Bookish Wednesday: Soulbound to a Dragon by Kurtis Eckstein

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with a rather disappointing book. It’s Soulbound to a Dragon, Pantherians of Azra Book 01, by Kurtis Eckstein!

Plot: The plot is incredibly stereotypical and while there are a few new ideas the fact that the star crossed tragic lovers trope was in full play meant they were not enough to catch my interest or energy to bother getting past a certain point in the book. The setting is okay, it serves as sort of Urban Fantasy/Magitech sort of world, but the fact that the author decided to use the word Pantherian to mean all half breed characters despite the fact that the main character is a female with black hair and cat ears and tail was just the icing on the boring cake. I mean if you use the word Pantherian, you are going to think of a panther. Especially with that cover art. Sure you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but it’s a pretty obvious flaw.

I assume that it was a play on the word Therianthrope, meaning a human who can shapeshift to an animal form, but to have our main point of view character be a panther girl makes the entire word choice completely useless and nonsense when the next major character we meet is a half breed of a human and a freaking dragon. Pantherian doesn’t really fit for a species classification there now does it? Frankly with all that and the stupid tragic lovers trope being played straight for all it’s worth, it just meant I was completely and utterly unenthusiastic to bother reading past a certain point. I used to stick to my rule that I’ll finish out a story no matter how bad it is, but with the amount of stories that I’ve experienced over the years, and that has only increased exponentially since I started writing a few years ago, I’ve since had to modify my rules. Frankly the stereotypical plot and the nonsensical verbage all meant I had little reason to continue with the book. I had enough warning flags going off in my head to tell me not to bother with this story, so I listened to my instincts and didn’t bother reading past a certain point. Normally I don’t do this, as even terrible books deserve my time to utterly lambast them, but I had more important things to do.

Characters: Riel is our main character and point of view through which we see this world of Azra. Frankly she’s much too ignorant and way too pessimistic about her situation. Granted she has every reason to be given how ignorant she is, but it’s such an overdone stereotype that I couldn’t bother liking her all that much. The rest of the cast was little better, with Eli being our main male character.

Overall: Skip this book, it’s really not worth your time when you will likely waste reading or listening to this.

For those who like: Stereotypical Plots, Nonsensical Verbage even for Fantasy.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above, or mediocrity.



Bookish Wednesday: Assassins of Altis by Jack Campbell


This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the third entry in the Pillars of Reality Series! It’s the Assassins of Altis by Jack Campbell!

Plot Synopsis: Trapped within the dead city of Marandur, Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain must escape both merciless barbarians and the pitiless Imperial Legion. Beyond those dangers lie the mightiest and most unforgiving powers in the world of Dematr: the Great Guilds that rule the world with iron fists…

Plot: This entry of the series picks up almost immediately after the end of the last entry, and is the halfway point of the series. This is probably my favorite entry thus far for what occurs to various plot and sub-plot threads, but I won’t spoil it by telling you the details. Needless to say that by now this series had me hooked thoroughly although at the time this was the latest book released. Thankfully for both me and you the series has now been finished, and I’ll be covering the last three entries in formal audiobook reviews for GiN.

Characters: We get to meet lots of new people this entry, although my favorites are still Mari and Alain, I have to admit I enjoyed Mage Asha the most of the rest of the cast. Of the newcomers Mage Dav and Mechanic Dav, yeah it gets confusing, are probably the standouts.

Overall: An excellent third entry, I was firmly hooked to the series by the time I finished this book. Please look forward to my formal reviews of the last three entries coming up next week and every other week after.

Anime Sunday: Kotetsujou no Kabaneri Episode 01 Impressions


This week for Anime Sunday I’ve got another series from the Spring 2016 season. It’s my Kotetsujou no Kabaneri Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot Synopsis: A mysterious virus appears during the industrial revolution, the infection transforming humans into Kabane and rapidly spreads. Kabane are aggressive, undead creatures that cannot be defeated unless the glowing heart, which is protected by a layer of iron, is pierced. Unfortunately, most melee weapons and the steam-pressure guns used by the Bushi are not very effective against them. On the island country Hinomoto, people have built fortress-like stations to shelter themselves from these creatures. People access the stations and transport wares between them with the help of armored steam locomotives called Hayajiro.

Plot: The plot isn’t my favorite, but that’s more a personal issue rather than anything to do with the plot. I don’t tend to enjoy Horror/Zombie series very much, and that’s very much what Kabaneri is. That all being said I was intrigued by the plot, but I might postpone watching the series until later because I really don’t enjoy Zombie series.

Characters: Ikoma seems to be our male lead, and while he seems to be a pretty smart guy, who seems to come up with the idea of using rotation and increased power to pierce Kabaneri hearts, I don’t particularly enjoy his character all that much. Maybe it’s because I haven’t connected with him yet, but his actions are much too headstrong and not thought out very well. Mumei on the other hand seems to be our female lead, and she’s actually pretty mysterious, but still pretty interesting. The rest of the cast we really don’t get introduced to at all, with the exception of Ayame, who might actually be the female lead. Or Mumei and Ayame are both leads. Either way we don’t get much character development in this episode.

Art: The art is great, but not my cup of tea with way too much gore for my personal tastes.

Music: Here’s the real reason I watched the series, the music is directed by Hiroyuki Sawano probably one of my favorite sound directors in the industry and Aimer sings the ending theme with Chelly from the band EGOIST. Anyone who’s read my Anime Sunday columns knows I’m a huge fan of Aimer’s music, so I was pretty psyched to listen to the music, even if the rest of the show isn’t my usual fare.

Overall: If you like Steampunk, Zombies and/or Samurai, you’ll love Kabaneri.

For those who like: Action, Drama, Horror, Steampunk, Zombies, Samurai, Great Plot, Excellent Artwork, Fantastic Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell


This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m continuing with the second entry in The Pillars of Reality! It’s The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell!

Plot Synopsis: Someone wants to kill Mari, a young steam mechanic in the guild that controls all technology. She has learned that her world of Dematr is headed for a catastrophe that will destroy civilization and that mages really can alter reality for short periods. Someone also wants to kill Alain, a young mage who has learned that mechanics are not frauds, as his guild teaches, and that mechanic Mari is the only person who can prevent the oncoming disaster.

Plot: The plot gets a lot better in this entry, because Mari and Alain decide to give the metaphorical finger to their respective guilds and find out what the hell is going on in the world. It also continues to explore their ever burgeoning relationship in a way that was pretty believable, and not at all forced to me. This entry was quite a bit of fun and I really enjoyed it.

Characters: We get introduced to a few characters who only got brief mentions in the previous entry, as well as a few new faces. I particularly like General Flynn and he’s the standout of the newcomers. But Alain and Mari are still my favorite. I just enjoy their interactions quite a bit.

Overall: An excellent sequel and well worth the read!


Bookish Wednesday: Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell


This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the first in a series I just found recently. It’s Dragons of Dorcastle, Pillars of Reality Book 01, by Jack Campbell

Plot Synopsis: For centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a storm approaches that could sweep everything away.

Plot: The plot starts off pretty quickly and it stays sudden for the rest of the book, which is great.  It looks to be an interesting and engaging start to a series that looks to be very promising. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Characters: Mari and Alain are our two leads and PoV characters. Alain is quite interesting for his character flaws, but Mari is just a kick ass female lead and frequent readers of this column will know I love that.  The rest of the rather small cast is interesting, but I enjoy the leads the most.

Overall: This may seem cliched, and does fall into some pretty standard tropes. Despite all this it still is engaging and fun to read.

For those who like: Steampunk, Magic, Fantasy, Drama, Action, Excellent Cast of Characters, Fantastic Plot.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but how can you hate that?