Firesky by Mark de Jager – Review

Published: December 7, 2021

Publisher: Solaris

Series: The Chronicles of Stratus #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 536 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Relentless. Unstoppable. Dragon.

Desire burns in Stratus’ soul, powerful like an inferno. With his memory returning, he finally knows who—and what—he is. His is a dragon, brought low by the hand of a dark magician known as the Worm King, separated from his true love, tortured for centuries and now trapped inside the body of a human.

But with the memories of his old life comes a return of his true magic, and with it, his true form is slowly returning.

And Stratus wants revenge. Bloody and relentless, he slaughters his way through hordes of the undead to reach his archenemy, fighting not only for his own justice but for the whole of humanity… 

Everyone needs more books about dragons in their life. Firesky manages to be even more interesting than your usual dragon book by featuring a dragon who is trapped in a man’s body. He transformed himself to escape a terrible captivity where he was brutalized by magical and physical means at the hands of a wizard who calls himself the Worm Lord. Sounds pretty cool, right?

The story picks up directly after the events of Infernal, meaning Stratus is still a wanted man and his friend Tatiana has now disappeared on a mission of her own. Stratus makes a promise to the court mage to help him bring down the Worm Lord basically so he can get out of the city to find Tatiana by using their magical bond.  Thus begins the harrowing journey to find and kill the Worm Lord. It reminded me of a series of dungeons (probably because there were literal dungeons) that must be completed to get to the final boss and it was pretty interesting. 

The plot is fairly straightforward – Stratus needs to rescue Tatiana, kill the Worm Lord, and find his lady love since he’s beginning to suspect she never died all those centuries ago. It’s an adventure story but definitely on the darker side of things. Lots of necromancy, mind controlling brain worms (*barf*), and bloody vengeance. The plot actually carried on much further than I initially thought it would, what with the bad guy not being the ultimate bad guy and all that. 

I enjoyed it and thought it was a solid, satisfying conclusion to the duology. I’m also a big fan of the narrator – Obioma Ugoala did a fantastic job bringing Stratus’s draconic voice to life! While I’m a little sad to be leaving this world behind, I’m equally looking forward to what Mark de Jager writes next!

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie – Review

Published: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: The Age of Madness #3

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 528 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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

Chaos. Fury. Destruction.

The Great Change is upon us . . .

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies . . . while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together . . .

I have been looking forward to the finale of the Age of Madness trilogy, so when it came out I was expecting to pick it up and get sucked into the tale right away. WRONG. I was apparently in the wrong mood for dark books at that time and ended up putting it down for a bit in favor of something else. Fast forward two months – I decided to pick up the audiobook version (I love Steven Pacey’s narration) and got hooked! Sometimes, for me anyway, it really is the combination of the right book in the right format at the right time.

This picks up with Orso’s victory march back into Adua with Savine and Leo dan Brock in prison carts. Leo is terribly wounded, Savine is extremely pregnant, and the crowds aren’t quite as happy to see their victorious king as Orso might have hoped. The revolution has made it to Adua and the utter chaos of the Great Change is not far behind. 

This book is an interesting study in character development. Savine in particular has changed much since the first book and the birth of her children leads to a dramatic shift, though she still has that pragmatic coldness that has served her well for so long. With Leo it’s quite a different sort of change and one that makes you understand how Sand dan Glokta went from the nation’s golden boy to the twisted head of the Inquisition. Extreme loss and trauma changes everyone in different ways. Orso actually changes for the better, but it’s perhaps too little too late with the Burner’s arriving in the city. And how could I almost forget Rikke? She has made herself a leader, but she’s also betrayed those she called friend and seems to be making mistakes at every turn. This book is so, so dark but it’s utterly transfixing – an illustration of how horrific humans can truly be to one another and the lengths they will go to in order to survive. Such chaos, such madness.

Overall, this was a really solid finale to the series but it wasn’t my favorite of the trilogy. The plot majorly stagnated for a bit and people were just getting hanged left and right and everyone was scared. Perhaps this was intentional to instill the horror of the situation upon the reader, but damn, I wanted it to get on with the story already! That being said, it was good though I hesitate to say it was an enjoyable read given how dark things were. Excellent plotting and intrigue though and I was kept on the proverbial edge of my seat the whole time!

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang – Review

Cover- The Dragon Republic

Published: August 8, 2019

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Series: The Poppy War #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 560 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0


The searing follow-up to 2018’s most celebrated fantasy debut – THE POPPY WAR.

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.

The Dragon Republic was another one of my more highly anticipated sequels of the year and while it was a good story, it just didn’t rock my socks the way the first book did. The Poppy War kind of checked all my “boxes” – it had a school setting, a coming of age/growing into your own theme, plenty of action and magic, and dang, it went full on grimdark in the latter half. In short, I loved it. The Dragon Republic picks up not long after those events and Rin is really struggling with the death of Altan, her new role as leader of the Cike, and a crippling opium addiction. Oh yeah, she’s also an enemy of the state and the Empress would love to have her head on a pike. 

Rin is honestly a bit of a deplorable character this time around. She has so many weaknesses, she won’t step up to the plate and truly lead the Cike, and they’re just sort of adrift with a vague suicide mission in mind. I do appreciate the fact that the author went a different direction than many others and gave Rin these weaknesses she has to deal with rather than being a total awesome-at-everything Mary Sue. Rin isn’t really a likable character either and she’s trying to drive wedges into every relationship she has and spends most of the book trying to find someone who will tell her what to do and take responsibility for the brunt of her actions. In this respect it’s pretty unique in the fantasy genre. Surprisingly, despite all this her friends are still there for her and are trying to drag her out of the mire of her own making.

The plot this time around was still good, though it didn’t capture me the way The Poppy War did. As I mentioned, so much of the story focuses on Rin getting her act together (a semblance of togetherness anyway) and finding a new person to tell her what to do. This leads her to the Dragon Warlord Vaisra who has designs on creating democracy (OR DOES HE??) but he’s forged a perilous alliance with the Hesperians to accomplish his goals. Things remain quite dark in this installment, as the provinces are now at war amongst themselves and against the Mughanese soldiers that still wander about. There are some really fantastic battle scenes with lots of main characters in peril! SO THRILLING.

Overall, like, I know deep down on an intellectual level this was a really good book – well written, a poignant examination of Rin’s inner turmoil and all that, but I still didn’t love it, hence my rating. I would recommend the audiobook version because the performance was excellent, though it did take me a little longer to get through the book than it would have if I had read the physical copy since I can only grab an hour here and there to listen.

*Apologies for any misspellings! I’ve been cobbling the names together from other reviews I’ve read since I listened to the audiobook.

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter – Review

Cover- The Rage of Dragons

Published: July 16, 2019

Publisher: Orbit  Books

Series: The Burning #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 544 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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


Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

This book has been extremely well received by the bookish community thus far and I must say, it was a pretty great debut novel. The Rage of Dragons is an African inspired fantasy with, you guessed it, dragons! They actually didn’t play as much of a role in the first book as I had hoped, but I did get pages and pages of epic gladiatorial action and the urge to rise above my station and overthrow my oppressors – oh wait, that’s just the book a’ talking. 

The main character, Tau, is of the lesser class and as such he will never become the most elite of warriors or rise above his class. His friend and training partner Jabari is a noble, though not a high ranking one and they will end up going in very different directions in life. After a series of terrible events, Tau’s father is killed by a noble and he sets out to get revenge on all those who played a part in his death, which ultimately leads him to enter the training academy. Once he’s a soldier he can legally duel those who’ve wronged him and he’s set out to become the best swordsman to have ever lived, gifted or not. 

Initially Tau is a pretty standard – dare I say it – boring character. I wasn’t crazy about this book for the first few chapters but things suddenly pick up and it goes full on revenge story. Tau is CRAZY. This guy trains from before dawn until after dark and takes on incredible challenges. He’s completely focused on his goal and nothing will stop him. Tau is also a bit of an idiot from time to time but the rest of his scale (academy group) usually reign him in. There’s a smidgen of romance in this book but it certainly doesn’t take the center stage and disappointingly, the dragons aren’t center stage either. For something that was compared to Game of Thrones, I’m not really seeing the similarities. Yeah, there’s some political maneuvering, but it’s largely done off the page and like I said, the dragons aren’t featured prominently in the book. I definitely get the Gladiator comparison though! Plenty of swordplay and gritty, intense fighting.

Overall, The Rage of Dragons was an impressive and well-written debut but I wasn’t in love with it. I’ll absolutely carry on with the sequel because I found it to be a noteworthy beginning to what I hope is an epic series.

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry – Review

Cover- The Girl in Red

Published: June 18, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Pages: 304 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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


From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood”…about a woman who isn’t as defenseless as she seems.

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….

If The Road and Little Red Riding Hood had a love child, it would certainly be The Girl in Red by Christina Henry. This book is full of the darkness of The Road but without quite so much dire hopelessness and just a dash of fairytale inspiration. 

Cordelia, who thinks her name is fusty and so goes by Red, is first introduced to us as she trudges through the woods to her grandmother’s house. It’s dangerous for a girl alone, and more so because she has a prosthetic leg that will slow her down if she needs to run. She’s a tough girl, knows her limitations, and generally expects the worst of the people she runs in to because the world’s really spiralled out of control since the Cough struck. Her family is gone now and she’s going to the only sanctuary she has left – her grandmother’s house hundreds of miles and many dangers away.

This was a compelling story, that evokes a unique sense of horror. I’m always thoroughly disturbed by stories of an apocalyptic nature and the fact that a mysterious pandemic could strike is not unreasonable. An element of government conspiracy gets thrown in for good measure and while surprising, wasn’t my favorite part. The story is told by alternating between past and present. Presently, Red is trudging through the woods, conserving food and strength. In the past we learn of her family and what happened to them leading up to the current moments.

I was suitably impressed by The Girl in Red and thus far I’m 2/2 for enjoying Christina Henry’s tales. This was a quick read that I finished over the course of a weekend and after I was done I definitely needed something a little lighter on the horror aspect. It was scary enough, though not so much that it kept me up at night or made me feel like I needed to ninja my shower curtain everytime I went into the bathroom.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Review

Cover- Spin the Dawn

Published: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Knopf

Series: The Blood of Stars #1

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 400 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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


Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

I’m a sucker for fancy dresses and so a book about creating magical fancy dresses was one I automatically requested without much research. Fortunately for me it was a pretty good read! This is a YA fantasy, so I anticipated that it would have a few of the age old tropes of yore– no surprises there. I’ll be honest, the kind of stereotypical YA things that did pop up didn’t bother me all that much.

I liked the main character here – she was brave without being gung-ho the way many “brave” female characters are portrayed. She wanted to save her family and also prove that she, a girl, could be the imperial tailor. The others competing for the position of imperial tailor were mostly unsympathetic to what they thought was the youngest and most inexperienced competitor there. On top of that, the new Empress (who the competition is basically for) is difficult to please. She ends up demanding that she be made three mythical dresses and only then will our MC be able to rest. Thus begins the real story…

Maia is sent on a quest to find the impossible materials for the dresses – elements of the sun, moon, and stars. BUT SHE HAS MAGIC SCISSORS and a handsome, cursed sorcerer to help her out. Cue love interest, right? This whole falling in love with the handsome, ancient guy who is totally unavailable because he’s cursed to live forever thing is the tropiest trope of them all. And I still liked it. It was fairly well played out in the book and it made me happy.

Overall, this was a surprisingly good book. I’m more hesitant to read YA now since I’ve come across so many that just blend together, but Spin the Dawn was satisfying and felt like a tried and true tale. I’ll be interested to read the sequel and hope it is even better than the first.

The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats by Daniel Stone – Review

Cover- The Food Explorer

Published: February 20, 2018

Publisher: Dutton Books

Series: Stand alone

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography

Pages: 397 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0


The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes–and thousands more–to the American plate.

In the nineteenth century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater.

Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. Fairchild’s finds weren’t just limited to food: From Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America’s capital. Along the way, he was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.

LOOK AT ME, I’M READING NON-FICTION! I picked up a couple food-related non-fiction books during an Audible sale last month and I was pretty excited to read this one. This is the story of David Fairchild, a young up and coming botanist that went to travel the world searching for plants to send back to the United States. This man lived an absolutely fascinating life and his travels resulted in SO MANY DELICIOUS FOODS being popularized in the United States.

I can’t imagine how bland the culinary arts were before the introduction and hybridization of many of the foods mentioned in this book. While the food is fascinating, Fairchild’s travels, acquaintances, and the political nightmare of the USDA were the real showstoppers. Originally from Kansas, Fairchild moved to the east coast to live with family and hopefully start a successful career. He ends up crossing the Atlantic, meeting the wealthy Barbour Lathrop, and beginning his career of plant piracy (it wasn’t always theft). Fairchild and Lathrop became fast friends and ended up travelling together for years, circumnavigating the globe several times and sending back thousands upon thousands of plants to the Department of Agriculture. The USDA would cultivate the plants and distribute them to farmers across the country in hopes of having successful money-making crops. Mangos, avocados, dates, new varieties of cotton, and superior hops from around the world drastically changed agriculture and diet in the US.

This was a fascinating (if not always thrilling) book documenting Fairchild’s work and I’m really glad I picked it up. I honestly couldn’t stand Barbour Lathrop for much of the book because good grief, he was bossy and self-centered. As Fairchild grew more confident during his travels and experiences the interactions between the two became more of a peer to peer thing rather than a student and mentor relationship. Fairchild eventually has mentees of his own and they were even more adventurous than he was. One guy spent years travelling around China during severe political unrest and he was robbed and beaten on SO many occasions. Wild times, man, wild times.

If you’re looking for an interesting non-fiction book to check and you like botany/science/knowing where your food comes from or are just interested in American history, you may want to check this out. The audiobook was a solid performance and helped to maintain my attention, whereas I think as a print book this may have been a little less attention grabbing.

Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes – Review

Cover- Seven Blades in Black

Published: April 9, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: The Grave of Empires #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 608 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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


Sam Sykes returns with a new fantasy that introduces to an unforgettable outcast magician caught between two warring empires.

Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of magical warfare. The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, is where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun and a list of names she intended to use both on. But vengeance is a flame swift extinguished. Betrayed by those she trusted most, her magic torn from her and awaiting execution, Sal the Cacophony has one last tale to tell before they take her head. All she has left is her name, her story and the weapon she used to carved both.

Vengeance is its own reward.

If you’re looking for a fantasy vengeance story with a dash of Clint Eastwood thrown in, this might just be the book you’re looking for. This is a gritty world both literally and figuratively and the characters are a wild and dangerous bunch. I was intrigued by the synopsis, appalled by the cover, and remain curious about Sam Sykes’s other books so overall, I have a good impression.

Sal the Cacophony is a vagrant mage and bounty hunter. She takes on jobs that involve killing other vagrant mages hailing from the empire she used to call home and trust me, these are the most dangerous of jobs. Stripped of her magic and out for revenge, Sal totes her trusty sword named Jeff (not kidding) and the Cacophony, a massive and ancient gun with a mind of its own. Sal has a list of names, those who wronged her most directly, and she has her sights set on ridding the world of them at any cost… thus is the gist of this tale.

Sal is a mouthy, angry woman narrating the path that led her to be sitting in a cell at the very beginning of the story. You end up wondering things like, did she get her vengeance? Is she giving up? Is this where the story ends, with a firing squad?  Well, if I answered any of those it would spoil all the joy of reading a 600 page book. WORK YOUR WAY THROUGH THAT TOME AND GET THOSE ANSWERS! I liked Sal well enough, though her flaws were frustrating at times. Liette was a masterpiece and in my opinion her talents were a far sight more interesting than those of the traditional mages. Don’t get me wrong, the mages were pretty darn cool as well – the whole trade of power was an excellent touch, but this bookish yet tough woman makes excellent explosives and uses freaky healing potions made out of dead mage dust. WAYYYY COOLER. Did I mention the birds? Sal basically rides a dirty, furious, meat eating chocobo.

There is so much epic darkness from this book and I could see this working as a dark fantasy (with a dash of western) movie. Saloon doors slamming open, Sal stalking in with her luck scarf and the Cacophony whispering for blood at her hip…. Yeah I can see that working. Do yourself a favor and check this out.

The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne – Review

Cover- The Naturalist

Published: October 1, 2017

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Series: The Naturalist #1

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 380 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0


Professor Theo Cray is trained to see patterns where others see chaos. So when mutilated bodies found deep in the Montana woods leave the cops searching blindly for clues, Theo sees something they missed. Something unnatural. Something only he can stop.

As a computational biologist, Theo is more familiar with digital code and microbes than the dark arts of forensic sleuthing. But a field trip to Montana suddenly lands him in the middle of an investigation into the bloody killing of one of his former students. As more details, and bodies, come to light, the local cops determine that the killer is either a grizzly gone rogue… or Theo himself. Racing to stay one step ahead of the police, Theo must use his scientific acumen to uncover the killer. Will he be able to become as cunning as the predator he hunts—before he becomes its prey?

I SPENT SO LONG GOING “GET A LAWYER IDIOT AND STOP TALKING” throughout the entire book and the whole thing was rather harrowing and I just couldn’t stop listening, so that was definitely a plus. This was also a delightful departure from my usual fantasy or scifi reads. I find it refreshing to stray into different genres from time to time and always enjoy these new finds.

Theo Cray is a computational biologist working on research in Montana, minding his own business when he gets pulled into a murder investigation as a prime suspect. A former student of his, one Juniper Parsons, was found dead in the woods and while Theo is initially suspected it turns out to have been an unfortunate bear attack. OR WAS IT? Theo has reason to believe that there’s actually a sadistic and clever serial killer in the area who’s been active for decades and he’s determined to prove that Juniper’s death was not the work of a killer grizzly.

This was an intense story and man, Theo Cray stressed me out. He was CONSTANTLY on the brink of getting himself arrested or looking like a lunatic in front of important people. Heck, I thought he was crazy for a while myself. Theo and even the side characters were really well written. Everything about them was plausible, from motive to character flaws to dialogue.

Like I said, this was a thrilling read and I liked the characters and the overall mystery quite a lot. I plan on continuing on with the series this year though perhaps not quite immediately. I admit, I was almost expecting a supernatural element to this book because the synopsis made it sound as if the murderer could have been a not entirely human monster. Rest assured it was not supernatural, just a good old fashioned murder thriller.

Soulkeeper by David Dalglish – Review

Cover- Soulkeeper

Published: March 19, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: The Keepers #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 704 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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


In the first book of USA Today bestseller David Dalglish’s epic fantasy trilogy, a warrior priest must answer the call and protect his world from monsters, when ancient magic suddenly returns to his land.

Devin Eveson is a Soulkeeper, travelling through remote villages as a preacher and healer. But when a dragon awakens – the size of a mountain and leaving great chasms in its wake – the veil is torn, flooding the land with ancient magic and forgotten races. Now Devin must set aside his words of peace and accept his new role: slayer of monsters and protector of the human race.

But not all the creatures that have re-awakened mean humanity harm. And as Devin slowly befriends people of these new races, his discomfort in his role grows. But Soulkeepers must slay without mercy. And even sympathisers risk their wrath.

I took this absolute chonk of a book on vacation with me a few weeks back and read it in TWO DAYS. It’s over 700 pages and I was hooked the whole duration of the book. I was thoroughly taken with the story, the characters, and the idea of a world where magical creatures have suddenly reemerged long after they had become mere myth.

Devin Eveson is a soulkeeper, essentially a travelling preacher and healer that also sort of shoos souls from the deceased so that they may be burned rather than buried. When a sudden change washes through the world (somewhat literally in places), Devin is in a remote mountain village. His location affords him an up close and rather horrifying encounter with the newly returned magic and he swiftly travels to the town where his borther-in-law resides to see if he survived. They two then travel to the main city, where things have changed just as drastically, though perhaps not as obviously at first. Some humans have acquired powers of healing and elemental control and a dragon the size of a mountain – one that I actually imagined as a mountain sized hermit crab – has parked itself outside the city gates. A green-clad murderer is stalking the streets and turning his victims into ghastly “art” and monstrous owls hunt the streets at night. This book was quite the amalgam of supernatural entities and plot threads.

There were quite a few POVs in this book, the majority of which I greatly enjoyed. I thought some of the dialogue was a little cheesy and things felt a bit “extra” or over the top at times, which is really saying something because this is a fantasy book and that practically guarantees something a teensy bit ridiculous. There was so much going on in this book that it was a bit overwhelming, though not difficult to keep up with if that makes any sense. I was pretty invested in this book by the end and I’ll definitely be reading the next one, meaning this was good enough for the time investment to be worth it!

Overall, this was a fun book that went extra heavy on the fantastical creatures, though their sudden presence was justified well. It wasn’t a perfect read for me though it was a solid one and honestly lived up appropriately to my expectations. For me this was a perfect vacation read – not too serious and one that could easily keep me occupied without my attention wandering at all!