Tag Archive | Redemption

Bloodbonded by Amy Rose Davis

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Source: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

The lion awakens. The mountain bleeds.

After killing the owner of a brutal slave operation and escaping his camp with Connor’s help, Mairead is relieved to be reunited with her beloved and back on course toward her rightful place as Queen of Taura.

But a strange lost tribe from the mountains of Culidar has other plans for her. They claim she is their prophesied Deliverer—the one who will lead them to their inheritance on the plains of Culidar. She is “bloodbonded”—connected to the very soil and spirit of Culidar, destined to lead the lion tribe from its hiding place in the mountains down to the plains.

There’s only one problem: the lions hate the ravenmarked.

The lion tribe has long exiled men who bear the Morrag’s mark, and those men still live on the mountain, waiting for their Deliverer. Mairead is faced with bringing peace between the ravens and the lions, as well as asserting her own role in the tribe. But even as she faces dissent within the tribe, Connor faces a growing madness that threatens to consume him—and prove that the lions have every reason to fear the ravenmarked. Can Mairead bring peace to the tribe, the plains, or even her own beloved?

Set against a backdrop of romance, political instability, and magic, Bloodbonded is the second in a five-book epic fantasy series titled The Taurin Chronicles.

Bloodbonded, the long-awaited sequel to Ravenmarked, book one of the Taurin Chronicles. And the wait was indeed well-rewarded with an excellent page-turner, following the further adventures of Connor and Mairead – and some other old friends as well.

What I liked: First off, simply having this book on-screen to read. And what a treat. This is a long book – and when it comes to epic fantasy, the longer the better, I think. This is a complex story, following multiple threads. Therefore it’s written from several POVs, and one meets many characters and sees many parts of the world Davis has created. These are all good things.

Davis doesn’t just deal with easy topics – difficult topics are not given a whitewash, but are on the page to be seen. Abortion, murder of children, slavery… these are a few of the topics given air, and the characters make their decisions based on who they are and what they care about.

Each of the characters is well-rounded, with their own goals and personalities – and histories. It was really lovely to see how each character developed through the course of this story, and especially to watch Mairead begin to embrace her identity as Queen of Taura.

What didn’t I like: Not much to say here really, except “I want more!” It came to an end all too soon. While there is closure, and this part of the story is finished, I know there’s more to come and I cannot wait for the next instalment!

An excellent instalment to The Taurin Chronicles that lovers of epic fantasy will devour.

Pax Imperia by Mike Smith

Pax ImperiaSource: Own collection
Format: ebook
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Commander Jonathan Radec has finally obtained everything he ever wanted in life. However, in a cruel twist of fate, just as he reaches out for his most heartfelt desire, it is torn from his grasp forever.

“For only he who has experienced ultimate happiness, can completely understand the deepest depths of absolute despair.”

Jon has always trusted those closest to him implicitly. It has long been his greatest strength, but one that his enemies have come to realise is also his ultimate weakness. For it is always those closest to you whose betrayal cuts the deepest.

In a horrific, pre-emptive strike at the very heart of the Imperium, the Senate is completely wiped out. In the aftermath of the attack, surrounded by the cries of the dead and dying, destiny once again reaches out its long arm, forcing Jon down a path he has long resisted. For, ever since the day he first set eyes upon Sofia, Jon has been destined to stand above all others.

As the last Emperor of the Imperium.

Jon has already fought through the very depths of hell itself and out the other side to save the ones he loves. Now, to save his family, he will gladly lay siege to the heavens themselves, for they tremble at his approach. As Jon not only commands the living, but also the dead, and they all want revenge against those who have taken everything from them.

Even if the rest of the Imperium must burn first.

This was the most difficult book in the trilogy for me to read. I started to read it, and then I spent the next month or so reading a bit more and then putting off reading any farther for days at a time because I couldn’t bear to find out “what happens next”; and yet at the same time, I was compelled to read further in order to find out “what happens next”. In summation, I had a very definite love-hate relationship with this book. What an awful dilemma!

I really commend Smith for the way he created characters one really invests in, as it was for only that reason that my heart was shattered at the beginning of the story, and purely for that reason that I kept on reading to find out how the story resolved. And the climax of this story was worth every moment of heartache that had come before. Fantastic stuff, and totally worthy of The Last Praetorian.

I won’t say any more, because to do so would be to reveal plot points that are best kept under wraps. I will say this, though: the epilogue made me cry, dammit. The first book I’ve had tears in my eyes over since as long as I can remember.

Restless in Peaceville by Pippa Jay

Restless in PeacevilleSource: Own collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…

Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?

And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

I cannot tell you on how many levels I love this book. The title. The first-person self-deprecating quips. The attention to detail (which is anything but boring). Fabulous stuff. Here’s a brief extract to illustrate my point:

For now, I can probably pass for just being sick, if I can get my coordination together and get out of here.

With that objective in mind, I lurch to my feet and fall flat on my face, luckily with one arm preventing my nose from getting smashed. Not that it hurts, but I really don’t need to make myself look any worse. I push back onto my hands and knees, grab the edge of the table beside me, and then pull myself up slow and easy. At least I’m standing, even if I am swaying like I’m still getting hit by the alcohol.

Restless in Peaceville is nothing like Jay’s previous offerings – all of which, it should be noted, have been in the SFR genre – in terms of quality. It’s better. WAY better. The other novels and novellas got five stars from me… perhaps I should go and revise them all down to four, because I can’t give this one more than five stars – much as I’d dearly love to.

For me, Jay just matured as a writer. Up till now there was only one author who I’d turn to as an example of how to write in the first person. Now I have two.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

**I should note that zombies are not my preferred subject choice. Scenes at the end of the book got a little too gory and graphic for me.

The Last Praetorian by Mike Smith

The Last PraetorianSource: Own Collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Commander Jonathan Radec is a man desperately trying to escape from the mistakes of his past.

Now the owner of Vanguard Shipping, his primary concerns are trying to keep his ships flying and his crew alive. However, the shadowy Syndicate organisation has set their sights on the Commander and his business, having sent a beautiful assassin to kill him. To make matters worse, she’s become the target of his infatuation, much to the dismay of his ex-girlfriend. Recently elevated to President of the Confederation, she’s still very much in love with him and capable of making his life a living hell.

Surrounded by a galaxy beginning to tear itself apart, with enemies on all sides, he’s now also unwillingly tasked with trying to save the Confederation – for which he has little regard. Jon has little going in his favour, except a crew consisting of the elite of the old Imperial Navy, all of whom would fight to the death for him, and a past that possibly makes him one of the most dangerous men alive.

The Last Praetorian is a Science Fiction adventure/romance, which tries to answer the question: “Can you ever find redemption for the mistakes of your past?”

Just finished reading this book. A brilliant read.

I picked this book up on Amazon for free. To be honest, the cover (and, well, the title too) attracted me. When I began to read it, I hadn’t even read the blurb, so I didn’t know what I was getting in to.

Good thing that I love to read a good military scifi novel. Which this is. Actually, better than good. Smith does an excellent job of creating an invincible character out of Jon Radec, the Commander of the Emperor’s Praetorian Guards, yet making him still human.

The book is really two in parallel. In the first, we see what appears to be the beginning of the end of a five-hundred-year Empire, while in the second, we see events that happen five years later.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It has everything going for it, along with quite a few surprise elements. Smith doesn’t hesitate to put his characters through their paces. His vision of where the events take place is clearly put into words – excellent world-building.

If it weren’t for the fact that this book requires, in some places, extensive editing, it would have got five stars. It is only for this reason that I have allocated four stars to it.

Mike Smith is going to be a force to be reckoned with. I will be looking for the rest of the trilogy.