Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of Remnants of Ash and Scorched Uprising, by C.k. Dawn

I received audio codes for Remnants of Ash and Scorched Uprising (Reign of Fay, #1&2), by C.K. Dawn.

Description from Goodreads:

Mere mortal. Fae hunter. Oh, and the apocalypse? Yeah, that happened!  

She’s an unstoppable human. He’s an immovable beast. But the Fae have scorched the earth, thrusting it into unending darkness, and humans are next… 

Through her research, University of Washington student Chloe Etain stumbled into an ancient war between the Light and Dark Fae that has culminated in her world being thrown into pre-industrial chaos. Dark Fae scum now roam free, feeding on unsuspecting humans. Chloe knows the truth though and, possibly, how to stop it. But as a mere mortal, what can she do? 

That’s when the fates step in. Bram Tice, a fae hunting his own kind, vows to help Chloe. But he won’t say which Court demands his allegiance. Together, they set out to right the imbalance plaguing her world and save humanity before they turn into nothing more than remnants of ash. 

I’m only going to write one review for these two books. The reason is that I feel this is a serial, not a series and, and as such, both books contain one single story that doesn’t break. I don’t actually understand why it’s broken in two. Neither book is so long as to prohibit their remaining as one. I can only imagine the same can be said for the rest of the series. I got no conclusions in either of these two, so I doubt I’d get one in the next or the next, etc.

There was a time I felt like I was making this point, about the difference between a serial and a series, every day. I even wrote a ranty blog post about it. But the trend finally died down and I haven’t had to in a while. I guess all those same books are making it to audio now. Because this is the second time in a week I’ve written a review for a ‘series’ that is actually a serial in my opinion.

So, on to the actual review. I don’t want to be mean, but I don’t think this was particularly good. I think the author probably had a good idea, but didn’t quite manage to get it onto paper. The hero and heroine meet in the prologue (meet and nothing more) and then when all hell breaks loose in chapter one (some time in the future) they are meant to already be friends and at least one is in love. The story moves from there. HOWEVER, the reader has been left out of all of it. Thus, I didn’t feel Bram’s affection for Chloe at all. How could I? We don’t see any of it prior to him basically telling her he loves her. NONE. In fact, I initially thought they were still virtual strangers.

We also don’t see any of the research Chloe, Bram and the professor have been doing to understand the Scorch. So, when it happens right out of the gate, the reader is clueless and basically unconcerned. And Chloe seems to know things she shouldn’t, because I didn’t know what she’d been researching. So, how could she recognize a royal fay [fae] on sight? No idea.

Then there is the rather large and abrupt shift in Chloe’s personality that happens at roughly 50% into the first book. She goes from teary and afraid to kick-butt superhero in a split second (in a seriously stupid move too). Though she does remain a too perfect Mary Sue throughout, as well as too good at everything, mastering magic and weaponry in an instant, without effort.

Then there is the fact that I think the author tried to get too much in. There are fae (high, low and royal), the four horseman of the apocalypse, witches, werewolves and vampires. And none of it given any real world building to understand it all.

The narrator did a fine job, except that it’s based in Seattle. Chloe started out sounding perfectly American. But about halfway through the fist book she turned English, apparently. Then in book two, she’s American again.

All in all, this was not a winner for me. Mechanically the writing is fine but the story feels barely sketched out.

Review of Master of Restless Shadows, by Ginn Hale

I received an copy of Master of Restless Shadows, by Ginn Hale, through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capitol of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya, has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs. 

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma. 

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives. 


Review:

I’m really torn about how to review this book. I finished it really enjoying it and wanting to know more about what happens. But I didn’t really start to feel that way until about 75% into the book. And I’ve read BOTH of the duologies that precede it. The problem is that I haven’t read them recently and this book didn’t give me enough recap to remember the kind of small details it requires to really feel invested in the plot, and the first 3/4 of the book depends on those previous books. If you have not read the Lord of the White Hell and Champion of the Scarlet Wolf series (and read them recently) I would strongly discourage you from picking this one up. Because, as I said, even having read them I felt like I was fumbling along. 

Having said all of that, I did enjoy Hale’s writing style. I was rooting for both of the romantic pairings (the secondary one especially), though romance is definitely not the plot’s primary focus. And I do still appreciate the world Hale has created here. 

No doubt I will pick the next book up. I was just a bit disappointed to not love this one more.

Review Uprooted, by Naomi Novik

I borrowed and audio copy of Uprooted, bu Naomi Novik from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. 

Review:

This is a perfectly fine version of what it is. And what it is, is yet another YA book about a young farm girl (woodcutters daughter, but same difference in context) who is discovered to have magic (but somehow never noticed until a man shows up to tell her about it), is taken to be trained, turns out to be massively powerful and more morally upright that the city folk, and saves the day through determination, perseverance and her amazing goodness. 

Is Uprooted a quality version of this oft told tale? Yes, but is it still the same story I’ve read in dozens of books before this one? Also yes. As a result, I was pretty uninspired by the whole thing. Julia Emelin did a great job with the narration though.