"And Then There Were (N-One)" review

And Then There Were (N-One) is a delightful, almost warm and fuzzy murder mystery novella. It was originally described to me as “cozy,” which is also a great adjective for it. Sarah Pinsker investigates the death of Sarah Pinsker. The suspects? All different versions of Sarah Pinsker from alternate realities, attendees of SarahCon. While investigating, Sarah is confronted by her “Divergence Points” and forced to question her life’s every decision, relationship, and mistake. But I promise, it’s all done in a delightful, warm, fuzzy, and cozy way! It was a joy to read, and I highly recommend it.

"The Last Uncharted Sky" review

I don’t think it was possible for this series to fully live up to the standard set by book 1, and it didn’t, but by no means does that make the next two books unentertaining or low quality. Book 3 falls off a bit more even more than book 2 did, but it’s still a very fun, fast-paced adventure story set in an vivid steampunk world with a deep lore and cool magic system.

"A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery" review

In short, A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery is a very satisfying continuation of the trilogy, much more so than I was expecting or hoping for, after such an excellent and well-self-contained book 1. It’s definitely worth continuing the trilogy for more of what An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors had to offer!

"Stariel Series" review

“The Lord of Stariel is dead. Long live the Lord of Stariel. Whoever that is,” proclaims the blurb, and The Lord of Stariel begins with a prologue literally titled “An Ominous Prologue.” What follows is a delightful quartet that is not at all as un-serious as one might expect from such a first impression, but still retains a relatively light-hearted atmosphere with an intimate scope. There’s magic, minor battle scenes, and other standard fantasy fare, but the focus is primarily on Hetta dealing with her family, potential lovers, and increasingly complex politics.

"A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking" review

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking is a delightful young-adult fantasy novel taking on serious, modern themes through the earnest eyes of fourteen-year-old Mona, a baker’s apprentice. She’s lived a somewhat sheltered but not pain-free life until now: her parents died several years ago, and she now lives above the glassblower’s shop, six doors down from her Aunt Tabitha’s bakery, where she spends all of her time, baking and doing magic to bread.

"A Spindle Splintered" review

I dare you to read A Spindle Splintered with a dry eye for a single page (you won’t, it’s impossible). Zinnia Gray is a dying girl who’s spent her life obsessed with Sleeping Beauty because being a cursed girl seems better than being a dying girl. Alix Harrow uses a poetic, musical first-person present voice that leaves the reader heartbroken for both the protagonist and also every other character at every moment of this 128-page-long novella.

"The Crypt Lord's Call" review

The Crypt Lord’s Call was my introduction to the LitRPG genre, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Theo (also known as: Teddy, Not Teddy, Theodore, Crypt Lord) wakes up after seeing some mysterious letters in the sky and finds himself in the Afterlife, forced to participate in an RPG-like System. Step 1: Get some food and clothing. Step 2: Join a guild’s welcoming party. Step 3: Be invited to the guild. Step 4: Reject the guild’s invitation, instead allying himself with local mobs because the System seems damn unfair. Wait, that doesn’t sound right, does it? And things only get crazier from there.

"The Licanius Trilogy" review

Let me preface this review by saying that overall I did enjoy this trilogy. I found the plot to be engaging (especially in the second book), and the political tensions along with several of the antagonists (Gassandrid in particular) were very well-crafted. However, for each of its broad strengths, The Licanius Trilogy had a number of specific weaknesses, so the majority of my review is going to be critical.

"The Paladin Caper" review

The first half of The Paladin Caper combines the best parts of The Palace Job - the humor and character interactions - with the best parts of The Prophecy Con - the true high fantasy plot - as the ancients are beginning to return to the world. It introduces the perfect villain for the setting, incompetent yes-man Handel Westteich. And it even finds a way to make Kail’s “your mother” jokes funny. After completion of the first arc, the novel flounders for a bit, but the payout of the climax is excellent and well worth the wait.

"Jade Legacy" review & reactions

You know that video with the couple on a picnic blanket that zooms out until you’re looking at the entire galaxy? In Jade City we were on the picnic blanket. In Jade War we zoomed out and saw three entire years of life. Now with Jade Legacy, Fonda Lee spans decades to conclude the saga of an entire generation of Kauls, ushering in the next. It’s a work of art. It’s everything you could ever ask for. It will leave you emotionally bare at every twist and turn as No Peak and the Mountain continue to fight each other at home and abroad, and new enemies await both clans at every moment of their journeys.