Review: Dances of Deception (The Dragon Songs Saga #3) by J.C. Kang

Dances of Deception

The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer.

After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor tasks her with an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.

The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed. 

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: Dances of Deception (The Dragon Songs Saga #3) by J.C. Kang


Review

Rating: 5 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

When Princess Kaiya is tasked with negotiating her treacherous cousin’s extradition, she finds her own life and freedom in danger at the hands of the Teleri Empire. Her reunion with her childhood friend Tian is cast into shadow by this new threat and that they are both not the same as they recall from their youth. Will Kaiya and Tian be able to mend their relationship and will Tian be able to keep the Princess safe from their enemies.

I really enjoyed the third instalment of The Dragon Songs saga. Plunged into a completely different world, Kaiya is out of her comfort zone and as a result you see her grow very much as a person. As strong willed as she is, she is also vulnerable, and this novel shows all sides of her. You also get to explore Tian’s character in further detail. Torn between duty and love, he also comes into his own as he protects Kaiya and also the village that has given them sanctuary.

The world building in Dances of Deception is incredible. Everything is so richly detailed but without being confusing for the reader. A great novel should transport you into the world that you are reading about, and this saga definitely does that. As a result, I was reluctant to put it down and cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Review: Altered Tides (The Galactic Captains #5) by Harry F. Rey

A malfunctioning STAR drive strands Captain Ales in a new galaxy. Trapped on a dry, dusty red moon where the rains fall only once every forty years, the restless population barely survives on a teardrop ration of water. Now, the rains are years overdue, and the ruling clerics view Ales as a savior—or a devil. Just as Ales and the She-King’s brother discover a secret the clerics have been hiding for far too long, this world is invaded and torn apart from a most unlikely source.

The blue moon is a world covered in water—water that flows over to the red moon as rain every forty years, thereby drying up the domain of King Sarlord. He’s finally had enough and gathers an army to sail into the sky on the waterspout, land on the red moon, and defeat the god who steals his ocean. His son, Prince Malar, will do anything to avoid staying behind, but even he gets much more than he bargained for when the world as he knows it is swept away on altered tides.

Purchase: Amazon.com

Goodreads: Altered Tides (The Galactic Captains #5) by Harry F. Rey


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

When Captain Ales crash lands on a red moon which is in the grips of a drought that has lasted forty years, he finds himself hailed as god and the one who will finally bring the rains to the dying world. Suspicious of the clerics who appear to control even the King, Ales and the King’s brother Suni make a discovery that will challenge the very order of this dry world.

Malar is the Prince of the blue moon, a world covered in water of which the red moon is dependant on for the rains to come. Malar is captive to his father’s desire to rule and conquer the red moon that he claims is stealing their water. When Malar defies his father’s orders to stay behind, he soon finds himself drawn into something much more than Sarlord’s war.

Altered Tides is the fifth novel in The Galactic Captains series. I have not read the previous instalments but I had no problems following the plot as this novel can be read as a standalone.

I really liked the concept of the two moons depending on each other for survival. I thought it was a really unique and interesting concept. It was also explained in a plausible way that made perfect sense without being too heavy or confusing for the reader. This idea contrasted nicely with how different the plants were from each other.
The main characters were interesting and both very likeable. Ales’s character was slightly harder to read as I did not know him from the previous instalments, but he came across as a good man who was determined to help the inhabitants of the red moon. Malar I really liked and could emphasise a lot with. He is somewhat overshadowed by his father when the novel begins but he soon comes into his own and is my favourite of the two.

I really enjoyed reading Altered Tides. It is a gripping, fast paced and enjoyable science fiction novel, and I would definitely like to read the other books in the series.

Release Blitz and Review: The Case of the Boy in Blue by Amanda Meuwissen

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Case of the Boy in Blue

Author: Amanda Meuwissen

Publisher: Amanda Meuwissen Books

Cover Artist: Amanda Meuwissen

Release Date: February 14, 2021

Genre: Noir M/M Romance

Trope/s: Age gap, private investigator, noir, mystery & detective

Themes: Hidden agenda, revenge

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 33 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

This kid was going to be trouble, I just knew it.

“Have a seat, Mr. Valentine. What can I do for you?”

Blurb

Leonard Quill, private investigator, never expected a case to walk through his door quite like this one, complete with murder, a frame job, blackmail, and powerful players, especially coming from a man with bright blue eyes behind his glasses, a crooked bow tie, and an impossible smile.


Excerpt

Mr. Valentine—call me Westley—looks the part of bumbling fool, who’s too naïve to know he’s walked into the lion’s den even being near this neighborhood without packing some heat but turns out he has a few secrets even darker than mine. His old man is in the clink, doing time for killing his mother. Only Westley swears the real culprit is someone else and his father has been framed.

Maybe that’s true, wouldn’t put much past this city, but if Westley is right about who’s behind the frame job, this isn’t a case I can take lightly.

“Sorry, kid, but you think James Deckard is behind all this? He’s not the type of man you bring down legally.”

“I know that. That’s why I came to you. The cops laughed me out of the precinct.”

“I ain’t a hitman either,” I snarl, wondering if sweet and innocent was an act and this kid has it in him to get all murdery and scuffed up, so long as someone else does the killing.

But those blue eyes go wide, and I know that if there is a darker side to him, it’s buried much deeper than trying to pull one over on me. “I don’t want a hitman, Mr. Quill. But I need someone willing to go the extra mile the cops turn their noses at. Someone who’ll take the risk to get real evidence and finally put this monster away. Even the worst of the worst for all the crooked cops in this town can’t cover up Deckard’s deeds if we have proof.”

An optimist. Great.

Westley isn’t wholly off base though, with the right judge, the right amount of ammunition, but it would be life or death with my hide on the line to get it done. Usually, that’s par for the course, half the fun of the job is getting a little lost in the muck, but Deckard is the type to make you disappear real quiet like—to the outside world. You wouldn’t be gone right away; you’d stay breathing for weeks, screaming where no one could hear you.

“You tell my secretary all this?” I ask, already knowing the answer given Roxanne’s response to the kid.

“Of course. She was sure you’d agreed. Please, Mr. Quill, won’t you help me?”

Damn this kid, and damn Roxanne too. She knows the stakes involved, but she has it out for Deckard’s business partner, Jeffrey Yacobian, who she’s suspected for a long while had a hand in her sister’s murder. This opens another avenue to investigate the scum of our city with me as the point man.

Roxanne also knows I can’t say no. I promised her we’d catch Yacobian someday. Bringing down Deckard could pave the way for that and ease the potent grief of this kid in front of me who might be the last sunny disposition left in these dank streets.

“The risks involved ain’t gonna come cheap. How much is all this worth to you?”

Westley looks me square in the eyes, that blushing virgin routine set aside as he sits up taller—maybe all that light was a clever mask after all. “Everything I have, Mr. Quill.”

“Leonard. You’re either turning over your life savings when this is over or paying for my funeral if it flops, so call me Leonard.” Might as well be on a first name basis considering we’re both gonna end up on ice. “Now let’s start at the beginning, and you tell me everything you know.”

About the Author

Amanda Meuwissen is a bisexual author, with a primary focus on M/M romance. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and several other titles with various publishers, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter

Instagram | Pinterest | Newsletter Sign-up

Giveaway

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a choice of ebook from the author’s backlist.

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

I really enjoyed reading this short mystery by Amanda Meuwissen. The atmosphere of the story had this gritty, dark feel to it which contrasted against Westley’s seemingly innocent characteristics. Leonard is a seasoned PI who finds himself not only drawn to the case but the man who brought it to him. The two of them have instant chemistry and work well together.

The case is full of intrigue and twists and turns that you won’t see coming. The ending wraps everything up nicely, but I hope that this is the start of a series.

If you like short, compelling mysteries then you’ll enjoy reading The Case of the Boy in Blue.

Review: The Boss (Under Red Sky #1) by J. Calamy

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The Boss

Nicholas Erickson is happy to be the smallest cog at the US Embassy in Singapore, a big step up from prison. Nick lives with a terrible secret: he killed a family of three in a traffic accident, for which he was imprisoned and became a pariah back home. The only threat to his second chance is the truth—and Nelson Graves.

Shipping Magnate Lord Nelson Graves is secretly the head of crime syndicate Red Sky, making him the biggest arms dealer and drug boss in Southeast Asia. Graves is tired, lonely, addicted to opium, and trying to get his imploding crime syndicate back to business. There is a traitor in his organization and an old enemy is back on his tail.

A romance builds between hot-headed, reckless Nick and unhappy, ruthless Graves. But nothing is that easy. Shoot-outs, bombings, and vindictive exes prove Nick’s past and Graves’s present may be a lethal combination.

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: The Boss (Under Red Sky #1) by J. Calamy


Review

Rating: 4 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Nick Erickson tries to keep a low profile both in his job and his personal life. With mistakes from his past still haunting him and coupled with the fear of anyone finding out, he keeps himself somewhat closed off from those around him. Nick just wants to keep his life quiet. And that all changes when he meets Lord Nelson Graves. Graves is the owner of a shipping firm and also secretly the head of the crime syndicate Red Sky. Circumstances find the two drawn together and as Nick gets to know Graves he also begins to discover a lot about himself too.

I enjoyed reading this first installment of the Under Red Sky series. I liked the Singapore setting and being immersed in the location and culture. The Boss is gritty and unflinching in the descriptions of violence which really captures the genre and mood of the story well. Nick and Graves are both flawed, but human and each have likeable and not so likeable qualities. The two main characters go together well. Nick’s hot-headedness means he is unafraid to stand up to Graves’ more domineering and ruthless personality. The supporting cast are interesting and I hope to learn about them in later books in the series.

If you like a gritty, action-packed novel with a building romance between the two main characters you will certainly enjoy The Boss!

Review: Blood Diamond (Serial Investigations #6) by Rhiannon D’Averc

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Blood Diamond

When a private client asks Ram and Will to track down a stolen yellow diamond, they quickly realise the suspects may be closer to home than he expects. Two adult children with serious issues, a jilted wife, and a young lover – and that’s just the beginning.

As what should be a straightforward case turns into a murder investigation, Serial Investigations London have to team up with their old friend Alex Heath – and an old enemy…

With Will in recovery and Ram staying on the wagon, everything seems to be looking up in their personal lives. They’ve even finally managed to admit their feelings for each other, but that doesn’t mean the road ahead is without rocks.

After an uncomfortable confrontation for Will, and with calls from their families becoming harder to ignore, the boys are going to need to work harder than ever to ignore their own issues if they want to get to the bottom of this crime – in which nothing is as straightforward as it seems.

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: Blood Diamond (Serial Investigations #6) by Rhiannon D’Averc


Review

Rating: 5 stars

*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

After months apart, Will and Ram are back together and are ready to take on their first case together since the events of Blood Sport. The case appears straightforward. A diamond belonging to a wealthy family has gone missing and Will and Ram have been hired to find it. From the beginning they suspect an inside job but when theft turns to murder, Will and Ram find themselves in the middle of a much bigger investigation than they intended.

I really enjoyed reading the next book of this series. The mystery this time is different from previous ones and I enjoyed the change as well as trying to figure out who was responsible! Will and Ram are an adorable couple! They still have some issues to work through, but they have a very sweet and tender relationship, and I am glad that they finally got together! I have a feeling that their relationships with their parents might be explored further in later books and I am looking forward to this (although Will and Ram may not be so much!). The diamond theft turn murder plot was very intriguing and kept me guessing right until the end. Also, if Will and Ram think that they have seen the last of JM Coil then they are mistaken! It looks like he’s still running things from the inside and the boys will be seeing more of him in the future too.

A great next instalment of the series and I cannot wait to read further books in the Serial Investigations series!

Favourite Reads of 2020

I’ve had a lot more time for reading this year and have been able to read 40 books and clear the majority of my review queue which is great! I have read so many great novels in 2020 and have listed below the standout ones for me. I recommend you checking them out!

The Life Siphon series by Kathryn Sommerlot

The Life Siphon (The Life Siphon #1)

The Mage Heir (The Life Siphon #2)

The Loyal Whispers (The Life Siphon #3)


Serial Investigations series by Rhiannon D’Averc

Bloodless (Serial Investigations #1)

Blood Evidence (Serial Investigations #2)

Blood Alcohol (Serial Investigations #3)

Blood Sucker (Serial Investigations #4)

Blood Sport (Serial Investigations #5)

Blood on Poinsettia (Serial Investigations)


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The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen


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Born to Liberty (Light from Aphelion #3) by Martine Carlsson


Blood Winter

Blood Winter by S.J. Coles

Review: Blood Winter by S.J. Coles

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Blood Winter

Vampires are attempting to integrate into human society. When Alec MacCarthy first meets a ‘haemophile’ in the flesh, it’s not the obvious dangers that frighten him.

Alec MacCarthy, Lord of Aviemore and largely-forgotten descendent of a once-proud family line, keeps the wolf from the door of the crumbling family mansion by restoring classic cars.

He leaves the real world alone and wishes nothing more than for it to return the favor. But in a reality where haemophiles—still colloquially known as vampires, despite the publicity campaigns—have come out of hiding and are attempting to integrate into human society, the real world is rapidly becoming a disrupted and conflicted mess that threatens to trouble even Alec in his remote Scottish hideaway.

When he unwittingly attends a Blood Party to please a friend, he has his first meeting with one of these mysterious and dangerous beings. Terje is like nothing he has ever encountered before…literally. His reactions are as troublesome as they are undeniable.

Alec’s snap decision to help the haemophile rather than sample his sense-heightening and addictive blood sets them both on a path that will lead them into a tangled web of intrigue with consequences that will change their lives—and the world—forever.

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: Blood Winter by S.J. Coles


Review

*I received a copy of this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 5 stars

Reclusive Alec MacCarthy, the Lord of Aviemore and last of his family line has no interest in the world outside his father’s mansion home. He passes the time by restoring classic cars in a distant kind of existence rather than actually living a life, and Alec likes it that way. Outside his Scottish highland home haemophiles – vampires – are now known to the world and are doing their best to co-exist in human society. However resistance on both sides inevitably leads to bloodshed. When Alec is tricked into attending a blood party, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to captive haemophile Terje. In a moment Alec’s well-intended actions set in motion a sequence of events that no one could have predicted and will have consequences that will effect and change the entire world.

Blood Winter is one of the best vampire novels that I have read in a long time. It is everything that a novel in its genre should be. Dark. Gritty. Bloody.

Alec’s character is brooding and lonely and he has all but given up on living a real life. Then he meets Terje and slowly you see him come alive through the pages as his initial fear both of what Terje is and their connection morphs into true feelings and a romance that is both dark and touching at the same time. On the surface, Terje is mysterious and dangerous, but underneath there is a tenderness to him and an ability to feel just as deeply as any human. Together the two characters complement their individual personalities and the connection between them is undeniable.

The world-building has been carefully crafted and planned, adding in a balance between detail and mystery that leaves me hoping for the possibility of a sequel. Both sides, human and haemophile, clash constantly and are both to some degree at fault, but the conclusion leaves hope for a positive future outcome.

If you like dark, realistic vampire-human romances then I cannot recommend Blood Winter enough!

Review: Immortal Fears Anthology

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Immortal Fears

Twenty authors, twenty gods, twenty stories that will chill, thrill and kill you. The Gods of the Pantheon present their first anthology of Halloween stories, the time for Samhain draws near…

Olympus Confidential: the Deep Wild by CJ Landry
Hera has been kidnapped! For four terrified teenage Gods and Goddesses, it is a race against the clock to find their mother. But to get her back, they must face and conquer their greatest enemy – themselves. Can they accomplish their feats and find Hera in time, or will the Queen of the Gods be lost forever?

Reliving the Nightmare by Moxie Malone
Moxie, the forgotten goddess, defies her mothers to pursue her heart’s desire. Her single-minded stubbornness leads innocent lovers into danger when nightgoyles break free from Tartarus at the apex of Samhain. These vicious creatures, with an appetite for human flesh, are on the hunt and they are hungry.

Sacrifice to the Dark Elves by Jeanette Rose
Eros, God of Love and Sex, along with Dionysus, God of Wine, throw an epic rave in Olympus National Park for Halloween. A party to end all. Yet, nothing is as it seems. Samhain is a night steeped in mystery, the veil between worlds at its thinnest, and someone is reaching out.

Thanatos and the House at the End of the World by Marc Tizura
Thanatos, God of Death, has left the Pantheon. Broken after the second world war, he has taken to exploring alternate worlds. He comes across one of a barren landscape and a lone structure. The dead cry out to him from the depths of the decrepit Victorian house, their souls held hostage by a demon child.

A Soul for a Soul by Rashmi P. Menon
A dark shadow has descended on Artemis’ beloved Olympus National Park. When the sinister shadow starts reaping the souls of the mortals visiting the Park, Artemis sets out on a quest with her hunting partner, Orion, and the God of Death, Thanatos. Racing against time, Artemis must unravel the mystery of the dark shadow and retrieve the lost souls before it consumes them forever.

Darkness Falls by Jennifer Morton
Something from another dimension is using Samhain to try to slip through the veil. Can Medusa stop the rising darkness before it consumes her and swallows the light forever?

The Weaver by Alice Callisto
Clio, the Muse of History, working on an archaeological dig in Egypt, is alerted to the sudden and unexplained disappearances of some mortal employees, along with strange echoing voices with no apparent source. Clio investigates, determined to stop these occurrences, but finds herself face-to-face with a monster.

A Piece of Cake by Amber Albright
Atë, Goddess of Mischief and Ruin, doesn’t believe in warning signs. So, the sign on the ancient ruin declaring “Dangers Contained Within” doesn’t concern her. She’s on a mission to cheer up her sister by baking her a cake. What she doesn’t expect? A demon appearing determined to drag her off to hell.

Mermaid’s Tale By Nikki Crump-Hansted
Nike is having one of those days. “Working here is easy,” he said. “We’ve never had any problems.” Well, Uncle Poseidon lied. Tending his newly remodeled bar and grill at The Mermaid’s Tale was supposed to be a breeze – until it’s not. Follow Nike in her what else could possibly go wrong adventure.

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: Immortal Fears Anthology


Review

*I received a copy of this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

Immortal Fears comprises twenty short scary stories featuring the Greek Gods and Goddesses in the modern day. Each faces battles against monsters, demons, and perhaps the most terrifying of all themselves.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this anthology collection. Each tale was terrifying and unique with its own twists and turns which made for compelling reading. I love stories showcasing the Greek Gods and Goddesses and Immortal Fears did not disappoint. It also high-lighted some of the lesser known gods which I really liked. The stories were fast paced and drew me from the beginning and I kept turning the page to see what happened next. I recommend Immortal Fears to horror and mythology fans.

Review: Blood on Poinsettia (Serial Investigations) by Rhiannon D’Averc

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blood on poinsettia sic1

Will and Ram have survived everything JM Coil could throw at them – and everything they could do to themselves.

But now, Serial Investigations London face their first Christmas apart in years. Will’s in rehab and Ram is stuck at home, wishing his favourite person in the world was by his side – and wondering how he can keep a roof over their heads with no money coming in.

Join the boys for a Christmas interlude in this novella, set between the events of Blood Sport and Blood Diamond. With no crimes or cases, get to know them – and their feelings for each other – a bit better before jumping back into the action.

Haven’t read Blood Sport yet? This book contains spoiler for books 1 – 5 in the Serial Investigations series. Make sure you catch up before you dive in!

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: Blood on Poinsettia (Serial Investigations) by Rhiannon D’Averc


Review

*I received a copy of this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 5 stars

After the events of Blood Sport, Will and Ram are now faced with being apart at Christmas. With both of them having acknowledged their feelings for the other, it is especially hard and despite the separation they try to find a way to let the other know that they are still thinking of them.

Blood on Poinsettia is a very sweet and touching novella set in the Serial Investigations universe. It focuses mainly on the fallout from Blood Sport. Whilst it does not include an investigation, it builds on the character development of Will and Ram as well as the relationship between them. The result is a very heart-warming and moving read. I just love these guys so much. They both have their own inner demons and struggles that they are doing their best to overcome, not just for themselves now but each other too.

I loved how the other was constantly in their thoughts and the ending was poignant and with hope for the future between them. If you enjoyed the Serial Investigations books then you will love this addition to the series!

Review: When The Gods War (A Kingdom Divided #2) by S.C. Stokes

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Drought, desperation, deliverance.

Yaneera is the youngest Empress in the history of Andara. With her land in turmoil, she must use her wit and cunning just to stay alive. Severe drought has brought with it famine, starvation and death. As her people waver on the verge of open rebellion, Yaneera must deliver them or perish at their hand.

Andara’s struggles have not gone unnoticed. Neighbouring kingdoms stand ready to deliver the killing blow.

As chaos erupts across the land a stranger appears in the Empress’ court. Preaching the presence of a new God, Mythos, the newcomer promises deliverance for Yaneera and her people.

Mythos power is not without price, and Yaneera soon finds herself facing a crisis of conscience. . .

Will she sell her soul to save her people?

Purchase: Amazon

Goodreads: When the Gods War 


Review

*I received a copy of this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 4 stars

Yaneera, the young Empress of Andara, faces a dilemma. With drought, starvation and death ravaging her Kingdom, she must choose between aligning herself with a stranger who brings promise of salvation or risk a rebellion of her own citizens. With neighbouring Kingdoms’ seeking to turn Andara’s crisis into their opportunity, no matter what Yaneera does war will be an inevitable outcome.

When The Gods War surprised me when I first started reading it. I expected it to pick up with the characters from book one but instead I was drawn into the struggles of Andara and its empress. The author’s world is incredibly in-depth and developed. A lot of time is taken to set each scene and explain the Kingdoms that have been created. I really felt for Yaneera and the crisis that she was facing. Her choices were impossible and all she really wanted was to do the best for her people.

As much as I enjoyed reading the second book from different perspectives, I was also happy to see more from Tristan, Syrion and Elaina. The latter two characters have their own storylines which unfold alongside the main theme of the novel. Both characters continue to develop and I look forward to reading more about them in future instalments of the series.

If you enjoy a rich, well-crafted fantasy novel with an interesting and complex array of characters then I recommend When the Gods War!