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Best of 2014 Part 2a: Novels

Doing one of these posts often takes a lot out of me because of all the linking and checking and verification and formatting and everything, but lists like this also help me crystalize my year in reading, so I value them quite highly. Thankfully, I’m able to get this list out in time and most of the books on the list have already been reviewed as well, so that’s something too.

With the year 2014 now done and over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st July to December 31st. I didn’t read as many books this time as I wanted to, primarily because I got married in the first week of July itself, and things have changed a fair bit. But life remains exciting and interesting in equal measure, and my reading also happens to match that rather closely, so I’ll take that in full indeed!

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #12

The twelfth and final book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Erin M. Evans’ fourth and most recent Brimstone Angels novel, Fire In The Blood, the cover for which is done by Min Yum. I just posted my review of the novel, so you can head over to the post before this one to check it out, but suffice to say that Fire In The Blood happens to be the best novel in the series so far and that the ending of it gives me a lot of hope for the next novel, which Erin is currently in the process of writing and which will be called Ashes of The Tyrant.

The first of the twelfth and final set of comic covers I pick this year is for Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #3 by Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, John-Paul Bove and Neil Uyetake with the cover by Sarah Stone. The second is for Hexed #5 by Michael Alan Nelson, Dan Mora, Gabriel Cassata and Ed Dukeshire with the cover by Dan. The third and final cover is for Secret Six #1 by Gail Simone, Ken Lashley, Drew Geraci, Jason Wright and Carlos M. Mangual with the cover by Dale Eaglesham and Jason. Legends of Baldur’s Gate, Hexed and Secret Six are three of the most recent and also best comics of 2014, and that’s aptly reflected by the internal and external content both, and it really gratifies to be able to share these great covers with you all.

So without further ado, hit the break to see all the covers in their full glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Advent Review #24: Fire In The Blood by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

Erin M. Evans’ Brimstone Angels series has proven to be quite a good one as it has progressed. These novels feature the tiefling twins Havilar and Farideh as the main characters, with a great cast of supporting chracters, each of whom is different from the other. And as great as the characters are, the plots themselves have been fairly engaging on a minimal level. I love reading the adventures of these two, with Farideh struggling to learn more about her warlock pact with the cambion devil Lorcan, and Havilar falling in love with a fellow young adventurer Aubrin Crownsilver, and both of them managing all of that while also taking down the bad guys one by one.

In the recently released Fire In The Blood, the fourth novel in the series, we pick up from where we left off at the end of The Adversary last year. The characters have all made their way to the city of Suzail, the capital of the Cormyr empire where Aubrin happens to be a noble, and even one with a half-strong claim to the throne itself. Things have been pretty rough for everyone, and Erin M. Evans revisits the concept of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. Each character has to face a great many personal challenges as they are assaulted by tons of things on all sides, and have to figure out what they really want out of their lives and the events around them. Goes without saying really that Fire In The Blood is a pretty damn good novel and is certainly the best in the series so far.

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Brimstone Angels: The Adversary by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

The Adversary is the third novel in both the Brimstone Angels series and in the crossover The Sundering series which was the big event for Forgotten Realms last year. Massive upheavals on a multiversal scale aside, the novel also featured some major changes to the status quo when Lorcan’s sister Sairche tricked Havilar and Farideh into a bargain that sent them forward in time almost a decade, time which they lost and never recovered from. But that wasn’t everything of course and as The Sundering progressed in the other novels, with many old heroes returning all over the multiverse, the tiefling twins also took their place in the grand scheme of things with a climactic twist that changed them completely. The Adversary also made it to my “Best of 2013 Part 2” list at the end of last year, a deserved spot.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

Erin’s second entry in the Brimstone Angels series was unfortunately not as good as the first, but it was still a rousing story in which she moved the story forward significantly as new challenges, new allies, new enemies and new complications presented themselves to the tiefling twins Havilar and Farideh. Here Erin explored their personal conflicts a great deal, and really made the novel about them, which is all you can ask really.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Brimstone Angels by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

Brimstone Angels is Erin M. Evans’ first novel in the series of the same name. I read the novel towards the tail-end of 2012, and it also happened to be the first book from the author that I’d read. And I was immediately a fan. The journey of the tiefling twins Havilar and Farideh was something that I enjoyed on a whole lot of levels, and it also got me much more interested in the Forgotten Realms sagas, much as Paul S. Kemp’s own Erevis Cale novels had done just a few months ago. If you want to get started with the Forgotten Realms setting, then the Brimstone Angels series is the way to go!

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Forgotten Realms: Forsaken House by Richard Baker (Book Review)

It has been a good long while since I’ve read a Forgotten Realms novel. The last one was in December of last year, Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham. It was a fairly good read, but I’ve definitely read better, from the works of Erin M. Evans and Paul S. Kemp and Richard Baker and all. It is definitely a setting that I love exploring and the more I read in it, the more excited I get about it. Forgotten Realms fully explores the multiverse side of things for a fantasy setting, and that is part of the charm, in addition to the utter abundance and wonder of its many different races and cultures and what not.

And in that respect, Richard Baker’s first novel in the Last Mythal Saga, Forsaken House, is really good. It presents many different facets of Elf life in the Forgotten Realms and it also presents a really fast-paced, excitable and intriguing premise paired with some really interesting characters. The only other novel of Richard’s I’ve read before this is his Condemnation, the third novel in the 6-part War of the Spider Queen multi-author extravaganza and that too was a damn fine read. It is great to see Richard’s best replicated here, and the Last Mythal Saga is definitely a tale that I want to read in full now.

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Advent Reviews Day 21: Erevis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp

Paul’s Erevis Cale Trilogy was my first introduction to Forgotten Realms, and to Wizards of the Coast, earlier this year, and it’s turned into a fascination with the entire setting that just refuses to go away. I haven’t read as much within it as I’d like, but the stuff I’ve read has been fairly good so this fascination is definitely here to stay. Plus Paul is an excellent writer in my opinion. This is another from-memory review so if I get anything wrong, I do apologise.

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