Tag Archives: book review

Join Ciara Ballintyne’s Advance Copy Review Team

Knight and castle MMir-leasing.ru

Do you love epic fantasy? If so, I’m giving you the chance to join my review team. In return for agreeing to write an honest, critical review, I will provide team members with the opportunity to receive advance copies of my books. Signing up to the team serves as a permanent expression of your interest in each new book, so you don’t need to sign up each time I have a new release.

If you’ve not read my work before, I write epic fantasy aimed at adults, but which has been equally enjoyed by teenagers and readers of the paranormal genre. You can always subscribe to my newsletter and check out some of my work for free.

The next book likely to be available for review is my full-length novel, In the Company of the Dead:

Lyram already crossed a prince – now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.

Son of a duke and third in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after striking his prince – but when the castle is besieged, he fears the prince means to remove him more permanently.

Hope arrives in the form of the Left Hand of Death, the woman bound to serve the goddess Ahura in battle. But the priestess has not come for the siege – instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the god of decay.

Within his stone prison, Lyram must fight to save himself from both political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, his greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

If you’re interested, you can sign up here:

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The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson: Book Review



Brandon Sanderson is the master of the unique fantasy world, complete with unique magic systems, and he doesn’t fail to deliver in this novella. In an Asian style setting, the people of this place have mastered a magic called ‘Forging’ – imprint an object with a seal (like a Chinese chop) that ‘tells’ the object what it would be if its past were rewritten – and it changes.

The closer the Seal is to the actual object in terms of probability, the easier it is to make it work. So restoring a worn desk to its former glory is relatively easy – it only supposes that someone didn’t stop caring for it. If there is absolutely no conceivable way the object you are working on could ever have been what you want it to be, the Seal fails. If a Seal is removed, because it remains as a physical seal that can be prised off, the object returns to its original form.

Shai is a Forger – the kind who dabbles in the forbidden, daring to Forge people’s souls, and even her own. Though she is reviled, when the Emperor suffers a terrible accident and has no memory of who he is, the political leaders turn to her in a desperate bid to reforge the Emperor’s Soul and return him to the man he was. The Emperor will remain in mourning for one hundred days, and this is the impossible timeframe Shai must work within.

But she knows that even if she succeeds, they dare not allow her to live…

Shai faces multiple challenges – Forging a soul is a complex task, one that is nigh impossible to do within a hundred days, and a task that requires her to intimately understand who the Emperor really is. Not just who he presents himself as, but his true self, a truth that may be lost with the Emperor’s memories. At the same time, she must plot an escape plan to get her beyond reach of her enemies. 

One of her captors, Gaotana, and close friend of the Emperor, makes himself available to her in this quest to learn the nature of the Emperor. As she probes the deepest motives of the Emperor, Gaotana finds himself questioning his beliefs about the evil nature of Forging. 

When Shai discovers that the Emperor lost his idealism, and his potential to be a great man, will she risk everything in a bid to restore to him the possibility of what he might have been?

Like all of Sanderson’s stories, this one captured me easily, even though it’s only short. It’s one of his most alien, though, and I found myself questioning this system of Forging and Seals more than I might question another magic system. Still, as the complexity of it revealed itself, I found myself more willing to suspend disbelief, particularly my scepticism that it would be possibly to replicate the almost infinite complexity that makes up a person to any kind of believable degree. Yet the evident level of complexity that went into Forging a Soul was sufficiently high to be believable.

An excellent fast read, highly recommended for readers looking for unique story worlds and magic systems. It won the 2013 Hugo Award for a Novella, and that really says it all.

This is an A to Z Blogging Challenge post. For more information about the challenge, check it out at A to Z Blogging. If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletterCheck out my March Newsletter if you missed it. 

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Confronting the Demon Reviewed by Pinky’s Favourite Reads

Another review tour stop as the Confronting the Demon book tour enters its second week. 

Pinky had lots to say but my favourite line (and it was hard to choose!) is this one, I think: “We are drawn into the story of Alloran right from the start. His story is painted on a beautifully described landscape that sets the imagination ablaze with a bombardment of the senses.”

We are drawn into the story of Alloran right from the start. 

His story is painted on a beautifully described landscape that sets the imagination ablaze with a bombardment of the senses. 
– See more at: http://pinkypollock.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/confronting-demon.html#sthash.tmia8we6.dpuf
We are drawn into the story of Alloran right from the start. 

His story is painted on a beautifully described landscape that sets the imagination ablaze with a bombardment of the senses. 
– See more at: http://pinkypollock.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/confronting-demon.html#sthash.tmia8we6.dpuf
We are drawn into the story of Alloran right from the start. 

His story is painted on a beautifully described landscape that sets the imagination ablaze with a bombardment of the senses. 
– See more at: http://pinkypollock.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/confronting-demon.html#sthash.tmia8we6.dpuf

You can read the full review at Pinky’s Favourite Reads. If you’d like to pick up your own copy of Confronting the Demon, check out the buy links here – at $1.99, it’s a steal! Buy direct from my Books page and it’s even cheaper. 

If you’re an author, you might also like to check out my post A Quick Reference Guide to Copyright and Cover Art. You might not be able to do with your own book cover all the things you think you can!

The Fiction Fairy Reviews Confronting the Demon

I’m excited that the Fiction Fairy has reviewed my novella, Confronting the Demon, as part of the book tour, and had this to say: …Confronting the Demon is Murder She Wrote mixed with Criminal Minds.

Not a comparison it ever would have crossed my mind to make, but then it’s hard to get a clear perspective on one’s own work. That said, applying an analytical mind to the question, I can see she’s got a point – Confronting the Demon is filled not only with the magic you’d expect in fantasy, but mystery, a psychopath, and a serial killer. 

You can read the full review over at The Fiction Fairy’s blog, and if you’d like to pick up your own copy of Confronting the Demon, check out the buy links here or on the Fiction fairy’s review – at $1.99, it’s a steal! Buy direct from my Books page and it’s even cheaper. 

If you’re an author, you might also like to check out my post A Quick Reference Guide to Copyright and Cover Art. You might not be able to do with your own book cover all the things you think you can!

Review of the Last Hero by Terry Pratchett

After reading my novella Confronting the Demon Samatha Saboviec invited me to guest blog on Magic and Mayhem by writing a review of one of the books that inspired my tale.

There are two books that had a large influence on Confronting the Demon, and they are The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett and The Rogue Agent series by K.E. Mills. I was torn which one to use, but I had already written reviews on two of The Rogue Agent books, so I decided to go with The Last Hero.

Pratchett’s fable is the very reason tentacles were originally included in Confronting the Demon (although not the reason I kept them). To learn how it all started, read my Review of The Last Hero.

If you want to know why I kept the tentacles, there’ll be a guest post from me later in my blog tour that tells you all about it!