Review Round-up February

It's that time of the month again, no not that one, the other! Time for another Review Round-up. I said many times that January was off to a good start but I read some very fine book in February as well. I am already at the 29/175 books that I plan to read, no time to waste typing too much. These are my favourite books of the past month!

1. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, Gollancz 

Yes yes, where to begin? Joe Abercrombie is well renowned writer in his genre and has been noted as perhaps a revolutionist in terms of breathing new life into the existing fantasy genre. From the first book that I read of Joe Abercrombie I was hooked. He introduces a dark and gritty texture to his stories that is just cool. His writing style is in many part straight to the point, immersing the reader in a action packed story. The fighting scenes are described in full color and he gives the reader a front row seat. Red Country is the sixth book the First Law series which first featured as a trilogy but was enlarged by extra addition, Best Served Cold, The Heroes and now Red Country. Joe Abercrombie also featured with a story set in the First Law/Red Country setting in the anthology Dangerous Women last December. Red Country can in essence be read as a stand alone story, it is pretty much self contained but there is the occasional reference to one of his earlier works, especially when it comes down to a big plot twist in the end. I do think it won't take away the reading experience with not having read the first 5 books, although this revealing will put a much bigger smile on your face if you have read them! Joe Abercrombie shows that he is a lord and master of the grimdark with his works. 

Read the full review here

2. Once Upon a Time in Hell by Guy Adams, Solaris

Guy Adams wasn't an author I was very familiar with until last year, in which I read a lot of his books. One was the beginning of the Heaven's Gate Trilogy, here Guy Adams proved that he has one creative mind. He introduced an exciting new taken on the popular Heaven and Hell theme, with a definite weird western spin on it all. Once Upon a Time in Hell directly continues the story of The Good, the Bad and the Infernal, the pilgrims now have the chance to enter Wormwood, but making this step sounds much more easier. Only a selected few will be allowed to enter Wormwood at a time. The perspective does shift more towards the protagonist and his companion, Elwyn Walace and the still unnamed gunslinger. There travel into Wormwood further bolsters the weirdness surrounding the story of the Heaven's Gate Trilogy, they comes across demons of Hell and much more. If you had guessed that The Good, the Bad and the Infernal was something, wait till you read Once Upon a Time in Hell, again Guy Adams will blow you away. And just when you think you have seen it all, he drops a bomb and reveals the ultimate goal of Alonzo. Guy Adams is an author that won't disappoint you and this sequel doesn't falter at all, he raises the stakes form himself and I know book three will be a grande finale!

Read the full review here 

3.  Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett, Doubleday

My first Discworld book. I know shame on my. Terry Pratchett is one of the major voices in the SF/F world and is world renown for his Discworld series. I have always wanted to have read these books but never had the time to do it, and with review copies, well I have to review those don't I? :-). I have to say that the introduction to the Discworld series was well received by myself, I have read some of the non-Discworld books of Terry Pratchett and I am a big fan of his writing style, it's easy to get into and he manages to say a lot with a few words. Raising Steam's story is build up in a clever way showing the clear intentions that Terry Pratchett wants to achieve I think, from the start, the introduction of steampower is of high emphasis, but where I was unaware of in the beginning the sudden broadening of the consequences that the steampower brings to Ankh-Morpork. I don't know the dynamics of the world before Raising Steam but in this book it does come to show that several relations are become precarious, with even a civil war on the rise. I liked how Terry Pratchett transformed this fantasy story to include much more emphasis on many more topics. Definitely a recommendation. And bring on the next Discworld!

Read the full review here

4. Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild by George R.R. Martin and the Wild Card Trust, Tor

The Wild Card series is just must read, compulsory material. I started this series with the 18th book, Inside Straight, a while back when I was scouring for new superhero books. I was hooked from the start by the Wild Card series, it has a pretty cool concept with an alien virus that ravaged planet Earth and which allowed a small, small proportion of the inhabitants too survive... with perhaps an added bonus... being granted superpowers. But where for me this series stand out with are the individual superheroes, they aren't anything you have read before. Anyway lets get back to Jokers Wild, it the third book in the series and marks the first ending of the first trilogy, each subsequent three books make up one trilogy. The Astronomer has had his plans crossed in the first two books by Fortunato and his fellow aces and is now out for revenge. And what better time than to do it on the national Wild Card memorial day, where all the fallen comrades are being remembered. This eventually leads to a spectacular and powerful showdown that will bring you to the edge of your seat, it's all good stuff. But what I have come to enjoy about the Wild Cards series and what comes to the front in Jokers Wild is that the essence of the story isn't fully on how great a superhero is but more on the humanity of it all, certain parts of the book dive quite into an emotional side when exploring several storylines of different Aces, about what they are and how they deal with the whole situation. Tor is set to release the original series in the coming years with book four to be re-released next January 2015 and in the mean time the revival will have another addition this summer.

Read the full review here

5. Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell, Jo Fletcher Books

Traitor's Blade is one of Jo Fletcher's biggest debut's for 2014 and I can't fault them for it! Traitor's Blade is the debut of Canadian author Sebastien de Castell and is Epic Sword & Sorcery fantasy at it's finest. It takes place in an three musketeer day and age setting and focuses on one of the last Greatcoats Falcio, who was a first Cantor, one of the leaders. The book start of in the present time where the Greatcoats are now despised by the majority of the people. Soon Sebastien de Castell starts to explore who it all came to be that the Greatcoats were disbanded with the death of the King and what the situation now is. Falcio and his friends were tasked by the King to carry out his last wishes and determined as they are, they set their minds to achieve this final thing and perhaps still hope that the Greatcoats will be able to be whole once again. Along the story of Traitor's Blade, Sebstien de Castell already shows that he knows what he is writing, there are quite a few plottwists in the beginning but it all happens in the end, very nicely executed. Besides the clever story there are many other things that work in the favor to make Traitor's Blade a great read. First of, I want to get a red cloak asap. Secondly, the women known as The Tailor that pops up miraculously at times and last but definitly not least the fighting, this is the type of swashbuckling action you want to read in fantasy, the fighting is described top notch like you are right there, it brings you to the edge of your seat. Traitor's Blade marks a powerful and exciting debut, Sebastien de Castell is someone to watch out for.

Read the full review here


What were your favorite books of the month?



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