Corvus by Paul Kearney

CorvusRoughly 25 years after Rictus and his Dogsheads returned from the epic march of The Ten Thousand, the man is still a mercenary, but this time when his contract ends he’s contemplating retirement. He’s no longer a young man. As he settles back into farm life, tales begin to reach his secluded farmhouse of a young upstart named Corvus who desires to unite the Macht under one king. Corvus is clearly a model of Alexander the Great in nearly every way but for his lack of royalty in Corvus, down to the Companion Cavalry. He’s a brilliant tactician, he’s charismatic, and he’s mightily ambitious. He’s heard the legend of Rictus, the Dogsheads, and the march of the Ten Thousand since he was a child, and he wants the man himself to aid him in his conquest of the Macht.

The spear by the door.

So says one of the part headings of Kearney’s Corvus. I think that it’s a very poignant phrase in its simplicity. Rictus wants to leave the life of soldiering, but he can’t – it’s such a part of him that he isn’t sure what he would do without it. The spear by the door is a constant reminder of what he is: a killer of men. And it’s something he knows, as is shown in his constant return to the life of a military man. He’s strikingly similar to Christian Cameron’s Arimnestos in his Killer of Men series. The two characters are very similar in that their lives and families have been brutalized by their choice of profession, but they simply can’t leave it or escape it. It’s a very relevant phrase to today’s life as well, as there are many soldiers who continue to re-enlist in the military because it’s all they know.

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Quick Update

My sincerest apologies about the lack of content over the past many weeks. I don’t know what it is – I’ve picked up books and put them down, unsure if the book wasn’t working for me, wasn’t what I needed to read at the time, or simply wasn’t a book I was interested in. The smallest little niggles in books were annoying me, and I had little patience with books, both ones that are parts of series I immensely enjoy (Heirs of the Blade, Midnight Tides) and ones that I had high hopes for (The Falcon Throne, City of Stairs). I was around 3/4 through The Falcon Throne when I (temporarily) shelved it due to the aforementioned minor issues such as large/often time jumps, lulls in plot progress, etc. City of Stairs may simply be the fact that urban fantasy has never really worked for me. I’ve been more willing to put aside books that I’m a significant chunk into, probably due in part to both my lack of patience recently and the fact that I simply have so many books.

On the plus side, I’m currently reading Paul Kearney’s Corvus and thoroughly enjoying it, and I plan to write a sort of review/theme discussion because, as some of you may have seen me mention on Goodreads, it shares some very relevant and poignant themes with Christian Cameron’s Killer of Men series in regards to the lives of soldiers.

In the end, I just want it known that neither the blog nor I are dead, and I hope to revive it very soon.

I’ll leave it to my favorite quote in a series full of quotable people (Erikson’s Malazan):

“I am not yet done.”
Itkovian

Itkovian

Art by Merlkir of the Malazan Art Guild (DeviantArt)

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

In celebration of today’s US release of Traitor’s Blade, I’m reposting my original review with the new cover.

Traitor's Blade

To be honest, you don’t need to look further than the name of the publisher (Jo Fletcher) to know that de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade is an excellent book. Falcio val Mond is First Cantor of the Greatcoats, the now-dead king’s elite justiciars. Since the Dukes usurped the Kingdom of Tristia from King Paelis, the disbanded Greatcoats, mockingly called Trattari, are scant few in numbers and scattered throughout the kingdom. Falcio, alongside his companions and fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, were given one last mission from Paelis before he met his untimely demise. With Falcio’s wit, Kest’s incredible swordsmanship, and Brasti’s unbelievable marksmanship, the three travel in order to complete this final mission.

From the start, it’s pretty easy to see that each of the three are essentially paragons of their aforementioned talents. The book was compared with Dumas’s Three Musketeers, so it’s fairly necessary to begin the book not expecting a serious, grim tale. de Castell did a wonderful job combining humor and seriousness in order to create a fun, fast-paced tale with very few flaws, and Falcio, Kest, and Brasti make the perfect trio.

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The Garden of Stones by Mark T. Barnes

The Garden of StonesThus far, reviews for Mark T. Barnes’s debut, The Garden of Stones have been very divided. Some praise its unique and exotic flair, others grew bored quickly. After a recent slew of favorable reviews, I decided to give it a shot since it was already on my Kindle and cost me nothing but time (although time is becoming increasingly more valuable for me). Upon finishing, I had mixed feelings about the novel as a whole, but there was enough in it to make me want to continue the series.

Corajidin is the rahn, or ruler, of the Great House of Erebus. Due to some mysterious illness, Corajidin’s insides are withering away, and with them, his life. His resident witch tells the dying rahn that he has seen visions of the future – a future where Corajidin will be Asrahn, essentially an elected high king, over the other rahns and the Avan people (a species, not a race) as a whole. Not content with rolling over in the face of this disease, Corajidin’s ambition instead grows  monumentally, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes for these visions to come true. Alongside Corajidin, we see through the eyes of the warrior-mage Indris, member of the rival Great House of Nasarat, who stands in his way. Corajidin’s daughter, the incredibly indecisive Mari, also gets some facetime.

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The Plantagenets by Dan Jones

It was as if Christ and his saints were asleep.

The PlantagenetsThus wrote one of the many authors in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle when describing the dark period in English history known as The Anarchy. The Plantagenets by Dan Jones was actually the first piece of non-fiction that I’ve read for pleasure in quite some time – an issue that will be remedied after finding Jones and several similar authors.

The Plantagenet dynasty began in the middle ages with Geoffrey of Anjou – the Handsome – taking on the name Plantagenet based on his wearing of a blossom of yellow in his hat, of the shrub planta genista in French. Geoffrey’s marriage to Matilda began the rise of one of the most fascinating dynasties in history.  The son of Geoffrey and Matilda, Henry, would go on to become King Henry II and would see England’s territory branch through almost half of France through his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine – an area that would be modernly known as the Angevin Empire.

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