William
William

William

William is from Sussex, UK.

He has a passion for literature and enjoys reading all sorts of books. His hobbies are numerous and consist of medieval/viking reenactment, writing, karate and of course reading.

Sons of Thunder (Raven #2) by Giles Kristian - Book Review 06, Apr

Sons of Thunder was a brilliant second instalment in the Raven series. Many series I have read have suffered at the hands of the “second book disease”, where the quality plummets. But not this!

 

“Have you ever sailed in a longship? Not a stubby, robust knörr laden with trade goods and wallowing like a packhorse across the sea, but a sleek, deathly quick, terror-stirring thing – a dragon ship.”

 

Sons of Thunder is the second instalment in the Raven historical series by the magnificent Giles Kristian, following a Viking brotherhood that battle with the consistent brutality life throws at them. This follows on soon after the wrapping up of the previous novel. The role of Raven as a narrator in the present time becomes a firmer role, which made this overall a tenser read than the reminiscent nature of a portion of its predecessor. This book was full of goosebumps worthy scenes and brilliant moments.

 

Kristian’s prose is the same as usual, I’ve learnt to expect it now. Easy, accessible, rich with Norse goodness, and fluid. So easy to listen to on audiobook. Each time I snatch a moment or two, I’m instantly immersed back into this world of sea-faring and warrior exploits.

 

The Sons of Thunder wondered away from the blusterous British isles, turning towards France and the growing empire of Charlemagne and his Frankish warriors. The new land was presented wonderfully, with a wide array of locations. From the disgusting town of Paris, (far prior to its flourishing days. Definitely not the city of love), to the turmoil of the sea and navigation of a Norse longboat.

 

“It's difficult to hate a broken man, no matter the previous misdeeds.”

 

One key standout moment I have to mention is the holmganga. Which means, duel. Sons of Thunder contained one of my favourite duels I have ever read! It was brutal, mesmerising and enchanting! I won’t go further into detail for fear of spoilers….

 

The cast of characters has increased slightly, but it was mostly spent cementing and expanding those introduced in Blood Eye. Kristian creates a wide diversity of characters each with different unique traits that define them. A wonderful band of warriors!

 

Overall, Sons of Thunder was everything that I wanted it to be! Brutal, immersive, unique, epic! What more can you ask for? Much as I said in my review of Blood Eye, I think you’ll really enjoy this series if you’re into Norse mythology/history or the Dark Ages.

 

 

5/5 STARS

 

Blood of Heirs (The Coraidic Sagas) by Alicia Wanstall-Burke - Book Review 30, Mar

I read Blood of Heirs as a judge for the SPFBO competition.

 

Blood of Heirs is a character driven story that is great across the board. Lovely prose, great plot, brilliant characters. The world was crafted excellently,  subtly making it more and more vivid and interesting as the story developed. 

 

The story revolves around two narrative tales from the perspectives of Lidan and Ranoth. Their stories link in some mysterious ways but are seperate from each other, exploring entirely different settings, cultures and dangers. 

 

Ranoth is the heir to a kingdom, a kingdom that is facing large-scale invasions from a greater Empire. He has recently acquired a military position in order to show his worth, but his inexperience and naivety will lead to grave results.

 

Lidan is the heir to a clan. But only because her father has not produced a male heir. Yet. If she comes to have a brother, she will be nothing but a political tool to marry off for an alliance. A constant question throughout her perspective was, how far will one go to preserve their future? And who will they harm to maintain this?

 

This two characters form on these pages almost magically, taking shape perfectly. By the conclusion to this book, I felt genuine attachment for both, and fretted at multiple points for their wellbeing. 

 

 I usually love the book that is ram-packed with action, with a nonstop pace that takes me on a whirlwind of an adventure. But Blood of Heirs was not like this. Despite the difference to most novels I enjoy, the way in which it was executed was wonderful. The tension gradually rose and by the last third, I just could not stop reading.

 

Before I started, my brother Edward told me that there was a scene that terrified him. I thought he was maybe exaggerating and just laughed at him. But oh… I should have believed him. Anyone who has read this will know the scene I am talking about. SO SCARY!

 

The prose isn’t lyrical or extravagant, but instead is subtle, efficient and smooth. It carried along the character development and worked perfectly for the story, allowing me to read the second half of this book in just one sitting.

 

Overall, this was a fantastic debut and opening to The Coraidic Sagas by Alicia Wanstall-Burke, and I look forward to reading the sequel at some point. I was very lucky to be given this to read for the SPFBO competition, and wish Alicia all the best with the results. This deserves to go far!

 

 

9/10

The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice #1) by Mark Lawrence - Book Review 21, Mar

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from Mark Lawrence that included a signed copy of The Girl and the Stars. So, thank so much again Mark Lawrence and That Thorn Guy.

 

When it comes to Mark Lawrence, it’s not a question of whether I will enjoy it or not. It’s more, how much am I going to love this? And I’m glad to say, though not surprised, that The Girl and the Stars is no different.

 

I cannot praise any of this enough. Every element, from plot, to characters, to prose. All brilliant.

 

“In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.”

 

The Girl and the Stars is set in the same world as The Book of the Ancestor trilogy, but you do not to read the previous series in order to fully appreciate this. I loved the subtle hints to the previous series, now in a time long gone, but new readers will not lose out, as this is set in an entirely separate environment, with a whole new set of trials and tribulations.

 

Once again, Lawrence has formed in these pages another set of memorable characters that are already cemented in my mind as brilliant. You quickly learn to either love them, or hate them, or both. There are not many writers who can inspire this variation of emotions within me, but Lawrence is an exception, and he repeatedly does it with ease.

 

Our main protagonist is the teenager Yaz, a young woman who is ascending into adulthood. She lives in the harsh frozen land of the ice, with the tribe of the Ictha. A dangerous place, where all must live together in a life of hardship in order so somehow survive. But, before she is fully accepted as an adult, all must face a test with a man named, the regulator. Those who fail are pushed into a black hole, and are renamed, The Broken… No one knows what happens to these, but Yaz believes that she is soon to find out.

 

“Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars”

 

Now onto the prose. Just, wow! That’s all that need be said really. Lawrence does not waste a word, but somehow manages to incite a fast-pace, along with plenty of time for interesting character development and world building. He has truly mastered how to combine all these aspects into his writing, allowing the reader to finish with a mesmerising experience. 

 

So, Mark Lawrence has shown me again why he is one of my favourite authors of all time, Every book I have read of his has been a 5-star rating, and this is no exception. I LOVED this, and will find it a very difficult time as I await news for the sequel, which Lawrence has already written and is now being edited. Everyone, you need to read this, and if you can, read The Book of the Ancestor trilogy, which is in my top five series of all time.

 

 

5/5 STARS