Reading roundup 19/08/20

I must apologise again for missing last week’s Reading Roundup post. There are two books to write about this week and I am already halfway through a third.

A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

A few weeks ago, I wrote about one of my favourite author’s books: Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay. The book I am writing about this week is his latest book, A Brightness Long Ago, which is a prequel. Here is the blurb:

In a decadent, often violent world in which mercenaries destroy city-states for the highest bidder and women’s lives remain desperately limited, the lives of extraordinary figures play out . . .

Guidanio Cerra is the son of a tailor whose intelligence had won him entry to a renowned school. He goes into service at the dangerous court of a count known as The Beast . . .

Adria Ripoli, born to power, has rejected the choices offered to her, opting for a life of danger – and freedom – in the service of her mercenary uncle. But freedom always comes at a price – in this case a night-time encounter from which she is unlikely to escape alive.

And Danio, living in a chamber overlooking the waterways of a maritime city, looks back in time to relate his part of this sweeping tale that contains unforgettable characters in an extraordinary era, including a healer who has also defied life’s expectations of her, and the two larger-than-life war leaders, lifelong adversaries, whose encounters put the world’s survival in the balance . . .

As always, I love reading anything by Guy Gavriel Kay and this was no exception. I won’t say anything further as I will save my thoughts for my review on Goodreads:

A Brightness Long AgoA Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet again, as I finish a book by GGK, I am left with my head both spinning and dreaming. The author does indeed weave bright stories, based around true events in history. In this case, I didn’t know anything about the real events, so just immersed myself in the interwoven tales of the main characters.

It was a little confusing for me, at first, that this is a prequel to his previous book, Children of Earth and Sky, and that there were also allusions to his two books set in a fantasy version of Byzantium. I have only recently finished reading the former, but it is such a long time since I read the latter two and I, therefore, feel inspired to buy ebook versions and re-read them. My memory is very poor now and I struggle to remember events in books that I have only just finished, never mind read decades ago!

I suppose this could be seen as a gift and another reason to read GGK’s books repeatedly!

Having read quite a few of the other reviews of this particular book here on Goodreads, I must recommend them to other readers. Many are truly excellent and will give you far more insight than I can.

View all my reviews

Ooh, I can’t wait to read another book by GGK, although I might return to an old favourite,  when I have finished my current reading pile.

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

I started reading John Gwynne’s series The Faithful and the Fallen back in June 2019. This series of four giant hardback books sort of grips you by the throat, shakes you around for a while, then hurls you across battlefields, forests, plains and mountains. If you are lucky, you might land on your feet at the end, although you will struggle to catch your breath! So, you can imagine that I was quite pleased when I saw that he had started a new series…

NO!!!!! I was absolutely thrilled!

OK, I will calm down now as I am sure that you will get the point. Here is the blurb for A Time of Dread, part #01 Of Blood and Bone:

Set in the same world as the Faithful and the Fallen quartet, the first novel in John Gwynne’s Of Blood and Bone series, A Time of Dread, takes place one hundred years after the end of Wrath.

The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient enemy may not be as crushed as they thought.

In the snowbound north, Drem, a trapper, finds mutilated corpses in the forests – a sign of demonic black magic. In the south, Rae, a young, tempestuous soldier, discovers a deadly rift within the Ben-Elim themselves. Two individuals with two world-changing secrets. But where will they lead? And what role will Drem and Rae play in the Banished Land’s fate?

Difficult choices need to be made. Because in the shadows, demons are gathering, waiting for their time to rise. . .

I have just written this review on Goodreads:

A Time Of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1)A Time Of Dread by John Gwynne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s always great to pick up the first book in a fantasy series, where you already rate the author. I had greatly enjoyed the Faithful and the Fallen last year, so I was thrilled when I saw that John Gwynne had a new series on the way. After finishing this book, I am not disappointed.

This new series takes place well over a century after the previous one and that knowledge brings some sadness in its wake. We have lost well-loved previous characters who we have grown to know in the previous books, although many of them are consistently referenced in this book. Instead, we are introduced to new characters very quickly. That does bring some problems to someone like me, who has severe memory issues. The new names and backgrounds are quite difficult to get a handle on at first. However, as the book developed, I was able to fit this new set of people and animals into the landscape, mythology and plot.

There are only a few caveats and these are reasons why I have not given the full five stars. I feel that the author needs to check on his repetitive use of phrases to describe his characters. Yes, we quickly realise that one constantly checks the pulse in his neck! This seems to be obsessive. We have also got the point that some warriors have a particular hairstyle – does it always have to be described in exactly the same way? These are just niggles really, but I did find them increasingly irritating.

But don’t let me put you off in any way. This series is building up to be another blockbuster! Enjoy!

View all my reviews

A Time of Blood By John Gwynne

Phew! Now I am going to return to my latest book. You will not be surprised to learn that it is the second book in the series, A Time of Blood.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,



About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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