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Book Reviews

Book Review: Servant of the Crown by Duncan M. Hamilton

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonslayer #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Long laid plans finally bear fruit, but will it prove as sweet as hoped for? With the king on his deathbed, the power Amaury has sought for so long is finally in his grasp.

As opposition gathers from unexpected places, dragonkind fights for survival and a long-awaited reckoning grows close.

Soléne masters her magic, but questions the demands the world will make of her. Unable to say no when the call of duty comes, Gill realizes that the life he had given up on has not given up on him.

 

My Review: All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes. Servant of the Crown was a great ending to the Dragonslayer trilogy. Many emotions ran through me, thoughts on hyperdrive, because I didn’t know how Gill, Solène, and Pharadon would succeed in stopping the usurper, Amaury. I was hooked!

Mirabay is irrevocably changing, which is never easy to deal with, especially on this scale. I think for some characters they’re starting to realize their worth, what they want from life, find a purpose, and/or discover what matters. Almost like, what will they do with the time they have left?

Some parts of the story were sad because of certain character deaths, leaving me brokenhearted. One death I felt had a high chance of being avoided if people didn’t waste time.

I wish Solène had more page time. Though told in varying POVs, Gill was featured the most, which makes sense in the grand scheme of things, because he kind of begins the series and we finally get that long awaited showdown between Gill and Amaury in this last installment.

I was a little disappointed with the end of Amaury’s story. He’s one of the best, most wicked antagonists I’ve ever read. I felt he deserved a longer build up in that final scene. It went by too fast.

The last little bit of the story was also disappointing. While things wrapped up well and came full circle, it seemed like Gill and Solène got the short end of the stick. After all they’ve been through and sacrificed to save Mirabay from danger, they’d more than earned…a happier ending? for lack of better words. “Once a servant of the crown, ever a servant of the crown,” I guess.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the book and would recommend this series. Hamilton’s stories will leave you amazed and entertained.


More by Duncan M. Hamilton

Dragonslayer
Dragonslayer (#1)
Knight of the Silver Circle (#2)

The Wolf of the North
The Wolf of the North (#1)

Blood of Kings
The Squire (#1)

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About Books

First Read of September

Happy Saturday!

Although I don’t have a definite tbr planned for September, I’m deciding to start the month off by reading Servant of the Crown by Duncan M. Hamilton.

Image via Goodreads

Yes, it’s the third book I’m reading from him this summer but also the final book of a captivating fantasy trilogy.

Gill and Solène have come a long way since book 1. They gone through so much to reclaim and gain control over their lives (respectively), while at the same time facing off against dragons and whatever evil machinations the devious, and power-hunger Amaury sends their way.

It never gets easier saying farewell to a highly entertaining book or series. The author has taken readers on a wild ride and created such rich, multi-dimensional characters. I’m envisioning this final book will be as gloriously fantastical and dangerous as its predecessors.

What was or will be your first read of the month?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Reviews

Book Review: The Squire by Duncan M. Hamilton

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Image via Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Blood of Kings #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/4
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When creatures that lurk in the dark dare to venture out into the world, lives are changed forever.

Conrad lives a quiet rural life with his parents in the Northlands. During one fated night, his world is turned on its head, as nightmares become reality. While his Northlands blood cries out for revenge, Conrad’s head tells him surviving is the best he can do.

Rescued by a motley band of mercenaries, Conrad embarks on a life he could barely have imagined. As new challenges, friends, and enemies present themselves, Conrad knows that one day he will have to face the evil that so altered his life, and when that day comes, he must be ready.

 

My Review: The Squire was a great read! The stunning cover is just the start of this new, stirring adventure by Duncan M. Hamilton!

A few familiar names and places from past trilogies are mentioned, which was fun to finally be able to start recognizing even if I don’t know the significance yet. It makes me wonder if at some point everything will come together for a big showdown to save the world.

I sympathize with Conrad’s struggles. His whole world is turned upside down in one night. After being rescued by a very likable, good-natured group of people, he’s quickly forced to grow up and adapt in order to survive. Their travels eventually take them to southern lands where Conrad’s world view expands further than he ever could have imagined. The society and culture are significantly different from where he came from.

Between assimilating, proving his worth, becoming stronger, and dealing with a bully, this 12 year old farmer’s son has a daunting, challenging journey ahead of him. I like his drive to learn even if it is equal parts willingness and reluctance.

Conrad is a mystery but his actions and reactions felt authentic for someone like him. His age and inexperience showed a lot – sometimes in worrisome, anxiety inducing ways – so I wondered about his true purpose within the story and as the main character. I do think that every obstacle faced and hard truth he learned were huge learning experiences that will serve him well in the next book. That he’ll be one step closer towards his desire to be useful, to be able to defend himself, and collect on his blood debt.

The pacing of the story is slow going, at times dull but way more often exciting and suspenseful. Everyone is on edge by the possible threat of centuries old myths actually turning out to be real. The last 40ish pages had me on the edge of my seat! I was so wowed and mad by the way it ended because I wanted book 2 right then and there. The Squire was a successful start to a new series.


More by Duncan M. Hamilton

Dragonslayer
Dragonslayer (#1)
Knight of the Silver Circle (#2)

The Wolf of the North
The Wolf of the North (#1)

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: The Wolf of the North by Duncan M. Hamilton

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Wolf of the North #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: It has been generations since the Northlands have seen a hero worthy of the title. Many have made the claim, but few have lived to defend it. Timid, weak, and bullied, Wulfric is as unlikely a candidate as there could be.

A chance encounter with an ancient and mysterious object awakens a latent gift, and Wulfric’s life changes course. Against a backdrop of war, tragedy, and an enemy whose hatred for him knows no bounds, Wulfric will be forged from a young boy, into the Wolf of the North. This is his tale.

 

My Review: Duncan M. Hamilton never fails to impress me with his storytelling skills that make you feel. The Wolf of the North is a well-woven story.

Wulfric’s story and how he eventually becomes known as Ulfyr, The Wolf of the North, is being told to an audience of townspeople by someone, called The Maisterspeaker, who seems closely familiar with Wulfric. I like that Wulfric’s story is set up in this way. There are varying perspectives and lots of character names to write down, but not in a way that feels overwhelming.

I liked the world-building a great deal. The way of the warrior and life in the Northlands is tough, harsh, deadly, and at times unforgiving. Everything gets worse and worse for Wulfric, the people of Leondorf, and more. I wanted to cry at the loss of innocents and a way of life.

Hamilton really knows how to craft wicked and devious villains who will make your blood boil. I mostly rooted for Wulfric because it seemed obvious who caused a copious amount of death and destruction. Yet there was too much frustrating inaction and lack of problem solving on Wulfric’s part.

I did like Wulfric’s beginning romance with his childhood (and only) friend, Adalhaid. That too was also sometimes frustrating and sad because they are clearly meant to be, but fate tragically has other plans.

That ending, though! Wow! It left me wanting to know more. Wulfric’s future remains uncertain and his journey has only just begun.


More by Duncan M. Hamilton

Dragonslayer
Dragonslayer (#1)
Knight of the Silver Circle (#2)

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Knight of the Silver Circle by Duncan M. Hamilton

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Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonslayer #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Three dragons wreak havoc throughout Mirabay–eating livestock, killing humans, and burning entire villages to ash. It was nearly impossible to kill one, using a legendary sword and the magic of the mysterious Cup; to tackle three, Guillot dal Villerauvais will need help.

The mage Solène fears having to kill again; she leaves Gill to gain greater control over her magic.

The Prince Bishop still wants Gill dead, but more than that, he wants the Cup, and he’ll do whatever he has to to get it, even sending his own daughter–a talented thief and assassin–into the dragons’ path.

As secrets mount on secrets and betrayals on betrayals, both Guillot and Solène face critical decisions that will settle not only their own fate but that of all Mirabaya.

 

My Review: Knight of the Silver Circle, book 2 of the Dragonslayer trilogy, ups the stakes in this action-packed, page-turner story.

There are a lot of moving parts and multiple POVs that kept my interest and the story moving forward. Every POV counted and added to the overall plot.

Guillot, who has lost so much and fallen so far, nobly answers the call once more to slay dragons but faces many challenges as it’s unclear who to trust. He is slowly surely transforming into a better man than he used to be with some bumps in the road. His character development was well done.

Solène is still experiencing mental turmoil of having killed someone for the first time. I like that she doesn’t spend the whole book lamenting but instead does something about it by seeking aid to control her unknown level of magic. I also like that she gets to act independently of Guillot.

The Prince Bishop Amaury, our complex and dastardly antagonist will stop at nothing to realize his dreams and maintain power no matter what, whether through blackmail, hiring thugs or murder. Amaury gradually grows into the wicked and a master manipulator that he is as we learn more about his desires and grievances.

As with the previous book, we get the POV of a dragon; this one named Pharadon. He has a completely different reaction after waking up from centuries of sleep. His viewpoint is pivotal as it provides a perspective on the relationship dragons and humans used to have and dragon culture in general. Also, through Pharadon and Solène, we learn a lot more about the history of magic in this world. Pharadon’s character sets up interesting foreshadowing for book 3.

A quick read, I enjoyed reading Knight of the Silver Circle. The plot is evenly paced and engrossing. The ending left me wanting more. I can’t wait to learn how the protagonists will stop Amaury once and for all.

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About Books ARCs Spotlight

Happy Book Release Day! to Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton

Thanks again to Tor Books (Macmillan-Tor/Forge) and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.

 

Image via NetGalley

DRAGONSLAYER review

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonslayer, book 1
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via NetGalley):
In his magnificent, heroic, adventure fantasy, Dragonslayer, Duncan M. Hamilton debuts the first book in a fast-moving trilogy: a dangerous tale of lost magics, unlikely heroes, and reawakened dragons.

Once a member of the King’s personal guard, Guillot dal Villevauvais spends most days drinking and mourning his wife and child. He’s astonished—and wary—when the Prince Bishop orders him to find and destroy a dragon. He and the Prince Bishop have never exactly been friends and Gill left the capital in disgrace five years ago. So why him? And, more importantly, how is there a dragon to fight when the beasts were hunted to extinction centuries ago by the ancient Chevaliers of the Silver Circle?

On the way to the capitol city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. He believes her innocent…but she soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden. Yet the Prince Bishop believes magic will be the key to both destroying the dragon and replacing the young, untried King he pretends to serve with a more pliable figurehead.

Between Gill’s rusty swordsmanship and Solene’s unstable magic, what could go wrong?

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About Books Bookish Lists Spotlight

Mid-Year Look Back 2019: Favorite New Authors & Books (so far)

Favorite New Authors

 

Favorite Books Read

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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Book Review: Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton

Thank you to Tor Books (Macmillan-Tor/Forge) and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton is set to be published July 2, 2019.

 

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonslayer, book 1
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via NetGalley):
In his magnificent, heroic, adventure fantasy, Dragonslayer, Duncan M. Hamilton debuts the first book in a fast-moving trilogy: a dangerous tale of lost magics, unlikely heroes, and reawakened dragons.

Once a member of the King’s personal guard, Guillot dal Villevauvais spends most days drinking and mourning his wife and child. He’s astonished—and wary—when the Prince Bishop orders him to find and destroy a dragon. He and the Prince Bishop have never exactly been friends and Gill left the capital in disgrace five years ago. So why him? And, more importantly, how is there a dragon to fight when the beasts were hunted to extinction centuries ago by the ancient Chevaliers of the Silver Circle?

On the way to the capitol city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. He believes her innocent…but she soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden. Yet the Prince Bishop believes magic will be the key to both destroying the dragon and replacing the young, untried King he pretends to serve with a more pliable figurehead.

Between Gill’s rusty swordsmanship and Solene’s unstable magic, what could go wrong?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Dragonslayer is an entertaining adventure about a man fighting to pick himself up after falling so low and a woman looking to find a place she can finally call home where she won’t have to live in fear.

This was a heavily character driven story as the reader witnesses the internal/external struggles of the main characters and their subsequent growth. This is always nice to see and it was well-crafted by the author. I just wish there had been a bit more action to balance things out. However, based on the ending, I expect things to engage things of epic proportions in book 2, which I am looking forward to reading.

Guillot dal Villevauvais is a drunk. His drunkenness understandable once you learn what prompted it but it makes you wonder if he really is going to be the supposed hero of the story. His fall from grace, his loss of those he loved most, sent him into a deep drunken depression. But I liked that the author didn’t make that the sole reason. That his past goes much deeper than what we and Guillot originally thought. And although he’s fallen so far, he still is the brave, honorable chevalier people used to respect him for being.

Solène I liked but I kind of wished there was more to her. There was just something missing, something unexpected, to make her more a rounded character.

Mystery and millennium old secrets are brought to the surface, making the world Hamilton builds a very intriguing puzzle to solve in future books.

I loved and was sadden by Alpheratz, the dragon in question, getting sections of the story told from his point of view. I think it was a good choice to hear his thoughts and feelings. He is not some terrifying wild beast (well, not completely) but a living being whose everything was taken from him, the last of his kind. His rage and vengeance are understandable. Getting to know Alpheratz brought an additional awareness as to who the true villains of the story are.

I’m looking forward to reading book 2.

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TBR Lists

TBR At A Glance – 6/4/19

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Currently Reading

  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas, book 1)

 

Reading Next

  • Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

  • Angelbound by Christina Bauer (Angelbound Origins, book 1)

 

Recent Reviews

 

Reviews Coming Soon

  • June 5Adulthood Is A Myth & Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (Sarah’s Scribbles, books 1  & 2)

  • June 11Squint by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

  • June 12Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas, book 1)

  • June 17Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton (Dragonslayer, book 1) (ARC review)

Categories
TBR Lists

TBR At A Glance – 5/2/19

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Currently Reading

  • Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton (ARC)
  • Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
  • Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen (Dark Shores, book 1) (ARC)

Reading Next

  • Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
  • The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
  • Avoiding Alpha by Aileen Erin (Alpha Girl, book 2)
  • Alpha Divided by Aileen Erin (Alpha Girl, book 3)
  • Wolfsong by T. J. Klune (Green Creek, book 1)

Recent Reviews

Reviews Coming Soon

  • TOMORROWAll For You by Dana Marie Bell (The Nephilim, book 1)
  • MAY 7 Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen (Dark Shores, book 1)
  • MAY 14Zane: The Wild One, Art by Eko Yumi, Original Novel by Bronwyn Jameson
  • MAY 16The Heir from Nowhere, Art by Yu Mahara, Original Novel by Trish Morey