William's Reviews
William's Reviews

William's Reviews (25)

The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski - Book Review
10, Jan

Due to the recent release of the recent release of The Witcher series on Netflix, I thought it would be a good time to share what my thoughts were on the first book of the series.

“Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

I read this book during a buddy read with fellow BookNest reviewer Filip Magnus, and continued to do so with Sword of Destiny, the sequel in this series.

This was a throughly enjoyable introduction to the world and Geralt, with seven short stories that were mostly separate from each other. Each piece was interesting in different ways and introduced new monsters the world possesses that were very cool.

I loved the character of Geralt! He is so great. He can be tough sometimes and also quite cold, but he tries to do the right thing, and sees right through people and their schemes. He sometimes even chooses to protect monsters over humans. Just because he is a Witcher, the most famous monster hunter, but he only kills for good reason, and always struggles to find the best conclusion.

“People," Geralt turned his head, "like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.”

My favourite story was one that was inspired by Beauty and the Beast, but put its own darker take on it, most definitely not having the same Disney ending! It had vivid action scenes that were written and translated very well, along with some completely unique ideas.

The camaraderie between Geralt and Dandelion in the last few stories was great, and funny. They were a pair that complemented each other, I hope to see more of them in the future.

The dialogue was the weakest aspect, often feeling cold and stiff, perhaps due to the translation. This did sadly sometimes make it hard to focus on the scene, especially during longer conversations between multiple characters, because their personalities were not evident or divisible through speech.

A 4/5 star rating by me, so I will definitely be advancing onto other novels in this series, looking forward to it :).

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas - Book Review
28, Dec

First of all, Merry Christmas everyone, hope you have had a festive last week!

"For a new world. For a better world."

Kingdom of Ash was a great finale to the Throne of Glass series that inspired unexpected emotion and investment from me. The plot and ties to the characters formed in the first six books have resulted in such a great depth that each member of the cast has a fantastic and varied personality that I loved. The former novels of the series had been rather inconsistent. Some being great, some good and some disappointing. So I was glad to finish on a high.

This book was huge, being just short of 1,000 pages! So it is impossible to cover the broad range of events that occurred, unless I were to write an essay. So  will keep it brief and stick to the main elements to avoid any spoilers.

Maas writes some brilliant scenes that were proper goosebumps moments, as heroes stood against overwhelming offs and sacrifices were made for victory. The novel carried me through fear, joy, laughter, mourning and surprise. Despite the huge size, the tension is somehow maintained, providing a satisfying and enjoyable conclusion to this 7 book series. There was no dull moment, and every page was needed.

The prose was smooth and guided me from page to page. It has got better and better as the series progressed and Kingdom if Ash was no exception.

it is dad to reach the end of the journey for so many characters, but hope that Maas will one day return with a new series or more short stories. 

Fireheart!

4.5/5 STARS

 

 

For a new world. A better world.

Kingdom of Ash was a great finale to the Throne of Glass series that inspired unexpected emotion and investment from me. The plot and ties to the characters formed in the first six books have resulted in such a depth that each member of the cast has a fantastic and varied personality that I loved.

This book was a huge novel, just short of a 1000 pages! So this would become a very long essay were I to comment on what I thought of each phase and the decision formed, so I shall keep it briefer to avoid any risk of spoilers.

Maas writes some brilliant scenes that were proper goosebumps moments, as heroes stood against overwhelming odds and sacrifices were made for victory. This novel carried me through fear, joy, laughter, mourning and surprise. (view spoiler) Despite the huge size, the tension is somehow maintained, providing a satisfying and enjoyable conclusion to this 7 book series.

It is sad to reach the end of the journey for so many characters, but hope that there are other novels or short stories that return to this world.

Fireheart!

 

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker - Book Review
18, Dec

The Colour Purple is an incredible novel that is brutal and beautiful.  Set during 1920's and 30's America, it appropriately tackles issues such as racism and patriarchal society in a heart wrenching way that made the novel intense and painful, as well as remaining true to life and presenting a mirror to what the reality of society was.

As the reader, you sympathise so strongly for Celie, the main character, and cannot help but love her as the character develops and subtle things even to the extent to the change of her language as she ages occur. Life crushes her and sends problem after problem. but she somehow manages to continue and attempt to move on. Her acceptance of horrific circumstances is horrible and heart breaking, and her kind personality inspires anger within the reader, as it is so unjust.

The Colour Purple is a novel that everyone should read. It is truly a magnificent piece of work that deserves to be praised and read. The prose is brilliant, the world and characters believable, and the plot immersive. One of my favourite books of the year, but a tough and intense read that I need some time to recover from.

5/5 STARS

Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder #1) by Brian McClellan - Book Review
24, Nov

 

Sins of Empire is a fantastic and immersive beginning to Brian McClellan's second series. Once again there are unique and wonderful characters, an intriguing plot and slick action sequences.

"But there were some wounds you could ask an old soldier about and others you had to wait for him to tell."

I absolutely loved McClellan's debut series, Powder Mage, which is set in the same world. So when I came to this, I did not know if he could manage such a fear again. Sins of Empire proves all my doubts wrong. There are a whole new bunch of unique and intriguing characters who are incredibly enjoyable to read about.

Sins of Empire starts around a decade after the conclusion of the previous series, but remains mostly detached as it takes place on the continent of Fatrasta, mostly contained within the massive city of Landfall. These are lands and dominions never explored before, and they added a whole new edge to the story with intricate dynamics far from similar to his previous trilogy.

Sins of Empire is told from three POV"s:

General Vlora Flint, the leader of the famous mercenary company called the "Rifle Jackets" is a powerful and renowned Powder Mage. She is working for the Governor of Fatrasta and her task is to crush any chance of a united rebellion from the Palo by catching their mysterious leader. 

Mad Ben Styke, a former leader of the legendary "Mad Lancers" and a decorated war hero after the Fatrastan war of independence. He has since been convicted as a war criminal and has since been imprisoned for the last decade within a brutal labour camp.

Michel Brevis, a member of the "Blackhats", who are the police and spies for the government of Fatrasta. He is surprised when he is summoned for an impeccable record and given his toughest job yet.

"Styke's people were outnumbered two to one. The Dynize, he decided, should have brought about more men."

I loved the plot of each character, and enjoyed how diverse each character arc was. Michel Brevis had a more subtle storyline as compliments his profession, and there was constant tension with Style for every single chapter with him. 

Throughout the novel, Brian McClellan gives the reader a fabulous insight to the culture and layout of the city of Landfall with his usual slick prose. I loved it!

A great read with fantastic characters and an intriguing plot. I recommend this book highly!

5/5 STARS

 

 

 

 

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence - Book Review
14, Nov

Red Sister is the first instalment in the Book of the Ancestor series. And it is just incredible! Character arcs are intricate and wonderful, the plot is  unguessable, and the prose is incredible.

"A book is as dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the same one that opened the front one. Treat them with respect."

I read this series a few months ago and absolutely loved it! Red Sister was the first book I read by Mark Lawrence, and he instantly arose to being one of my favourite authors. It is a brilliant book, filled with action and intrigue, and warrior nuns, and a training school. What else could you ask for?

It has a consistency fast pace with a constantly developing plot and a well balanced spread of character building and plot. 

The prose of Mark Lawrence is fluid and easy to read. While being compatible for all readers, there is a poetic edge to it that is brief and beautiful. Definitely one of my favourite writing styles that I have encountered.

Each character is unique with an interesting and diverse personality which disallowed any dull moment, varying from Abbess Glass, the cunning leader of the Sweet Mercy Convent. To Nona Grey, the young girl who features as the main character of Red Sister. I girl with mysteries and questions following her to the last page. 

"Trust is the most insidious of poisons. Trust sidesteps all of your precautions."

Red Sister was a definite five star rating for me due to the combination of every fantastic aspect that immersed me into this fascinating world with incredible characters and stunning prose. I found that my mind kept wondering to the plot when I was parted from the book, and for me, that is the mark of a great book.

I assure you that Grey Sister and Holy Sister are as good as if not better than this introduction to the series. Any lover of fantasy should read this series!

5/5 STARS

 

 

The Wolf's Call (Raven's Blade #1) by Anthony Ryan - Book Review
21, Oct

The Wolf's Call marks a fantastic return to the magnificent character Vaelin AL Sorna. A riveting journey with amazing battles and an immersive world.

"Mercy requires strength, compassion demands courage and wisdom compels truth."

The Wolf's Call is the first book in the Raven's Blade series, a new book back into the life of Vaelin Al Sorna, one of my favourite characters of all time!

I love that Anthony Ryan has returned to a 1 PoV that stuck with Vaelin, as you just can't get better than the warrior himself. His character is so developed now. His honourable nature conflicts with the haunts of his past, especially when he finds that one of his few loved ones are in imminent and potentially fatal danger. 

Ryan's prose is great as usual, straight to the point with a fast pace that was constantly enjoyable and made a lot happen in this 400 page novel. Not only were there masterfully written battles, but the political aspects were intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable as well.

This series travels to a different continent of the world that has a completely different culture, where nomadic hordes pose the main threat. Ryan efficiently depicted this new land and made this novel very different to his former books. 

"Betrayal is always the worst sin."

This was a very strong opening novel to a new series, with great action, and one of my favourite duels that I have ever read! The large scale conflict was brilliantly described and formed a vivid picture in my mind. 

I would recommend that you read Blood Song, and possibly Tower Lord in the previous series to enjoy this book to its optimum level. I did not read Queen of Fire, and did not feel like I was missing out particularly on any major aspect. 

I look forward to the next book coming out, it will be a frustrating wait until then. I shall wait for Vaelin to return!

4.25/5 STARS

 

The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden - Book Review
30, Sep

"Your gold buys my service, pleasure of seeing Spartans in battle. It is a rare gift and worth more than mere coins. After all, most men see it only once and never again."

I have finished The Falcon of Sparta and am very satisfied as I close the book in front of me.

It was a great novel with an interesting historical retelling of a great adventure set around 400BC. It is based in the heart of the Persian Empire, with the reign of the old ruler drawing to a close and a new era starting, although it is not clear who will emerge victorious and on the throne...

Every aspect of this novel was well executed. The characters had a great depth, the plot was interesting, and the concepts and main themes were fascinating! Especially the Spartans who Iggulden portrayed so brilliantly. They were epic! But the magical touch that turns a book into a magical read and 5-stars sadly wasn't there. I cannot put my finger on what was slightly lacking, as there was no weakness or part that was specifically lacking. But it was still a great and fun read that was written with Iggulden's usual smooth prose, and filled to the brim with wonderful bits of historical knowledge that brought the story to life and made the world flourish.

The battles varied from minuscule skirmishes to huge battle conflicts involving over 1-million combatants. So a lot of diversity. But each one was written brilliantly and vividly, creating some of the best scenes of the book. They were both simple enough for a reader to understand, and still chaotic as battles truly are and were.

I would recommend this to any who enjoys historical fiction or those who have read and enjoyed previous work by this author. Also if you have an interest in Persian or Ancient Greek history, this is a novel for your consumption. If you have read this and enjoyed Conn Iggulden's style, I would highly recommend his Conqueror secures, which is utterly brilliant! About Genghis Khan. Definitely try it!

 

 4.25/5 STARS

Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha #1) by Tasha Suri - Book Review
25, Sep

Empire of Sand is a wonderfully unique story with an immersive world and relatable characters that carries you on a rollercoaster of emotions!

Empire of Sand was a great debut by Tasha Sure that I thoroughly enjoyed. It has definitely ensured that I will read its sequel, Realm of Ash, and I am glad I gave it a try despite it not residing within my usual reading material.

The world building was efficiently depicted, and something I easily understood although I have not read many books with the influence of Indian culture. This was pleasantly surprising as it overcame what I thought would be a barrier to me and became one of my favourite aspects of the story.

The main character was someone who I really enjoyed following as a PoV because they were believable and had such an intriguing plot-line that intertwined with the other aspects of the story excellently. Within this, the main character battled contemporary issues such as social class, race divides, gender expectations and persecution. Mehr was a likeable person with faults that made her 3-dimensional and allowed me to empathise with her, furthering the bond constructed. The villains were also cleverly portrayed and rich in nature as so much was revealed about them in every encounter and interaction without it being wooden or annoyingly obvious

The plot-line was unguessable so I never had a clue what would happen in the next chapter. To such an extent I sometimes paused a moment to comprehend what just happened, as it completely defied my expectations. This was very refreshing as it can be easy to discern the plot in many novels.

The only thing I wanted more of was action. While there were always events unfolding and twists occurring, it felt a bit repetitive in the middle with the political aspect, but that was only for a small portion of the story. So while there was not as much action as I am used to, I still really enjoyed it, and that testifies how good this book was.

So Empire of Sand was very unique for me as it varied from any read of mine prior to this. It focuses on character building and has an interesting world. I am certainly looking forward to reading Realm of Ash that is published in a few months, and will purchase it when the opportunity arises.

4.25/5 STARS

 

 

 

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy - Book Review
11, Sep


"How does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?"

No Country for Old Men is a masterfully told standalone novel by Cormac McCarthy that is rife with symbolism and contemporary issues. Greed, government law, and morals are depicted differently by each character according to their perspective and as such allows the reader to reach their own conclusion.


The characters are brilliant, one of my favourite aspects of this book. Each is unique and the three PoV’s each bring unique aspects to the book. Sheriff Bell represents an older generation that is grappling to come to terms with modern culture. He was the character I liked most, as he was genuinely unselfish, and consistently placed his morals and duty in front of his life. Another is Moss. With him, the saying “Live by the sword, die by the sword” comes to mind. He enters a criminal world after an act of greed and has to face the consequences, while attempting to survive along the way. The last PoV was Chigurh, an amoral murderer tasked with catching Moss. He has no qualms about murdering innocents, fore he cares about no one. A truly terrifying villain.

“People complain about the bad things that happen to em that they don't deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things”

The prose was brilliant, with the writing of McCarthy being so unique and phrased realistically, carrying on in a style relatable to that of the trail of thought. It was some of my favourite prose that I have ever had the pleasure to read, but is hard to describe to those who have not yet encountered his style.

The actual storyline adopted a quick pace as well, with some extremely tense interactions and events between characters. This author toys with your expectations and flips them over so it appears as a realistic story, not as a romanticised novel where the good guys will all win, and order will be restored. That was so interesting as a reader and I hope to see more of it in the future.

“It takes very little to govern good people. Very little. And bad people cant be governed at all. Or if they could I never heard of it.”

No Country for Old Men has made me a fan of this author, so I will definitely be going onto The Road when I have a chance. It is a five star rating, because of the lack of a weakness, and brilliance in every aspect. It was symbolic, but not to the extent that it took away from the story, so I will be contemplating the events that took place in these pages for a long while to come.

5/5 STARS

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb - Book Review
21, Aug

Assassin's Apprentice is a wonderful start to the incredible Farseer Trilogy bt Robin Hobb. In an intricate story with beautiful prose and fantastic characters, Hobb cemented this book as one of my favourites of all time.

"Very little worth knowing is taught by fear"

I read Assassin's Apprentice late last year, and I am so glad that I did. This is the book that introduced me to my now second favourite author ever. I blitzed through three trilogies in this world in less than a month! That is how obsessed I became. 

Hobb's characters are just a pure masterclass. Each has a rare depth, where every action revealed something about them, forming a vivid and interesting cast that deepened my love and connection to this book and series. FitzChivalry Farseer quickly established himself as one of my top five favourite fictional characters. I think that explains part of my adoration for this book.

The plot revolved around Fitz as he grew from a young child to a teenager. It is the first step in his incredible journey where he makes critical decisions that will change his life forever, and haunt him for the rest of his life. The storyline was executed perfectly, with effective world building that immersed me into this book, and intricate plots weaving in and out of focus, leaving me wanting to discover more, and unable to guess what would happen next.

"When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead."

The prose is more descriptive-heavy than dialogue, but still has a fair amount of speech that strikes a great balance. The interactions between characters are written fantastically and on the whole, the prose is poetic and smooth and flawless. It is a literary genius in action.

If you have not read this book, or any Hobb, that needs to change! I cannot stress enough how magnificent this story is. It is a journey that will stay with me for many years, and one I shall read many times over.

5/5 STARS

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