Petr – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

After years of living in his grandfather’s shadow Petr Drexel, a member of the space-faring nomadic Star Folk, is on a quest to prove his worth to himself and his family. On his first job, Petr’s shuttle is shot out of the sky in the middle of a Martian civil war. Ship repairs put Petr in debt to Alfred Zwinger, who offers Petr a deal he can’t refuse: pay off the debt by completing jobs for a powerful Martian noble named Rickard d’Helion.

During his first job for d’Helion Petr’s shuttle is stolen by Henrietta, a Star Folk Navigator on the run. Petr retrieves his shuttle only to discover the work he was hired for isn’t as simple as it seems. Deliver mining equipment – and fight off an army to protect the site; capture a rogue Star Folk mech pilot – only to discover it’s Henrietta’s brother, and that Henrietta isn’t who she appears to be. Petr and his motley crew quickly become entangled in solar system spanning intrigue, and now Petr’s problem is no longer just paying off his debt, but whether he will survive at all.

REVIEW

3/5 Stars

Petr Drexel needs to prove himself worthy of his tribe and his family name. He is a space pilot and on his very first job, his shuttle is shot out of the sky, making it a whole lot more difficult for him to earn a living, let alone a name for himself. Repairing his ship puts him in debt to a wealthy merchant named Alred Zwinger. Petr finds three mercenaries and a navigator who may be hiding secrets to accompany him. Together the team travels throughout the galaxy, performing jobs big and small, from recovering lost goods to stopping highly skilled thieves. As the jobs play out, it becomes more obvious that there is something going on behind the scenes and Petr is determined to find out what that is.

The book is action packed and a fun ride. It’s the story of nomadic viking tribes in space which makes for some entertaining situations. Petr is a charismatic leader and his band of mercenaries provide for not only enjoyable action but humorous scenes as well. The problems in the book stack up for Petr as not only is he indebted to a ruthless loan shark, his shuttle is stole right from under his nose.

At times the politics of the space galaxy could get confusing in the story and it wasn’t always clear what those politics meant for Petr. However, the rest of the book makes up for it with plenty of space fights, power armor, and intrigue. The story of how the mercenaries come to respect and trust Petr is interesting and plays out naturally. There is even a romantic entanglement to deal with. The combination provides for a story that is well worth reading.

If you enjoy military space fiction or books that deal with explorers and mercenaries traversing new territory while trying to survive, then Petr is for you.

Space-ily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

The Institute – #BookReview

Hello out there all you horror fans, it’s me Slick Dungeon, back with a review of a book from the master of horror, Stephen King. This time I am reviewing The Institute, a novel about kids with psychic abilities and what happens to them after they are kidnapped and taken to the eponymous Institute.

SYNOPSIS

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

REVIEW

5/5 Stars

To say that the book is gripping would be an understatement. King hooks the reader in with threads of people who seem to have nothing to do with each other but in as the reader we know there must be a reason we are introduced to these characters. By the end the reader is fully invested and the action never slows or disappoints.

Luke Ellis is a child genius. He’s able to ace the SAT with hardly breaking a sweat, he is able to get accepted into two Ivy League schools, and sometimes, just occasionally, he can knock and empty pizza platter off of a table with his mind. He’s twelve years old. To him, the least interesting thing about him is his mild telekinetic ability.

Meanwhile we meet Tim Jamieson who makes a sudden and possibly irrational decision to get off of a flight to New York and go wandering for a while. He ends up in DuPray, South Carolina, where he becomes what is known as a night knocker. This is sort of like a police officer, but it’s more like a security guard who walks around town, making sure nothing terrible is happening to disturb the peace of the quiet town. Little does he know it, but eventually, Tim and Luke’s fate will collide.

Luke wakes one day to find himself in a room that is almost his, but not quite. It turns out he has been kidnapped and he is in what is known as the Front Half of “The Institute”. Here kids are kept and fed and experimented on. The people who took Luke don’t care that he is a genius, they only care about his psychic abilities. That’s an unfortunate mistake for them because if anyone can get out of the place and expose what is going on, it’s Luke with his genius level intellect. Only, he will need to do it before he is taken to Back Half. The kids who go there, never are seen again.

Of course, since this is a King book, there are moments that are truly and genuinely terrifying and might just give you nightmares. The book reminds me very much of Firestarter or even Carrie when it comes to kids and psychic abilities but it has it’s own flavor to it. In my opinion it’s one of the better recent Stephen King books and doesn’t suffer from a poor ending the way some of his work can. It left me wanting more and hoping that there might be a sequel. Psychic abilities is a subject that King likes to delve into a lot, from Danny Torrence in The Shining to The Institute and I feel like they all intersect in one way or another. I kept imagining what would happen if little Danny had been taken to the Institute instead of to the Overlook hotel or if the kids in the Institute had gone to that haunted hotel. Whatever the case, if King writes about these psychic abilities, I am all in because it always delivers a great story.

If you like Stephen King at all, pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed.

Institutionally yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

July 2020 TBR

Hey Everyone, Slick Dungeon here. I just wanted to share with you my July 2020 TBR list as it currently stands. Note that some of this could change as I do tend to be a slower reader and some books may get pushed back a little. For that reason, you’ll see two books that were on my June TBR showing up on my July TBR. I do my best to get through, but there’s only so much time. This month I plan to go through everything from horrific government experiments to science fiction classics to animal adventures. Check out my list and let me know what you think.

  1. The Institute by Stephen King

I’m a little more than half way through this one and I am loving it so far. Expect a review up on my site soon. This is about a secret “Institute” where kids with psychic abilities are basically being used as lab rats and weapons. As you might imagine with Stephen King there is plenty of horror included, as well as plenty of heart.

2. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

This my next read after The Institute. It’s the first in the Wheel of Time series and I am really looking forward to reading it, especially with the Amazon show on the horizon. It’s the first in a series of epic fantasy books that I am ready to take my first real dive into.

3. Eirwen and Fridis by C.S. Watts

This is book one in a fantasy series starting animals, akin to Watership Down or Wind in the Willows. I have begun this book and so far it has started to grow on me, so I am really curious to see where it goes. I will also be reviewing this for the website Reedsy so you can expect a review, but not until this one goes public on that site. It should still happen in July though.

4. The Invasion of Aeronbed by C.S. Watts

This is the sequel to Eirwen and Fridis and is the second part in a seven book series called The Ravenstones. I can’t really pre-judge this one since I haven’t finished the first book but the review for it will appear about a week after I review Eirwen and Fridis both here and on Reedsy.

5. Lies, Inc. by Phillip K. Dick

Phillip K. Dick is my favorite science fiction writer that a lot of people have never heard of but most of us have seen a story by. If you loved the film Bladerunner or Total Recall, you can thank Phillip K. Dick. Total Recall is based on a short story called We Can Remember It for You Wholesale while Bladerunner is based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Okay, so maybe Dick is not the best at good titles for his stories, but they are always odd and interesting and tend to influence a ton of science fiction storytelling both in literature and film. Lies Inc. is about an overpopulated Earth where people get teleported to Whale’s Mouth, an allegedly pristine new home for happy and industrious emigres. It’s supposed to be an examination of totalitarianism, reality and hallucination. To me it sounds highly relevant to our time period and I am very curious to find out.

6. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Honestly, I am not sure if I will make it to this one in the month of July but I am going to try. If I don’t make it, this will be at the top of the August TBR list for me.

This is the first in the Broken Earth series and won the Hugo award. It’s the story of how the world ends, for the final time. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this series but I haven’t ever had the chance to pick it up until now. I’m looking forward to it. The author says she likes to write about ordinary people in extraordinary situations and I really want to see how that is handled because that can either be done extremely well or extremely poorly in fiction. From all the accolades that the series has gotten, I am betting this is done extremely well.

Well, there you have it, that’s my list for the month. I am unfortunately one of those people who absolutely loves long books, long series, and is also a slow reader. It makes for a hard life but a lot of time spent enjoying good books.

Let me know what you think of my list and if you have a TBR I should check out, let me know in the comments!

Bookishly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

The Garden and Other Stories – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

With The Garden and other stories, his first exciting collection, author Aaron Ramos skilfully weaves tales of powerful human emotion, modern scientific concepts, and ancient myths and legends within eight beautifully diverse stories.

In Elevated, a young man living in a dystopian future struggles with personal development and romance. In Zero, an elderly woman is confronted with a robotic visitation in small town America. By the Light of the Fire is one woman’s journey to peace with her father in the mountains of ancient Norway. Knocking on Heaven’s door sees a man come face to face with both the Devil and God in an effort to question what it means to be human. In the title story, a father and daughter try to make sense of prejudice, love and what it means to be truly happy in a post apocalyptic universe.

Ramos’ detailed and sensitive imagining of both future and past is an invitation to readers to consider who they are against the vast backdrop of multiple universes.

REVIEW

3/5 Stars

The Garden and Other Stories is eight different short stories, varying in both length and subject matter. Most of the stories have some element of love, be it romantic, parental or even societal. While some stories might be stronger than others in terms of tale weaving, there is certainly something here to satisfy any reader who enjoys science fiction or fantasy stories.

At times the stories focusing on myth and fantasy felt a little more contrived in my opinion, but the stories dealing with technology were fascinating. Other readers might find the opposite is true, as it all depends upon one’s taste. Again in my opinion, the strongest stories of the bunch were Zero and Knocking on Heaven’s Door. Both dealt with futuristic technology and what that means to humankind. Zero is a more serious tale about artificial intelligence while Knocking on Heaven’s Door takes on the very idea of creation in a humorous and thoroughly entertaining light. The centerpiece of the book, The Garden is able to blend technological advances with the love a father has for his daughter. An unconditional love that is refreshing to see in a short story.

A nice through line in the stories was how most of them did have to do with love in some way. Even in the stories that were not the strongest, Ramos is able to pull the reader in emotionally. We can all relate to longing or yearning, or familial love and this is what makes this collection stand out. Even inside of fantastical settings full of monsters, myths and technological wonders, the protagonists are decidedly human. The one drawback to this book is that it would have been nice to have more stories in the collection. For that reason, I am looking forward to more from this author.

This is an impressive debut collection from a new author. If you enjoy short story collections such as Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman or the short story collections of Isaac Asimov, then at least one of these stories is sure to entertain.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Bastion Awakens – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

A sovereign empire, the Consortium, defies both science and religion in its race to colonise the Solar System. They carved a God from ones and zeros.
It searches for the Devil.

A hidden planet, Bastion, lies home to a descendant colony of humanity. Its original inhabitants are thought long gone.
But something stirs beneath the surface.

TAREV is a harvester. A moonblood. His life, indebted to the Consortium, entails trudging along the harsh, icy surface of Saturn’s moon, Titan. A life of struggle, harvesting methane for the rest of the Solar System to use, until he and his brother, Sevastian, discover something buried deep within the ice.

Something that will change their lives forever.

ELIA is a Weightless, a gravity wielder, after being injected with the biometal that litters the alien planet on which she lives. She’s also the genetic reprint of an ancient hero, a Catalyst, who paid the ultimate sacrifice over two hundred years ago. Elia struggles to live up to the expectations that come with being a Weightless. She struggles to live normally, while wearing the face of a Catalyst.

She struggles to live, when her planet refuses to die.

REVIEW

5/5 Stars

Bastion Awakens is almost two books for the price of one. In one story we follow Tarev, a methane harvester from Titan. His life is not easy and he and his brother Sev do the best they can to make a living. Things seem to be set to improve when they find a huge pocket of methane to mine but they discover something completely unexpected while they are at it. The other story deals with Elia, a so called Weightless from Bastion, a hidden colony that has no contact with the other colonized planets. Elia not only is able to wield and bend gravity to her will, she is also a genetic imprint from an ancient hero, a Catalyst, who died over two hundred years ago. Needless to say, she has huge shoes to fill and is doing the best she can to live up to enormous expectations.

It takes a little while to get your bearings in the book (at least it did for me) but once you see how the stories reflect one another and start to understand the nature of the current state of civilization, the book is utterly gripping. It’s a huge space opera that touches on thematic elements from expectations brought about by ones surroundings, to grief, love, loss and self sacrifice. All this while still having a ton of action and life threatening situations to keep the reader engaged the whole while. And while a reader might wonder what the two stories have to do with one another, by the end, all is made clear, while still leaving questions out there that make one instantly want to read another volume in the saga.

To anyone who loves a good space adventure with intricate complexities and deep human emotions, you have got to read this book. While I am tempted to compare this to something like Dune, in that it takes place in space and there are complex politics happening,this stands in its own right as a unique story. By the end of the book the reader cares deeply about Tarev and Elia and can sympathize with all they have been through, gained and lost. To me this can stand with the best of space fiction and is an absolute must read.

Space Operatically yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

June 2020 TBR

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon, here. I’m trying to get a little more organized with my blog so I thought I would post here a quick TBR (To Be Read for those uninitiated) list I have for the month of June. Now, I reserve the right to push these out in case I don’t get through them but I have a few books I am hoping to post reviews for. I’m not a fast reader, so I may or may not make it through them all but here is what I have planned so far.

  1. Bastion Awakens (The Remnant Trilogy Book 1) by Christopher M. Knight

This is an epic space opera. I’m about a quarter of the way through but I am going to review it on Reedsy Discovery so I will definitely finish this one. I’m excited for it because I tend to love a good space opera, if it’s told well.

2. The Garden and Other Stories by Aaron Ramos

This is a collection of 8 science fiction short stories. I’m a sucker for a good short story and I like to read them right before bed as a little “mini-snack” of reading. I hope this one is good and I’ll let you know once I’ve read it.

3. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I’m about half way through this. Yes, I read multiple books at the same time, it’s just how I roll. So far, this has been, as I would expect, outstanding. There are original thoughts and concepts here and it’s mind bogglingly good. I have no idea how the story is going to end. None.

4. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

For years, literally any time I bought a fantasy book that was not in The Wheel of Time series, the cashier would ask me if I had read it. Sad to say, I haven’t but what with quarantine and all, plus an amazon prime show coming up, this definitely feels like the right time and I’m really excited to see what all the buzz is about.

5. The Institute by Stephen King

I have read nearly everything the master of horror has written and I have heard that this is one of his best in years, so I can’t wait to get into it. I do feel like his endings can be disappointing sometimes but almost always when I read a Stephen King book there is enough in it to keep me fascinated and coming back for more.

I’m not sure I’ll get through all these this month but I’m gonna give it my best shot. I hope you’ll come back and read the reviews once I finish. I can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading.

Organizedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Best 5 Fantasy Graphic Novels Every Kid Should Read

Slick Dungeon here and I was just thinking about some of the books that made me love fantasy. While I love reading books like Lord of the Rings, I also love a good graphic novel. And for kids, sometimes a more complex fantasy book can be boring. So I thought I would give you my recommendations for five fantasy graphic novels that I think all kids should read. At what age they should read them is entirely dependent on the kid but the subject matter in these is age appropriate for kids under 12 in general. Here are my top five.

5. Amulet

This book starts out with a major tragedy so just a fair warning there but it gets us into a magical land full of Elven kings, mechanical rabbits, giant robots and a brother and sister fighting against evil. The tragedy at the beginning is worth every page thereafter, the art is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s a magical read. It’s not overly word heavy, so even early readers can enjoy a good portion of this.

4. Coraline

While my favorite version of this story is the original book, the graphic novel makes great use of tone and setting to set a visually stunning story. This is more of a dark fantasy than an epic fantasy and some kids do get scared by it. I can see how the other mother could creep someone out but honestly, I think it’s healthy for kids to have a good scare now and again. And this book is utterly memorable and a great ride for kids.

3. Oddly Normal

It’s tough having a mother from a magical land and a father from Earth. Oddly Normal is ten years old and just wants to make friends at school. Making a wish when blowing out her candles on her birthday cake leads her to travel to Fignation to uncover the mystery of her parents disappearance and a fantastical adventure fighting monstrous bullies and Evil itself. With sophisticated literary references, this makes this a good read for adults too. A vampire named Bram? Count me in.

2. The Witch Boy

Boys become shapeshifters and girls become witches. 13 year old Aster has not shifted and his real interest is in witchery. This book takes on gender stereotypes while still providing a wholly satisfying fantasy story. The artwork is charming and it’s great for kids ages 8-12 but I think it’s still a great read even if you are older.

1. Bone

This is Jeff Smith’s opus and it is magnificent. This ran for 15 years and you used to only be able to get it in black and white single issues. Now you can get the whole volume in lovely color for a reasonable price. Don’t let the cartoonish look of the three main characters fool you, this is a complex and interesting story. It’s an epic fantasy that can stand alongside the best of them. If you read the second volume, The Great Cow Race, and are not charmed by it, you have no heart or no soul. And if you stick with it until the end, you will be able to see what a beautiful, well crafted, and intelligent story this is. If you don’t read a single other book I recommend here, pick this one up, trust me, it’s worth it.

Honorable mentions

These next two have content that some parents might find a little mature for under 12 but it really depends on the child and the family. I think that there are definitely kids under 12 this is suitable for but not all parents and families will love some of the content. For this reason, I would say that I still recommend these but you may just want to give a read before giving it to your kids. And hey, you might find out that you love these too!

The Mice Templar

This is about an order of mice Templar who once preserved order in the natural world. The brotherhood was broken and now predators and scavenger creatures rule the land. One mouse is prophesied to change the world. This is listed as for ages 13-16, mainly because the dialogue can be more complex than some of the others on this list and because there is a fair amount of violence in it. It’s a complicated and gripping read though, and well worth the time. A good reader at age 10 who can stomach a little bit of battlefield action is probably okay to read this. Still, like I said, be sure to read ahead if you don’t know if you are comfortable with your kid reading this.

Elfquest

Elfquest is the longest running independent fantasy series in the USA. It lasted for a whopping 40 years exactly. With a series that long running, there is clearly an appeal to it. There are things here that can be considered more mature and not just when it comes to violence if you know what I mean. But it’s such an epic tale that I think almost any kid or adult could easily latch onto it. There’s a huge story here and it would be nearly impossible for me to summarize it, so let me just say, it’s one of the greatest epic fantasy tales ever told.

There you have it. Let me know what you thought of my list. Did I miss your favorite? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my TBR list if I haven’t heard of it.

Comically yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Orb and Arrow: Duty – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

The lords of southern Dereff have asked Brillar and Elden to establish a House of the Four Powers near Obreth. They have accepted the challenge and travel north to recruit from both Great Houses. Those who agree will have to say their farewells to friends and relatives, cross the Wild with their families and take up new duties in the south.
But deep in the earth, evil is stirring. The Mother has been roused, the maker of the Savic, enraged by the death of her daughters at the hands of the mages and their supporters. She has summoned a quartet of daughters, vowing vengeance. Brillar must die and her friends with her; then the House of Life must be destroyed and the town of Laurenfell laid waste.
For the first time in a thousand years, the north will be at war!

REVIEW

4/5 Stars

Brillar and Elden, master and apprentice are returning from Obreth in the south. It’s been decided that they will start a House of the Four Powers, a magic school, to help those in need there. To do this, the pair will need to return to their homes in the north and enlist the help of the Great Houses. The story follows the two of them as they make their way past old friends, solidify new alliances, and face ancient threats from the Savic.

This time the story starts off with Elden and Brillar in a new type of relationship. Husband and wife rather than master and apprentice. Their journeys have taken them far from home and they have come to realize where they truly belong. In the south, helping as many people as they can. Brillar wants to recruit Sisters and Elden wants to recruit Brothers from the Great Houses. This could prove difficult since Brillar has killed, which goes against the oath of the Great Houses and Elden has been gone from his home for a great deal of time.

Much of the book deals with the diplomacy of the situation which is quite interesting. As the pair are making their moves, the darkness is growing. Brillar is still recovering mentally from the events of the last book. Her trauma is real and it is impressive to see mental trauma actually dealt with in a fantasy setting. This book manages that extremely well. The enemies that Brillar and Elden face are threatening and intelligent and that makes the story seem much more real.

Like the other books in the series, there are a frustrating amount of grammar errors, however, the content of the story is enough to make this a worthy read for anyone who like fantasy. If you love books where heroes full of light and goodness fight against darkness and the forces of evil, this series is for you. The final book in Orb and Arrow is interesting, impactful and utterly satisfying.

Sincerely yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Orb and Arrow: Honor – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

A thousand years have passed since the Great War that banished magic users from southern Dereff. Not knowing about the ban, Brillar has chosen to travel to southern cities as apprentice to Master Elden, Mage of the Four Powers. Her unique skills are needed in the southern towns; his would be feared.Their plans for a peaceful journey are shattered when they reach Obreth where a terrible pestilence rages and is devastating the city. They quickly learn that all their Powers are needed to combat the plague and find the man who set it in motion. But struggling with the pestilence has left them vulnerable and now – Brillar is missing!

REVIEW

4/5 Stars

Brillar has been apprenticed to her master Elden, Mage of the Four Powers, for about half a year. The two decide to make their way across the Wilds and down south to explore regions they have never seen. Dark powers including undead warriors, evil potion makers and Dark mages known as the Savic all threaten the pair. They make it to a town threatened by illness and just when things seem like they might turn out okay, Brillar goes missing.

In this second volume of Orb and Arrowthe stakes are higher, the emotions run deeper and the intensity is heightened. While this volume doesn’t have as many action scenes as the first book, it was a more gripping read. Brillar and Elden make some powerful friends and some powerful enemies. On top of that, Brillar has taken lives in the past out of necessity and is now unable to take the Oath of the healers. When Elden and Brillar make it to a southern town all her healing skills will be needed. Yet there is an unseen threat that could be the end for both Brillar and Elden.

It was fascinating to read how Elden and Brillar react when they are separated. There were parts of the book that I found incredibly dark. That’s not a criticism of the book, it made me want to keep reading, but it was very intense. A few more scenes of action would have been welcome in this volume but the narrative doesn’t suffer much from the lack of it. What could have been improved in my mind was a bit more detail on how Elden reacts to Brillar’s disappearance. That was a subject that left me wanting to know more.

If you enjoy fantasy fiction books like The Lord of the Rings, you will most likely enjoy the Orb and Arrow series. The end leaves the reader curious to know more and I look forward to reading the next volume.

Sincerely yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Orb and Arrow – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

SYNOPSIS

Brillar was expected to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a healer but she had other plans. Now a highly skilled archer, she has been forced to kill to release a bound mage. It may have been self-defense, but that is no excuse for a healer. Releasing such a skilled War mage from bondage could get you killed…or apprenticed. When she chooses the latter, Brillar finds herself on a desperate journey to stop the rising tide of Darkness. Her decision to apprentice herself to Elden, the man she rescued, sets her further from the healer’s calling. Still, her healing spells serve them both well as they face the dangers of a world often torn between the Light and Darkness.

REVIEW

3/5 Stars

Brillar is a healer but is also skilled with a bow. She sets out to learn more about the world and gets more than she bargained for when she happens upon a mage trapped in a cruel lock. Brillar must decide if she should take a chance on the mage and ease his suffering or leave him to die. Brillar chooses to free Elden to find that he is a powerful mage and a worthy teacher. She apprentices herself to Elden and they spend the next year traveling, learning, teaching and fighting evil together.

This was a sprawling adventure that covered a lot of ground. The dimlock that Brillar has to free Elden from exudes evil and everything about it in the book is fascinating. It would have been nice to see a little bit more about the background of it and where it got its power but I suspect that may come up in future volumes. The relationship between Brillar and Elden was entertaining and it was enjoyable to see how their relationship developed.

There was a portion of the book that was a little bit slow, when Brillar and Elden go out into the wilds. But even then, by the end the story and the action picked up enough pace to make that section work. The only other negative in the book is that there are quite a few typos but the story was compelling enough that it was forgivable.

In some ways this book is reminiscent of The Witcher series although, the protagonists are quite different from the ones in that series. Elden and Brillar are basically good at their core unlike some of the protagonists in The Witcher. What the two series have in common is this sort of open world feel where the characters wander around and do what good they can when they can. If you like fantasy adventure series, this one is a good addition to your bookshelf and I look forward to reading the future volumes.

Sincerely yours,

Slick Dungeon

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