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Book review: Red Sister #1 Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In some few children the old-bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect….A blood-stained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of far worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose…Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way…

A synopsis like that is enough to pique any fantasy reader worth a dime. And me, I have been bought and sold for much less. I will admit I am that cheap. Don’t judge me. It’s that itch, that allure for the impossible, that respect for worldbuilding that sets everything we know and take for granted on its head. I know I am a tad late for Red Sister, but as they say, the race is not for the swift…

Our little scrawny heroine is Nona-something before she’s Nona Reeve, and later Nona Grey. The changing surnames are the least of your worries. What she is deep down is simply a lonely, friendless child looking to bond with anybody who would give her a sliver of attention. That’s more than her mom ever gave her. What she is, is something that had me hooked to Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister in a bid to unravel this secret of secrets Nona keeps close to her chest like invisible talons…

Continue reading “Book review: Red Sister #1 Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence”

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Announcing the Judging Panels for the 2018 Writivism Prizes!

Something nice to look forward to.

Writivism

We are pleased to announce the six judges for the 2018 short story and creative non-fiction prizes.

The short story prize panel will be chaired by Shadreck Chikoti, a writer, publisher and representative of the Story Club of Malawi, who are sponsoring the prize. Chikoti will be joined by Beatrice Lamwaka, an award-winning Ugandan short story writer and Emmanuel Sigauke, a writer, editor, and longstanding member of the Writivism Council of advisors.

The Koffi Addo prize for creative non-fiction panel will be chaired by Akwaeke Emezi, a novelist and memoirist. She will be joined by Daniel Kalinaki, a journalist, biographer and General Manager- Editorial of Nation Media Group (Uganda) and Sumayya Lee, a novelist, editor and longstanding member of the Writivism Council of advisors. The prize is sponsored by the Koffi Addo family, through MAKEDA.  

The six judges represent a diversity of backgrounds and the high standards that the…

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Book Review: Draekora #3 Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni

Draekora (The Medoran Chronicles, #3)Draekora by Lynette Noni

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So this review might or might not have spoilers, so you might or might have to go ahead with it, unless you already have an inkling as to what is going down. So there! Spoiler Alert!!

First Act:

Here be Dragons! Or Draekora, if the title and the cover art wasn’t already a dead giveaway. More on that later.

So, let’s do a quick recap. We have regular people from Earth. Call them Freyans. We got Alternate Earthlings, like Alex’s friends Bear, Jordan, DC and the whole Akarnae crew. They got giftings, aka superpowers aka magic. Some of them, at least. Call them Medorans. You got Medoran Elves. Don’t call them that. They find it offensive. Rather, call them Meyarins. You got creepy Shadow Walkers and Deadly Sarnaph, the bane of Meyarin existence among other weird creatures. You got yourself a talking, sentient, time-warping Library, and the aptly named Lady Mystique, whoever she might be. What else….hmm…that about sums it up. This is no doubt a setting up of fantastical leaning. Continue reading “Book Review: Draekora #3 Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni”

Book review: Raelia #2 Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni

Raelia (The Medoran Chronicles, #2)Raelia by Lynette Noni

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Without any preamble, Raelia picks off where we stopped in Akarnae. I appreciate the fact that Lynette Noni doesn’t waste her breath on lengthy recaps as many current writers are wont to do in series.

The relatively decent climax in Akarnae corresponds with our hero Alex’s conclusion of her 3rd year level spruced up academics at Akarnae, a school for magically inclined students in Medora. Medora is an alternate universe from Freya aka Earth as we know it.

Surviving Aven’s attack on her person and her soon to be bestie, D.C or Dix, Alex does the impossible and breaks the Elfish Meyarin’s magical hold on her, something unprecedented as far as we can tell. This scene alters Alex in more subtle ways than the silver scars she bears in her palm and back from her ordeal, as we find out in Raelia. Continue reading “Book review: Raelia #2 Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni”

Book review: Akarnae, The Medoran Chronicles #1 by Lynette Noni

Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles, #1)Akarnae by Lynette Noni

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Akarnae is a fantastical tale that goes by the rote for the most part. A debut novel by Lynette Noni. Call it a poor man’s Harry Potter, where he’s a girl, out of reach of his parents, thrust into a whole new magical world from the Muggle Mundania of Privet Drive. True to the Harry Potter script, you’ll come across Noni’s version of Ronnie Weasley and Hermione Granger (Bear and Jordan, albeit with the roles switched). You got yourself a Voldemort-calibre supervillain (Aven), a whimsical all-knowing Dumbledore (Head Master Marselle). You got your slave master Snape (Karter). As someone who kept a copy of A Philosopher’s Stone with me as my own security blanket wherever I went, I can go on and on with similarities which don’t end here. But this is where I’ll stop. I believe I got my point across.

This likeness to Harry Potter isn’t coincidental. Neither is it a turnoff as such. J.K Rowling’s superb book series is one of the most influential the world over and it’s largely shaped how many authors plot out and write fantasy. Continue reading “Book review: Akarnae, The Medoran Chronicles #1 by Lynette Noni”

Book Review: The Core, The Demon Cycle #5 by Peter Brett

The Core (The Demon Cycle, #5)The Core by Peter V. Brett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Believe or not, but I have been reading The Demon Cycle for the better part of a decade. The intermittent wait as Peter Brett penned the next volumes in the series was the worst. I literally stalked the guy for crying out loud, checking daily to see if something new had hit the shelves. For this reason, I am glad The Core wraps things up.

I have always found it hard to review The Demon Cycle, mostly because a bizarre transition (In my opinion) between chapters mars Brett’s first-rate plot and writing style. Brett’s fluidity obviously gets much much better the more he writes. I gave the last two books in the series 5 stars in appreciation for this reason. Continue reading “Book Review: The Core, The Demon Cycle #5 by Peter Brett”

Book Review: The Pillars of Creation #7 Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

The Pillars of Creation (Sword of Truth, #7)The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Book summary in one word: Incredulous.

If you told me that Terry Goodkind, being the good, kind guy that he is, let his hormonal 14-year-old nephew take the lead in writing this book, I’d believe you! Yeah, it’s that bad! And I am not saying this with malice, you’d have to read it to believe it.

Richard and Kahlan are reunited, but with an army occupying their homeland, they must venture into a desolate land. But their quest turns to terror when they become the hopeless prey of a tireless hunter. Bah! This book synopsis just won’t do the book any justice. Our two heroes, the premise under which we embarked on this volume, at best simply make a cameo appearance at the end, before they get overpowered and captured like novices.

Onto the next one: What wags its tail like a dog and excitedly follows you around like a dog? A goat of course! (Don’t argue!) Who acts all knowing and insanely intelligent in strategy much like a dream walker we knew in past volumes only to act impotent and dumb as fuck in Pillars of Creation? Jagang of course. (Believe it!) Continue reading “Book Review: The Pillars of Creation #7 Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind”

Book Review: Faith of the Fallen #6, Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

Faith of the Fallen (Sword of Truth, #6)Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Your life is yours alone, rise up and live it.”

The quote above is perhaps at the heart of this incredible tale. After the depressing ending in Soul of the Fire (which I didn’t like as much), Kahlan is hanging onto her life by a thread, having been beaten to within an inch of her life by the thugs in Anderith. Richard, being Richard, the humble woods guide, and not the all-powerful Lord Rahl, Emperor of D’Hara and the Midlands, takes Kahlan to the only place he believes she can be safe; back home to Hartland. Cara, Richard’s invaluable Mordsith, and personal friend tags along, as only wild horses would keep her away from him.

You might ask why can’t Richard just tap into his awesome one-of-a-kind War Wizard Additive and Subtractive magic and heal Kahlan? Well, the sorceress who initially tracked Kahlan at the behest of Dalton Campbell, placed a nasty magic trap for anybody who attempts to heal Kahlan through magical means. Painful as it was for Richard, he is forced to let Kahlan heal at her own pace. Continue reading “Book Review: Faith of the Fallen #6, Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind”

Soul of the Fire: Sword of Truth #5 by Terry Goodkind

Soul of the Fire (Sword of Truth, #5)Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sigh! Soul of the Fire was definitely an awkward read. The plot arcs just didn’t mesh well as you’d expect. Of the main arcs, the Anderith plot was the mostly terribly executed, while the Emperor Jagang/Prelate Annalina was for all intents and purposes, a stub. The arcs are not evenly developed or spaced and that’s as annoying as it sounds.
The author went all out describing Anderith, offputtingly so. Another death by over description. Before Soul of the Fire, I had no idea so many meats could be served at a single ceremony. Continue reading “Soul of the Fire: Sword of Truth #5 by Terry Goodkind”

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