Tag Archives: great world building

Gloriously & vividly crafted magical fantasy from Jackie

45319502.jpgHealing Glass by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantasy is my favourite cake.

Well written and detailed world building adds a cherry on top and an imaginative and complex narrative gives me lashings of quality double cream to bind it all together.

I’m using food metaphors here because Jackie herself is always sharing her love of cooking and the flavours of the world with her friends and readers and this book felt like an extension of that creative vision.

The book itself is glorious, the pace pitched just right between the slow exploratory early tastings as we’re introduced to characters and plots in motion and the heady details as the narrative drives towards its final conclusion.

There is an amazingly complex world in play here which we’re allowed to discover as we read, no telling what we should be seeing but plenty of feeling the love between Minel and Falcon.

The secondary characters also come to life in vivid detail, the mystery and magic elements of this world are slowly revealed as the story continues.

I loved everything about this book and I can’t wait now to find out more about Javier and Rein.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Yet more incredible world building from the Queen of the fantasy short

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Don’t Fight the Spark
by Kasia Bacon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honestly I don’t know how she does it.

I call Kasia My Queen of the Fantasy Short Story because in just a few pages (around 85 ish here) she crafts such amazing characters and world building and nothing feels rushed.

Her Order Universe is such a joy to travel in, and here we bump into Healer Haiatto, last seen saving the day in The Poison Within when he was on hand to heal Master Enforcer Sashe, and discover his fears for his fighter lover Yuu.

Also popping in are the utterly brilliant Furia Eryssa, enigmatic vamper Revendi and the completely fascinating and dangerous Grand Master of the Assassin’s Guild Lu Feninghan.

So, not quite Red and his Sergeant yet or more from our elvish Scouts, but I’ll absolutely take anything from the pen of Kasia.

As a PS: How gorgeous is this cover?!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Complex and intriguing introduction to this new fantasy series

apple boy cover finalApple Boy by Isobel Starling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a lot going on here!

And it’s not concluded at the end of this first book in Isobel Starling’s new fantasy series either, but there is the start of a complex narrative which I’m eager to learn more of.

I believe the three books together will bring different characters’ backgrounds and stories so far into one over-reaching plot that will conclude once all is done.

First up was Adam and Winter and they’re very cute together and delightfully stumble their way not only into a relationship but also into an epic adventure.

It’s really hard to review this without giving the key parts away, which I’m not going to do, but let’s just say I was kept interested from start to finish even when it all got a little bit complicated.

The book itself is gorgeous, with internal illustrations and a stunning world map, there’s also a handy glossary at the start with a decent chunk of background information on each of the realms.

Like all good fantasy novels, it leaves as much unanswered as it does concluded so I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

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Another stunning blending of world mythologies into a thrilling UF

All Souls Near & Nigh (Soulbound, #2)All Souls Near & Nigh by Hailey Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Arhgggghhjjjuhhvvcc – that’s the noise my brain is making at how bloody brilliant this book is.

Full review to come when I’m at my laptop and I can get some semblance of order back!

***

Righty, brain back sort of functioning so here we go.

A bit more detail about why this book is so bloody brilliant. As with Book One A Ferry of Bones & Gold Hailey takes well know mythological Pantheons (Greek, Roman, Norse) and mixes them up with the lesser known ones.

In Ferry it was the folklore of West African, Egyptian and European cultures, here we’re in South America with the Aztec Gods – Quetzalcoatl and Tepoztēcatl, the Mexican/Catholic death cult Goddess/saint Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte as well as the Native American trickster God Coyote or Altse Hashke and it is this blending together of powerful beings into a seamless narrative which is the hallmark of this series.

This plot is a complexly woven and intricately detailed navigation through an urban fantasy world which feels familiar to the reader but which has that otherworldly tinge to it. The after effects of the actions of Book One are still being felt at the opening of this one.

Patrick and Jono have settled into a sort of routine which is just starting to feel like normal when everything starts to kick off. As with the first one, I’m not giving away anything of the actual plot. These books deserve to be read blind and given the chance to work their clever magic on the readers.

I will say all the usual suspects are on hand, we see Hermes, (who I always picture as a used car salesman in my head 😀 ) and the Tempest Pack, Lucien the Master Vampire, (who is still hating on Patrick for the death of his mother Ashanti) and his crew, and the rotten to the core New York God Pack alphas Estelle and Youssef, who I want to punch in the face every time they’re on page!

I’m not sure how many books Hailey is planning for this series but, for me, it’s shaping up to be just as epic as her Sci-Fi Metahumans one.

More please!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

As ever, the fangirling and mythology nerding are my own!

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Stunning debut urban fantasy from Miranda

ShadowingTheLight
Shadowing the Light
by Miranda Turner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well that was an impressive debut from Miranda Turner and another name to add to the urban fantasy genre list.

Lots of excellence in this narrative, great world-building, a wonderful bunch of complex characters and a successful introduction to a new series which looks at the age-old struggle between light and dark.

It did get a tiny bit bogged down in the middle third when there wasn’t much happening and a bit of necessary exposition needed to be given to the reader. But, otherwise, the pacing is superb, keeping the plot flowing organically through a very complex and complicated narrative.

That isn’t to say the book is difficult to read, on the contrary, the reader gets an instant insight into the world within the first few paragraphs.

The romance/mates element never overtakes the thrust of the mission – to find Gabriel’s parents – and instead offers up lots of intimate moments as well as some seriously hot ones.

I may have had a wee eye-roll each time one of the supposedly hetero team members seemed to gain an attraction to another member or an external character of the same sex, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a bit of a big coincidence 🙂

I rationalise it by thinking these guys are living and operating in highly pressurised situations and top-level enemies are trying to kill them all the time and pressure makes us look at people differently.

I have absolutely no idea where the story is going and that takes it onto my favourite books shelf.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Cinematic feel to this Sci-Fi romance from Kelly Jensen

To See the SunTo See the Sun by Kelly Jensen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started with a slow and slightly confusing opening chapter but got better and better once Gael got off the original planet and hitched his destiny with Bram.

It wouldn’t have felt out of place for this narrative to have been a plot in an episode of Star Trek or perhaps Stargate – there was a very cinematic feel to the book and I had very clear visuals of both characters and setting.

There’s lots of slow and steady relationship growth too, nothing felt hurried or out of place, Gael and Bram were wonderfully realised characters who fit together well.
It’s a relatively low steam romance but there’s lots of genuine feelings and emotions on display.

The sci-fi was done well, the tensions arising from the planet’s elemental weather systems were enough to keep my interest throughout. The side plot came a bit out of left field and I’m not sure whether or not it was truly needed tbh, but it was handled with skill in the execution.

Lovely epilogue too. I’d like to read more in this setting and I really liked most of the secondary characters.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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I love it when a shifter story offers something new

Off the Beaten PathOff the Beaten Path by Cari Z.

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I loved this shifter paranormal from Cari Z. It’s hard to come up with a new approach to a werewolf based narrative but this one did that.

The idea of werewolves being created via a military experiment gone wrong wasn’t new, but the secrecy and use of the pack Alpha’s as black ops was different and it worked well.

There’s great world building and lots of layers to this story, which is light on the steam and has a slow burn but quite intense romance at its heart.

Ward was such an amazing character, his determination and dedication to his young daughter was admirable and I loved how he was willing to put himself in danger for her.

Henry was a complex character too, struggling with the expectations of being alpha while dealing with what was very likely a strong case of PTSD because of the missions he’d been forced into.

There’s a good, solid set of secondary characters too and I’m hoping we’re getting a book two with Dr Tennyson and Davis as a pairing.

#ARC kindly provided by the publishers Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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