Voice of War (Threadlight #1) by Zack Argyle. A Book Review

Description from Goodreads:

While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers–those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head grows louder, begging to be released.

A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains.

Far in the deserts to the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.

When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the dark voice in his mind.

Together, they will change the world–whether they intend to or not.

Review:

There are 2 important things that you need to know about Voice of War:

  • It has an AMAZING narrator so definitely pick up the audiobook if you can.
  • It is BLOODY amazing.

Argyle managed to find a perfect balance between family drama, cool worldbuilding that makes you yearn for more and action scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat.

In the world of Voice of War, blue and green-eyed people can use magic called threadweaving, while brown-eyed people are without magic ability. The system is simple, but it gives the possibility for thrilling fight scenes. The magic has been nicely incorporated into the world and I’m excited to see more of it in the next book.

While the focus of the book is the mystery of the missing threadweavers, I would say that the main things the book excels at are the fight scenes which the book is luckily full of, and the relationships between the characters.

If you are seeking affectionate established relationships between two adults, look no further-Chrys and Iriel are caring parents and their marriage is stable and nurturing. They are strong both physically and mentally and help the other person out with lots of understanding. Fantasy family done right and there was no need for a dead parent!

There are also the mysteries of the importance of Chrys’s and Iriel’s newborn baby and the strange voice in Chrys’s head that makes him go berserk in battle. Believe me, the Apogee is one of the best parts of the book!

The next POV is Laurel, a young girl who rejects authority and wants to discover the world for herself. She became dependent on threadlight which becomes the catalyst for her troubles. She cares for her family and community, even if it’s not as obvious at a first glance and she makes a lot of mistakes. I’m looking forward to seeing how she transforms in the next books as she has a lot of potential.

Alverax is the last POV and talking about him would be a bit of a spoiler, so I will just say that I’m glad for his inclusion as it gave us more insight into the thoughts of a specific group 🙂

I really enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the sequel to come out in audiobook form so I can finish it in a day!

I would recommend you Voice of War if you like:

  • Interesting magic systems
  • Action, fighting
  • The main character as family man trope
  • Mistborn and/or Powder Mage
  • Berserkers
  • Audiobooks

My rating: 10/10

Murder Book by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell. A Comic Book Review

Description from NetGalley:

A humorous graphic investigation of the author’s obsession with true crime, the murders that have most captivated her throughout her life, and a love letter to her fellow true-crime fanatics.

Why is it so much fun to read about death and dismemberment? In Murder Book, lifelong true-crime obsessive and New Yorker cartoonist Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell tries to puzzle out the answer. An unconventional graphic exploration of a lifetime of Ann Rule super-fandom, amateur armchair sleuthing, and a deep dive into the high-profile murders that have fascinated the author for decades, this is a funny, thoughtful, and highly personal blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and true crime with a focus on the often-overlooked victims of notorious killers.

Review:

As soon as I set my eyes on Murder Book by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, I knew that I would enjoy it immensely. I am one of the numerous women that consume way too much true crime content (podcasts, YouTube videos, books, you name it). I was always wondering about the reason for it and I gained some insight after finishing the comic.

In Murder Book, Campbell tries to get to the bottom of her fascination with true crime. Could it be because of her mother’s love for crime books, because of the vulnerability women feel in a patriarchal society, because of her love for movies?

Campbell does a great job of describing her life and relationships with her family and friends, while also giving voice to the victims. She makes sure that the killers are depicted as just that- awful human beings and tries her best to describe the victims’ personalities and hobbies.

She highlights Ann Rule, Ted Bundy’s coworker and friend who helped in uncovering his crimes. Rule is presented as a highly intelligent and ambitious woman and I liked to learn more about her life before meeting Bundy.

Campbell’s storytelling is highly imaginative and entertaining, maybe even a little bit messy with its stream of consciousness structure, but it fits perfectly with the author’s personality.

The letters were a little bit hard to read at some parts, but maybe it’s because I was reading a digital copy instead of a paperback.

Pick up Murder Book if you like true crime. Pick it up and read it TWICE if someone in your life likes true crime and you don’t understand the reason why.

I would like to thank Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell and NetGalley for the free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Murder Book comes out on the 9th of November:

Scales and Sensibility (Regency Dragons #1) by Stephanie Burgis. A Book Review

Book Description from Netgalley

“Sensible, practical Elinor Tregarth really did plan to be the model poor relation when she moved into her aunt and uncle’s house. She certainly never meant to kidnap her awful cousin Penelope’s pet dragon. She never expected to fall in love with the shameless – but surprisingly sweet – fortune hunter who came to court Penelope, either. And she never dreamed that she would have to enter into an outrageous magical charade to save her younger sisters’ futures.

However, even the most brilliant scholars of 1817 England still haven’t ferreted out all the lurking secrets of rediscovered dragonkind…and even the most sensible of heroines can still make a reckless wish or two when she’s pushed. Now Elinor will have to find out just how rash and resourceful she can be when she sets aside all common sense. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll even be impractical enough to win her own true love and a happily ever after…with the unpredictable and dangerous “help” of the magical creature who has adopted her.

A frothy Regency rom-com full of pet dragons and magical misadventures, Scales and Sensibility is a full-length novel and the first in a new series of standalone romantic comedies.”

Review

Scales and Sensibility was a delight to read!
When I saw that Ms Burgis was publishing a regency romance with dragons, I immediately knew that I needed to read the book. Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors, and fantasy books are 90% of my reading material, so it seemed a perfect match.


Elinor Tregarth is a bright and resourceful protagonist that is easy to root for. Even though a series of tragedies have befallen her, she tries to do the best she can in every situation. After she no longer can endure the bullying in Hathergill Hall, she takes her cousin’s dragon Sir Jessamyn (how cute is that name?) and runs away. I loved seeing her transformation into an assertive and confident woman.


Sir Jessamyn was adorable, his behaviour reminded me of a mischievous cat that is always trying to get more food. The idea of making dragons an accessory for wealthy ladies was creative and well thought through. I’m curious how the behaviour towards dragons will develop in the future.
The hero and fortune-hunter Benedict Hawkins was a perfect match for Elinor. Both are caring individuals that put their family in the first place.
The dragon academic Aubrey was my favourite character as I love chaotic, asocial characters who prefer reading over social gatherings. I really hope we get to see him as a romantic lead in future books!


The magic in the book was simple, but it worked in the book’s favour as the focus in on the relationships between characters.


I would have preferred to have more romantic moments with Elinor and Benedict, hopefully they make an appearance in the future books as side characters.

I would recommend this book to people who like:

  • Fantasy books with romance as one of the main plots
  • Jane Austen retellings
  • Otome isekai novels
  • The dragons as pets trope

My rating: 8/10

I would like to thank Ms Burgis and NetGalley for the free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Scales and Sensibility is coming out on the 4th of October:

Empire’s Daughter by Marian L Thorpe. A Book Review

Description from Goodreads:


“Lena’s world is about to change forever. Harried from north and south by two different enemies, both wanting this last remnant of a greater Empire’s land, and with invasion imminent, the military leaders see no choice but to ask the unthinkable: that women learn to fight.
In accepting the challenge, Lena is separated from her lover, who chooses banishment rather than break with generations of tradition. Promoted to leadership, drawn into the intrigues of power, Lena must make difficult choices, for herself, for her village, and for her country: a young woman at the heart of the violence and diplomacy that will begin her epic journey to save her land. Evoking Europe after the decline of Rome, the imagined world of Empire’s Daughter and its sequels is brought to vivid, believable life by the precise and powerful writing of Marian L Thorpe.”

Review:

I accidentally stumbled upon Ms Thorpe’s books one day while scrolling through the SPFBO hashtag. The Self-Published Blog-Off has made me familiar with lots of books that I ended up loving (Senlin Ascends, Orconomics, Kings of Paradise, etc…), so I always try to follow which books caught the eyes of the reviewers. Intrigued by all the good reviews for Empire’s Daughter, and lucky enough that there was a sale because the sixth book in the series was coming out, I did not hold back and grabbed the first three books and started reading Empire’s Daughter.

Ms Thorpe skillfully portrayed how a nation reacts to impending changes in its traditions. Through Lena, we see the mixed emotions of the women who never knew a different life than farming and fishing who now have to pick up weapons and fight for their freedom. Not every woman reacts the same way and even the women who oppose the fighting get a voice and their actions are portrayed in a neutral light.

“From our earliest childhood, we knew how our lives were structured and where the duty of both men and women lay. I had not considered, until tonight, that sacrifice underpinned that structure, that each of us paid some inestimable price for our calm and ordered existence.”

Lena does not become brave overnight, Maya’s departure torments her but she needs to put on the roles of one of the village leaders and soldiers. She is confused, frustrated and makes mistakes, but she knows that she needs to protect her home.

“You will do what you need to do, but when this is over— and it will be over, soon— you need to grieve. For Maya, for our changed life, for the lives you will have taken and lost. If you do not grieve, Lena, you will break.”

Every aspect of the preparations for war is mentioned in great detail. The first half of the book might have suffered a little bit as it has slower pacing, but it picks up after the invasion. We get insight into how the women live every day, before and during the war preparations, and one can see that Ms Thorpe has done a lot of research.

Even though the cast is rather large, Ms Thorpe manages to describe the motivations and peculiarities of the characters in few words. Her characters are lifelike and convincing. I could see the book adapted into a drama that would keep the audience engaged. Moreover, Ms Thorpe’s storytelling is precise and elegant.

Empire’s Daughter is a beautiful book with a lot of heart that will leave you pondering over it long after you read it.

Pick it up if you like:

  • alternative history
  • low fantasy books
  • well written female characters
  • thought-provoking books

My rating: 8/10

“Fated”, “Cursed”, and “Chosen” (Alex Verus series) by Benedict Jacka. A Book Review.

I started the Alex Verus series after my fantasy-loving boyfriend recommended it to me. Having started both Dresden and Alex Verus, he suggested that I pick only one and catch up to the series so that I can enjoy it without constantly comparing the two.

I enjoyed both Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) and Fated (Alex Verus #1), the former for its humor, and the latter for being more brutal in its descriptions. After hearing some spoilers for the next Alex Verus books (I’m a huge sucker for grey morality and characters facing difficult decisions when their circumstances force them to), I knew that there was only one real choice.

What I appreciate about the Alex Verus books is that the protagonist is always evolving and reacting to the happenings of the previous novels. There is no “monster of the week” situation where the only thing changing is the book’s villain. Verus is likable and easy to root for.

After 3 novels, Verus is no longer easily manipulated into doing other people’s dirty work. It is really fun seeing him notice traps and avoid getting into dangerous situations (well, the dangerous situations find him either way, but the effort is admirable 🤭).
For example, after spending a whole book being manipulated by a charming female mage, the next book opens up with him straight up rejecting a different mage trying out the same strategy.

His “weak magic” is not an obstacle in fighting as he does not only rely on looking into the future but also uses normal weapons like guns and knives. Verus explains that other mages become too attached and rely too much on their magic to consider “normal weapons”, and it’s honestly refreshing reading about a mage throwing grenades at his enemies.

Verus also finds out that there is no merit in being alone and gets an apprentice, and finds human and magical friends. I love reading about lone wolves finding friends and letting their guard down in front of their loved ones so those scenes always warmed my heart.

Verus’ enemies got more depth with further books, we find out about their motivations and easily get attached to them. I have always loved antagonists, but Rachel, Cinder (and even Onyx, I’m rooting for more spotlight on him next book! 🥳) are especially lovable.

Conclusion- Read Alex Verus! While the world-building brings nothing new to the table, Benedict Jacka’s execution is great. The story is fast-paced and always evolving so there is never a dull moment. What makes the series shine so bright is the clever protagonist and seeing how he manages to outsmart far stronger opponents.

8/10

Introduction

Hello to everyone reading.

My internet name is Morana (name stolen from the Slavic goddess of death and winter) and from today on, I will be using this blog for my book reviews.

I’m primarily reading fantasy and science fiction, with some classics and popular science thrown into the mix. Some of my favourites include:

  • The First Law series and Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
  • Solaris is by Stanislaw Lem
  • Powder Mage series by Brian McClellan and
  • The Books of Babel series by Josiah Bancroft

I would love to make some bookworm friends, so feel free to comment on my posts with book recommendations, or just your random thoughts 🙂

As the platform is still new to me, I might make some beginner mistakes, but I’m really excited for all the new books and people that I will encounter!