Rating: 4/5 — Gripping story, engaging world, marred by muddy character development and speedy resolution

The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

Rating: 4/5
Link: Amazon

Call me a deranged individual with a blood thirsty mindset but I love assassin novels. There’s just something about the way they sneak about in the shadows, using the cover of darkness to hide their evil deeds, jumping from rooftop to rooftop as they stalk their targets before plunging their favourite dagger into their heart, snipping their aorta before melting away into the night — leaving the authorities bewildered as to who, what, why and how someone was killed.

Unfortunately, this isn’t that type of assassin novel, despite the subscript on the book cover seemingly promising…

Rating 5/5 — My AthaQuin ship has sailed

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah Maas

Rating: 5/5
Link: Amazon

How apt that my first review of 2021 should be a young adult fantasy novel that’s just brimming with gory details, lustful relationships and a set up that promises at more adventures for our heroic but flawed protagonists in the future. Just like how 2021 is shaping up, the dust is clearing and we’re beginning to see the first vestiges of hope for the fantasy genre, which has too long slumbered in the doldrums, beating the same ‘orc-elf-wizard’ drum since time immemorial.

Sarah Maas’ refreshing take on modern fantasy, mixed with young adult tropes, sprinkled with…

Too many opinions spoil an epic story

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In 2012, back when I started to really take writing as a serious craft instead of something I did for English literature classes in school, I made it my mission to read as many books as possible in the shortest amount of time. My focus was on fantasy (due to my interest in the genre) and, every night, I would burn through at least two books before sleep finally overtook me. What I’ve learned from swallowing books every night like a buffet at the Hilton was how similar some books are to each other. This may come as no surprise…

Telling the difference between mediocrity and best-seller material

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Mediocre novels are a dime a dozen, best selling ones are like looking for the diamond in the rough. At least, this is my opinion about the state of the literary world in 2021. I don’t make these over-the-top assertions from the unfathomable heights of an umpire chair glaring down at a person’s dreams at best-seller recognition and the stardom that follows it. …

Tips and tricks to help yourself be heard in the increasingly saturated self-publishing book market

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According to a cursory search on Google, the number of self-published books are growing exponentially year on year. In 2018 alone, there were more than 1.68 million self-published titles, up from the 1.19 million books that were self-published in 2017. Despite my failure in locating the number of self-published books released in 2020, during my messy 5-minute foray into the world of Google search, I think it is reasonable to assume that the number of self-published books have again increased exponentially in 2020 and will be expected to continue doing so going into the new year.

Although there has been…

From controller to best-seller

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‘Inspiration is everywhere’, as the old adage goes. Yet, many people are still trying to grasp this concept, asking themselves the similarly age old question, ‘Well, what does this mean in practice?’ In the realm of storytelling, inspiration is a loose term ascribed to the imagination of the author, spilling out onto the blank pages in a tide of black ink (or black coloured font, for the modern-leaning audience this article is pointed at). …

Rating: 4/5 — Amazing Sci Fi trip ruined by chosen book format

Book cover for ‘And So Began The War’ by Ian Hollis

Rating: 4/5
Link: Amazon

To me, robots and sci-fi go hand in hand as an obvious natural pairing. Take the futuristic elements that come with talking and walking robots, the conflict of robots armed to the teeth and humans having a growing fear of mechanical dominancy, and the philosophical questions that abound from the relationship between flesh and gear, and you get an amazing sci-fi hit that’s just waiting for stardom.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this genre pairing has been picked up in recent times. Aside from visual mediums (think Terminator, Transformers and Gundam), there isn’t much exploration as…

Spy thriller flash fiction

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Rain splattered on the muddy ground, the heavens pouring down as if weeping for the lost souls that littered the cemetery. Jack Carlyle wasn’t sure whether they were tears of joy or sadness, but he could not care less. He shifted his umbrella over his head, to better cover him from the pouring rain. The calming staccato of drops smacking against his umbrella was, every once in awhile, interrupted by a loud sob or a gut wrenching question of:


Jack knew why, but kept his silence. The coffin was being lowered into the ground, the national anthem accompanying it’s…

Rating 5/5 — ‘Black Mirror’-esque novel

Book cover for ‘Tales from the Red Sun Village’ by Mark Swaine

Rating: 5/5
Link: Amazon

A definite breath of fresh air — Mark Swaine has done an excellent job in putting together three short stories from different genres, plots, tones and characters into a cohesive novel that feels like the ‘Black Mirror’ of anthology series rather than three separate stories in one. Each story in ‘Tales from a Red Sun Village’ start from the perspective of a third person story-teller, whose mission, personality and character slowly begin to embed itself into the overall narrative as the reader delves into each distinct but wonderfully crafted story.

It was an intriguing anthology novel…

How writing a novella can help prepare you to write your next big novel

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‘What is a novella?’ is the head-scratching question I receive when telling people that I have two novellas published on Amazon. To that, I always smile and reply, saying ‘Think of novels as the big sister, the first born who’s been earmarked by your doting parents to achieve big things. Think of novellas as the little brother, who to some might seem to be the second favourite child, but is nevertheless full of ambition himself and models himself after his big sister.’

That’s just that — novellas are a smaller novel. Stories that, to some, do not hit the highs…

Andy James Trevors

Writer, lawyer, insomniac. Strictly in that order. www.ajtrevors.com

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