New Books (June)

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Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Taylor Anderson, RJ Barker, Karen Cleveland, Ben Coes, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Amal El-Mohtar, Shamini Flint, Alexander Freed, Max Gladstone, Steven Goldstein, Thomas Harris, Scott Johnston, Joanna Kavenna, Mark Lawrence, Fonda Lee, Sarah Lotz, Dale Lucas, Ed McDonald, Emily Nussbaum, Dana Schwartz, L.C. Shaw, Sherri Smith, Anna Smith Spark, Charles Soule

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Quick Review: KING OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-3-KingOfAssassinsThe brutal, engrossing, twisty finale to the Wounded Kingdom trilogy

Assassin Girton Club-Foot has lived in relative peace for many years, but now his king, Rufra ap Vthyr, eyes the vacant High-King’s throne and will take his court to the capital. In a viper’s nest of intrigue, the endgame of twenty years of politics and murder will be played out in the bid to become the King of all Kings.

Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and the god of death stands closer than ever, casting his shadow over everyone Girton holds dear.

And so the Wounded Kingdom trilogy comes to a close… It’s been a fantastic journey, to follow these characters from their youth to the ultimately tragic end of King of Assassins. Easily one of my favourite recent fantasy series, this finale did not disappoint. Continue reading

New Books (May-June)

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Featuring: Mark Adams, Tom Barbash, RJ Barker, Laird Barron, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher, Gail Carrier, Bill Clinton, Nadia Dalbuono, Sebastien de Castell, Nicholas Eames, Joseph Fink, Lauren Groff, Nick Harkaway, Max Hastings, Jon Hollins, A.M. Homes, Phil Kelly, Harrison Scott Key, Steve Kornacki, Dale Lucas, Brian McClellan, David Mealing, Lawrence Osborne, James Patterson, Joanne Proulx, Vivian Shaw, Anna Smith Spark, Tasha Suri, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tade Thompson, Patrick S. Tomlinson, Jennifer Wolfe

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Review: BLOOD OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-WK2-BloodOfAssassinsGirton Club-Foot returns

In a desperate bid to escape the bounty on his head, assassin Girton Club-Foot has returned to Maniyadoc, but the kingdom he knew no longer exists.

Three kings battle for supremacy in a land ravaged by war-and one of them is his old friend Rufra. With threats inside and outside the war encampment, Girton races to find the traitor behind an assassination plot. But his magic can no longer be contained and Girton may not be able to save even himself.

It’s assassin versus assassin for the life of a king.

RJ Barker’s Age of Assassins is one of the best debut fantasies I’ve read in some time. At a time when I’ve been struggling with the genre, Barker’s debut caught my attention from the opening scenes — it was amusing, the characters were very well-drawn, and the story was far more focused than many fantasies I’ve tried recently. In Blood of Assassins, Barker returns readers to Maniyadoc, five years after the events of the first novel. I enjoyed this novel a great deal. Continue reading

New Books (December 2017-January 2018)

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Featuring: Saladin Ahmed, Jonathan Ames, RJ Barker, Elizabeth Bear, Tom Bissell, Ezekiel Boone, Jordanna Max Brodsky, Leo Carew, Rae Carson, Ron Chernow, Mira Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, Grigsby, Vaseem Khan, Margaret Killjoy, Matthew Kneale, Jessica Knoll, Phillip Margolin, Angus McIntyre, Brad Meltzer, John Jackson Miller, Michael Moreci, Laline Paull, Tristan Palmgren, Gareth L. Powell, Alastair Reynolds, Josh Reynolds, Kelly Robson, Sebastian Rotella, Rob Sanders, Tess Sharpe, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Peter Watts, Timothy Zahn

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Review: AGE OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-AgeOfAssassinsUSAn interesting new debut fantasy series

It’s a game of assassin versus assassin

Girton Club-foot has no family, a crippled leg, and is apprenticed to the best assassin in the land.

He’s learning the art of taking lives, but his latest mission tasks him with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder — and his own.

This is the first new fantasy series that I’ve read in quite some time. In fact, it’s only the second this year (the other was Ed McDonald’s Blackwing). Long-time readers of CR may have noticed that I’ve been struggling with the genre for a while, but Age of Assassins really worked for me. This is the start of an interesting, engaging and entertaining new fantasy series. I’m really looking forward to the sequel. Continue reading

New Books (May 2017)

Featuring: Jeff Abbott, Curtis Armstrong, R.J. Barker, J. Patrick Black, Eric Brown, Sebastien de Castell, Anne Corlett, Greg Cox, Nate Crowley, Joel Dicker, Chris Dows, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Franze, Garbage & Jason Cohen, Max Gladstone, Daniel Godfrey, Dave Hutchinson, Eddie Izzard, Benedict Jacka, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Lange, Yoon Ha Lee, Graham McNeill, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Malka Older, Benjamin Percy, Josh Reynolds, Salman Rushdie, John Sandford, Tade Thompson, Wendy N. Wagner

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