Book Review: The Captive Prince Trilogy

This is going to be a somewhat different post from me because it’s a review of not one book but three: the entire Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat, comprising of Captive Prince, Prince’s Gambit, and Kings Rising. I consumed these books in a month after a Herculean effort of trying to pace myself, to absorb what I was reading instead of blazing through it in a “head empty, no thoughts” mindset. This has been the first trilogy I’ve read all the way through in quite some time, and I had nothing but a good time, a realization that thrilled me to no end.

For a few years, I’d been eyeing these books, staying away for a few reasons that all amounted to my own unfounded assumptions and others’ naysaying. These books were in the romance section, which means they likely weren’t well-written. They contained just sex covered by the thinnest veil of plot. They were hugely problematic in the way they glorify sexual slavery, rape, and other issues. The list goes on, but finally, I’d had enough of believing the fears. I picked up Captive Prince because current fiction and romance have been boring me to death lately, and before long I realized I was utterly—wait for it—captivated.

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Book Review: Asunder

Title: Asunder
Author: David Gaider
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Version: Mass Market Paperback
Page Count: 485
Publisher: Tor Books
Add To-Read on: GoodReadsStoryGraph
Notable Notables: Written by openly-gay man who was a head writer of the Dragon Age games
Recommended Readers: Dragon Age fans wanting to read some sweet, sweet lore
CAWPILE Rating: 9.57
Star Rating: ★★★★★

My Review

Picture this: I’m in my third, back-to-back playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition when I learn that my son, Cole, has a book that’s all about his backstory. Naturally, I had to find and read it as soon as possible.

While I’ve vaguely known that Dragon Age books existed, I hadn’t picked up any until now because, historically, books written to supplement a video game franchise are often lackluster comparatively. It can be hard to capture all the things that make a video game wondrous through text alone, without you there as the player character that makes all the decisions and ultimately saves the day. So imagine my delighted surprise when I read Asunder, only to find that I didn’t just like it; I devoured it.

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ARC Review: Black Sun

Title: Black Sun
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Genre: Fantasy
Version: ebook – ARC
Page Count: 454
Publisher: Saga Press
Add To-Read on: GoodReadsStoryGraph
Notable Notables: POC, LGBTQ+, and blind characters
Recommended Readers: Anyone wanting a fresh, non-European take on epic fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

Yes! This is it! This book is… wow!

Maybe my 2020 reading life has experienced a drought of easy, five-star reads. Maybe everything about this year has been utter shit and brimming with disappointment. So when I picked up Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, I was begging, Please be good. You sound so interesting and your cover is gorgeous and if another of my most anticipated reads disappoints me, I will cry.

Well, Black Sun wasn’t just good; it was wonderful. It wasn’t just interesting. It was page-turning and original. I’ve already ran out and bought a copy for myself because I fell for it so hard.

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Book Review: The Unspoken Name

Title: The Unspoken Name
Author: A. K. Larkwood
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Version: Hardcover
Page Count: 464
Publisher: Tor Books
Add To-Read on: GoodReadsStoryGraph
Notable Notables: LGBTQA+ characters, loose orc and elf descriptions not of Tolkien making
Recommended Readers: Fans of messy, badly-behaving characters and a sprinkling of sci-fi to go with your fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆

My Review

I was so excited to read The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood. I coveted it every time I traveled to the bookstore or saw it online until I wore myself down with my longing to buy it. It sounded like everything I had been craving and not finding in my reads lately. A priestess—who happens to be an orc—turning from sacrificing her life to her god and following a morally-questionable, duplicitous wizard instead? A wizard who also happens to be a hot elf exiled from his seat of power, and now has a weapon, an assassin, at his disposal? And the priestess’ god might one day call its debt due? You couldn’t have sold this to me any harder.

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November 2019 Book Releases

It’s getting colder out there, meaning I’m becoming more and more inclined to stay inside, curled up in a blanket with some hot tea and a good book.

But, if I want any of the new November books, that means I’ll need to brave the cold and get myself to the bookstore (it’s just so much more personal than Amazon and other online shopping).

What books this month are going to be worth leaving the house for?

the queen of nothing
Release Date: November 19 | Goodreads

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Why I Want to Read This: Listen, if you’ve read The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, then you know exactly why I want to read this. (Fae! Politics! Enemies-to-lovers romance! Absolutely steller characters!) Besides, I haven’t read a thing from Holly Black yet that I haven’t liked, and while I’m dying for The Queen of Nothing, I’m going to be so sad when this trilogy is over.

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Book Review: Priest of Bones

books october 2018
Priest of Bones
 Peter McLean
Genre: Adult Fantasy/Fiction
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Ace Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Distinctive first-person POV, LGBTQ characters
Recommended Readers: Fans of gangster-esque novels, gritty stories, the Gentleman Bastards series
Rating: ★★★★☆

Thank you to NetGallery and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Priest of Bones by Peter McLean promised old-school gangster activity in an adult fantasy setting, and it absolutely delivered. This story was gritty in all the right ways, politically intricate in terms of characters, and a complete romp all around.

Thomas Piety, an army priest, and his band of soldiers have just returned home from the war, only for Thomas to discover that his former businesses have been stolen out from under him. With his lieutenant, Bloody Anne, and his unpredictable younger brother, Jochan, Thomas is determined to reclaim his streets and bring back the prosperity his people lost in the course of the war.

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Book Review: The Censor’s Hand

the censor's hand

Title: The Censor’s Hand (Book One of the Thrice-Crossed Swords Trilogy)
 A. M. Steiner
Genre: Fantasy
Version: ARC (eBook)
Page Count: 502
Publisher: Ptolemy Publishing UK
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Strong world-building, thought-provoking
Recommended Readers: Fans of high fantasy, philosophy
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I downloaded a copy of this book from NetGalley a few months after the publication date. It’s technically an ARC, just not an “advanced from the author/publisher” one. Regardless, the review that follows is my honest and true opinion.

The Censor’s Hand is the first book of the Thrice-Crossed Swords trilogy, an adult fantasy that veers towards the philosophical. I chose it because it’s a little different from what I usually read, but it still sounded promising.

In this fictional world, magic is harnessed via masters of the Honorable Company of Cunning and sold to whoever can afford it, their headquarters located on the island of the Convergence. After a censor, a guardian of justice, is discovered murdered there, a discreet investigation is launched to find the true culprit.

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