Tag Archives: adventure

I Reincarnated for Nothing

Title: I Reincarnated for Nothing

Translator: NaughtyOtter

Chapters: 128 (Ongoing)

Link: https://www.wuxiaworld.com/novel/i-reincarnated-for-nothing
(Please note the site is temporarily taking this novel offline, but it can likely still be read at web.archive.org)

Artpe used to be the weakest of the four demon lords, the final bosses before the demon king. But after being killed by the hero’s party, he finds he’s somehow gone back in time. Now he’s a second hero, alongside the original hero . . . and he can finally get his revenge on the demon king who had formerly enslaved him.

This is a lot of fun. Artpe still has all his memories as a demon, as well as an innate ability that lets him analyze whatever he’s looking at to extract a high degree of information. He used to be the demon in charge of gathering intelligence due to that ability, so he has a lot of knowledge about how things used to go (although of course things are changing now that he’s veering off-script from the original events).

And he may be the hero, but his basic personality hasn’t changed. Which means people really question whether he’s actually a hero or if he’s somehow a demon.

The original hero, Maetel, is naive, good-hearted, crazy strong, and a moron when it comes to anything not related to physical combat. Artpe, on the other hand, is a genius with limited physical abilities. So Artpe decides he’ll specialize as a magician (since heroes can learn all class skills) and have Maetel focus on melee combat.

This is a litRPG, but the skills and stats angle is fairly light. Artpe does focus on leveling up as much as possible, but his interaction with various opponents usually comes down to cleverness and his innate skill rather than pure firepower. So far his interactions with demons have been limited, although that’s looking to change in the near future. Once he’s prepared enough to go back to the demon world, things should get very interesting. Because two Heroes means it’s highly likely there’s an additional Demon Lord to deal with . . . and if the one Artpe remembers was some kind of counterbalance to Maetel, the unknown one is likely to be a great deal more threatening as a counterbalance to HIM.

Overall even though I’m not fond of the “all the girls fall for Artpe” angle, I’m still enjoying the rest of the story. I rate this book Recommended.

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The Scroll of Kings (The Lost Books #1)

Title: The Scroll of Kings

Author: Sarah Prineas

Series: The Lost Books #1

Alex loves books, and is determined to be a librarian. No matter what his father wants. But something is killing librarians, and the books are restless. Soon Alex has more to worry about than keeping his job . . .

This was a lot of fun. Between books that have their own kind of life, curses that can call out the things inside a book and use them to attack, and a young man who may not have liked the sword but at least knows how to use it, the crazy events just keep piling up.

I was less fond of the queen’s side of the story, although Kenneret looks like she might become a more interesting character in the next book. Her struggle to be her own person was just less compelling to me, as most of what we see is her thinking to herself, and a few interactions with her uncle. Alex already knows what he wants, even if he’s not sure the exact shape of it, and he has more concrete struggles to realize his dreams.

And zoology books spawning ACTUAL LIONS is awesome.

But this book does set up a series, so with the initial setup out of the way, the fun should only continue to accelerate. I’m very much looking forward to the next in the series. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

Hollow Season (Of Cats and Dragons #4)

Title: Hollow Season: The Quest for the Autumn King #2

Authors: Carol E. Leever and Camilla Ochlan

Series: Of Cats and Dragons #4

Omen is glad to be on land again, but their quest for the Autumn Lands continues to surprise him. Autumn’s influence is spreading. Kyr’s hex is growing worse. They have no time to waste, but the path to the Mountain of Shadow is growing ever more dangerous . . .

I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I buy these books anyway because I love them.

This is the next leg of the journey to recover a kidnapped king, so if you haven’t read the earlier books, go read those first. I love the dynamics between the various characters on this journey. Whether it’s Templar baiting Omen, Tormy innocently terrorizing the locals, or Devastation’s trolling, they’re such a fun group to adventure with. And I love the addition of Nikki, who is somewhat shy and sweet and despite a hard past doesn’t seem unduly burdened by it, and is yet another of Omen’s improbable relatives (the way Omen keeps stumbling across people related to one of his five bloodlines kills me).

I also really like the way the world keeps expanding. It’s getting bigger in obvious ways, because they’re visiting another country, but we’re also getting more backstory on some familiar names (and the way Devastation reacts to certain things certainly feels very telling, too, especially given what they discover in the palace).

The story remains hilarious. Omen’s improv song (lyrics courtesy of Tormy and Templar) was my favorite part, although Omen’s ongoing grudge against Templar for inciting Tormy to eat his previous instrument is a close second.

Overall, this is an easy one to recommend. There’s so much packed into these books, and they always feel like they’re over too soon. Can’t wait for the next one! Highly Recommended.

Strangers in Atlantis (Seaborne #2)

Title: Strangers in Atlantis

Author: Matt Myklush

Series: Seaborne #2

Dean Seaborne had hoped to leave the life of a pirate behind. Then he got arrested, and he’s left with the choice to hang or participate in another dirty scheme. This time, he’s tasked with robbing a castle island for nobility. But the island hides the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, a kingdom of legend . . . and secrets.

It’s pretty funny to watch other people call Dean out on his bluffs. In this case, it leads to him, Waverly, and Ronan being mislabeled “entertainers,” and therefore required to show off the skills that supposedly got them hired. So Dean told just enough of the truth that this means they’re all considered professional daredevils.

Which means Dean just volunteered himself to go swimming with sea serpents. Again.

I liked the growing tension between Dean and Waverly. They just aren’t connecting with each other anymore, and she’s pushing him away with her assumptions. I do wish Ronan had more of a role, as his best moment happens offscreen.

It’s also fun to see the depths of the mess Dean’s embroiled himself in this time. He’s got so many villains surrounding him he’s spoiled for choice, but the right answer isn’t obvious.

Overall this is a good continuation of the first book. This story would also be decent by itself, if you never got around to reading the first one. I rate this book Recommended.

The Awakening (Eve of Redemption #8)

Title: The Awakening

Author: Joe Jackson

Series: Eve of Redemption #8

The dead are rising, and the cities have called a council to address the issue. But a group of attendees aren’t content to just talk—they’ve banded together to investigate. Leighandra, a half-elf who is neither great warrior nor great mage, finds herself swept up in that group who seeks the truth . . .

I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I bought the book anyway because I love the series.

This follows a new set of characters, although it lightly touches on Kari’s adventures (mostly as reports or rumors from other characters) which helps orient series readers to where this is in the timeline. Because of that, this is also a good place for new readers to hop in despite being so late in the series.

Despite a mostly new cast, there are a few cameos. Karinda has a small role, and it’s hysterical to see the differences between how Karinda acts with Kari versus this bunch. Kari just can’t help seeing a familiar friend and these guys get O Mighty Archmage.

Of the new cast, I adore Max, who is a lunarar (wolf-like humaniod). I like his wife, and how the two of them interact. I’m really not much of a romance fan in general—I hate “relationships” that are just physical attraction, especially when one or both of the participants are behaving in ways that would be clear warning signs in a real relationship (so sick of “dark past” love interests who are just jerks with a pretty face). Max and Audrei were so much the opposite. They had an established relationship, based on mutual respect, and they were both PEOPLE WORTHY OF RESPECT. They honored each other. They were kind to each other and to those around them. They were HUMBLE. But they weren’t some too-perfect-to-feel-real relationship because of the struggles Max has with letting even his wife see his burdens, and the child that rocked their relationship and their faith. Max was faithful to his wife together or apart, and she to him.

And of course all those scenes with Max looking like a wet dog were too much fun.

Galadon is also a great deal of fun. I liked his fragmented memories, his confusion about where he’s been since the war, and the way everyone back home reacted to his return. At the same time, I like that he’s not, by and large, the main focus, as his story and Kari’s have a lot in common.

Quote:

Galadon nodded.  “We’ll need to confer with my generals anyway, to ask about the local trouble with the gnolls before we go out blindly.  So we’ll get our answers either way.  But I beg of you: If they try to forcibly put me back on the throne, take me hostage and head north.”

And this had me just about dying laughing:

“What the heck is a paladin doing with a crowbar?” Starlenia blurted.
“Always be prepared,” the knight replied with no trace of humor.

I really liked that scene where Leighandra was talking to Starlenia about what each of them can do. It’s true that Leighandra isn’t contributing much in one sense—but she knows her role, is COMFORTABLE in it (wow, that’s huge), and is able to see big picture and small (again, without pride getting in the way. . . . I’m sensing a theme here. No wonder these feel so different from pretty much all the other books I read).

The trials for the seals have a number of interesting twists. The “collect them all” plot device is a familiar one, but I was still surprised at several points. Each one has a focus: some emphasize strength, some cleverness, some wisdom, and so on. And it really does take the whole team to pull this off.

And that tease for Irrathmore . . . I can’t wait to see what that world is like.

Overall, this is another excellent adventure, with a new set of amazing characters to follow. Given the end, it looks like Kari will be interacting with them a lot in the future, so I look forward to more great stories to come. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

The Amber Isle (Book of Never #1)

Title: The Amber Isle

Author: Ashley Capes

Series: The Book of Never #1

Never is searching for answers—about his mother’s refusal to name him, about the strange curse on his blood. Having recently come into possession of a map of the Amber Isles, he sets out. Unlike the other treasure hunters, he doesn’t want gold, just answers. Ancient ruins may be the only chance of a clue, when modern libraries have failed him . . .

This was good, although it was lighter than I liked on character development. It’s mostly how Never gets to the island and then navigates through the ruins depicted on his map. The end doesn’t tie anything up conclusively, so it’s on future books to push the adventure forward.

I liked Never as a character. He’s a bit snarky, but also clearly desperate. He can’t just accept the mysteries in his life. Given how hard it is for him to avoid accidentally killing people, though, it’s not hard to see why. And the curse backfires on him in some ways, besides the obvious.

The problem for me, though, is that this is such a small fragment of the adventure. The action is nice but it would’ve been good to get either character growth or some solid answers and not just teases. It was a nice read but I finished feeling ambivalent about continuing.

Given the shorter length, I would recommend reading this as part of a collection with the first couple of books. That way it won’t feel like it ends when it’s just getting started. I rate this book Neutral.

Convergence (Eve of Redemption #7)

Title: Convergence

Author: Joe Jackson

Series: Eve of Redemption #7

Erik has been kidnapped, but his family is determined to get him back. But Erik isn’t the only problem facing Kari. The city is still smouldering from the aftermath of the attacks, and her body is warning her she can’t keep going with these kinds of adventures . . .

I received a free review copy from the author. However, I liked it enough I also bought the book.

As expected from the ominous news last book, Erik’s situation is grim. Captured by the demon lord he and the Silver Blades once bested, held deep within demon-controlled territory, there’s little chance he’ll be rescued. Yet knowing his siblings, he knows they’ll try.

I liked the unexpected way this worked out. The split viewpoint really helps here, as we can see Erik’s inside view of the situation, as well as Kris’s approach to infiltrating deep enough to have a chance at getting him back. But the complications—some good, some bad—keep forcing both sides to change their approach.

Also, I’m never going to get tired of these werewolves. Sharyn is just enough like the beshathans to cause some really fun interactions.

Kris is a very different leader from Kari or Erik. He takes account of the people with him, the situation around him, and is constantly planning. I like how he’s aware of the potential problems with having fighters who have never actually killed before, and how he deals with the psychological aspects of his team and the enemy. He’s also suitably epic in fights, although I get the feeling he’s got much more in reserve. His divine heritage works somewhat differently than Kari’s gift from Sakkrass.

I like that Kris is a Christian, and acknowledges that this poses a few theological difficulties in a world with multiple gods, but since the plot isn’t here to argue about such niceties, the story just notes it and moves on. In some ways his is a harder faith than Kari, who can interact more directly with her gods, but he’s rock solid in it. And it doesn’t stop him from encouraging Liria to connect with her own creator, Sakkrass.

I also liked getting more of Corbanis. He’s fighting for the family he’s just gotten back, and he’s also quite amusing when he’s really mad.

“Hang on, Aeligos gave me his lock picks,” Corbanis said. He pulled the shield off his back and slammed his girth behind it into the door, smashing the flimsy portal off its hinges with ease. “That was easier than he makes it out to be…”

Erik gets quite a nice arc too. I liked that some of his rough edges are knocked off almost unintentionally as he finds himself in uncharted territory. I can’t wait to see the ways this will change things going forward. I like how an earlier kindness cycled back around again and gave him so much.

We also get a bit of an update on Typhonix, which was nice. Some intriguing hints point to future stories, but for now it’s mostly an interlude to keep everyone up to date.

In an interesting twist, Kari herself isn’t a member of the rescue squad. She’s done so much the last several books, with not much of a chance to take a break, and I think it’s great we see some of that catching up with her enough to force her to tend to her own needs. Of course, that doesn’t mean she’s on vacation. With her house burned down, the Order a mess from the recent incursion, and various other things that crop up, a long journey might have felt like a break.

And by the end she’s MORE than made up for any lower-key things she was involved in before. Kari on the warpath is capable of some delightfully enormous mayhem . . .

I also found it hysterical that Kari finally learns the meaning of the insult she’s been so casually slinging around, and her reaction to the whole episode is priceless.

Overall this is yet another solid entry in a fantastic series. I rate this book Highly Recommended.