Book Review: A Dance of Shadows by David Dalglish

A Dance of Shadows is David Dalglish’s 4th book in his Shadowdance Series. This time around, Lord Victor Kane a man with a mysterious past enters Veldaren and promises to rid all the thief guilds and in doing so get rid of most of the crime in the city. At the same time, an assassin called The Widow has also entered Veldaren and is targeting Spider Guild members. While our hero, The Watcher, tries to deal with this so called Widow, he also has to decide whether Lord Victor Kane is good for the city or not.

Reading this, I can’t help but think that Dalglish is using a certain formula. A notorious figure enters a city, promises change or vows to dominate. In the meantime a rogue assassin is killing people. Then somewhere in the middle enter blood thirsty mercenaries. The similarities between the third book and this are there. However that does not mean it is a bad book, it is still exciting and an incredibly fun read.

Dalglish manages to juggle through character to character and keeps them interesting. Making sure that each character has motivation to do whatever it is he/she is doing. There are many returning characters and a lot of them are nicely written. Thren Felhorn plays a larger role this time around but a big, show stealer is Deathmask. Although his intentions still unclear, he is written in such a bad ass way. I have no doubt he’s a favorite amongst the series’ readers. Tarlak also plays a larger role although I still can’t get over his appearance as he is described in the book as a wizard that wears bright yellow robes. That said he’s got some nice fight scenes and great moments.

Lord Victor Kane or as he is called in the book, Victor, plays a prominent role, and it’s safe to say he is written quite well, The Widow on the other hand is a mystery waiting to be solved, the revelation however is quite shocking and would definitely take the readers by surprise. There are a lot of great moments in this book and great fight scenes are also there however there are plot hole or story arcs that felt like it was dropped mid way through leaving them incomplete.

To conclude, A Dance of Shadows is a step up from A Dance of Death, mainly for the characters are well written and not to mention highly interesting story arcs. There is never a dull moment in this book and every page an essential event is happening. The combat style this time around is very RPG-esque with a warriors on the front, Wizards on the side and healers on the back. That said, it is fun ride through and through. Recommended for the fans of the series and also new readers can get into it without reading the previous three books.

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Book Review: Spook’s Revenge By Joseph Delaney

The Spook’s Revenge, the final book on the Wardstone Chronicles. This book dwells on the events after Spook’s Alice. After coming out of the dark, Alice encounters Grimalkin, who gives her an idea on how to destroy the Fiend, by reading the grimoire Doomdryte. While this is occurring, Tom and the Spook, on the other hand prepares and thinks of ways to fully defeat The Fiend.

Having read all the books before this, I was both very excited and sad to read this book, for the same reason which is, it is the final book of the series, The Wardstone Chronicles. To my judgement I was very happy with The Spook’s Revenge. I can tell that Joseph Delaney went all out on writing the book. Tying up loose ends and giving it an ending that stayed true to the nature of the plot and yet a satisfying one at that.

There are a lot of things that happens in this book, deaths, betrayals, unexpected alliances so much that would definitely give the reader that sense of excitement and the feeling of not having any clue on what is going to happen next. It is unpredictable and quite shocking at points. It does take you on an emotional roller coaster but in the end it delivers a gratifying ending. Long time fan of the series would have no problem with the conclusion but I’m certain some won’t be too pleased.

The writing as usual is magnificent, Joseph Delaney really knows how to extract emotions from his readers, whether it is happiness, sadness or the sense of victory on also as said on the title that vengeful emotion. As we follow through events in the eyes of Tom Ward, we are very sympathetic on what happens to him in the book and all of it is due to Delaney’s writing.

To conclude, as a big fan of the series from reading the first book to this. I am very pleased and very happy with this book, I am quite sad since it is the final book on this series but as the foreboding events in Spook’s Slither, we may not have seen the last of Tom Ward although the sneak peak at the back of the book confirms this as well. I do not think this is the best in this series, The Spook’s Nightmare followed by Destiny are still my favorite, however the Spook’s Revenge is still a strong and rewarding book for long time fans.

Book Review: Spook’s Alice By Joseph Delaney

Spook’s Alice is the 12th book in Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles. This time we see things in Alice’s perspective as she travels into the dark to take a dagger called The Doloures. On the way she encounters a mixture of new and familiar faces.

Coming off from Spook’s Slither (book 11) I was very excited to read Spook’s Alice and finally continue the story of Tom Ward. Unfortunately I was a little bit disappointed for a large portion of this book is a flashback. A flashback of which I felt was not necessary or should have been on the book Spook’s Stories: Witches. Another flashback felt like it should have been the books prologue rather than a chapter in the book. Personally it ruined the book’s flow for me and I found myself almost skimming through it just to get to the true part of the story.

That said the good outweighs the bad for the book does deliver on the continuation of the series and not only that it brought the gore, the blood, the violence and the horrendous monsters that always appear on the series. Not only this but we also see familiar faces such as Thorne, Bony Lizzie and much much more. You would have to read all the previous books to be familiar with the names that appear in this books and believe me there are a lot.

To conclude I believe this should’ve been a much shorter book if it wasn’t for the dragged out flashback and without the flashback the book would have gotten a perfect 5 stars. Although it does give a satisfying continuation and it does really excite you for the last book. And as we read before seeing Alice go all powerful is one of those moments we love reading about and this book delivers of that.

Book Review: The Spook’s Slither by Joseph Delaney

Spook’s Slither is the 11th book in Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles. It follows a Haizda Mage named Slither.

Slither’s Tale does not particularly have a strong connection to the on going series other than it features one of the main characters in the form of Grimalkin. Nonetheless I find this a swift and a very entertaining read. It features monsters, assassins, mages and a whole lot amount of action involving decapitations, blood drinking and other nasty doings. All of it of course makes up a very solid journey overall.

The book is told in to two different perspectives. One is told by the protagonist Slither and the other in the view of Nessa. Slither is not the usual hero that we get. In fact we can tell that he is a monster through and through he will kill, drink blood, decapitate and he loves a good competition. Bounded by a trade he is forced to take care of 3 human girls one of which is Nessa, the other perspective in the book. Nessa brings the humanity in the book, that human perspective that will give a humanistic reaction to monsters and their doings. This, in return gives a perfect blend in the book, switching from one perspective to another when needed.

Another factor to take in to the book is Grimalkin. To me, I feel like Grimalkin was needed in the book. Her personality and charisma brings lively tone and gives the readers that extra nudge to keep them on reading.

To conclude, Delaney, successfully expanded the universe the original series is in. It is indeed a great expansion, but I feel like this should have been written after the main story arc has been finished. I can also confidently say that loyal readers can skip this book and go straight to book 12 after book 10 and they would not miss anything from the main arc. However this should be a satisfying read to readers who would want to take a break from the main story.

Graphic Novel Review: Dr Strange: The Oath By Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin

Critically wounded by a gunshot, Dr Strange is rushed into the clinic of Night Nurse, a practitioner that mostly tends super heroes. Prior to the events that occurred, we find out that, Dr Strange was robbed and a mystical Elixir has been taken away from him, an Elixir that has the ability to cure cancer.

This is my first time reading a Dr Strange run, although I know a few amount of information about the superhero, I haven’t had the chance to completely dwell into his character until now. Reading The Oath, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the story as it develops. However rather linear, the story was incredibly fun to follow.

The Oath is not an origin story but it does give the readers enough amount of origin story to know about Stephen Strange’s past and how he became the supreme sorcerer. The artwork is undeniably amazing and the dialogue is well written. It allows the first time readers to read into the character of Stephen Strange.

In The Oath, Stephen Strange is also accompanied by Night Nurse and Wong. Both characters are written nicely with enough emphasis on both of them to make the readers care about their character. The antagonist is someone I truly liked as he is not your typical bad guy but rather a complex character who is conflicted between what is right or wrong.

To sum up The Oath is a great series for both long time fans and new readers who are trying to get into Dr Strange. With an engrossing story and a climax that was extremely well done, it is an entertaining read that will no doubt make the reader want to read more of Dr Strange.

Book Review: Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks

Wards of Faerie is one of those books that may captivate you looking at it’s cover. If you’re a big fan of the fantasy genre and you saw this at a book store. Without a doubt it will get your attention. However an awesome cover does not usually mean an awesome book. Thus the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

Wards of Faerie starts of in a promising way. Showing you an old diary entries about a romantic story between two lovers. Of course as most cliches go, there were complications in their relationships and simply put the girl’s parents forbids her from seeing the boy. In retaliation the boy stole five out of six Elfstones and ran away. However he left a note that says she can use the last Elfstone to find him. Fast forward to the current setting of the book, An elf named Aphenglow discovers these entries and used it to help find the five remaining Elfstones.

That itself should tell you more about this book than it needed to. You’ve got the different races, forbidden romance, and a quest that can immensely affect each and everyone in the world of the book. It is a very generic set up for a fantasy and unfortunately you probably have seen this in earlier books or even in video games. Yes a party is needed for the quest and yes the bad guys are also looking for the said Elfstones. There are not that many aspects in this book that is unique. The story is predictable and the characters mostly one dimensional. There are some that may get your attention here and there and the action sequences are well written. However even that does not save the book from it’s dull premise.

To conclude, it will be liked for people who don’t mind a good fantasy book. The world is very Tolkien like, with elves, orcs, humans, dwarves and of course dragon. That said, it is very generic and people who are looking for a more enthralling form of fantasy would most likely not see it here.

Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Having watched the first two movies I was curious on how The Hobbit(book) actually played out, specially with the cliffhanger ending of the movie, I just had to read the book to find out the ending. That said, this review will be purely based on what I felt about the book and there will be no movie references for that matter.

The Hobbit was not as a page turner as I expected it to be. It starts quite slow and never really picks up until the third act. In between though, delivers some really enthralling chapters. Riddles in the Dark, is a marvel to read and the exchange of riddles between Bilbo and Gollum feels like an intense match of tennis and one is equally as witty as the other. The adventures withing the Mirkwood forest also delivers some uncomfortable scenes, the feeling of hopelessness is felt and really makes you emotionally attached to the dwarves and makes you feel their frustration while wandering within the forest.

As the third act begins, it really is a giant snowball rolling swiftly down a hill. The plot turns, shocking character changes and not to mention a dreadful war is at hand. It really is the best part of the book for me and it was handled perfectly.

Overall apart from the slow start, there is nothing bad about this book. It delivers an amazing journey and in terms of Bilbo a great sense of self discovery. It’s an incredible book and all fans of the fantasy genre will undoubtedly love it.