“intriguing fantasy” – review of The Empty Throne on Risingshadow

On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed The Empty Throne by David M. Allan. He starts by describing it as an “intriguing debut” because it’s “a high fantasy novel that contains elements of epic fantasy, adventure fantasy and portal fantasy” and is ideal for readers who like “fantastical and light escapism”.

Artwork: Tony Allcock

Seregil says David’s story “moves swiftly forward and the author keeps up a steady pace”. He adds that it “has a classic and traditional feel” which is rare nowadays, and admits to having a soft spot for this kind of fantasy and loves traditional fantasy fiction.

He says the world is described well, and much of the “fascination of this novel” comes from the author’s way of writing about how the characters protect the world. He says he was “surprised to find a coming of age tale in this novel, because I didn’t expect it” and was also intrigued to find out that romance is part of the storyline, which he enjoyed and which “lightened the story in a good way”.

He concludes by saying that The Empty Throne is “intriguing fantasy entertainment, because it combines action, adventure, magic and politics”.

His final verdict: It’s good and fun escapism for those who want to take a break from reality.

Read Seregil’s review on RisingShadow here.
 

“a refreshingly creative and entertaining story” – review on RisingShadow of Resurrection Men

On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Resurrection Men by David Craig. He starts by describing it as “a captivating and enjoyable reading experience” and goes on to say that it is “one of the most thrilling debut novels I’ve read in ages”.

Cover design and artwork by Alison Buck

In a long, positive review, Seregil says that he loves “dark and well written stories” and enjoyed David’s gradually unfolding, layered story. “What makes Resurrection Men special” he says, “is that it’s a fresh combination of historical urban fantasy and gothic historical fantasy with horror and mystery elements” with “an original take on supernatural elements”. He adds that he likes David’s “vision of the supernatural, because he takes his time to ground his story in reality before delving deeper into supernatural elements”.

He compliments the characterisation and the description of the setting, saying that the “complexity of the story is enhanced by the author’s attention to characters and details” with “fascinatingly flawed protagonists”. Seregil says that David’s depiction of Glasgow feels authentic, with places that actually exist in the city. “In his story, Glasgow comes to life as he tells of its people (the wealthy and the poor), streets, clubs and cemeteries in an atmospheric way. Glasgow is depicted as a vibrant city that has a dark and evil underbelly.”

He concludes by saying that David Craig is a talented new author, whose writing style is “satisfyingly fluent” and who “effortlessly spices up his dark story with bits and pieces of humour”. He is looking forward to reading the next instalment in the Sooty Feathers series, because he “liked this novel a lot and loved the ending”.

His verdict: Resurrection Men is “compelling and entertaining … it’s a highly enjoyable and impressive debut novel” and he ends by saying “Excellent entertainment!”

Read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadow here.

 

“captivating and well-crafted” – review of The Deep and Shining Dark on Risingshadow

On Risingshadow.net Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed The Deep and Shining Dark by Juliet Kemp, the first book in the Marek series. Describing it as a “strong debut novel from a talented new author” Seregil compliments Juliet on having produced an entertaining and well-written fantasy with “subtle complexity, good worldbuilding and fluent characterisation”, saying that it was “one of the most positive reading experiences I’ve had this year”.

Artwork: Tony Allcock

Admitting that he read it in one sitting because “The story immediately pulled me in and didn’t let go until I’d reached the end”, Seregil says that the story “flows effortlessly and becomes increasingly intriguing” as it “immerses readers into the story right alongside the protagonists and takes them on a fascinating journey” that is “filled with intrigue, politics and magic”. The characterisation is “interesting and realistic” because Juliet “pays attention to their lives, feelings, flaws and problems, making them as real as possible”. The worldbuilding is “effortless” presenting a vibrant vision of the citystate of Marek that is “believable”, paying attention to “cultural differences and … how the Houses maintain control”. The magic is “interesting”, the politics “intriguing” and “LGBTQ elements handled fluently”.

Seregil says that he is looking forward to reading the instalment in this series, because this is a “promising and strong start” that he enjoyed. He recommends The Deep and Shining Dark as “captivating and well-crafted” fantasy.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.

“fascinating time travel adventure” – review of Timekeepers on Risingshadow

Artwork by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Timekeepers by Dave Weaver, which he describes as “an entertaining combination of old-fashioned time travel adventure, modern storytelling and suspense”. Seregil says he is a fan of well written time travel fiction, and is happy to say that Timekeepers is “one of the best offerings to date”, very much in the same vein as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Successfully blending young adult fiction elements with adult fiction that works well because “the story is gripping and suspenseful”.


Seregil complimented Dave Weaver’s characterisation, believable vision of a Roman Britain, use of alternate history, time travel technology, artificial intelligence, and his deft handling of challenging themes and issues. He sums up with “a highly enjoyable, suspenseful and well written tale”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.

 

“well written escapism with plenty of magic” – Review of The Promised Lie on Risingshadow

Artwork by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Christopher Nuttall’s The Promised Lie, the first book of the Unwritten Words series.

Seregil starts his review of The Promised Lie by saying that he considers “Christopher Nuttall to be one of the best authors of entertaining epic fantasy for adult readers” who “has found his own voice and knows how to entertain his readers with good and exciting stories”. He goes on to compliment the characterisation “good and believable”, the worldbuilding “excellent”, and Christopher’s writing – he writes in an “effortless way” about politics, “writes well about magic and what can be achieved by using it” and “also writes well about religion and worshipping gods”. Seregil adds that there’s “something about the ancient magic and forces that is almost Lovecraftian in nature”. Overall he says it is a thrilling story and excellent entertainment, and finishes by saying that this is Christopher’s “strongest fantasy novel to date”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow.net here.

“this book should be on every fantasy reader’s reading list” – review of The Ghost in You on Risingshadow

Photographs and artwork: Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has recently reviewed Katrina Mountfort’s new novel The Ghost in You, describing it as “one of the best YA ghost stories I’ve ever read”. He goes on to say that, despite there being a rise in popularity of YA ghost stories from other authors, The Ghost in You feels like a breath of fresh air “because it’s more compelling and more realistic than many of them and the author writes good and fluent prose”.

Seregil says that one of the best things about the book is that it’s got “a lot of heart and soul”, and is “an unputdownable novel that immediately sinks its hooks into you and pulls you into the protagonist’s life”, admitting that he read it in one sitting because he really couldn’t put it down! The story “flows fluently and smoothly from start to finish, because Katrina Mountfort writes engagingly about Rowena and her ghostly existence”. He also commented on Katrina’s attention to detail, with a realistic vision of the afterlife, and that the “characterisation is good and believable” with the main character, Rowena, having an “original and powerful voice”. “Rowena’s first-person point of view is both fresh and engrossing”, says Seregil, and she is “an interesting and easily likeable protagonist”. The way that Katrina has written about the relationship between Rowena and Oliver, who is alive, is “sweet, realistic and touching” says Seregil, adding that he was amazed at “how easily she wrote about both of them and how they felt about each other, because nothing felt forced”. He says that there’s “something irresistible about the author’s writing style that will capture readers’ hearts”. She writes well about “sadness, anger, love, romance, confusion and acceptance in this novel”, and the story includes a nice amount of humour and popular culture references that enhance the atmosphere.

Seregil summarises his review by saying that The Ghost in You is a relatively fast read but insightful, Katrina “doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of her readers, but offers them a captivating and gripping story with depth”. He suggests that this book should be on every fantasy reader’s reading list because it’s gripping and well told, and says “No matter what you normally read, this novel will charm and entice you with its story”, concluding that it is “Excellent YA fantasy fiction!”

You can read Seregil’s review of The Ghost in You on Risingshadow.net here

 

“poignant and rewarding” – Risingshadow review of Cursed on the Prairies

Artwork: Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Cursed on the Prairies, the final volume in the Sacred Land Stories from Tanya Reimer. Seregil starts by commenting that Cursed on the Prairies brings the trans-generational story to a satisfyingly “poignant and rewarding ending”. He says that he “was impressed by the harrowing grittiness of the story arc. It’s great that the author avoids easy resolutions and delivers scenes that are not forced, but achingly realistic despite their occasionally fantastical and speculative nature. The author has a masterful control of elements related to past happenings, secrets and destinies, because she writes about them in a gripping way without preaching. This means a lot in the long run, because it creates a sense of realism that acts as an important counterbalance to the speculative fiction elements.” He continues by complimenting the quality of Tanya’s characterisations, story-telling and ability to tackle difficult subjects, “harsh realism”, in a way that does not feel artificial.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.

“excellent in every regard” – review of The Wages of Sin on Risingshadow

Cover: Alex StorerOn Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has recently reviewed The Wages of Sin by Zoë Sumra – the second book in her Underside series. Having enjoyed the first book Sailor to a Siren, Seregil was pleased that this book was “just as entertaining and epic”. In fact Seregil writes: “I’m glad to say that, in this novel, the author fulfills the promise that she showed in her debut novel and delivers a rewarding, satisfyingly complex and action-packed story that feels wonderfully fresh and exciting. I was positively surprised by it, because it exceeded all of my expectations.” Seregeil expands on this later: “Just like Sailor to a Siren, The Wages of Sin is a prime example of how to write compelling, fast-paced and gritty space opera for adult readers who want to be entertained by a good story. There aren’t any boring or stale moments in this novel, because the author makes sure that there’s always something going on to satisfy the needs of readers who enjoy action scenes.”

You can read the whole of Seregil’s review on Risingshadow here.

 

“excellent, fresh and wonderfully satirical science fiction” – review on Risinghadow of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There

Cover artwork: Hannah B. Farrell ARNS Cover on wall by permission of Travis MilesSeregil of Rhiminee recently reviewed Ira Nayman’s latest Multiverse novel The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There, the fifth book in the Multiverse (aka Transdimensional Authority) series. Seregil starts by writing “Ah, Ira Nayman has done it again!” and goes on to say that although this is the fifth book in the series “it is still as amusing, fresh and highly entertaining as the previous novels (to be totally honest, in certain ways this novel is even better than its predecessors).” Later Seregil writes that he finds Ira’s ability to parody popular culture absolutely brilliant and he was “once again amazed at his shameless way of writing genuinely funny and thought-provoking satire about TV series etc. Just like the previous novels, this novel has quite an amazing amount of references to popular culture, which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading it.” As he adds, “Virtually nobody and nothing is safe from his quirky humour and that’s an extremely good thing.” Seregil concludes his review with a plea to Ira: “More, please!”.

Read the whole of Seregil’s review on Risingshadow.net here.

 

“a well-told fantasy story that will intrigue adult and young adult readers alike” – review of Cold Fire on Risingshadow

Earlier this week Seregil of Rhiminee reviewed Cold Fire, the latest book from Peter R. Ellis (I would have mentioned it sooner but I’ve been laid up with flu for a few days). The book is the first of a series of standalone novels recounting the continuing adventures of September Weekes, the heroine of Peter’s Evil Above the Stars series.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Seregil starts by saying that it was a pleasure to read about September Weekes again because she’s an interesting and fascinating protagonist. He says that it is “just as good and interesting” as the Evil Above the Stars series, and points out that it is perfectly possible to read Cold Fire without having read the original series, adding that it is a suitable “entry point to the world of September Weekes” and although it has much “in common with the previous novels, it’s a whole new adventure and newcomers will be able to enjoy it”. He describes Cold Fire as “a well-told fantasy story that will intrigue adult and young adults readers alike” in which readers will find themselves immersed in the story as it unfolds.

Seregil compliments Peter’s good characterisation, and fluent writing. The “characters are resourceful and remind me a bit of the characters found in Enid Blyton’s novels” he says. He admits that even September’s nemesis, the Malevolence, has fascinated him since the beginning of the original trilogy – Peter has “created an ultimate evil entity, because it consumes everything it comes in contact with and leaves destruction in its wake”.

Seregil says that Cold Fire “combines elements of fantasy and science fiction in an entertaining way”, with Peter writing “intriguingly” about the alternative version of our world with creatures such as mermaids, unicorns and dragons (although they avoid men). Peter’s writing about the impact of human population growth on these other creatures and their ultimate fate has a “bittersweetness” says Seregil, revealing hidden wisdom beneath the story on the themes of extinction, indifference and fear of the unknown.

Seregil also enjoyed the descriptions of alchemy and how phosphorus and its qualities fascinated scientists. Peter manages to “convey the enthusiasm involved in the experiments to his readers in a splendid way”, which he thinks is a result of Peter’s background as a teacher “because you get a feeling that he knows what he is writing about”.

Summarising, Seregil says that what he likes most about Cold Fire and the previous trilogy is that they are intriguing and different. He is glad that the “Welsh elements – history, mythology, names etc – that readers have come to love in the previous novels can also be found in this novel. They’re an important part of the fascination and originality of the story, because they make this novel stand out among other fantasy novels.”

Seregil concludes by saying that Cold Fire is a “charming and delightfully old-fashioned yet intriguingly modern fantasy novel” that “combines the charm of classic fantasy books with modern storytelling in a successful way”.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.