[Review] Thane(Book 1 of the Everknot Duet) by Travis Bow

Summary

A fletcher’s apprentice finally finds his calling in a brotherhood of elite rebel spies… until he discovers his leader’s plot to betray them all.

When the Huctans conscript Timothy into a secret army—and when a girl with a strange set of skills sets him free—an awkward young man gets the chance to become a hero. Throwing himself into the rebel cause, Timothy ignites years of pent-up frustration and futility in an obsessive drive to fight, spy, and deceive better than anyone else. Losing himself in the exhaustion of training and the danger of missions, he finds friendship with a Thane as fanatical as he is and wraps his new identity completely in service to the rebel Band.

The rebel Band which, unbeknownst to him, was created to be betrayed.

A heart-breaking tale of duplicity, passion, and adventure.


Review

4.6/5

Wow. That was a great read. There are subtle hints of the author’s love of Parkour throughout the novel which creates an interesting effect in the context of a medieval society. I mean, medieval fantasy combined with Parkour. Hook me up!

With an interesting prose(nicely structured sentences), Travis demonstrates his proficiency as a writer. The story flows fluidly from one plot point to another. The characters are well fleshed out which allows for some interesting conflicts such as the desire to protect one’s nation vs seeking safety. Moreover, unlike many other authors, Bow takes the time to ensure that the characters go through the training sequence rather than have op characters off the bat. The main drawback is that the novel seems largely to be a setup for the future novels but based on what I have seen, I hold high expectations for the next novel. Overall, the novel serves as a nice throwback to more traditional fantasy(coming of age) compared to the predominance of grim,gritty fantasy. The well developed plot and characters set the stage for an riveting sequel.

I received a free copy of this book in return for my honest, non-reciprocal opinion.


Author Bio

Travis grew up in Reno, NV (where he raised pigs for FFA). He earned degrees from Oklahoma Christian University (where he broke his collarbone in a misguided Parkour attempt) and Stanford (where he and his bike were hit by a car), spent 5 years doing R&D for Nikon (where he earned several patents), and now works on medical robots in Reno. He has written a two-book series about teenage medieval secret agents, and his short stories have appeared in Spark, Abyss and Apex, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Stupefying Stories, Punchnel’s, Kids ‘Magination, and Liquid Imagination.

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[Review] Assassin’s Apprentice by Robbin Hobb

Summary

Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.

As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.


My Review

4.25/5

This was a masterpiece. As an introductive novel, Hobb sets the stage for an riveting tale that will last for many years. Of course, one of the things I love most about the novel is Hobb’s fleshing of the characters.

In less than 500 pages, we observe the plausible transition of a timid boy into an semi-skilled assassin. We experience the loneliness of a boy who has been mistreated since his birth. His bastard station grounding point that we know will lead to him becoming a strong character over the course of the new few books(much like Jon Snow of Game of Thrones). In a fit of irony, while Fitz is characterized as a bastard, it is Regal and Galen who are the bastards. We see skillful foreshadowing by Hobb when she inserts details about the raiders that set the stage for future novels.

While the plot is hardly the most unique I have ever seen and the story’s pace is tepid, I recommend this novel without reservations. Even when there are flaws, they often serve to enhance the story. The tepid pace allows for well developed characters and the cliches are often presented in a way that makes them seem new.


Author Bio

Robin Hobb is a fantasy novelist working from Tacoma, Washington. Best known for The Farseer Trilogy, she has been actively writing and published since she was eighteen years old.

[Review]The Devil Take Tomorrow by Gretchen Jeannette

Summary

George Washington has been marked for death. British agents embedded in the Continental Army wait only for the order to strike. Racing against time, rebel spy Ethan Matlock sets out to protect the one man who can save the Revolution. Without General Washington, the whole American enterprise might easily collapse, for no one else has demonstrated the ability to keep together an army that constantly threatens to fall apart.

Boldly Ethan infiltrates the heart of the British military, occupiers of grand old Philadelphia, where elegant officers posture in drawing rooms and frolic in the bedrooms of the rich. Surrounded by twenty thousand redcoats, aware that the slightest misstep could lead to the gallows, Ethan resorts to vicious measures to unravel a conspiracy of power-hungry men. Against his better judgment, he becomes entangled with the provocative Miss Maddie Graves, whose fierce devotion to the American cause ironically threatens his mission. (less)


My Review

4.49/5

“Where the army goes, the law soon disappears.” -Gretchen Jeannette in The Devil Take Tommorrow.

This haunting quote is echoed throughout the novel where we see the tradegy war has had on colonial america- it has split families such as Loxley’s, jailed men who care about their country such as Maddie’s father, and caused death and misery throughout America.

The novel revoles around the tale of two lovers Ethan and Maddie but its true strength lies in its historical portrayal. From the very first page which is a letter to George Washington, the reader is instantly immersed into the revolutionary drama that is to come. We get a glimpse of almost every feature of colonial life from glittering balls to elaborate powdered wigs. The research that is demonstrated in the novel must have been painstakingly collected over months, if not years.

I won’t mince words: while the writing sometimes is over descriptive for the sake of being descriptive, I still would recommend the book because of its outstanding historical research and decent romance. If you want to get a glimpse of colonial life, this is the book for you.

Disclaimer: I was provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Author Bio(Gretchen Jeannette)

I live and work in Chester County, Pennsylvania, an area rich in Revolutionary War and Colonial American history. My enduring interest in 18th Century America began at a young age, inspired by the novels of Dale Van Every and Allan Eckert, whose timeless tales of adventure and romance capture the essence of early American lore. Eager to read more such stories, to my disappointment I had trouble finding them on bookshelves, so I decided to write one of my own. Thus began a journey fueled by my passion for breathing life into history through believable characters, plots woven with adventure, romance and suspense and, of course, plenty of derring-do.

Planned Book for 2018

Project #1

Working Title: Whispers of Darkness

Series: This is the first book in a trilogy.

Current Stage: 3/4 of the First draft written.

Blurb

Death is smiling. His stomach rumbles in anticipation for the uncountable number of souls that he will soon devoir. The fate of civilization lies in a select few who are unprepared for the chaos that has already begun to engulf the world. This is a story unlike any other- a story that will delve into realms unimaginable. Across vast continents, to the bottom of the dark sea, to the heights of the azure sky, to the reaches of shadowy mountains, to the embrace of living forests, this story is a story that will be spoken for ages.

In the mysterious land of Elyria where talking animals, elves, dwarves, and other creatures roam, hints of trouble lurk. Wild beasts roam and discontent with the ruling regime grows. At the center lies, the rangers, a group dedicated to placing their own on the throne.

In the vast old empire of Cakhut, the idealist Emperor wages war against the Scathiian empire while plotting reforms that many in the empire oppose. His wife, the Empress, is regent of the Great Court in his absence. Having long viewed itself as master of the world, Cakhut’s dominance will be severely tested by the coming wars.

And in the background, emissaries and officials of a shadowy figure scheme. They are everywhere and nowhere.

The Great Seal has been broken and few have the chance to stop the chaos that will soon engulf the world. Here is a story of emperors and peasants, soldiers and peacemen, elves and orcs, architects and builders, civilizations and savages, who are bound together in a grand story of the ages. As orcs bear men off to the embrace of death; orphans seek justice; Empress and harems play the games of politics, scholars discovery secrets; wanderers wander no more, the great mystery which has remained unsolved for a millenia looms in the background. This is a time for epics.

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