Book Review: The Banished Craft by E.D.E. Bell

The book that….had great ideas but didn’t deliver on them.

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Synopsis: The Banished Craft is a genre-bending fantasy saga that follows the adventures of Cor, a woman caught in a dying world that does not accept her, and Atesh, a dragon scientist who’s been asked to violate his own ethics or put the lives of his family at risk. Follow their trials as they deal with a shattered world, mired in political upheaval, while they try to rediscover a lost magic. The Banished Craft begins the Shkode trilogy: a quirky and modern take on dragons and wizards, exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected.

This book had a slow start as it had a lot to set up, however, as slow as it was, after I finished the first chapter, I was eager to find out what was going on. However, a viewpoint switch took me to a completely new world that held no excitement for me. And then we went back to the other world but with a new character focus that I didn’t care about either.

As I said before, this book had two different settings. One with humans, and another with dragons. Think Brian Jacques’ Redwall series but with Dragons. Cor is a human woman who completely enchanted me from the very beginning. She is about 30 and unmarried with no children. I loved reading her perspective because of that. She was a woman sneaking into this amazing library and trying to borrow a book that will tell her about her past. So good. The dragon viewpoint had a much more political and military focus that just paled into comparison with the coziness of Cor’s perspective.

The worldbuilding in this book was almost there because the prologue set up the premise of these two split worlds well and then we jump into those worlds. However, once we were in each world, there was no worldbuilding for pages and pages and then there would be a dump of information. I ended up having a vague and unsatisfactory understanding of what these two worlds were like and how they functioned.

Overall this book was a bit all over the place. 1/3 of the way through I found myself floundering in half-explained worlds and deep backstories of characters I didn’t particularly care about. Had this book focused its lens more on Cor and her story and one portion of the dragon world, I would have loved it. Unfortunately, it did not hold my interest and I had to dnf it.

I still think if it sounds interesting to you, you may want to give it a try. You never know if it might resonate with you more than it did with me.

I got this as a ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski Review

Six stories Review

The book that….lured me into its trap.

Synopsis:
The novel is constructed as a series of podcasts, in which an investigative journalist describes the circumstances around the death of a teenaged boy in an outward-bound centre, interviewing witnesses, suspects and people close to the incident. Their six accounts form the six stories of the title, creating a “chilling and compelling, page-turning thriller that also delves deep into notions of truth, perception and loyalty”.

This book has a very interesting format which really made it a compelling read. It is written as a podcast interview series with 6 people about the mysterious death of a boy. I absolutely love this format the format. It made it feel like the story was being told me like in an audio book.

The writing was a bit awkward at times, especially in the very beginning. It could be very wordy in a way that made it hard to get into the story and made it drag a bit. However, once I got into it, I couldn’t get out. I was reading this during a very busy week of work but somehow I found ways to sneak in a few pages here and there. The format of it being written in 6 different short sections made it fly by.

The setting and the characters were so good and so realistic, it felt like this could have happened in real life. The author perfectly captured how friends groups during adolescence can form and the wondeful things and heartbreaking moments that go along with being young and trying to find your place in the world.

I hadn’t read a thriller in a while and I think that this was an amazing one to get me back into the genre. I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author in the future.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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