Posts Tagged ‘raymond e feist’

King of Ashes is the first in a new series by fantasy author Raymond E. Feist and is the first not to be set in his Midkemia setting.  My thanks to HarperCollins Canada and Raymond E. Feist for the early eArc.  King of Ashes is released on May 8th and as such I will keep this review as spoiler-free as possible.

On a personal note, I credit Mr. Feist with reawakening my love of reading; after studying literature at university I couldn’t stand to read anything more involved than a Cosmo magazine. Then a friend put a copy of Shadow of a Dark Queen into my hands and I’ve not stopped reading since.  He is a master storyteller.  It’s always “have to read one more page, one more chapter.” then before you know it, it’s 6am and you have to get ready to go to work…

For those of you unfamiliar with Feist’s earlier work, there are 30 novels in his Riftwar series starting with 1982’s Magician and ending with 2013’s Magician’s End.  My personal recommendation is to start with Magician as a good introduction to the world – be aware it does drag in parts – or the four books of the Serpentwar Saga – storytelling at its finest.

Anyway, onto King of Ashes.  This is set in the new world of Garn and centres around two young men, Hatu, the unknowing secret heir of the betrayed King Steveran and Declan, a young blacksmith at the peak of his craft.  Events force our two protagonists to flee their homes and plunges them into an adventure that promises to change their lives and the future of Garn itself..

Worldbuilding.  Naturally, it’s not reasonable to expect a world that is as fully developed as Midkemia, on which Feist worked for over 30 years.  That said, there are clear indications that a lot of thought has gone into Garn already and that it is going to be a wonderful place to get to know.  There are distinct cultures, history and religions and I look forward to seeing how the place grows.  One aspect I would have liked to have seen developed more fully at this point is the magic system.  In the whole 512 pages, it is only touched upon briefly, although there are definite hints of magical forces.

Characters.  I enjoyed spending time with both our protagonists, probably more so Declan than Hatu.  Both characters had distinct arcs in the story, although it was clear they are both still at the beginning of their journeys.  I look forward to seeing where they go from here.  The supporting characters were also interesting, and well developed, and a couple of them led to intriguing hooks for book two.  it’s too early to say yet whether either of them will be a Pug, a Jimmy the Hand or a Miranda from the earlier series.

Plot.  I would say that the focus of King of Ashes is on worldbuilding and character development, somewhat to the detriment of plot.  As the first book in a new series, especially one set in a new world, there is a great deal of heavy lifting to do in order to set the scene.  Much of the storyline seems to be focused in getting characters and plot points in place for the next stage of the saga.  As as self-contained story, I didn’t find King of Ashes particularly satisfying, but I have great faith that it will pay off in future books. 

In summary, if you are hoping that King of Ashes will be a great stand alone story you may be disappointed.  It is very obviously the setup for greater things to come and as such I personally feel it is worth the investment.  


King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist – Spoiler free review was originally published on Canadian eReader

Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada and Raymond E. Feist for the eArc of King of Ashes. I’m SOOOOO excited to read this.

I credit Mr. Feist with reawakening my love of reading; after studying literature at university I couldn’t stand to read anything more involved than a Cosmo magazine. Then a friend put a copy of Shadow of a Dark Queen into my hands and I’ve not stopped reading since.  He is a master storyteller.  It’s always “have to read one more page, one more chapter.” then before you know it, it’s 6am and you have to get ready to go to work…

The Riftwar Saga was also the first books I migrated to ebook format when I got my very first Kindle, so you can understand the place Mr. Feist holds in my heart.  You can certainly expect a review of King of Ashes once I have finished it.

I’m so excited… and I just can’t hide it! was originally published on Canadian eReader

Hello, now that summer is drawing to a close, we’re coming into prime book release time.  As usual, I have a metric tonne of books about whose release I am super excited.  Some of these are continuations of series in which I am already invested, some are new series from authors I love and some are reissues of old favourites.  So, let’s get into it, shall we?

To kick off, I was really excited by the recent news that Raymond E.Feist has managed to resolve the ebook rights issue for North America.  While most of his newer works have been released in ebook, his earlier novels have so far been unavailable in my preferred format.  This will all change on August 22nd when his Riftwar saga as well as his Empire trilogy with Janny Wurts will be released as ebooks.  I understand audiobook format will follow later this year.  Although I have read all of these, I am very happy to add them to my collection.  I consider Feist a true master storyteller and if you are not familiar with his work, this is a great opportunity to get started.  Be aware, though,that the series does have a somewhat slow start.  It just gets better and better.  Silverthorn remains one of my favourite books by this author.

Also in August, I will get to experience the mashup of one of my favourite authors with one of my favourite characters with the release of Leigh Bardugo’s take on Wonder Woman.  I’ve always adored this superhero and I can’t wait to read Bardugo’s take on her.  Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a coming-of-age story set before Diana of Themiscyra becomes Wonder Woman.  Sounds awesome.  Wonder Woman: Warbringer is released on August 29th.

On September 5th we have the release of Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, the next instalment in the Throne of Glass series.  I think I’m unusual amongst Maas fans in that I’m more invested in the Throne of Glass series than her Court of Thorns and Roses series.  In fact, I’ve not yet read the third book in the latter series.   Tower of Dawn focusses on Chaol Westfall.  I look forward to reading about the continuation of this story.

Moving onto October, and this is going to be a really painful month for my bank balance.  

At some point in October, date not yet specified, we have the release of Harry Potter in his 80th translation – Scots.  The title is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane.  Note this is isn’t Gaelic, but the lowland Scots dialect that I grew up hearing.  This will be a fascinating read, I’m sure. 

First off on October 3rd we have the release of the culmination of Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle, The Core.  I really love the wordbuidling in this series and am engaged in the stories of our protagonists  It takes a great deal of skill to write two characters who are both equally honourable, equally justified in their opposing beliefs and who both want the best for their world – and who are in direct conflict.  The previous instalment finished on a real cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to read the conclusion.

Ian Doescher will publish the next installment in his William Shakespeare’s Star Wars saga with The Force Doth Awaken on October 3rd.  In this series he reworks the Star Wars screenplays as if they were written by Shakeapeare complete with iambic pentameter.  This time I was overjoyed to see that Random House Audio is once again producing a full cast audiobook production.  Do yourselves a favour and pick up the audiobook – Shakespeare (and Star Wars) are not meant to be read but to be experienced through performance, and if previous instalments are any guide, this will knock it out of the park.  These audiobooks are presented like a radio production and the production values are incredible.  I can’t recommend them highly enough and can’t wait to listen to this one.

Robert Langdon returns on October 3rd in Dan Brown’s latest novel, Origin.  While I wouldn’t call Brown’s writing great literature, they are very entertaining reads and I’m looking forward to this one.

Also on October 3rd we have the release of Ringer by Lauren Oliver.  This is the sequel to Replica.  While I didn’t find the characters or plot of Replica anything special, I was intrigued by the format;  the book can be read in multiple ways.  Either you can read Gemma’s story through first, or Lyra’s – or read them chapter by chapter.  This is enough to make make me want to read the second book.  

October 10th is the book birthday of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black’s The Silver Mask. This is the fourth in the Harry Potteresque Magisterium series.  The synopsis for this book is very vague about the magic and the mystery intesifying.  I have really enjoyed this series so far, and am looking forward to the continuation.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater is another book I’m anticipating.  This is a new series from the creator of the The Raven Cycle., which gave me such a book hangover.  I don’t know much about the new series, except that it’s set in Colorado.  Stiefvater’s name is enough for me to autobuy.  All the Crooked Saints is released on October 10th.

Kevin Hearne, author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, has a new seriesstarting off entitled A Plague of Giants.  Unlike in the Iron Chronicles Hearne has created a completely new world for this series in addition to a new mythology.  The synopsis indicates that one of the main characters is a kickass warrior and mother.  I’m interested to see how Hearne handles a female protagonist.  A Plague of Giants is also released on October 10th.

After a break of nearly 17 years, Philip Pullman is returning to his Dark Materials world with a new trilogy entitled the La Belle Sauvage. He describes it as an “equel” rather than sequel or prequel.  It will return to Lyra’ story both before she came to Oxford and as a young woman in her twenties.  I note that Michael Sheen is narrating the audiobook.  I’m a little surprised we don’t have a female narrator, but I’m sure it’ll be great anyway.  The first book in the trilogy, The Book of Dust will be published on October 19.

Moving onto November we have the release of Renegades by Marissa Meyer.  This is a new superhero series from the writer of the Lunar Chronicles.  Again an auto buy for me.  Renegades will be published on November 7th.

Next up we have Oathbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. This is the third book in Sanderson’s epic fantasy The Stormlight Archive.  This is another bookstopper at 1200+ pages or 49 hours of listening.  I might consider listening to the Graphic Audio adaptations of the earlier books to get caught up.  Still, it’s another auto buy for me, despite the fact that I’m not reading much epic fantasy these days.  Oathbringer is released on November 14th.

The final book I have on my upcoming releases list is Artemis by Andy Weir, the writer of the Martian.  I LOVED the blend of science and character development in the Martian and I”m hoping for more from Artemis.  Artemis is also released on November 14th.

Upcoming book releases Autumn 2017 was originally published on Canadian eReader

Hello, yes I know it’s been a while since I blogged – work and life keep getting in the way!

This last couple of weeks has involved routine doctor’s visits for both me and my cat, Isis.  Now, most cats don’t enjoy going to the vet, but Isis takes it to the extreme psycho-cat-going-to-shred-your-hands-and-tear-your-face-off mode complete with screaming, hissing, yowling and hyperventilating (that last, all three of us, the cat the vet and me).  My normally quiet, reserved kitty became so upset the vet had to fit her with a Hannibal Lecter Silence of the Lambs mask, which she STILL managed to remove to sink her teeth into the vet. 

IMG 0009

Poor kitty.  She’s now on meds which fortunately are a little easier to give!

Anyway, onto reading-related matters.

This week I’ve been rather obsessed with the upcoming release of Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Quest, the second in her Fitz and the Fool trilogy.  I enjoyed book one, and more importantly, I’m heavily emotionally invested in the characters of Fitz and the Fool and their unconventional relationship.  Some of the early non-spoiler reviews I’ve read have said that it’s a fantastic return to form by Hobbs, and to my mind she was never off form.  I really can’t wait for release day.  I’m on nightshift on August 11th so I’ll anxiously await the audiobook to hit my Audible download queue at around 3am and start immediately.  From where we left book one, I’m anticipating Fitz going all Liam Neeson in Taken on the Servants of the Archive:

During my nightshift I made excellent progress on some of the series I need to complete, thanks to audiobooks.

Reading roundup – August 8th 2015Magician’s End by Raymond E. Feist
Series: Chaoswar #3
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: John Meagher
Length: 17 hrs and 4 mins
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:


Since my last post I’ve read/listened to books one and two and am half way through the third book in Raymond E. Feist’s Chaoswar saga.  I must admit I’ve been somewhat less than excited about this series.  Although we have Pug and Magnus, I don’t feel as connected to the newer characters as I have in previous Feist series.  I’m also not wild about the whole religious angels/devils Fall from Heaven storyline that seems to be creeping in.

Despite my love for some of the unexpectedly returning characters, I am not too impressed that Feist chose to bring them back.  Their previous plotlines, to my mind, gave good closure to their character arcs and wonderful character development for others.  To bring them back now seems to negate all of that.  Admittedly though, in Feist’s hands, it’s handled in a much better way than a lesser storyteller might have been able to achieve.

I’ve still not completed the entire series, so I will reserve full judgement for when I do.

Reading roundup – August 8th 2015Trapped by Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid #5
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:


The next book I listened to on my nightshift was Trapped, book five in Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.  As I’ve said before on this blog, I adore this series.  The characters, (Oberon!) worldbuilding and plot are all wonderful.  This is a series best enjoyed in audiobook format thanks to Luke Daniels’ wonderful audio narration.  I can’t say enough good things about this series, so I’ll strongly urge you to go check it out for yourselves. I gave Trapped five stars out of five.

Reading roundup – August 8th 2015Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Amy Poehler
Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
Genres: Autobiographies/Biographies, Humorous
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:


I was looking for something a bit different to listen to during a recent nightshift, something funny, so I decided to listen to Yes Please written and narrated by Amy Poehler (with guests.)  In terms of audiobook production Yes Please is pitch perfect.  The producers have chosen to go for a less “polished” version leaving in snorts and giggles so that it really does feel as if you’re hanging out with Amy and friends.  I believe the text has been adapted slightly to fit the audiobook version.  I also did get a chuckle out of her guest stars.  Hearing Sir Patrick Stewart deliver some of Poehler’s down-to-earth and earthy words in his cultured British accent did give me a few giggles.

That being said, I didn’t necessarily always appreciate some of the language and the jokes, but I can honour Poehler’s commitment to get her laughs from making fun of circumstances or herself not other people’s misfortune.  

I gave Yes Please four stars out of five.

That’s all for today folks.  Expect a review of Fool’s Quest as soon as I have finished it!

Have a  good week.


Silverthorn by Raymond E. Feist is the third book in the Riftwar Saga and together with A Darkness at Sethanon forms a kind of duology within the series.  This first part tells the story of Prince Arutha’s search for the magical silverthorn plant to cure his beloved Anita from magical poisoning and of the growing threat of Murmandamus,

I consider Feist to be one of the master storytellers of his generation.  Let me tell you a story to prove it.  I studied language and literature at university and after four years of deep literary analysis sucking all the enjoyment out of reading I refused to read anything more complex than a Cosmopolitan for many, many years after graduation.  Not until, that is, a colleague loaned me Feist’s Shadow of a Dark Queen, the first in his Serpentwar saga.  I completely DEVOURED it and the rest of the series.  I was immediately drawn into Feist’s world of Midkemia and it reignited my love of reading that I’d all but forgotten.  When I bought my first Kindle and made the switch to ebooks, a book by Feist was also the first book I bought to ease my transition to the new format.

So, onto Silverthorn.

What I liked

Worldbuilding.  Feist has been writing in his world of Midkemia for over 30 years and knows it inside out.  Each of the nations in his world has its own distinct character, flora and fauna and customs.  The world feels real.  The magic system is what Brandon Sanderson would call a soft magic system in that it’s not always fully explained to the reader.  Feist is good at avoid using magic to create a deus ex machina which can be a strong temptation of a less well defined magic system.

Characters.  The characters, too, feel real.  While Arutha is the hero of Silverthorn and displays many heroic qualities he can be a really moody son of a gun which keeps him real.  The young Jimmy the Hand too, could be annoying, but his occasional moments of real vulnerability keep him endearing to the reader.  Admittedly,  in Silverthorn his female characters aren’t my favourite.  Carline comes across as shrewish and Anita is your stereotypical damsel in distress.  We don’t have a kickass Brienne of Tarth or Egwene al Vere.  Still, Silverthorn is one of Feist’s earlier works, and his female characters are better written later on.

Pacing.  Feist knows how keep a story moving along at a brisk pace and to keep narrative tension.  In Feist’s books there is always something going on; always an obstacle to overcome or an enemy about to try to kill our protagonists. 

The humour.  I adore Feist’s writing still with its not infrequent humour.  it is a rather dry, understated humour which is often expressed in quips by the characters and  really appeals to my British sense of humour.

What I didn’t like

Not available in ebook format.  Here I have to have a rant.  It seems that the publisher for the English version of Raymond E. Feist’s Silverthorn in North America doesn’t have the rights to produce an ebook version.  The only ebook version available to us Canadians is the French version.  I see that the UK publishers to have an ebook version available, but can we Canadians buy it?  Nope. We can easily buy hard copy books from, but not ebooks.  Grrrr.  I look forward to the day when digital rights are less restrictive. I started reading Silverthorn in French as ebook, but in the end I found I was missing too much of Feist’s nuance and humour so switched to the paperback version.  (Note, the links above are to the French ebooks.)

Few female characters.   See above.

All in all I loved Silverthorn and gave it four stars out of five.


Silverthorn by Raymond E. Feist – Review

First of all, I have a confession to make; I’ve not read very much this week.  If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve become engrossed in the Lego The Hobbit game on my Playstation.  I wouldn’t consider myself a gamer at all, but these Lego games are so much fun – all the fun little details.  

Anyway, I digress.  The two books I have been reading/listening to this week are Silverthorn by Raymond E. Feist and Lockstep by Karl Schroeder.  i am actually reading Silverthorn in French.  It would appear that ebook rights for the English version of Feist’s earlier works have not been granted.  Since I much prefer to read electronically, that leaves me with the French version.  Sigh.  I look forward to the day when you can buy an ebook from a different market with as much ease as you can a hard copy.  I am listening to Lockstep in audio and so far am very much enjoying it.  Reviews will come soon.

Added to my library this week

There have been some interesting deals on the Audible daily deals this week.  I picked up Jennifer Worth’s Call the Midwife narrated by Nicola Barber.  I love the BBC television series, so I’m looking forward to listening to this.

Also on Audible daily deals I picked up a full cast adaptation of George Lucas’s Star Wars.  Those of you who follow my blog will know I raved about the audio book of Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily a New Hope and The Empire Striketh Back so you can imagine I’m looking forward to this.

In Kindle format I picked up a cheap deal for Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies.  This is described as a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at life on Pennsylvania Avenue with America’s first families, by the man who spent nearly three decades in their midst.  it could be interesting, it could be boring, but for a couple of dollars I’m happy to take the risk.

Author Libba Bray has been generating a lot of buzz in the BookTube community and people whose opinion I trust such as Katytastic and BenjaminOfTomes have recommended her, so I have picked up The Diviners in both Kindle and Audible formats.   I was particularly drawn to the Audible version as it is narrated by January LaVoy who does such sterling work as part of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars cast.   The Diviners seems to be 1920s New York meets ghosts and the occult.  Naturally, I will share my thoughts on these.

Upcoming releases in May

Charlaine Harris’s new book, Midnight Crossroad is released on 6th May.  Harris, is of course, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, which I loved.  Midnight Crossroad is also set in the southern US – this time in Texas – and is about a town where supernatural beings go to lay low.  I look forward to this one.  I’ve preordered  it in both Audible and Kindle format.

Also on the 6th of May we have The One, the final instalment in Kiera Cass’s Selection trilogy.  As I’ve mentioned before, this is my guilty little secret.  The characters are annoying and the concept is an unusual blend of The Bachelor meets Hunger Games, but I can’t stop reading it anyway.  I wonder where Cass will take our heroine this time.  Again I have this on both Amazon and Audible preorder.

Finally on the 27th of May we have City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare’s final entry in The Mortal Instruments series.  We’ve stuck with these characters through five books now, and being the final book all bets are off.  I’m almost a little nervous to see who doesn’t make it.  I see the narrator hasn’t yet been announced for this one.  Audible and Kindle preorders are available.

That’s all for this week – have a good one.

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