Reviews and Comments

Michael Haider

AeroEagle@wyrms.de

Joined 1 year, 4 months ago

Just another IT guy in the financial services industry, living in Connecticut, USA. I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy mostly, but will give just about anything a try.

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Élan Marché, Christopher Warman: Seasons of Albadone (2020, Independently Published) 5 stars

Four seasons. Four stories. An aspiring enchantress searches for a way to lift a terrible …

My Review of Seasons of Albadone

5 stars

It's a relatively short book, coming in at just under 200 pages, but packed into it is an elaborate setting, a number of interesting characters, and a lot of intrigue. I had been reading a lot of books in the 500–700-page range, so a quick, but great read like this was a welcome reprieve.

This book was a ton of fun to read. I'm looking forward to checking out the second book in The Eighth Chant series, A Contract in Sol Forne. It's over double the size of Seasons of Albadone, so it will be interesting to see what the authors can do with the expanded page count.

Chelsea Fagan: A Perfect Vintage (Paperback, 2023, Orsay Press) 5 stars

OLD MONEY. YOUNGER MEN. ONE INTOXICATING SUMMER.

Lea Mortimer has everything under control. As a …

My Review of A Perfect Vintage

5 stars

This book ruined my sleep schedule.

I picked this up shortly after receiving the email that it was available for me to read and couldn't help but read it whenever I had free time. I was able to cut myself off at midnight the first night, but the second night I was up until 2AM because I just HAD to see how the story wrapped up.

Part of me is disappointed that I didn't read it while next to a body of water with a cold drink nearby, because A Perfect Vintage makes for the perfect summer read. The setting is magical, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if a number of readers book trips to France after finishing this. It's a story packed with romance, betrayal, a dizzying amount of family drama, and so much more. I was surprised at the number of characters in the book, but …

H. M. Long: Barrow of Winter (2023, Titan Books Limited) 5 stars

Thrilling epic fantasy adventures set in the world of HALL OF SMOKE and TEMPLE OF …

My Review of Barrow of Winter

5 stars

Having loved the original duology, I started this book excited to continue the series, but quickly found myself missing the familiarity of Hessa and the characters in her orbit. There was nothing wrong with Thray or any of the characters introduced with her, but I started Barrow of Winter coming off of the high of the previous two books in the The Four Pillars series, and there was definitely an adjustment period. Once I remembered that change is good, I quickly found myself immersed in Thray's journey for answers. I loved the many callbacks to the first two books, and how those characters and events were woven into Barrow of Winter.

Thray is a woman being pulled in different directions by the two sides of her that make her who she is. There's the Eangen side that she's lived among all of her life, and then the Winterborn, who show …

Sarah J. Maas: The Assassin’s Blade (EBook, 2014, Bloomsbury Childrens) 5 stars

In these five prequel novellas to "Throne of Glass," feared assassin Celaena embarks on daring …

My Review of The Assassin's Blade

5 stars

Having read the first three novels in the Throne of Glass series, it was fun to take a detour to read these five novellas, which give the reader a glimpse into the months leading up to the first novel. The novellas feature swashbuckling pirates, horseback rides through the desert, romance, and lots and lots of blood. The first three novellas are like being on a rollercoaster and sitting through the slow climb up the massive incline before the ride's first drop. Celaena's legend grows, her relationship with Sam takes root, and she leaves the desert with a newfound sense of optimism. The latter three novellas, however, see Celaena teeter over that edge, and eventually plummet to never before seen depths.

The writing itself was great, and exactly what you'd expect if you've read a Sarah J. Maas book previously. She does a great job of setting a scene and describing …

reviewed Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass, #3)

Sarah J. Maas: Heir of Fire (Hardcover, 2023, Bloomsbury USA Childrens) 4 stars

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must …

My Review of Heir of Fire

4 stars

After finishing part one of the book, I commented on the Storydarlings' podcast discussion that I thought Heir of Fire was a transitional book that was light on action but contained lots of character development and introduced new characters. To that point, our old friends Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian were doing their own thing, progressing as characters, while new characters such as Aedion, Manon, and Rowan were introduced and woven into the story. The first half of the book wasn't boring or unreadable by any means, but for me, was a bit of letdown after the almost constant action of Crown of Midnight.

As expected, the book picked up in the second half, and the last third of the book was especially action packed and full of events that not only had an impact on Heir of Fire but would clearly influence the remainder of the series. By book's end, …

Sarah J. Maas: Crown of Midnight (Hardcover, 2023, Bloomsbury USA Childrens) 5 stars

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a …

My Review of Crown of Midnight

5 stars

The second book in the Throne of Glass series built upon the first and smashed my expectations by a wide margin. While not a literary masterpiece by any stretch, I thought Sarah J. Maas' writing was greatly improved in Crown of Midnight, making for a more engaging read than Throne of Glass. In addition to the general improvement in the writing and storytelling, there's more of everything in this one - intrigue, humor, fight scenes, and yes, romance.

The trio of friends, and sometimes love triangle of Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian all grow by leaps and bounds in this one, while not losing that spark that made them fun, compelling, and sometimes maddening characters to begin with. Celaena remained a badass with skills and a personality to be reckoned with, but I really enjoyed Chaol and Dorian's development in this one. Chaol started the series as a pawn for the …

Gabrielle Zevin: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Hardcover, 2022, Knopf) 4 stars

In this exhilarating novel, two friends--often in love, but never lovers--come together as creative partners …

My Review of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

5 stars

I had heard almost zero criticism of this book prior to reading it, so I went into it with high hopes, and expected to enjoy it. Not only did I enjoy it, but it's one of the best books I've ever read, and it's the type of book I could see myself doing annual rereads of. It was that good, and it had its hooks in me from the start.

Despite the three main characters being about a decade older than me, I found myself easily identifying with them, and feeling like they could have been friends of mine. The camaraderie the three of them shared was a delight to behold, as they navigated their 20s and 30s and dealt with the normal issues 20 and 30somethings deal with, in addition to their own demons. Sam and Sadie's relationship is especially turbulent at times, and they sometimes made me want …

Rachel Yoder: Nightbitch (Hardcover, Doubleday Books) 4 stars

One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly …

My Review of Nightbitch

4 stars

I’ll start by saying that as a male, I’m probably not the intended audience for this book. I will also admit that I was initially turned off and maybe even a little offended by how reading this book made me feel. I knew going in that this book would be outside of my wheelhouse, but I still felt attacked by how unapologetically feminist the book was. Luckily for me, I was able to get over myself and embrace Nightbitch for what it was. It’s a hilarious, bizarre, sad, and frustrating book. From start to finish, Nightbitch is uncompromising in telling the truth, even the dark and dirty truth of a struggling stay at home mom.

My one gripe with the took is that it ran a bit too long. It was incredibly well written, but sometimes it felt like there was just a little too much of everything. I think …

H. M. Long: Temple of No God (2022, Titan Books Limited) 5 stars

Epic fantasy followup to HALL OF SMOKE, featuring crumbling empires, secretive cults and godlike powers …

My Review of Temple of No God

5 stars

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Hall of Smoke, so I came into Temple of No God with high hopes. Where Hall of Smoke suffered from a slow start before roaring to the finish, Temple of No God was paced evenly throughout, making for a great sequel. Hessa‘s character development across the two books has been a delight to take in, going from being an outcast priestess of a false god to a revered high priestess and leader of her people. Hessa is much more powerful than in the first book, but is still vulnerable and relatable in many ways. In Temple of No God, Hessa still finds herself in difficult situations, but is better equipped to work her way out of them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was everything Hall of Smoke was and much more, making for a worthy sequel and ending of the duology.

Sarah J. Maas: Crown of Midnight (Paperback, 2014, Maas Sarah J, Bloomsbury USA Childrens) 4 stars

My Review of Crown of Midnight

5 stars

The second book in the Throne of Glass series built upon the first and smashed my expectations by a wide margin. While not a literary masterpiece by any stretch, I thought Sarah J. Maas' writing was greatly improved in Crown of Midnight, making for a more engaging read than Throne of Glass. In addition to the general improvement in the writing and storytelling, there's more of everything in this one - intrigue, humor, fight scenes, and yes, romance.

The trio of friends, and sometimes love triangle of Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian all grow by leaps and bounds in this one, while not losing that spark that made them fun, compelling, and sometimes maddening characters to begin with. Celaena remained a badass with skills and a personality to be reckoned with, but I really enjoyed Chaol and Dorian's development in this one. Chaol started the series as a pawn for the …

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Memory (2022, Pan Macmillan) 4 stars

Earth is failing. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, …

My Review of Children of Memory

5 stars

Children of Memory takes the series to new heights, with a mix of returning characters and newcomers for this installment. The first 100 or so pages had me wondering if Tchaikovsky had strayed too far from the first two books, but things quickly clicked into place. While still science fiction at its core, fantasy and fairytale elements are woven in, making for a thrilling combination that was eventually hard to put down.

There isn’t much I can say about this one without getting into spoilers. All three of these books are great, but this was a masterpiece.

commented on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass, ##1)

Sarah J. Maas: Throne of Glass (Paperback, 2023, Bloomsbury USA) 5 stars

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin …

I'm trying to not only read more in 2023 but read books from genres I wouldn't normally venture into. When the Story Darlings podcast announced their readalong of this series to coincide with #FaRoFeb, I decided I'd follow along.

Much to my surprise, I'm really enjoying this one so far. The characters are interesting, the setting is captivating, and while I had my concerns about the romance part of this fantasy romance tale, it hasn't been heavy-handed at all. More than I'm used to for sure, but nothing that has taken away from the story or made me want to put the book down.

Throne of Glass has been a pleasant surprise thus far, and I'm looking forward to the second half.

reviewed Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long (Hall of Smoke, #1)

H.M. Long: Hall of Smoke (2021, Titan Books) 4 stars

An epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses and fickle gods at war

Hessa is an Eangi: …

My Review of Hall of Smoke

4 stars

Viking-inspired fantasy is right up my alley, so I was excited to jump into this one. It started a bit slow, but once it got going it really got going, and became harder to put down the closer I got to finishing it.

Through the first half of the book, I found myself actively disliking the main character, Hessa, and often found myself frustrated at the situations she found herself in. That changed quickly in the second half of the book, however, as she grew by leaps and bounds. She didn’t just become more powerful in battle, but she also grew as a woman, making incredibly hard decisions and pivoting in a completely different direction.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys vikings, fantasy, strong female protagonists, and awesome dogs.

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Ruin (Paperback, 2020, Pan Macmillan) 4 stars

The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity’s battle for survival …

A Phenomenal Sequel

5 stars

What a great book. In my last update, I mentioned not being surprised about where the story was at that point, but almost immediately after writing that the story took a wild turn that I didn't see coming at all. The last half of the book took so many twists and turns, making for some very exciting reading. The past couple of days I had a hard time using my free time for anything other than reading this book, it was that captivating.

Children of Ruin builds off its predecessor, Children of Time, and takes the saga to new heights. I can't wait to dive into the final book of the series, Children of Memory, and see how it all wraps up.