ARC Review – Eyes of the Void

Book review
Eyes of the Void cover; Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky; Publication Date: May 3, 2022; Print Length: 608 pages; Reads Dates: May 18, 2022 - May 22, 2022

Hello, everyone! I’m excited to finally be reviewing Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I enjoyed the first book in The Final Architecture series. So, I was really looking forward to reading this sequel. I’ve been a bit behind on my ARC reviews, and I was hoping to get to this one earlier. I kept putting it off because I knew it was going to be chonky and super dense (but in a good way). It took almost a whole week of reading, which is a long time to spend on one book for me, but I’ve finally finished it!

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Mini Book Review – Victory’s Price

Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing the final installment of the Alphabet Squadron trilogy, Victory’s Price by Alexander Freed. I’ve had this one on my shelf for over a year, and it was on two different TBRs last year. I never got to it, though. So, I’m happy to have finally gotten around to it and finished off this trilogy.

The aces of the New Republic have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing in this thrilling conclusion to the Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron trilogy!

In the wake of Yrica Quell’s shocking decision—and one of the fiercest battles of their lives—the remnants of Alphabet Squadron seek answers and closure across a galaxy whose old war scars are threatening to reopen.

Soran Keize has returned to the tip of Shadow Wing’s spear. Operation Cinder, the terrifying protocol of planetary extermination that began in the twilight of the Imperial era, burns throughout the galaxy. Shadow Wing is no longer wounded prey fleeing the hunters of the New Republic. With its leader, its strength has returned, and its Star Destroyers and TIE squadrons lurk in the darkness between stars, carrying out the fallen Emperor’s final edict of destruction—as well as another, stranger mission, one Keize has championed not for the dying Empire, but for its loyal soldiers.

Alphabet Squadron’s ships are as ramshackle and damaged as their spirits, but they’ve always had one another. Now, as they face the might of Keize’s reborn juggernaut, they aren’t sure they even have that. How do you catch a shadow? How do you kill it? And when you’re finally victorious, who pays the price?

I haven’t always been the biggest fan of this series or of Freed’s dense narrative style, but I really enjoyed this book. I was surprised by how much I’ve come to care for these characters after feeling rather apathetic about the first book. Each of them had really great arcs in this story with a mix of many bad ass and emotional moments. I particularly liked all the Hera Syndulla content, and I think the author completely captured her essence. As always, Freed did a fantastic job of creating immersive space battle scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. There was lots of action throughout the book, and the pace kept things pretty intense. However, there were also plenty of great quieter moments between the characters, which gave this book a nice balance. I liked the focus on the New Republic and its struggle to gain control without resorting to becoming like the Empire. It explored the ongoing war in a way that wasn’t black and white while illustrating the humanity of both sides. This was definitely an interesting and tumultuous time period for the Star Wars galaxy, and I hope to see even more content from this era in the future. Overall, this book was an excellent conclusion that has shifted my feelings for the series in a more positive direction. Therefore, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Blog Tour ARC Review – The Knave of Secrets

Hello, everyone! This evening I have another review as part of TheWriteReads blog tour for The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston. That’s right! Two blog tours in two days. I’m not gonna lie… I’ve been scrambling to get both of these done on time, but it has been a lot of fun, as well. Thank you to Rebellion Publishing and TheWriteReads for allowing me to participate! Now on to the book!

Book Info & Links

Author: Alex Livingston

Print Length: 400 pages

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Blurb

A twisty tale of magicians, con artists and card games, where secrets are traded and gambled like coin, for fans of The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Mask of Mirrors.

Never stake more than you can afford to lose.

When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament.

Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war…

My Review

***Thank you to TheWriteReads and Rebellion Publishing for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

This was a fun read. There was tons of political intrigue, interesting magic, and intricate world-building. The writing was good, and the narrative style did a great job of setting up the tone of the world. The plot was a bit slow at times, especially in the second quarter of the book, but the excitement of the games and mysteries kept me engaged for most of it.

The world and magic system were probably my favorite things about this book. The political situation was tense, and the history of each nation was fascinating to learn about. The Seminaire brotherhood of magicians was an interesting concept, and I wish even more time had been spent on learning about their order and the magic, and secrets, they held. There was also a wealth of information about the different games of chance played by the people in this world, which I’m sure some people will appreciate. Personally, I wish more time had been spent on the magic and less on the different games. Furthermore, I enjoyed the political intrigue but found it to be quite confusing for the first half of the book because I kept losing track of whose side certain characters were on. Once some of the secrets came out, it all made more sense, but the author’s attempts at showing the different political ties in the first half without any type of primer on the world’s history/alliances really fell flat. All in all, though, the world was fascinating, and I think it has a lot of untapped potential for future stories (if the author decides to make this more than a standalone).

I liked many of the characters, but they all felt a bit two-dimensional. Valen was probably the most well-rounded, and I liked his personality. I enjoyed seeing him become an unlikely hero, and his struggle with guilt about the consequences of his gambling and cheating was probably the most compelling character arc. I also really liked getting a middle-aged protagonist, and the relationship he had with his wife was something I loved reading. They were just so supportive of each other and worked great together while attempting to build their dreams into reality. Many of the other POVs really could have been eliminated. The stories of the two ambassadors felt like filler and a way to impart knowledge about the current political situation. However, as I noted above, they only served to make me more confused, and Ria’s perspective and motivations honestly felt a bit inconsistent. In general, the characters were fun to read, though, and many of them had plenty of great moments. They just all felt a bit wooden.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read filled with interesting magic, espionage, and lots of secrets. The ideas were good even if the execution of all aspects of the story weren’t as great as I’d hoped. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

About the Author

Alex Livingston grew up in various quiet New England towns before moving to Buffalo, NY to study English at Canisius College. He writes SFF prose and interactive fiction. Alex is married and lives in an old house with his brilliant wife and a pile of aged videogame systems.

ARC Mini Review – Elektra

Hello, everyone! Today I have the pleasure of reviewing Elektra by Jennifer Saint. I’ve been meaning to get to Ariadne, which is also by this author and has received quite a bit of praise. So, I was excited to be approved for an eARC of this novel and get my first taste of Saint’s work. I’m also a sucker for mythology retellings, especially of Greek mythology, and was super pumped to see this take on the story.

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