Skullsworn – Brian Staveley

Synopsis: Pyrre Lakatur is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer—she is a priestess. At least, she will be once she passes her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. The problem, rather, is love. For to complete her trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the seven people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one who made your mind and body sing with love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre isn’t sure she’s ever been in love. And if she fails to find someone who can draw such passion from her, or fails to kill that someone, her order will give her to their god, the God of Death. Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail, and so, as her trial is set to begin, she returns to the city of her birth in the hope of finding love . . . and ending it on the edge of her sword. Continue reading “Skullsworn – Brian Staveley”

Thunderbird – Chuck Wendig

Miriam just laughed, because, c’mon. Titmouse. Titmouse. The ranger just stood there, annoyed –blink, blink, blink–and Miriam of course explained because Miriam of course enjoys digging holes and jumping in them. She said, “Because first you imagine a mouse, a little squeaky mouse, and then you imagine a tit–a boob, a breast, a sweater monkey that has escaped its underwire cage–and now it’s attached to the mouse? Like, on its back? Or the top of its head? Flopping around like a damn Jell-O mold? Huh? Right? Oh, come on. That’s funny. That’s just… that’s just good humor, lady.”

Thunderbird is the fourth book in Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series. Just like the three books that came before it, this was fucking glorious! I devoured it within 24 hours, a major thing for me these days between life & writing. It’s one of my favorite series for a reason! I find it so easy to fall into this messed up, authentic world that Wendig has created. Continue reading “Thunderbird – Chuck Wendig”

The Builders – Daniel Polansky

Synopsis:

A missing eye.
A broken wing.
A stolen country.

The last job didn’t end well.

Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the Captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score. Continue reading “The Builders – Daniel Polansky”

The Last Mortal Bond – Brian Staveley

Synopsis: The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.

The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne reaches its epic conclusion as war engulfs the Annurian Empire. Continue reading “The Last Mortal Bond – Brian Staveley”

The Providence of Fire – Brian Staveley

Synopsis: War is coming, secrets multiply and betrayal waits in the wings… The Annurian Empire’s ruling family must be vigilant, as the conspiracy against them deepens. Having discovered her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies. But few trust her, until she seems marked by the people’s goddess in an ordeal of flame. As Adare struggles to unite Annur, unrest breeds rival armies – then barbarian hordes threaten to invade. And unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn has fallen in with forces mustering at the empire’s borders. The terrible choices they face could make war between them inevitable. Fighting his own battles is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with two strange companions. While imperial forces prepare to defend a far-distant front, Kaden’s actions could save the empire, or destroy it.
Continue reading “The Providence of Fire – Brian Staveley”

Red Sister – Mark Lawrence

Releases: 4.7.2017

Synopsis: At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona’s secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself. Continue reading “Red Sister – Mark Lawrence”

Emperor of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

Synopsis: King Jorg Ancrath is twenty now—and king of seven nations. His goal—revenge against his father—has not yet been realized, and the demons that haunt him have only grown stronger. Yet no matter how tortured his path, he intends to take the next step in his upward climb.

But he soon finds an adversary standing in his way, a necromancer unlike any he has ever faced—a figure hated and feared even more than himself: the Dead King. Continue reading “Emperor of Thorns – Mark Lawrence”

King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

I drive my knife in low, at the base of his scrotum. I leave it there. I don’t want it back. Also, if I pull it free he will bleed to death quickly. I think he should linger.

I am in love with this series! Mark Lawrence is a new favorite, for sure. This is a violent story told in a grim future, but with Lawrence at the helm there is a haunting elegance about it which makes my senses tingle in all of the best ways! Continue reading “King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence”

Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie

“Dance!” laughed the Bloody-Nine, and the sword reeled around him. He filled the air with blood, and broken weapons, and the parts of men, and these good things wrote secret letters, and described sacred patterns that only he could see and understand. Blades pricked and nicked and dug at him but they were nothing. He repaid each mark upon his burning skin one-hundred fold, and the Bloody-Nine laughed, and the wind, and the fire, and the faces on the shields laughed with him, and could not stop.” 

Continue reading “Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie”

King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

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And now, an exhaustive look at the dos and don’ts of kicking a severed head, as told by Jorg Ancrath:

“I dropped the head and kicked it into the crowd. I say ‘kicked’ but in truth it’s a bad idea to kick a head. I learned that years ago, a lesson that cost me two broken toes. What you want to do is shove the head with the side of your foot, like you’re throwing it. It’s going to roll anyhow so you don’t need that much force. See, the thing about severed heads is the owner no longer has any interest in minimizing the force of the blow, or any ability to do so for that matter. When you kick somebody in the head as you do from time to time, they tend to be actively trying to move themselves out of the way and the contact is lessened. A severed head is dead weight, even if it’s watching you.”

I just finished King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, and I am literally in awe of this author. This is some of the best dark fantasy I’ve ever read, easy. For all the grittiness and horror and bleakness in this series, Mark Lawrence writes beautifully, and turns a phrase as well as anyone. Continue reading “King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence”