NetGalley eArc Review: The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike

I received this book as an eArc from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

If you like this book review, make sure to follow Word Forge on social media for more bookish content.

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


AD 573. Imprisoned in her chamber, Languoreth awaits news in torment. Her husband and son have ridden off to wage war against her brother, Lailoken. She doesn’t yet know that her young daughter, Angharad, who was training with Lailoken to become a Wisdom Keeper, has been lost in the chaos. As one of the bloodiest battles of early medieval Scottish history scatters its survivors to the wind, Lailoken and his men must flee to exile in the mountains of the Lowlands, while nine-year-old Angharad must summon all Lailoken has taught her and follow her own destiny through the mysterious, mystical land of the Picts.

In the aftermath of the battle, old political alliances unravel, opening the way for the ambitious adherents of the new religion: Christianity. Lailoken is half-mad with battle sickness, and Languoreth must hide her allegiance to the Old Way to survive her marriage to the next Christian king of Strathclyde. Worst yet, the new King of the Angles is bent on expanding his kingdom at any cost. Now the exiled Lailoken, with the help of a young warrior named Artur, may be the only man who can bring the Christians and the pagans together to defeat the encroaching Angles. But to do so, he must claim the role that will forever transform him. He must become the man known to history as “Myrddin.”

Bitter rivalries are ignited, lost loves are found, new loves are born, and old enemies come face-to-face with their reckoning in this compellingly fresh look at one of the most enduring legends of all time.

Title: The Forgotten Kingdom
Author: Signe Pike
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 496
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Advertisements

Capitalize on Your Genre

Every genre has its strengths and weaknesses. A good author knows how to utilize the strengths, compensate for the weaknesses, and break the rules with the two.

Signe Pike did a great job with The Forgotten Kingdom when it comes to utilizing the genre.

Historical fiction allows a story to take place in any time period. I find that often, the stories take place during time periods or events that we don’t fully know the truth of. We usually have hints and ideas to the events in history, but the specific story fills in a potential hole that could have happened during that time.

Pike blends historical events that we know took place, and mixes them with the fantastical tales of King Arthur.

I’m not usually a fan of the Arthurian legends, but I will admit that Pike does a great job at approaching the tale. He doesn’t directly tell the story of Arthur and the Pendragons, but we get the stories of people living in their world, and we see how the Pendragon story unfold through their eyes.


Careful with Time Skips

Books often happen over long periods of time. Some books are a collection of events that happen one after the other, and those books make sense. Most books, especially longer form books, skip over days, weeks, or even months. It’s normal for a day or two to skip by, with a sentence or an assumption of events to explain what happened.

Some times months go by in a book. I don’t find this often, but a few instances come to mind in the Wheel of Time series. The problem with time jumps like this is that if there isn’t a good explanation of events over that time, the story can start getting plot holes.

I don’t think Pike’s time skips benefit the story at all. When they occur, they make sense. They come when there would be a lull in the story, so skipping years in the future would take us to the next interesting event.

BUT, the scenes that happen after the time skips wouldn’t make sense with rational people. The characters skip years in the future, but threads of their stories are left in a time before the time skip occurs.

If they were as smart as Pike claims them to be, they wouldn’t let certain events occur, or they would have acted differently after years of living with certain knowledge.


Interweaving Stories

Different perspectives in a book are often a good thing. They give us a different viewpoint on the story, and can give us tension. One character can learn of an event, while the other perspective characters have no idea of what occurred. This gives the reader the knowledge they need to know in order to build tension for the end of the story.

Pike does a good job of giving us different perspectives of characters that are on different side of events.

Though our characters may get along with each other, the people they love and fight for don’t.

This brings a sense of tension between family members because their allies aren’t going to get along with each other, so the characters we follow are the only ones that can stop a massacre from happening.

It did feel a bit too safe at times, because I was never really worried that something bad would happen to the main characters. I do however think that there was a nice bit of tension with each character because I was never sure of what would happen next for them.


Final Thoughts

The Forgotten Kingdom was a big improvement from the previous book. It focuses less on an unrealistic love story, and gives readers a better focus on the tension and drama that comes when a family is on opposite sides of a world-changing war.

There are parts of the book that I didn’t enjoy: time skips and the unwanted romance, but there were quite a few parts of the book that made it more immersive and fascinating to read.

NetGalley eArc Review: The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

This is going to be a short review, because honestly I don’t have anything to say about this book other than why I didn’t like it.

I try to find the good in books, but this is probably the worst book I have ever read.


Title: The Seventh Perfection
Author: Daniel Polansky
Page Count: 176
Genre: Fantasy Novella
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

When a woman with perfect memory sets out to solve a riddle, the threads she tugs on could bring a whole city crashing down. The God-King who made her is at risk, and his other servants will do anything to stop her.

To become the God-King’s Amanuensis, Manet had to master all seven perfections, developing her body and mind to the peak of human performance. She remembers everything that has happened to her, in absolute clarity, a gift that will surely drive her mad. But before she goes, Manet must unravel a secret which threatens not only the carefully prepared myths of the God-King’s ascent, but her own identity and the nature of truth itself.

Advertisements

The Seventh Perfection was 176 pages of a waste of time. Throughout the entire story I didn’t figure out what the point of the story was, where it was going, or how any of the stories overlapped.

I had no idea what was happening at any point, I wasn’t even sure if our main character was male, female, or human half the time.

When I thought I understood what was happening, something would happen in the story and I would be more confused and lost than before.

I’ll give the author credit for writing a story in the second perspective. It’s a very rare situation, but honestly not sure it was worth it.

Maybe it was just me. Maybe I was the reason the story didn’t make sense, but I can honestly say the only thing that I liked from the book was the idea that people spent their lives learning these different “perfections” to serve the ruler.


I am sorry to disappoint everyone with this review. I don’t have the best luck for books I look out for on NetGalley, I seem to always be disappointed in them, but one day I will find one I enjoy!

Book Review: The Fool’s Folly by Keith Moray

I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review of it. 

I don’t often read mystery, but when I do, I enjoy the thrill of it.

Mystery novels can have an unsatisfying end, which ruins the entirety of the book, and mystery novels can have characters jump to some wild conclusions for the sake of wrapping up all the loose ends. 

It is a tough line to walk, making the character learn enough to solve all the clues, but when done well it makes the story much better.

If you enjoy this review, make sure to follow me on social media for more content.

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Advertisements

Trust no one…

1485, Yorkshire, England

King Richard III has held the English throne for two years. But the country is rife with rumours about the fate of his nephews, the two princes imprisoned in the Tower of London, and there is a continual threat of rebellion by Henry Tudor.

King Richard’s heir, John de la Pole, presides over the stronghold of Sandal Castle. When a suspicious death occurs in his household, he instructs Sir Giles Beeston, the newly appointed judge, to the Manor Court to investigate.

But before Sir Giles can get to the bottom of the murder, more grisly deaths occur.

Are the deaths connected? Is there a plot against the King?

And can Sir Giles unmask the killer before he too falls victim to the killer…?

Title: The Fool’s Folly 
Author: Keith Moray
Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: 
Historical Fiction, Mystery
Page Count:
 233


A Story Not of Our Time

Stories set in our world and time are often of little interest to me. I can enjoy them, if the story is interesting enough, but I much prefer travelling to a time or place where I couldn’t possibly have lived.  

The medieval period is probably my favourite time period, with the Victorian Era a close second. 

A medieval mystery is an interesting combination, because often we associate mysteries with evidence, DNA samples, camera footage, etc. That isn’t possible when your greatest scientific advancement is a siege engine. 

When all those things are missing, logic and good old detective work takes hold.

The Fool’s Folly captures those two features well. Moray creates great characters that show their intelligence from the beginning, and the book explores it along the way. Their conclusions aren’t drawn out of nowhere, they make sense and you can follow them.


Politics at Play

A major issue that can easily arise when a book is set in medieval England is the politics. People could spend their whole life studying medieval England. The lord and ladies, the wars, the political game of chess.

It can be exhausting, and easily become hard to follow. 

The Fool’s Folly does suffer from this at times. It never becomes impossible to follow, but there are moments it becomes tough to understand everyone’s relationship to the story. 

Other than those few moments, the politics of the book aren’t a major plot line. The characters that are introduced are very few, and their positions in the world are easy to understand.


Left Unsatisfied

I wasn’t a fan of the way this story ended, but to be honest I can’t explain why. 

I enjoyed the characters well enough, the logic to come to the realization of who the killer was, was sound and made sense. The final scenes of the book weren’t out of place.

Thinking on it, I think I was left unsatisfied with who the killer ended up being. I enjoyed their justification, I just didn’t like how they left the people’s lives they were involved with. 


Final Thoughts

The Fool’s Folly is a short read, and if you enjoy mysteries, then you should pick it up. 

A short book like this won’t take much time to get through, but you’ll enjoy trying to solve the murder for yourself. 

The politics at play won’t disrupt the story for too long, but be aware that they can have an effect on your understanding. 

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

As I finish up the Harry Potter series of reviews, we come to the second last book in the series: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

If you want to read my other reviews on the series, you can find them here:

If you like my reviews, make sure to follow me on social media.

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Title: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Page Count: 652

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . .

As in all wars, life goes on. The Weasley twins expand their business. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate – and lose a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, through Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complete story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort – and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.


Another Story-less book

This is the second book in the Harry Potter series that really doesn’t have a lot to do with the main story. The other is the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Half Blood Prince has more to do with the overall Harry Potter story, with Horcruxes being introduced and Dumbledore dying.

I feel like without most of this book, the story wouldn’t change too much. The same plot points could have been introduced in other books, and at least 75 per cent could have been removed.


Harry is Still Useless

I will always argue that Harry isn’t a good wizard. He doesn’t really excel at much other than flying on a broom.

He isn’t particularly gifted and he needs a lot of help with pretty much everything he does. Without his friends and mentors, Harry would have been dead half way through book one if it wasn’t for his friends helping him.

He has some interesting moments in the series, but more often that not, he defeats his enemies because of some magical abilities or a plot device.


This World Makes no Sense

There is this job in the Harry Potter world called an Auror correct? They are tasked with being the magic police basically, right? Am I wrong in remembering that?

How is it that an entire world’s worth of Aurors and wizards can’t root out Voldemort’s whereabouts and stop him and his allies?

I get they are infiltrated and you can’t really trust a lot of people, but Death Eaters seem to be fairly well-known. Couldn’t they be arrested?

It seems like there is a lot of plot holes in the world that don’t make a lot of sense.

It doesn’t necessarily make the book bad, but when you think about the rest of the world, it doesn’t add up.


Final Thoughts

This is a mediocre book in the series. The only interesting part of the book is the last 10-20 per cent, where Harry and Dumbledore hunt for the locket.

The series reaches its ultimate finale after this book, and though this one is a bit on the boring side, it’s title is even worse. The “Half Blood Prince” ultimately leads to a pointless conclusion that has zero effect on the story.


What were your thoughts on the Half Blood Prince? Let’s talk about it in the comments or on social media!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Book Review: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

With Rhythm of War coming out in a few months, I have been reviewing the entire Stormlight Archives series.

The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance

If you enjoy this content, make sure to follow me on social media to stay updated with my newest posts.

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Advertisements

Title: Oathbringer
Rating: ★★★★☆
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: High Fantasy
Page Count: 1,248

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Timesbestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together–and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past–even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.


The World is Torn Open

Oathbringer starts in a world that has been torn open. A world that nobody has ever seen, and nobody quite understands anymore.

Most things are the same for our characters, but the few differences are changing things so quickly that this 1,200 page book seems so fast paced, its nearly impossible to put it down.

We follow the same characters throughout the book. It is their story, and we focus on how their actions and experiences affect and are affected by everything that is going on.

Sanderson is a master world builder. Within three books, he has made a world with so many mysteries and background plot lines, that it’s created a spiderweb in my mind of the possibilities.

Sanderson writes in a way that even though we know this series is going to take many more books to complete, we can’t help but feel the anxiety and stress that the characters are feeling. They must navigate this new world, and the stressors that come along with it.


A Series Just Beginning

The Stormlight Archive series is just beginning. We aren’t halfway done, yet I feel like these three books have created a world so much deeper than a lot of other books I read.

Oathbringer has opened the world’s doors even wider, and I can’t imagine how things will end up.

With each page, more answers were given, but at the same time, more mysteries and questions popped up.

Oathbringer is a big turning point in the story. We hit a turning point of the character’s ignorance being tested. Their beliefs and understandings of the world are either proven wrong, or are changed, and Sanderson’s writing does a great job at making it relatable and something that the readers are able to feel along with the characters.


A Deeper Experience

Oathbringer is a part of a series that is the best at world building and character arcs, in my opinion. Very few books I have read stand close to the work that Sanderson has done with this series.

Oathbringer focuses on Dalinar, the seemingly head of the Alethi forces against the end of the world. He has been deemed insane, almost from the first moment we met him.

Getting the chance to get into his mind has been one of the best choices by Sanderson.

Dalinar is the one character truly understanding what is happening, but even he doesn’t know a fraction of what is going on.

Getting inside his head and seeing the visions alongside him makes it possible to understand the world in a bigger sense than focusing on just the main characters.


Final Thoughts

Oathbringer is the third book in probably my favourite book series ever. It is so complex and build such an interesting world, that the reason I couldn’t give it five stars is because it might be getting too big.

Things can get too out there too quickly if Sanderson doesn’t focus the story a bit more. I know he has the writing capabilities to do so, but this world is getting larger and larger with each book, and it could quickly get too big for its own shoes.


What did you think of Oathbringer and the rest of the Stormlight Archive Series? Let’s chat about it in the comments or on social media.

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Book Review: The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

I received the second book in this series as an eARC, so I had to rent this one from Amazon. I liked the premise of the second book, but after reading this one, I have lost a bit of hope for what is to come.

If you enjoy this review, or are interested in other bookish content, make sure to follow my blog and social media channels.

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Title: The Lost Queen
Author: Signe Pike
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 527

In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.

Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.


Advertisements

A Tough Genre to Write

I’ve read some historical fiction in my time, but I wouldn’t say it’s up there in my most common genres. That realization was pretty surprising to me because I am a big fan of history. It was one of my favourite classes in school, and I like researching different historical periods whenever I watch or read something that falls in that time period.

The Lost Queen takes place during the time when Christianity was overtaking a lot of belief systems in Western Europe. It’s a great period of time, but it also brings a bunch of complications to a lot of people’s histories.

We have lost so many stories and histories because of this time period, but we got so many at the same time. There is so much we don’t know about these people and their lives, but I like that there is so much potential for storytelling.

I would argue that The Lost Queen also falls into the King Arthur re-telling genre, which I have not become a fan of lately.

A King-Arthur story is one of the most well-known stories that I know of. There are so many different version of it in books, movies, anime, and who knows what else. I don’t need more versions of how King Arthur came to his throne, or the different versions of his story before he became king.

The Lost Queen doesn’t focus as heavily on Arthur per se, but his likeness is present in the book. I guess technically it is more of a loose origin story for Merlin and how he became who he is; the most famous wizard of all time.

I wish authors could create their own legends and not focus so heavily on other stories, but I understand the need for it, and its importance in literature.


Slow Crawl

The Lost Queen is never amazing. There’s never a moment where I was blown away or willing to stay uppitiest all night reading.

At the same time, it was never bad. It was never uninteresting and boring. I never regretted reading it.

The protagonist is an interesting character. Seeing her navigate the world around her is one of the better parts of the story because she is in the middle of a great divide happening in her world, but hers is probably the least interesting story of them all. She is a background character in these world changing events, and there are so many more interesting POV’s we could be following.

In the final acts of the story, the protagonist’s events get more interesting. She puts her life on the line and puts herself in a position that could ruin everything she has built in the rest of the book.

This is the only point where I found any real interest though.

Ultimately, there is minimal build-up to a climax, and when the apparent climax does come, it’s hard to distinguish from the resolution. It’s not an overly captivating read, but it is interesting enough that I think it is worth the read.


An Unbelievable Love

Even though the book was a bit dull for the most part, my least favourite part was the romance between the protagonist and her love interests.

She doesn’t want to fall in love, because that limits her. In her world, love brings a cage that she can’t escape. She wants to be free to make her own decisions, but when love comes her way, she accepts it.

What I find most creepy is getting in to some intimate details of her love life, when she barely hits puberty.

Boys and girls that young can fall in love and have physical and mental connections with people, but I don’t want to read about it.

I don’t want to read about a young teenage girl having intimate relations with a young-adult man. I was half tempted to end the book there because of how creeped out I felt during it all.


Final Thoughts

Overall, The Lost Queen is a good book. It’s a good historical re-telling of one of the most important eras in human history. I definitely do not regret reading it, and it made me want to read more historical fiction, but I definitely didn’t need the not-of-age sex scenes.

Book Tour and Review: Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia

Hello dear readers, it feels like it has been a while since we have been in a book tour with Blackthorn Book Tours. I want to thank them for giving me a copy of Come Join the Murder in return for an honest review.

I had to refresh my memory of this book a bit because it has been quite a while since I read it; over two months I think, but once I read a few pages it all came back to me.

Fair warning, if this book does sound like something you are interested in, just be aware that there is an excessive amount of violence and possibly sexual assault, but I can’t remember a specific instance of that. Either way, it is a bit gratuitous.

If you like this review, please follow me on social media for more!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Advertisements

Title: Come Join the Murder
Author: Holly Rae Garcia
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Buy it here

Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead and her husband is missing.

Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles toward her only mission: Revenge.

James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.

James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the attention of a nosy detective.


Repetitive Cycle

This book involves murder, obviously. It is in the title after all. Its the murder that we aren’t expecting that ends up being the best part of this book.

We get to see a murder repeated over and over throughout the book, with different variations each time. We don’t know which one is quite the truth, but they all are to some degree.

I think Garcia does a great job of using the cyclical style storytelling to create a great character development and show their slow descent into madness.


Vigilante Justice

Though Vigilantes are often seen as the bad guy, many people see their actions as a good thing. I am not sure if the protagonist in this book is technically a vigilante, I enjoyed that she wasn’t predictable. She could have fallen into one of many stereotypical female character tropes, but Garcia went with a different route and gave us a strong female character that took actions into her own hands.

The short, quick read is a nice touch to this character development because it makes it seem like we are in the protagonist’s mind. Her life is flashing before her eyes, likely happening so fast she can’t sit and think things through.

She quickly devolves and she becomes an entire new person, and the fast-paced story really accentuates that storytelling.


Surface Level Characters

Other than the protagonist, the characters really didn’t have much depth to them.

There are a few small characters we get for a few scenes, and they are more than forgettable. They add so little to the story that I honestly can’t remember anything about them.

The side characters that we get a bit more of are also forgettable. They are fairly bland, stereotypical, and seemed unnatural. It’s hard to call them that because they likely were suffering from some mental health issues, so they wouldn’t be acting normally, but the characters didn’t feel real to me.


Final Thoughts

Come Join the Murder isn’t a bad book. It’s rather interesting because we get nice character development from the protagonist as they fall from grace into an evil person. It is a trope I don’t come across often enough but it is enjoyable.

The book was just a bit bland, which is why I have it three stars. It’s worth the read, but it’s nothing overly special.


What’s your favourite book that has a protagonist go from good to bad? I like the trope and I am looking for more, so share them in the comments!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook