Hellhole Inferno

Well I can quite honestly say this book is a one serious roller-coaster of a ride. Several hours after putting it down, I’m still not even sure what to do with myself.

 After the events of Hellhole Awakening, the people of Hellhole and the shadow-Xayans scramble to rally against the threat from the still-living rogue Xayans. Back on Sonjeera, the Monarchy is in an uproar after their surprising defeat and the breakaway of the Deep Zone planets. The dowager Queen decides to go to Hellhole on a diplomatic mission, hoping to keep her power. But after touring Hellhole, Queen Michella is shaken, and begins to realize that she can never have the old Monarchy back.
Before the Queen can return to Sonjeera, she’s captured by the rogue Xayans and learns the reason for their attack: the orthodox Xayans had developed their minds to the point where they could evolve and, in so doing, trigger another Big Bang, wiping out everything.
The rogue Xayans thought they succeeded in stopping the ascension, but the orthodox Xayans on Hellhole are nearly ready. Now, twenty-two huge asteroids from the outer reaches of the solar system are bearing towards Hellhole, summoned by the rogue sect as a last resort. Can all these lives and the planet itself be saved?  

Well I can quite honestly say this book is a one serious roller-coaster of a ride.  I finished it and then had to spend some time just staring into space absorbing it.  Several hours after putting it down, I’m still not even sure what to do with myself.

There is so much about this book that is great with moments of sheer genius that push it beyond great and into amazing.  The resolution for Hellhole’s fate was inspired and made so much sense.  The moments before that were just so intense that I was literally holding my breath.

The characters are just superb; General Tiber Adolphus and Sophie Vence are the two that I have adored all the way through this series and my heart was in my mouth several times, hoping that they would stay free just that little bit longer to do what was needed for the galaxy.  It’s also rare to come across characters that are truly detestable and despicable yet also be able to see how they came to power.  The clever writing in Inferno also allows some of those that were actually quite contemptible to redeem themselves and I found myself rooting for a few of them in the end.

The plot is clever with things happening on so many fronts but it’s never confusing; it’s always clear what is going on but as each event takes place it produces a distinct emotional reaction.  I think I say this in both the other reviews too but it bears repeating – the writing is just so clean, straight and to the point but still descriptive enough to clearly envision people and planets.  No padding, no flowery language, the prose just flows extremely well.

The pace throughout was full on and really well timed to lure you in and keep you there.  I couldn’t put it down because I needed to know what happened next at every stage.  When the answers finally came I was truly shocked;  by Ala’ru and the solution, and by the number of people who count lives as others would count grains of rice and treat them as just as importantly.

This is not a happy ever after book.  The cost of lives is just too high, for both people and places we’d grown to love.  Those people who finally stood up and did the right thing, who said no when the final demands came caused the biggest reaction in me.  I cried for those lost and those saved and I even cheered for those who got what they finally so very clearly deserved.

I can only applaud Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert on the conclusion of a truly epic series.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
  • Series: Hellhole (3)
  • Format: Hardback
  • Publisher: Tor
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Hellhole Awakening

Hellhole Awaking is just utterly amazing … triumph and tragedy on an epic scale.

 General Adolphus knows the Monarchy crackdown is coming. Now he needs to pull together all the resources of the Hellhole colony, the ever-expanding shadow-Xayan settlement, and his connections with the other Deep Zone worlds. On Sonjeera, Diadem Michella Duchenet has collected a huge fleet, led by firebrand Commissar Escobar Hallholme, son of the man who originally defeated Adolphus.
Uniting themselves and pooling their minds, the shadow-Xayans send a power surge along the original stringline path that links Hellhole with the Monarchy’s hub on Sonjeera. All of the Diadem’s battleships are currently approaching on that route, and when the mental blast wipes out all the substations, the battleships are effectively stranded.
But now a bigger threat appears. Three large asteroids come in from the outer reaches of the Candela system. On Hellhole, the awakened Xayans finally reveal information that has been hidden even from their own followers. A large group of powerful, rogue telemancers split away from the main race-fanatics, violent, and ruthless. And now that the Xayan civilization is reawakening, the rogues have come back to destroy them once and for all. They are coming for Hellhole, and this time they will completely destroy it.

Hellhole Awakening follows on from the amazing Hellhole, and the series continues to intrigue me.  There is so much good stuff in this book that I want to shout so loudly about, that only the threat of spoilers keeps your ears safe!

The pace was brilliant, and ensured my eyes were glued to the words and I didn’t want to put it down.  It’s not a short book however, so I did, very reluctantly, have to put it down to go to bed.  I’m getting a bit too old now for through the night reads.  All that did was build the suspense even further, and as soon as I was awake and had a free moment, I felt compelled to pick the story up where I’d left off.

The plot continues to be as intricate as the first book – the interplay between the Diadem, the constellation and the deep zone worlds.  Revelations about the Xayan and then Shadow Xayan were a bit of a jaw dropper and there is so much joy and heartache tied in with them.

There is a genius plot element based around three stringlines, the DZ link, the old Buktu link and the constellation link.  It was both dizzying and amazing.  It added another whole dimension to the character driven story.

Michella has to be stopped, surely someone somewhere can!  I have no words to describe the atrocities carried out on her orders, and I’ll be honest, I cried.  The writing is so clean and crisp, and everything so well imagined that it felt like you were there and it was all so emotional.

Adolphus – seriously, when is he going to get a break?  He and the DZ people seem to be the only people with any humanity left and even he nearly loses it.  Sophie is his rock and my heart broke for her.

Candela and the Xayan secrets – heart-rending on so many levels.  Why couldn’t they have confessed before?  Why?

All of those characters and events push the story inexorably toward the ending; and what an ending!  Wow.  If I didn’t have the next book to hand, I think I might have self combusted.  I feel as if I should make a wall to commemorate the fallen.

Hellhole Awaking is just utterly amazing; if you like your science fiction with great plot-lines, characters that are so well imagined they seem real and triumph and tragedy on an epic scale then this series is for you.  Seriously!

Book Information
  • Author: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
  • Series: Hellhole (2)
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Age of Iron

 LEGENDS AREN’T BORN. THEY’RE FORGED.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar’s army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar’s most fearsome warriors, who’s vowed revenge on the king for her sister’s execution.

Now Dug’s on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that’s going to get them all killed . . .

 It’s a glorious day to die.

Age of Iron was a surprise win for me, all the more so because it wasn’t at all what I expected. I thought I was going to get sweeping epic descriptions of crafts, language, landscape with equally epic drama thrown in.  What I actually got was something that, in terms of genre, kind of fits into the historical fantasy niche, but it is also something that is entirely its own.  The story takes place just before the Roman Occupation of Britain and Angus Watson offers his own take on what happened.  Age of Iron is also very charming, dramatic, evocative and often extremely funny.

The characters are the main draw for this book with the history almost in the background (although it is, of course, partially what drives the characters).  Dug Sealskinner is probably one of my favourite types of character – grumpy, getting on a bit, reluctant to get involved and curses a lot and in the most inventive of ways (and slightly obsessed with badgers).  I wouldn’t even say he’s a reluctant hero – more an accidental hero that ends up doing the logical thing.  That doesn’t mean it’s always the nice thing, but I adore him anyway.

Lowa Flynn is an extremely gifted archer but she took a bit of warming up to because of where she starts from, but she eventually became a character I definitely wanted to root for.  She’s feisty, sarcastic and practical, even when slightly unhinged with her need for vengeance.  An Amazon with wit and attitude.

Spring makes up the major cast, a young girl whose age seems to vary depending on who you ask and who both is precocious and strange.  She could so easily have been a major stumbling block for this book but Watson manages to make her intriguing, appealing and funny. Yes, she has her frustrating moments, but there is usually a good reason why.

The bad guys – Zadar, Felix and the 50 – were pretty much very bad.  It goes along with the gory side of the book and you learn very quickly that there is nothing redeeming about them, even if Zadar thinks he is right.  One of that side I do have to mention is Weylin.  Poor, poor Weylin.  If there was a more unlucky fellow who just tries to do the bad thing, I don’t know of him.  He’s horrible though so you can’t like him but… poor Weylin.

There is magic present and the druids who use it are a rather interesting bunch.  Felix is a completely evil psychopath, whereas Drustan seems to be on the right side…  Ragnall is naive and a bit dodgy (but that might be because he’s a bit young) and the rest of the druids seem to be raving lunatics… perhaps too many herbs?

The plot is very simple but that simplicity doesn’t take away anything from the enjoyment of Age of Iron, if anything it enhances it.  The pace of the story unfolds very well and I think it’s well judged, flowing nicely without mad rushes and then periods of not much happening.

All in all Age of Iron is a compelling, entertaining and funny read but with enough gore and sombreness to balance it out.  Trust me, this book is not what you expect – and that is a very good thing!

Age of Iron by Angus Watson (Orbit) is now available as a paperback and eBook.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Angus Watson
  • Series: The Iron Age Trilogy (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Eye of the World

 The Rambling Introduction

Is there any value in reviewing books that have been out for a long, long time?  I don’t know.  There are probably several hundred thousand reviews on the web for The Eye of the World (Book 1 in the Wheel of Time series).  This is true for many old books, but given the history of The Wheel of Time, it’s even more likely to be true.

The Wheel of Time is a series of books that grew up with the Internet.  It was really the first time I’d seen a community (rec.arts.written.sf.robert-jordan, or rawsfrj) form around a set of books, grow, flourish, expand and then collapse again.  The politics, emotion and inquisitiveness of that community is forever tied to my experience of reading the books themselves.  The community was almost bigger than the books.  That community was all over the Internet, web pages, ftp sites, usenet, irc, and so the web is littered with reviews, polemics, papers and discussions of the series ad infinitum.

So, is there any point?  No, probably not.  But it’s not going to stop me.

You didn’t think it would, did you?

Of course, that doesn’t make reviewing it easy.  I’ve read the book at least twice, maybe three times before my current re-read (which at the point of starting this review, I haven’t quite finished).  I know what’s coming up, both in terms of the story and in terms of the quality.  The Wheel of Time is famous for many things, but not least among them is the debate about the quality of the books in the middle of this long, long series.  Greatest among them of course, is the untimely and tragic death of Robert Jordan himself, and then eventual completion of the series by Brandon Sanderson.  So while I have not yet read all the books in the series (and starting with book 1 is my attempt to fix that), I have read many of them.

Reviewing a book you’ve already read is hard enough, reviewing it objectively when you know how later books turn out is problematic, and this is further coloured by the question of who cares now anyway, and why am I reviewing a book that’s so old?

Is this a review then, or a retrospective?  It’s both! I promise, and I’ll try and be at least a little bit entertaining.

The Review

The Eye of the World will feel familiar to anyone with a love of epic high fantasy.  Queens, wizards, farm boys with prophecy in their veins, Kings, ancient evils and quests abound from start to finish.  The world is rich, filled out, complex, political and deadly.  The story is engaging, interesting, and feels as though it’s grounded in a solid mythology that can only bode well for the following books.

The Eye of the World tells the story of a small band of would-be not-quite heroes from a small village, guided in their journey by a powerful magic wielding woman and her powerful warder companion.  The pace is pretty solid, despite the size of the novel, and the adventures take the characters through many places and cultures, before culminating in what all good epic high fantasy books culminate in, a fight, and a cliff hanger.

It’s not all roses.  Jordan has a tendency to use the same phrases over and over again, and you will constantly hear about how two of three of the boys in the group are much better at talking to girls than the others, and the girls will constantly rail about how the boys are wool headed.  There will be braid pulling, and there will be repetition.  If you can deal with that, then there’s a lot to be found in the book.

If you get into it, and start feeling like it’s familiar, you’ll be forgiven if you’ve ever read Lord of the Rings.  A quest, an evil artifact, a powerful wizard guide, a stern taciturn warrior of noble heritage, and a collection of young farmhands, at least one of which likes to get into mischief will set off alarm bells.  Jordan himself said he ‘styled the first 100 pages on Tolkien to give people something familiar to get into the story’.  I suspect he actually styled the entire first book on Tolkien, but have no fear, it’s a homage not a rip-off, and he wouldn’t be the first, or the last (The Sword of Shannara <cough>).

If you like epic fantasy, if you like prophecy riddled rich worlds, then read The Eye of the World,  you’ll enjoy it.

The Retrospective

I try and avoid actual plot spoilers in this section, but I do reveal some of my frustrations with the overall series to date, so you may want to read carefully if you’ve never read the books.

The Eye of the World is a bitter-sweet experience for me.  It’s really quite good, as far as epic fantasy goes.  It has some lovely mythology, some careful and clever connections, and the characters, magic and places are engaging.  It clips along at a fast enough pace, and loads of stuff happens (seriously, loads).

But in that regard, it’s like watching the first Police Academy movie, knowing the steaming pile of shit they turn into.  Are the later books steaming piles of shit?  Probably not quite that bad (read later reviews to find out) but certainly I know in my heart (from memory, I may change my mind) that Jordan loses his way.  His tight story becomes flabby, his characters become caricatures, and the world gets too complex for its own good.

So reading it, I found myself longing for 10 more books like it, knowing it’s not to be.  But I was also surprised at just how good it was, and just how much happens.  The later books had skewed my memory and left me feeling sad about The Eye of the World, when it fact, it’s a very good read indeed.

The Angry Spoilers

There are spoilers here, for the book and possibly for the series.  Stop reading if, somehow, you’ve never read these books before.

Seriously, spoilers.

Argh! Jordan!  Why?  So so much happens in the first book.  I had forgotten how much of the world is revealed to us.  We learn more in the first half of the first book, than in all of books 4 to 8 (as far as I can remember).  In book one we have, in no order (excuse my spelling, I’m writing these through the red haze of anger in my eyes),

steddings, ogier, saidin and saidar, the taint, the ways, warders, aes sedai, fades, trollocs, draghkar, Aiel, travellers, the ages, forsaken, dream walking, darkfriends, red ajah, blue ajah, black ajah, the heroes of the horn, the horn, machin shin, shadar logoth, mashadar, loads of ancient place names, loads of history, plenty of prophecy, false dragons, wolf brothers, old skills, angreal, gentling, whitecloaks and so much more.

There is so much promise in the first book, so much content, so much to interest you, and yet within 4 or 5 novels Jordan will have utterly lost his way and the story will become flabby.  New characters turning up well past the point where we need to start resolving threads.  I know it’s coming.  It’s hard to read the book knowing that is around the corner.

Why Jordan!? Wwhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

But seriously, read book one, it’s good.

Book Information
  • Author: Robert Jordan
  • Series: The Wheel of Time (1)
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The Summoner

As second son to the King of Margolan, Prince Martris Drayke never expected, nor wanted to be, in line for the Throne.  After witnessing his cruel and vicious older brother take over the Kingdom in a night of bloody violence, he is forced to flee or be killed along with everyone that had been loyal to his father.   With few options, Tris and his closest friends set out on a journey to find allies, avenge their dead and come to terms that their world has now changed forever.  Their best chance is Tris himself, able to see and speak to ghosts, he is the untrained heir of his Grandmother, a Summoner of great power who could work with the living and the dead.  He must find a way to unlock his potential and become the one thing King Jared and Arontala, his twisted sorceror, fear most.  The Summoner.

I’d been looking for a good, epic fantasy to sink my teeth into again lately, and happened to notice The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin in a prominent place in the bookstore.  I liked the premise, but realised it was the start of a second series.  Since I like to start from the beginning, I went looking and found book one of the Chronicles of the Necromancer – The Summoner.

I had no expectations, I’d never read Gail Z. Martin’s work before, but I have to say I found it compelling right from the very first page.  The characters are really well rounded and expertly written, and I grew to like and then love them very quickly.  Of course when the author is not afraid to write about the darker side of life, this can create a slight pang to the heart!

The story was excellent and I must admit, I do love quests and being on the journey with the characters, joining them to do whatever they must, to see their world safe.  There is of course a danger of many tropes and cliches with this type of fantasy and some of them are unavoidable.  Where Martin excels, is when she takes some of them and uses them to further the story, turning them into a positive thing instead of letting it become ‘yet another epic quest fantasy’.  Instead she created an engaging and intriguing tale that kept me gripped right to the last page.

The pace of the story is good, the writing very smooth, easy to read and I couldn’t put it down.  By the end I was so absorbed and wanting more, I immediately ordered the rest of the series.

An astonishingly good read that does much to revitalise the genre.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Gail Z. Martin
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Hellhole

Exiled to Hallholme after he led a rebellion against the Constellation Empire, General Tiber Adolphus was expected to die from the planet’s barely habitable environment.  Much to Diadem Michella Duchanet’s annoyance, he refused to give in and instead managed to establish a small community that quickly expanded as convicts, malcontents,  and people with nowhere else to go were dumped and left to the mercies of Hellhole.  Struck by a meteor centuries earlier that wiped out all indiginous life, it’s a mostly barren wasteland with unpredictable and often deadly weather patterns.

Back in the Crown Jewel planets, the Lords and Ladies of the Parliamentary government enjoyed the fruits of the Deep Zone labours, requiring tributes from their already taxed economies, forcing them to give up valuable assets that would help their own colonists.  Determined not to let another rebellion take hold, the Diadem keeps her government on their toes, encouraging them to plot against each other if it suited her interest or simply have her spies and military personnel step in if it didn’t.  Diadem Michella Duchanet was the ruler of the Constellation and she would not have anyone get in her way.

For someone who read a lot of science-fiction when I was younger,  I don’t seem to be able to get into it much these days.  It has been a while since I found anything that held my interest, that wasn’t also linked to the romance genre.

Hellhole has completely changed that for me and I am very happy it did so.  It’s an engaging story of hazardous frontier worlds and brave pioneers yet also of intrigue, plotting and maneuvering among the nobles of  the vast Constellation Empire.   The despot ruler, Diadem Michella Duchanet, is a real piece of work, as are some of the myriad nobles that rule the individual worlds of the Crown Jewels planets.

When the book starts, General Tiber Adolphus is at the final battle of his victorious five year rebellion against the Diadem and her armies, and right from that first chapter I was drawn in.  And it didn’t really let up from there.

It’s a book that has so many different facets and layers; it isn’t just a book about a rebellion against an unfit ruler, nor just about the people who were imprisoned or volunteered as colonists on the Deep Zone worlds.  It’s not even just about the possibility of alien life.  It’s about everything that makes up a wondrous vision into a possible distant future.

The protagonists were really well written and I came to care about some of them very quickly.  I also didn’t just dislike the antagonists, I hated them.

Hellhole itself was described with vivid imagery and I could see it in my mind’s eye.  The other Deep Zone worlds too, but to a lesser extent.

The pace was excellent, going from almost a normal pace of life after the first few chapters to an almost frenzied state as different threads were coming together.  I even growled as I turned the last page and realised I would have to wait to find out what happens until the next book.  It caught me out, even though I should have realised that with everything that still needed to happen, it wouldn’t fit into the number of pages left.

The plot was so intricate and layered, I have no idea how the authors kept it straight, but it wasn’t confusing.  I knew where I was and what was happening, it just ramped up the tension as each layer was added.

There are a few shocks and surprises but I won’t spoil them here.  Suffice to say some of them were very sad but there is also joy to balance it out.

If you like great science fiction on an epic scale, you have to read Hellhole.. really!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Shadow Prowler

With a few notable exceptions, I haven’t read much fantasy for a while.  I was actually starting to wonder if I had lost my love for the genre as nothing seemed to peak my interest in the way it used to.  Simon and Schuster UK kindly sent me an advance review copy of a book they strongly believed in and aside from the fact it was originally written in russian and translated into english, it looked like just the kind of formulaic fantasy that had me so out of sorts.

Shadow Harold, master thief and appropriator of coveted items is happy to let the world go on around him.  The world however has different ideas.  The Nameless One is stirring after centuries of peace, calling an immense army of dreadful creatures to his side.  His goal is to strike at the heart of Siala, the great city of Avendoom. Harold’s unique talents are needed to gain access to the one thing that can save Siala and while it’s a mission of great urgency and danger, once commissioned, Harold is oath bound to see it through.  Even at the cost of his own life.

Having just finished Shadow Prowler, I am quite astonished.  It reminded me of the old favourites that I still have and re-read, of a few authors I love that are a cut above the rest and most importantly, why I fell in love with fantasy in the first place.

Right from the first few pages, I liked the main character Harold.  He’s an intelligent and witty reluctant hero, with a knack for getting out of a tight spot. Getting used to a new author’s ‘voice’ can be tough and Harold is what made it a smooth transition and kept me reading until I was caught up in the story.

The world Pehov has built for this series is rich in detail and character and I love the way he has turned around what I would say are usually standard facets of a fantasy book and used them to his own end.

As the story progressed and new characters were introduced, I found them just as well rounded and interesting as Harold, even those that that were only present for a brief time.  A few even tugged at my heart though their time in the book was short.

The pace was really good, no sudden stop/starts or breakneck rush but a smooth movement through the excellent storyline firing up with some great action scenes and then returning to that flow when it was time.

Magic is present, used in daily life and there are different forms of it, used by different races.  I found that interesting and thought it also showed just how much enthusiasm and work Alexey Pehov put into the world he created.

I have to touch on the translation from Russian by Andrew Bromfield.  I think it has been so skillfully done that I wouldn’t have been able to tell that it wasn’t first written in English.  I would love to know how the two versions compare and have to wonder if it was even more enjoyable in its native tongue.

I enjoyed this book a huge amount and can’t wait to read the second in the series to find out how Harold and his companions are faring!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Alexey Pehov
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Furies of Calderon

The Realm of Alera is a civilized and beautiful place, where the average person has furies at their command, elemental beings of earth, air, fire, water and metal, bonded with those who have an affinity for them.  Out in the harsh frontier of Calderon Valley,  Tavi is an ordinary boy in an extraordinary world.  The nephew of Steadholder Bernard and his sister Isana, both with powerful furies of their own, he is seen by his peers as a freak as he commands none.  Stumbling into the start of an invasion by the savage Marat, he meets Cursor Amara, one of the King’s spies and is thrust into events that could lead to the fall of Alera or the very least, the assassination of the King.  Using his wits and intelligence where others would use their furies, Tavi fights to keep his family, people and ultimately Alera safe.

I’ve been a big fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files for a long time and was really interested to hear he was writing a fantasy based series.  Fantasy was my first love but for a while now, I hadn’t found anything new that had caught my attention and imagination.

First off, I absolutely love the unique magic system Butcher created for his world.  Elemental beings that bond with the Alerans, almost like pets and are used in everyday life.  Fire furies that keep lights and torches burning, water furies that allow water to travel along pipes or be used to heal wounds, earth furies that can raise walls, track prey or imbue their people with greater strength and so on.  The furies take on a personality of their own and become supplementary characters that enhance the story as you meet them, however briefly.

The characters are superbly written, the main cast all have depth and detail that lead you to care about them right from the start, even the ‘bad’ guys who have their own stories and reasons for choosing the path they have taken.  You also have the Marat, a tribal people who the Alerans consider savages with ways incomprehensible to them. Their characters are intriguing, vastly different to the Alerans and their society rich with tradition and beliefs.  When the two begin to mix, it produces often amusing exchanges as they try to learn how to interact with each other.

The story itself is wonderful, flows easily throughout the book and the pace is just right.  Exciting action alongside somber, tender moments, sharing a character’s dread at something that just happened and at times I was moved to tears.  It has all the elements of a story I love – heroic endeavours in the face of overwhelming odds, clinging to something you believe in no matter how futile it might seem and finding love at the bleakest of times.  These are all things that capture my heart and imagination.

By the end, I was in love with the world and it’s characters and left with a feeling of having read something truly remarkable.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jim Butcher
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)