Book Tour Review: The Semper Sonnet by Seth Margolis

Saturday, December 3, 2016
Title: The Semper Sonnets
Author: Seth Margolis
Genre: historical fiction, thriller
Series: N/A
Pages: 374
Published: April 2016
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 4/5

A long-lost manuscript, written for Elizabeth I, holds the key to unlocking the past—and to eliminating the future.

Lee Nicholson is ready to take the academic world by storm, having discovered a sonnet she believes was written by William Shakespeare. When she reads the poem on the air, the words put her life in peril and trigger a violent chase, with stakes that reach far beyond the cloistered walls of academia.

Buried in the language of the sonnet, in its allusions and wordplay, are secrets that have been hidden since Elizabethan times, secrets known only to the queen and her trusted doctor, but guessed at by men who seek the crown and others who seek the world. If the riddles are solved, it could explode what the world knows of the great Elizabeth I. And it could release a pandemic more deadly than the world has ever imagined.

Lee’s quest for the answers buried in the sonnet keeps her one step ahead of an international hunt—from the police who want her for murder, to a group of men who will stop at nothing to end her quest, to a madman who pursues the answers for destructive reasons of his own.

As this intelligent thriller moves back and forth between Tudor England and the present day, Lee begins to piece together the meaning behind Shakespeare’s words, carrying the story to its gasp-out-loud conclusion.


Dual timeline novels are always a creative, tricky, and fun approach, and Seth Margolis applies that creativity to Tudor mysteries and secrets and a modern race to uncover them. The two stories tie together rather neatly; The Semper Sonnet is a clever book and Margolis is an author that layers his narratives with plenty of hints, clues, and aha! moments. Lee's story is more action-packed than her Elizabeth physician counterpart Rufus Hatton, but each narrative is interesting and the book is entertaining.

This is an easy rec to make for fans of Dan Brown's famous Robert Langdon series, but Seth Margolis has a better grasp on the techniques of writing and his book is stronger for it. The Semper Sonnet is a thoroughly blended mix of the historical fiction and thriller staples, but there's little infodumping and the book takes pains to show more than it tells. Spanning international borderlines and several centuries, the truth behind Edward Filer is one that propels both Lee and the plot; in doing so, the author puts his own spin on one of the most popular historical conspiracy theories.

Tangling Shakespeare's legacy and a long-untold secret of his times, the plot of The Semper Sonnet is a detailed and involved affair. Developing its many angles takes up the lion's share of the narrative attention so Lee is a moderately well-defined main character, but not, I think, a particularly memorable one. She has personality, agency, and an arc but characterization is not the main strength of this novel. The Semper Sonnet made for an evenly-plotted and well-paced read; its plot was clever and creative take on a well-known historical "what if?"





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Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, December 1
Review at Jessica and Gracie’s Tree

Friday, December 2
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, December 3
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, December 5
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, December 6
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, December 7
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Thursday, December 8
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, December 9
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Monday, December 12
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Wednesday, December 14
Review at JulzReads

Thursday, December 15
Guest Post at JulzReads

Friday, December 16
Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life

Monday, December 19
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, December 21
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, December 27
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, December 28
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, December 29
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, December 30
Review at Broken Teepee

Fall Bookish Bingo Wrap-Up

Friday, December 2, 2016
Click to go visit Bekka who is awesome and wonderful and smart for putting this thing together while seventeen million months pregnant.
Usually this is where I lament how quickly the year is going, but seriously you guys, fuck fall 2016. Bring on winter, even if it brings six feet of snow to Ohio, because I am so ready for this hell year to be over.

As always, Jess is a Bingo rockstar with five bingos and 20/24 squares filled in:

Backlist: The Thirteenth House by Sharon Shinn 
Suspense: Yesternight by Cat Winters
Standalone: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Retelling: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Killers: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Weapon on Cover: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Animal on the Cover: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Fall Release: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu
FriendshipMetaltown by Kristen Simmons
Illustrated: Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Multi POV: Replica by Lauren Oliver 
Green Cover: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills 
Black CoverNemesis by Anna Banks
Creepy Cover: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova 
Rec'd to You: The Hating Game by Sally Thorme
Dragons: Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas 
Purple Cover: Inglorious Royal Marriages by 
College: The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter Leslie Carroll
RevengeThe Midnight Star by Marie Lu 
Short Story: Iron to Iron by Ryan Graudin (Wolf by Wolf #1.5)

MEANWHILE

Remember all those times I cleared the Bingo board? Let's all ruminate on those and not scroll down, eh?

Standalone: Uprooted by Naomi Novik (9/6)
Killers: Macbeth by William Shakespeare (9/9)
Graphic Novel: Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson (9/10)
Backlist: The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn (9/11)
Multi POV: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (9/11)
Horror/Paranormal: As I Descended by Robin Talley (9/12)
Short Story: The Year of the Crocodile by Courtney Milan (9/12)
Suspense: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehig (9/18)
Rec'd to Me: Tribute by Nora Roberts (9/29)
Fall ReleaseLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (10/12)
Purple CoverA Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (10/13)
Revenge: Lucifer, Book One by Mike Carey (10/16)
Black CoverDarkfever by Karen Marie Moning (10/26)
Creepy Cover: The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way (10/31)
Friendship: Princeless, Vol. 4: Be Yourself by Jeremy Whitley (11/7)
Green Cover: Captivated by Nora Roberts (11/20)
College: Smut by Karina Hale (11/23)
Weapon on Cover: The Falconer by Elizabeth May (11/29)

I want an extra point for being Zoro.

So winter's card, eh? Focusing on moving forward and all that! Who's participating and who's keeping me accountable to actually read off my board? 


TBR Planning: December 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016
It's almost 2017 but I've already dived into 2017 ARCs because I am a monster with no self-control. If you've been reading this blog for longer than a day, you are not surprised by this at all.


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden



A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift - a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.




Bad Boy by Elliot Wake -- dark story about a trans MC who works with a secret vigilante group, Black Iris. I've only read the first Black Iris book, but this sound dark and necessary. Eliot Wake explores masculinity and culture in an unflinching, honest way

Spindle by E.K. Johnston -- the second book in series after Johnston took on retelling the 10001 Nights with A Thousand Nights last year. I am not sure how much more life this particular story can extend to, but I am interested to see.

The Semper Sonnets by Seth Margolis --poems, mysteries from the past, and Queen Elizabeth I. I am 100% here for all of that.

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser



Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger—someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.


That cover is perfect and the synopsis makes me hopeful. Pleasebegoodpleasebegoodpleasebegooood.

Jessie's November Recap

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
So it's almost December; somehow that seems way too soon and way too long in coming. 2016 is ending, and I think we can all say we are more than ready to say goodbye to the shitshow that was November 2016. I had my birthday on the 3rd... but things steadily went to hell soon after.

So we're gonna wrap up November, and head into December with clear eyes and determination. I'm ready for a new month (and soon, a new year) but I am by no means done fighting ... basically everything that happened in November 2016.



Books Read: 29

Notable Favorites:
Blackbringer by Laini Taylor (Dreamdark #1)
Silksinger by Laini Taylor (Dreamdark #2)
The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey (The Girl at Midnight #2)
Resonance by Erica O'Rouke (Dissonance #2)
Bad Boy by Elliot Wake

Reviews Posted: 
Two Minute Review: Of Fire and Stars by Aurey Coulthurst
Backlist Review: Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams (The Copper Cat #2)
Series Review: Noctis Magicae by Sylvia Izzo Hunter (#1-#3)
Two Minute Review: The Romantics by Leah Konen
The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Tearling #3)
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (The Bone Witch #1)
Series Review: The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham (#1-#5)
The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May (The Falconer #2)
Two Minute DNF Reviews

Fun Stuff:
Top Ten Villains Take Two
My 5-Year Plan
Top Ten Recent TBR Additions


Book Tags:
Dani & Jessie's Coffee Book Tag
Dani & Jessie's Inside Out Book Tag
Top Ten Things We Are Grateful for in 2016


Bookstagram of the Month:



 CUSTOM OTP POPS FROM DANI I AM OVERCOME

Aaaand that's a wrap for me!




Two Minute DNF Reviews

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
So here we are, another month, another mix of old and new titles that did not work for me as a reader, for one reason or another. I am trying to clear my shelves -- both physical and electronic -- of old ARCs before 2017 is here.

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

  
Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.


Hysteria is best summed up succinctly: a lot of premise backed up by very little actual substance. Miranda has written several effective, creepy YA thrillers before, which is why it's a shame that this one is so dull and so generic.  Nothing really happens until about 250 pages, and with an unreliable narrator so predictable, there was less reason to care or keep reading.

Read: 260/365 pages


Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells (Emilie #1)

While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.

With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.


This story and its main character both just skewed too young for me. I am a picky reader when it comes to MG books in particular and this did nothing to inspire my engagement or my emotions. It's not a bad book - the premise is intriguing - but it's just not one for me. Especially because this is launching a series I wouldn't want to commit myself to reading.

Read: 105/287 pages


Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

I have a common issue with nearly all of Smith's books -- I love the premise behind them but the find the execution of each to ....not completely work. Most of the time I can at least read to the finish and like the story (though none have exceeded 3.5/5 stars). Early on, however, this was gathering less positive reactions than her previous books. I just didn't have the energy to force myself to read a book I won't remember or just doesn't work for me.

Read: 85/394 pages


A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

 When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true... 

 
Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.


This is another author whose previous books did not work for me and who I now know to avoid in the future. I was not a fan of Unremembered and a lot of my issues with that book crop up again here. A Week of Mondays is waay too long, way too drawn out, and way too easily predicted.

Read: 150/464 pages


Roseblood by A.G. Howard

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.


"Modern-day spin" apparently means "barebones retelling an full of tired YA cliches and stereotypes." My patience wore thin through the first few chapters. This is just such a tired retread of so many YA books before it; A.G. Howard has creative ideas but her books themselves are either problematic or boring. There's no spark, no individuality and I did not caaaaare.



 Read: 85/432







Review: The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May

Monday, November 28, 2016
Title: The Vanishing Throne
Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: historical fiction, steampunk, supernatural
Series: The Falconer #2
Pages: 458
Published: June 2016
Source: purchased
Rating: 4.5/5

Everything she loved is gone.

Trapped. Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the fae portal she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes in an alien world of mirrors, magic, and deception—a prisoner of the evil fae Lonnrach, who has a desperate and deadly plan for his new captive.

Tortured. Time after agonizing time Lonnrach steals Aileana’s memories, searching for knowledge to save his world. Just when she’s about to lose all hope, Aileana is rescued by an unexpected ally and returns home, only to confront a terrifying truth. The city of Edinburgh is now an unrecognizable wasteland. And Aileana knows the devastation is all her fault.

Transformed. The few human survivors are living in an underground colony, in an uneasy truce with a remnant of the fae. It is a fragile alliance, but an even greater danger awaits: the human and fae worlds may disappear forever. Only Aileana can save both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing so might be her life…

Main character and flawed person, Aileana Kameron has faced all kinds of foes in her journey to become the Falconer; a journey that is far from over. She's fought society itself and monsters of all kinds to save the world and has come out the worse for it. The Vanishing Throne picks up right where book one left off and is darker than its predecessor, which wasn't exactly a lighthearted fantasy. It is a harsh and unpredictable book, chronicling the next stage of Elizabeth May's fae/steampunk trilogy. Grim in tone and darker in plot, Aileana is up against more than just the evil Lonnrach and the treacherous Sorcha as the stakes are renewed at an even deeper cost.

Aileana has always had to wrestle personal demons as well as those of the fae kind, first in in her march for vengeance/self-forgiveness and again here in her rush to protect in the fallout. Her past is a hard one, with few friends and even less family around and willing to support her. That's why the few companions she does hold dear matter so much to her: especially Catherine, Derek, and Kiaran. Aileana would go to impossible lengths to save those she loves and it's one of her best and worst qualities. The relationships between the intertwined group of characters grow and evolve -- and not always in a positive manner. Actions taken in The Falconer have consequences and even those Aileana loves the most will feel their bonds tested in the The Vanishing Throne

As I was before, I remain impressed and intrigued by the version of the world Elizabeth May is creating and revealing with her trilogy. The history and lore of the fairy folk in Scotland is well-known, but the author is a clever and original one and it shows. This take on the fae is filled with an intelligent menace and anger, with a few well-loved exceptions. The worldbuilding is expanded here, as is the general history of the fae, and how the Falconer line came to be. May keeps a lot of elements in play while slowly unspooling her story, but the narrative is strong and engaging. The spin on fairy mythology that the author has created is unique and creates more interest in and possibilities for Aileana's story.

The stakes are higher for Aileana in The Vanishing Throne than she ever imagined they would be in The Falconer; the world is more complicated and the story more rich. Her own life has irrevocably changed, her friends and allies are scattered from her, and her world is in grave and present danger. Faced with these odds, Aileana doesn't give in; she still fights. Her story isn't completely action-packed battle scenes, but her mental struggles are as important as the brawls she wages against Lonnrach and his cronies. May shows the psychological damage wrought by violence, revenge, and torture in an honest and real way, without making Aileana feel or be defined as a victim.

The romance between Aileana and Kiaran deepens throughout the novel, but like everything else, it is tested. Both of these headstrong characters change and evolve in their fight against Lonnrach, and a central conflict between the two of them, given more life here than before, is long in coming and undeniable in its nature. Kiaran's past/present as the Unseelie King is a new challenge for their relationship. That nailbiting cliffhanger ends The Vanishing Throne and is  one of many problems for Aileana to tackle in the forthcoming and final book in the trilogy, The Fallen Kingdom.

Additional-must-be-mentioned faves: Aithinne, kissing scenes, Derek on honey.





Series Review: The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham

Sunday, November 27, 2016
.

Titles:
Genre: fantasy
Series: The Dagger and the Coin #1 - #5
Pages:
TDP: 555
TKB: 501
TTL: 497
TWH: 495
TSW: 492
Published:
2011
2012
2013
2014
2016
Source: all purchased
Ratings:
4/5
3.5/5
4/5
4/5
5/5

All paths lead to war...

Marcus' hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody's death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps.

Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation's wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords.

Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become.

Falling pebbles can start a landslide. A spat between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne is spiraling out of control. A new player rises from the depths of history, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon's Path-the path to war.
 

I am going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, and when not the spoilers will be whited out inside parentheses. (Like so, for an example.)

The Dagger and Coin spans five books, thousands of pages, and contains a rather large cast of characters from heroines to antiheroes to the truly vile. It can seem an intimidating series to start, but Abraham has a steady hand on the wheel for all five books in his WWII-inspired fantasy world. Even when the series seems to be headed along a certain path, there are plenty of twists, turns and creative ideas to keep veteran readers engaged and surprised. If the story can seem too large in scope at the start, the author's vision is far-reaching and capable. 

The first two novels make for an impressive if occasionally uneven introduction to the fictional world and the invented races. The worldbuilding shown is little more sparse than I'd like to see for the first book especially, but what is provided is intriguing enough to lead to questions and hunger for information and more books in the series. Another positive for the series is that this isn't just a pseudo-Europe setting. The second book somewhat meanders around but the seeds of Geder Palliako's arc are really established here. He grows from in menace and The King's Blood also sets the stage for book three, The Tyrant's Law, in a really unexpected way.

Daniel Abraham is consistently clever in his approach to his 5-book series. He does some new things and plays with new spins on old genre ideas and tropes, and that extends to both character and plot. Over the course of these many books, I grew to care about nearly all involved. There were of course favorites in the multitudes: Marcus Wester and Clara Kalliam. One is somewhat of a genre trope and the other is a complete surprise; not many fantasies feature the POV of a middle-aged married noblewoman (who also gets a romance with a younger man once widowed and also LEADS THE RESISTANCE). But Clara is much more than a wife and mother, as Marcus is much more than the washed-up mercenary he appears.

So many epic fantasies seem to base their premises along the same familiar lines. And while war, injustice, prejudice and strife are key themes to all the Dagger and the Coin novels there's also the addition of Cithrin Bell Sarcour's unique plot arc. I really love that one of these books' main and important POVs is an (rogue) underage female banker who uses math and economics to fight against the forces of her enemies. It's unexpected and Daniel Abraham makes it work so well and without infodumping or sounding like an AP economics class. Cithrin's role is pivotal in all the novels; as an individual with agency, as a catalyst for others -- both good and bad. But Cithrin is a great element of the story; she mixes up the scenery and the plot and the stakes, and she does it smartly.

The way religion and magic are used in all five book is another strong and original aspect to this series. Abraham intertwines the two and creates a compelling, threatening secondary antagonistic force besides/with Geder Palliako. The Spider Priests abilities and culture is unique to Abraham's imagination and presents a very real, very hard to fight evil arrayed against the heroes (and antiheroes).

The author has impressed me with these five books. They are consistent and inventive and like to turn expected fantasy tropes on their head (I will never forget the "let's just kill the goddess and we will be saved!" plot twist. Brilliant and unexpected ploy to spin that trope). The best of the characters include a teenage girl who fights through bank loans, a widowed and badass (former) baroness (who now spies and plots while marching with armies), and a mercenary captain who's (killed kings, controls the last dragon in existence), and is waiting for his second-in-command to rise up and steal the company.The main human villain is spoiled, self-indulgent manchild who invaded several countries because a woman rejected him and he lucked into power. Because he was laughed at, or felt confused. Basically...he's an MRA/Trump in a fantasy world and he is CHILLING in his echoes of real humanity.

Also, The Dagger and the Coin one of the few series with no sexual abuse on the page. A fantasy series with no rape is so refreshing and so sadly hard to find. There's still plenty of grim and darkness to be found in its pages -- after all, this is inspired our real world's horrors in WWII. Every book was good, entertaining and complete in itself. There were three four stars, sole three and a half star - with the series last offering being its best and highest rated at 5 out of 5 stars.

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