This post is a day late because I had a pretty awful coughing attack yesterday and was unable to write. I have been able to finish another book today, so that gives me three to tell you about, which must be a good thing!
My first completed book of the week was King of Ashes by Raymond Feist, the first in his new series The Firemane Saga. This was an ebook downloaded from the Public Library Service. Here is the blurb:
For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as “the Firemane” for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.
As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable—and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the “Hidden Warriors,” legendary assassins and spies, are trained.
Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.
Soon, the two young men—an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith—will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended . . . and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world.
I have read quite a lot of books by Feist over the years and have really enjoyed them. This is the three star review I wrote on Goodreads:
I enjoyed this book and it was easy to read, but didn’t quite deserve four stars. The story arcs of the main characters were interesting enough and held my attention. Some of those characters were attractive and likeable and the fantasy world was well-drawn. But somehow it all fell a bit short, partly because I know that Feist can write much better than this. Yes, it was the first book in a series and didn’t stand alone on its own. Also, there was far too much repetition of things about the history of Garn or a particular character that the reader had learned several times before. It felt as if the author had forgotten that he had told us these facts earlier in the book! I will look out for the next book, but not go out of my way to acquire it. Oh, and the ebook version has loads of misspellings and other errors.
Do ebook publishers employ proper proof readers or rely on spellcheckers?
My second book of the week was The Prophet by Ethan Cross. I didn’t realise, when I picked it up at the Library, that it is the second book in a series. I think that I missed some backstory, but the book was OK to read on its own. Here is the blurb:
Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America’s most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work – and he’s more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.
Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now Marcus must focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive.
Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet – and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine.
With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet’s final dark ritual.
Again, I gave this book three stars and wrote this review:
This was an OK thriller which gripped this reader at some points, then irritated this reader at others. Perhaps I should simply have left it and read part #01 in the series first. Perhaps I am being unfair because I didn’t do that. I didn’t like Marcus, the main character, or the idea of having a semi-official setup where people can kill “perpetrators” rather than bringing them to justice. I also got fed up with the “gun porn”. I don’t really need to know the make of each weapon plus the details of the bullets. Maybe because I am English and we generally don’t do guns? Oh, one last gripe, I really hate this style of using very short chapters. This is why I have stopped reading a very famous thriller writer…
Finally, I managed to finish Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth this afternoon. Unusually for me, I ended up dropping this book, then reading a few chapters, then putting it down again, over and over. For some reason, I couldn’t decide to just let it go. Anyway, here is the blurb:
He’s the best cop they’ve got.
When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess.
He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past.
He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach.
But a man like him won’t get to the top.
Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his.
Unless he kills for it.
Apparently, this book is part of a set with different authors basing novels on Shakespeare plays. Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth is a bit of a marmite book, judging by the reviews on Goodreads. Many people have awarded it the full five stars, other really dislike it. I gave it three stars, but perhaps it should be more like 3.5! Anyway, here is my quick review:
I have read most of Nesbo’s other books and really rate them. I also studied Shakespeare’s Macbeth at school many decades ago, but have forgotten everything apart from the main thrust of the plot. This book is cleverly written, using the characters and plot of the play but transposing it to the 1970s, to a very bleak town which is sinking into an abyss of corruption and crime. Sadly, I found the book very hard to read and struggled, particularly at the beginning, to actually enjoy the experience. So, I kept putting it down and reading something else. I am, however, glad that I persevered as the pace of the book improved so much in the second half. I also wish that I could have remembered more of the fine details of the play – I enjoyed the Birnam and “man born of woman” parts very much – it would have been even more interesting to see how Nesbo worked out more of the details into his new version.
As I have just finished Macbeth I haven’t yet decided what I will read next.
Happy Reading to you all!