Welcome to my December wrap-up post featuring all of the fantastic posts on my blog that I posted during the month of December.
My December Posts.
- The Flood by Wolfheart.
- Until The World Goes Cold by Trivium.
- When Everything Means Nothing by Fit For A King.
- Naughty Christmas by Lacuna Coil.
- Walk This Way by Run DMC ft. Aerosmith.
The Secret Chapter includes many tropes that are commonly found in heist movies including, as I have already mentioned the criminal mastermind Mr Nemo who I must say is a marvellous character and then, also, a casino scene, a high-stakes gambling scene, a high-speed pursuit through the city streets, a shoot-out, the team falling foul of the local crime boss, double-crosses galore and they are all executed brilliantly. The Secret Chapter wears those tropes like a badge of honour and I found myself relishing their inclusion in the story. Their addition along with Cogman’s impressive storytelling, wit, likeable characters, clever world-building and the lively story gives you a rollicking good mix of action-adventure and a magical heist that make for a criminally good read.
Wanderers is epic in both scope and scale, a breathtaking and powerful canvas that is revealed over the course of its near 800 gripping pages. Yes, a brick of a book, a behemoth at nearly 800 pages but Wanderers never feels its length, nothing feels like filler, like padding simply to up the page count and you don’t get bogged down or feel like you are wading through treacle. The writing is descriptive and strong and the short chapters that swap between the different facets of the story, the various characters and their perspectives keep the story moving forward. I found myself hooked from the beginning until the very end utterly absorbed as the story unfolded and as the world unravelled around the sleepwalkers. It is brutal, emotional, grim, harrowing, hugely relevant to today’s society, entertaining as hell and a mammoth dose of heavyweight page-turning brilliance.
Seven-year-old Aleah Reese was abducted, murdered and her cold, dead body is left face down in the pond at the old quarry site. Her flame snuffed out before it had a chance to burn bright, her life taken away before she had a chance to shine, the endless roads and future possibilities that lay ahead of her taken away by a heinous act. As Kate and her team investigate Aleah’s death’s they come up against dead end after dead end in their search, brick walls and roadblocks barring the way forward. There are various suspects involved in the case all hiding secrets, lies and half-truths and different team members each favour a different suspect as the murderer. Tensions mount for the team, they are frustrated by their lack of progress, that they can’t find a breakthrough and then…another child is abducted.
Closer To Home focuses far more on the investigation, the police and their procedures rather than delving into the darker details of the actual crime. Admittedly, it isn’t as dark as my usual taste in thrillers lacking the gore and the gruesomeness that I love, what can I say I’m drawn to darkness. However, the investigation in Closer To Home is compelling, it is a gripping story full of unfolding drama that plays out across the pages, a satisfying series opener and it was the ideal balm to scratch my itch for a quick thriller fix.
Some books outstay their welcome and are padded with filler that doesn’t really add anything. Dragonslayer is a lean book at only 300 pages and I feel that it could have been improved with a bit more meat on its bones. An extra 50 or 100 pages added to the overall length would have given the opportunity for snippets of additional depth and detail to have been spread throughout that I feel would have helped elevate the book. There is an old-school vibe to Dragonslayer and it definitely harkens back to classic fantasy rather than the modern fantasy and grimdark that I usually read. Sadly, while it is undoubtedly an adequate offering it doesn’t reach the same lofty height as other fantasy books that I have read this year.
The story in Dragonslayer is quite linear and there is nothing too taxing about the whole affair. The writing is solid and flows well, the story itself, fast-paced and it a book that I breezed through. Even with my issues, I still found it to be enjoyable, I’ll be picking up the sequel (Knight of the Silver Circle) as I had fun with the book and I’m intrigued to see where Hamilton takes the story. That’s what Dragonslayer is, a quick and solid fix of fun and easy to read fantasy.
Once again the story unfolds through multiple perspectives. Solene with her natural affinity to magic, to the Fount is powerful and she continues to learn more about magic in her efforts to control her usage of it. Amaury, the Prince Bishop will do anything to consolidate his power in Mirabay. His ambition continues to grow and he is more cunning and devious with his scheming than in Dragonslayer. I felt that in Knight of the Silver Circle that he really comes into his role as the villain of the trilogy as we see what lengths he will go to in order to achieve his goals and that he will bring his plans to fruition by any means necessary. Gill has regained his focus, seeing and thinking clearly and not through the blurry haze of drink. He is closer to the man that he used to be in his younger days before age, disgrace, grief, loss, pain and an over-reliance on drink turned him into a shadow of his former self, a husk of the once-great swordsman and a brittle and broken man. Instead of wallowing in the depths of his own despair he is living, he is redeeming himself and he is trying to be and do better. His skill with a sword is returning, he is helping people and he has a purpose. However, his battle with the bottle, the spectre of the drunk that he has pulled himself away from being is still ever-present in him and it is a war that will see him stumble, fall and rise again along the way.
There is action, betrayal, lost histories and forgotten knowledge, magical artefacts, political scheming and twists all found within the story. Knight of the Silver Circle is easy to read, fast-paced, the writing flows well and the pages flew by as I devoured the story. Being ‘easy to read‘ isn’t meant as a slight, it’s sometimes what you need. A book that isn’t too deep or hard to follow and that after a tough day you can pick up and relax with for some exciting escapist fun.
Dragons, knights, magic and a medieval-inspired setting are all the core ingredients of classic fantasy and that’s what Knight of the Silver Circle is a hugely entertaining classic fantasy adventure.
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