Hi everyone, and welcome to the few new subscribers! It had been hard to keep up on the blog recently, but I have been invited to two blog tours and am doing an author interview as well in July, so I feel like there is some validation coming from this.
Also it is kind of nice to have my own little space where I can be a little more honest about things than on, let’s say, Instagram
One book that I read recently and absolutely loved (I Actually really loved the entire series, and just read the ARC for the third book) is Smoke and Summons by Charlie N Holmberg.
The description reads:
A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.
As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption she finds a surprising ally.
A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.
Now to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…
At the end of the book I was absolutely screaming (figuratively), and I don’t usually scream at books. I was screaming at the audiobook then had to ditch it with 20% left to read faster. I had never heard of Charlie N. Holmberg but was looking for something to listen to on a long drive, and I was SO SHOCKED, so shocked at how amazing the book is.
Rone gets himself into a shitload of trouble when he meets Sandis, who is on the run from quite literally her own personal hell. The book opens with the lifestyle of Sandis and the vessels in Kazen’s lair, and it is not a happy opening. The whole book maintains a darker tone. I love the characters, they are flawed but pretty deep in their own way. There is a lot of room for development throughout the series. The Rone Sandis friendship seemed special, with hints of more being a possibility in the future, and it was in such a real way that she interacted with him and ended up appealing to Rone’s good side. Unless someone summons fire-horses into you and murders your friends, you probably won’t relate to the characters, but they are very likeable and have some great banter.
The world is a dreadfully dirty city, crammed full of factories and people, horses and carriages, and what seems like early firearm production. The magic is occult, highly illegal, and dark and cruel to those involved. There is not a lot of actual lore and background in this book though, it sets the stage for the rest of the series and is more action packed with nonstop events than background-y.
The craziest part was that towards the end I just couldn’t put it down, despite that the book is nonstop filled with action. The last 50 pages or so were INSANE. For a 47North published book as well, this was extremely well edited and well written. Holmberg is a storyteller for sure, and I finished the book and immediately started looking for the second in the series.
The two narrators were great as well in the audiobook, they were very consistent and Scott Merriman really had the Rone drawl down to perfection.
If I had to come up with one bad thing to say, it is probably that I don’t love cliffhangers. I would have had book 2 on speed dial anyway, but there is definitely a huge cliffhanger.
The book really is truly unique though, I haven’t read anything with a premise even close to this before. I 100% definitely recommend to any fans of fantasy, the occult, snarky thieves, and fiery demon horses😍