Category Archives: Fantasy

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg is The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick

Here’s the blurb

Genre: – Fantasy/Steampunk

Lost with her ship and crew in an unfamiliar land, Min’s first command could be her last.

Nothing here behaves the way it should:

The magic that powers her skyship has been drained, rendering it immobile.

The sky is an endless twilight, lit by the luminous fish that swim in it.

Off starboard, there’s also the country-sized dragon that is looking particularly hungry.

It will take all of Min’s training and experience to get her people safely back home, but as the truth about the Darkstar Dimension begins to be revealed, Min will have to prove to her crew – and to herself – that she is still the best person for the job.

Review

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon is the newest offering from Benedict Patrick. I’ve been a fan of the author for a while after being sucked into his work with his rather unique imagination. The style of writing always keeps me engaged and its impossible to put his books down.

In the latest offering we are following Min.. Captain of the Melodious Narwhal.. well I say Captain but she’s not really and the rest of the crew have no issues with letting their commanding officer know what they think of her and her fancy academy training.

When we first meet the crew they are in danger as their ship plummets to the ground.. the issue is no one knows what’s went wrong..or even where they are..

Now it wouldn’t be much of a story if they died in chapter one so it won’t shock you to know they make it.. just.. it’s then they realise things aren’t quite right and it slowly becomes apparent this isn’t their home.

Slowly drifting towards and island they notice they aren’t alone and this is where we meet the wonderful Brightest..this old man has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and the biggest is the fact the island isn’t quite an island.. I’ll say no more on that J

We soon learn from Brightest that the Darkstar Dimension sucks all sorts of things into it from other worlds.. including them..the issue is the ship is broken and they have no way to get home.

A moment of hope is given when Brightest explains these rifts that open into the Darkstar Dimension sometimes have a pattern to their movements and Min’s homeworld will reappear.. in three years!

Faced with that bombshell the crew have mixed feelings.. There must be a way home..and what price are they willing to pay to get there?

Min is pitted against some of the crew in a battle that will test her resolve.. she’s strong willed and wants to uphold the values set by her people.. but not everyone agrees.

While Min tries to keep her crew in check Brightest takes her on a trip through a rift in search of food supplies.. while there who will keep the crew in check?

What happens next is full on heart stopping! The Darkstar Dragon is hungry.. and the one thing keeping them safe is also their one chance of making it home but can Min convince the crew the price is too high? As the suspense builds so does the excitement!

There’s so many wonderful characters in this book and the plot was just exceptional.. I don’t know where the author’s ideas come from but he continues to amazing me.

The only word I can think of the describe the book is “exceptional”

The pace of the tale is slow at first.. so many questions waiting to be answered but the author has put you right in Min’s shoes.. you learn as she does and this perspective just adds to the suspense of the unknown.

There seems like endless possibilities in this world that’s been created so I do hope more is on the way 🙂

Full 5/5 Stars from me for the author who continues to offer fun, exciting and gripping tales.. I almost feel bad that I burn through his books so fast but they are just so damn good!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Song of the Centurion by Steven A. McKay – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Song of the Centurion by Steven A. McKay.

Here’s the blurb

It is AD 430. Against all odds Princess Catia has been rescued from her brutal Saxon captors and Bellicus is taking her home at last.

As the giant warrior-druid knows, however, the gods rarely make things easy and, even if he can escort the girl back to the North safely, their troubles will be far from over…
In a land beset by the rivalries of petty warlords, Dun Breatann has stood solid and secure for untold generations. Trouble brews though as King Coroticus has cracked under the pressure and, as well as starting a war with the neighbouring kings, he has become jealous, suspicious, and often blind drunk. When the king’s paranoia finally boils over during a winter feast, Bel finds himself with two choices – accept exile, or complete another seemingly impossible undertaking.
So much for the returning hero…

Accompanied by his massive war-dog, Cai, and the ever-loyal former centurion, Duro – who has his own painful issues to contend with – Bellicus must somehow survive a journey east into enemy-held lands. There, he will need to use his gods-given talents to the full if they are to survive the winter frosts and carry out the mad king’s orders without being captured or killed by the men of Dalriada.

Folklore, superstition, the healing power of song, and even a wondrous white stag will all play a part in the companions’ continuing adventures, but, no matter the outcome of their mission, it will take a miracle to untangle the mess they’ve left behind in Alt Clota. Armies are gathering and, when spring returns, the people of Dun Breatann will be under siege once again.

Will their legendary warrior-druid be there to defend them, or will the new ways sweep away the old once and for all?

Review

When we last saw Bellicus he had just rescued Princess Catia from the Saxons. As he makes his way back to the King and Queen we see that the relationships between Catia, Bellicus and Duro has grown strong and they’re all looking forward to a nice warm welcome on their return…

You’d think the King would be happy to see the return of the Princess but in Bellicus’s absence the King has changed.. he’s not the man he was and his quick temper is slowly putting his people under  strain.. they will only take so much.. can Bellicus help set the King back on the right path?

Well he tries.. he really does but in the end the King sends Bellicus away on a mission.. a mission that seems doomed to fail.

Bellicus will honour the King’s wishes but he knows the Saxon’s are the real threat so he needs to get this task done.. and fast.

Things never go to plan of course and Bellicus must use all his cunning to make it out in one piece.

When all is done it’s time to return home.. but how will the King receive him this time?

McKay has outdone himself with this one. Being a fan of the author my biggest fear was him moving away from a series I loved to something new.. would It live up to expectations.. well it smashed the ball out of the park to be honest.

While the first book in the series The Druid was very plot driven to get the readers sucked in to a new series, book two is character driven development which is what I wanted to see.. this is the kind of action I need.. the kind of connections with the characters I want.

The word to describe this book is “Development” in more than one way. Not only does the tale develop amazingly I feel it shows real author development as McKay cements is credentials as a top-notch author.. he’s no one trick pony. He himself says that at one point progress on this book was side-lined for a while as he was involved with other projects but you’d never think that from reading the book.. it flows perfectly, the direction is never forced and that ending was pure brilliance.. as a storyteller McKay is up there with the best of them..the whole white stag storyline was not only riveting but joyous to read.

Bellicus along with his loyal war dog Cai and Duro the centurion are the perfect team.. they complement each other superbly and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Duro for me steals the show as I felt he had a larger part to play in this tale compared to the first book in the series..(for obvious reasons if you’ve read the book)..  he was often the one who put a smile on my face with his humour but I also felt for him.. there’s some deep wounds that will take time to heal and this side of him really makes you take a shine to him.

Overall it’s a cracking read.. but it’s more than that.. it’s the perfect 2nd book in a series.. it shows growth from the first book but leaves you in no doubt this Is a series you need to keep following.

Everyone should have a copy of this on their bookshelf.

My rating – 5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Snowbound (Malykant Mysteries Book 8) by Charlotte E. English – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Snowbound book 8 in the Malykant Mysteries by Charlotte E. English.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Fantasy.

Detective. Judge. Executioner.

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: the most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

Konrad may be finished with the coven at Divoro — but are they finished with him? Outside the gates of Ekamet, a new ice-palace has arisen, its grisly contents aimed squarely at the Malykant. Its message is clear: interference with the necromancers’ aims will not be tolerated.

Forced to return to Divoro, Konrad does so with trepidation — for murderers tend to run away from the Malykant, not towards. What dark purpose does the coven have in mind, and is he walking straight into a trap?

Review

To say Charlotte E. English has been prolific with the releases would be an understatement so I’m a little behind but catching up fast.

Longevity isn’t something easy to achieve in my opinion.. it takes a fantastic imagination to keep tales fresh and interesting.. Charlotte E. English knows the recipe well and serves up another delicious read.

If you aren’t familiar with the series it follows Konrad Savast.. he’s the Malykant.. he’s one person you hope you’ll never meet..his job is to deliver justice for those murdered.. and if you are unlucky to be on the wrong side of him it’s a lifetime of pain that awaits you.

The series has been developing at pace and Snowbound is linked heavily with the last book in the series The House At Divoro, so please do read the books in order otherwise it won’t make much sense.

Forced to return to Divoro Konrad is set for an out-of-body experience which has you gripping the edge of the seat. This tale shows how vulnerable Konrad really is… his Malykant powers can’t always save him.

For me this books screams character development as Nanda, the inspector and Tasha come to the foreground to save Konrad, this enabled the author to explore relationship dynamics but also have a little bit of fun with Konrad who is quite powerless for once.

Snowbound is another cracking tale. The page length is short at less than 150 pages but the author’s style fits perfectly, effortlessly packing in so much yet keeping the flow natural rather than forced. I’m always surprised how much plot the author can fit in within a few pages.

Dark and humorous is the only way to describe this series and Konrad’s serpents Ootapi and Eetapi epitomise the series, they always put a smile of my face.. the back and forth with Konrad is just a delight to read.

It’s another 5/5 stars for Charlotte E. English.. once again proving she’s the Queen of the short story.

Look out for my review of book 9 in the series The Zolin Conspiracy shortly!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Epic Fantasy/Dystopian

Take a stand. Defy the gods.

Avril was raised salvaging tech in the dead cities left behind after the apocalypse. He was happy, living quietly and avoiding the chosen’s holy wars, but a chance encounter reveals people are coming for him. Whether he wants it or not, he has a role to play in the holy wars and life will never be the same again. Neutrality is not an option for Avril as forces on all sides of the conflict learn who and what he is and set plans in motion to use him to gain the upper hand.

The Bastard Cadre is an ambitious science fantasy saga set in a futuristic dystopia where dragons soar above cities of technological splendor, and what’s left of humanity must choose between kneeling to malevolent gods and risking annihilation to fight them.

Review

I actually read The Bastard Cadre series some time ago and loved it..my only comment to the author was the covers lacked the first impression to make a reader buy the book.. well the author has clearly took that on-board and has released the series with fab new covers..not only that but book 1 in the series has had a rewrite… and to tease me there’s also now a book 5 to the series I’ve yet to read. To do the series justice I thought the best idea was to read the series again from the start to enjoy the ride once again J

What originally caught my eye was the author’s tag line.. epic fantasy without the word count. At 178 pages it’s perfect for a quick read and a great way to test if a series is for you.

The Bastard Cadre is the best series I’ve read and the rewrite for book 1 served only to improve on what I deemed perfection.. as if that was even possible.

The tale follows Avril.. he’s being raised (or rather protected) by Ethan Godkin but why?

After Avril and Ethan are attacked while on the road their life is turned upside down and Ethan does everything in his power to protect Avril… and that means calling someone he’d rather not..he’s stuck in a hard place and there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out.

Set in a futuristic dystopia era where cities are now wasteland you can’t trust anyone as most are struggling to survive… only the rich thrive while the gods play their little games.

A series of events lead Avril to the conclusion he’s not just another lost soul..he’s part of something bigger…but what…. there’s a connection to the gods themselves.. but why was Ethan hiding this truth?  Who can he trust?

I really enjoyed the setting along with the futuristic technology used by Avril to stay alive. I’ll be honest.. the plot was great and the setting perfect.. the detail given in under 200 pages sucks the reader in and leaves so many questions open setting the series up perfectly.

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Music and Misadventure: Modern Magick, 6 by Charlotte E. English – Review

Today I’m back with a review for Music and Misadventure book 6 in the Modern Magick series by Charlotte E. English.

You know the drill..here’s the blurb 🙂

Genre Fantasy

Ves hasn’t heard from her mother in six years — until now. With nothing but a peremptory summons and some map co-ordinates to work with, Ves has no idea what to expect.

The short answer is: trouble, for Mother Dearest is in rather a lot of it. And like daughter, like mother, for there’s a shiny artefact in the offing, and only a few gigantic lindworms in the way. Who isn’t up for a minor little challenge like that?

It’s off to Faerie for Ves and Jay, for the artefact in question was once the property of the legendary King Evelaern. And as it turns out, the declining and dusty kingdom of the Yllanfalen may hold some unexpected truths about her past…

Review

Ves is back for more mayhem and this time her mother is along for the ride…

After six years of silence a message arrives for Ves from her mother Delia Vesper, and with Milday’s leave she sets out with partner Jay to find out what all this is about.

As it turns out her mother is in a little trouble.. Lindworms..like Dragons..and dangerous..but that’s just the start of it.

After coming to her mother’s aid Ves and co start exploring..and they soon find a portal…but where does it lead?

What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure as the team are whisked off to other lands with legendary artefacts & sprites and oh and we meet….:)

Hey..i’m not going to spoil it all but this book in the series delves further into the main plot of magic decline and its origins but also Ves’s own family and their connection to magic itself.

What I’m really enjoying about this series is how each book has its own focus but you can see the bigger picture starting to form..even though I have no idea where the author is going to go next..the authors imagination means anything is possible!

This is a fun series that is developing well. The book/chapter length is short so this means it’s an easy series to get into and enjoy.

I was left with more questions than answers.. in a good way.. there’s so many ways for this story to continue and I can’t wait to read more.

My rating – 5/5 Stars!!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Young Warlock by Mathew Bridle – The One Saga – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg is Young Warlock by Mathew Bridle.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Epic/High Fantasy

On his graduation day at the University of Elements Dekor is shown how to conjure fire, an art forbidden to mages. He immediately succumbs to the lust of the flame. Now a battlemage Dekor is expected to climb through the ranks and become a great mage. His experiments with fire lead him to a confrontation with the Archmage resulting in Dekor becoming a wanted criminal.
He sets out on a night of lust driven destruction securing his transformation to warlock. Now he must flee for his life, pursued by hunters who will stop at nothing to bring him in. He heads north, through dark, spider infested forests, over mountains and through dangerous swamps where he encounters Icthus, a truth provoking creature who becomes his friend. Icthus guides Dekor to a place of refuge but first they must scale vast cliffs and traverse the plains of Oumtuk before they can reach the safety of Gamran Mire where the next part of his journey begins.
Dekor is asked by the enemy of the mages to help them open a magical doorway into the Cavern of Souls though what they really want is something different. With Icthus as guide the party sets out on a simple quest. When he returns Dekor finds he has something unexpected.
War has come to lands of men. Dekor’s homeland is laid waste by armies of goblins and the undead. The people of land flee to the neighbouring kingdom of Grimlaw where they live as refugees. The mage guild is no more, Dekor is a free man. Now he must put his inner demons rest and to put right the wrongs of his night of lust.

Review

From the outset I had a feeling I would like this book, the blurb screams potential.

Dekor is a battlemage, training to offer his support wherever he may be needed..but as with all magic there’s a dark side to tempt you and Dekor is unable to keep his lust for fire in check and turns to the darkness.

All is not as is seems though, there’s a plan and the One has his eye on Dekor and others. With the aid of allies the One sets up the chessboard ready for the war to come. A prophecy long ago foretold is about to come to fruition but many are blind to the danger they are in.

This is most certainly the kind of book I want to read when I think of epic fantasy, there’s gnomes, dwarfs, goblins, orcs and trolls to name just a few! plus the gods they pray too.

The pace of the tale for the most part works well and builds up the plot nicely but at times it did seem things progressed rather fast so didn’t get much page time, one major event stands out.. I’d love to be specific but that would ruin a big piece of the plot… The chapters could have probably done with a timeline of sorts.

What the author gets spot on for me is the setting and its characters..both grew nicely as the tale progressed helping me as a reader understand the bigger picture. I particularly found Icthus and Gestorn highly fascinating. Dekor himself has the most page time and therefore the most growth throughout the tale and it worked pretty well. I’d loved to have seen more inner struggles with the fire.

One of the best things about the book is the build-up, you never quite know who to trust and what their true motives are.. even the One. It made for an exciting read.

Easy 4* for me! I’ll definitely add Mathew Bridle to my authors to look out for list as I’d like to see where the story goes as the ending leaves me in no doubt the adventure will continue.

My thanks go to the author and Charles at Publishing Push for the chance to read/review the book.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey by Gordon Doherty (@GordonDoherty) – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg Is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey by Gordon Doherty.

Here’s the blurb

Greece, 5th century BCE. Kassandra is a mercenary of Spartan blood, sentenced to death by her family, cast out into exile. Now she will embark on an epic journey to become a legendary hero – and uncover the truth about her mysterious lineage.

Review

Gordon Doherty fast became a favourite author of mine while reading his Legionary series. When I heard he was on board with an Assassin’s Creed book I felt two emotions, firstly happiness that Gordon’s work would reach a wider audience and also apprehension… I’m not really a gamer..would I still enjoy the book?

Well I needn’t have worried..Gordon smashed it again!

This tale follows Kassandra who as a child was cast out by her family.. she went against the gods and for that there is no forgiveness…all she cared about was saving little Alexios..her sibling..only for her parents to abandon her.

Years have passed and we find Kassandra using her Spartan skills to get by..she’s a mercenary and for the right price she will sort your problems out for you.

From the off you can tell that while Kassandra needs money..she still has a few morals left. This is confirmed as soon as we meet Phoibe..A little girl Kassandra has decided to take care off..if she doesn’t no one else will. The relationship between these two was a joy to follow.

The plot is well-developed and we have a nice build-up for the character as we see her skills put to use. Tasked with using her talents to obtain a treasure little does she know it’s really just a test and the past won’t stay hidden for long.. it’s going to hit hard.

From one lead to another Kassandra sets out on a path to learn about herself and the fateful night she was lost to her parents.. little does she know that all is not as she first thought.

Gordon Doherty gives us twist after twist and effortlessly paints a picture of Kassandra’s life and the places she visits. This might be an adaptation of a game but Doherty manages to give the written word depth and emotion that no game has been able to give me in the past. It’s written in such a way that young adults and old alike will love it with the perfect amount of detail to keep his diehard fans happy but also suck in new readers without overwhelming them.

I really think Gordon managed to put his own style of writing into an established series which is no mean feat.

Overall Assassin’s Creed Odyssey earns it’s place on my bookshelf..fast paced, exciting and vivid.

I’m always impressed when I read Gordon’s work and he didn’t let me down with Odyssey.. I loved it!

My rating – 5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads