Category: War

Empire of Storms, by Sarah J. Maas


Maas had become more and more comfortable with a narrative of interlocking characters, and in this one, our characters are scattered across the continent as Aelin and her growing court head toward her home country for the first time.

There are echoes of several series in here (Game of Thrones and Graceling among them), but Maas has carved out her own world and her plot hurtles toward its endgame. One quibble – what started as a series that my younger daughter found in a middle-school library has morphed and taken a flying leap into graphic sex. For 18 and up.


A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin


An exceptional and byzantine fantasy novel that immerses the reader in deeply detailed worldbuilding. Martin’s world features multiple clans with interwoven alliances, in-depth court intrigue, and a land which has decade-long seasons. Yet with all the high-level worldbuilding, Martin focuses deeply on his targeted characters, creating memorable portraits of each.

I have never seen the TV series, but the book certainly earns its rep for grimness (a 13 year old girl in a forced marriage) and for violence against women. I recommend it for 18 and up due to rape and violence. Martin spares his characters nothing, but, so far, this makes for an engrossing read.

The Shadow Throne, by Django Wexler


Extraordinary second book in this “flintlock fantasy” trilogy. In the city of Vordan, the king lies on his deathbed and the princess, widely seen as a figurehead, is in disguise in the city, gathering a rebellion before the Last Duke, head of the evil Concordat, can take over after her father’s death. We do get to see many of our favorite characters from the first novel, some finding different roles in the wake of the victory in Khandar. We get some of the spooky magic that is distinct to this world. We get to see some of the battle scenes that Wexler writes so brilliantly. And we get several, distinct strong female leads, exceptional in a book by a male fantasy author. A wonderful read, okay for 16 and up due to violence and threat of torture.

The Thousand Names, by Django Wexler


Wow! Amazing high fantasy novel, set in Khandar, where the Vordanai army, recently routed by the revolution of the Redeemed, has brought in reinforcements from across the Demon Sea to reinstate a puppet prince on the throne of Khandar. The novel focuses on soldier Winter Ihernglass, who is just trying to keep her head down, since she is a girl in disguise, and on Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of the garrison, soon to turn his command over to a newly arrived colonel, who may just be crazy enough to take the fight back to the capital and then out across the desert. A great read – suggested 16 and up for bloody and horrific battle scenes. Can’t wait to read the sequel.