Tag Archives: Dark Fantasy

From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court by Benedict Patrick (@benedictpaddy)- Review

So next up for review is From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court by Benedict Patrick, here’s the blurb.

Genre – Dark Fantasy
Pages – 329 pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

If you value your life, stay out of the forest.

As a captive of the Owl Queen’s Court, Nascha’s life has always been one knife’s edge away from disaster. But when she is threatened for nothing more than the colour of her hair, Nascha attempts the unthinkable: escape through the dreaded Magpie King’s forest.

Hunted by sharp toothed and sharper witted foxfolk, and hated by all for being a witch, Nascha fears herself doomed until she joins forces with a mysterious young man. With him she finds a glimmer of hope, even as her own unpredictable powers flicker into existence.

But hope is fleeting.

The forces arrayed against her are insurmountable, and Nascha soon comes to realise that pursuit of her own freedom will come at a greater cost to the forest. As the darkness closes in around them, Nascha is forced to ask:

At what price is she willing to purchase her life?

How dearly is she willing to sell it?

Review

From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court is the newest book in the Yarnsworld series by Benedict Patrick and it just keeps getting better and better.

What really sets this series apart from others for me is that it’s so unique and the writing style, switching focus from plot to folklore tales chapter to chapter really does keep you hooked. It’s really great to see the folklore tales and the plot merge as the tale unfolds to give you a complete story that blows you away.

In this tale we meet Nascha and Bradan..one way or another their lives will never be the same. Nascha is a slave in the owl court but there’s more to her than meets the eye..more than she knows herself..a hidden secret just waiting to come out.

Bradan..well he’s down on his luck a bit..he’s wants to be a hero..but he’s overshadowed by his father who currently holds the power of the Magpie King..the only problem is he didn’t gain these powers..he took them and as such his mind is slowly being lost to madness. Bradan believes he should continue the line but is he worthy?

The battle of power of the forest is coming when The Lady shows up..she’s been hiding in the shadows for years just waiting to take back what she believes is hers but you can guess the Magpie spirit won’t give up without a fight. As these two forces clash the lives of Bradan and Nascha entwine and things will never be the same again.

I loved the plot, with twists and turns on every page. To say the story gripped me is an understatement. The myths brought to life are so fascinating and that ending just had me focused so much that I could have easily missed my train stop if it hadn’t been the last stop on the line ha.

The characters were strong and developed at a good pace. I liked them and enjoyed reading their story. Each has their own flaws but also inner strength which they must find to overcome the obstacles in their way.

This one is a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, little connections build..then shatter..build then shatter and you never know where the author will take you..it’s one hell of a ride which I was glad to be on.

Overall this is a dark and vivid tale..it’s like the old fairytales not the Disney style where everything works out in the end..everything has a price..but are you willing to pay the cost?

Another 5* rating from me to Benedict Patrick..these tales hit all the right notes with me!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

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Light Dawning by Ty Arthur – Review

Title – Light Dawning
Author – Ty Arthur
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Length – 228 Pages
Publication – May 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Once known as the City on the Hill and revered far and wide for its independence and boundless opportunity, Cestia has become home only to the damned. Surviving under the brutal occupation of a southern empire for three long years, the oppressed populace has lost hope of liberation, turning instead towards an increasingly desperate rebellion willing to commit any atrocity for a chance at freedom. As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

Review

A once great city has fallen but rebels still plot from the shadows.. the problem is they are slowly being hunted down.

The four main characters in the book are Myrr, Tala, Father Erret and Casterly. Each has their own journey to follow but at the same time their paths will cross..but are they friend or foe..the line is blurred at times.

I really enjoyed the gruesomeness of the tale, there are some rather vivid moments that don’t leave you quickly and you are left in no doubt the author has a weird and wonderful imagination which works perfectly for a dark fantasy novel.

This book is all about the build-up. You’re expecting a rebellion to happen, for the main characters to rise and become heroes…well you’ll be waiting a bloody long time..that’s not this book.

It’s quite tense at times, you really don’t know where the author is planning to go but everything falls together nicely and the interwoven tales of the main characters work well.

Oh don’t you worry a battle is coming but it’s truly unexpected the plot that plays out. I read a lot of fantasy books and let’s be honest..quite a few follow the same pattern..not this one, it’s refreshingly different and that’s what makes it so good.

The dark nature of the tale is something that really gives this book an edge, theirs a darkness overshadowing all and it was fascinating reading Tala’s tale. I won’t spoil it but she does not have it easy. She has a power within her to open the door to beings from another plain and these guys aren’t pretty that’s for sure, how they are born into this world is pretty gruesome to say the least.

I think Tala was my favourite character I must say, but I enjoyed them all, a special mention has to be made of Casterly and his fate in life.. wow..twist alert..you’ll not see that coming.

If you are looking for an engrossing slow burn of a fantasy book, heavy on the darkness scale that you can really get to grips with then this is top-notch. For me the darkness overshadows all and I liked it.

Do I want to more from Ty Arthur? Yes please.

My thanks go to Ty for the chance to read and review the book!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Liefdom: A Tale from Perilisc by Jesse Teller – Review

Title – Liefdom: A Tale from Perilisc
Author – Jesse Teller
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Length – 262 Pages
Publication – August 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

A zealous guardian in a peaceful city, Gentry Mandrake is a fairy unlike any other. Cast out and hated for his differences, his violent nature makes him wonder at the purity of his soul. He hunts for belonging while fighting to protect the human child bound to him. Explore the mythical realm of The Veil, the grating torture of the Sulfur Fields, and the biting tension between power and purpose in this wondrous struggle against a demonic wizard and his denizens. Can Mandrake overcome such terrible foes to defend those he loves?

Review

I’m a massive fantasy fan I’m not going to lie. To me there’s so many possibilities with fantasy but at the same time this means you’ve really got to hit a high standard to have me enjoy the story.. Well Jesse Teller certainly delivered.

Mandrake isn’t like other fairies.. he’s different in so many ways, and isn’t accepted by anyone. Little do the fairies know Mandrake is their champion and their going to need him very soon.

What really fascinated me about the story was the connection between the fairies and humans and how the actions of one could affect the other.

Because of this connection Mandrake knows his child Is in danger and not only does he have foes to battle in his realm he must also help save his child in the human world..but how can he?

It’s a magical tale. There’s lots of action but there’s a light-hearted feel at times as Mandrake deals with emotions that he’s never felt before.

What Teller gets spot on is the development speed of his characters versus plot..they develop naturally together and nothing is forced on the reader which means you can really get sucked in and enjoy this one.

I also really loved that some characters are a mystery and until the book develops you never quite know which way their loyalty lies.

Overall it’s very well written with fun and mesmerising plot that gives you just the right mix of action/non action scenes.

Often I find little things I don’t like about books, a certain word here or a development with a character that just didn’t feel right but this was perfect to me, no other word to describe it. It ticked everything I want and more.

A fast paced action packed entertaining read.

My thanks go to Rebekah Teller for bringing the book to my attention and provided a review copy. Loved it so much I paid Amazon for an official copy 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The House at Divoro by Charlotte E. English – Review

Title – The House at Divoro (The Malykant Mysteries Book 7)
Author – Charlotte E. English
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 155 Pages
Publication – May 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: foremost and 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.

When Nanda shows up with a pressing invitation to a post-Solstice house party, Konrad is unenthusiastic. Eino Holt, their host, might have a taste for theatricals, but Konrad emphatically does not.

But then a corpse turns up, mutilated and hidden in a pantry cupboard. Konrad soon learns that the house at Divoro harbours many a dark secret…

Dark fantasy meets classic murder mystery in this seventh installment of Charlotte E. English’s Malykant Mysteries.

Review

Oh how I love Konrad.. I’m so glad we have another story to read. First off I must say the covers for the series keep getting better and for me fit the tale perfectly.

Followers of my reviews will know I’m a big fan of Charlotte’s work. She has to be my favourite writer so the bar is always set high.

Well once again she’s leapt over the bar set by the previous tale and has given me the best one yet.

What English always seems to get spot on for me is the balance between story and character development. In a short tale it’s not easy to make you enjoy the characters but English does just that, building on previous tales but at the same time a reader could easily pick the series up from here as we are given just the right amount of background info when setting up the scenes that it’s easy to understand the relationships between the main characters.

My favourite line of the book has to be “it was bad because he felt as fresh as an aged pair of socks, and approximately as lively” – Sounds like me most days ha

As I’ve said this is the best tale yet, English easily keeps the series fresh and interesting and I love the continuing development of Konrad. He doesn’t like to give much away but he’s a loveable character.

In this tale, as usual a body is found..but there’s a few strange twists that leave you thinking “What?” or “How?”. It’s these twists and turns that keep you hooked.

Again what I’ve always loved about the authors work is  the writing itself.. Never dumbed down but never overly complex, it might be a dark tale but the writing is suitable for young and old alike.

The suspense was killing me with this one right till the end and the page count means you can easily get sucked in and read this in one sitting or over two.

Konrad struggles  in the tale more than the last to keep his secret life just that..a secret so it was a great chance to see him put his different personas to use.

I can’t write a review on this book without mentioning Optapi and Eetapi, Konrad’s serpents who help him in his role as the Malykant, their dark humour makes them quirky and fun and I love when they show up. It’s a strange relationship between them and Konrad and for me it’s the best thing about the series..after the plot of course 🙂

The Malykant series is rather unique in my opinion. I’ve read nothing like it before and I just can’t get enough.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Spirit of Solstice by Charlotte E. English (@Charlottenglish) – Review

Title – The Spirit of Solstice (The Malykant Mysteries Book 6)
Author –Charlotte E. English
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Length – 92 Pages
Publication – Jan 2017
My Rating –5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: foremost and 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.

Solstice Eve, and Konrad is dragged from his bed to investigate the murder of a local wine merchant. The man’s as dead as they come, but his spirit seems oddly unperturbed by his passing.

More victims are swift to emerge, all killed in the same brutal style — and all with strange, unheard-of reactions to the news of their own demise. Is it just the Solstice spirit, or is there something else afoot? Something stranger, darker and far more dangerous…

Review

I don’t know how Charlotte does it but this series gets better and better with each story.

Konrad is the Malykant, He seeks justice for those murdered and he has a growing group of followers to help him. My favourites being Optapi and Eetapi as always. Their dark humour always has me smiling. The relationship between them and Konrad is a strange one, I don’t think Konrad wants to admit it but as much as he doesn’t like the serpents he’d be lost without them.

This case is a very perplexing to start with..a man is found murdered but seems happy to be dead when the serpents bind him. Why?

More bodies turn up and the curiosity grows with each death.

Now I don’t want to spoil the tale by giving away too much detail but Konrad has to root out fact from fiction to discover the identity of the killer but the strange manner of the deaths means this isn’t a quick open and shut case.

I loved the injection of myths in this tale. Fantasy and myth blend so well for me and it made for an extraordinary tale.

What the author manages to do superbly well is that she builds on the previous foundations set in the series and develops the relationships. Konrad is still coming to terms with feeling emotions and in this tale it looks like having emotions might not be the best thing.

While I loved the original ensemble of characters I really enjoyed the return of Tasha, she’s very unique and I love the relationship she has with Konrad and the growing support she has to offer with her own set of skills.

Once again I’m shocked at how much Charlotte can fit into so few pages. At 92 pages this is exactly what a short story should be..It’s a full tale, fast flowing and easy to follow, no unanswered questions & nothing feels rushed.

Charlotte’s tales are dark and a mildly gruesome at times but are very enjoyable and well suited to a young adults and above. I think what I really enjoy is Charlotte’s use of language, it’s never dumbed down but never too complex to put a reader off either.

I’ve said it before but Charlotte is Queen of the short tales for me. She never sets a foot wrong and they’re perfect if you don’t have the time to read a longer length novel.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Guest post – Lake of Sins character hierarchy – L. S. O’Dea

The 3rd book in the Lake of Sins series, Hangman’s Army by L. S. O’Dea has just been released and I can’t wait to read my copy. Look out for a review in February!

If you havent already you can see my reviews for the previous titles in the series here :-

Book 1 – Escape

Book 2 – Secrets In Blood

It’s fantasy..dark and gruesome secrets will be revealed!

To get your free copy for the first two books in the series click the image below!

books-by-ls-odea

Another bonus is that the author has kindly agreed to a guest post to give some background to the hierarchy within the series. Enjoy!


 

David was kind enough to ask me to write a guest blog on the hierarchy of the world of the Lake of Sins.

Book one in the series (Lake Of Sins: Escape) is told from the point of view  (POV) of two Producers.  This is probably not the best way to start the series since Producers are the lowest of the classes and have a very limited view of the world as a whole.  Originally, the first two books were combined, so you did get a broader world view due to parts of the story being told through the POV of Almightys and a Guard.

However, the book was too long for traditional publication and I was told by an agent to either delete about 100,000 words or break it into two books.  I reworked the original to create two books and here we are.  For some, the hierarchy of the world of the Lake of Sins is confusing, until they read book two.

This should help readers who haven’t read book two.

Think of Producers as field slaves who are kept uneducated and isolated.  Field slaves unlike house-slaves (or in this world House Servants) do not know the structure of the society as a whole.  They only know their world.  They understand that there are different levels of “masters” but they have no idea about the government and even the workings of a small town.  They know their village and farming and that’s it.

Now, Trinity, the main character (MC) is a little different because her father, who is a House Servant, taught her to read.  She knows a little about his life with Almightys and has a slightly broader world view but not much (although she understands a lot more by the end of book one).

So, let me present to you the Hierarchy of the Lake of Sins!

lakeofsins_hierarchialstructure_almightyslakeofsins_hierarchialstructure_societalclasseshierarchy_lakeofsins_flowchart_newclasses


I really hope this post gives you some interesting background to the social structure. It’s very easy to follow during the books but for me this is a unique series and I wanted you to know more about the world L. S. O’Dea has created . Here’s some useful links :-

Authors Facebook:
Authors website
Links to Amazon to purchase
Other places to buy! –

Remember to get the first two books in the series for free click the image below!

books-by-ls-odea

 

Secrets In Blood (Lake of Sins #2) by L.S. O’Dea (@LSODea) – Review

Title – Secrets In Blood (Lake of Sins #2)
Author – L.S. O’Dea
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Publication – April 2015
Pages – 498 Pages – Print Length
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Trinity’s plans have gone horribly wrong and she is now fleeing for her life, but at what cost to her friends and family. Can she save any of them without sacrificing herself?

Hugh Truent, an Almighty, learns of Trinity’s escape and that she is the offspring of two different classes which is supposed to be impossible. If it’s true, it would be the discovery of a lifetime, but he needs scientific proof. In his quest for answers, he soon realizes that there are those who will kill to keep this find a secret.

Trinity’s struggle to survive in a society based on absolute segregation of the different classes along with Hugh’s dogged determination to find the truth at any cost, sets into motion a collision between the groups that shatters the foundation of their world

Review

This is the second book in the Lake of Sins series and it built greatly on the groundwork laid in “Escape” the previous book.

Trinity’s quest to find out what happens to the producers once they are removed from camp continues and she’s put in even more danger as more people become interested in her.

She’s being hunted now as her parentage has come into question and the idea of interclass mating is explored.

This is gruesome fantasy writing..There’s a social structure to this world the author has created and those at the top take advantage of those they see as beneath them. But there’s a very gruesome and disturbing secret that some of the upper class called Almighties don’t even know about.

For me what I really found interesting is how similar the underlying topics are to real day issues. The social structure with those in power controlling everything, racism against those different to themselves but as we find out.. just like in modern society.. Perhaps the differences are only skin deep.. Below the surface everyone is more similar than they would like to admit.

I have to say I liked this one a lot, it really did get better as it went along but with such a defined social structure I felt the pace was a little fast.. there’s a lot to take in and you really need to give this one the time it deserves. With so many different classes and characters I was left wanting.. not in a bad way.. just as soon as you feel you’re getting to know one of the social classes you switch to another and the whole idea was that interesting I really wasn’t ready to move on.

Another positive for this book is that I think the author has a very easy reading style of writing. No stupidly big words to slow you down, you just get faced paced gruesome fantasy.

Something I talk about a lot in my reviews is did the book hook me in..this one did just that but it keeps you hanging on.. it pulls you in with its intriguing plot then throws you back out to digest for a while and just when you think your safe another bit of gruesomeness is thrown in to reel you back in.

Overall I enjoyed it a lot. There’s more to come in this series so I’m looking forward to see what direction it takes.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work