Category Archives: Sword & Sorcery

Guest Review: Game of Souls (The Quintessence Cycle #1) by Terry C. Simpson

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Your soul is your magic. The nobility will stop at nothing to steal it.

Keedar Giorin still remembers the night soldiers killed his mother. The Night of Blades. He was three, but the memories are written in his mind in blood, flames, scales, and his mother’s mad cackles.

Assigned by his father to save two young noblemen or risk a repeat of the massacre on his home in the Smear, Kasandar’s most lawless district, Keedar dives headlong into the mission. He uses his most secret skill, a magic that could bring the King’s Blades hunting him, a magic that could be a death sentence if reported to the wrong ears.

But even that risk is part of his father’s calculated plan. A plot to determine who was behind his mother’s death, while securing a new ally for their guild, and seeing their people rise from squalor and oppression to strive for the identity and power they have all but forgotten.

Plans, however, do not always follow the path drawn out. What will Keedar do when a count takes interest in his magic? Where will he run to when the hunt begins? Can a young man now growing into his power find a way to defeat the most ruthless of assassins?

As he watches the accursed Day of Accolades take away more children from the Smear, Keedar promises that one day he’ll stop the nobles’ exploitation of the under classes. On the same day, he encounters Winslow, a noble risking the Smear to win a chance to train with the King’s Blades. Together they become caught in a dangerous game of power, the Game of Souls.

The world the author has created in Game of Souls is fairly well sketched out. In the continent in which the story takes place there are several racial groups or kingdoms that are either at war or uneasily at peace. Our story is set mainly in the city of Kasandar in the kingdom, Kasinia. A map is thoughtfully included for the times when place names and races become a little confusing.
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Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

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I first heard about Jim C. Hines via a mention the Dear Author blog. Jim Hines created a hilarious poem based off of the early 1990’s controversial rap song Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. I laughed so hard when reading his poem Baby Got Books that I had to chase down his blog.

I learned that Jim Hines wrote comedic fantasy in the same vein as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Another Fine Myth. Delighted, I poked around his back list to locate a good starting place. I decided to start with Goblin Quest and I’m so happy I did.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk this year. There’s not been much that has caught my attention. But this? This was wonderful! I had so much fun while still getting every single bit of a typical fantasy adventure. !!!

I loved Jig. He’s a great character. It was funny to read the point of view from someone who is normally considered “the bad guy.” Instead of being the bad guy, Jig is a totally awesome good guy. He helps others, he loves and cares, he’s smart and canny.

I’ve purchased the rest of the books in this series. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for Jig the Goblin Hero.

Quickie: The Corpse King by Christopher Kellen

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I was pleasantly surprised but this short! I’ve read quite a bit of self-published work lately and this ranks up there with some of the best I’ve read. Of course, it helps that this is Sword & Sorcery…a favorite of mine. 😉

There were a few things that bothered me – the section when D’Arden meets the old man felt a little off and I would have liked a bit more depth in some places.

One of the things I would have liked to have seen given greater explanation was the magic system. I do realize that this short story is prequel to a full trilogy but I feel that each portion needs to be able to stand alone. In this story the magic isn’t explained – it’s taken for granted that the reader had some prior knowledge of the series.

I rather enjoyed it and I’ll go into reading the first book in the trilogy (Elegy) with a lot more excitement.
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