Book Reviews

Never Die! Wrap-up: Never boring!

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.

LINK TO PODCAST. LINK TO HAPPINESS.

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.

Flaming fist

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

Broken Spear

Sin and Saint, both Wu’s bodyguards

Man I am getting lazier and lazier, but people do like lists

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Kalanon’s Rising Wrap-up: Kaluki laka luie the candy sprout is chewy

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.

Book Reviews

The Sword of Kaigen Wrap-up: Samurais and SPFBO’s

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.

Click here for the cure to mesothelioma. Whatever that is. Unless you are dumb that is a link to the podcast. I feel like for some reason I need to make that clear.

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

  1. 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.”

  1. 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

  1. The magic users. They are described as theonites and it seems like there are three types
  1. 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
  2. Fonyakalu: theonites with the ability to control air, can be used to create some fucking crazy ass tornado
  3. Tajaka: a theonite with the ability to control fire. Mad fucking useful to boil water. Make ramen in two seconds.
    1. 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?

Book Reviews

They Mostly Come Out at Night Wrap-up: Knick-knack paddy wack

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.

So click here for a podcast endorsed by the author himself, the proof is in the pudding.

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.

Book Reviews

The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye Wrap-up: Spitting greatness

For this weeks book review I decided to take on the second book in the Amra Thethys series, The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye. Ol’ Mikey McClung continues where the first book left off, with a budding tale of everlasting friendship between the moral thief Amra and her trusted mage man Holgren. If you want to hear the sounds of me and the lovely Nathalie serenade your senses with a lovely podcast and recap of our adventure with Amra Thethys #2, please indulge me and click the link below. I promise you will be mildly disappointed, like when you get fries from Burger King (no free ads) and do not get a sneak onion ring

Click here to listen to the Swords and Sports podcast. Michael McClung, the author, thought our first podcast on book one was pretty good, so give that a fucking listen as well so I can quit my day job.

In book two we go bigggggg picture. Holgren needs to become immortal, since he stupidly sold his soul or something so he is def going to hell if he dies. Fortunately the Duke of Viborg has issued a decree saying anyone who brings proof of some destroyed city gets a billion dollars, mostly because there is something there that will make him immortal. Holgren and Amra pack up the ol’ gear and get to treasure hunting.

But naturally Holgren gets marked two seconds into the book, and Amra has to deal with some gods and the aforementioned Duke. She handles her shit but finds out the Shadow King is finna take over the world. She really doesn’t care but she put on a necklace that is making her head there.

I know I am rambling on but once again Mikey Mc Clungggger does a great job of fitting a million things into a concise 200 pages. He seems to be great at the short adventure books. Listen, Amra and Holgren are a great duo, they do start fucking in this book which was weird but besides that it is a worthy edition. I really lost momentum on this review. That will make more sense come Monday. Book is almost full chad, so there ya go I didn’t skip out on that.

Book Reviews

Iron and Magic Wrap-up: Ironically a magical surprise

There really is no irony there but you can’t be serve a word like “iron” to me and not expect me to make some terrible joke. The book is written by the dream team of Gordon and Illona under the pseudo name Ilona Andrews. They seem to have had a decent amount of success, I mean they are a New York Times Bestselling Author(s?) so they got that going for them. When I picked this book for the podcast, my intention was to pick this super sappy fantasy romance novel as the guest for this book is my sister and I figured I would just trash how corny is was the whole time and get that CONTENT popping off but that was not what happened.

Speaking of the podcast, did you bring that up or did I? Regardless, on this weeks episode I have special guest Jenna. We go over Iron and Magic, read uncomfortable love-making scenes, quickly fly through the sports, do a social media glow-up for the author(s) amongst other wonderful hijinks. Click here and your wish for everlasting life will not come true, but you will get to be entertained for a while maybe.

Iron and Magic is the first book in the Iron Covenant series, and while I think the characters in the book feature in the Kate Daniels series, I really don’t know nor intend to find out. If I had to break the story down, it goes a little like this. This man hunk super guy with magic powers was once the warlord of this demi-god named Roland until he got himself excommunicated for trying to fuck the guys daughter or something. This is not the boring ass gunslinger Roland from The Miserable Tower but a different guy who is trying to take over the world by equal parts violence and buying real estate.

Roland wants to kill Hugh, and Hugh wants to drink himself to death, but his former elite fighting force called the Iron Dogs don’t want to be killed by Roland so they convince Hugh to live a little bit. They eventually come up with this plan to get hired as glorified body guards by this chick Elara who is the head witch of this hybrid magic coven/grow-op. Elara and her gang of lawyer warlocks is getting pressured by this dude Nez, a vampire controller and prospective real estate agent to sell their land, and they don’t want to.

So instead of just forming an alliance, Hugh and Elara decide to get married. This provides the real romantic love story, as the two immediately despise each other, despite wanting to bang. Through the power of team work and overcoming adversity, they eventually do bang. Their will they, wont they thing coupled with the witty zingers they sling at each other is reminiscent of a rom-com. In all honesty it is pretty funny.

This eventually works out to a final battle where they emerge victorious. Throughout the book though, there is an interesting magic system where their are seemingly random intervals where either magic or technology works. So we get this kind of post-apocalyptic world that has guns, cars, and electricity but since that stuff only works half the time, they also need to use swords and magic. I actually found this a really enjoyable way to get the medieval fantasy aspect to mesh with modern technology. Also a solid plot device to be able to switch from magic to technology or vice-versa when it served the story. There are also a billion magical creatures, mostly vampires that are controlled remotely like attack drones. A three headed elephant-god shows up as well.

The real question on everyone’s minds at this juncture is the rating. Is this book chad? I mean Hugh is the textbook definition of a Chad on the outside, but is actually a little soft bitch on the inside. Elara is pretty whiny and uses the word “uh” a lot like a white girl that can’t even. So I am going to leave this right in the middle.

Book Reviews

Warrior of the Altaii Wrap-up: Jordan from the grave

I would like for you all to play this whilst reading this blog. This is one of my all time subtitles, and after the terrible atrocity that was my subtitle for The True Bastards, it is an honor to have such a tremendous comeback. Never count me out. You can count out Robert Jordan though, because he is dead. Sorry Robert. If you were still alive I would love to tell you how much your books have meant to me. I give a little bit of sour all the time, but sometimes I come with the sweet.

You know what would mean a lot to me, if you lovely and not lovely readers of the greatest fantasy and sports hybrid blog gave the greatest fantasy and sports hybrid podcast a listen. In this weeks episode we go over Warrior of the Altaii, the posthumous work of fantasy legend Robert Jordan. We also go over some other funny shit.

Click the link here to get an instant audio erection. If you don’t get that joke, this is a link to the podcast not to Blue Chew, though I know the lovely folks over at Blue Chew are longtime silent fans, so maybe come through with a sponsorship?

Three paragraphs and shameless self promotion later, it is time to get into the book. Apparently this book was written before Jordan exploded onto the scene, in fact it is the first book he ever wrote, and one of the more interesting things I found about the book is how he clearly has the idea for the WoT already in his head, as there are many elements in Warrior of the Altaii that are expanded upon in the WoT. So for WoT fans I would call this a must read, for everyone else it is simply an average fantasy book.

The story goes like this, the Altaii are a nomadic barbaric people that live on the Plain, and their primary purpose in life seems to be raiding caravans and selling slaves and stolen goods. The Plain is drying up, and the city of Lanta is plotting to expand their city state into an empire, but the Altaii are in the way since they just keep wrecking all the trade. Both of these things are making life a pain in the fucking ass for the Altaii, buttttt fortunately we got ourselves a hero named Wulfgar (all time badass name). The Altaii go into the city and meet these two queens, which sit upon the Twin Thrones. The queens are hellbent on killing Wulfgar and the Altaii, but they fail miserably and Wulfgar takes their city and destroys their army, essentially installing himself as the new emperor.

Along the way we have some interesting tidbits that show us where Jordan’s head was at. First and foremost is Jordan’s love of having female characters strip and talk about their bodies. I have written in past WoT audiobook recaps that Jordan is obsessed with tits, and already in his first ever book the Sisters of Wisdom, who are the magic users in this book and an obvious foreshadowing of Aes Sedai, having to get naked and paint on themselves before they do any magic. One of the queens is also naked quite a bit, and there are bath girls that only seem to serve the purpose of bathing characters and looking hot. Another theme that continues in the WoT is that women have all the magical and political power. I was going to say they have rights as well, buttttttttt they are constantly getting either raped, prostituted or enslaved so it seems like there is a trade off. This would now be considered slightly problematic and would need to have some character addressing the immorality of it in order to appease the readers if it was written today. The Altaii are the obvious an early prototype of the Aiel, with all their focus on rituals and proper protocol and traditions and their warrior culture. And and and.

With all that being said, since it is such a quick read and me being an avid WoT fan this book was enjoyable. Not the greatest thing I ever read, but still leaning Chad on this. Not a fully torqued Monster and Blue Chew Chad but a Dubstep in your Jeep Wrangler one.

Book Reviews

The True Bastards Wrap-up: A ride on the hog side

That is an egregious offense to the subtitle gods but in some odd way I am proud of it. Coming in hot with another review is the next book in a series that is slowly creeping its way to the upper echelons of my heart. The True Bastards by Jonathan French is the second book of The Lot Lands series. It takes what made the first book such an interesting and fun read and improves upon it. The plot is much more expansive and original. Don’t just take my written word for it though, also listen to me verbally jerk the book off on another edition of the greatest fantasy, nay, the greatest literary podcast of all time: The Swords and Sports podcast featuring yours truly.

Click the link below to be transported to a magical place owned by a fruit (not a gay joke simply an apple joke) and have all your audio fantasies come true.

Click here to start your trans-formative journey

Now that is how you sell a fucking podcast. Where do I begin with this review. I already know this is going to be a clusterfuck but whatever. Jackal is no longer the POV character, instead we get our main homie Fetching. She is attempting to lead The True Bastards in the wake off having the Kiln destroyed by old sludgey but of course life ain’t that fucking easy. First she needs to contend with her own version of black lung, which is essentially that she is coughing up sludge like a frat boy throws up beer the morning after a sick rager. The town of Winsome has zero, nada, zilch food and motherfuckers are hungry. So she has to find out why none of the food is getting there. Turns out a pack of super hyenas controlled by a giant orc shaman are causing terror throughout The Lot Lands. Some frails have started setting up shop in an abandoned lot but none of the other hoofs no what to do. Hispertha is getting real mouthy in their quest to expand the empire. Basically she is going through a Lot. Get it, its because the series is called The Lot Lands. Let me end this monster paragraph.

That is quite the predicament to find oneself in. Fortunately for the lovely half-elf, half-orc super hybrid there is one simple answer. Violence. As the famous Jedi Mind Tricks song Violence begets Violence taught me, it’s that Violence begets Violence so that means madness ensues. We are talking hoof on hoof war, hoof on Tine war, hoof and hoof on magic orc shaman and hyena war, and all types of fun.

This fucking book is awesome. I love, love, love the use of all kinds of mythical races and that they can mix creating all different species that have to make their way in the world. I love that they ride hogs and shoot crossbows like they are a fucking motorcycle gang. I love the interplay between the clashing cultures and factions along The Lot Lands. The world Frenchy Lotana builds is absolutely brilliant. The characters are hilarious, believable and have realistic arcs. The curse words are great. The use of the word “cock” is without equal. Basically read this series if you like fun.

This book is literally the definition of chad. Easiest rating ever.

Book Reviews

The Poppy War Wrap-up: Popping off

As another week passes by, it is time for yet another book review. This time I would like to present The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Before I go too far into the weeds, I think it is once again worth mentioning that if the written word is not enough for you, feel free to listen to the SwordsandSports podcast. You can find that shit on iTunes, and maybe one day when I get around to it you can find it on Google Play. This week I recap the super bowl, I beg for money because I lost it all, and make other hilarious comments on the book. 52 books, 52 weeks, 52 podcasts. Join the movement now or die a horrible death.

You can find a link to the podcast here.

Alright another unsuccessful promo done so we can move on. I got to be honest about The Poppy War for real, for real. To me this seemed like a story you have read at least 14 times in your life, except the characters and culture is all Asian. I know this is both controversial and brave of me to say. Let me break it down for you clowns out there who are ready to throw me into the fire. The book is essentially two parts.

Part one is your classic orphan goes to school and learns magic tale. I am going to use no gender pronouns here, not to be progressive but to prove a point. It starts out with this kid, the kid is naturally an orphan. The way out of a tough living situation is to get accepted into this special school. The only way to do this is to be super smart. Of course the main character is beyond smart so the kid gets accepted to the school. The school is male dominated, but there are some women. The school is run by Masters, each Master has a specific subject that they teach. But there is a Master that is loopy, wacky, disheveled and frankly childish and immature. Most of the other professors think he is cracked, but of course he is the Master of magic. The main character has a rival, this rival is super wealthy and the son of an important lord. Their antics trying to one-up each other provide a lot of the filler. Eventually the main character has to choose her track. The main character begrudgingly earns the respect of the wacky Master and does a bunch of things that don’t really seem to have a point, but are actually teaching The main character magic. The hunger for more power eventually leads to a schism, as the Master doesn’t think this power should be used for violence.

Is part one The Name of the Wind? Nope. In this book replace Kvothe with Rin, Master Elodin with Jiang, and Ambrose with Nezha. Make everyone Asian and we have ourselves an award winning debut novel. Part 2 on the other hand, is where things take a turn.

At some point in the book, we replace the quaint orphan goes to school tale with an X-men in a fantasy world witnessing and causing massacres story. A littttttle bit different. The second part goes way off the rails, and frankly it is refreshing. Eventually Rin joins this crack team of a magic using military branch and causes absolute fucking mayhem. Not to spoil everything but the kind of amoral heel turn Rin takes is awesome. The second half is a little crazy and disjointed but a ton of fun.

So ends another dope ass review. This book teeters the line between virgin and chad so I place it firmly in the middle. On the one side, orphan goes to school and learns magic is one of my favorite kinds of stories but is def a virg move. On the other hand mass murder is very chad. The two balance each other out, the perfect yin to yang ratio.

Book Reviews

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids Wrap-up:

I hope people like book review’s because if you are at all following this blog there are going to be 52 of them this year. With that being said it is time for the next iteration of the most famous, popular, controversial book review blog series. In my shameless self promotion you can hear my pontificate on the finer intricacies of the Lucernis underworld with a brand new guest on this weeks edition of the Swords and Sports podcast. Now available on the Itunes podcast app so you are running out of excuses not to give it a listen.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-swords-and-sports-podcast/id1496413079

On this weeks episode we discuss the absolutely enjoyable book, our favorite curse words from the book, the mechanical spider thing from Toy Story, a farewell to my sweet prince Eli Manning and a whole bunch of wildly entertaining shit that is sure to fill you with wondrous joy and have you running to your friends at the park asking if they listened yet.

Now that is a fucking podcast promotion. I think. Let’s get into the book. The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids is a pretty short book but for only being 200 pages it seems to fit a lot of shit into those pages. Not shit like its garbage, reading that back I can see it being misleading. But ya boy Michael McClung self-published this book in 2012 and won the SPFBO, another award I refuse to look further into, so it definitely has a little notoriety behind it. And it is well deserved.

The story follows Amra, your take-no-shit female thief who finds a way to make the thieving life seem, if not glamorous, at least not grimy. Her homie Corbin comes over one night and asks her to hold this gold frog for him because he has to go collect payment for a score that he never got paid for. Well turns out he is never getting paid because he gets sliced up that night. Amra vows to get some revenge, and from there we get a classic revenge, murder mystery that really turns into Amra being the person responsible with stopping a legendary demi-god assassin.

It takes a few wild turns, at one point a mages body explodes or something and he winds up putting his head on a mechanical spider. That is pretty cool. There is also a giant dog named Bone who has like 9 concussions but still manages to be a good boy. There is a temple where all the acolytes mouths are sewed shut and their god speaks through them, reminiscent of some movie that I forget. There is a cranky librarian who fires off insults like a cast member of Wild’n’Out. Did I sell it yet?

In truth the brevity of the story is actually a huge positive. With little room for fluff, it sticks to the parts that work well and is an adventure that doesn’t feel forced. Being the most sincere two sentences in the entire blog, I will follow it up with the award winning chad/virgin scale which has received critical acclaim by nobody. This book is almost chad, any time a demi-god assassin who freezes himself in time tries to kill himself because he is cursed from killing a god, you are on to something. And that guy is only on like 4 pages. With about 6 more books left in this series, we will be getting a little more of Amra on the blog this year.