Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Veil of the Deserters - Jeff Salyards

Veil of the Deserters
Book 2 of the "Bloodsounder's Arc"

Read about the first book HERE

ISBN - 9781597804905
PAGES - 464
GENRE - Fantasy
PUBLISHER - Night Shade Publishers

AUTHOR - Jeff Salyards

SYNOPSIS - History, Family and Memory… these are the seeds of destruction.

Bloodsounder's Arc continues as Captain Braylar Killcoin and his retinue continue to sow chaos amongst the political elite of Alespell. Braylar is still poisoned by the memories of those slain by his unholy flail Bloodsounder, and attempts to counter this sickness have proven ineffectual.

The Syldoonian Emperor Cynead has solidified his power base in unprecedented ways, and demands loyalty from all operatives. Braylar and company are recalled to the capital to swear fealty. Braylar must decide if he can trust his sister, Soffjian, with the secret that is killing him. She has powerful memory magics that might be able to save him from Bloodsounder’s effects, but she has political allegiances that are not his own. Arki and others in the company try to get Soffjian and Braylar to trust one another, but politics in the capital prove to be far more complicated and dangerous than even Killcoin could predict.

Deposed emperor Thumarr plots to remove the repressive Cynead, and Braylar and his sister Soffjian lie at the heart of his plans. The distance between "favored shadow agent of the emperor" and "exiled traitor" is an unsurprisingly short road. But it is a road filled with blind twists and unexpected turns. Before the journey is over, Arki will chronicle the true intentions of Emperor Cynead and Soffjian. And old enemies in Alespell may prove to be surprising allies in a conflict no one could have foreseen.


“Rumor's the slut you bend over a chair and never see again. Truth's the lady you wed.”

“There always seems to be an 'until'. That is one of life's harsh lessons.”

“It is a ripper. I would be disappointed if it simply nuzzled them and showed its belly for a good rub.”

FL Speak - Book 1 of Bloodsounder's Arc was a gem. It led nowhere, didn't bank on promises to fail and had a cast of ruthless killers you wouldn't want to be stuck with. Without a sound plot, it stood tall as first of the trilogy or even as a standalone.

Book 2, however, doesn't. Whatever sense of lull you were accustomed to (although less truly), this book picks up the pace in action and story line at a break neck speed. To rehash, we have a young scribe, unsullied in warmongering who has been hired to chronicle the deeds of a certain Slydoon company. If book 1 was his trial of fire, book 2 leads him straight to the depths of fiery hell.

The Slydoon have returned to their homes. Homes that are familiar and filled with political betrayals and memory magic. Wars, lots of it, on almost every page to satisfy your thirsting pangs of action and swear words. Veil of the Deserters will take you on a ride to the unknown, literally unknown places that you have not encountered in book 1. Political intrigue, treachery and good ol' betrayal at its finest. I must say the good Captain Killcoin and his Syldoon has grown on me. Arki, not so much, despite his lack for not trying.

An empire awaits. The Syldoon wait. And the schemes and plots twist and turn.

RATING - 5/5

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hymn - Ken Scholes

Book 5 of 'Psalms of Isaak

Read about the first 4 books here

ISBN - 9780765321312
PAGES - 352
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR - Ken Scholes

SYNOPSIS - Ken Scholes completes his five-book epic that began with his acclaimed first novel Lamentation. The battle for control of The Named Lands has captivated readers for ten years as both characters and readers have learned the true nature of world called Lasthome.

Now the struggle between the Andro-Francine Order of the Named Lands and the Y Zirite Empire has reached a terrible turning point. Believing that his son is dead, Rudolfo has pretended to join with the triumphant Y zirite forces but his plan is to destroy them all with a poison that is targeted only to the enemy.

In Y Zir, Rudolfo's wife Jin Li Tam is fighting a war with her own father which will bring that Empire to ruin.

And on the Moon, Neb, revealed as one of the Younger Gods, takes the power of the Last Home Temple for his own.

FL SpeakWhat a ride it has been.

Hymm marks the end of an era. The conclusion we had been waiting for comes crashing down on the Named Lands blurring the lines between mortals and gods, legends and facts. Suffice to say, this is one of those series that completely swept me away by the sheer audacity of the author's imagination. The only other authors I can think of are Brandon Sanderson (to an extent) and the much under-hyped Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Years of gap between publications aside, Ken Scholes takes the book to a rising crescendo before letting it fall in a final blaze of glory. The stories of Isaak, Neb, Petronus, Rudolfo, Vlad and Jin will forever be etched in my heart if not in the hearts of men of the Named Lands. The Psalms of Isaak is a creative mastermind, craftily combining science fiction into a tale that defines the fantasy genre. Like a master chess player going for the kill, Ken Scholes brings all the players into the game in this final novel and begins a bloodbath that even the Gods can't avoid.

The bad guys turn humane and the good guys turn into monsters and in between are the kin-dragons, flying free again. Oh, what a ride this has been.

A fitting end to a grand tale.

RATING - 5/5 stars

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


                 The  success of The Girl On The Train and Gone Girl inspired many first time writers and scribes to come out with their own versions of it .While some of them have been decent enough (The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena definitely being one ) ,many of them have been damp squibs.Ruth Ware's The Woman In Cabin Number Ten (though pretty formulaic) fortunately belongs to the former category and is undoubtedly a time-pass read.'The Woman'... is Ruth Wares's second novel after the hugely succesful 'In A Dark, Dark Wood'

                The Protagonist is Lo, a woman with anxiety disorder and also with drinking issues  (Rachel,anyone?).She is the resident editor of Velocity,a travel magazine.As her boss is on maternity leave,she is assigned to cover the inaugural voyage of a luxury cruise.While everything is okay in the beginning,she happens to witness a woman being thrown out of her next cabin to the deep blue sea.Though she is pretty sure about what she has witnessed,not everyone is convinced about her version of events-as there has never been an occupant in the next cabin! (cabin number 10)

               The writing is decently paced and devoid of long, unnecessary detailing.As the book cover rightly puts it,'The Woman'.. reads more like an Agatha Christie meeting The Girl On The Train.The setting is pretty much Agatha (too many people locked in a particular set up),but the writing and characters are more like Paula Hawkins'. We have got a (not-that-likeable) flawed heroine who is trying desperately to prove what she has 'witnessed' has not been a product of her deviant mind.

               On the downside, I felt that the blurb gave away too much regarding the story line. It's like, if you have read the blurb, you can pretty much skip the first one fifty pages or so. Also, the suspense is not that unpredictable either (the tail-end twist with that mystery about the money in the account is good though!).On the whole, I am giving this book a 2.9 out of 5.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Review: Age of Azmoq: The Valantian Imperium by Rajamayyoor Sharma

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book blurb was exciting enough to catch my attention when I got the request to read this book. Plus , I am a fan of fantasy fiction so I am always on a lookout for good ones from indian authors. Overall, am really happy with this huge book.

The story opens with introducing us to the narrator and his little village that later becomes the centre of action in the book. The people of the village , the setting and the lifestyle is so amazingly explained in details that you feel like settling in this story. The isolated village sits on a huge reserve if Azmoq , a rare metal that's controlled by the rulers. The story takes our narrator out if his village ,making friends and returning with them to defend his village from the empire's wrath. We meet all characters one by one , know their stories and see them building this team together and learn about how the empire came into being.

What is interesting is that , while there is no clear villains here in terms of black and white , the whole narrative gives you enough questions to think about deeply. The moral delimna of warriors , rulers and even a common man are touched upon in this book.

And now to the things that bothered me - the jump from one person / year to other in the narration. The book is not linear which works well only if the distinctions are clear. I struggled at few places to see whose point of view was the chapter telling and even which year it is on. Second the font is very small. The book is much huge for the 400 pages it has been presented in. Oh yes , now I realize I read 400 amazing pages and did not feel like letting it go ever.

Hope the author works in the second part very soon as I am looking forward to it already.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Kind Worth Killing By Peter Swanson


                     The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a thriller which is worth your time and money. Full of twists and turns,this 400+page work is a genuine page turner. Ted,Miranda and Lily are the principal characters.Ted is upset that his wife Miranda is cheating on him.He meets Lily while waiting for his flight in Heathrow airport. Lily offers him help.They hatch a plan to kill Miranda. But Miranda has other plans for Ted.

                      I particularly liked the characterization of Lily.The manner in which Lily's past life is revealed is truly riveting.The writing is taut and thrilling.The Chapters alternate between Ted and Lily's perspectives and believe me, the shift in perspectives is not done in an irritating manner.

                      For those of you who are still wondering the origin behind the title of this work,here it is- Lily says at one point , "Truthfully, I don't think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing."

On the whole,I am giving 3.5 out of 5 for this novel.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Requiem - Ken Scholes

Book 4 of "Psalms of Isaak"

Read about the first 3 book here

ISBN - 9780765321305
PAGES - 398
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR - Ken Scholes

SYNOPSIS - Ken Scholes's debut novel, Lamentation, was an event in fantasy. Heralded as a "mesmerizing debut novel" by Publishers Weekly, and a "vividly imagined SF-fantasy hybrid set in a distant, postapocalyptic future" by Booklist, the series gained many fans. It was followed by Canticle and Antiphon. Now comes the fourth book in The Psalms of Isaak, Requiem.

Who is the Crimson Empress, and what does her conquest of the Named Lands really mean? Who holds the keys to the Moon Wizard's Tower?

The plots within plots are expanding as the characters seek their way out of the maze of intrigue. The world is expanding as they discover lands beyond their previous carefully controlled knowledge. Hidden truths reveal even deeper truths, and nothing is as it seemed to be.

FL Speak - Probably one of the best books in the series. Everything is moving at a rapid pace towards a conclusion. It's not there yet but the plots within plots are revealed anew and the key players emerge from their shadowy places.

What began with the fall of Windwir was not the beginning. The plan was set long ago. Long before these charismatic men and women were born. But even the best-laid plans are as good as the intentions of those who follow it. Requiem is truly the story of Neb, of Rudolfo, of Vlad, of Jim and of Isaak. Ken Scholes wonderfully bridges a far-reaching quest of destiny and connects it with political intrigue and war campaigns. Filled with revenge, blood-letting, dream sequences and a lot of running and flying, this wonderful tale of fables and legends carefully fills the gaps between myths and facts.

By the end of book 4, we know there's more to the Named Lands than the people living in it. We also know the people on the moon and that the desolation of Windwir was just one of the many that ended civilisations and history. This is a grand war for the survival of humankind. Because if the Crimson Princess were to rise, the land of living will return to the Dark Ages.

RATING - 5/5

Pradhamadrishtya-Malayalam Crime Thriller: Update

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