Review: Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle

Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle is the prequel to The Secret Texts trilogy, consisting of Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons and Courage of Falcons. It’s been a while since I read the trilogy, but I remember I enjoyed it, and Vincalis the Agitator had been on my TBR list for a while.


Two boys from very different backgrounds meet and become friends. Unbeknown to them, their friendship will change the very world they inhabit, which can be felt even 1000 years in the future. Their names? Wraith and Solander.  One is immune to magic, and one has the ambition to become the ruling authority on magic. Together they set forth to do good, but trigger something much bigger than themselves.


This book was an entertaining one; I was never forcing myself to read it, but there was something missing for me. Maybe it felt like that because the writing is a bit aloof, distant. Although we are always in the heads of the characters, good and bad, we aren’t in their hearts. We understand their feelings, but don’t feel their feelings. Still, it didn’t keep me from reading it.

Wraith and Solander are both compelling characters, and I like how Holly never forgets how they met and why Solander decides to let Wraith into his life. He has a use for him, and even when they forge their strong bond, that is always in the background. Solander is always studying Wraith, and Wraith lets him. Wraith has lofty dreams of freeing the Warreners, who are being kept as literal fuel for the magic of the Dragons. The ruling class of the Empire, to which Solander and egotistical Luercas both belong. Even when they were growing apart, I could still imagine them coming through for each other. And they did, in more ways than one.

Jess was….well…at first I disliked her infatuation with Wraith a lot. I mean, I never came around to her LOVE for him, but she did try, at least when she was older, to be a good friend to him. And I like that she had a period of growth, that she came to see his dream of saving the Warreners as not just a pipe dream, but a necessity. Velyn on the other hand, man. I liked her at first, but as soon as she showed more and more of her real self, I couldn’t help but want her to disappear of the stage. Not dying or something like that, because I did feel some empathy for her plight – suffering abuse in a marriage you can’t escape – but just going into hiding for all eternity or something. She got on my nerves the way she just kept blaming Wraith for all the bad things in her life when it’s literally all her own damn fault.

The Hars Empire was a good reflection of what would happen when society decides that comfort and security are more important than the lives of “undesirables”. To use not just innocent people’s bodies, but also their souls, to power magic to keep your subjects’ lives comfortable? It evoked the painful history of our world, in which certain peoples were seen as lesser, as subhuman, as not worthy of life itself. Hell, there are still people who believe that about others who don’t look, sound or think like them.

This prequel can be read as a standalone; you need no previous knowledge of The Secret Texts trilogy. But because I missed a certain spark, I don’t rate this book as highly as I might’ve otherwise. There were times where I almost didn’t dare read on, because I didn’t think there was going to be a good ending, but it kept calling me back. So it’s not a bad book. Just not as good as I hoped it would be. Either way, it was still an entertaining read.




Review: The Immortal Throne by Stella Gemmell

When I read The City by Stella Gemmell a couple of years ago, I thought it was a standalone. But it turned out there was a ‘sequel’ coming out in 2016, The Immortal Throne, and now I finally got to reading it.


The Immortal is dead, and there is a new Empress who rules over the still rebuilding City, while inside the Palace there are factions within factions, all with their own intentions and goals. The Empress Archange is besieged from multiple sides, and trusts no one. The soldiers of the City are splintered; who to follow now? The Empress who is making many changes she believes will benefit the City, or Marcellus, believed dead by many, who vowed to one day return and set things right? Each must choose a side. But the war is far from over for a barbarian army has amassed to kill every man, woman and child in the City.

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Review: Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont


Dancer’s Lament is the first novel in the Path to Ascendancy trilogy by Ian C. Esslemont.


The walled city of Li Heng has been protected for years by the mysterious Protectress while the minor city states surrounding the city have warred with each other. It is strong, and secure, and protected by not just the powerful sorceress, but also by a cabal of five strong mages. But now there’s war looming, and chaos. And two young men are poised to take advantage of that chaos.

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Review: Fall of Light by Steven Erikson


Fall of Light is the long-awaited sequel to the first book in The Kharkanas trilogy (which is a prequel to the Malazan Book of the Fallen series) by Steven Erikson. I couldn’t wait to read this book after devouring Forge of Darkness.


Civil war is now ravaging through Kurald Galain, and the Tiste are thrown into chaos, forced to choose sides in a war no one wants – or to reject both sides altogether. The three Purake brothers upon whom shoulders rest the duty of protecting Mother Dark and everyone under her rule are split. Anomander is looking for his grief-stricken and estranged brother Andarist, while Silchas Ruin is forced to rule in Anomander’s stead. And Urusander’s army is moving towards Kharkanas, to mete out what they believe is justice.

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Review: Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson


Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson is the first book of The Kharkanas Trilogy, a prequel to his The Malazan Book of the Fallen series.


Mother Darkness has been given the power of gods and it is the Age of Darkness in Kuruld Galain. But the land is in a perilous situation and things only get worse as ancient powers awake and new powers are found. The Tiste Andii find themselves on the brink of civil war and no one knows what is going on. Mother Dark’s Consort, Lord Draconus is reviled by many of the high-born lords and ladies, and they fling hate upon what they think is naked ambition. But they are all of them wrong. The world is about to change and there is nothing anyone can do about that. Continue reading

Review: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud


The Ring of Solomon is the last book in the Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud and the prequel to the trilogy.


Bartimaeus is enslaved by a dark magician who serves the great king Solomon in Jerusalem. He hates his service but knows there is nothing to be done. After all: Solomon has the Ring. And this Rings gives him great and terrible powers one can only dream of. If you were a magician, anyway. But then he saves a girl from Sheba, who changes his life in both good and bad ways. Continue reading