The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry – Review

Cover- The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

Published: July 23, 2019

Publisher: Redhook

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The ultimate book-lover’s fantasy, featuring a young scholar with the power to bring literary characters into the world, for fans of The Magicians, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and The Invisible Library.

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.


Ever since learning of this book I had been looking forward to reading it. How could I resist a synopsis that described a man that could bring anything from a book simply by reading it intently. I’m fairly certain that’s the kind  of magic any book lover would want to have at their disposal. 

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is the story of two brothers – Rob Sutherland, who is an utterly normal lawyer living in Wellington, New Zealand and Charley, who is quite abnormal and can read characters right out of books, causing much trouble. Rob and Charley have a strained relationship for a number of reasons, merely one of which being that Charley is bringing his unintended mischief to what Rob considers “his city”. Of course, nothing is quite so simple as that and it soon becomes apparent that Charley isn’t the only one with his singular talent and this person is much less benign. They are, in fact, trying to bring about a new world. One that is reminiscent of the streets of Victorian London with all the perils and evil thereof. 

This book was fascinating and kept me going during a rather dull week away for work training. The whole concept was delightful without being a gentle fairytale since not only the nice, heroic characters could be brought forth from their resident pages. The more maniacal reader was bringing out the villainous Dickens era characters to stalk the streets of Wellington and it did bring a certain flair of danger to things. I mean, Charley and Rob nearly got mauled by the Hound of the Baskervilles in all its theatrical and terrifying glory. 

Aside from having an interesting plot I thought that the exploration of the strained relationship between Charley and Rob was really well done. Charley has always been a prodigy and despite Rob being older, he felt he was in his younger brother’s shadow and that resentment had carried over into their adult lives. Charley had moved away to Cambridge to get his Ph.D and Rob finally had a life to himself without worrying about caring for his brother or keeping his abilities hidden by cleaning up the occasional slip. They both have a good deal of emotional growth during the course of the story and it felt quite natural. As a matter of fact, their entire family must do some talking and share some secrets.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep was a fascinating book and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve read any other fantasy books set in New Zealand which is a shame! I had such a great time reading this book that I’ll more than likely pick up anything else that H.G. Parry publishes in the future. This book is also a standalone, which itself is rare in the fantasy world today. No fear of committing to a six book series here – just read one and your done!

Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe – Review

Cover- Velocity Weapon

Published: June 11, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: The Protectorate #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 544 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for and honest review.

Synopsis:

Dazzling space battles, intergalactic politics, and rogue AI collide in Velocity Weapon, the first book in this epic space opera by award-winning author Megan O’Keefe.
Sanda and Biran were siblings destined for greatness. Her: a dedicated soldier with the skills to save the universe. Him: a savvy politician with ambitions for changing the course of intergalactic war.
However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda’s gunship gets blown out of the sky. Instead of finding herself in friendly hands, she awakens 230 years later upon an empty enemy smartship who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system and everyone in it is dead. Ada Prime and its rival Icarion have wiped each other from the universe.
Now, separated by space and time, Sanda and Biran will find a way to put things right.


Velocity Weapon was such a surprise win for me! I wasn’t sure I would love it when I initially received it, but my hopes were high and, in this case, well placed. From the above synopsis you can see that this promises space battles, politics and rogue AI which is what intrigued me in the first place. Lemme just tell you, it had all that and then some of the BEST plot twists that I’ve encountered in a long while!

The characters were pretty darn cool as well. First of all, we’ve got Sanda who immediately gets blown up on her gunship but that’s definitely not the end of her. She shortly gets picked up by an enemy ship with no crew, just the AI named Bero who’s running it. Oh yeah, and she’s been floating in her pod for 230 years and everyone she knows and loves is dead. Next we’ve got Biran, Sanda’s younger brother, just entering the political field and trying everything he can to get someone to go check for survivors (mostly just Sanda). The split POVs and timelines makes for an interesting story and the reader gets little bits of information at a time. Biran’s POV fills in the past, detailing the perilous times after Sanda’s ship is destroyed by Icarion. There’s also a third POV featuring a character on a different planet and takes most of the book for it to become clear how she is relevant at all.

And then the plot twists guys… seriously, I did not see ANY of them coming until the moment it happened. I’m stunned and I won’t DARE spoil anything for you – you’ll just have to read it!! I literally gasped though, no exaggeration and I may have shouted at my husband, who will never understand why I was so flabbergasted.

Overall, Velocity Weapon was an absolute win in my opinion. It wasn’t perfect and I didn’t care for the third POV for most of the book because while it had it’s moments I just wasn’t connected to those characters at all. I think things will become more cohesive in future installments because it will (I think) be more relevant at that point. This was a fantastic book from the first chapter and I’d highly recommend it!

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean – Review

Cover- Priest of Lies

Published: July 2, 2019

Publisher: Ace Books

Series: War for the Rose Throne #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 368 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/ 5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster…and spy. As Tomas’s power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.

People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become–until they can’t take it anymore. And when they rise up…may the gods help their oppressors.

When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen’s Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.

Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen’s Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.

In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion…or just a priest of lies.


Ohhh man, the Pious Men are back at it, trying to keep their streets from the Skanians that have infiltrated the city of Ellinburg.  I got exactly what I expected from Priest of Lies and that was a bloody, edge of your seat adventure. It was brutal, with scenes that made me cringe, or alternately, pump my fist in the air.

Tomas Piety, head of the Pious Men and husband to the lovely and cunning Ailsa (of the Queen’s Men) enters new territory in this book – that of high society. It’s just as dangerous as running his business on the streets but requires far more in the way of social graces and he’s an outsider. Tomas’s time in Dannsburg is well spent, meeting some new players in the great game in which he’s merely another piece and getting a  feel for what’s at stake.

I think the characters in this series are extremely well-written and none of them are portrayed as “just another tough guy/gal”, they’re many faceted and have weaknesses, dreams, and loves. I was glad to learn more of certain characters, particularly Cutter, in this installment and I also enjoyed seeing how Tomas handled working for the Queen’s Men – ended up watching him squirm a few times as he tried to explain reasonings for certains actions.

Priest of Lies is a story with a lot of heart and if you’re in the market for a new grimdark series, I won’t hesitate to recommend this one. It’s got magic, gangs, war, and spycraft so basically everything cool one could ever want in a book except dragons. No dragons here, but I guess that would have been just a little extra, you know?

The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso – Review

Cover- The Unbound Empire

Published: April 30, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: Swords and Fire #3

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 560 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The final volume of the Gemmell Morningstar Award-shortlisted Swords and Fire fantasy trilogy, in which political scion Amalia and her bound fire warlock Zaira must save the Empire from a ruthless, magical enemy. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce, The Queen of the Tearling, and Uprooted.

While winter snows keep the Witch Lord Ruven’s invading armies at bay, Lady Amalia Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Raverran Empire forever, earning the enmity of those in power who will do anything to keep all magic under tight imperial control. But in the season of the Serene City’s great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire – and at everything Amalia holds most dear.

To stand a chance of defeating Ruven, Amalia and Zaira must face their worst nightmares, expose their deepest secrets, and unleash Zaira’s most devastating fire.


The Swords and Fire trilogy is one that has taken me by surprise – I truly had no idea what to expect when beginning and it has ended up being one that has blown me away. I’ve absolutely enjoyed every page, staying up far too late on several occasions so I could get past a critical plot point. This being said, I would highly recommend checking out the first book, The Defiant Heir, and also warn against possible spoilers in the paragraphs below.

Unbound Empire was a solid and rather satisfying conclusion to the Swords and Fire trilogy, however…. Yes that’s right, there’s a bit of a caveat here… it wasn’t as epically amazing as the second book. That particular installment was really in a league of its own. Unbound Empire was a great continuation of those events – battles, the Witch Lord gathering, a volcano nearly blowing up half the country.

Amalia Cornaro continues her fight for the Falcons to have their freedom while at the same time she’s trying to outmaneuver the witchlord at her country’s borders. Ruven has been trying to infiltrate the city through any means and his mind control potions and his chimeras are quite terrifying. I continued to find Kathe and Amalia’s courtship to be one of simultaneous delight and UTTER FRUSTRATION. Good grief, so much waffling back and forth! The whole book was rather full of emotion and action and ended on a pretty satisfying note.

Overall, I was pleased with the book and the series as a whole. It definitely ended up being a series I enjoyed far more than I initially expected I would. The characters were likable and the plot was engaging to the point that I was a little bit mad when I finished reading them because it meant a year wait until the next one!

Sixteen Ways to Defend A Walled City by K.J Parker – Review

Cover- Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City

Published: April 9, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 384 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

A siege is approaching, and the City has little time left to prepare. The people have no food and no weapons, and the enemy has sworn to slaughter them all.

Their only chance rests with a colonel of engineers – a despised outsider, a genius, a master of military and political strategy with the wrong color skin. He is the City’s only hope.

But nobody, rich or poor, wants to take orders from a jumped-up Milkface. Saving the City from itself might be more difficult than surviving the coming siege.


I’d never read a K.J. Parker book prior to this one so I had no idea what to expect other than what little the synopsis gave me. What I got was a wildly entertaining book with a narrator that both kept me on my toes and in stitches from laughter.

Orhan, Colonel of the Engineers, is one of the first to realize something dreadfully wrong is going on in the Empire and by the time anyone listens to him, the city he’s in is under siege and no one can save them. Orhan is the ranking military man in the city and is in charge of the defenses when an army shows up on the doorstep. No need for excessvie detail here – if you’ve been reading fantasy (or history for that matter) you know how things work in a city under siege. The book is basically his firsthand account of how things went down and as such it’s heavily influenced by his personality and humor. I loved every page of it and thought it was downright hilarious at times without lessening the severity of the situation.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book other than to highly recommend it to fantasy readers who want a good Roman influenced siege book that doesn’t have a fusty old narrator. There were a few delightful plot reveals that I won’t dare discuss further in order to avoid spoilers. This has left me with a great impression of K.J. Parker’s writing and I look forward to checking out some of his other books – recommendations would be appreciated!

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie – Review

Cover- Last Argument of Kings

Published: September 8, 2015

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: The First Law #3

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 605 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

The final novel in the First Law Trilogy by New York Timesbestseller Joe Abercrombie. 
Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him — but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the king of the Northmen still stands firm, and there’s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy: it’s time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.

With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no one is safe, and no one can be trusted. As his days with a sword are far behind him, it’s fortunate that he’s deadly with his remaining weapons: blackmail, threats, and torture.

Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is too painful an undertaking and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too — and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it.

The king of the Union lies on his deathbed, the peasants revolt, and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No one believes that the shadow of war is about to fall across the heart of the Union. Only the First of the Magi can save the world, but there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, than to break the First Law…


Maaaaan, what an awesome way to conclude the First Law trilogy! This book was satisfying on many levels and I’m about 100x more excited to read A Little Hatred when it comes out later this year. I have to see what the Union has turned into after a couple decades.

First of all, the character arcs concluded excellently, though obviously not in a final sort of way since there will be another series set later on featuring many familiar characters. Glokta remains a clear favorite of mine. I NEVER thought I would like his POV so much going into this series, but his internal monologue (and what he says aloud) is one of the funniest (yet dark) things I’ve ever read, provoking bouts of actual laughter.  Jezal dan Luthar, who I thought may have been a redeemed man, remains a clueless, self-centered babe in most circumstances. He has occasional bouts of rage or good sense that miraculously work out well most of the time. Ninefingers…. Well, I like him a bit more in the previous books, but he has quite a strong character arc. And Bayaz is a power-mad magi, but are we really surprised? Oh, and Collem West is possibly the most stressed out man in all the Union.

This was an excellent book with many layers of plot. Too many, really, to begin to go into. The Gurkish threaten from the south and Bethod’s northmen are still at war with the Union in the northern reaches. The Union is threatened from all sides and internal politics threatens from within, making for troubled times.

This was a fantastic book and a fantastic series as a whole. If you’re looking for some intense fantasy reading and somehow haven’t read Joe Abercrombie (or this series in particular) you should consider putting it in your TBR pile. This is a perennial favorite amongst fantasy readers and is so frequently recommended on every bookish site I visit that I decided to give the series a read. I had read the first book (a ratty, used library copy) 6 or 7 years ago and I must have been younger and less wise, because I didn’t binge read the series right then. I have now remedied that error and couldn’t be more glad.

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – Review

Cover- The Kingdom of Copper

Published: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 640 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.


So, I’m lame and never reviewed The City of Brass despite LOVING it – it was definitely a 5 star read for me. Long story short, I loved the setting, the characters, and all the interesting relationships which is why I was super excited to get a lovely box of book mail containing Kingdom of Copper!

The story picks up a few years after the events of the first book and it was interesting to see how life had changed. Nahri married Muntadhir as she had bargained and has settled into her role as Nahid. Alizayd was exiled, almost killed, and now resides with one of the desert tribes where he brings much needed water. Dara, well of course he just couldn’t stay dead could he? Nah, he’s helping train some rebels and does the bidding of someone thought many years dead. The book was so full of plotting and drama that it was impossible for a dull moment to exist.

I love the rich setting of Daevabad, the thousand subplots and hidden agendas, and I love the characters most of all. If that isn’t enough for you, there’s some exciting action-y bits scattered in as well! Every time some new morsel of information or reveal was thrown my way, the reading intensified. I actually stayed up late (like really late) reading this one and not for one second regretted the lost sleep. Now I don’t think this one was quite as captivating as The City of Brass, but I put that down to my fondness for first books and the shiny, magical newness that a new series has.

My final say on this is read it and if you haven’t gotten around to it, read the first one. I thought the first book worked particularly well in audio and had the benefit of pronouncing everyone’s names, tribes, and places correctly which was awesome. I read this in print format which was great as well, though I think it would have been even cooler in audio.

Shadows Edge by Brent Weeks – Review

cover-shadows-edge

Published: November 1, 2008

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 642 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?


Even though I wasn’t crazy about The Way of Shadows, I decided to go ahead and continue on with Shadow’s Edge since I already had the audiobook just waiting around for me. The uptick in my enthusiasm and enjoyment near the end of the first book continued on in an exponential manner in this installment. Yeah, that sounded nerdy, BUT IT WAS SUCH AN AWESOME SEQUEL.

First of all, all the characters from the first book really went from seeming to me like children to being adults. Of course some characters *ahem Kylar* had moments of unbelievable stupidity and immaturity, but it wasn’t so bad most of the time. I did want to pull my hair out a few times because how stupid/blind/naïve could one person be?? Really? Our favorite king, Logan Gyre quickly became a force to be reckoned with while he dwelt in the Hole- he ATE people for God’s sake- though somehow he managed to maintain a semblance of humanity. Vi Sovari was also a pretty remarkable character and was pivotal to events throughout the book. I had moments where I loathed her, but there were others were I was completely sympathetic to her situation and why she made the choices she did. Weeks did a fantastic job of shaping up and rounding out all of his characters.

The story went from being ho-hum in book 1 to phenomenal and addictive in Shadow’s Edge. I finished this one and immediately began listening to the next because it was THAT good. I can now see why so many people love this series as much, if not more than the Lightbringer series. There were these intriguing little bits of information and a certain few events that really piqued my interest- namely Logan’s cool glowing arm tat. Whatever could be the significance? Well, as I write this I am a scant half hour from finishing book 3 and I AM DYING INSIDE, but I know the significance, though it’s not solid in my opinion. Of course the ending of Shadow’s Edge was a real knock out- I was torn between laughter, weeping, and rolling my face on my keyboard.

Anyway, this was a pretty fantabulous book. Brent Weeks is moving into a category of favorite authors alongside Michael J. Sullivan, Pierce Brown, and all the rest of those writers that I just can’t get enough of. Some people write characters that stick with you for months or years after you’ve finished a book and that’s the best kind. Check out the series. Stick with it and you’ll be hooked.

Half A King by Joe Abercrombie – Review

cover-half-a-king

Published: July 15, 2014

Publisher: Del Rey

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

 

Synopsis:

Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted.

But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself – all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, traps and tragedy…


It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything of Joe Abercrombie’s and Half a King was a great place to pick back up. After a couple months of whittling down my overlarge TBR pile, I finally came to Half a King and I loved it! It’s not quite as morbid/grimdark as Abercrombie’s adult fantasies, but his writing doesn’t suffer for it and neither does the storyline.

I didn’t have any real knowledge of the plot when I began reading Half a King, but if it’s Abercrombie, it’s going to be bloody and that’s pretty much how I like my books. Again, this isn’t as brutal as the First Law trilogy, but that isn’t to say that it lacks death, betrayal, and the like. The characters just aren’t graphically tortured or killed (he toned it down for those developing young minds). So, basically, it’s like Grimdark Jr. and I’m alright with that.

Yarvi, the main character, is the younger son of the King and while he is a prince, it means very little. He has a crippled, useless hand in a time where warriors are held in highest regard and his keen mind is overlooked by all except, perhaps, his mother and the minister who advises the king. Before Yarvi can take his minister’s test, his father and elder brother are killed in a raid and he must sit the Black Chair and become king. Yarvi was a surprisingly likable character and I thought he had the necessary cunning to become a powerful man, but this book was full of surprises! It was an absolute sandwich of surprises! A big one near the beginning and an even better one near the end, with tons of action in between.

I’m glad I already have the next two books, because I won’t be waiting very long to pick them up! As fall and winter approach I find that I have more time to read in the evening (because it’s dark much earlier and it gets frikkin cold) so I’ll definitely be getting to the rest of this series sooner rather than later.

The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan – Review

Cover- The Death of Dulgath

Published: December 1, 2015

Publisher: Riyria Enterprises, LLC

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 448 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as rogues-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they’re asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.


After taking a short break following my binge-listen of the Riyria Revelations series, I decided I couldn’t hold out any longer and got The Death of Dulgath. I can honestly say that I can NEVER get enough of Royce and Hadrian. They are consistently entertaining and I love reading about all these ridiculously adventurous adventures! The Death of Dulgath feels a little different than the other books in the series. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but eventually I realized that it seems like magic was more present in this one than the others. Sure, there are a couple magicians in the Revelations, but this has the air of unnoticed, taken for granted magic that permeates the land rather than just being wielded by a few individuals.

This installment was kind of a prelude to the events happening in the Riyria Revelations (RR for short) series- I’ll try not to spoil anything for those who haven’t read that yet, so here goes. The first thing is that Royce is part elf- this plays a big role in the plot of RR but I won’t reveal any of that here. It explains why he’s so stealthy and can see in the dark- characteristics which made him an excellent assassin and thief. There are some other reveals that will make more sense to those who’ve read Age of Myth, though will become more obvious with later installments of that series. The biggest prelude to RR is the machinations of the Church of Novron that are exposed here. The Novronians are worming their way into power across the countries- installing imperialists into high ranking positions to make things easier in the future- and Royce and Hadrian stumble upon it during this job. I love how tightly MJS has woven his stories together!

I’m not even going to tell you how much I love Royce and Hadrian because I’ve made that abundantly clear in my other reviews, so instead I’ll focus on a few other characters. Nissa Dulgath is the new Lady Dulgath following the passing of her father and someone is trying to assassinate her. Riyria are called in as consulting assassins to help shore up the defenses and inform the weasel Lord Fawkes how an assassin would try to do her in. Not suspicious or anything, right? Lord Fawkes is the church’s pawn and is in play to take over Dulgath once Nissa has been dealt with by the ‘assassin’. A painter is working on a portrait for Lady Dulgath and he’s madly in love with her- apparently he’s also a threat to Lord Fawkes and his dastardly plan. As a side note, the painter reminds me of the one in Guy Gavriel Kay’s book Children of Earth and Sky (just a little). Scarlet Dodge was my favorite second only to our favorite duo. Her previous associate with Royce in the Black Diamond, and her current life as an entertainer in Dulgath made her so intriguing! I thought perhaps she was the assassin sent to Dulgath, but I was wrong on that count.

MJS writes some of the best prequels in the world of SF/F and The Death of Dulgath is no different. The character development is stellar and each one of them adds heaps of detail to the world and further fleshes out those interesting references in RR. He doesn’t waste words or publish mediocre stuff just because he knows fans will buy it. Each of his books that I’ve read (and that’s all of them) has been excellent quality storytelling! I can’t recommend them enough!