PRINCE EWALD THE BRAVE BY DYLAN MADELEY

GENRE: FANTASY

REVIEW DATE: MAY 18TH, 2021

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Meet the Kenderleys, the wealthiest and most powerful family in the world.

The youngest, Prince Bonifaz, takes his lessons and trusts no one. The middle child, Princess Isabel, sneaks away to a secret regency of her own making. Their mother, Queen Dulcibella, watches out for her children just as readily as she watches over them. Their father, King Jonnecht, is a capricious tyrant who hopes to control his family as strictly as he does the largest empire, and his violent rage threatens all under his rule.

Then there’s Prince Ewald, eldest and heir to the throne. No one is more aware of what threat his father poses to everyone. No one has better legal standing to do anything about it. How can he save everyone he loves while upholding his mother’s kind values? He must learn the lessons required to be the best regent, choose allies wisely and earn their trust, and enact a thoughtful and detailed plan.

And even if he succeeds in all that, can one who draws the line and conducts a plan with honour defeat one whose rage, selfishness, and deceit know no bounds?

Can Prince Ewald stop his own father?

 

Prince Ewald the Brave is a book within the Gift-Knight Trilogy written by Dylan Madeley. This epic fantasy story centers on Ewald Kenderley of the renown Kenderleys. Ewald is next in line for the throne. Throughout this story Ewald learns what it takes to be a prominent leader. As the story progresses, Eward is at odds with his father, King Jonnecht. Prince Ewald must look deep inside himself and ask himself if he truly has what it takes to lead.

 

What I enjoyed.

Madeley does a superb job at adding those little details to the story from describing the minor details from the characters to clothing to different settings throughout this adventure. One can tell that Madeley spent a lot of time crafting every inch of this world and it shows. Another positive with Madeleys attention to detail is that of his characters. This story has characters that one can invest in. You want to turn the page to see what happens next. Every word, scene, chapter, etc has a purpose and not just filler. Another credit to Madeleys attention to detail is the sibling relationship amongst the Kenderley children. I really enjoyed that dynamic throughout the book.

What I didn’t enjoy

The story’s main protagonist is Prince Ewald and is told from his POV, but this is overshadowed by switching to another character’s POV. Ewald is a very interesting character, and it shows. The story would have been more interesting if we could look more through Ewald's eyes.

Overall

Prince Ewald the Brave is a great epic fantasy novel. One can tell that Madeley takes the time to handcraft this epic fantasy. From the attention to detail on such things like surroundings, clothes, the relationship between characters and everything else in between. This attention to detail makes this a great read. My only complaint is that it would have been nice there wasn’t the switching of POVs between characters. Eward is a unique and I would have love to have seen things more from his POV. Madeley has a strong eye for detail and it shows in this work. I look forward to seeing what else he produces in the future.

Final Score

4 out 5 stars.

A BEAST SO BEAUTIFUL BY CARLYLE LABUSCHANGE

GENRE: FANTASY

REVIEW DATE: JUNE 10, 2021

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A darkness falls over the land when the Queen of Rurith dies.


Consumed with grief, King Ivar blames their son, Prince Leif, for her demise, and locks him away in the castle.

The Prince is left in total despair, until a girl, with hair the colour of a red sunset and green eyes shows him mercy.

For six years she visits him in secret, giving him hope where none existed before.

But Ruith hides many treacherous things that threaten to bring the Kingdom to its knees.

Until the Prince and his beastly curse are released.

A Beast so Beautiful is a fantasy novel written by USA Today best selling author, Carlyle LaBuschange. The story focuses on Prince Leif who is blamed for the death of is his mother by his father. Locked away in a tower by his evil father. Prince Leif's only source of happiness and hope, a girl who visits him.

What I enjoyed.

 At the very start of the book LaBuschange just jumped into it. She hit the ground running with this book, which is a pleasant change of pace in this genre. It’s always refreshing to see authors change things up when it comes to the start of their works of art. To compliment not only the opening of this book, but the book in its entirety is LaBuschange imagery. Her unparalleled, grim, and bewitching use of words breathes life into this work of art.

The tale in my opinion is a refreshing take on the classic story, Beauty and the Beast. Am I a fan of that story, not in the slightest. However, I can respect and acknowledge a work of art and that’s what the story is. Full of intrigue that will keep you turning pages if you are a fan of this type of genre. An example of this would be the ending. The ending itself was very interesting. Not what I expected, but that is a good thing.

What I didn't enjoy.

There were some parts that just didn't really flow. It was more telling than showing. The story is written in third person. Nothing wrong with that but it can be overwhelming. With the jump back and forth between the characters. I didn’t really get that strongly invested in the characters. The characters weren’t bad by any means, but they weren’t outstanding either. They were decent.

Overall

LaBuschanges art hooks you from the start. Hear alluring use of words brings out the joyous moments of this art and simultaneously captures the grim darkness. This art is full of in intrigue and twist. I wouldn’t call her characters forgettable, but they were just okay.

I am not a fan of this type of genre, but I know great art when I see it. LaBuschanges novel is an exceptional work of art regardless of my opinion on this genre. I look forward to see where her renowned award winning talents take her.

Final Score

3.5 out of 5

THE VIOLINS PLAYED BEFORE JUNSTAN BY LOU KEMP

GENRE: HISTORICAL FANTASY

REVIEW DATE: AUGUST 30, 2021

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This is the prequel to the Celwyn series


San Francisco, 1865.
At first, the immortal peyote-eating magician Celwyn is hired to deliver an automat, Professor Kang, to a priest called Talos. Everything Talos told Celwyn was a lie, and by the time their ship, the Zelda, encounters a terrific storm in the Arctic Circle, Celwyn finds he must reconsider his allegiance. He chooses Kang, and they travel to Singapore, preparing to journey west. In order to deflect the attention of the city’s police, they allow an American heiress to go with them as she escapes matrimony to seek adventure. Her crazy aunt hops another train, and the pursuit is on. The third member of their friendship is from Juba in the Sudan; a widower, scholar, and brave but superstitious man. Their deep friendship grows as they battle several malevolent forces at the same time, and rescue two orphans along the way. Celwyn has avoided caring about anyone for hundreds of years, and now must learn the cost of friendship, and loss. Eventually they reach Prague. The culmination of their battles with evil occurs on the Vltava River under the shadow of the Prague Opera House. As always, it is accompanied by the ethereal music of the magician.

The Violins Played before Junstan, written by Lou Kemp, is an exciting story that is part fantasy, part historical fiction, part mystery, all rolled up into one. The story centers on the very gifted magician, Celwyn. Celwyen is tasked with a mission. His mission, hunt down the powerful criminal known as, Xiau Kang.

What I enjoyed

Kemp does a marvelous job of bringing the 1800s to life. With great attention to detail, the locations that are within the book are like characters themselves. I could truly picture this colorful world in my head. The characters in the book are full of life, making it to where there is never a dull moment in this book. Each character brings something vital to the table. The great group dynamic really makes the book come together.

The best way I can explain the group dynamic is like so: Picture you and three of your best friends going on a supernatural road trip. Having great times along with way all while trying to fight supernatural creatures. Of course, you would stop for snacks along the way. What’s a good road trip without snacks.

There is a lot in this book. From characters, locations, a mixture of supernatural creatures like vampires and witches trying to cut Celwyns adventures short, the story is very well paced. 

What I didn't enjoy

Nothing comes to mind. It’s an enjoyable read.

Overall

The Violins Played before Junstan is a great read. Mystery, fantasy and historical fiction all rolled up into one. The great and well flushed out characters make it to where there is never a boring moment in this work out art. This story takes place in several countries and Kemp does a great job of bringing those countries to life and making it easier for the reader to picture what is going on in the story at that moment in time. Kemp has an amazing style that keeps the story compelling. I look forward to seeing what comes out next.

Final Score

4 out of 5

THE HANGMAN: VENGEANCE

GENRE: URBAN FANTASY

REVIEW DATE: SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

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Jericho sighed as he pointed the Sword of Caine at the Hangman. “You made this personal when you killed…There’s no coming back from that.”

The Hangman has returned from the unknown dimension he was sent to at the end of The Death Brothers: A Supernatural Awakening. Now, he only has vengeance on his mind for the people, who tricked him that he once considered friends and allies. They include the heroes; The Grand Librarian, Alexander Merryweather, the demon hunter, Father Tom Padilla, Susan Taki, and reluctantly, the vampire slayer, Jericho Caine.

Leechadon the Soul Eater, a powerful demon and the new leader of the underworld, uses the opportunity to attack the Earth by bringing together four allies of his own. They are; the vampire lord Dracool, a witch named Alina, a zombie leader, Deadric, and a demon lord, Gregor. If they can work together, they represent the greatest threat to humanity that has ever been assembled.

Leechadon strikes a deal with Hangman to help get his revenge in exchange for the Hangman agreeing not to interfere with Leechadon’s plans for the Earth. The past, present, and future play relevant parts in this adventure. Allegiances are tested as both, humans and supernatural forces, clash in this epic finale to the Hangman series.

The Hangman: Vengeance, written by Dee Rose is an exciting urban fantasy read. It is the final installment of the Hangman Universe series. After escaping an alternate universe, The Hangman has one thing on his mind, vengeance. While The Hangman goes up against band of unified individuals consisting of a librarian, the guardian of Purgatory, and many more unique characters, there is a greater threat lurking in the shadows. Lord Leechadon, a powerful demon from the underworld. His goal, conquering earth. Who will win in this three way dance of death?

Even through this is the final book in the Hangman series, you won’t get lost. Rose provides a great introduction at the beginning of the book setting the scene for what has happen and things possibly to come. Rose talents makes it to where this story can act as standalone story and does an amazing job at adding flashbacks throughout the book to fill in any blanks so that reader is able to better understand The Hangmans motivations along with the universe as a whole that this book takes place in.

This great urban fantasy tale has exciting action scenes that reads like a Hollywood block buster action movie. I will say, there is a lot keep track of. This creation has it all. Vampires, demons, witches, even something for the zombie lovers out there. Rose even throws in supernatural artifacts. However, even though it’s a lot to keep track of he does a renowned job at not confusing and overwhelming the reader. It all has a clear purposes and it shows in the exceptional narration.

If I had to compare this work of urban fantasy to something that people are a fan of when it comes to this genre, it would be the television show Supernatural. It puts me in the mind of a darker and gritty version of the television show. Being a huge fan of urban fantasy I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking to grow their urban fantasy library.

Final Score

4 out of 5

KILLING THE REAPERS

GENRE: URBAN FANTASY

REVIEW DATE: OCTOBER 13, 2021

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Ross is a young paramedic whose world takes a sudden tragic turn on what should be the best day of his life. Just before he can propose to his girlfriend, he suffers a massive heart attack and dies. He awakens in the afterlife and learns that the Grim Reaper actually does exist. But not as the skeletal creature of mythology, instead it’s an organization of non-living individuals who look and act like ordinary people. Essentially undead civil servants, they walk among the living, unnoticed, as they perform their grim work of reaping the souls of people when they are destined to die. He is shocked to learn that he died decades before he was supposed to, due to a tragic mishap. As Ross and the reapers seek a solution for his premature demise, fatal accidents suddenly begin to plague the reapers. Ross discovers that though the reapers aren’t truly alive, they can be killed. When the growing number of mysterious reaper fatalities prevents Ross from getting his life back, he suspects they may not actually be accidents. He realizes that to have any chance to return to the life he was destined to live, he’ll first have to discover and stop whatever is killing the reapers.

Killing the Reapers, by Jeff Debing is quick, and enjoyable urban fantasy read. The story centers on Ross. On his way to start the next chapter in his life and marry the girl of his dreams, an unexpected heart attack cuts his life short. The only problem, he wasn’t meant to die. He was meant to die later, DECADES later. There is also a bigger problem at hand. Along with his death, reapers are also being killed. To get back to the land of the living, he needs to find out who or what are killing reapers and if his death and theirs are related.

I want to start off by saying that this book has an interesting POV. I don’t mean POV in the traditional sense of 1st person, 2nd person etc, but I mean being told from the reapers’ point of view. Death talking about death. It was very interesting, and I enjoyed that aspect of the book.

The book takes a while to really get going, but when it gets going, it gets going. The world building for this book is straightforward and to the point. Which isn’t bad. It gets the point across, but I would have enjoyed it more if there was more lore.

The reapers are not your everyday skeletal figures that we see in horror settings, but they look like you and I and are civil servants, as Debing explained in the book blurb. So how does all this work? There is a scene in the book that explains it all. It was my favorite part of the entire book. It was simple, yet effective. Ross, our protagonist, is speaking with a reaper about how everything works. Humans can’t see the reapers, but they just know on a subconscious level that the reapers are around and to get out of the way. For example, Ross and the reaper are walking down a busy sidewalk. While they walk, a man is walking his dog. On a subconscious level, both the man and the dog knew to just avoid them. The scene reminds of a scene from The Matrix. Neo and Morpheus are walking down the street and Morpheus is explaining to Neo what The Matrix is. To me the two had that same intensity and emotion. Debing does a great job with this scene with setting up the world and what the readers are in for. It was a simple, yet a powerful scene.

The investigation of trying to find out who is killing the reapers is very well written. Leaving clues here and there to make the reader ponder who did it and why.

 

There are a lot of characters in this book. They are well written, but there are just a lot of them. It gets a bit confusing sometimes and you might lose track of who is who.

Overall, this is a quick fun urban fantasy read. Would I recommend this book to non urban fantasy fans? Definitely not, this is more for a niche audience. Would I recommend it to urban fantasy fans? Yes, I would. If you are looking for a quick read to scratch your urban fantasy inch, then go for it and pick this up. Debing appears to have a brilliant talent for urban fantasy. I look forward to seeing what he produces next.

Final Score

3.5