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Book Review

The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

A Question. If something hurts, does that make it true? With this intriguing opener of a question begins Seth Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant, the first of three planned sequels to 2015’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Dickinson burst onto the fantasy scene with Traitor, a geopolitical epic which introduces Baru Cormorant of the island of Taranoke. After the ruling Empire of Masks, or Masquerade, ransacks her homeland, Baru is chosen by the devious Cairdine F...

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review written by Michael Feeney on Monday 3rd December 2018
Book Review

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

It's difficult to write a review of Ghost Story without giving spoilers away about the previous book, Changes. Having said that, I'd recommend reading Changes before attempting Ghost Story, while any of the Dresden Files novels can be read individually, read this one without knowing the history will spoil it for you a little if you want to read the previous books.

As the title implies, in Ghost Story Harry Dresden has become a spook, without his powers and unable to affec...

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review written by Ant on Monday 26th November 2018
Book Review

Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher

Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher

There is a surprising amount of Fantasy that is essentially an epic game of magical rock, paper, scissors. Various mages, witches and Gods all fighting each other with differing powers. They are strong against one power, but weak against another. The balance of the world rests on all these powers cancelling one another out. But what happens when a hero enters with no powers at all? Their lack of strength means they will be required to use intelligence and guile to get by. Perhaps this is actu...

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review written by Sam Tyler on Friday 23rd November 2018
Book Review

A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

Popstars of the 60s dread their back catalogue going into the public domain. Their retirement fund has now been opened to everyone to listen to for free. If you think that is sad, please spare a moment for the poor authors who have long died and whose work is open to all. The likes of Shakespeare, Doyle and Carroll have had their work rewritten and reinterpreted hundreds of times. Sometimes this is done well and lets you explore the originals in a new light. Other times it just feels like a m...

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review written by Sam Tyler on Thursday 15th November 2018
Book Review

Hallowdene by George Mann

Hallowdene by George Mann

Hallowdene is the second book in the Wychwood series, a crime thriller that weaves into the story supernatural elements. Elspeth Reeves is making a new life for herself in a quiet, sleepy village near Oxford, having escaped the hectic life of London. As a journalist for the local paper, she is often involved in events around the area. One such annual event known as Hollowdene is fast approaching when she is called to report on an excavation of the body of three hundred year old witch Agn...

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review written by Ant on Friday 26th October 2018
Book Review

131 Days by Keith Blackmore

131 Days by Keith Blackmore

Blackmore is a vastly under-appreciated author. His Mountain Man novels are a superb example of a post-apocalyptic / zombie series.

131 days does for heroic, gladiatorial fantasy what Mountain Man did for Zombies, a charged, fast-paced story that has confidence, style and plenty of GrimDark. Every year in the city of Sunja, gladitorial games are held in the Pit. Often fighting to the death, some fighters enter for fame, others for the money - a few for the chance of carrying out ...

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review written by Ant on Tuesday 16th October 2018
Book Review

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

The clue to what makes the Fantasy genre so great is staring you straight in the face; it is fantastical. It gives author the chance to transport their readers to a different time and place. Lands full of wonder, populated by creatures only seen in your dreams. So, it is sometimes a little sad to see how serious and dark Fantasy has become in recent years. This no doubt reflects our own uncertain times, but do we really need to dwell on the basest things when we could be reading about dragons...

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review written by Sam Tyler on Friday 28th September 2018
Book Review

The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding

The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding

The Ember Blade is a legendary sword, the sword of kings, and the spark needed to ignite the fires of revolution.

Aren has lived by the rules all his young life, without question. Then his father is executed for treason and his whole world is shattered. Thrown into a prison-mine with his friend Cade, they are doomed to work until they die of exhuastion. That is unless somehow they can break free. But what lies beyond the prison could be even worse, the land long occupied by harsh r...

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review written by Ant on Monday 27th August 2018
Book Review

Ravencry by Ed McDonald

Ravencry by Ed McDonald

Last year one of the most impressive debut's I read was Ed McDonald's Blackwing. It's dark, confident and bold fiction with some exceptional world-building and even finer characters,

Ravencry is the sequel and does everything a sequel should, building on the best elements of the first novel and taking the story in new directions. Four years have passed since the events of Blackwing and Galharrow still works for one of the nameless as a blackwing captain, while the Deep ...

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review written by Ant on Monday 30th July 2018
Book Review

Witchsign by Den Patrick

Witchsign by Den Patrick

It’s a bleak start to Den Patrick’s latest fantasy adventure and the first instalment of his Ashen Torment trilogy. It’s been a tough year in the village of Cinderfell and Blacksmith Marek is struggling to make ends meet for him and his two children. But feeding his family isn’t his only problem. His daughter Kjellrunn has always been different from the others, and with the Empire’s Invigilation on the horizon, he worries he may lose her forever. However, when the tyrannical Synod d...

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review written by Alice Wybrew on Wednesday 2nd May 2018
Book Review

The Wolf by Leo Carew

The Wolf by Leo Carew

The Wolf is the debut of Leo Carew, a graduate of Cambridge University with a degree in Biological Anthropology, specialising in the Palaeolithic.

The authors knowledge and perspective colours the story, providing a rich and detailed backdrop of an alternative world that somewhat resembles the Viking Era. The northern lands of Albion are inhabited by a long lived race of giants known as the Anakim. Measuring their lives in centuries, the Anakim relish the harsh conditions of life ...

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review written by Ant on Thursday 22nd March 2018
Book Review

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

On the surface, this post-apocalyptic tale of infection, nuclear fallout and scattered, savage humanity is no different from the many others that have gone before it. But what saves it from being just another drop in the great maelstrom of dystopian novels is the author’s taught and affecting story-telling of one girl’s struggle to come to terms with her place in an uncertain new world.

Told vividly through flashbacks, Johnson’s set-up is unveiled through the story’s narrato...

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review written by Alice Wybrew on Sunday 21st January 2018

Find the latest Fantasy book reviews here. Fantasy as a genre can be very difficult to define but is usually said to encompass stories set in an alternative reality based on imagined fantastical elements like magic or the supernatural. This is the defining difference between science fiction and fantasy, science fiction deals with elements that are theoretically possible while fantasy deals with the improbable or impossible.

Fantasy can be most commonly associated with sword and sorcery stories however the genre can include contemporary (Harry Potter) and humorous (Tom Holt) tales. Fantasy, science fiction and horror can occasionally overlap and generally the term used to describe these novels is speculative fiction.

Fantasy fiction can trace it's roots all the way back to ancient mythology, especially Homer's Odyssey which was written in the 9th century BC. Homer's Odyssey chronicles the fictional adventures of a hero returning to Ithaca after the capture of Troy. The earliest surviving English text of fantasy origins is the poem Beowulf which dates back to 700 AD.

The most recognisable to modern audiences is perhaps the Legends of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. These stories have been told many times from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur (around 1485 AD) to T. H. White's The Once and Future King (1958), Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (1982) and Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle (1987).

The series that could be said to bring fantasy into the mainstream has to be Terry Brooks Sword of Shannara series, written in 1977 it was one of the first modern fantasy books to become a new york times best seller. Since then this has been repeated by David Eddings, Robert Jordan, Terry Good Kind and Terry Pratchett.

Here you can find fantasy book reviews from the big name authors to the self published and independant, it's the story that's always the star here.

Stupid men are often capable of things the clever would not dare to contemplate...
- Terry Pratchett

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