Week 2 is here meaning that things have really gotten going. Terrible start to this blog but maybe I can pull it together. Welcome to another edition of one man just documenting his journey running races in a most average manner.
Last week was the start of this thing and I think it would be dishonest if I said anything beside the fact that it was relatively easy. The workout was an odd hill workout where I ran up for 30 seconds then down for 30 eight times. It kind of resulted in me steadily climbing up the hill and by the end of it I was awkwardly like in a crosswalk. I didn’t think it was particularly difficult and the whole workout was less then a mile so I still had to run 3 more after that. Kind of weird. The long run was a 9-miler, and honestly it was fucking hot as hell. One of those runs where I was sweating straight foam down my leg. Such a bizarre thing to have happen.
Looking ahead, well today is Tuesday, so looking at today and the rest of the week the plan quickly starts to pick up steam. The week consists of two running workouts, two 5-milers and a long run of 11 miles. Already I have to do a bunch of shifting around, since I am taking a lovely trip to the Adirondacks for some good ol’ hiking. I’m moving the Saturday run up a day and the long run to Monday.
The workouts themselves aren’t exactly challenging, I mean 3 miles at “steady” pace I really don’t know what that means so I am treating it like a tempo run. The other run is an interval run which I normally enjoy, though a 1:30 is a long interval to run hard. O well we will see how it goes. I feel as if I did not pull this together. I tried.
Here we go, after falling behind on book reviews it’s time to get back on the grind. Balancing this with creating the greatest fantasy podcast of all time has proven to be quite the challenge. Because of this, the blog has suffered. But I will tell you what has not suffered, the podcast. Find out for yourself by clicking the link below.
On this episode we dissect #SPFBO finalist Rob J. Hayes’ Never Die! We also talk about our favorite sobriquet’s in the book, learn what a sobriquet is, break down his social media, give some thoughts on MayDaycon, talk The Last Dance episode’s 7 and 8, and gambling woe’s with the latest UFC fight! Approved by the author himself.
Rob J. Hayes is a writing machine, I think since he published the book last year he has published like 3 other books. He’s a self-publishing machine, and let me tell you he know’s how to write a compelling story. Never Die! (The Mortal Techniques) reads like that game Diablo 3. It is essentially a tale of revenge featuring people who utilize spirit like fucking Dragon Ball Z to do cool ass shit and kill lots of bad guys. It starts with one of my prologues ever, someone dead once said brevity is the soul of wit or some shit and Rob J. Hayes proves it with this 14 word masterpiece:
“Itami Cho woke to the screams of her own death. She remembered it all.”
I was in from that point on. His samurai, spirit, demon thriller follows a group of heroes brought back from the dead to kill the emperor of 10 kingdoms, as that dude is a bad guy. They follow this little annoying kid Ein, and are bound to him until they kill the emperor.
There are many reasons to love this thing, but one of the highlights for me were all the cool ass moves. Here is a list, since I am lazy and had already made the list for the podcast outline.
He taught the people of Unyun his second greatest technique, the Shimmering Sword.” Aka the whispering blade. THIS IS ALSO In SWORD OF KAIGEN. It is a blade that can cut through anything. “He had a technique, one he refused to share with anyone. He could rain a hundred swords from the sky. Maybe he used that.” “How do you disappear, leaving a mirage of yourself to blow away like petals on the wind?” Zhihao shook his head. “I’m not telling you that. It’s a trade secret.” Flaming fist lights his fists on fire using chains dripped in oil. His special ability is it does not burn Iron guts ability is he uses QI to make his skin harder then steel Magic is called “Qi is spirit,” he squeaked. “We all have it, but some have more than others.” He slapped his belly again. “My qi is strong, and I know how to channel it. Now then…” The art of war brings chess pieces to life
The chapter titles all describe a specific fight, which the chapter sets up and has play out. As someone obsessed with the idea of the duel, this appealed to me immensely. My favorite is right at the end, The Master of Sun Valley vs Sin and Saint. Such a fun fucking read.
Besides all these 1v1’s bringing on the classic bro adage, 1v1 me bro, they also fight a dragon consisting of a million snakes, some reanimated crab things, and a giant. Look, this book is ultimate chad. That really should be more then enough, but since I already have it written out here are a list of sobriquets, a word I only learned to use in the podcast.
Red Bull of Fades,
Qing, often called Hundred Cuts
Murai, the Century Blade, the greatest living swordsman in all Hosa.
Fenwong, the drunkard.
Wandering Spear, one of Flaming Fist’s greatest captains
Cho is whispering blade
Zhihao Chang the Emerald Wind
General Sitting tiger Seifon, the Broken Chain. “Chen Lu, Iron Gut.” Yanmei, the Last Bloom of Summer. Flaming fists daughter, the emrald winds lover Roi Astara, deaths echo
The Steel Prince,
“The Art of War Daiyu Lingsen.” Is a girl wearing a mask
Sin and Saint, both Wu’s bodyguards
Man I am getting lazier and lazier, but people do like lists
GUESS WHATS BACK? Well if you read the title then you already know. If you are still reading it at this point, then all power to you. The plan is to run the BOA Chicago Marathon but I might as well say it, I highly doubt that the race is happening. The TCS New York City Marathon already got cancelled, and that is later in the year. So I don’t think this is happening. Regardless, the backup plan is to run some marathon in Scranton, PA, which is the same day. So lets break down the training plan.
I’m trying a new marathon training plan for this one, if you want to go back to my last marathon training blog series you can read all about my experience using the “Advanced” training plan from NYRR. I didn’t really test the effectiveness of the plan, as I didn’t push it 100% on the actual running of the marathon, but I will say I think it was an excellent plan for people looking to advance their own running abilities, specifically running higher-milage weeks. My biggest complaint about the plan is actually personal only to me. I documented completely how I was so exhausted, and all the running certainly was the major factor, I mean I was training for a fucking marathon, but it was all my extra-curricular’s that really did me in. I played soccer once a week for maybe the first half of the plan, and never really slowed down my physical activities.
So when choosing another plan I needed to consider that it was super unlikely I was going to completely shut down other activities. This was a big reason why I choose the Intermediate 2 Half Marathon Training Plan by Hal-Higdon for my half marathon in March, which I documented in a different blog series. It gave me enough speedwork days to get faster, but had enough flexibility and rest days for me to continue strength training and playing soccer. This led to me setting a PR with a time of 1:41:06.
What I decided on was Runner’s World Basic Marathon Schedule: A 16-week training plan for runners looking to finish between 3:30-4:30. Kind of a terrible name for a plan, but it had what I was looking for. One absolute rest day on Friday and one optional rest day on Monday. This gives me the option of shifting my weekend runs to either Friday or Monday if I’m going on vacation or have some type of plans that absolutely will impact my running schedule. Or move the weekday runs around if I have a game or something. I also can continue to do some strength training, either on my rest days or doubling up. With 2 speedwork days during the week, the runs I am doing will be much more efficient, instead of piling on miles and days run. I am not saying that is a bad strategy, my first marathon I needed to increase my ability to pack on miles as I had no capacity for consistently running long distances, but I now know a little bit more about myself and recognize that I am not likely to cut out anything else, so I need a plan that doesn’t burn me out but I can still improve.
So looking at the plan, I am excited to take it on, and will of course be providing weekly updates on everything. It really helps me to post the workouts for the week, and how all my runs went the week prior. While I rarely actually get to writing these things on Monday’s, I honestly have found it such a fun experience to track my progress and feelings over the length of a training plan. So without further ado, here is the actual plan, I also am posting underneath it the plan I did last year, for comparisons sake. This will be the first time I actually look at them both critically, which seems kind of stupid to have not compared them earlier. But then again that level of preperation would be out of character.
Instead of slowly leading into it, here is the link to the podcast. Click it, I hate working in an office. If you want two paragraphs of shameless self promotion before the review actually starts, continue reading. If not skip ahead.
YUUURRR it’s time for another of the greatest fantasy book reviews this side of the the storm wall. Thats a deeeeep Malazan reference that I am not even sure is being used correctly. As an aside before I get into this review, I have been working on a fantasy tattoo sleeve and my tattoo artist (@georgethewoody on instagram) had posted him giving someone a Bridgeburners tattoo on his story and that shit was cool. Gotta appreciate the dedication to the Malazan game to get that, because that is nottttttt a cool looking sigil. It took me 4 times to spell sigil correctly. Moving on.
Let’s call it like it is, Blood of Heirs (The Coraidic Sagas book 1) is popping. It was a finalist in #SPFBO 5, the self-published fantasy blog-off created by legend of the game Mark Lawrence. Alicia Wanstall-Burke is an awesome author and is a friend of the program. What program? Well the Swords and Sports podcast family of course. In fact I get the unique opportunity to interview her about the sequel to Blood of Heirs, Legacy of Ghosts. Not sold on the podcast yet? Well here is a resounding endorsement from the author herself.
Lets talk about the book before I lose you all in the shameless self promotion. Blood of Heirs follows two people, Ranoth and Lidan. Ranoth is the son of a Duke and the book starts off with him taking control of a force fighting on the border of the Disputed Territories. Well he fucks that up and so begins a journey of discovering he has magic and running away from his dad’s army because magic is outlawed. He meets his future (I hope) booooo thang and they both run away from the Ngaru, these dope zombie beast things. Also his bro is named Brit Doon, all time fantasy name.
Lidan has her own set of problems. First off her village and country have noooooo technology, like they don’t even have steel. Not a real problem but that sucks. Also she wants to be a hunter but since her dad is the chieftain and despite having 4 wives can’t get himself a dude heir, she is the heir and her bitch ass mom Selan won’t let her do anything. But when she kills a ngaru, all of a sudden she gets mad respect. So she starts training and winds up 1v1ing some goofball in the middle of a chieftain pow-wow. That about sums up her coming of age tale.
And in conclusion, due to the 59 instances of the magnificent word “fuck,” the copious amounts of violence, and the Ngaru getting a boner while hunting, this book gets a chad rating. Listen to the podcast, and buy this book because Alicia is awesome.
As an added bonus, here is some of the prep material for the podcast for the the segment “Three things I like”
Three things I like
Ngaru: The creature, now exposed to the day, was something that might once have been a man, but had since lost the essence that distinguishes humanity from beasts. There was recognition in its glare, but only that of a predator sizing up its prey. The man who might have lived behind those eyes and dreamed within that head was long dead. By the look of the body, it wasn’t long for this world either. Great sheets of puckered skin peeled back to reveal bone and black, festering bands of muscle, with no sign of fresh red blood. The creature was hunched and malformed in the back, the disfigurement affecting the way it moved. It prowled, more than walked, low to the ground, with its large arms hanging and fingers welded around the hilts of two long knives—filthy, but sharp. It eased its weight from side to side, couched over thickly muscled legs and bare feet. If a man, a wolf and a bear ever birthed some unnatural offspring, this thing was it. Lol the Ngaru got hard from lidans fear
The crone. This bitch is a survivor. She came with lidans mom Sellan an just kind of lives in her old filth
Sellans punishment is the same punishment from Matilda, she locks fucking Lidan in a cave/cage with spikes.
That is an all-time Rocket Power reference right there. Coming back from a long book reviewing hiatus it seems like I haven’t gained an ounce of skill. Where have I been? Well enjoying my podcasting endeavors, interviewing #SPFBO finalists, slowly losing my mind, and defiantly losing money gambling on sports I never watch. I also have been hammering books, so maybe it is time to catch up. Kalanon’s Rising (Agents of Kalanon #1) by Darian Smith is a fantasy, murder mystery. And while that may sound like a bad theme for a party that your friend no-one really likes is hosting, it is actually a plot for a book that Darian executes to good effect. In the meantime, listen to the greatest fantasy, leastest sports podcast in the history of the young, slowly burning world. I am talking of course by the zero award nominated Swords and Sports podcast.
The link to the podcast is riggggght here. Give it a listen so I can quit my 9-5.
Kalanon’s Rising starts with a dude getting worked over by a lady of the night. This dude happens to be the nephew of the king, so the king is a little worked up over it. He decides to assemble a detective squad to figure out whats up, as this murder also had weird ass ritual looking symbols all over the place. On the team is ya boyyyy Brannon, Draeson, Jessamine, Brother Taran, and Ula. They all got some interesting backstories, and to me that is the real highlight of the whole thing.
Brannon is this awesome war hero, turned King’s Justice where justice is him dueling criminals and fucking them up. He has started to transition to physician. Draeson is a mage with a dragon tattoo that moves all over his body. He also fucks everything in sight. Jessamine is Brannon’s boring apprentice. OR IS SHE?!?! Brother Taran is an assassianish, chemist dude. Ula is a shaman that raises Kaluki’s. Kaluki is the most fun word to try and say, and according to the author himself, I said it correctly on the podcast. Please see below. This was purely to flex that the author responded to me. Cue the humility.
Shoutout to Darian. The adventure is a blast, we got dead bodies rising to kill people, we got people turning into super monsters, some inter dimensional portals letting in the beasts of hell, and some good ol’ fashion twists. Give it a read. I give it a middle of the ground, not a true chad book, though that is certainly not the goal.
Damn I have to say that my own continued negligence of this blog has caused me to miss some golden opportunities to flex my own knowledge. As a notoriously successful gambler (yeaaaaaaa right) I would have bet the house on M.L. Wang’s The Sword of Kaigen taking home the illustrious SPFBO award. In fact I am pretty sure I said exactly that on the greatest fantasy and sports podcast of all time, the Swords and Sports podcast. What’s crazy is that it was the only book at the time I had read on the finalists list. Some things just check off so many boxes you know they are going to be successful. Want to find out my deep thoughts on it? Or more embarrassingly listen to me mispronounce M.L. Wang’s name for an hour (once again Miracle I am sorry). I also butcher about 20 different names as well. It’s a god damn riot so listen up.
The Sword of Kaigen is essentially a two part story. The first half of the book is a kind of coming-of-age tale of Mamorou. Mamorou is the son of Takeru Matsuda, the head of the island of Kaigen in some dictatorship. He is trying to learn how to use his magical abilities, create a whispering blade, and live up to his families reputation. Throughout this he slowly learns things about the government and the world as a whole that shatters his previously held beliefs. He struggles with this obviously, and his struggle actually awakens something in his mom, Misaki. She was formally a university student and accomplished fighter/vigilante with a very well-rounded education. She does not buy what the government is selling. Through marrying Takeru though, she has lost a significant portion of her identity as she has assumed the traditional backwards gender role of the village and her husband has done his best to stifle her personality. The the Rangenese come and there is this fucking awesome battle that kills everyone, including Mamorou.
The second half of the book is kinda Kafka Metamorphisis like. Meaning that without Mamorou every seems to be doing much better. Misaki and dickhead Takeru learn how to actually fucking communicate which leads to them growing as a couple. Through rebuilding the village they both grow as people and start to rebel against the government, who are trying to cover up the battle. Then a robot blows up.
This book is chad to the max. Read it, it’s fucking excellent. Listen to the podcast, it’s fucking mediocre. Bonus I will include some of the podcast outline. Thats how you lure emmmm in. I think.
Three things I like
The sword names. I am a sucker for the names of swords some of the best names in this book are Takenagi, the Bamboo Cutter,
Yukinos sword: Takenagi, the Bamboo cutter
Takeru: Kyougetsu; The Moon SPire
Uncle Takashi’s Nagimaru, Namimaru
Misaki: “This is Shadow’s Daughter.” Siradenyaa
Mamorou: Mamoriken,” he nodded to the sword, “the Protector.”
The bloodline techniques. This is a thing I am learning plays a big role in asain martial arts, I am sure there is a long history of bloodline techniques throughout real history. But bloodline techniques were also featured in Kuangs “The Poppy War” and since these are the only two asain fantasy books I read, I assume this is a real thing. Here are some:
Lazou Linghun a fonyaka bloodline technique, wherein the fighter vacuums the air from their victim’s body through the mouth, collapsing their lungs, meaning ‘Soul Pull’ in Rangagua.
Sasayaiba: Whispering blade which is obviously the the Matsuda bloodline technique. The master Matsuda formed his weapon by compressing several billion water molecules to a thin blade through sheer force of nyama, creating ice as hard as metal and an edge the width of a single molecule. Mamoru always managed to catch other things up in his water—some iron particles, some dirt, some salt, some air bubbles—that weakened his ice and caused it to shatter under pressure.
Blood Needle a jijaka bloodline technique unique to the Tsusano family, wherein the practicioner takes control of a small amount of the blood inside their victim’s body and freezes it in the shape of needle, which is used to strike pressure points or pierce vital organs, called ‘Chihari’ in Shirojima Dialect. This can be used to create blood puppettry which leads to complete control
The magic users. They are described as theonites and it seems like there are three types
Jijakalu: theonites with the ability they manipulate water/ice, some abilities include creating ice spears to launch of fight with, freezing and unfreezing your feet to stabilize you which can be used to climb building, and doing the fucking laundrey which is the best use of power ever
Fonyakalu: theonites with the ability to control air, can be used to create some fucking crazy ass tornado
Tajaka: a theonite with the ability to control fire. Mad fucking useful to boil water. Make ramen in two seconds.
littigi.” “A what?” “A type of sub-theonite,” Misaki explained as she came to stand over the man. “They look like powerless adyns but they have the ability to manipulate light to create illusions. I knew a few in Carytha.” But what the Hell was one of them doing here?
I can proudly say that might be one of the greatest/worst subtitle’s in the history of book reviews. I am proud to stand on that line between genius and idiot. The Thief Who Knocked on Sorrow’s Gate Wrap-up by Michael McClung is the third book in the Amra Thetys series and it feeds off a lot of the great elements that made the first book the inaugural winner of the #SPFBO. It is also more importantly the topic of the greatest fantasy and sports, not fantasy sports, podcast in the entire ecosystem. The episode also has:
-The Thief that Knocked on Sorrow’s Gate by Michael McClung w/ Guest Nathalie
The Thief Who Knocked on Sorrow’s Gate brings ol’ lovable thief with a conscious Amra back into her element. By that I mean running around a city trying to solve a mystery while the world falls the fuck apart around her. Essentially the book goes like this. A UPS like dude delivers Amra a head in a box, cue the dick-in-a-box jokes. The head is from some dude who used to beat her. Thinking her old protector/mentor/ex-crush Theiner sent it from Bellarius, she decided to head there and see whats really good.
When she gets there shit pops off. The wharf explodes when she arrives and she winds up taking an orphan named Keel into her crew. She eventually finds out the city is going to blow up in 3 days unless she stops the archmage, who is holding Kalara’s knife, which is one of the 8 aspects of the goddess Kalara. She is not a nice goddess.
Amra gets caught up in some shenanigans like finding out her uncle is there, that she has magical powers, that someone needs her to steal a giant chair that has the souls of thousands of people trapped in it. Eventually she saves the day by hitting a mage with the ol’ one shot ya dead. Solid ending, we even get treated to a Holgren POV chapter at the end.
I am going to be honest, I meant to post this blog on Friday but never finished it. I am just realizing that now so this is the end. Is it Chad, eh I will say right down the middle. Listen to the podcast, or don’t I mean you got options in life.
Hello my good friends. Are you stuck at home? Of course you are. Well aren’t you lucky because I have just the thing for you! Lets treat this like taking yourself out for a fancy dinner, dare I say, a five star dinner. You are balling out today, so of course you are going to get an appetizer. The appetizer is this here blog. Well what’s the main course, a question that I am sure is on the tip of your tongue. It is the Swords and Sports podcast.
That was unequivocally the worst paragraph that I have ever written. It was so bad that I actually gave up on this blog for two days without finishing it. Well thats the point I am at creatively in this quarantine. Thank the stars for my man fucking Geralt of Rivia for providing me with 4ish days of entertainment. At least the book version, the show version’s entertainment lasts forever. The Last Wish is a collection of six short stories divided into 5 or so chapters, with the first chapter in each story devoted to where Geralt is in the present time.
The short stories are similar to the episodes of the show, I think there is only one story that doesn’t have it’s own episode. But even though I knew the endings and most of the details I still found the stories to be fascinating. The world of The Witcher is extensive and well-detailed and that is one of the highlights of the book. All the creatures are believable and the way they interact as intelligent creatures makes for some fun back-and-forths with our star of the show.
And make no mistake about it, you should never start a sentence with ‘and’. And now to my real point, the star of the show makes this go from an average book to a great book. Geralt’s overall cynicism, observational humor, grumpiness, and code of morals makes for a fascinating character that I just wanted more off. It also helps that he is basically a superhuman genetically engineered to fight monsters. Figured I should mention that as this blog has clearly shown that I have a thing for people who can kill people/things. Geralt in the course of six stories murders a two different kinds of vampires, like 15 people, fights a genie (kinda) and fucks a few good ol’ lasses. He does all these things with the enthusiasm of Hilary Clinton. Fucking hilarious.
It seems like in this book review I actually didn’t spoil any major plot points. Mainly because the stories only loosely connect. Wow a blog that started off horribly ended with a spark of something clever. Go me.
O yea, so obviously chad it’s not even funny. Listen to the podcast please so I can quit my day job.
The bizarre subtitle makes much more sense if you have read the book, which involves having a special aptitude for something that they call knacks. Now that that is cleared up and I repeated the word ‘that’ because I am not clever enough to structure a sentence differently to avoid repetition I would like to at least mention the book this wrap-up is supposed to cover. Last weeks book, and of course the greatest fantasy podcast of all time, covered They Mostly Come Out at Night by Patrick Benedict, which is book 1 of the Yarnsworld series. The way this book is marketed, they call it like a folktaleish horror story. I tend to disagree, if you would like to hear the only opinion that holds any weight, give the episode a listen. Patrick Benedict approved it, or at least pretended to listen to it, so you should at least pretend to listen, at the very least download it, and if you are a true gentleman (or lady) and scholar you should subscribe, like, rate and download the whole catalog.
Let’s get into it. Lonan is a kind of outcast villager in a quaint forest village. Quaint in the sense that every night everyone needs to lock themselves in a cellar so they don’t get murdered by monsters that come out every night. Lonan lives with Mother Ogema and some kind of braindead dude, because his mom doesn’t want him as she and the village blame him for leaving cellar doors open leading to the death of his dad and his friend Branwen’s dad or something. So he goes about his day gathering herbs for mother ogema, secretely wishing for Branwen, his old friend and the woman who he loves. One night he starts dreaming about Adahey, the son of the Magpie King, the mythological esque ruler of Corvae who protects the villagers from the monsters through superhuman feats.
Here the narrative starts to follow three directions: Lonan kind of navigating his life in the village and his conflict with Jarleth, Adahey and his friend Maedoc fighting against the wolf monsters, and some fairy tales that serve as the backstory of Yarnsworld and key us in to details that will become relevant to the main storyline, they follow the trickster Artemis as he rails against the rule of the Magpie king. Eventually Lonan eats the magic flower and fights that dickhead Maedoc who yeeted Adahey off of a castle and took his place as the king. But I also have a breakdown of all the fairy tales, which I would be honored to share with you.
1. This dude artemis tricks a farmer and fucks his three daughters, one of them is 16 so that’s bad
2. A giant squirrel thinks everyone is making fun of him because of his bushy tail so he eats the sun
3. Artemis pretending to be the Magpie King tricks Alfrond pretending to be the Mouse King for a bottle of water
4. The Magpie King pulls a “White girls” and turns himself well white to marry and fuck the owl princess, she gets mad when she finds out he is black and kicks him out. He tries again. Then he just simply says he likes her and she becomes his
5. Artemis is running from the Magpie King, who he robbed, he gets chased by a giant spider, the spider eventually gets too tired and gives up, so he kills all of its eggs so that people call him a legend
6. The Magpie King gets bit by the head serpent, is poisoned and when he heals is super hungry, he sees blueberry pies and an old woman tricks him into doing housework for them. Eventually he punishes her to bake a pie everyday
7. Refugees come into the magpie kings domain, he says if the woman leader passes a test of strength of trust and of love they can stay. First she climbs a cliff, second she walks blindfolded through a path of poisoned thorns. Third she sacrifices herself by exile so all can stay. Artemis I guess is there
8. Artemis is still running. Sees the pale ladies house, 3rd time he comes upon it much later he enters. Strikes bargain with her that magpie king must get flower from her, one day the Corvae line will not have a Magpie King, someone else will be it
9. Magpie King finds Artemis, Artemis collapses in the snow and is happy because he got his revenge, kind of. He has a vision of lonan and maedoc
10. Lonan visits Mother Ogema he has started to go mad with the power and poison of the magpie king. He is hunting maedocs kids but is losing his grip on things
Honestly most of that was notes I had taken for the podcast, so this was low effort. Or if I want to spin it, which you know I do, lets call that an inside look at the mind behind the greatest fantasy podcast of all time. Was this book chad? Middle of the pack really, Lonan starts out as a super bitch but winds up being a psycho Magpie King dude which is fucking sweet. So middle of the pack.
The subtitle says it all. No I am not dead, but this blog almost was. Everyone reacts to shit differently and for some reason I have been struggling to get these book reviews up. I will tell you what has not struggled, the greatest fantasy podcast this side of the ocean. Either ocean and either side it matters naught, for the Swords and Sports podcast is like an n-95 mask in an ICU, it keeps you alive. The only podcast (this is insanely untrue) where the author of the book cosigns the quality of it through the only validation a young creative like myself needs; a tweet. Need proof, well I got you my guy. Last weeks podcast was on Swarm and Steel by the grimgod Michael R. Fletcher, want to know what he thinks?
Yes the FletchGod himself says it, so listen to people with much more talent then me and click here for a link to everlasting happiness.
Dude that was a promo worthy of a the Macho Man Randy Savage himself. Or it was insanely douchy, either way lets get the fuck into the book.
Swarm and Steel is a certified Grimdark banger. We return to the Manifest Delusions world with a brand new tale of blood, Billie Ellish level depression and insecurity and some dark humor. The simple way to explain the Manifest Delusions novels are that they are a mix of the self deprecated psyche of a Dystozesky novel, the twisted violence of American Psycho, and add a bunch of swords and magic. There ya go fucking nailed it. Or I didn’t I don’t know man I don’t have a fucking degree in comparative literature. In summation I am either a genious or an idiot. The Swords and Sports blog lets you choose your own adventure.
The summary kind of goes a little bit like this. Zerfal, the former head of the Tauschaung religion, wakes up with no memory and is rotting. After a failed assassination attempt from an old lover, she decides that she wants revenge on her sister, Holle, for a perceived betrayal. The betrayel is that she is trying to steal control of the Tauschuang, a religion they both created, from her. Zerfal tries to stab Holle with BluteBlut, a sword that contains Swarm, the hell that Holle hallucinated into existence. Think of it kind of like Dragnipur from the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
So on her quest for revenge, she realizes that as a rotting sack of bones she is limited in what she can do. She meets Jateko, a dessert dude who has started to eat people, believing that everyone he eats makes him stronger. And it does, he gets fucking swollllllllll and starts to kill everyone and eat them. Eventually they meet up with Holle, who is having her own problems dealing with her hallucination, Pharisäer. She has slowly been taking control of the religion from Holle while Holle kind of just panics in her bedroom.
This fucking fire ass book ends with a confrontation where Jateko eats 15 million people over the course of 10 years after killing himself with BluteBlut so that he could go to Swarm and free everyone. By eating them, in case that somehow wasn’t clear.
This is chad to the max, without even a shadow of a doubt. Fletcher is that guy, ride the wave, its not like you don’t have the time. Was that a good review? Prob not but I needed to get something out there. Shoutout to me.