Tag archives for HarperVoyager

Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist – Rage of a Demon King

raymondefeist-rageofademonkingA loyal soldier and a wealthy merchant have served bravely in the flames of an enduring war that is ravaging their land. But swords, bows, wits and courage will no longer be enough to defeat the scourge that is descending upon their home. For a foul and terrible thing has escaped from a world already devoured to feed on one consumed by chaos—an insatiable nightmare creature of dark and murderous nature which seeks to own and corrupt the very source of life itself

The final conflict is joined, pitting serpent against man and magician against demon. For those who battle in the cause of good, there will be victory . . . or there will be doom for all.

There can be no other outcome.

Rage of a Demon King is the third in the Serpentwar Saga and the penultimate book in that series. As such it might be surprising that the great and final battle takes place in this book and not the next one. In fact it surprised me all over again, despite this being my seventh time reading the book. It does explain why I keep switching Rage of a Demon King and Shards of a Broken Crown around whenever I’m making lists or schedules. And it also made me realise how much ten years away from these books and having pregnancy brain twice in that decade has caused me to forget about the Midkemia books, far more than I’d have thought. Good thing I’m doing a reread then, I reckon!  Continue reading »

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Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist – Rise of a Merchant Prince

raymondefeist-riseofamerchantprinceRoo Avery, recently returned from a harrowing brush with the armies of the Emerald Queen, is now free to choose his own destiny and his ultimate ambition is to become one of the richest and most powerful merchants in Midkemia.

But nothing can prepare him for the dangers of the new life he has chosen where the repayment of a debt can be as deadly as a knife in the shadows. Even those closest to him are suspect and as Roo struggles to build his financial empire, betrayal is always close at hand. His instinctive cunning will serve him well, but he will soon realise that the road to success is far from smooth.

And while Roo works towards achieving his goal, the memory of the distant forces of darkness is never far away. For the war with the Emerald Queen is far from over and the inevitable confrontation will pose the biggest threat yet to his new found wealth and power.

Rise of a Merchant Prince was one of the books I was most looking forward to rereading for my Midkemia Reread as I adore Roo. And while it was still an entertaining read, my enjoyment of the book was somewhat affected by changes in how I look at the world. Or rather, some of Roo’s actions bothered me far more than they’ve ever done. Still, I really enjoyed the economic aspects of this novel and any scene Erik was in and, in the end, Rise of the Merchant Prince remains quite entertaining.  Continue reading »

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Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist – Shadow of a Dark Queen

raymondefeist-shadowofadarkqueenSomething dark is moving in distant nations, and ancient powers are readying themselves for a final confrontation. A Dark Queen has raised a standard in remote lands and is gathering armies of unmatched might.

Into this battleground of good and evil come a band of desperate men whose only hope for survival is to travel to face this ancient power and discover its true nature. Their quest is at best dangerous and at worst is suicidal.

And with these men travels the mysterious Miranda upon whom all must wager their lives. She appears to be an ally but knows much more than she is willing to tell. Does she have a hidden agenda of her own? And will she prove ally or even more deadly foe when the final confrontation is at hand?

Shadow of a Dark Queen is the first book in the Serpentwar Saga and takes place decades after the events described in the previous books of the Riftwar Cycle. It features an all new cast – and some returning heroes, but with the exception of two of them, they only have limited page time – and an all new conflict, even if it has its roots in the same foe as the previous one. Shadow of a Dark Queen introduces two of my favourite characters of the entire Riftwar Cycle and also features a third, so I was looking forward to reading it again. And this reread didn’t disappoint, even if I had iissues with the (lack of) representation of women in this book. It’s still an exciting story exploring new ground on the world of Midkemia and setting up for an epic conflict.  Continue reading »

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Anticipated Reads (Winter-Spring) 2014

2014In the past two and a half weeks I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Winter/Spring 2014 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Tom Pollock’s final book in The Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets, Douglas Hulick’s long-awaited second book Sworn in Steel and Stephanie Saulter’s Binary, the second book in her ®Evolution series. I also left off repeat offenders who also made the list last time, such as Mark Alder’s Son of the Morning. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?   Continue reading »

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Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: Fantasy April-June

2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts; this is the second half of the lists. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!   Continue reading »

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Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts – Mistress of the Empire

feistwurts-mistressoftheempireDaughter of the Empire began the epic saga of Mara of the Acoma, illustrating her meteoric rise to power in the Machiavellian intrigues of the Tsurani court. Servant of the Empire continued that tale as Mara, Ruling Lady of her house, established herself as a skilful player in the game of the Council.

Now Mara faces not only the brotherhood of assassins, and the cunning spies of the rival ruling houses, but the awesome Assembly of Magicians, who see her as the ultimate threat to their ancient power.

Mistress of the Empire is the concluding volume in the Empire trilogy. It is a wonderfully satisfying ending to a fantastic story and one of the best fantasy series out there. It takes Mara to the height of power, but also the depth of despair and brought me to tears on several occasions. Discussing the book will of necessity provide spoilers for the previous two books, though I will strive to keep them to a minimum.  Continue reading »

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Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts – Servant of the Empire

feistwurts-servantoftheempirePLAY THE GAME. Mara of the Acoma, Ruling Lady of her house, is a force to be reckoned with when playing the bloody politics of the Game of the Council.

She’s made great gains for her followers within the Empire, including valuable new lands. But they need cultivating, and slaves are in short supply due to the incessant war effort against Midkemia.

PLAY TO WIN. Mara knows you don’t get far without taking a gamble, so against advice she buys a group of Midkemian prisoners-of-war, only to discover that one of them is a noble: Kevin, third son of the Baron of Zun. When she interviews him, it becomes apparent that he may be of great use in the Game of the Council…

Enter the mysterious world of Kelewan, where murder is as rife as false diplomacy. Enter a world of sweeping imagination and magical intrigue from of the greatest writers of modern fantasy.

Servant of the Empire is book two in the fabulous Empire series. In it we get back to Mara’s story, but this time there is an important new player in the form of a Midkemian slave called Kevin. This book made me realise how strange a reread experience of a beloved book can be, as I found myself avoiding the book as I got nearer to a major confrontation at about a quarter of the book into the story, because I remembered something awful happening to a character I really love, but not remembering whether he died or was just severely-wounded, and I was reluctant to get to that point in case it was the former. It’s the first time I’ve consciously experienced this and it was pretty weird!   Continue reading »

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Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts – Daughter of the Empire

feistwurts-daughteroftheempireThe mysterious world of Kelewan is encircled by magic, mystery and murder. Here at the heart of the Tsurani Empire, Mara, Ruling Lady of the Acoma, leads her people through terror and peril on a truly epic scale. She must contend with powerful rival houses, strike deals with sinister rebel warriors, and forge a treaty with the enigmatic Cho-ja – a race of alien insectoids. But in order to restore the honour of her house, Mara must marry the son of a deadly enemy – and carry the struggle of her people into the heart of his stronghold …

Daughter of the Empire is the first book in the Empire trilogy, which is the first trilogy in the Midkemia setting Feist co-wrote. Together with Janny Wurts, he created an amazing story chronicling the life and times of Mara of the Acoma. These three books are some of my favourites of the entire Riftwar Cycle – together with Rise of a Merchant Prince, because how can you not love Roo? – and it’s been a pleasure to return to them. Contrary to the books we’ve read so far, Daughter of the Empire is set completely on Kelewan and we spend our time immersed in Tsurani culture. It makes for a fascinating read starring a wonderful protagonist.   Continue reading »

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Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist – The King’s Buccaneer

raymondefeist-thekingsbuccaneerNicholas, third son of Prince Arutha of Krondor, is a bright and gifted youngster, but sheltered by the restrictive life of his father’s court. To learn more of the world outside the palace walls, Nicholas and his squire, Harry, set sail for pastoral Crydee. Thus begins an adventure that will place the fate of his nation on his unsure shoulders.

Shortly after their arrival, Crydee is brutally attacked by unknown forces. The castle is reduced to ruins, the townspeople slaughtered and two young noblewomen – friends of Nicholas – abducted. More than a simple raid for slaves, the invaders serve dark forces intent upon the wholesale destruction of the Kingdom of the Isles.

As brother to the future King, Nicholas must undertake a long and dangerous journey. And as he ventures further from the familiar landmarks of his home, Nicholas learns that more than the fate of two girls is at stake, even more than the fate of the Kingdom, for behind the murderous pirates stands a force that menaces the entire world of Midkemia, and he is destined to confront this terrifying threat.

The King’s Buccaneer, the fifth book in the Riftwar Cycle, is another largely standalone story. Having read the previous books definitely enriches the experience, but it can certainly be read on its own. I have a soft spot for Nicholas, the protagonist of this book. His overwhelming need to be good enough, to get his father’s approval, was something I strongly identified as a teen when I first read the book and my sympathy for Nicky has never left me, even if like Nicky, I mostly grew out of having to have my father’s approval to feel I was a good person. Add to that the fact that they pretend to be pirates in the story and how could I not like it?    Continue reading »

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Midkemia Reread: Raymond E. Feist – Prince of the Blood

raymondefeist-princeofthebloodSet twenty years after the events in The Riftwar Saga, Prince of the Blood follows the intrigues and adventures that erupt when a group of powerful nobles attempt to overthrow the Empress of Kesh, bitterly dividing the court. In the centre of the conflict are the two princes of Krondor, Borric and Erlund. When Borric escapes and makes a desperate journey back to the court to warn of the traitors’ plan – which, if they were to succeed, would start a war that would tear the Empire apart.

Welcome back to the Midkemia reread. This week it’s time to take a look at Prince of the Blood, the first of two stand-alone novels, which Feist wrote after finishing the Riftwar Saga. In my memory of it Prince of the Blood was one of my favourite books in the entire Riftwar Cycle, as I loved the intrigue and adventure of the story. And while I still massively enjoyed Prince of the Blood, held to today’s standards there are some serious problems in its portrayal of the Keshian royal ladies. So even if this book hasn’t been visited by the Suck Fairy per se, she did bring some of her friends and that’s sad.    Continue reading »

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