Assail by Ian C. Esslemont

AssailI have to warn you before I start this review – I’m very biased towards anything Malazan. I’ve devoured every book by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont. Man, these guys can write. And I mean write. The depth of the universe they’ve created is nothing short of stunning. Assail is no exception.

For diehard fans of the Malazan books even the name of this one will send a shiver down your spine. Assail. A name whispered with fear throughout the Malazan series. A place which takes its name from the deadly elder race, the Forkrul Assail. Their appearances throughout the series have been fleeting but when they have turned up they’ve been terrifying. Add to this the culmination of the millennia-long war between the Jaghut and the un-dead T’lan Imass and the promise of finally discovering the secret of the immortal Crimson Guard and you know you’re in for one hell of a story.

As usual for one of the Malazan books, it’s often hard to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s not an easy read. Lose concentration and you’ll miss some vital plot point. There’ll also be passages of dialogue that will leave you scratching your head and wondering what the hell the characters are talking about. There will be references to other books that will have you wracking your brain to remember the plot. There will be a supporting cast so big you’ll find yourself forgetting who they are half the time.

But for all this, it’s still a gripping read that is sometimes shockingly brutal, heartwarmingly human, and awe-inspiringly epic. I loved it.

Told you I was biased.

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Dragon RiderThis is not a new book. It was published way back in 2001. I read (and loved) Cornelia’s Inkheart series so thought I’d give this a try. The story is about a young dragon who is trying to find a new home for his species before there’s is destroyed by humans. Along the way he gains friends and allies and has to defeat the dragons’ ancient enemy.

I didn’t like it – at first. I thought it was a little too simplistic, even for a children’s story. When one of the first characters I met was just called ‘Rat’, it kind of put me off. But I persevered and I’m glad I did. As you get to know the characters the story grabs you.  The characters are very individual and likeable. I especially liked Sorrel, a brownie. She’s bad-tempered, irritable but very loyal to her friends. There were some ingenious creations including a homunculus (a man-made puppet like creature) and a fat rat who flies an aeroplane (yes, you read that right) and an orphan boy who finds himself a new family.

All in all, this is a very good read and I’d recommend it for fantasy fans of all ages.

4 stars



Super fantasy and science fiction event!

5th Mar promo graphic Do you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription? Do you get your books from Kobo?

If so then I’d like to let you know about a fabulous double-promo that’s going on this weekend, March 5-6th.

A group of top fantasy and science-fiction writers have got together and will be offering their books for FREE on Kindle Unlimited and Kobo this weekend!

There are loads of titles to choose from so there is bound to be something that takes your fancy.

Head on over to the website below to bag yourself some fabulous freebies!