Below you can find my book reviews for what I read in November 2021.
I swear, this year is going by way too fast. It just feels like 2020 & 2021 are just the same year.
Anyway, as always, you can either scroll down to read all of the reviews, or go below the image and click the link of the book/genre that sounds most interesting to you. You’ll then jump straight to the review of that book.
You can jump straight to:
- The Rebels of Vanaheim: A Marvel Legends of Asgard Novel (Marvel Aconyte Novels) by Richard Lee Byers (Adult Dark Epic Fantasy/Sci-Fi)
- The Bone Wars (The Pirates of Montana #1) by Erin Evan (YA Contemporary Fantasy Thriller)
- Master Assassins (The Fire Sacraments #1) by Robert V.S. Redick (Adult Epic Adventure Fantasy)
Book reviews November 2021
The Rebels of Vanaheim: A Marvel Legends of Asgard Novel (Marvel Aconyte Novels) by Richard Lee Byers
Genre: Adult Dark Epic Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Pubdate: 21st of December
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In short: I really loved The Rebels of Vanaheim.
It’s high-suspence and action-packed, which I expected from Marvel. But what surprised me was the in-depth characterization. To me, this lifted the book from being enjoyable to being one of my favorite books this year.
Heimdall and his friend, Valkyrie Ushi, set out to Vanaheim to visit their families—Heimdall being excited to see his parents, while Ushi is much more reluctant to reconnect. However, they soon find themselves in the middle of an infestation of draugr—the living dead. In addition, Heimdall can feel the anti-Asgardian sentiment, along with a growing rebellion. To preserve the peace of the Realm Eternal, Heimdall and Ushi need to investigate both the infestation and the conspiracy, even if it pits them against their own kin.
As I said, it’s fast-paced, keeping you on your toes with some epic fighting almost from the very start. And it has a lot of action sequences throughout the book. Even though a lot of them involved fighting the draugr, they were still all different, with higher stakes each time.
That said, I can’t say the turns the story took were incredibly surprising. Of course, I didn’t anticipate exactly how the story would unfold, but from the moment some parts of the mystery was revealed, it became more or less clear how the story would end.
This didn’t really matter to me, though. The execution of the story was still great, and it read like a solid epic fantasy.
Also, I felt that adding the mystery to the story was a good choice. That way, the story wasn’t just great fighting and battles with the undead, but there were also clues and hints the reader could follow to find out what was going on.
As a fan of mystery myself, I enjoyed figuring out the riddle alongside the characters.
Speaking of which, I think the characterization in Rebels of Vanaheim was executed wonderfully.
Now, Heimdall is one of my favorite Marvel characters, so I might’ve been a bit biased on that account.
Still, I loved learning more about Heimdall, where he grew up, and what he did before he became the sentry at the rainbow bridge thingy. And the dynamic between him and Ushi was wonderful.
Heimdall, being the more compassionate and bookish one, and Ushi being the more pragmatic and level-headed of the two. I felt the story really gained a deeper level with the addition of the different familial backgrounds and relationships the two had with their parents.
In one word: amazing. It had great detail without being too much. Byers created a flourishing world with Vanaheim, disturbing monsters with the draugr, and a vast universe with his depiction of Ygdrassil and the other planets.
Before this book review of Rebels of Vanaheim becomes too long: it’s a wonderful read if you love some great action, a compelling mystery, some incredible characters, and amazing worldbuilding.
[And now for some additional disclaimers because it’s Marvel.]
#Marvel #MarvelEnt #Aconytebooks #review
About Marvel Entertainment Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media. For more information visit marvel.com. © 2020 MARVEL
The Bone Wars (The Pirates of Montana #1) by Erin Evan
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy Thriller
Pubdate: 22nd of March
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The Bone Wars both had some good moments and some downsides, in my opinion. While this may be a great book if you love dinosaurs and would love to learn more about them and the world of patheontology, it’s not a highly recommended read if you don’t.
Sixteen-year-old Molly Wilder is excited to start her summer internship in Montana, digging up fossils. By accident, Molly discovers a fossil that has a large wing structure, horned skull, and black bones. Nothing that has ever been seen before in dinosaurs. As such, neither her supervisor, Sarah, fossilhunter Derek Farnsworth, nor Dr. Sean Oliphant can place it.
But Molly knows what it is: a dragon.
Just how revolutionary this discovery is, becomes apparent when the BLM drops by and takes away all of their work. But are they really the BLM? And what are they trying to prevent to keep from the world? Are certain fossils truly worth killing for?
The story itself starts out a bit slow. It takes some time before Molly finds the fossil. But after that, the pace does pick up.
I did enjoy the hunt for clues, the mystery, and the puzzle. I’m always in for figuring out riddles.
The biggest let-down, for me, was the ending. The twist was just not quite believable. While I can see where the author had tried to set it up, it doesn’t come across strongly enough. The motivations just fell short, in my opinion.
In addition, the story was written in 1st person, from different character POVs. However, it was very difficult to distinguish between these POVs. It often took me half the page or more to figure out who the “I” was in this chapter.
The voices just weren’t quite distinctive enough, which leads to some confusion at the beginning of each chapter.
Molly is, as far as I could tell, the main character. I didn’t count, but I think most chapters were from her POV.
As it happens, I also had the most trouble identifying with her POV. While this might be because I’m an adult, not a teenager, I think it has more to do with her inconsistencies. She acts like a teenager, so that felt natural, but then she’s also often smarter, somehow, than the adults. And she’s not very respectful toward the adults most of the time, either. I found this difficult to believe, especially since she’s such a fan of Dr. Oliphant at first. And yet, she has no trouble talking back to him.
Additionally, she often, very conveniently, had a certain skill that was necessary. E.g., she was a fan of a certain author, knew a certain language, read a particular book… and so on. While I suppose this is possible, it felt more convenient because of the order the author chose to reveal this information. I think if Molly’s skills were set up a bit sooner instead of given at the moment of necessity or after, it would’ve felt more believable.
As for the other characters, I’m afraid I have to say I couldn’t quite identify with them either. I think the one who had the most personality was Dr. Oliphant. Likely because he has the largest ego of the group. So, he was the easiest to identify (although he wasn’t particularly a likable character).
So, as far as characters go, the book was somewhat of a let-down, for me.
The worldbuilding was a real strength of the book. I admit, the amount of detail was a bit much, for me, because I’m not that into dinosaurs. But, if you are, then I’m sure you’ll appreciate the information given in the book.
It was clear that there was a huge amount of research that went into it, and I love how the author tried to weave in the fantastical with reality. It made the story more believable that way.
And, even better, if you want to know more about the things you read in the book, the author gives plenty of resources at the end of the book.
To conclude this book review of The Bone Wars, I’d recommend the book if you really love dinosaurs, would love to learn more about them, and enjoy some mystery. Honestly, if dinosaurs aren’t really your thing, I don’t think you’ll enjoy this book as much. I did feel it had a not-so-satisfying twist ending, and I couldn’t quite connect with the characters.
Master Assassins (The Fire Sacraments #1) by Robert V.S. Redick
Genre: Adult Epic Adventure Fantasy
Not to sound like a broken record, but I also received a free copy of Master Assassins in exchange for an honest review.
And, to be honest, it did take me some time to get into the book. I had to get used to the writing (which is, apart form flashbacks, in present tense). But once I did, the story became difficult to put down.
Kandri Hinjuman and his half-brother Mektu were drafted into a horrific war led by a madwoman-Prophet. While Kandri is good at blending in, Mektu is hopelessly impulsive and erratic. Not to mention, certain that a demon is stalking him.
But all bets are off when holy blood is spilled, and Kandri and Mektu are taken for assassins. They must flee for their lives, to the one place where they can disappear: the sprawling desert known as the Land that Eats Men.
In a land with terrain as deadly as the monsters and human traffickers, the brothers find strange allies: an aging warlord, a desert nomad, and a lethal child-soldier. The Prophet’s death squads are on their heels, with warring armies, sandstorms, and evil spirits ahead of them. In addition, the group finds themselves in possession of a secret that could bring peace to the continent of Urrath. Or unthinkable carnage.
It’s quite a fast-paced story. Especially after the inciting incident happens, and Kandri and Mektu are forced to flee, there’s a constant threat looming. As a reader, you’re never quite sure what will happen, or what they will encounter.
So, almost the whole time I was reading it, I was on edge. That’s just great writing and great use of suspense.
And, while we are dealing with the immediate action, bits and pieces are also revealed throughout the story that elude to something much larger going on. You’re left to wonder what this is, and how everything will eventually come together.
We see everything from Kandri’s perspective, which means we’re biased in certain things. For instance, Kandri thinks his brother is crazy, so, we as readers think his brother is crazy (and he kinda is).
Kandri is an instantly likable character. Great at fighting, but hates to fight; stands up for innocent children; and has respect for women. And the way the author creates this connection to the character is very organic, through actions taken by Kandri.
The other characters in the story are a bit more of an enigma, simply because we don’t know as much about them as we do Kandri. Through flashbacks, we learn more about Mektu, and his relationship with Kandri—which is a complicated one.
For everyone else, we learn bits and pieces as we go along the journey. I especially loved Eshett, who is a true woman of mysteries.
Redick crafted an amazing world in Master Assassins. The feel of the world is somewhat Asian and Middle East inspired, I think. Redick uses just enough details to let us know how isolated the continent of Urrath truly is, and why. And how the surrounding continents feel about Urrath.
The different terrains described are rich in detail, as are the monsters. There’s enough mention of certain folklore, legends, and different cultures and languages that makes the world feel very real.
To sum up this book review: if you love epic fantasy stories with some high-quality prose and a masterfully crafted story, Master Assassins is the book for you.
Other Blog Posts
New On This Blog
Book Recommendations, Reviews & Bookish stuff on other blogs
- Since it’s still Fall (sorta), here’s a great list with some cozy Fall reads.
- Need some gift ideas? Here are some gifts you can get for the booklover in your life.
- For some NA romance fantasy in your life, check out this review of Kingdom of the Cursed.
- Have a book club? Then check out this discussion guide for The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
It's a Wrap!
I hope you enjoyed my book reviews for November 2021.
I hope it helps you choose your next read for December.
What I will be reading in December:
The sequel to Master Assassins, Sidewinders.
The Beholden, a new release for January.
And A Letter to Three Witches, also a new January release.
Since it’s the holidays, I hope I may have time to read some more books. We’ll see!
What books did you read in November? Any favorite?
And what are you going to read in December?
Let me know in the comments!