Category

Fantasy

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I originally rated this book 4.5, but then I was thinking about exactly what it was that deducted half a star and I honestly couldn’t come up with a single thing I didn’t like about it. It was even better than the first one, I just loved it!

So our friends have just finished with the Ice Court and have been betrayed. Inej has been taken, and they need to get her back. So begins an exciting tale of mystery, intrigue, romance, laughter and the classic twists and turns that have made this series so entertaining and unique.

So sad that this is the last one, and it is EXTREMELY RARE for me to say that about a series because I much prefer stand alone books usually! However, two is a very readable number, and I highly suggest you check this series out!

Again I listened to the audio version, and this time it got straight into it. I didn’t need to be introduced to the characters one by one like the first book, and it was WHAM BAM! The audio version was great, yet again. But this time it didn’t feel slow at all. The story was already set up, the characters already known and loved. So it was just my job to sit back and enjoy the ride.

It had more action, more intrigue, more betrayal, and more excitement than the first one. I actually couldn’t stop listening to this book. Ended up stayed up extremely late for a few nights even though I had things on in the morning! I was UPSET THAT AN 18HOUR AUDIOBOOK ENDED!!! UNHEARD OF!

Although I did pretend the characters were older like I did in the first book. It just made it much more enjoyable to me than imaging a bunch of 15 and 16 year olds doing all of that. Seriously!

Anyway, absolutely one of the best reads of the year!

Would I recommend Crooked Kingdom?

YES YES YES YES!!! If you enjoy fantasy and don’t mind YA (or can just be like me and pretend its not YA because it DOESN’T WORK) then you will LOVE this series. Its so unique, has a surprising depth to it and I will be absolutely checking out her other work set in this universe!

I purchased the audio version of Crooked Kingdom on audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Kindle US | Kindle AU


If you enjoy Crooked Kingdom, you may enjoy:

Six of Crows

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Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ok, there is a lot of hype surrounding this one. I was a bit out of the loop as I hadn’t read any of Bardugo’s previous Grisha books, although the first one, “Shadow and Bone” has been on my to read list for a long time.

Set in a fantasy world where a certain race of people called the Grisha have magical powers, Six of Crows is pretty much the story of a heist. Six people come together through Kax Brekker, the leader of a criminal gang, to perform a somewhat impossible caper. A lot of action, adventure and romance follows. I have heard it time and again compared to “oceans 11 meets game of thrones”, which is almost right… Except it didn’t quite have the game of thrones vibe for me. It did have the entertaining one though.

I must admit that for the most part, the hype is warranted. The characters are fantastic. All their backstories are superb, and I found them all to be extremely likeable. The humour was fabulous, the story was exceptionally well done and I did thoroughly enjoy it.

However I did have one major problem with it though. I haven’t heard many other people complain about this, so it may just be me: But how the hell can these characters be so young??? I cannot for the life of me bring myself to believe that Kaz, Inej and the rest of the characters are TEENAGERS! Especially Kaz… It just ruined the whole atmosphere for me, the things that they said and did just didn’t meet with their ages, no matter how much they had been made to mature quickly in their extremely hard lives. If I pretended that they were adults, at LEAST in their 20’s, the story was much more enjoyable for me. Of course I have nothing against teenagers, or the young adult genre. I quite like young adult. But this didn’t feel young adult to me. Also, I listened to the audio version and the narrators reading the story were obviously older, which that added to my dissonance about this. When they were talking about how they were teenagers merely 16 years old, I just kept going “NOPE, NOPE, NOPE! There is just NO WAY!!”.

Other than this major hurdle which I had to keep pretending was not written into the story, I thought it was great. It certainly did have that “Oceans 11” vibe, and I really loved the way all the twists and turns were written. very clever indeed! The only other thing that lowered the rating for me, was it had a bit of a slow start. It took me a good 5 hours to start to get into this book. And 5 hours of an audiobook is longer than I usually get if I’m not getting into it. But thankfully I persevered and it got SO MUCH BETTER! It was just a bit hard to follow all the characters and get into the world at the start. I’m not sure if I should have read the first series before attempting this one to get a better feel for it, but I got there in the end.

I love audio books with different narrators, but holy moly! 6 NARRATORS!??? It took me a while to get used to the voices and figure out what was going on, but it surprisingly worked.

Would I recommend Six of Crows?

Yes for sure! See if imagining the characters as a bit older makes it better for you?? I have the next one on audible ready to go! Might just jump straight in!

I purchased Six of Crows from audible.com at my own expense.


If you enjoy Six of Crows, you may enjoy:

Artificial   Vanquished   Dawn of Wonder

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Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Oh this book was SO MUCH FUN! I know in a lot of reviews for this book they compare it to Firefly, and I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but it is definitely like the YA version of Firefly. It does have a lot of similarities, however I found it original enough to not care at all! Just so much fun!

Solara is looking for a new life on the outer realm. She has a piece of land with her name on it. She just has to get there. She must indenture herself to a wealthy traveller in order to pay for the 5 month passage. When her old school nemesis Dorin is the only one to offer her passage in exchange for her servitude – she RELUCTANTLY accepts. And when they find themselves stranded, the only opportunity they have to get there is to jump aboard the Banshee, a run down, ugly ship with an interesting and hilarious crew who have a lot of secrets.

I loved all the characters, they were all so funny and entertaining. And I ADORED the banter between Solaris and Dorin. A slow burning romance that was worth EVERY TORTUROUS SECOND!

I loved the bad guys, I loved the action and the story. I loved it all!

I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Amanda Dolan and I thought she was FANTASTIC! My main problem with a lot of female narrators I have listened to (sorry to be sexist), is their portrayal of male characters. So many times I have commented that they sound all the same and totally robotic and annoying. Not in this one my friends, Dolan does a great job making all the characters unique, and of course the writing helps with that too. I didn’t get annoyed once at the portrayal ANY character, and that is saying something. Superb!

Would I recommend Starflight?

Yes, if you are a sci-fi fan with an addiction to the TV show Firefly like myself, you will absolutely enjoy this. If you haven’t seen Firefly, if you area a fan of sarcastic humour, light-hearted comedy and space-action, with a splash of romance, give it a go!

I purchased the audio version of Starflight from audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Booktopia AU | Book Depository


If you enjoy Starflight, you may enjoy:

Zero World   Fortune's Pawn

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The Second Path – Virginia King

The Second Path (Selkie Moon Mystery #2) – Virginia King

The Second Path
4.25 Stars (4.25 / 5)

I really enjoyed the second instalment of the Selkie Moon series! I fell in love with ‘The First Lie’ and was so excited to see where Selkie’s adventures would take her next! I absolutely recommend reading The First Lie before this one. I feel you will lose the majority of the essence of the story and the characters if you do not.

After washing up naked on the beach a whole two weeks following her disappearance, and unable to remember anything from that time, Selkie feels like she is missing something. Her journey of self discovery takes her halfway across the world to France. Will she find her true home? What of her friends and her relationship with the elusive Alastair? And where on earth was she for two weeks?

There was just something so magical about The First Lie. Something about the writing and the atmosphere. It was truly something that I had never encountered before in a book. It was thoroughly captivating. The Second Path didn’t quite grab me like The First Lie did, however I think that is because I have started getting used to Selkie, and the unique writing of the series. By the time I got into this one, I was in the groove already.

However, even though it didn’t grab me exacltly like the first one did, I still loved it. Selkie is just the most amazing character. I loved how she was starting to get used to her intuition and the bizarre things that were happening to her and around her. I just adored all the other characters, especially the fleeting ones. I thought it was a fantastic plot idea to bring her and Genevieve into each others lives. There were many twists and turns and it took me to places I had no idea we were going!

Love the relationship between Selkie and Alastair! Man, the TENSION! Love it!

I am extremely interested and excited to see where the next book takes Selkie. I feel she still has a lot in store, and a lot to learn and accept.

Would I recommend The Second Path?

Absolutely! This series is so unique, I can’t even explain it! So very different to anything I have read before! Highly recommend that you give it a go!

So much thanks to author Virginia King for a copy of The Second Path in exchange for my honest review! I can’t wait to read the third one!

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PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VIRGINIA KING

When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came Virginia King Portrait by Amanda Thorson 200 KBto create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.

Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.

 

Authors Website   Authors Twitter   Authors Goodreads   Authors Facebook

 


If you enjoy The Second Path, you may enjoy:

The First Lie

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Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (Reckoners #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart

3 Stars (3 / 5)

I was expecting to enjoy this one more than I did. I felt quite underwhelmed unfortunately. It had an extremely promising start but for some reason it started to fall a bit flat for me. However, I still mostly enjoyed it, what nerd like me wouldn’t enjoy a story about super villans and super heroes?! Now I know a LOT of people adored this book, so please don’t hate me if you are one of them!

David was only 10 when the world changed. “Calamity” came, and the Epics arrived. Supervillians with terrible powers, all evil and murderous. Steelheart was the worst. He killed David’s father, and now David wants revenge. He has to somehow join the resistance known as the Reckoners to bring down the epics. And destroy Steelheart.

Points to the audio version narrator MacLeod Andrews. He was fantastic! I am glad I listened to the audio version for this one. I think he made it more enjoyable in my ears than I could have made it in my head!

This is the first Sanderson book that I have read and I didn’t realise that it was YA. Not that I would have had a problem with that, I love a good YA. However I think maybe I should have stuck with his more adult fantasy books.

I found the main character David to be exceedingly annoying. He was a pompous little upstart and I just couldn’t bring myself to like him. When he wasn’t doing stupid things, he was dreaming about a girl. Because that’s all YA characters can do you know… Its all superheroes and girls. The language that all the characters used was the most annoying part of the whole book for me. “Calamity” and “Sparks” are the new swear words, and they just made it sound so stupid. Whenever I would hear the narrator say “Calamity!” I would roll my eyes.

Sure, some of the epics were well plotted, however I was still a bit bored. There was just something missing for me. Perhaps it was the atmosphere. It didn’t feel like humanity were slaves to epics now and the whole world had changed. Maybe it needed more than the viewpoint from some annoying young character to give it a bit more depth for me. People died but the atmosphere didn’t really relay that. It felt like all the awful things that happened in the book were superficial. If that makes sense.

There were a few redeeming factors, besides the awesome narrator… It had a good twists at the end. I totally saw one of them coming but the other one blindsided me. Despite the “Calamity” and “Sparks”, it was fairly well written. It was easy to get into and had a great premise. The other characters were not quite as annoying as David, and I enjoyed the way the whole thing ended.

Would I recommend Steelheart?

Maybe… If you don’t mind the corny language and annoying main character you may enjoy it more than I.

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If you enjoy Steelheart, you may enjoy:

image    Poison    The First

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Artificial – Jadah McCoy

Artificial (The Kepler Chronicles #1) – Jadah McCoy

Artificial

3.25 Stars (3.25 / 5)

I enjoyed this Young/New adult dystopian tale. I thought the cover was well designed and the synopsis grabbed me. It has amazing ratings on GoodReads so I was excited to be approved for a review copy.

Syl and her friends are survivors on Kepler, a colony of future Earth. By day they scavenge for food in the dilapidated city. By night they hide underground, away from the genetically engineered “Cull”, bug-like humanoid creatures intent on devouring everything in their path. Syl is kidnapped by Androids and is genetically altered, beginning to transform into one of the cull. She is rescued by an android with emotions named Bastion, who attempts to help her and the other humans who have been captured.

I really enjoyed the start of this novel. It began with a bang, and non stop action. I was enthralled! However after Syl gets kidnapped it lost a lot of its momentum for me. The storyline was still interesting, but it just lost the spark from the first part of the novel.

I liked the format of the chapters, alternating between Syl and Bastion’s point of view.

I didn’t really gel with the characters. Syl, and some things she did annoyed me and the romantic tension thing that was between her and Bastion was totally weird and I wasn’t feeling it at all.

There were some good twists and turns and the ending was not what I was expecting. There was a heap of action and a fair bit of blood and gore which was good. I liked the cull creatures. They weren’t in it as much as I was expecting in this one, I can only imagine that there will be more of them in subsequent books.

I will be interested to see how the series develops following that ending. It left a lot of questions that I would like to know the answer to!

Would I recommend Artificial?

Yes, for YA/NA fans! They will definitely enjoy the story! I will be interested to read the next one to see how it progresses.

Many thanks to the author and publisher via NetGalley for a copy of Artificial in exchange for my honest review.

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PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AUBook Depository


If you enjoy Artificial, you may enjoy:

Vanquished    6x9 front ebook    Poison

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Rhuna: Crossroads – Barbara Underwood

Rhuna: Crossroads (Rhuna Fantasy Books #2)

Rhuna: Crossroads

Goodreads Summary:

The sequel to Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom, and the second book in an exciting and unique historical Fantasy series, Rhuna: Crossroads is set in exotic Ancient Egypt and features unforgettable characters and a riveting adventure.
Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her new home of Atlán, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some disturbing reports. She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark Master’s followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated to stopping them.
In the process of trying to carry out her assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges which could drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever believed in!

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My Review of Rhuna: Crossroads

I don’t think I have ever read a historical fiction fantasy novel before! I really enjoyed this book. It is the second of a trilogy. Even though I have not read the first one, I had no problem getting into the story and the wonderful setting.

Rhuna is a grand master in the council of Atlán, a place where there is little to no violence and people treat each other with respect. People have inner wisdom and live together in peace and harmony, quite a utopian society. Atlán also presides over numerous colonies. Rhuna gets sent to one of these colonies across the ocean to investigate some events that have occurred. She takes her daughter with her. There begins their adventure in this foreign land. Being an Atlán master, Rhuna has numerous gifts such as the ability to have visions and change elements and she soon begins helping the less fortunate members of the colony. But there are some people out to stop Rhuna from discovering that the unfortunate events that have been occurring may have something to do with a dark master whom Rhuna had destroyed years before.

I thought this book was really well written and so clever. I just loved that she could use her powers to speak with her husband and the council back in Atlán. The fact that they could ultimately spy on each other’s every move was also a really creative way to add a whole new dimension to this book to make it really unique. Rhuna was so conflicted with having to keep a proper and level mindset of a master, to that of a woman in a new place that is so different from Atlán. Her heart was taking her in a different direction than she was expecting.

I really enjoyed all the characters except I had a bit of trouble keeping up with all the “keeper of wisdom” type names. A few times I couldn’t remember who was who and got a bit confused. I loved her daughter and her spirit. And I enjoyed reading about the majority of the secondary characters. I do wish that I had read the first book to get a better understanding of Rhuna as she grew up.

There was some romance in this book which I was sort of hoping for, but then conflicted as Rhuna already has a husband that she seems to love. I think maybe I would have been more conflicted if I had read the first book which apparently introduces Tozar and how they come to be together. I wasn’t a fan of how abruptly she decided “Ok I love someone new now”. BOOM. However I can understand how her husband was holding her back from becoming the person she was meant to be. It just felt a bit abrupt, however I am interested to see how it pans out in the future.

I enjoyed the mystery,  and loved the setting with the pyramids and the secret rooms and thought this whole book was really clever.

Would I recommend Rhuna: Crossroads?

Yes for any fans of Egyptian historical fiction melded with fantasy and mystery! It was a really enjoyable read and I am really looking forward to the sequel!

Many thanks to author Barbara Underwood for a copy of Rhuna: Crossroads in exchange for my honest review.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

PURCHASE

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Rhuna Fantasy Books | Xlibris


If you enjoyed Rhuna: Crossroads, you may enjoy:

Return Once More

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Dawn of Wonder – Jonathan Renshaw

Dawn of Wonder (The Wakening #1) – Jonathan Renshaw

Dawn of Wonder

5 Stars (5 / 5)

WOW!!! THIS is why I love reading! What an absolutely fantastic and powerful story. With one novel, Renshaw has surely joined an elite group of fantasy authors, along side names such as Tolkin, Sanderson and Rothfuss. This book has been nominated and won numerous awards and I can certainly say beyond a doubt that I am not surprised. From the beginning of the book you could just tell there was something very special about it. And the audio version was superb! Absolutely 30 hours of my life that I would gladly give again for the pleasure of listening to this fabulous tale for a second time.

The story is a coming of age fantasy centring around the young Aedan. Aedan and his friends live in a small farming town when their lives are turned around when slave traders enter the town. What follows next ultimately leads Aedan to start training at an academy for mercenaries, with revenge on an entire nation in his sights.

Now, my description is obviously extremely short and vague. But don’t let it fool you, this story is rich with character and adventure. It is witty and moving. I was floored by the writing of this somewhat unknown author and even more blown away by the amazing performance of the narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds.

Like most good long fantasy tales, there are periods that are slower than the rest of the book – Setting the scene with characterisations, more than adventure and action. However when you take into account the importance of developing the characters and relationships between them, these slower periods are essential to the development of the story and I imagine the series as a whole. They are barely memorable.

The characters were all wonderfully developed, and entertaining. There were people that you loved, and people that you loved to hate. Poor Aeden did have his fair share of bad blood when it came to other characters and at times I was so frustrated at the way people treated him. Yes, at times some things seem far fetched, Aeden seems to have too much luck, or not enough… Being at the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Overhearing conversations that ultimately helped his cause. But this didn’t bother me at all. I still enjoyed every moment of this fantastic story.

Would I recommend Dawn of Wonder?

If you are a fan of high fantasy, especially Patrick Rothfuss, I would highly recommend this novel. I actually enjoyed it more than The Name of the Wind. Do yourself a favour and check this book out. Espeically the audio version! Fantastic!

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If you enjoy Dawn of Wonder, you may enjoy:

The Name of the Wind

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School of Deaths – Christopher Mannino

School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret #1)

School of Deaths

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this YA fantasy. It was different than I was expecting.

 Suzie is thrust from her life with her family and friends in the mortal world, and is forced to become a student in the school of deaths, a school that trains ‘grim reapers’ to harvest souls to take to the after life. There hasn’t been another female student in a million years, and Suzie is faced with sexism, ridicule and violence, and she is an outcast. Thankfully not everyone hates her, and with a few friends, Suzie must make her way through her first year to pass the end of year test so that she can return home…

The story was fun and interesting and even though it bore some resemblance to Harry Potter, it was still refreshingly original. I enjoyed Suzie’s character. I thought the way she experienced sexism and isolation was quite well written. She has a lot of inner strength which is appealing for me as a fan of strong female characters.

I liked the other characters, her friends and teachers and the “mentals”. There were a few good twists and turns throughout the book that I really enjoyed. And I appreciated the ending, leaving it ready for the next one.

It was easy to read and well written, and would absolutely appeal to a wide range of young readers. There were a few adult themes and some violence, I think the majority of YA fans will really enjoy it. I thought the romance was cute and lovely. Death itself is dealt with in an interesting way. I thought it was a really great concept having a school for deaths. And I really enjoyed Suzie learning her way through different aspects of her classes.

And YAY! No love triangles!!! WOOHOO!

Would I recommend School of Deaths?

Yes it was a fun, different yet familiar kind of YA read that I enjoyed. I am looking forward to reading the next one and seeing what is in store for Suzie!

Many thanks to author Christopher Mannino for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.

Mannino is currently working an adult science fiction novel, and editing the end of The Scythe Wielder’s Secret series.


If you enjoy The School of Deaths you may enjoy:

Eerie Finalhigh res   Return Once More

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Well, it took me long enough to get there, but I have finally finished The Wise Man’s Fear! What an EPIC audio book! 43 HOURS long!

It is day two at the Waystone Inn, and Kvothe is telling Bast and Chronicler the second part of his tale. Back at the university, a young Kvothe is just beginning his adventures. He leaves the university in search of a patron, trains with the Amyr and learns their secrets, gets taken by Felourian to have her way with him, continues on his quest to avenge his parents, and starts to make a name for himself.

The world that he has created in this series is just enchanting. I love how the story is told. The first book for those who have not read it, begins with the innkeeper agreeing to have his life story documented by a scribe. However it will take three days to tell his tale. The first book is day one, the second book is day two and the third book will be day three (when it is released… 2017 apparently! WAHHHH). In between the story there are interludes back to the present day at the Inn, starting to get glimpses of what Kvothe is like now, how he has changed, and how he has stayed the same.

I have read reviews of The Wise Man’s Fear and many reviewers found it to be slower than The Name of the Wind. I disagree. I actually enjoyed it much more than the first one. Maybe it was because of the ease of getting back into it. The first one took me a good 2 hours to really start enjoying the story. However this one was right back into it straight away. Like an old friend. I also began to feel like the story really moved along. It seemed to take him forever to venture out from the university, so I was utterly excited when he did! I enjoyed that he went into the Fae. At the time I thought it was a little strange, however I think it really helped Kvothes character mature, and became pivotal to the story.

There is something magical about Rothfuss’s words. Something amazing about the way he tells this tale… It sucks me right in. And with Nick Podehl as narrator, yet again I was listening to this book at every opportunity, trying to absorb as much of the story as I could, as quickly as I could!

Kvothe is really developing through the novels. In the first book I found him to be quite annoying, the younger version anyway. Arrogant and at times painfully stupid, despite his intelligence. The Wise Man’s Fear had me starting to like him and see glimpses of what he will be like as he grows older. His character was much more tolerable. I enjoyed his countless adventures. All the characters are engrossing to read about, both the new and the old ones. I really enjoy the relationship he has started to develop between his friends, and his romantic conquests. However one character I never warmed to and found in this one I began to dislike more and more, was Denna… I don’t understand his attraction to her, or her role in the whole saga. She is absolutely annoying and I would almost cringe whenever there was a scene with her in it. However, I am interested to see what happens with them in the next one.

I am very sad that the next one isn’t out yet, but you cant rush a good thing!

Would I recommend The Wise Man’s Fear?

Absolutely! A wonderful book! Just read The Name of the Wind first or you will be hopelessly and utterly lost!

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If you enjoyed The Wise Man’s Fear, you may enjoy:

The Name of the Wind