Master of Machinations

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I know I said we would check out Infinity Blade, but I’m kinda doing the ‘two books at once’ thing.  One book I read on my Kobo (when im on the treadmill at the gym actually lol) the other I read in hand so we’re doing the In Hand line right now.  I actually started reading this last October but only now finished it so SURPRISE!

Maestro by R.A. Salvatore is the second to last of the ‘official’ Forgotten Realms Drizz’t saga. This one…it was hard for me to get through, and I’m not sure if it’s because I have the end looming over me like the Sword of Damicles, or if it was the actual story itself that held me up.

At the end of Archmage, we saw Gromph tricked into ripping open the magical barrier of the Underdark, the Faerzress, which prevented the dark elves from magically escaping their imprisonment eons ago and was one of the walls between the Prime Material Plane and the chaos of the Abyss. This allowed the demon princes Demogorgon, Orcus, and others to cross over and run amok within the dark tunnels. Demogorgon especially had fun in Menzoberranzan before toddling off for other adventures.

Gromph was exiled to the surface and fell in with what was left of the Companions of the Hall in trying to rebuild the Arcane Hosttower of Luskan and renew the bars on the cage of the fire primordial held within Gauntlegrym before it weakened completely and let the creature loose.

And while the magic users were busy with their rebuilding, Jarlaxle convinces Artemis and Drizz’t to return with him to Menzoberranzan and rescue mad Dahlia (who I strongly suspect is Artemis’ lady love) from the clutches of the Matron Mothers.

But in the demon infested tunnels, something is happening to Drizz’t. He’s losing is way, thinking his current reality a falsehood, an illusion planted in his mind by beings such as the demon Errtu albeit perhaps not specifically him.

To be honest, I don’t understand a lot of what’s going on regarding Drizz’t loss of perception, and this great plan that the now pseudo-reborn Yvonnel Baenre has in store for him. Something about him being a Chosen of Lloth (come on we all suspected that one) and allowing him to destroy himself with his delusions?  It’s all very complex and a little convoluted but I am interested in seeing where it goes.

In the end choices are made, lives are saved and destroyed, and it will be a sight to see it all come to an end in the final installment of Hero.

Ok, now I promise 100% we’re going to check out Infinity Blade: Awakening by Brandon Sanderson.  Scouts honor!

Trained from birth in swordplay and combat, a young knight named Siris has journeyed to the Dark Citadel with a single purpose: fight through the army of Titans to face the tyrannical God King in one-on-one combat. This was his father’s sacred mission, and his father’s before him, going back countless generations in an effort to free their people from enslavement. But when Siris somehow succeeds where all those from his bloodline previously have failed, he finds himself cast into a much larger world, filled with warriors and thieves, ancient feuds and shifting alliances, Deathless immortals and would-be kings. His quest for freedom will take him on an epic journey in search of the mythical figure known as the Worker of Secrets – the one being in the world who can unravel the secrets of the Infinity Blade.

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Fifty Years Gone

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I was quite surprised by this. Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason is the first in her Heroes of New Vegas saga, although you can also find it listed as first in the Envy Chronicles on Goodreads. I feel its best described as post-apocalyptic sci fi, but there are fantasy elements in there.

So in this timeline, 2010(ish) rolls around and everything gets wiped out. Like EVERYTHING.  There are first a rash of natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, fires, storms, etc.  The land mass of continents are reduced by like half.  Then a helluvalotta people just drop dead for no apparent reason.  Once things calm down, maybe like 1% of the world population survives.

Elliot and his buddies were cave diving at the time. When the first earthquake hit, they were knocked out or something and held in a type of stasis for fifty years before walking out and seeing the world as they knew it was gone and hey they got some nifty new powers!

And they also learn that humans are no longer alone on the planet. Strangers, beings who were human or at least look human, who have crystals embedded in their skin and are practically immortal.  They came after the destruction of the old world, they pass themselves off as friends and allies, but not everything believes their intentions are good.

As the first in the series, Beyond the Night is a lot of background info, world building, etc. I honestly did not think I would be able to get through this book, until the word ‘Atlantis’ came up.  After that
I was hooked, I’m such a sucker for anything Atlantean.  And the overall events/story interested me enough that not only did I finish this one, but I’m probably going to pick up the rest of the series.

But until then we’re going to check out Infinity Blade: Awakening by Brandon Sanderson next.

 

Trained from birth in swordplay and combat, a young knight named Siris has journeyed to the Dark Citadel with a single purpose: fight through the army of Titans to face the tyrannical God King in one-on-one combat. This was his father’s sacred mission, and his father’s before him, going back countless generations in an effort to free their people from enslavement. But when Siris somehow succeeds where all those from his bloodline previously have failed, he finds himself cast into a much larger world, filled with warriors and thieves, ancient feuds and shifting alliances, Deathless immortals and would-be kings. His quest for freedom will take him on an epic journey in search of the mythical figure known as the Worker of Secrets – the one being in the world who can unravel the secrets of the Infinity Blade.

Before the River Styxx

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House of the Rising Son by Sherrilyn Kenyon is really good. I kinda see it as the bridge between Archeron and Styxx, as the whole thing is about the previous lives of the two main characters within the novel Styxx, Styxx himself and his lady love Bethany.

So waaaaaaaaay back in the day when Atlantis was still around and kicking, the Atlantean goddess of justice Bathymaas decided to create her own little army of heroes to help keep law and order in the multiverse when the usual law keepers the Chthonians decided to wage a civil war on themselves.

Famed for her lack of emotion which made her ideal in dispensing justice as it made her 100% impartial, however she went and fell in love with one of her mortal soldiers Aricles. Apollo found this out, and being the colossal dick that he is in the series, decided a little bit of vengeance for being ‘humiliated’ by the couple when Bathymaas refused his advances and Aricles clocked him when Apollo tried to rape her.

And what does Apollo do? Arrange an archery contest.  The target a moving stag, winner is the one who kills it.  Bathymaas wins, and discovers the stag was actually a shape shifted Aricles and she has just killed the man she loves.

That was a brilliant idea. Unjustly kill the lover of the goddess of justice who not only has the power to kill you, but has just discovered emotions and now has every right to go bat shit vengeance on your ass.

Yeah no one said Apollo was smart.

Anyways at the end of the day Bathymaas was taken out instead, because the death of Apollo would mean the death of the world since he is so closely aligned with the sun. And when she was reincarnated, in an attempt to keep her from going postal again, her heart was split in two with one half given to a reincarnated Aricles in the hopes the soul mates would find each other again.

So yeah. Really really good. You learn of this story in Styxx first, but this gives a more in depth look into the couple’s previous life background and I quite enjoyed it.

But we’re moving on to full length novels once again folks. Trying out another Kobo freebie with Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason, first in the Heroes of New Vegas series.

 

When Dr. Elliott Drake emerges from a cave after traveling fifty years through time, the world as he knew it in 2010 is gone. Cities are overgrown jungles, and what’s left of civilization has been repressed by crystal-wearing immortal beings. But even more unsettling: Elliott has acquired an extraordinary ability–the power to heal.

 

But even that gift, in a world that lacks the technology and infrastructure of his past, is a two-edged sword for Elliott.

Jade Kapiza, who was once imprisoned by the immortal beings, has been in hiding for years. But now she’s determined to help the human race fight back against the control of her captors. She can trust no one…but when Elliott comes into her life, he pushes at her defenses and begins to tear down the walls she’s built so carefully.

Yet the mysterious doctor seems to have secrets of his own. Can Jade trust Elliott with her heart, even as they risk their lives to save a band of innocents?

And can Elliott find a new place for himself–a home–in this new, ravaged world?

 

Come Too Soon

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Dragonswan by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a short story/novella that was written early on in the Darkhunter saga and I think is technically classified as #0.5. However based on the main character I honestly think it would work better closer to the current timeframe of books.

Sebastian Kattalakis is a dragon hunter in the 21st century searching for a lost tapestry that his sister wove.  Grandson of the king who started this whole thing by splicing human and animal souls, he bumps into a lovely little human historian and we can guess where things lead from there.

This would have worked well expanded upon and set as its own full length installment within the series, especially since the most recent and upcoming novels have been and are all about the dragon line of Accadian/Kattalakis.

But other than being too short and left wanting more, it was good. We’re actually going to check out another short story/novella by Kenyon next with House of the Rising Son.

The eldest son in a family of three boys, Aricles had no desire to be a soldier, even though his fighting skills were among the best in the world. He was more than content on his small Atlantean farm, living a quiet, uneventful life. But when his brother is determined to don a soldier’s uniform, Aricles joins him with a promise to their father to bring his brother home in one piece. What he never counts on is how much their new lives will forever change them, or what the risk of a forbidden love will ultimately cost him.  

Missing Gems

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Outtakes from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost is a short story anthology for lack of a better word, set in the Nighthuntress world.

What it really is however, is a collection of scenes that the author Jeaniene Frost had originally written to be published as part of her series within literally all the books, but were taken out of the final draft for a variety of reasons. They needed to cut down on size, publisher thought it slowed the story down, author changed her mind, etc.

I loved it. There’s a bit of back story from Cat and the vampire Gregory who kinda sorta kidnapped her, behind and around the scenes of when she left Bones and them working for the government, it was all fantastic.

The lengths ranged from short little snippets of story to a full fledged novella and they were all awesome. I did not realize how much I had missed Cat and Bones until I read it, and it’s actually making me want to go back and reread the series.

Keeping up the romance theme again, and still sticking with short stories we’re going to check out Dragonswan by Sherrilyn Kenyon next.

Channon (Shannon with C) MacRea has spent years studying the legendary Dragon Tapestry, deciphering Old English symbolism. One evening delectable Sebastian Kattalakis appears — a dragon slayer trapped between two worlds — claims to hold the key to solving the tapestry’s mysteries. Channon follows him into a fantastic alternate world of magic, danger, and adventure.

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