book reviews, q&a, spoiler free

The Unspoken Name

Book Review

45046552The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

Rating: XXXXX

Published February 20th by Tor Books

“Nothing in this world has earned the power to frighten you Csorwe…You have looked your foretold death in the face and turned from it in defiance. Nothing in this world or any other deserves your fear.”

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honoured title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

I was lured in by a pretty cover and I stayed for the orc assassin. Usually, I have a good long paragraph at the beginning of my reviews explaining how and why I chose this particular book to review but it’s really that simple and I’m so glad I let my fickle mood reading self, pick this book because folks, it’s a doozy.

I haven’t read a lot of big or high fantasy in a good while, mainly because they tend to be chunky books and I’ve found it really hard to slog through larger books lately and when this turned up I panicked that I’d made a mistake. At over 450 pages it’s not huge but it was large enough to intimidate me a little. Within 100 pages I don’t know why I worried and by the end, I wanted to go back to the beginning and read the whole thing again or even better read the next book immediately (can I have the next one yet? Please. I’m desperate). The pacing was a little slow by the end of the first third but not terribly slow and by the time I was just over halfway through I was ravenously turning pages. I’m someone who procrastinates over the last 100 pages of a book but I’m honestly shocked I managed to accomplish anything else when I still had some of this book to read because it absolutely hooked me in and that last third is crazy. I kept turning to my husband to tell him “There aren’t enough pages left.”

One great thing about The Unspoken name is that although it really feels like high fantasy, to begin with, it has such a great mix of genres swirled in, we have some science fiction and space opera elements even. The world that Larkwood has created is rich, stunning and at breathtaking; the image of all these worlds connected to each other, some thriving and full of life, while others are dying and decaying, is just hauntingly beautiful. The way magic works too, as a warlock player in dungeons and dragons I felt was particularly interesting and alongside the world-building, all of the information is just introduced and explained in such a natural organic way throughout the story.

Pretty much all of the characters in this book are a hot mess, in the best way. There is no one main antagonist and almost every character is a beautiful shade of morally grey in some way or another and honestly, I am absolutely here for it. I love characters that aren’t black and white and don’t tend to fall fully towards particularly ‘good’ or ‘evil’ which I’ve seen a lot of in the high fantasy I’ve read previously which made this book even more of a breath of fresh air. I love the messed up relationship between Csowre and Tal (No hard feelings) and I really hope we get more of that in the next book.

The Unspoken Name is out now and I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you’ve had enough of your garden variety fantasy books! Thank you once again to Tor Books and the ever fantastic Jamie-Lee for sending me this early copy for review. When can I get my hands on the next one?

 

 

spoiler free, Tags

New Year Resolutions Book Tag

tag Thursday
So the New Year is now well underway, I have a new hair colour, my bookshelves are rearranged (I have space on them now!) my TBR is decided and Nate is back to school SO I think it’s probably time for a New Year Book Tag! I found this particular one on Jenn’s blog at Jenniley.com and it ties in with my latest Six for Sunday post perfectly as it’s called the New Year Resolutions Book Tag!

1. An Author You’d Like To Read That You’ve Never Read

I definitely want to get around to reading something by Samantha Shannon this year. I’ve seen her chair a good few events now and met her at YALC twice and I love how into her world-building and naming system in particular, she gets. It just feels like such attention to detail I can’t read to read one of her books, probably Priory of the Orange Tree but I do have the first Bone Season book as well so we’ll see?

2. A Book You’d Like To Read

Ahh there are loads of books I’ve like to read! I think perhaps Gilded Cage from Vic James is a book I absolutely need to read this year! I adored Sanctuary and I’ve heard amazing things about this book, plus Vic is lovely!

3. A Classic You’d Like To Read

I don’t tend to read any classic books at all really but I’ve found myself tempted by Pride and Prejudice or perhaps Jayne Eyre? What classics can you recommend?

4. A Book You’d Like To Re-Read

Honestly maybe the Illuminae Files books via audiobook. I can never get enough of that trilogy. I’m tempted to try the audiobook for Aurora Rising ready for the sequel later this year too.

5. A Book You’ve Had For Ages and Want To Read

Again, SO many books that come under this. I’m going to say Six of Crows, which you’ll know about if you read my Six for Sunday post that I started reading last year (at last) but I kept NOT finishing due to having different deadlines etc but this year it’s time to finally finish it.

6. A Big Book You’d Like To Read

I don’t really like big books as I find them so uncomfortable to read. I (as previously mentioned) do however want to read Priory of the Orange Tree this year and that is A BEAST.

7. An Author You’ve Previously Read and Would Like To Read More Of

Holly Black I think? I really enjoyed the Folk of Air trilogy and I need some more of that twisted fae fix, to be honest.

8. A Book You Got For Christmas and Would Like To Read

All of them? Haha. I think maybe Sorcery of Thorns is the one I’d like to read the most though, or maybe the Martian?

9. A Series You Want To Read From Start to Finish

I would say the Cinder books but I think there are quite a few of them so maybe the Renegades trilogy by Marissa Meyer? I’ve had the first book for a good while!

10. A Series You Want To Finish That You’ve Already Started

Most of the series that I want to finish I only haven’t finished because the next books aren’t out yet but one exception and probably my choice for this question is I can’t wait to read Lady Smoke! I really enjoyed Ash Princess and I’m interested to see where the story goes next.

11. Do You Set Reading Goals? If So, How Many Books Do You Want To Read in 2020?

I’ve been doing the Goodreads challenge since 2012 so yes. This year I decided on fifty books after only just making it to sixty this year. I figure I can always make it higher later in the year if I’m doing really well.

12. Any Other Reading Goals?

Sort of? Like unofficial ones I guess? You can check out my six bookish resolutions for the year in my latest Six for Sunday post right here.

Are there any books you MUST read this year?

tbr thursday

January 2020 TBR

tbr Thursday

So here we are, day two of a new year and my first TBR post of 2020. Things got hectic towards the end of the year and I wish I hadn’t been so ill so I could have done a proper post about my year in reading but alas I’m still only just getting over whatever horrible flu bug afflicted me so it was not meant to be! I will say though that I completed my 2019 reading challenge of 60 books with only about ten minutes to spare after frantically reading some trade paperbacks (comics) during New Years Eve. Those 60 books are the equivalent of 17,757 pages according to Goodreads, with the shortest book being Dewdrop by Katie O’Neil at 40 pages (due out later this year) and the longest being Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare at 902 pages (it felt so much longer!)

Now before I get on with my TBR for this month I wanted to cover a few changes to my blog this year! Instead of taking part in WWW Wednesday every fortnight I’m instead going to do a monthly Wrap Up Wednesday post instead, I’m hoping this will be less repetitive and will include films and things etc as well as books with any luck. Another monthly feature (yet to be named, not sure how angry Disney would be about me using Force Fridays) will be adjacent to my reading of at least ONE Star Wars book a month this year and discussing that (the lovely El/Ink and Plasma from El’s Reviews is joining me so make sure you check out her awesome blog too!). I’ll be retiring the weekly Must be Monday posts for the foreseeable future too as I’m trying something different with my writing this year and time writing that post is time I could be spent working on my writing. There may be some other changes along the way, I’m toying with the idea of a monthly comics feature and something video game-related too, maybe even something to do with Dungeons and Dragons related, who knows? What would you like to see?

ANYWAY, without any further ado, I present my first planned TBR of the year!

The God Game by Danny Tobey
This is my current read, I’m only a short way through it after spending most of yesterday rearranging my bookshelves (and I’m still not done!) but I’m enjoying what I’ve read so far. The God Game is about a strange video game called The G.O.D Game, made by Underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious A.I that believes they are GOD. A group of teenagers begin playing the game and when they complete tasks they are rewarded with things from expensive tech, revenge and cash but things turn sinister when they start to receive threatening messages and the tasks they must complete become cruel and carry heavy punishments. I’ve enjoyed Ready Player One and more recently, CTRL S and I feel this might be a heavier darker version of these two books combined and I’m very excited for it! The God Game is coming very soon (January 9th, I believe) so you still have time to preorder if this sounds like your kind of book!

The Stars we Steal by Alexa Donne
“Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?”

Described by Alexa herself as a kind of Jane Austen meets the bachelor (just in space) as the book is very much a retelling of Austen’s last completed novel Persuasion I found myself utterly intrigued! I think I realised last year that I love Sci-Fi but I think I like books that can also be classed as Space Operas just as much if not more than generic Sci-Fi which I think is why I read a lot of YA Sci-Fi as they fit into that category more often. Here’s to hoping I enjoy this new release! Due out February 4th!

Star Wars Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray
“An unexpected offer threatens the bond between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi as the two Jedi navigate a dangerous new planet and an uncertain future.”

I’ve had my eye on this book for a good while now and I’m glad to have finally got my hands on it. I rewatched a lot of Star Wars last month and fell head over heels back in love with Obi-Wan Kenobi (I was OBSESSED when I was younger) and so this month a large chunk of the Star Wars content I’m intending to consume is set around the time of the prequel trilogy including my comic read for this month and if I get time, season two of The Clone Wars TV show. So it stands to reason that this would be my Star Wars book for this month!

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
So like everyone I was swept up in the Witcher craze last month and honestly, I’m okay with that. I loved the show (one more episode left to go!) I brought the games years ago but never got around to playing them and I had one of the standalone books that I also never got around to so hoping I can ride the hype and enjoyment from the show into the books and possibly the games with any luck. I decided to start with The Last Wish (dubbed as The Witcher 0.5) instead of The Sword of Destiny as apparently it’s a book of short stories and I have really been enjoying those a lot lately.

Star Wars Age of the Republic: Heroes by Jody Houser and Cory Smith
As mentioned before I’m revisiting the prequels this month. This is a bind-up of comics focusing on short stories primarily about Anakin, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Padme that I’m intrigued to read and will go well alongside my novel choice this month and honestly although the prequel films were a bit of a hot mess (that CGI *shudders*) I really liked these characters and can’t wait to learn a bit more about them.

I worry that this might be a little over-ambitious (as usual) this month but only time will tell I guess! I’m hoping to get caught up with blogging and blog hopping over the next month or so and not ending up frantically writing blog posts the day they’re due to go live (I am doing this right now, oops).

Happy New Year to you all! Let me know what you’re planning to read this month!

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 25th 2019

www wednesday

My reading has been stagnant for a few weeks now while I’ve been reading Darkdawn but I’ve finally finished it now and so I can move on! I was excited to get a lot more reading done but it turns out I’ve got a horrid cold my husband brought home last week and so I’ve just been moping around feeling sorry for myself while occasionally playing animal crossing to cheer me up in between looking after Nate who has also caught it! I’m still making progress though and so I invite you to check out my fortnightly WWW Wednesday post and hear about what I’ve been reading and what I plan to read next.

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milgrave Harwood. I’m only about 20% of the way through at the moment and I’ve enjoyed the writing style but nothing hugely interesting has happened yet although there have been little hints here and there of what’s to come possibly. In case you haven’t heard of The Deathless Girls before it’s a tagged as a feminist retelling of the story of the Bridges of Dracula.

What did you recently finish reading?

Obviously Darkdawn but since then I’ve also finished NPC Tea – Vol Six by Sarah Milman (Issues one – six available here). “NPC Tea is about Cardiff’s least popular tea shop, Y Ddraig, run by a perfectionist elf and a disgruntled fire summon. When a magicless human discovers Y Ddraig’s secret and a type of banned magic rears its ugly head, caddies upon caddies of rotting tea become the least of their worries as the entire city of Cardiff is threatened with destruction!” I think volume six may have been my absolute favourite issue so far! There were some lovely sweet moments, much blushing and a nice healthy dose of danger too! Things are really hotting up with the penultimate issue seven out imminently, ahh I don’t want it to end!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Unless NPC Volume seven turns up before I finish The Deathless Girls then it’ll almost certainly be Angel Mage by Garth Nix. I’m really excited to read this new dive into adult fantasy AND it’s a standalone novel which I’m so here for right now. I’ve seen some describe the book as a cross of The Three Muskateers and Joan of Arc which sounds very much up my streets (I was obsessed with The Man in the Iron Mask and The Messenger: Joan of Arc when I was a teenager) so I can’t wait to get stuck in, plus I’m taking part in the blog tour towards the end of the month!

Have you read any of the books featured today? What are you reading at the moment? What have you read recently? Let me know and I’ll reply from my sickbed as much as I can. Keep an eye out for a new book tag coming tomorrow!

spoiler free, tbr thursday

July TBR

I know I shouldn’t be shocked as I just did my June wrap up last week but OH MY GOSH how is it July now?! YALC is this month and I’m in no way prepared. I’m only there for one day in all likely-hood but I still have some reading to get done! I have a backlog of books to review but there are also some books I want to read in time for YALC as well as some new releases I’m desperate to get around to. I think my TBR list for this month is going to be a little over hopeful but what the heck I can but try!

Heartstream by Tom Pollock
I actually started this last night and I already can’t wait to get back to it. This is my first book by Pollock that I’ve read and I think I’ll look into his other works after as I’m really loving his writing style.

Revenger by Alistair Reynolds
I got this when Shadow Captain came out earlier this year in preparation for my sci-fi binge but never got around to it, Reynolds will be at the sci-fi panel I’m excited for at YALC so I wanted to make sure I got it read in time for then, hopefully if I really enjoy it I can pick up the sequel as well and get them both signed too.

Do you Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
I’ve seen quite a few people who enjoy similar books to me that have been loving this and I’ve been intrigued for a while but I don’t often buy hardbacks and I kept putting it off but as Temi Oh will also be at YALC on the same panel as Alistair Reynolds (in addition to Lauren James and Sasha Alsberg) I feel this is a sign I need to finally get around to reading it.

Shadowscent by P.M Freestone
Another YALC read, I brought Shadowscent on the day it was released because it sounds brilliant and the cover is gorgeous but, yet again and shocking absolutely no one I still haven’t read it because I’m terrible. I’m enjoying using YALC as a good excuse to get all these books I’ve been looking forward to actually read. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve known authors were at events but because I hadn’t read their books yet (despite already owning them in most cases) I didn’t get my book/s signed and then regretted it terribly once I’ve read and loved the book. I do not want this to be one of those times!

Heartstopper – Volume two – By Alice Oseman
I’m SO excited for volume two of Heartstopper releasing this month! I was hoping to make it to the event on July 11th but sadly don’t think I’m going to be able to make it now, I can’t wait to read it though!

Men in Black International: The Official Movie Novelization by R.S Belcher
One of my review books, I had decided to take fewer review books on this month but as soon as the lovely people at Titan offered me this book I couldn’t say no. I’ve really been looking forward to the film, I’m yet to see said film itself yet so I think it would be interesting to compare the two when I do finally see it.

X-Men: Days of Future Past by Alex Irvine
Another review book for the month from Titan, I received this last month and will quite likely be my next read after Heartstream. I’ve been in an X-Men mood for a little while now and although I’m not officially taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo I am starting to jot down ideas etc for the project I’ll be carrying on with for NaNo later in the year and as my characters have extra “abilities” I always consider anything X-Men related as “research” plus I just kind of love them.

Sanctuary by Vic James
So I have actually already read Sanctuary once already. I was lucky enough to have read a copy via NetGalley and my review has been written and ready for a while now but as the book isn’t out until August I’ve kept it waiting in the wings. I’m going to be taking part in the blog tour for the release and would love to give it another read through and maybe spruce up my review for the occasion. I’m really hoping I get enough book time to do so!

I have a good feeling about this months TBR, despite it being so huge (for me). I think it might be a bit of a squish towards the end but after stressing (non-bookish/blog related stuff) so much last month that I made myself ill I’m taking a lot more time to just read, relax and enjoy my books.

What do you absolutely have to read this month? Have you read any of these books already? Let me know what you thought of them!