The Eighth Hell by Guy E. Estes
A great read, with fantastic and tensed fight scenes.
Blurb: “The most dangerous women in the world dare the most dangerous place in the world.
The Shingora, a place known and dreaded by all, the name driving those who hear it to mutter prayers and make signs for protection. None who have gone to that island ever came back… until now.
The trade guilds sent an expedition there, hoping to find a wellspring of natural resources. Only one man returned, his experience having reduced him to gibbering madness. Now the guilds are sending a new expedition, three hundred strong and armed for war, to learn the fate of the previous one and rescue the survivors… if there are any.
Joining them are the Chosen sisters: Aleena Kurrin, the Battle Queen, gifted by the gods in war, and Baezha Ambrose, the Witch Queen, gifted by the gods in magic. Sworn to recover any survivors, they are joined by a host of new friends and brave an island teeming with bizarre creatures. And on the Shingora, everything kills.
Yet an even darker discovery awaits them in the Shingora’s depths, an unnatural horror far worse than anything the island’s sinister reputation ever hinted at. And while immersed in all the island’s perils, a traitor threatens the company from within. With treacherous enemies at their backs and engulfed by a horde of abominations, the sisters will be tested as they’ve never been tested before… and even those Chosen by the gods have their breaking point.”
Though listed as book 3 of the series Sisters of the Storm, this is a stand-alone novel. Packed with a great adventure, an almost impossible goal to achieve, a team of warriors, sorcerers, physicists, and a great dose of magic, this book is a ‘hell’ of a ride. The best people were carefully selected for a mission to the island Shingora, named also 'The eight hell' as no one ever returned alive from there. The offered payment was impressive as the job seemed a tough one. Will they succeed? Will they return to be actually paid or they will have the same destiny as anyone else that set foot on Shingora? The characters, the scenes, and all the descriptions are wonderfully done. There are two main characters: Baezha Ambrose, a gifted sorceress, and Aleena Kurrin, her adoptive sister, a gifted warrior. Beautiful, talented, gifted, intelligent, super-powerful and yet sensitive. The success of the missions depended a lot on them. They were soon the target of gossip and constant verbal and physical attack. Graff was the main reason behind. He was a guild member but paid by someone else to prevent the success of the mission as there were certain people that wanted things to stay unchanged on the island. In fantasy or real world, humans have the same characteristics and most of the time the good ones win.
Despite the fact that a big part of the story is filled with action, magic, and alchemy I was pleasantly surprised seeing that the author tackled a bit of humor and lots of emotions too. I don’t want to reveal more as not to spoil the fun of reading. I do want to congratulate the author on his writing skills and abundant imagination.
Quotes from this book:
“Suggestion spells only work on minds susceptible to them,” Baezha said. “Any other mind would realize it when someone tried to use one on them. If you’re worried about me using one on you and Reegan, it’s obvious I haven’t.” “How?” Reegan demanded. “Because I would’ve suggested you and Graff make love before the main mast at mid-day, yowling like cats.” A few chuckles bubbled through the crowd.”
“But I warn you now,” she said, her voice hardening, “do not mistake my patience for weakness. When my patience is spent, it is utterly spent. There will be no room for compromise or negotiation, I will accept no excuses or justifications from you, and whatever I do I will do with a clear conscience, because gods know I gave you plenty of opportunities to drop this and leave me in peace.”
My rating: 5/5.
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Cat Sidhe by Jeff Chapman
Wonderfully written fantasy novel.
Blurb: “A human spirit banished to the body of a cat.
Merliss has seen centuries of change, centuries of trouble.
Something nasty has come through one of the ley gates. It walks upright. It talks. And it looks like an oversized cat, but as Merliss can attest, it doesn't smell like a cat.
It's a cat sidhe on the hunt for slaves, anyone with opposable thumbs. Merliss travels to unknown territories to rescue a friend and encounters more trouble making her way home. The situation on the moors is far more dire than Merliss and her friends could have imagined.”
Where can we find human spirits? In this fantasy paranormal adventure, they are in the bodies of animals and birds. The main protagonist is Merliss, a human spirit banished to the body of a cat. She, the cat, is supposed to be centuries old that she alone can’t remember anymore. Already from the beginning, we meet Saerwynn, Farland’s apprentice that she is yet to discover her gifts. The main problem is their encounter with a bad creature, a cat sidhe, a witch that shifted too many times into the shape of a cat. Not at all a regular cat. A mean, killer oversized cat. Merliss decides to go after the sidhe and save Saerwynn but she falls into several traps on the way, bordering with great dangers and we are yet to find if she survived. As the story unfolds we meet other characters too, animals or humans.
The story is dark at moments. The descriptions of the places and the characters are wonderfully written. I may not be a big fan of fantasy but the author deserves my respect for his imagination and writing skills.
Type of reader: Fans of fantasy adventures searching for something new.
Quotes from this book:
“Tell me. What do you profit from our bargain?” “Why, a friend,” said the pooka without a moment’s hesitation. “The value of a true friend exceeds their weight in gold or some such wisdom.” “I’ll owe you a favor,” said Saerwynn. “There will be no debts among friends. If you must think of my kindness as a transaction, consider it a favor to Merliss, first among felines of the moor.”
“I believe your gifts will bring wisdom to your work. Time will answer. Patience before uncertainty is a hard lesson to learn. Let your gifts guide you in their own time.”
“There are many kinds of fear. Sometimes it drives you to feats you didn’t think possible. Sometimes you cower behind it. Fear is natural. You cannot suppress it, but you must be the master of your fear. If it does not work for you, it will kill you.”
My rating: 4/5.
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In order to be a good writer, one has to read a lot. And I do and I love it....and I chose to share my readings with you. Feel free to share with me any of the books you have read or wrote, if I find them interesting I will add them to my list. I'll post my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and all my social accounts.