Review: Ocean Gods, Roman Blades

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Ocean Gods, Roman Blades by Andrew Knighton

Ancient history meets epic fantasy in an action packed novella of war, magic and one man’s struggle to find himself.

Varus is the fiercest soldier in the Roman legion, and the most undisciplined. Fighting Thracian pirates on the high seas, he faces attacks not just from spears and arrows, but from divine magic. With the enemy closing in, Varus faces a desperate battle for survival, made worse by his own divided instincts. Will Roman blades be strong enough to survive against ocean gods?

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Ocean Gods, Roman Blades on Goodreads


Review

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

Rating: 4 stars

Ocean Gods, Roman Blades is a historical fantasy novella depicting the life and battles of the legionnaire Varus. Unlike many of his comrades, Varus has a bloodlust that enables him to kill many of his enemies, but also causes him to make mistakes that could one day cost him not just his own life but the lives of his fellow warriors as well. As well as telling the story of his squad’s battle against the Thracian pirates, this novella shows how Varus grows as a warrior and a person.

I really enjoyed this action-packed tale. Clearly the author has taken a great deal of time in his research to ensure as much historical accuracy as possible. Varus’s character developed nicely as the story progressed and the style and quality of the writing was such that you feel quickly immersed in the middle of the action. My only feeling was perhaps the ending occurred a little too abruptly. It is left open for a sequel though which I would look forward to reading.

Review: Mercy’s Prisoner (Life Prison Volume 1)

Mercy's Prisoner

Mercy’s Prisoner (Life Prison Volume 1) by Dusk Peterson

“‘You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'”

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men’s worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.

A runner-up in the Rainbow Awards 2014, the book bundle “Mercy’s Prisoner” can be read on its own or as the first volume in the Life Prison series. Friendship, desire between men, and the costs of corruption and integrity are examined in this multicultural speculative fiction series, which is inspired by prison life at the end of the nineteenth century.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Mercy’s Prisoner on Goodreads


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

Rating: 3 Stars

Mercy’s Prisoner (Life Prison Volume 1) is set inside a 1800s prison called Mercy. It is a life prison and those who are sent there have committed the worst crimes imaginable. They will die in prison; escape is impossible and they will never be freed.

Mercy’s Prisoner is a dark read. The prisoners have committed horrific crimes (such as child murder) and due to this the guards feel it gives them the right to treat them appallingly (they beat and rape them on a regular basis).  This raises some interesting questions in terms of morals; yes the prisoners have done truly terrible things, but does this give their guards the right to treat them terribly in turn?

It’s clear that the author has done their research and has cleverly woven this into an atmospheric and gritty read.

The novel consists of several interlinking stories. The first of which I really enjoyed, but after that I found myself getting lost. By the end I was struggling to understand how the stories all fitted together. However, this is Volume 1 so the ambiguous ending is most likely intentional and will be further explained in later novels.

Overall I did enjoy reading Mercy’s Prisoner. It’s a dark novel with plenty of atmosphere and I would very much like to read later volumes in the series.