as those outside the walls when a catastrophe causes a supply and demand problem. Unfortunately they still have to rely on certain items and elements to survive and function properly. It looks as if the situations are being evened out a little.

One of the highlights of the first book was the toppling of the dictator by Adaeze, and in true absolute power corrupts absolutely fashion, she would do well to watch her back. Not everyone is as enamoured with her leadership skills as she is. Considering how she got to the top of the hierarchy pyramid I would spend more time keeping an eye on her alleged allies.

I have to admit the canini perplexed me a little. I kept forgetting that they are genetically enhanced dogs, because they have such a structured and human-like way of interacting. It’s like, wait… that’s not a person.

It’s post-apocalyptic fantasy fiction with sci-fi elements and leans towards speculative fiction. Rhoden manages to create characters with humane traits, despite  the genetic or technological components of each group, and in a strange way this is what appears to bring the very different groups closer together. I wonder if the next book will feature the downfall of the policosmos or the integration of tribes in order to survive. One can only hope.

Buy Broad Plain Darkening at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Odyssey Books; pub date 20 Oct. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Pale (The Chronicles of the Pale #1)

Read my review of  The Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden

Enter the Giveaway to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#BlogTour The Pale by Clare Rhoden

Today it’s my turn on this three book BlogTour starting with book 1 in The Chronicles of the Pale series, The Pale by Clare Rhoden.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT)About the Author

Clare Rhoden is a writer, speaker and reviewer inspired by politics, culture and the march of history. Her thought-provoking stories and popular characters inspire hope and optimism through challenging times, with novels ranging from wartime history to the dystopian world of the Pale.

Follow @ClareER on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram, Visit clarerhoden.comBuy The PaleAbout the book

The Outside can be a dangerous place. But so can the inside.

It’s been years since the original cataclysm, but life has been structured, peaceful, and most of all uneventful in the Pale. The humachine citizens welcome the order provided by their ruler, the baleful Regent.

However, when one of their own rescues a human boy, Hector, from ravenous ferals on the Outside, their careful systems are turned upside down.

As Hector grows more and more human-strange, the citizens of the Pale grow uneasy. What will happen when the Outside tries to get in?Review

The idea of machine-augmented humans is interesting, especially because they appear to show a lack of empathy and emotion, which suggests the machines are more dominant than the humans. Technology supplants any humane element, which is plenty of food for thought.

The humanoids live in a walled colony called the policosmos, which is ruled by the Regent. The policosmos is controlled by technology, and that in itself differs from the tribes and colonies living outside of the policosmos. There are strict rules and guidelines when it comes to interacting with any non-policosmos inhabitant.

The world of the Pale consists of multiple groups, each of which have their own way of surviving the threats of this new world. It’s very much in vein with tribal living and thinking. Collusion and interactions between the different groups isn’t considered the norm, but the plot shows how a resurgence of human traits leads to new structures and relationships.

I definitely think this series needs a map and a glossary. It’s quite complex and added bits of information would make it easier to slip into the read or perhaps having something to refer to now and again would be helpful for readers who are new to the genre.

Rhoden has obviously put a lot of thought into what a possible advancement in Artificial Intelligence, robotics and the combination of those elements with the human race could look like in the future. Then she has taken survival of the fittest, in whatever shape or form life evolves after a catastrophe, and created a stimulating and intriguing read.

It’s a fascinating post-apocalyptic fantasy with a leaning towards speculative fiction. It has plenty of room for development and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

Buy The Pale (Chronicles of The Pale #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Odyssey Books; pub date 15 Sept. 2017. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden

Enter the Giveaway to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#PublicationDayPush The Sentinel’s Alliance by Suzanne Rogerson

It’s Happy Publication Day for the third part in the Silent Sea Chronicles, The Sentinel’s Alliance by Suzanne Rogerson. It’s fantasy with a compelling plot and intriguing characters.

To celebrate publication day, all three books of the Silent Sea Chronicles series are 99p today! 

Buy The Lost Sentinel #1 Silent Sea Chronicles, Buy The Sentinel’s Reign #2 Silent Sea ChroniclesAbout the Author

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Follow @rogersonsm on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreadson Amazonon Bookbub,

Visit suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.com,  Buy The Sentinel’s Alliance

About the book

Can new alliances save the islands of the Silent Sea from the murderers stalking their shores?

As the island of Kalaya and its people recover from civil war, a new threat surfaces. Invaders from the island of Elkena hunt the seas, butchering those who possess magic. Their scar-faced captain seeks the Fire Mage who it has been foretold will kill him and Tei and her people are in his warpath.

Tei and a band of Kalayans travel to Stone Haven, the home of their new allies, planning to restore magic to the dead island. But the Stone Haven Council have abhorred magic since their people were massacred by Elkenan invaders twenty years before. Commander Farrell must persuade his people to accept magic again, but his plans expose them to their biggest fear and he risks leading Tei and her people into danger, and jeopardising the safety of both their islands.

Under Farrell’s guidance treaties are forged, but is the newly formed Silent Sea Alliance enough to defeat the invaders and stop their bloodthirsty quest to destroy magic forever?

The Sentinel’s Alliance is the final book in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy.

Review

This is the third and final book in the Silent Sea Chronicles series. I recommend reading the other two books in the series to get the full background of the characters and the storyline.

In the first book the search is on for the new sentinel. In the second book the new sentinel has to prove their worth and establish themselves, which isn’t an easy thing to do, because the Elders like everything to stay the same. In this third book the users of magic have to trust they are making the right choice for their people. Hate seems to be everywhere and fear of magick threatens their lives once more.

It’s ironic that after all of the trials, deaths and tribulations Tei and her people have been through, they still aren’t safe. After bringing the hatred in Kalaya to a halt they now find they have become a target for the Stone Haven people. Their hatred, mistrust and fear of magick, makes them an even bigger threat to magick users.

Rogerson puts a focus on the relationships, especially the romantic ones and bonds of friendship. The problems Callisa and Tei have to deal with, whilst the adventure and battles continue all around them. Tei is finally able to allow her true feelings to flourish and Callisa realises it is quite lonely at the top.

At the heart of the series is a group of people who are trying to survive the oppression and annihilation of their people. Magick is considered dangerous and not trustworthy. The only thing the Sentinel and her people want is to live in peace and safety. The question is whether it is possible.

It’s fantasy with a compelling plot and intriguing characters. Rogerson threads an undercurrent of romance throughout the fantasy, which then invites readers of other genres in for a read.

Buy The Sentinel’s Alliance, book 3 of Silent Sea Chronicles at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy The Lost Sentinel, book 1 of Silent Sea Chronicles

Buy The Sentinel’s Reign, book 2 of Silent Sea Chronicles

Read my review of The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign.

#BlogTour Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa. It’s YA fantasy embedded with a deep sense of culture, identity and mythology.

About the Author

Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, Talon, and Shadow of the Fox series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.

Julie now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two obnoxious cats, and a pair of Australian Shepherds that have more Instagram followers than she does.

Follow @Jkagawa on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit juliekagawa.com

Buy Soul of the Sword

About the book

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Review

What the Talon series lacks in complexity and world-building the Shadow of the Fox series makes up for it tenfold. It’s quite interesting how Kagawa manages to divide the YA category into sub-categories. She can write books that appeal the readers looking for a less mind-boggling and intricate fantasy read, and then turn around and create the kind of read that appeals for those who like their fantasy hardcore complex.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko more or less the holds the key to peace or war and destruction. Her small piece of the powerful and very dangerous scroll has to be transported to the Steel Feather temple in order to avoid the worst possible scenario. Obviously there are other forces also seeking the ability to summon the Kami Dragon, so it isn’t just plain sailing for her.

For one, the demon Hakaimono has possessed Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan, someone Yumeko thought would always be there to protect and support her. Now he has inadvertently become her biggest enemy or rather the one to be the most wary of.

The author uses strong emotional ties and relationships to help drive the plot. This is especially the case with Reika, Okame and Daisuke when it comes to supporting the quest and Yumeko. The flip side of that plays out between Yumeko and Tatsumi. The struggle to reconcile with the fact her friend is in there somewhere, but powerless and at the mercy of Hakaimono. The belief she can save Tatsumi may put her in a precarious situation.

This is without a doubt the kind of series I am wont to follow. It’s YA fantasy embedded with a deep sense of culture, identity and mythology. Kagawa creates her own mythology to weave throughout and strengthen the story, albeit one that is based on the sinuous and intriguing mythology of Japan. It’s an incredibly intense read.

Buy Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Young Adult; pub date 27 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Soldier, The Iron Warrior and The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa.

Welcome to the Ben Galley Ultimate #BlogTour featuring The Written by Ben Galley

Today I am taking part in the absolutely massive ultimate Ben Galley BlogTour. I am featuring The Written by Ben Galley, which is the first book in the Emaneska series. My fellow bloggers are featuring Bloodrush, Chasing Graves, The Heart of Stone and The Written.About the Author

Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

Follow @BenGalley on Twitteron Goodreads,  on Amazon, Visit bengalley.com

Buy The Written

About the book

His name is Farden. They whisper that he’s dangerous. Dangerous is only the half of it.

Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options.

Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await.

Welcome to Emaneska.

Review

This is an ambitious high fantasy with elements of urban fantasy. A story of magick, mages, dragons and enchanted books, with the mage Farden in the midst of everything.

I think Farden has a reputation to uphold, albeit one the author wants him to have. He doesn’t quite pull off the whole tough as old boot nails and ruthless mage image though. Sometimes, ok he often seems to dither just behind events, never quite there when the action goes off. Then there is the soft spot he has for a certain someone. Yeh, not such a tough guy after all.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is nearly a decade old debut novel. Hiccups are quite common for debut novels and authors. What’s important in the long run is whether the author has honed their craft as they write more books and whether they take care of the initial hiccups. The only way to know that is to read a more recent book.

Saying that, the creative ideas are there and the world-building is on its way. The characters need more depth, it needs to be less disjointed and a good edit is essential. Scenes should have some purpose, as opposed to superfluous ones that take the reader up the garden path and then leave them wondering what the heck they came up the path for.

It’s the first book in an intricate fantasy series. Hopefully the entirety of the premise and series evolves. Clearly the author is a high fantasy and urban fantasy fan, now he just has to ensure that the worlds in his head end up on paper.

Kudos for the drugs storyline Not necessarily something you see in this genre.

Buy The Written ( Emaneska Series Book One) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy Chasing Graves at Amazon Uk – Amazon com

Buy Bloodrush at Amazon UK – Amazon com

Buy The Heart of Stone at Amazon Uk – Amazon com