A Question of Trust – Jonathan Pinnock

44562832.jpgTom’s girlfriend, Dorothy, has vanished, along with all the money and equipment of the company she ran with her friend, Ali. Tom and Ali’s investigations into where Dorothy and their things have gone lead them into some unexpected and dangerous situations, while Tom simultaneously tries to untangle his father from a cryptocurrency scam, locate a missing python, and work out who is messaging him from a dead man’s LinkedIn account.

So, it turns out A Question of Trust is Book #2 in a series. I didn’t realise this, but events from the first book (The Truth About Archie and Pye) were mentioned for context and it became clear very quickly that I’d missed quite a lot. However, although I would say it might be helpful to have read Book #1 first, I think this one also works as a standalone (once you get past the first few chapters).

I wasn’t fully sold on the plot, although I couldn’t tell you why. It’s very fast-paced and there’s a lot going on, but I found myself skimming a fair bit and therefore (my own fault) I wasn’t always entirely sure what was happening. However, I LOVED Tom. He was inept enough to be sweet and funny, but not so much that the whole thing was completely implausible – which is a very difficult line to draw.

Overall, it’s a good read, with a bonkers story-line and some great characters.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

37635562Spensa’s world has been under attack by an alien race called the Krell for hundreds of years. Humanity are forced to take to the skies in defence of their lives, sacrificing pilots and cadets in the name of survival. Spensa has always dreamed of being a pilot, but since her father turned coward and deserted his team years ago, she hasn’t been able to escape from under his shadow. Finally, the opportunity arises for her to go to flight school, where she learns much more than just how to fly…

I haven’t read very many fantasies set in space – I usually prefer dragons and elves and other land-based fantasies – but I did really enjoy this one. Most of the plot unfolds in the air, while Spensa is flying or learning to fly, so in a way it was very similar to Star Wars, but with more of a YA feel.

The character growth in this book is very good. I really didn’t take to Spensa to begin with. She was annoying, whiny and aggressive, while her quirky violent outbursts felt very fake when put together with how insecure she was. However, as the plot developed, she changed. She became more confident and more thoughtful and considerate of others, and considerably more likeable.

Characters that I did absolutely love were Doomslug and M-bot. I also really liked Spensa’s flight mates. They were a witty and diverse group and *slight spoiler alert* the many deaths in this book are very sad.

This was my first Sanderson, and I would definitely read more.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Ravencry – Ed McDonald

36666672It’s been four years since the events of Blackwing when Nall’s Engline drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but all is still not well. A new power is rising: a ghostly apparition known as the Bright Lady has developed a fanatical following, and an object of great power is stolen from Crowfoot’s highly protected vault. Galharrow and his Blackwings must recover the object before it can be used, a mission which takes him deeper into the Misery than ever before.

Blackwing was an excellent, absorbing fantasy debut, and Ravencry is somehow even better. The story continues with one or two new characters as well as the wonderful ones we’ve already met.I loved following Galharrow again, he really is a brilliant main character and – after the loss of Ezabeth – he’s even more damaged and tormented than before. Luckily, this does absolutely nothing to make him weak or whiny. If anything, it makes him even more heroic.

The scene-setting and story-telling is exceptionally good. There is no extensive or excessive description of landscapes and events, and yet everything is super easy to picture. Another strong aspect is that there is no definitive ‘good’ vs ‘bad’. Apart from Galharrow who is the obvious hero, both sides of the fight seem to be relatively bad. Instead of working for anyone in particular (he’s under Crowfoot’s control, but is reluctant about it), Galharrow fights for the survival of his city and not a righteous ‘good’ side.

The story is emotional, funny, action-packed and addictive. It is a fantasy-adventure through and through, with some very dark, gritty elements. I am beyond excited for Crowfall.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Blackwing – Ed McDonald

36402955.jpgThe republic faces total annihilation at the hands of the Deep Kings. With Nall’s Engine failing, the only thing standing between the people of the Range and certain death is an unpredictable no-man’s land called the Misery. Tasked with the protection of a powerful spinner named Ezabeth Tanza, Captain Ryhalt Galharrow finds himself wrapped up in a world of conspiracy, secrets and treason.

Blackwing is a piece of truly excellent fantasy fiction. It has everything you could possibly want (magic, adventure, epic battles), without any of the usual tropes or clichés. The plot is multi-layered, with the surface story of Galharrow and Ezabeth and the overarching fight between the Deep Kings and the Nameless. This two-tiered style of story-telling was excellently pulled off, without one overshadowing the other.

Galharrow is a brilliant lead character. He’s grumpy, gritty and determined; battle-hardened and flawed, in no way irritating or infuriating. I also really liked his mismatched team of soldiers, especially Nenn.

I liked the fast-paced and gritty nature of Blackwing. There is a romantic element in the book which, in my opinion, didn’t add much to the story but didn’t take anything away either. It is, frankly, shockingly good for a debut novel and an absolute must-read for fans of fantasy and adventure.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Moira Ashe: Enemy Within – Brendon Bertram

39738891Werewolves have been sighted in Abalon. With a full moon approaching, the king is worried, and sends Lincoln Clarke to find help. In the corner of a dark tavern, he finds Moira Ashe, an experienced werewolf-hunter. Reluctantly, she agrees to let him join her on a hunt to learn how to deal with these beasts. But Moira has her own secrets to protect, and letting Lincoln tag along might not be the best of ideas.

This is a very short book and therefore very quick to read. The story gets straight to the point and is action-packed. It is unusually short for a fantasy adventure story. Although in many ways this was a nice change, there were some points where the story felt too vague and underdeveloped. It could certainly have benefited from more character development.

Despite this, the scene and the story were set up very well and, as the first part of a series, it didn’t matter that the full adventure was not covered in this one book. I was certainly left wanting more.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Between the Blade and the Heart – Amanda Hocking

35425584.jpgMalin is a Valkyrie and, as such, it is her responsibility to slay immortals when their time is up. But when she discovers that her own mother failed in this responsibility, Malin and her friends undertake the task of restoring balance to the world.

The synopsis of this book made it sound like a Norse fantasy. Instead, it’s more of a YA fantasy with some Norse influences. This was okay, because I do enjoy YA fantasy fiction, but it was a little disappointing that it wasn’t what I expected.

To be perfectly honest, I found the majority of this book rather boring. It wasn’t until very near the end that the story picked up and I started to get into it. I did enjoy the humour in this book, and the unusual love triangle.

It’s a good read, but it took a little too long to get going.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Esper Files 3: The Chimera Formula – Egan Brass

36329466.jpgThe steampunk adventure continues! Following the dramatic events of book #2, a crew of evil mutants are wreaking all kinds of havoc across London, even infiltrating the Institute itself. It’s up to the Espers to find out who is behind the creation of these awful creatures, and put a stop to them.

Filled to the brim with action and excitement, The Chimera Formula is another entertaining instalment of the Esper series. It is quite a bit more gory and violent than the previous books, and Egan Brass’ writing is much improved. There’s still too much of the phrase “the latter”, but it flows a lot more smoothly.

Sadly, I really missed my favourite character – Red Cap – but the others did a good job of filling the void. I particularly liked the subtle romantic developments, including a very sweet lesbian relationship between Freya and Reyna (hooray, diversity).

Although it is the third book in the series, this could easily be read as a standalone novel.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.