May 222013
 

The Dragon's Path: Book 1 of The Dagger and the Coin The Dragon’s Path is the first instalment in The Dagger and the Coin epic fantasy series. It’s immensely rich in its own history, with a multitude of races and flawed but wonderful characters.  Just my cup of tea!

I was intrigued from the start, with an introduction to an apostate escaping from an ancient temple with a scary truth.  We don’t know who he is, but as the book progressed I started to have suspicions, but each time I thought I knew the truth I was cleverly deflected by Daniel Abraham.  In most fantasy settings, you often find one or two other races that are ‘typical’ but for this series, Abraham has created twelve and an extremely clever reason behind them (I mentioned the rich history already!)

It’s also a multi-faceted tale about people trying to do the best thing in the worst of circumstances and that means not always doing the right thing.  The major cast were brilliant. Marcus, Yardem, Cithrin and Master Kit were all characters that I really warmed to, even if I didn’t always agree with their choices. Geder, I felt for but wanted to shake and Basrahip… well, I don’t think there is a boot big enough to stomp on him!  Along with them are quite a few other characters, some you love and some you hate but they all felt extremely well fleshed out and very real.  I have to note the friendship and interplay between Marcus and Yardem, the first time they appear, made me laugh out loud and I knew I was hooked.  Daniel Abraham has quite the talent for creating his characters.

The plot can be quite complicated but not too hard to follow.  Explaining it however is another matter and I’m not even going to try.  I shall say instead that it is completely engaging and if you like a good epic fantasy that isn’t going to run to twelve books (I believe there is five in this series) then this will be right up your street.

The pace was good and I never felt it dragged, even when the characters themselves were being put through long journeys.  The action scenes were brutal and a couple of times I was open mouthed in shock but at the end of the day, that is not what the book is about.  The characters are what make it shine.

A great start to an epic fantasy series and I am eager to dive into the second book – The King’s Blood.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

May 132013
 

 Tracey

Having had a very expensive trip to New York with lots of shopping I surprisingly found little time for reading! We were so exhausted from all the walking! So what have I read in the week since getting back?

I started reading Ambersley by Amy Atwell on the plane but couldn’t really get into it – probably just too tired. I left it for a bit and didn’t go back to it until much later in the week, having read other books in between. It started off a bit slow and I struggled with the concept of how I knew the book would ultimately end; that the child and grown man we see interacting together for the first third of the book, then end up together in the girl’s adulthood. I know age gaps in this period of history are not uncommon but it just felt a bit weird, and I think it’s probably another reason why I didnt finish it in one go. Having said that, when I did go back to it and we got past childhood stage, the story picked up pace and I ended up enjoying the romance. We were introduced to various characters who get their own story later on and I will probably look to read them at some point – 3 stars for me.

I was clearly in the mood for some more historical romance and picked up His Wicked Kiss by Gaelen Foley. This is the seventh book in the Knight Miscellany series and brings home the mysterious Lord Jack Knight who in previous books had only been mentioned in passing. It was another enjoyable story in the series and has a good plot and romance, although Eden Farraday did get on my nerves a bit at times. You do not need to have read the series previously to know what is going on but as we get reintroduced to the characters and their partners from those books, it is nice to have the background info. This could definitely stand alone though – 3.5 stars

And yet more historical romance! Slightly Shady by Amanda quick was my next read. A light historical romantic suspense which was a quick easy read. I again found the heroine to be a bit of a pain in the butt at times – I don’t know what is up with me this week! The suspense aspect felt more believable than the romance for me, but overall I enjoyed the story – 3 stars.

A Bite to Remember by Lynsay sands was next and was a return for me to the world of the Argeneau vampires. This book focuses on Vincent and Jackie Morrissey (a mortal PI who knows all about their world). As with all the books in this series this was very good. I always love the Argeneau men and Vincent is no exception. Marguerite, the interfering matriarch of the Argeneau’s, features heavily in this book as well and I love her and her interference. This can easily stand alone if you have not read any of the others but why start with this one – go get the first one and work your way through! – 4 stars

I am currently reading Hunter by Jacquelyn Frank and loving it, in fact I feel the need to get back to it – review to come in the next couple of weeks :)

The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides) Grete

Well my reading rate has been down again but I have a good excuse – I’m in the process of giving up smoking!  It’s a very weird thing but I’m having to learn how to do things without an ever present cigarette in my hand – everything still feels a bit wrong but I’m getting there :)  So lets see what I’ve read over the last two weeks (including while a certain review partner was off gallivanting in NYC!)

I re-read Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson and it was as entertaining as the first time.  Jessica McClain is a great character and I love her starting story!  I went straight into book two, Hot Blooded and actually was a bit disappointed with it.  It was still enjoyable but it seemed to turn into a bit of a slog towards the end.  Full reviews are coming, anyway.

I had to wait my turn to read The City by Stella Gemmell as Tony got there first – he did an excellent review which can be found here.  I thought I might have a slightly different opinion to him as a female reader but actually, I agree with him completely – 4 stars for me too.

I then picked up a recently arrived book which had me intrigued from the moment I first heard about it – The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty.  I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it!  You can read my full review here

My fantasy nose was twitching again so I picked up The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham.  This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for ages and as book three is sitting there looking at me imploringly, it was incentive enough.  Full review is coming but suffice to say it’s a fantasy on an epic scale with the sense of a full world and history behind it.  I’m half way through The King’s Blood which is book two, and is proving a little slower going but still as enjoyable.

And there we are, all up to date!  Same time next week? ;)


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

Sep 172011
 

This book is utterly amazing,  I can’t stress that enough. It hits every single sci-fi button I have; space opera, crime, horror, and just enough of a touch of romance to give it an emotional punch.  It has zombies, heroic sacrifice, interplanetary war, and some truly great action.

On paper that might seem like a book by the numbers but it really isn’t.  The writing is clever but eminently readable and the story just blew me away.  With such a heady mix of so many elements the plot could have been really confusing, yet I had no trouble following it.

The characters are believable, realistic and they quickly get into your mind, even those that are only present for a short time.  I loved Captain Jim Holden and his somewhat naive and altruistic view of life. He’s written so well that the odd mix of both admirable and foolhardy decision making is believable. The authors have given us a hero that acts like one despite the consequences.  The rest of the survivors were also well realised and added a lot to the depth and flavour of the story.  As an aside I did laugh when Naomi figuratively had to smack Jim into sense, one of a number of comic moments that help break up the considerable tension.

Detective Miller is a bit of an enigma.  A very strong character but obviously fundamentally damaged, and the complete opposite of Jim.  He sees things from a much more realistic perspective and can look at the bigger picture.  I thought the debates with Holden about his decisions, and them both being at opposite ends of the spectrum were very well written and thought out.  Neither were right or wrong but I found my own feelings on the matter coloured how I looked at it.  Miller’s involvement was excellent yet sad and the emotional writing of this character had me in tears towards the end of the book.

I thought the future technology side was well crafted and believable, taking into account physics and the forces at play when ships are moving.  I felt it all was very smooth, understandable and very creative.

The plot and pace are very much tied together as each chapter unfolds and both increase in intensity nicely.  I’ve seen some people say the ending employs deus ex machina, however I totally disagree because the groundwork had been building right from the start.  To me it was just another example of the clever writing in Leviathan Wakes.

I didn’t find out until after I’d finished, that James S. A. Corey is actually the pen name for two people; Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.  I have to say I think they blended perfectly; sometimes you can get a feel of two voices in these situations but I was unaware and very surprised when I did realise.

An amazingly exciting space opera, and I absolutely can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: James S.A. Corey
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)