The Taken – Colby R. Rice

After such a relentless beginning to this series in The Given i did wonder if this book would keep up with the pace: i most certainly wasn’t disappointed.

As i surmised in my review of ‘The Given’, more characters and groups were added along the way slowly building even more complexity and depth into the story, our protagonist finally has to decide which group she’s going to join, and all this is done with never a dull moment.

Once again, it’s incredibly well written, fast paced, and just sucks your attention in as it keeps rewarding you by revealing ever more bits and pieces of the story as you go along.

I do admit to not being aware of having read any urban fantasy before.   I kind of got put of the whole genre by the awful stuff TV show stuff.   So it’s really nice to be shown just how good this genre can be when done really well.   The magic system, which Colby calls ‘Alchemy’, is well put together and certainly works for the story really well, as each group and character seems to have something different to reveal about it as they themselves get revealed within the story.

All there’s left to say is… so far, so very, very good, and its definitely left me wanting a lot more.

I’ve got a few other books to read but i’ll be back soon with ‘The Lock In’.

Colby’s Page

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The Story of Sorrel – Joseph R. Lallo

Isn’t that just the most awesome cover?

This book is supposed to be a side shoot from ‘The Book of Deacon’ series, and while it is a fairly stand alone story, i do feel its quite an important part of the series and a definite must read if you want to fully enjoy the whole series. It is best read right before ‘The Crescents’, as, although ‘The Crescents’ is set many years in the future, ‘The Story of Sorrel’ sets the stage for everything that happens in ‘The Crescents’.

So, what about the story? Well, obviously from the cover art, we’re dealing with Sorrel, who is a malthrope, and a rather large dragon.   Yes, i admit it, i love dragons, and any good story about dragons always gets a big thumbs up from me, and this is a very good dragon story.   Malthropes are really interesting creatures that Joseph created for this series and mixing up a story with malthropes and dragons is, quite simply, wonderful.

I say malthropes, plural, because you will remember from reading ‘The Rise of the Red Shadow’ that when Sorrel left she wasn’t alone, she had her two children with her.   So along with Sorrel’s story we also get to find out what happened to the children too.

So a completely new environment, a completely new dragon, fairies and malthropes, and maybe a few other things as well.   It’s Joseph at his best and absolutely essential reading for Deacon fans everywhere.

The 11th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

Joseph’s Page

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The Given – Colby R. Rice

Wow, that was intense.

The book begins with a car chase trying to retrieve the ‘Final Page’, which has been stolen, but then jumps 2 months forward into the story proper giving no explanation of what the ‘Final Page’ is, who the people were, or what events preceded it.   I believe this is called foreshadowing — someone please correct me if i’m mistaken.   But, whatever the literary device is called it’s certainly done with great effect.   It throws you, head first, straight into the non stop action of this relentless book, which isn’t going to let you off its hook until you get to the end, and even then, it’ll leave you hooked on the next book in the series.

As we leave the enigmatic first chapter and begin to move through the book, more and more is slowly revealed.   The various characters appear, which Colby does a wonderful job bringing to life, and it feels as much a character driven story as a plot driven one.   All the characters are really good and well written.

And as the characters are revealed so is each of the various groups that they belong to within the world of the story.   And then, within each group, sub-groups begin to appear, each with their own rivalries and agendas.

Thrown into the middle all of this is our protagonist, Ezekiel, who, along with her little sister, are simply trying to survive.   But you really get the feeling that the only way of surviving the future that is coming to them is to join one of the many groups.

Getting to the end of the book and looking back: the whole book is mostly setting the stage and introducing the various characters and groups that i presume will be the basis of the story going forward, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s more to be added.   It really is an incredibly complex and diverse dystopian future humanity has found itself in, but’s it’s never too complex to leave you confused — a very fine line that Colby walks incredibly well.

Final thoughts… i’m very much left looking forward to reading The Taken, but i just have a quick novella i pre-ordered and have been eagerly waiting to read to whizz through first.   So yeah, i’ll definitely be back very soon with more of Ezekiel’s world.

Awesome!

Also available in ‘Uprising’.

Colby’s Page

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The D’Karon Apprentice – Joseph R. Lallo

The 10th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

Wow, i really, really enjoyed this book.   The series just keeps getting better.

In this episode we finally find out how the D’Karon got into the world in the first place, and also why.   And so, once more, ‘The Chosen’ have to get together and do their thing to try and stop it happening all over again, while all the time trying to prevent the war between the Alliance and Tressor from re-igniting.

And while all this is going on Myn’s found herself a boyfriend, sweeet.   This for me is the best bit about this book as, other than a brief time with Solomon who is only a handbag dragon, Myn has never met a real dragon before.   So Myn, not doing anything by halves, finds herself a big, manly, battle dragon to play with.   It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s everything a first crush should be — just with two rather large and very dangerous dragons.

And Ether’s having her own crisis of existence at the same time.

Brilliant stuff.   And now onto ‘The Crescents’.

Joseph’s Page

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The Nutcracker and the Mouse King – E. T. A. Hoffmann

Got a little hint about this and it was only 49p, so why not?

Ernst’s Page

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The Redemption of Desmeres – Joseph R. Lallo

The 9th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

I really liked this book.   Desmeres is one of those characters that one just loves to read about.   He’s the best at what he does, he knows it, and certainly isn’t shy about letting everyone else know it either.   Now some might say they can’t abide him and his full of himself attitude and overbearing confidence, but isn’t that why James Bond is such a popular character?   Isn’t that why so many of us root for our favourite sports stars?   There’s that bit in all of us would just love to pile on through life with that attitude that everything will just work out ok for us because we’re so damned good at what we do, and everytime something knocks us down we’ll just bounce straight back up again and give it an even better go next time, and that’s the bit that we love reading about in characters in books, the bits that we struggle to find within ourselves.

So onto the story…

In ‘The Battle of Verrel’ Desmeres had previously found himself at the bottom of a shit pit of his own digging when he did the dirty on The Chosen and helped the D’Karon for a while.   And so he found himself having to lend a load of his best weapons to the Undermine in an attempt to climb out of said shit pit.   But, whereas he maybe should have let them keep the weapons, Desmeres made clear that he would have them back once the D’Karon were defeated.   And so we begin this book with Queen Caya and the Undermine having all their weapons stolen back by Desmeres and in doing so getting himself firmly back down in the aforementioned shit pit of everyone’s disapproval once more.

So Queen Caya is left with no choice but to assign the Elite to hunt him down and bring him to justice, if for no other reason but to save face.

And so begin the hunts and evasions around the Northern Alliance lands, while all the time Desmeres is attempting to fulfill a plan of his own for his own redemption that requires him to stay ahead of the Elite.

And i have to say, this is a great story.   One of the best of the series.

Once again, as usual, great characters by Joseph, and a great plot with a few interesting and fun twists and turns, some expected and some not so expected.   A really good read.

And now onto ‘The D’Karon Apprentice’.

Joseph’s Page

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Sealskin – Su Bristow

Not sure how i came across this book but it looked really good.   So i added it to my Wish List and one day it appeared for 99p.

Su’s Page

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The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy – Joseph R. Lallo

The 8th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.   Although it isn’t actually part of the main series.

A genuine stand alone book that can be enjoyed either with or without the main series, and vice versa.   It just so happens that this story happens in the same world as ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

So what’s it about?   Well, to begin, it’s mostly a children’s story, and if you have any children who like things like fairies and mermaids then i’m sure they’ll love you to read them this story.

Essentially, a fairy ends up getting snatched from the shore by a merman and dragged off under the sea for a rather big and exciting adventure.   What more can a child ask from a story?

And even if you’re not a child and just including this book because you’re reading ‘The Book of Deacon’ as a whole series like i am, this is a nice fun book to read.   After all the heaviness of ‘The Battle of Verrel’ and the end of the war, it’s nice to have a book like this to take a breather from the main series before diving back in for the second half.   It really is a great, half time, refreshment read.

So, to sum up, a nice easy read, which i think would be great for children either for reading themselves or being read to.   The characters are enjoyable, well written, fun, and keep you on their side all the way through.

And now i dive straight back into the main series with ‘The Redemption of Desmeres’.

Joseph’s Page

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The Battle of Verril – Joseph R. Lallo

The 7th book of ‘The Book of Deacon’ series, which essentially ends the first half of the series.   Yes, 7 books are just the first half, we’ve got it all to do again to finish the series.   So what was book 7 like?

Well, it was a bit of a roller coaster, and then some.   A relentless, none stop, too and fro between The D’Karon and The Chosen.   We’ve been informed several times that one of The Chosen isn’t going to survive this battle, so we kind of know the rest are, but it’s what’s going to be left of the world after they survive that is the question.   We also know that this is only the end of the first half of the series, so obviously something of The D’Karon is also going to survive as well, but as we don’t know exactly what The D’Karon is, or are, we don’t know much on what or who is going to survive.

It’s all pretty big, epic fantasy, and while i’m not big into all the fighting stuff, i still find it really enjoyable.   Well written, easy to follow, with great characters on both sides of the conflict.   You can really lose yourself for a couple of months in this series.

The next book is ‘The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy’, which, although set in the same world, isn’t part of the conflict and serves as a nice palate cleanser after all those nasty battles before we dive back into the next half proper.

Also available in ‘The Book of Deacon Anthology’.

Joseph’s Page

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The Great Convergence – Joseph R. Lallo

The sixth book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series follows the travels of The Chosen and their getting to know each other a bit better.

Joseph has created a set of heroes, The Chosen, for this story that are everything but a cohesive unit working towards a singular goal, and, at times, this can become rather frustrating and annoying.   I just wanted them to sort their shit out and get on with it, but they just keep pulling in opposite directions with their own agendas being more important than the goal the gods set for them.   And the end result of my frustration and annoyance is i end up liking and admiring The Generals more than i do The Chosen.

So far this has been the strangest book of the series.   Whereas ‘The Book of Deacon’ was exploring how magic works within this series, this book is mostly spent with The Chosen learning to fight, both individually and together.   And i’m not a big fan of lots of fighting, so i can’t say it all worked for me.

But, lots of buts, i suppose this was inevitable.   You take a bunch of people, some who don’t want to be heroes and some who do, and throw them together for a goal that some don’t care about and some do, and you’re going to have chaos for a while.   And this is what this book is really for: bringing together these conflicts, internal and external, of our heroes and attempting to get them resolved before the big day ahead.   Will they all be resolved?   Will all our heroes survive?   You’ll just have to read it and find out.

One more thing about this book.   The war between the Northern Alliance and Tressor has been going on for well over 100 years, continuously, and i kept on feeling that this book had a lot to say about war and the reasons we fight it…

“Peace is preferable to war.   If defeat is the price, I am now willing to pay it,” the king stated solemnly.

“You claim to care for your people, yet you would sacrifice their freedom with victory so nearly at hand,” Bagu scolded.

“Their freedom was not mine to sacrifice, nor was it theirs.   Their forefathers and mine gave it to the war long ago, and the war has been given to you,” said the king.

“Remember this, Your Majesty.   Your continued power is an illusion for the benefit of your people.   The only true power lies in the hand that wields the sword,” warned the general.

With that he returned to his lair.   The defeated king sat in silence.

Food for thought there.

Also available in ‘The Book of Deacon Anthology’.

Joseph’s Page

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