I feel like I’ve barely written any book reviews on the blog for ages. Feels like a bit of a struggle to engage that part of my brain lately, but I have still been reading lots, so you still get the pleasure of lots of reading updates instead 😀
Recently Finished: PRIEST OF BONES by Peter McLean
I’m a bit obsessed with Peter McLean’s War for the Rose Throne series at the mo and you might have seen me singing its praises on Twitter recently. It’s basically fantasy Peaky Blinders and if you’re anything like me then that’s all you need to know, but if not let me try and lure you in. The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety heads home with his Sergeant, Bloody Anne, at his side. But things have changed while he was away. His crime empire has been stolen and the people of Ellinburg have run out of food and hope and places to hide. Tomas sets out to reclaim what was his with help from Anne, his brother Jochan, and his new gang – the Pious Men. But he soon finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue and things get infinitely more complicated. As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the back-street taverns, brothels, and gambling dens of Ellinburg, it becomes clear the war is only just beginning.
Currently Reading: PRIEST OF LIES by Peter McLean
So yeah, Priest of Bones was just as gripping as it sounds and I literally opened up this next book as soon as I finished the first one and I’m loving it just as much. Tomas Piety is one of the most compelling characters I’ve read in a while. He’s a piece of shit really, just an awful human being, and yet someone who is very much a product of his world. As Christopher Buehlman very aptly put it in a Twitter convo we had about the books, he’s “a guy you’d want in jail in a better-ordered world, but who might just be the best order available in his”. Thinking I might have to recycle that quote for the review cos it captures the essence of this ruthless gang boss very well. I’m actually reading these books as part of my Wyrd & Wonder grimdark extravaganza that I keep talking about and, if you follow my regular reading updates over the next few months, you’ll def get more of a taster of some of the books I’ll be reviewing when it rolls round in May (I think it’s May, don’t quote me on that).
Next Read: ELRIC OF MELNIBONE by Michael Moorcock
So from that ‘classic’ cover, you can tell this is an older book. An older book that’s considered a foundational pillar of grimdark fantasy. Yep, all those morally grey characters and worlds where an act of heroism rarely goes unpunished didn’t originate with George R. R. Martin and A Game of Thrones. No sir, grimdark has a long and interesting history and I’m going right back to the tumultuous days of 1972 with Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné. Elric is the last emperor of the stagnating island civilisation of Melniboné and wields the cursed, soul-drinking sword known as Stormbringer. That’s really all I know about these books at this point but I’m very excited to really get stuck into the gritty history of grimdark and its development over the years. But jeez, I sure am glad cover art has come a long way since those dark days.
That’s today’s update folks. Let me know in the comments what you’re reading at the mo, I love to chat about the books we’ve all got our noses in. And if you enjoyed this update why not follow the blog for more reviews and bookish chat.