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

Uncategorized

Blood of Heirs Wrap-up: Ranoth ran

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

  1. 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
  2. The crone. This bitch is a survivor. She came with lidans mom Sellan an just kind of lives in her old filth
  3. Sellans punishment is the same punishment from Matilda, she locks fucking Lidan in a cave/cage with spikes.
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 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

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.