Five Books – Five Authors – One Reviewer
Looking for a new fantasy to read this weekend?
Try one of these books, reviewed by Suzanne Rogerson
I finally have space to bring back my Five on Friday feature and I’m kicking off with a guest reviewer:
Suzanne Rogerson is a self-published author of epic and heroic fantasy, who loves reading books almost as much as she love writing them.
“When Rainne asked if I would like to take part in her Five on Friday, I was excited to have a go and share some book love. But after many false starts, I just couldn’t work out which books to showcase. It’s so difficult to pick just five. In the end, I’ve opted for five fantasy books I’ve loved but never reviewed on my blog. Here they are…”
Author: Jonathan Wylie
As civil war threatens the land of Ahrenia, Rebecca is thrust into a central role in the momentous drama that is engulfing her home. Yet, as the armies of nightmare draw closer, she discovers that war is not the ultimate evil.
This was the first true fantasy book I really remember reading. I was about 17 and I was blown away by the magical world. It was at a time when I was struggling to decide what direction I wanted my own writing to take, so I feel Dream Weaver is partly responsible for me choosing fantasy as my genre.
It’s a YA fantasy (at the time I didn’t even know this term) and follows Rebecca as she learns about her dream weaving abilities whilst her land is thrust into civil war. Even if I can’t fully remember the story, I remember Rebecca and hope one day to enjoy her adventure again.
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Series: Rebel Angels #1
Author: Gillian Philip
It’s the last decade of the 16th century: a time of religious wars and witch-hunts in the full-mortal world. The Sidhe are at peace until their queen determines to destroy the protecting veil. But exiled brothers Seth and Conal have vowed that they will survive and return to reclaim their fortress and save the veil.
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I loved the beginning of this book! It starts with a terrible event – Seth preparing to watch his brother burnt for witchcraft, while in his hand he holds a crossbow. Will he kill his brother before the fire does?
Before the answer is revealed, we switch back in time to see how the two brothers got themselves in the terrible predicament. I spent the whole time reading it wondering what would happen and dreading finding out as Seth’s brother, Conal, quickly became my favourite character.
The writing is excellent and it’s a real page-turner. I love the premise of the veil between worlds and the adventures it offers the reader.
I introduced my son to the Rebel Angels series this year. He’s already read all four books, while I still have to find the courage to read on past book 2! He assures me it is worth continuing.
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Series: Raven’s Shadow #1
Author: Anthony Ryan
“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”
Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.
Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.
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As I read this book, I found myself thinking ‘here is the new David Gemmell!’
We follow the story of Vaelin Al Sorna as his father leaves him in the care of a secret organisation – the sixth order. He trains with them through his childhood and learns many harsh lessons, before growing up to become a feared killer dubbed Hope Killer by his enemies. This is an addictive epic fantasy and I loved every moment of it. I hope to finish reading the Raven’s Shadow series this year.
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Title: Assassin’s Apprentice
Series: Farseer Trilogy #1
Author: Robin Hobb
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.
Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.
So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.
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She is a living legend. I fell in love with Robin Hobb’s story telling and her worlds, especially the later books The Rain Wild Chronicles. Assassin’s Apprentice was the first book of hers that I read and it was a revelation for me early on in my own writing journey.
I loved one of her characters in particular – Nighteyes the wolf. In fact, Robin Hobb started my obsession with all things wolf!
There is the amazing magic called the Wit, where people bond with animals, though it is forbidden. People are drawn to a certain species and as Fitz grows up, he bonds with first a dog and then a wolf.
There are other magical abilities he must learn to harness and control, and he learns to be an assassin. Some of the relationships Fitz forms, in particular with Burrich, Chade and Verity are brilliantly portrayed.
These books have everything you could want in a fantasy – assassins, love, friendship, heartache and even dragons! This series has certainly made me shed more than a few tears – always the sign of a good book!
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Title: Sword in the Storm
Series: The Rigante #1
Author: David Gemmell
Fierce and proud, the Rigante dwell deep in the green mountain lands, worshiping the gods of air and water, and the spirits of the earth. Among them lives a warrior who bears the mark of fate. Born of the storm that slew his father, he is Connavar, and tales of his courage spread like wildfire.
The Seidh–a magical race as old as time–take note of the young warrior and cast a malignant shadow across his life. For soon a merciless army will cross the water, destroying forever the timeless rhythms of life among the Rigante.
Swearing to protect his people, Connavar embarks on a quest that will take him into the heart of the enemy. Along the way, he receives a gift: a sword as powerful and deadly as the Seidh who forged it. Thus he receives a name that will strike fear into the hearts of friend and foe alike–a name proclaiming a glorious and bitter destiny . . .
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I could choose any David Gemmell book and tell you how much I loved the characters, the setting, the magic and the story. He will always be the first person to come to mind when someone asks me to name my favourite author.
I read Sword in the Storm years ago and loved it. All four books in the Rigante series are brilliant, but this is probably the only one of Gemmell’s novels that I can’t bring myself to re-read, and I have tried.
I know what is going to happen to the characters and I’m not brave enough to face all that heartache and pain again.
It’s an amazing read following Connavar’s story, but it is a harsh world and he makes choices that are hard to swallow. This book ripped my heart out and then some.
If you haven’t read any of Gemmell’s books yet, firstly why not? Secondly, read the Rigante series!
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Suzanne Rogerson lives in Middlesex with her hugely encouraging husband and two children. She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. Suzanne discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave Suzanne the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she’s lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she should get a proper job.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
Suzanne collect books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography. She’s interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all Suzanne likes escaping with a great film, or soaking in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
To read more of Suzanne’s reviews, or to find out more about Suzanne and her books visit her website.
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If you do pick up one of these books and read it, please leave a review.
It doesn’t have to be long and detailed, a few words will do 🙂
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