Review of Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu Written by Daniel

The Synoposis

In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai, but she’s never been able to do anything about it. This all changes when she goes out on the night of Beht Zha’ir, the holy night when all are forbidden from walking the streets. It’s the night that the asirim, the powerful yet wretched creatures that protect the Kings from all who would stand against them, wander the city and take tribute. It is then that one of the asirim, a pitiful creature who wears a golden crown, stops Çeda and whispers long forgotten words into her ear. Çeda has heard those words before, in a book left to her by her mother, and it is through that one peculiar link that she begins to find hidden riddles left by her mother.
As Çeda begins to unlock the mysteries of that fateful night, she realizes that the very origin of the asirim and the dark bargain the Kings made with the gods of the desert to secure them may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai. And yet the Kings are no fools-they’ve ruled the Shangazi for four hundred years for good reason, and they have not been idle. As Çeda digs into their past, and the Kings come closer and closer to unmasking her, Çeda must decide if she’s ready to face them once and for all.

My Review

Okay so here comes another epic fantasy. I know what your already thinking not another Game of Thrones rip off of dragons, swords, and wizards.  Well let me tell you if you think that, Twelve kings will challenge everything we hold dear within fantasy to a whole new level. From vivid fights scenes to the world in which it is set, the minute  you turn its first page you are transported to a world of multiple possibilities. From ruthless rebellions, to simply describing spices within the desert market you become fully engrossed in the magnitude of what Beaulieu has created.

Written from a number of different viewpoints which there are many, really enhances this book  giving the reader a chance to decide for themselves who they should trust and who they should be afraid of.

I know within Game of Thrones we have multiple viewpoints and surroundings, but this book takes them a step further diving deep into the dark spaces of each character’s mind. Whether that be Ceda’s thirst for revenge, or the complications of each king you always feel that you can’t predict what is coming next.

Our main protagonist  is a young girl called Ceda, who is bent on a path to avenge her mother’s death at the hands of the kings. Twelve powerful and sinister beings who rule  Sharakhai which Ceda calls home. We are given more information on each king their powers, what they can control, and how they came to gain their status as each chapter unfolds. This is what Ceda mother Ahya discovered secrets the kings want to keep buried.

The kings have ruled Sharakhai for centuries after making a deal with desert gods giving them full control over Sharakhai.  Enabling them over time to create a number of dynasties the most deadly of which being the blade maidens,  a group of fierce female warriors each one a daughter of the kings.

An extra lay to the plot which you rarely see within fantasy is a variety of flashbacks from Ceda’s past, giving the reader a vivid picture into how Ceda that is presented to us today was formed. They never seem out-of-place or interrupt the story helping broaden our understanding behind why Ceda is this strong-willed woman. Why she probably my favourite character in all of fantasy, is because she is that girl who goes into a bar walks straight up to the biggest and baddest guy in there smacks him straight in his face, smiles, and walks away. Beaulieu has been able to create such a strong female protagonist that male characters seem to pale in comparison. Now some might say this is a weakness within the plot, but for me it was just superb. I am so sick of reading fantasies where female characters are abused, disrespected, or have to be protected by a male. This was a refreshing change from the norm and quite simply I loved it Ceda is badass.

There are many threads to the story which help built it into a detailed and fast-moving plot, from the resistance of the moonless host a rogue group of outlaws who seek to challenge the kings, which as chapters develop begins to cause problems between Ceda and her best friend Emre who she has lived with since she was a young girl, for as the secrets between them grow their whole friendship is put at risk and could destroy them forever.

A further subplot which I loved was a set of poems left to Ceda by her mother giving clues to what secrets the kings had buried. These poems are beautifully written each one making you want to discover their meaning.

So in conclusion why should you read Twelve kings. Well if you want complex characters with well fleshed out histories, relationships that will make you question everything you thought you knew, and keep you reading till the early hours of the morning. However on the other hand a story with a dark streak running throughout. Then all I can say to you is buckle up because you are about to be taken on one hell of a ride.

Return to the desert on 7th February 2017 in book 2 With Blood Upon the Sand. To continue this epic tale and find out what happens to Ceda and the gang next.

Tell me what you like about Twelve kings? it could be anything from the world, Ceda fighting skills, or the kings themselves let me know in the comments thank you.

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Review of Waves by Jared A Carnie Written by Daniel

Waves is the debut novel from British author Jared A Carnie. It is a book I have read a couple of times. The story is centred around a young man called Alex. He is in that stage of life that we have all experienced where we feel everyone around us is having a better time than we are, and we begin to question why ours is not the same.

The opening chapter brings us into his life, a job he hates, still living with his parents, and a relationship on the rocks with his girlfriend called Kim. When his life is turned upside down he calls his long suffering friend James, who I have to say is my favourite character in the whole book. Yes  I can hear you ask why is this, well to be honest he just reminds me of that mate we all have who you know if you ever need them they will be there for you no matter what. So when Alex calls him asking if he can visit him at university in Bristol. He instead invites him on a road trip to his parents house in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.

This takes the reader on a journey of self discovery for both Alex and yourself asking you to look at your own life. Asking you are you just settling because you are comfortable or whether you should take a leap of faith and change your life to the way you want it. As the book continues you find Alex put in situations where he really begins to question his current status within life. Whether this is James giving him some home truths, or from having conversations with Isobel a girl he meets along his journey.

Another aspect of the book that for me is a character in it own right, is the incredible scenery and surroundings that are described in breathtaking detail from the castle grounds in Stornoway, to the sea itself which as the story develops seems to gain a voice speaking to Alex drawing him in. Giving him both a sense of calm, but at the same time making both Alex and you as the reader realise how small we really are in the grand scheme of the world.

For me this book was a story of hope, about how no matter what is happening in our lives. There is always a way out, and like the book says there’s no set route after all. No straight road. No one path. For me this book is for anyone who has wanted to escape, wanted to forget their problems, and wanted to start again.

Now if your looking for blood, guts and dramatic twists, then this book is not for you, but if your looking for a book that you can curl up with on a Sunday morning with a bacon sandwich in one hand, and a black coffee in the other, as howling winds batter your windows and pull you into a world where you can hear the waves pounding in your ears, and taste the salt in the air, but also get you to think as the pages fall away then you couldn’t go further then waves a delightful 220 paged adventure.

If you read this novel which aspects did you enjoy? Let me know and please give feedback on whether you enjoyed this review or what you like to see improved thank you.

 

 

 

Review of American Gods By Neil Gaiman Written by Daniel

This multi award winning masterpiece will have you begging for more and throwing the book at the wall all at the same time. It comes from the creator of Sandman, The graveyard book, and Stardust Neil Gaiman. In the first few pages we are introduced to Shadow Moon, a convict who released from prison three days early after discovering his wife has been killed in an horrific car accident.

Everything appears normal until a chance encounter with the mysterious Mr Wednesday  on the plane ride home, who appears to know everything about Shadows life and wants to offer him a job. This is where it gets interesting taking Shadow on a road trip across America exploring it’s very soul. As the story develops you are drawn into a world where nothing is as it seems, Shadow finds himself mixing with old gods and new with Wednesday turning out to be Odin. This is where we find out Shadow has been hired to help protect Wednesday, as a war slowly begins to appear on the horizon  between the old gods and the new which are high on power and their own importance.

The new gods include media, techno boy, and the god of cars which is believed to be the new objects of worship for most Americans referring to computers, Cars, and TV.  Shadow finding himself torn between these realities begins to have versions and encounters with his dead wife Laura discussing how she died and how he will want her there at the end.

The characters are beautifully constructed, each one given their own voice adding to the many subplots which keep you guessing all the way through. As you try to discover who is a friend and who is a foe, one of the the most memorable being Mr Nancy who in fact turns out to be Anansi the African trickster god. This book is a combination of the old myths and legends which we all love, and a new set of stories, set against this backdrop of American ideals which makes for a hell of a ride. if you like gods, war, and sometimes simply just plain weird than this is a book for you.

Who is your favourite character In American gods and why? let me know in the comments