Book Review: The Gods of Men

The Gods of Men by [Kloss, Barbara]

4.5/5 stars

This was (almost) everything I wanted it to be. A solid, rip-roaring epic fantasy, with all the beloved elements of the genre. Usually when I pick up such a story, I rate it on four (albeit completely arbitrary and unique to myself) elements: magic, monsters, (wo)+men, and mayhem. All four of these things were *very* nearly there, and made my fantasy-loving heart oh so happy.

First, magic (and the only category with a docked half-point). The magic system was solid, but didn’t completely do it for me. I don’t mind unclarity (is that a word? If not, I declare it so) with magic. In fact, I prefer a little mystery to accompany the system, but this had a little TOO much fogginess with how it worked. I’m assuming it will become more concrete with the next installment of the series. But I would have preferred a little more clear lines with what it is and how it works. I feel like with certain POV’s, it could have been fleshed out more, particularly Rasmin’s. But generally, I enjoyed the unique element of music being a part of it, and the Shah was certainly an interesting concept. It will be cool to see how it (hopefully) becomes more defined in book 2.

Second, monsters. I love some good scary beasts adding unpredictability to a narrative. This book had it in spades. The shades were super scary and unique, and the chakran was downright terrifying. They kicked the intensity up a notch, and raised the stakes at times, so it had this element that I really enjoy and typically judge an epic fantasy by.

Third, (wo)+men, which is just a dumb way of talking about the characters while having everything start with an “m”. I thoroughly enjoyed ALL the characters, which is unusual for me. Usually there are one or two that I have complaints about, be it their character arc or motivations. But every single actor in this story was well-written, had believable motivations, and flowed well with what the author seemed to be trying to accomplish. Even the Maker, the god in this story, wasn’t typical. I love how the characters each interacted with him differently, had various ways they believed or didn’t believe, and how that affected each of their stories. Sable was a compelling main character, and the Wolf, while somewhat typical (at least, IMO) had elements to him that made him a bit different, too. I really loved the “is he a good guy or bad guy?” question throughout the whole book, and how it made him unique. There were snippets here and there throughout the book of fun, believable relationships. Wolf/Braddok and their friendship, the complicated Wolf/Sable thing going on, and even the sibling relationships the author delved into were awesome. My only complaint (very, very minor) was what happened with Astrid’s character arc. It was heartbreaking, in a way, but also made me both angry and unsatisfied. However, I think this is probably what the author was going for, and it in no way detracts from the story.

Lastly, mayhem. This book delivers on complicated plots, battles, fight scenes, and general madness that makes epic fantasy so fun and engaging to read. The author has a knack for pacing that is pretty unusual with epic fantasy, too. Most authors (usually unique to epic fantasy writers) can’t quite strike a good balance between worldbuilding and pacing the plot forward, but the author has mastered this. There wasn’t ever a point where I was bored by the descriptions of the world, because it was so masterfully woven into the narrative. Yet there wasn’t ever a time I was confused, either, by parts of the world because there wasn’t an explanation of it. YOU GUYS. This is so hard to do. I write epic fantasy, and this is the hardest part of writing it, hands down. It seems like this author literally had no issue with mastering this, and it makes me jealous. It seemed so effortless, so immersive, and kept the pacing of the book flawless. Major kudos.

All in all, this ties with one of my favorite epic fantasy reads this year. I’m really looking forward to book 2, and following this author’s career.

Grab it on Amazon or add it on Goodreads

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Book Review: Out of Darkness by E.B. Dawson

 

5/5 stars

This book was not what I was expecting. The cover made me think sci-fi, and while it technically is, it isn’t hard sci-fi like Hubert or Pierce. Once I got used to this, I really enjoyed the story. It’s centered around a girl named Logan, who in the course of three years, is recruited and trained as an assassin.

The series is called The Creation of Jack. Dawson takes you on a thrill ride, jumping timelines in Logan’s life and showing you who she is through each of these jumps. As Logan (before the recruitment), as Jack (as the assassin) and as Bailey (the recruit.) The book explores deep issues of identity, asking the question “Who am I?” While there aren’t necessarily hard-set answers to that question, she does a good job exploring the facets of who Logan is, what she is capable of, and the purpose for which Jack is created.

You get the sense of this being an exciting assassin tale, when it still is actually a sci-fi read. Like I said, it was a bit disorienting at first, but once I realized what was going on, I could follow along. A few issues: the dialogue. There aren’t many beats or tags, so it can be difficult to follow who is speaking when. I wouldn’t say I hate this style. I got over it because the story was that good. But definitely not my preference. I don’t mind working hard to understand a book, but I don’t like working hard just to figure out who is talking. This wasn’t a deterrent for me, but it almost was.

The timeline jumps are at first confusing, but once I realized she used different names for Logan to give you an idea of what timeline you were in, I think it was actually pretty genius. I haven’t read a book formatted quite like that before, and found it fresh and new.

Check it out on Amazon or add to your Goodreads.

Now available! The Last Steward

Part 3 of the Steward Saga is here. Try not to lose your mind with excitement. I am enough for the both of us. Check it out, and leave a comment with what you think!

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The Triumphant King is on the march. The Stewards are in hiding. The Sisterhood must unite.

Step into a new world from visionary fantasy author Janelle Garrett. This sweeping tale takes you into new cultures, an intricate magic system, and in-depth plots that will spark the imagination. See what readers are calling “masterful storytelling”, a “rich, complex story” and “a perfect example of epic fantasy.”

When Brate and the Sisterhood rescued Malok from Polbine Voltaire, the victory was short-lived. King Voltaire escaped with his life, and Isa, the mysterious and powerful warlock, disappeared after sending Voltaire running. But just who is Isa? With his help, Brate, Malok, Priva, and Graissa are convinced they can defeat Voltaire once and for all, and stand a chance at closing the Rift.

But Voltaire is Soulbound to the Liar. And he marches toward the Bright Lands, intent on taking the Stone Throne for himself and establishing his dominance across the Lands. The Stewards and the Sisterhood must unite and stop him, otherwise the Rift will never close. But with strife and contention from one corner of the Lands to the other, their chances of stopping Voltaire seem slim. They will need the help of the one person they can’t find: Isa, who has his own ideas about what closing the Rift will entail.

When all hope seems lost, one single act will alter the course of the entire sphere. The surprising truth will change the Stewards, change the Sisterhood, and open the floodgates of the Deep. But will the sacrifice be worth the reward?

The Last Steward is Part 3 of a four-part epic fantasy series. Fans of Brandon Sanderson, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, and Robin Hobb will enjoy this fresh, new voice in fantasy literature.

The world of the Steward Saga, available on Amazon:

  1. Part 1 – Rift in the Deep
  2. Part 2 – Rise of the Warlock King
  3. Part 3 – The Last Steward
  4. Part 4 – coming late summer of 2019
  5. The Tale of Briton’s Fury – prequel novella
  6. Justice: A Steward Saga Short Story Collection

Justice Explained

You know an author’s busy writing their books when their blog is neglected. However, I can’t say that I’m sorry. Priorities, priorities. Not only am I busying writing the Justice short story series, but I’m preparing for the release of Part 3 of the Steward Saga, The Last Steward.

Justice has been quite the challenge to write. If you’re at all familiar with my work, you know I use multiple points of view in my books. Well, Justice is just one. It’s all told from the POV of Trinn Ma’allard, the main character and antihero, if you will. You might recognize her from Rise of the Warlock Kingand she makes various appearances in The Last Steward, too.

Her story isn’t difficult to write just because it’s from one perspective, though. The themes in the stories are deep, concerning issues of revenge, forgiveness, justice, and identity. You might say, “Yeah, but you tackle those issues in The Steward Saga series, Janelle.” And you would be correct. But Trinn Ma’allard is coming from an entirely different place than say, Brate or Graissa. You might just have to grab the series to see what I mean.

Issues like the ones mentioned above can be difficult for a writer to tackle because we all face those same problems in every day life. We’ve all be wronged, in one way or another. We’ve all wronged others. We must face the decision to daily forgive those who treat us poorly, or enact our own righteous revenge fantasies. How often have you plotted how to get even with someone, whether by word or deed? I know I have. When my husband or friend or children lash out, my first inclination is to seek “justice”: lash back out at them, because they started it. But what if there was a different way?

That’s what I try to address in Justice. Check the stories out below (all are available for free through Kindle Unlimited), and pre-order Justice Part 4 – The Dreadwood coming out October 18th. Stay tuned for further details about The Last Steward, including the cover reveal in mid-October!

Justice Part 1 – The Misty Sea

Justice Part 2 – The Palisade Kingdom

Justice Part 3 – The Nomad (available October 4th)

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SPFBO18

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Yes, that looks fancy. It stands for the “Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off” and it is probably the most prestigious, and coveted,  award for fantasy authors who are self-published. It is hosted by Mark Lawrence, author of several best-selling fantasy novels. Basically, ten of the top fantasy bloggers in the world agree to read 30 novels each, choose their favorite to put forth to the finals, and then all read the final ten novels. One winner is chosen and is then reviewed on all of the bloggers websites.

It’s a self-published authors dream, pretty much.

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Rift in the Deep will be read by Kitty G, a youtube reviewer with over 11k subscribers. I’m super excited.

Rift in the Deep is FREE For Five Days

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In anticipation for the release of Rise of the Warlock King being published on June 23rd (pre-order it here), Rift in the Deep is FREE on Amazon for five days. Yes. This is not a cruel joke.

You’re welcome 🙂 And share the love… let your friends know!

-Janelle G.

 

Just a Little Peek

Who doesn’t love book covers? If you don’t, well, you’re strange.

I don’t have the official cover yet… BUT I do have a sneak peak.

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Isn’t Pol beautiful!? I might be biased. Maybe.

Not only does JE Purazzi write amazing dystopian novels, but she is an artist, too. Some people get all the talent!

Rise of the Warlock King comes out June 23rd. So the question is… who wants to read it first? For free? Yes, you read that right. I’m putting together a team of individuals who want to be my advanced readers. So basically, you get to read all my stuff for free before it is published. The only thing you have to do? Write a review of the product and post it on Amazon and Goodreads (if you are on Goodreads, that is.) Just comment on this post that you want to be a part, and I’ll send you a link to the book. For free. AND if you want to be a part of the team, but haven’t read Rift in the Deep, I’ll send that to you as well. So two free books, in exchange for a review. Sound like a deal?

If you don’t want to commit to a review, no worries. Just grab Rift in the Deep here, before Rise of the Warlock King is published. The Tale of Briton’s Fury, the novella, is on Amazon for 99 cents. OR if you want if for free, sign up for my mailing list.

See it, pays to have me as a friend. You get free books all the time.