Hello again! Got some exciting news for the start of this month!
The fifth book for our Thread of Souls series is in progress! The very first chapter was actually finished on Friday! It’s been a few weeks of finalizing the outline and creating a timeline for the book’s writing, editing, prepping, and release. We’re so excited to start this journey! This is a book big for us since we are starting the second half of the Spider Octology. As the months progress, we will definitely share more about the book with art, excerpts, and a title release.
Finally, finally, hardcovers for Thread of Souls are a thing! The hardcover for Phantom Fivejust released. We got the proof in and are very happy with the results, it’s definitely a beautiful book! You can expect the hardcovers for Ash & Thunder, Path of the Spiders, and Asunder to all go live this month.
Talia draws all the art for Thread of Souls, giving life to this world through cultural concepts, character designs, weapon designs, and more. We also plan to release a graphic novel in the future, and right now we’re both working hard on getting everything set up for that. If you like Talia’s art, she is offering commissions! Check out her DeviantArt page to learn more.
This September we are celebrating “Read a New Book Month”! You can also totally celebrate in December, since that is also designated as a new book month. For us, September is the doorstep of our favorite season of the year, and it has us looking to settle down, find some new books, and enjoy a slower pace of life.
Choose Your Weapon
When looking for a new book, there are many avenues available! A big chain like Barnes & Noble has plenty to choose from, or you might want to go to a local bookshop and find some hidden gems. Going online to stores like Amazon enables you to support indie authors who might not be able to get their books into larger stores. Or if you find yourself pressed for time to sit down and read, audiobooks are another option! Don’t overlook your local library if you don’t want to spend money.
We are lovers of high fantasy, and that tends to be 80% of what we read. But we also enjoy some spooky stories, some urban fantasy, and some nonfiction books. Stick with what you like, or it might be fun to branch out and try something new! If you are uncertain about spending money on a book you are not sure you’ll like, you can find ebooks for relatively cheap, especially from indie authors. Some sites like Amazon also let authors do a temporary free promotion of their book, so you can try one without any cost! Keep in mind the authors do not make any money from this, so you can tell they truly want to share their work if they do free promotions.
We’ve definitely written plenty of posts talking about some of our favorite books. If you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to check these out!
We look back at a fun and imaginative trilogy that forever impacted my love of reading.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy is a witty, engaging, and all-around fun read by author Jonathan Stroud. The books consist of The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate. I read these books when I was in high school, and to say that they impacted my life would be a severe understatement. Let’s dive into what they are about to see if they will be a great read for you, as well!
The Bartimaeus Trilogy follows three major characters. The talkative and clever djinni Bartimaeus, the ambitious and quiet magician Nathaniel, and the brave and strong-willed rebel Kitty. The chapters vary from each of their POV’s, making it easy to dive right into their heads and hearts. The trilogy takes us on a fantastical world of an alternative London. One where the rich and powerful magicians control others through the summoning and enslavement of spirits such as djinn, imps, powerful afreet, and more. But the people of London won’t stand for this control and domination much longer. What follows is a tale of systems of power, of corruption, of freedom, and what is means to be “human”.
One of the best parts about these books is how you get three stories rolled into one due to the varying POV’s. You get the world of backstabbing political corruption with Nathaniel. You get the world of secret rebellions and spies with Kitty. And you get the magical world of spirits and power through Bartimaeus.
I immediately fell in love with these books when I first discovered them in my old school’s library. Often I would fall asleep reading because I couldn’t put it down. To date not only is this the first book series I have fully read twice over, but I have actually read it three times and will happily continue to read for the rest of my life. The characters are complex and deep, the struggles everyone goes through are heartfelt, and even in this fantasy London there is a ring of truth to the dynamics that are explored.
The award-winning Bartimaeus Trilogy also has a fourth companion that is more of a prequel (though set hundreds of years prior to these events). It is titled the Ring of Solomon and is also a fantastic read. It features Bartimaeus, but not Nathaniel or Kitty.
A fun, D&D- inspired book that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
We were given a free copy of Loners, both ebook and audiobook format, in exchange for a fair review. Allopinions are our own. Loners is authored by DB Bray and Wahida Clark, and the audiobook is narrated by Walt Allen.
Loners is a book that knows its niche well. And that is Dungeons & Dragons fans. Any fans of fantasy in general will have their eye turned by this book, especially due to the great cover, but for D&D players it will truly shine. It’s fun, comical, grand, and has strokes of darker themes and moments without breaking too long from the lighter, fast-paced tone of the story.
The summary for Loners is:
Jari Rockjaw just wants a quiet life and a homestead to call his own. He has been a bounty hunter in Labrys for over one hundred years. And it’s getting old. Battle after battle, allies lost and gained, he now wants to smoke his pipe in the solitude far from the human cities he despises. An option to do so comes his way when the king of Ekepia asks for a favor. Jari is tasked with destroying the most evil dwarf ever to walk the world!
With Jari’s best mates at his side, they team up for one last mission . . . a mission that will be nearly impossible to pull off. But just like everything else in life….if the juice is worth the squeeze, YOU take the risk. The only question, Jari must ask himself is . . . Is retirement really worth dying for?
The characters that really shine in this work are Jari and Betha. Jari is pragmatic, kind, and easily likeable. Betha is a breath of fresh air in the world of fantasy as a female minotaur who does not get sexualized. It is really their friendship and dedication to one another that is the beating heart of the story.
Driven by a fast pace, we follow Jari, Betha, and their adventuring party across the lands. There are a variety of characters encountered, and it is nice to see dwarven characters included that aren’t automatically all miners or forgers. The world building when it comes to the minotaur culture is really great, and it feels as if you step into an undiscovered world altogether.
The narration on the audiobook is very pleasing to listen to. Walt Allen has a great tone that easily evokes imagery. At just over nine hours, it is not a long listen and is great for readers who want a fun summer read rather than those looking for a longer fantasy series.
Our review of fantasy novel Six of Crows by author Leigh Bardugo.
Six of Crows is a dark and gritty fantasy novel that offers a world of very little hope while also keeping you hopeful for its earnest, likeable characters. Set around a ragtag group of thieves attempting a heist that is considered impossible, it brings to mind Suicide Squad mixed with D&D in the best ways.
The fantasy world of Six of Crows is a unique one. It is not swords and sorcery and it is not urban fantasy. There are guns and there are daggers. There is magic set forward in a more scientific fashion. There is a map of the book’s own unique world that is diverse and deep and believable. There is a quite a lot of information given up front, and it can feel hard to quickly learn countries and their complex relationships as well as factions since it is never fully laid out. But the casual conversations about these places bring a nice life to them. Especially since all the characters have their own unique opinions.
Speaking of characters, Six of Crows offers a diverse group of very likeable characters each battling with their own pasts. In fact, their “secret backstories” is a major driving force of this book. The big past reveals can start to feel a bit routine since each character has their own dark secrets, but they do make you feel for each character very deeply. The book gets a bit close to the “female characters mother toxic men into good behavior” trope, but stops itself of crossing the line fully.
The writing is beautiful, lively, and keeps the plot moving forward. The descriptions are well-balanced. The fights have a good pace, although they are on the surprisingly gory side for a “teen read”. The author does a good job at pacing the plot so there are plenty of twists
The world of Six of Crows is dark and depressing. It is a world of back-stabbing, manipulation, and where hope can’t really grow. So if that is not your cup of tea, this story will weigh heavily on you. But there is humor to alleviate this weight, and each character has their own hope for a better future. Or at least a satisfyingly revenge.
All in all, Six of Crows is recommended for fantasy fans! It is fun, fast-paced, and offers a fully realized world. We give it a 9 on a d10.
The original Dragonlance trilogy series is becoming one of my favorite fantasy stories ever written. Now, however, it will no longer be a trilogy. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman announced they are writing three more novels in the series.
It’s been a long time coming and it’s certainly a great way to start off 2021. While there is no information detailing the plot of the new trilogy, they will revolve around the original cast: Tanis Half-Elven, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, Raistlin, Caraman, Flint Fireforge (shoutout to dwarfs), Sturm Brightblade, Goldmoon, Riverwind, and Tika. Joining the crew will be a brand new protagonist as well.
Dungeons & Dragons is at the heart of what spurred us to adventure and Dragons of Autumn Twilight is among one of the many stories that reignited that drive. Along with The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and our homebrew Dungeons & Dragons game. Whether it’s rolling dice at the table or following the Heroes of the Lance or Drizzt, we absolutely love the tabletop game.
Weis and Hickman created the world of Krynn and its characters then played the heroes in their home Dungeons & Dragons game. It’s rather similar to how we started our fantasy book series Thread of Souls.
In 2015, we finally took the plunge and bought the Fifth Edition Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide for Dungeons & Dragons. Scott was the dungeon master and we had several friends over for session 0. Jade, Zok, and Sen were created first, followed a few months later by Artemis and Skar. Unole joined about a year later. It wasn’t until 2018 that Wash, Taliesin and Ruuda were put on paper. Thus, the world of Corventos went from pure imagination to published.
The rights to the upcoming series was secured by Weis and Hickman in 2018, too. Then came legal trouble with Wizards of the Coast. The 2020 issue surrounded creating new books and was settled before the end of the year. The series will be published by Del Rey Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. There is no word on when the first book will be released.
As for Thread of Souls, the first two books of the ongoing series are available on Amazon now! If you’re a fan of the Dragonlance series, consider checking it out. We’re also in the process of converting a camper van so we can travel around like Tanis and his crew or a Dungeons & Dragons party.