Tag Archives: WhatImReading

Sixth Of Nine: False Gods

From The Godless World Trilogy over to False Gods for our sixth post out of the nine! False Gods is written by Graham McNeill and it is the second book in the Horus Heresy. As y’all know I’ve committed myself to reading this neverending and highly enjoyable series, and it is important to look back at the roots as we progress.

First off let’s talk about thus amazing cover! Philip Sibbering is an extraordinarily gifted artist who does a great job at capturing masses of Space Marines united in a singular purpose of the devastation of humanity’s enemies. Next let’s talk about why there are Space Marines and Primarchs and what is the Emperor trying to accomplish.

The Emperor is the most powerful Psyker (human able to use supernatural powers) in the known galaxy. He has existed since the early days of humanity and has tried guiding the species through the years. However humanity grew too far too fast and imploded in upon itself after spreading through the galaxy. A time known as Old Night descended in which humanity lost its science, art, communications, and soul. We had spread through the galaxy but now we were lost and adrift.

The Emperor at this point came from behind the scenes to the forefront and conquered Earth, determined to reunite humanity and to guide it into a great golden age. To do this he created genetically enhanced soldiers known as Space Marines and created his “sons” the Primarchs to lead them. Then he launched humanity on a 200 year long crusade to reconquer the galaxy. Reuniting the splintered worlds of humanity under one banner, his banner, whether they wanted it or not. Thus the Imperium Of Man was founded.

To truly understand the Heresy you must understand how vital Horus is, and how much the Emperor trusted him, and how badly the Emperor misled him. To unite humanity the forces of the Imperium have to travel through the Warp. A dark place full of wonder, mystery, terror, gods, and Chaos. The Emperor thought he could conquer this too without letting his people know that chaotic gods existed and were striving to destroy the universe. But through a series of events detailed within the pages of this story Horus comes into contact with these beings. Beings his father told him didn’t exist, while knowing they did. Now Horus must decide who to trust. Chaotic false gods, or a deceitful father.

The stage is set, the players are present, and now the greatest soul to ever exist besides the Emperor must decide what path is right not only for himself, but for all of humanity too.

Fifth Of Nine: Bloodheir

For the fifth ofvthese nine posts we return to the world of The Godless Trilogy for book two: Bloodheir.

Second books are the make or break points to a trilogy. I think it is universally accepted that the second film of the original Star Wars Trilogy was the best, yes? The ability to pick up a story, tell a new tale, and bring it to such a conclusion that you must go on to the final book is a powerful ability and Brian Ruckley has that ability in large quantities! Bloodheir picks you up right where the the opening book Winterbirth left you and quickly throws you into… well into a despair really. This one is a dark and moving tale where you really are in fear for any character you care for, and truly you find yourself caring for some characters you didn’t expect to care for!

One aspect of this story that I really love is that the world itself is a part of the story too. That is something I love about Dune as well. In this case it isn’t a hot desert planet. It is a vast frozen wilderness. It is ancient and hate filled forests. It is breathtaking mountains. Above all it is snow. And in this snow a battle takes place. A battle that will stretch loyalties to their breaking points. An intense battle first against the elements and then against the enemy. I love it when the world itself is a huge part of the story.

I admit that I was concerned when I started this book that the story wouldn’t draw me in further. That it would feel unneeded. However I quickly grew to appreciate this story. Truth told I thought the disasters and catastrophes that happened in the first book would be the worst of the series. Then I read this book and learned how disastrous it could still become! This book was even better than the first book. But it wasn’t the best book of the trilogy! That book is yet to come! We’ll talk about it soon.

#20For20Books

All of us have massive TBR piles, or shelves, or lists, right? Well a friend on Instagram @Jetwithjess has created a fun “challenge” for attacking your TBR this year called #20For20Books in honor of the year 2020! It’s easy to join in. All you need to do is pick out twenty books that you already own from your TBR and read those twenty books over the course of this year! If you want to include a reread or want to add a book you don’t own yet but have wanted to read for ages that’s fine too, it’s all meant to be fun!

The difficult part for me was selecting just twenty books! There are so many boos on my TBR that I want to read! But I have narrowed my list down to these twenty books:

1 Beyond Apollo Barry Malzberg

2 Best Served Cold Joe Abercrombie

3 The Curse Of The Mistwraith Janny Wurts

4 Inversions Iain M Banks

5 Ancillary Sword Anne Leckie

6 The Land You Never Leave Angus Watson

7 Relic Of Sorrows Lindsay Buroker

8 The Deadbringer E M Markoff

9 The Mirror’s Truth Michael Fletcher

10 The Crown Of Stones Magic Scars C L Schneider

11 The House Of Sacrifice Anna Smith Spark

12 The Heart Of What Was Lost Tad Williams

13 Shadow And Flame Gail Z Martin

14 Eye Of Terra Aaron Dembski-Bowden

15 Fleet Of Knives Gareth L Powell

16 The Scorched Earth Drew Karpyshyn

17 The Sword Of The Lictor Gene Wolfe

18 The Citadel Of The Autarch Gene Wolfe

19 Fallen Dragon Peter Hamilton

20 Iron Gold Pierce Brown

Do you see any favorites on the list or ones you’d like to read to? Are you going to join in? I’m curious what books will make your #20For20Books list! Hope you join in!

A Voice That Gave A Voice

Creative titles are fun aren’t they? I mean I at least think it’s creative. Ok on with the reviewing before I think I’m more clever than I already think I am ha!

Years ago I accepted an ARC of A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall and was really excited! A GrimDark Fantasy of a conflicting character from an earlier generation setting out to make the world bleed for their vengeance. Sounds promising! Unfortunately it failed to live up to its promise.

I know I know I rarely books that I don’t enjoy. I rarely read books I don’t enjoy or DNF them and then move on. Life is too short and my TBR too massive to spend time on books I’m not enjoying. However I felt I owed this one a read through as I did accept the ARC. It was taking me ages to make any headway though and so I ended up buying a physical copy to accompany my Ebook ARC. Maybe that will help me connect with this story but again I just wasn’t feeling it. I kept wondering why I wasn’t enjoying this tale, where was the disconnect? Suddenly it hit me: The characters didn’t have anything to truly distinguish themselves from each other.

Oh sure they had different names and physical attributes and backgrounds, but all of the characters were the same dull overly snarky attempting to be witty tough character. You could have replaced any of the primary characters with any of the secondary characters and not noticed a difference in the story. That’s frustrating.

I felt I owed it to the publisher to not give up, but a third of the way into the book I almost caved. Then I remembered I had an Audible credit and needed a new audiobook! Did this one have a good narrator? I decided to find out and I am so glad I did!

Angele Masters is an amazing narrator and she breathed life into the various characters within the pages of this book! Her reading of it and the voices she made for each of the characters turned my experience of this book completely around from one I was about to DNF to now having me interested in listening to the next two volumes of the trilogy.

If you enjoy GrimDark this story is worth a try. You may find more life within the characters than did I. If you enjoy GrimDark and audiobooks then this is a must listen because you’ll enjoy the experience!

Modern Military SciFi In War Stories!

Y’all, when Apex Publications asked if reviewers would be interested in reviewing books from their back catalog to help spread the word that in September their entire back catalog would be on sale I jumped at the opportunity to join in! Now I know September is flying past so I’m only now letting you know that their back catalog of books is on sale for 25% off for this month if you use the discount code of SEPTEMBER and I apologize for that lateness BUT when you look at the cost and value of the book I’m reviewing for them I think that even if you read this post at a later date you’ll still want to obtain this book and give it a read! Ok let’s dive into this book now:

First off: it is tricky to get a good photo of an e-book cover! Ha! But this cover is perfect for this book. WAR STORIES is a short story collection of new Military SciFi by a variety of authors and it is hard hitting and thoughtful right from the start! If you’re curious what Military SciFi is then I’ve got a lovely post for you on that topic HERE but the short version would be SciFi that deals with military experience as a central factor rather than a story that just has a conflict/war in it. Military SciFi takes a deep look at humanity and holds a mirror up in front of us to confront us with ourselves and what we as a species do to one another and for what purpose. I love Military SciFi and in reading this short story collection I’ve been hit hard with the stories I’ve read. Well thought out. Very thought provoking. Fiction that feels real and challenges me. This is the type of book that takes me a while to work through because I find myself stopping to reflect after every story I read. Y’all, War Stories is an excellent intro to Military SciFi for those new on the scene and it’s an excellent one to cause lifelong Military SciFi readers to gain new perspective. It’s available HERE on APEX Publication’s website.

While you are there please look around at their entire catalog and even if you can’t take advantage of their September discount I think you’ll find books that will capture your interest!

READ THIS BOOK!

If there is one book I could convince you to read right now it’s this book I’m about to tell you about! As y’all know one of my goals with RedStarReviews is to draw attention to books that are published either independently or via a small publisher with my Star In The Sky reviews. The concept is that there are so many stars shining brightly in the sky and I want to use my platform to point out some that have grabbed my eye and today I have a very bright shining star of a story to share with you!

The Deadbringer by E M Markoff is the first book of The Ellderet Series and it is AMAZING!!! The author is a member of the Bookstagram Community and I somehow missed that she was an author! One day I saw her post about her characters and thought that they sounded cool so I decided to give the first chapter of the book a try. I hoped I’d like it. I didn’t just like it, Reader, I LOVED IT. This book is so damn awesome! It is a Dark Fantasy with elements of Horror within it. The world created by the author is interesting, the characters are so alive they could step off the pages and into your home. The interpersonal conflicts are some of the best I’ve ever encountered in a book in my reading life. This is a book that grabbed ahold of me and refused to let go! Seriously if there is one book this year that I recommend that you give a chance to please let it be this book! E M Markoff has created such an incredible story that I know you’ll love. After you’ve read it please let me know what you think!

If you’d like to hear me talk more about this story check out the latest episode of my RedStarReviews Podcast

Also! Another reviewer of books Nick T Borrelli has constructed a list of his Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Series and it is an excellent list! It’s inspired me to construct my own top ten so right now I’m stuck with 16 possibles and trying to narrow that down so I can share it with you. Hope to have my list for you soon, but please check out Nick’s list while waiting, and please read The Deadbringer!

An Arrogant Tale

Wolfling by Gordon R Dickson is the first book I completed for this year’s Vintage SciFi Month! It’s a really enjoyable page turner of a book, which places humanity and Earth high up on a pedestal. Mild spoilers to follow the photo below.

The cover itself is excellent! And I have enjoyed reading Gordon R Dickson’s books each January for this special month and this book was a good continuation of that enjoyment! That said it’s really arrogant and human-centric. I doubt seriously if we came in contact with a superior alien race that we’d be able to go toe to toe with them much less outplay them at their own games. Also… some of the terminology and situations were troubling from both a modern perspective and from the age in which GRD wrote this tale too. The plot and primary character is interesting though so overall I enjoyed this tale.

The question what put forth of how these Vintage SciFi books age. Do they stay applicable or get passed by. It’s a tricky question that probably applies to each book differently. I think for the most part GRD’s books don’t stay applicable as they rely so heavily on the author’s outdated philosophies, but the stories remain interesting and there are thought provoking points which are worth mining out of the stories. I don’t want to sound unfair to GRD, I really do think he’s a great author, I just think the more I read of his the more I see his biases shining through.

Blood And Poetry

A short while back I noticed that several authors whose works I enjoy were talking about a new book that was coming soon, and everything I read about this book sounded fascinating! Y’all know I enjoy a quality GrimDark Fantasy read, and so when authors who excel at GrimDark say you need to pay attention to a book you should pay attention to that book!

The Court Of Broken Knives written by Anna Smith Spark is poetry written in blood. That’s the best description I think I can use for this beautiful tragedy.

Hidden truths behind histories, ancient empires seeking their former glory, dark gods, powerful magic, love, hate, betrayal, twists, turns, death, ruin, blood, war, and dragons. This Fantasy delivers.

One of the aspects of this story I enjoy so much is the style of writing the author uses. So rich and descriptive! You feel each page! Each paragraph comes to life and draws you in deeper to the story. This is a powerful tale told well. This is poetry written in blood. This is a story you will want to read!

From Beauty To Ashes: A Tale Of Two Halves

Y’all know I try to not post negative reviews. It’s just how I tend to prefer running my page. I try to avoid reading books I won’t like so that I’m not stuck feeling like I have to explain why I don’t like a book. One of the reasons is that I know if there’s a book I dislike one of you probably would love it so I don’t want to color your experience. That said this will possibly be as negative a review as I give. As this book is already widely loved and revered I’m confident I won’t scare any of you away from it by sharing my personal opinion. Mild spoilers ahead. Ok. Let’s talk about The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.

This book started out heartbreakingly beautiful! The whole first half of this story is a gorgeously tragic look into the heart of humanity and it is such a rewarding read! The first half is incredible! The second half is almost as if it was another book that the author was told they have to make fit into the pages of the story. It’s boring and uninspired. The beauty in this book was never going to be in the alien civilization, it was in the human interaction. The author lost that in the second half.

If the second half had only been the interrogation/debriefing then the story would have been true to itself. However that isn’t the story written, and the story written doesn’t measure the promise of the start. As a result I forced myself to finish this book, but I wish I had walked away halfway through it so that I didn’t have to read the second half and be this disappointed.

Please keep in mind I’m in the vast minority in my opinion on this book. Also I should note that it isn’t the fates the characters encountered that turns me off for the second half. It’s the story itself. The time spent on the planet was so boring, clunky, and dull. This author did such an amazing job looking into humanity, then lost the plot and thought the aliens were the story. They weren’t and a beautiful book was wasted. As it stands I finished it, and I won’t be reading the sequel.

It’d Be A Sin To Miss This

Every now and again a friend will recommend a book by their friend and you wonder if it’s as good as they say it is. It’s a reasonable doubt to have because we all want to paint our friends in a positive light. So needless to say when several of my Bookstagram friends started insisting I need to read Michael Reid Jr’s books I had some hesitations because I was worried they might just be being nice to their friend, but so many voices I trust kept echoing this so I said ok! I am so happy I did!

Sins Of The Father is the first book I’ve read by Michael Reid Jr but it won’t be the last! This was the best thriller I’ve read since Tom Clancy. That’s not hyperbole that’s just truth. Part political thriller, part adventure, part anti terrorism, part special forces, all intensely woven together into one fast paced drama that quickly delivers on stories!

Sins Of The Father is actually a sequel to Debt Of Fear which I haven’t read yet but I’ll be reading soon! I always suggest reading books in order but from personal experience I can say you can read these in any order you want to. I just suggest you read them. A lot of stories try to build tension by hiding the story from you. This book doesn’t have to use tricks like that: it’s tense from the start and the story immediately unfolds before your eyes! It draws you in and keeps you turning page after page.

Seriously check this author out! Click on the links I provided to see his books on Amazon or his website. Once you read one book by him you’ll join me in eagerly reading everything by him.