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Showing results for tags 'dark fantasy'.
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Obsidian Awakening is one of those books that feel easy to read, but when you look back you realize how much depth it had. How much you've learned about the world, the politics and the characters without feeling like you at the time. The characters and world are so clear and defined that you feel like you've read a few books in the series already. All of the characters have something they struggle with or something that happens to them that changes them in a positive or negative way. How they deal with what happens to them is so fascinating. There are some absolutely heart breaking scenes but they happen for a reason and serve the story. It's established pretty quickly that anything can and will happen, nobody is safe and the characters you begin to latch onto won't be spared. All of the characters get enough time that you get to know all of them, they are all flawed and are dealing with trauma. The world is lush and vivid. Lots of maneuvering and politics, making you wonder what will happen next or what is really going on and what everyone's motivations really are. Sienna Frost also explores the cost of survival and civilizations. What leaders must do to keep order, to keep everyone fed and alive. How do you rule over so many people and keep them motivated? Would you trade freedom for security? Would you rather be safe behind walls and part of the machine or be free and vulnerable to the many dangers in the world? So many details I'm sure I missed on the first read, this one is just begging for a re-read. Not because it's hard to follow, but because there are so many details sprinkled in that will be relevant later in the series.
On rare occasions I start a book and immediately feel like the book was written for me. When I started Gunmetal Gods I felt like I was home. Too often in fantasy characters are one dimensional. This is the hero. This is the villain. Here are reasons to love the hero and hate the villain. In Gunmetal Gods the characters are complex and leave you questioning who you should be rooting for or against. Wait, can you be rooting for all of them? They do evil things, good things, terrible things but they are also fragile and weak. They carry their scars, emotionally and physically, they are cowards. They aren't just good or bad, they are people, flawed and damaged. They follow their faith and beliefs, making decisions and sacrifices they believe are for the greater good. The world is full and vivid. Without a bunch of info dumps you learn bits and pieces about the world of Gunmetal Gods. Religion, war, history and values all become clear to you as you journey through this world. You learn the creatures that inhabit the world, the gods they worship and the history that these characters hope to preserve or destroy. The battles aren't often, but they are a huge part of the story. When there are battles, you pay attention because you aren't sure what will happen. You don't know who will live, die or become a prisoner (which may be the worst fate). Reading how these battles play out had me on the edge of my seat and wanting to close my eyes when I read what happens next, knowing the battle is just the beginning. What happens after the battles is sometimes much worse than the battle itself. War is brutal, unforgiving, violent and terrible. Zamil Akhtar doesn't shy away from those horrors or their aftermath. I was immersed into the world, it's politics, religion, history and battles and captivated by the characters and their histories. Learning about their lives, success, losses and failures was as much fun as I've had reading a fantasy series since the Ash and Sand trilogy. Favorite lines, no spoilers: Later this month I'll be talking with Zamil Akhtar, P.L. Stuart, @MaedBetweenthePages and @Lana (Lore & Lullabies) discussing Gunmetal Gods. My only complaint is I have to wait until after that to start book two.
I was a little nervous going into Aching God. Hadn't had too much luck with fantasy for a couple of books and I was feeling a little burnout. After talking with Mike I was even more excited to read it but it exceeded my expectations. It's a great mix of epic fantasy, dark fantasy and even a touch of horror. Wait, horror? Yep. There are some great horror moments in this book that will have you hoping Mike Shell writes a fantasy horror series one day. In Aching God the characters we follow aren't brushing off their past experiences. They have physical and emotional scars from what happened before. I loved hearing stories about what happened before the events of Aching God, getting bits and pieces of what they experienced and trying to figure out what happened and what they are dealing with. As they journey back to this location the tension builds and builds, you start to worry about them and not only what they'll experience when they get there - but how they will react, too. Fantasy often seems predicable and by the numbers to me, but that isn't the case with Aching God. I'm usually not a fan of quest stories, but because of the build up it had me hooked. The last 100 pages or so especially ramped up and will have you on the edge of your seat (or reading chair). Aching God can be found here on Amazon Below is our SPOILER filled discussion with Mike Shell and booktuber @EpicTalez