sapper?

The Will of The Many

James Islington

Set in a quasi-Roman fantasy world this is a satisfying read.
Vis is an orphan trying to do something impossible – find a way to avoid being forced to cede his will to the Hierarchy.
The Catenan Hierarchy has conquered the world and their will magic powered by a strict societal power class system in now unchallenged.
Under unlikely circumstances Vis finds himself adopted by a powerful Catenan senator in order to solve a mystery at the elite Academy.
Vis – who has a dangerous secret past – is force to ride a fine line to serve the interests of different groups who want to use him for their own ends.
I really did enjoy this one. The book is split into three parts and the first part is particularly strong. I enjoyed the rest a little less but where it left off is very tantalizing and I’m looking forward to getting the sequel when it comes out.

Rating: A-

glue?

Just Stab Me

Jill Bearup

This is an ok fantasy romance enlivened by a tremendously appealing meta plot where the ‘author’ talks with her characters about the story and events happening in her real life.
Originally a series of short videos on YouTube with the author playing all the parts. This is where I came across it.
Having enjoyed those little videos I decided to buy the novel.
At no point is it terribly original but it is frequently fun and different enough from the videos to be worth the outlay.

Rating: B+

second?

Witchmark

CL Polk

Fantasy set in world where the equivalent of WW1 happened and our protagonist is a doctor treating the returning soldiers who are suffering from a type of PTSD.
Miles is in hiding from his very powerful family because he wanted to use his abilities to heal rather than be used as a battery for his sister who practices weather magic – which is the only legal form.
Investigating a potential murder leads Miles to a conspiracy, a family reunion and someone who may become a love interest.
This is an entertaining book with enjoyable characters but the pacing and the overuse of certain cliches has knocked it down a mark.
I’m going to check out the sequel.

Rating: B+

maw?

The Golden Enclaves

Naomi Novik

The final book in the Scholomance series finds El out of the school and dealing with the repercussions of that final day.
Suddenly in demand she finds herself defending enclaves from attack and looking for a way back in to work out who the mysterious villain is.
This is the weakest of the three books in this series but I continue to love El and her horribly narrow and self-loathing worldview. It was interesting to see the wilder magical world but the actual ending felt like a bit of a cop out. For once in my life I wanted to see more angst!

Rating: A

noodle?

Nona The Ninth

Tamsyn Muir

The third book in the Locked Tomb finds Nona living a simple life and working as a teacher’s aide while her found family try to work out the mystery of who she is.
Set on a ‘Blood of Eden’ held planet as Nona and her family try to save lives as deadline creeps up on them unawares. In flashbacks we hear John tell the story of the end of the world.
This was an enjoyable book but very much felt like a diversion on the way to the actual ending of the series. I’m glad to have spent time with Nona and it’s great to see old friends (and enemies) in a new context.
How long am I going to have to wait for Alecto the Niinth?

Rating: A-

crash?

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Neil Gaiman

After his father’s funeral a man goes for a drive past his childhood home and remembers an adventure he had as a boy with neighbour Lettie Hempstock.
This seems to have been a deeply personal book for Gaiman. I personally found it a decent read if a little slilght. Not in his top tier.

Rating: B+

roses?

Be The Serpent

Seanan McGuire

October Daye book 16 continues to bring world shattering revelations. A friend turns out to have been an enemy in perfect disguise and Toby will have to battle to save her family and community at any cost.
I genuinely love the Toby Daye books and as we get deeper into the series and the secrets start to come out I continue to have a lot of fun with the series.

Rating: B+

mithraeum?

Harrow the Ninth

Tamsyn Muir

The second book in the Locked Tomb series finds Harrowhark struggling to adjust to her new station in life.
An old story is retold through flashbacks and in the present we the highest echelons of the Emperor’s court play their games.
Deliberately much harder to follow than Gideon the Ninth this book is so very rewarding once you understand what all the pieces mean.
I also straight up loved this book.

Rating: A