A Darker Shade of Sorcery by William Collins

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Heeeellllo readers, hope you’re well – I’m sorry I’ve been a little bit quieter recently. We’ve had some really heartbreaking news recently (my family,) and it’s been a bit of a shock to be honest with you. It came after just not feeling like myself and then to suddenly get hit by a really devastating piece of news was just, horrible. So, I’ve been a little quiet. Give me a week or so, and hopefully all will be a little better.

The lonely and grieving Evan Umbra is the newest Venator to enter Veneseron, the school for demon hunters.

A Venator is a wizard, a spy and a demon hunter rolled into one. They’re taught how to wield their sorcery and enchanted weaponry by orcs, elfpires and aliens alike.  Their missions range from battling monsters and saving countless lives in the multiple worlds, to the more peculiar, like wrangling killer unicorns and calming down drunken yetis.

 But it soon becomes apparent that Evan is more than just a Venator. Everyone wants to kill or capture him, from demons to Dark-Venators and even people he’s supposed to be able to trust.

Evan reckons he probably won’t survive his first year at Veneseron.

So, the blurb for this book was really really long so I cut it down and now I’m going to re-write this so that might be a little silly but you know me. The book follows the life of Evan, who grows up with his Gran, up to her death. His life now is plagued by a number of bullies and a number of terrifying nightmares. There is also a girl named Brooke; who has always struggled with her family – neither have ever felt particularly close to their homes and it’s because they have magic within them. Brought to Veneseron, ( a little like Harry was brought to Hogwarts,) they learn how to use their magic to save the innocent, but it’s not going to be easy.

So what did I think? Firstly, this book was really FULL ON. You’re immediately thrown straight into the action. If I’m honest because it was so full on I did struggle a little to kind of sink into the book but as I pushed through I found myself unable to put it down if I’m honest. It gains a bit of a rhythm. So don’t stop – once the additional characters start flooding in it all flows again. All of the main characters are really well written with gorgeous character profiling. There are a hell of a lot of characters so I won’t go into each, but they have full-bodied profiles and brilliantly built-up throughout (especially Evan who I really adored.)

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There are also a hella number of exciting demons and different shape-shifters and they are so unique. With different body-parts and different powers and qualities each was incredibly original and just part of the fun. It really added a dark edge to the book. The writing is also really brilliantly done; it’s a mix between, action, magic and full on demon fighting. I’ve seen the book being described as like Harry Potter; I get the comparison but this is a lot more gutsy. It doesn’t hold back and because of that we get a full-on in your face whistle stop ride and loved it. Every minute of it, although this author definitely owes me some sleep!

The only slight wobble I would suggest is that I found when we first made it into the world, there wasn’t a lot of time spent creating the world and that it would have helped to place the reader in the new environment. There’s a number of really intense scenes quite soon after we enter the new world and that would be the perfect time to throw in a bit more description about the landscape, but that’s a minor wobble.

So what did I think? I always say this but I don’t like fantasy books that much only a few hold my attention and this one did. From the beginning I loved the writing style – it’s very descriptive and doesn’t gloss over things. I did think a more extensive description of the world could have been included but that’s really only because everything else was so spot on. This author is one to keep an eye on, because I’m expecting big things.




Corruption of Power by G.W. Eccles

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Hello readers, hope you’re well. It’s been a bit of a crazy week so apologies if I’ve been a little quiet. Getting my head back in the blogging game after Christmas took a little longer than I thought and I’ve just has 564758385757 post ideas but no time to get them all down. Saying that having the time off has meant lots more reading time (despite the reading slump) and I’ve been reading some stunning books – today’s is pretty wonderful, enjoy!

Independent troubleshooter, Alex Leksin, is recruited by Prime Minister Saidov when the plan to reduce Russia’s reliance on an ever more hostile Europe is put at risk. Hell bent on expansion, President Karpev’s strategy is first to shift the markets for his country’s vast energy resources to the East and Saidov has been charged with overseeing a planned pipeline for Russia’s oil through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to access these markets. Failure could mean catastrophe, spreading the conflict raging in the Middle East to Russia’s own borders.

Against a background of political corruption, state-sponsored terrorism and increased Taliban insurgency, Leksin moves on to Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most sinister countries, right at the heart of Central Asia. Initially his enquiries reveal nothing to cause alarm. Other factors, though, suggest otherwise: wherever Leksin goes, someone tries to kill him; people in a position to help him are assassinated; and information turns out to be misinformation.


So you’ll have to forgive me a little because this is the second book in the series and I don’t believe I’ve read the first – it’s been one of those days. This book follows the protagonist Alex Leksin who is a trouble-shooter working for both Prime Minister Saidov and President Karpev. His job is simply to investigate and monitor the deal that will see Russia moving its vast energy resources to the East. Leksin is put in charge of making sure everything is above-board so to speak. However, there’s a bit of a time constraint, as Leksin only has twelve days to report back before Karpev needs to sign the contract with the President in Ashgabat – you still following? As Leksin continues his investigations he finds that there are people on his trail that will stop at nothing to take him off the grid and assassinate him and the knowledge that he has collected.

So now we’ve got through the nitty-gritty plot onto the good bits. Did I enjoy this book? Yes, although I’m not sure I understood all of it. When it comes to political, action books I do struggle sometimes. There is a lot of plot to understand and to keep your finger on and at times I did find myself confused as to what exactly was going on. However Eccles has created a really strong character in Leksin. Easy to warm to and a strong exciting character I really enjoyed reading along and learning more about the corruption of powers and the dangers that were constantly playing with our main characters.

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It is also important to know that this book is incredibly well-researched. It appears that Eccles has spent a large portion of his life living and working in Kazakhstan Russia and it really shows. The descriptions and the detail put in is of a wonderful quality and it adds flair to the writing – you can tell that this really is a passion of the authors and it comes through strongly on the page. It’s not just seen in the action and the political parts but also in the parts that talk about culture and the lifestyles that are found in the different locations of the book – whether we’re in Russia or in Turkmenistan it’s got so much flavour and understanding that can only come from real-life experiences.

Although it has a very real feeling to it there are parts that are a little, over-the-top. For me, this added to the plot because there were parts that were quite heavy and with these more exciting, action style interludes it helped to break-up the heavier bits of text. The book does include a lot of twists and turns and I enjoyed the juxtaposition between the two governments in Russia and Turkman and I think the author did a great job in explaining it in a way that was interesting and  exciting. I’m sure there are bits that I missed in terms of detail but I felt I got a very rounded experience from the book as a whole.

So would I recommend this? Yes, definitely. I not only really enjoyed this book but I felt that I learnt something. It’s been sold as a thriller but it is more than that. It’s a literary experience and one I really, really enjoyed. Thumbs up and can’t wait to see what the author writes next.




Jet: Russell Blake

Code name: Jet 

Twenty-eight-year-old Jet was once the Mossad’s most lethal operative before faking her own death and burying that identity forever. But the past doesn’t give up on its secrets easily. When her new life on a tranquil island is shattered by a brutal attack, Jet must return to a clandestine existence of savagery and deception to save herself and those she loves. A gritty, unflinching roller coaster of high-stakes twists and shocking turns, JET features a new breed of protagonist that breaks the mould.

 I recommend sitting down and devoting a few hours to this breathtaking book; if you don’t someone might moan about the lack of chores being seen to, or the dirty pile of washing that is being constantly added to because I promise you, you’re going to want read this right through to the end. It’s a little different for me as I do not usually read spy novels however this one has definitely given my favourite genres a shake and persuaded me to take up a new style. Russell hits the ground running as soon as the first page with ease and skill. Although I am not a reading spy books generally Blake taught me the world where the spy apparatus, and kill or be-killed moves are an every day occurrence in a way that I couldn’t help but keep turning the pages to digest more.

 The style of writing is clean and sharp with plenty of drama and high intensity situations and Jet is an extremely competent assassin; a mix of high skill with vigour and insolence. It’s really interesting to see a character so competent and strongly developed. She is definitely not a damsel in distress, however Blake has managed to create a realistic and ruthless assassin who also manages to be compassionate and sensitive and have real human qualities. She has depth and feeling that changes her from difficult to relate to, changing to a character that I ended up really feeling for. The descriptions are extremely graphic at time however they have a sense of eloquence without being tedious. The logistics, details and jargon were sufficient without being in excess i.e. the weapons used, and were used cleverly to give a background and flavour of the genre without confusion or becoming monotonous. The plot did jump backwards and forwards which for some readers may prove confusing however it was done cleverly so it was still possible to distinguish the different events and the different characters as a whole. Overall the structure is well formulated whilst the plot is solid and continues to construct the various plot lines and character profiles that grow throughout the book whilst the drama keeps the narrative striving forward with pace and danger.

When I read this book I knew I had found myself a new author to get my teeth into. Being a new reader of Russell Blake, finding the book my accident I was genuinely impressed by the good writing style, the interesting character of Jet, and the winding plot line bringing in new dramas, dangers and ruthless characters. Jet is an edgy action thriller that will throw you to all corners of the world, jet-setting to escape dangers from every direction. Overall we have an interesting foundation, a bucket of action, an stylish deceptive main character and a writing style that sweeps it into a seamlessly excellent book! 


Prey: Michael Crichton


I was recently sorting out a pile of my old books and stumbled across ‘Prey.’ I have piles and piles of books hidden around my room, in the wardrobe and under the bed and I often forget about them! So here’s a blast from the past and a review of ‘Prey’ by Michael Crichton

This is a gripping science fiction novel that would get any science fiction fan excited. In the Nevada desert, a science experiment has gone terribly wrong. A cloud of nano-particles—micro-robots—has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive and it has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour and every attempt to destroy it has failed. There is one problem: we are the prey. Jack Forman is the main protagonist of the story, an up tight, tense, former programmer that is trying to get used to life as a house-husband; looking after his children, doing the housework and tip-toeing around his increasingly stressed and distant wife. However it is not long until Jack is called to the lab in the desert where Julia works to try to program and control the demonic swarm of tiny robots.

The opening pages are exciting and tense. Julia, Jack’s wife is becoming distant and less human by the second. Not only is Julia becoming more tense, and stressed but her behaviour is becoming erratic. The atmosphere that Crichton creates is mysterious and tense, and as a reader we are drawn into the narrative. However as soon as Jack enters to desert the novel starts to gallop with inordinate pace, and although this is exciting, personally, as a I reader preferred the pressured atmosphere of the first chapters.The fight between humans and technology is the main plot line of the story. The workers at the plant, a bunch of contrasting characters, each with different personalities and behaviours must fight against the deadly swarm in the isolated conditions. This is against the clock as the swarm is evolving and getting stronger at every page turn; evolving into the optimum killing machine.

This book is a clever and exciting with a great pace. At times the science fiction jargon of the novel was complicated and complex and created an intricate and knotty plot line that was at times difficult to follow. I think at times Crichton over complicated the use of language and for me as a reader made the plot difficult to follow at points. I liked the contrasting characters in the group fighting the deadly swarm however a seemingly incompatible relationship that sprang up from no-where did seem a little inconceivable and therefore a little fake. However the story is strong and the plot is deep in meaning and understanding that means we as a reader are transported to the desert. The writing is technical and advanced and although this can sometimes be a little difficult, it shows the depth that Crichton has gone too to give a fictional authenticity of the story. This also means that although as a real concept it is inconceivable, we can’t help but wonder if it could potentially happen!  Although the language is sometimes difficult and full of names, number and formulas, as a reader I really enjoyed the plot and found myself carried away by the action and drama. If you are a science fiction or action fan this is definitely a book you need to get on your wish list, however I would still recommend this to any reader as the plot and characters are intense and brilliantly executed.Image