Winter's Reach

Winter's Reach❰Epub❯ ❧ Winter's Reach Author Craig Schaefer – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Pope Benignus is dying, and the man who takes his throne will hold the reins of an empire Conspiracies swirl like shadows around Livia, the pope s daughter, who refuses to be anyone s pawn chasing the Pope Benignus is dying, and the man who takes his throne will hold the reins of an empire Conspiracies swirl like shadows around Livia, the pope s daughter, who refuses to be anyone s pawn chasing the whispers of a deadly coup, she vows to expose the truth and save her church from disaster Livia has secrets of her own, though, and one wrong move could cost her life and her soul Felix is the scion of a dying merchant house, a man with just one chance to save his family and the woman he loves His last hope lies in the snowbound hell of Winter s Reach, a former prison colony turned free city under a brutal tyrant s reign Livia and Felix have never crossed paths, but they ve both been snared in a far greater web than they can imagine They along with a pair of veteran bounty hunters, an exiled politician, and a sadistic coven of witches are cogs in one man s apocalyptic plan for revenge A plan which, if it succeeds, will leave an entire nation in flames. March 24, 2020 FREE today November 2016 Oooh Oooh Oooh Fantasy by Craig Schaefer Yum Yum Yum Buddy Read OOOFbCSYYYBR with some of my slightly excellent BB B colleagues Friendly warning I m slightly excited about this book Remember what happens when I m slightly excited about a book Yep, that s right, GIFs tend to attack en masse Enjoy.First instalment in the series BOOM 5 stars Just like that.Damn I already worship the ground Schaefer walks on, what am I supposed to do to pro March 24, 2020 FREE today November 2016 Oooh Oooh Oooh Fantasy by Craig Schaefer Yum Yum Yum Buddy Read OOOFbCSYYYBR with some of my slightly excellent BBB colleagues Friendly warning I m slightly excited about this book Remember what happens when I m slightly excited about a book Yep, that s right, GIFs tend to attack en masse Enjoy.First instalment in the series BOOM 5 stars Just like that.Damn I already worship the ground Schaefer walks on, what am I supposed to do to prove my undying love for him now Wait I think I got it I ll turn my Holy Trinity of Utter Awesomeness HToUA view spoiler Pippa DaCosta Ilona Andrews Glen Cook Duh hide spoiler into a Holy Quadrinity of Utter Awesomeness HQoUA view spoiler Pippa DaCosta Ilona Andrews Glen Cook Craig Schaefer DUH hide spoiler There, problem fixed Now on to the fangirling Just kidding Then again, maybe not I know, right I m telling you, my Little Barnacles, Hitchcock is a total amateur compared to me.Okay, so the first thing you need to know about this book is it s slightly awesome this just in case you weren t paying attention And hadn t noticed my rating And hadn t read the previous paragraph You re welcome. How and why is it slightly awesome, you ask Now that s a very interesting question, and I shall bethan happy to satisfy your eager curiosity by kindly answering it view spoiler I m so awesome sometimes hide spoiler Here goes Schemers and scammers and liars, oh my Craig Schaefer, you make Glen Cook proud Such glorious backstabbing Such delicious double crossing Conspiracies contra conspiracies Treacherous everything and everyone Cunning stuff galore Foxes being outfoxed by the foxes they thought they were outfoxing while these foxes where outfoxing them It s beautiful Okay, so there s so much marvellous scheming going on here that you sometimes lose track of who is trying to screw whom over But you know what Ultimately, it doesn t matter Because all that counts at the end of the day is that this book features one of the Mostest Exquisitest Collection of Machiavellian, Slippery Bastards Bitches Ever MECoMSBBE And what do we say to that We say YUM Obviously Mostest coolest world and stuff.Some people have been foolishly reluctant to read this book because of the blurb and the world it depicts I don t want to name names here, because I am not like that and things like these are just not done, but some people are slightly silly, if you ask me waves at Gavin cheerfully Yes, it is true that this world is a bit reminiscent of 15th 16th century Italy What with the papacy stuff, Machiavellian everything and Italian sounding names And yes, it is also true that, because of this, the world isn t that original But who the shrimp cares As long as I get political machinations, blackmail, fucked up slightly screwed up bloodlines, revenge, lies and delightful betrayal, I m happy And if I m happy, you re happy, right Right Characterization heaven and stuff.No wonder I somewhat worship Craig Schaefer I mean, the guy is slightly talented when it comes to writing mostest excellentest complexest characters Okay, so some poor Barnacles might feel kinda sorta overwhelmed here, because there are LOTS of characters in this story BUT They are ALL mostest excellentest and stuff, so problem solved and stuff Besides, there scharacter variety here than there are species at the San Diego Zoo, so I dare you to NOT find ten a couple of characters to your liking loving here We ve got mercenaries, bankers, popes, pirates, cardinals, bounty hunters, politicians, knight errands in disguise, confessors, sociopathic mayors, witches, barmaids, priests, assassins, spies, urchins Aka every single character you ve ever dreamed of reading about, right Right I know you so well, my Little Barnacles The Awesome Guuuuurl Power Display AGPD .Craig Schaefer The only male author along with Glen Cook I Worship Thee, of course who truly knows how to write amazing female characters Let me tell you, my Little Arthropods, the guy s got the whole guuuuurl power thing figured out Okay, so I already knew that before reading this book, because, you know, Caitlin rocks and stuff But I have to admit that Schaefer s Super Duper Revanche Chick Clique SSDRCC isthan I could ever dream of finding in a book written by a lowly male no offense to my Manly Barnacles These gals are so yummy I m kidnapping all of them and locking them away in my Cool Chicks Harem Poof Gone One of them will get the special High Security treatment, too Ah, Veruca I think I might be totally in love have a certain fondness for you You re batshit crazy, merciless, homicidal, and rule over a nation of criminals Sounds to me like we re a match made in heaven.But you know what makes the SSDRCC really wondrous No matter how tough as nails, delightfully ruthless, beautifully devious and or splendidly unhinged these babes are, they also have weaknesses They can be fragile They are not ALL badass ALL the time They are delectably flawed, and that makes them feel real And that, my Lovely Decapods, is bloody shrimping cool Let s dance This officially marks the end of the Deadly GIF Attack DGA You re welcome. And the moral of this It Took me so Long to Write this Crappy Non Review I Now Have Great Great Great Grandchildren Crappy Non Review ITmsLtWtCNRINHGGGGCNR is I have the best father in law ever What do you mean this has nothing to do with this book Of course it does What You didn t know Craig Schaefer was my father in law I forget how clueless you sometimes are, my Little Barnacles Craig Schaefer is MY Daniel Faust s beloved daddy ergo, he is my slightly awesome father in law Ha view spoiler hide spoiler Book 2 The Instruments of Control Book 3 Terms of Surrender Book 4 Queen of the Night Winter s Reach is Craig Schaefer s entry for this year s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and is Fantasy Book Review s first semi finalist Although he is mostly known for the Daniel Faust series, this is Schaefer s foray into writing complex dark fantasy It starts by following a young nobleman called Felix who has a plan to go to Winter s Reach to make a deal to save his family s dwindling reputation The problem is that Winter s Reach is controlled by barbaric criminals under the guiding hand Winter s Reach is Craig Schaefer s entry for this year s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and is Fantasy Book Review s first semi finalist Although he is mostly known for the Daniel Faust series, this is Schaefer s foray into writing complex dark fantasy It starts by following a young nobleman called Felix who has a plan to go to Winter s Reach to make a deal to save his family s dwindling reputation The problem is that Winter s Reach is controlled by barbaric criminals under the guiding hand of the notorious Mayor, Veruca Barrett Making this deal might not be so straightforward Against his father s advice, he goes through with the trip but, perhaps he has another motive for venturing to the infamous, blisteringly chaotic city.Elsewhere, an ageing but thoroughly loved Pope is close to death His son is a gambler, drunk and maybe unfit to succeed This leads to political unrest, doubt, plots, divided factions, and evidently a great number of betrayals within the Church Throughout this side of events the Italian esque names of the Cardinals and the Council can be slightly confusing so I took a few notes and was fine.This books greatest asset is it s brilliantly created characters We are presented with such a wide, complex bunch and I didn t think there was one weak point of view perspective The main people we follow are Felix, a pair of bounty hunters, a Cardinal, a villainous banker, and the Pope s daughter who is flirting with certain ancient arts which she really should not be doing I analysed two types of characters in Winter s Reach Firstly, those who change dramatically throughout the book due to the horrors of the world Secondly, those individuals who are aware this world is a vile and corrupt place The latter people don t change too much throughout yet we receive snippets from their past creating a truly three dimensional world The mixture of these types makes for great drama My favourite characters were Felix, Armadeo and Mari Notable mentions go to the assassin, Simon and to Veruca She reminded me of a Batman villain, however, definitely not the kind from the comedy series.From the beginning, it truly shines how well written this book is It seems edited brilliantly and the narrative has an addictive pace that kept me engrossed, essentially being the reason why I finished this in 24 hours The world building and descriptions aren t over the top or too detailed but for a character and plot focused book that isn t an issue The descriptions of the environments and the cast are still deep though just not 10 pages worth when 1 would do, unlike some modern fantasy Every character and event I had a perfectly painted picture of in my mind The prose is fluid and poetic and surprisingly in fiction these days, I didn t notice a single spelling or grammatical error The book starts off quite hopeful with a few likeable characters in the first couple of chapters Things don t stay that way for long Although not Grimdark, this is still quite macabre Mutilation, brutal murders, double crossing, ginormous sea beasts and all the other good stuff those people who ride on the darker side of fantasy enjoy The mask wearing dark religious cult is extremely interesting, haunting and sometimes brutal Towards the end of the story, I had no idea who was helping who and who was trustworthy and it was great This book is the first of 4 completed stories in the Revanche Cycle saga The finale here is pretty great but don t expect closure It sets the sides and leads to a few gems of what may happen in The Instruments of Control To conclude, a stunning dark fantasy narrative with all the double crossing, deceit, blackmail and political chaos you could hope for A great find in my SPFBO group It will take something truly stunning to beat this Note I m pretty sure all 4 of these books cost a combined total of 8.00 on .If you aren t familiar with the contest then check out this link Actual Rating 3.5 StarsThis one is tough for me to rate On one hand I really enjoyed the feel of this novel It immediately jumps into the action, spinning a few different perspectives that quickly weave together into a larger, very political picture The story doesn t try to entangle you in a complicated mess of lore or class wars, two common elements of high fantasy Though I adore both of those things, I found it refreshing to read a fantasy book without an overwhelming emphasis on them On Actual Rating 3.5 StarsThis one is tough for me to rate On one hand I really enjoyed the feel of this novel It immediately jumps into the action, spinning a few different perspectives that quickly weave together into a larger, very political picture The story doesn t try to entangle you in a complicated mess of lore or class wars, two common elements of high fantasy Though I adore both of those things, I found it refreshing to read a fantasy book without an overwhelming emphasis on them On the other hand, I don t know that I m entirely satisfied with the journey if that makes sense I only ever felt a vague interest in how things unfolded, and I faded in and out of being invested in the individual story lines I didn t discover enough about any one character to feel connected to them on a personal level The writing, however, was one of my favorite aspects of Winter s Reach Schaefer s style is descriptive but concise In fact, the beautiful images in my head were a huge part of my enjoyment while reading this I do believe some of the sexually explicit scenes in this novel were unnecessary At times I get the feeling they re tossed into adult novels as a way to sayThis IS an adult book Look There s sex Just in case you were confused Definitely a book for adults winkAlso the phrase water is wet was used twice to say something was obvious Unfortunately I could not stop myself from thinking of the following memeSo needless to say I may have giggled when it was inappropriate to do so.A pretty decent book, there are definitely things to appreciate here I m not sure though if I will continue on The plot picked up near the end, I am low key curious to see where things go from here It s on the Maybe list Craig Schaefer is officially going on my awesome authors shelf I have now read the first three Daniel Faust books, plus this one I might have even liked this better than the Faust series Where Daniel Faust is urban fantasy involving demons and magic sorcery, this is ALL political intrigue, betrayal, lots of plotting, revenge, knights in armor, swords, peasants and nobles Think Game of Thrones, but not as wordy I love that about Schaefer s writing It s succinct I hate long descriptions a Craig Schaefer is officially going on my awesome authors shelf I have now read the first three Daniel Faust books, plus this one I might have even liked this better than the Faust series Where Daniel Faust is urban fantasy involving demons and magic sorcery, this is ALL political intrigue, betrayal, lots of plotting, revenge, knights in armor, swords, peasants and nobles Think Game of Thrones, but not as wordy I love that about Schaefer s writing It s succinct I hate long descriptions and meandering filler He gets right to the point there is a lot of action and great dialogue and pacing This story involves MANY different characters who are either part of a corrupt religious government or working against it I really got into all the characters There are several plots with mercenaries, a sociopathic mayor of a nation made up of criminals I wantVeruca , powerful witches and their apprentices, star crossed lovers, ruthless sons of dead politicians, etc.I highly recommend this book and will definitely be reading the next one Buddy read with the Buddies Books and Baubles group I m starting late, but hey, that s the way I roll these days 4.5 stars This was fantastic It reminds me a little of Michael Sullivan s writing, where it doesn t take itself too seriously one of the villains is called Verruca and where it has a friendly feel A great cast of characters heros and villains alike It just misses 5 stars for me because there was nothing terribly new here Nevertheless, very well done and very much enjoyed Craig Schaefer proves he is a flexible author, moving from his urban fantasy Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series to 4.5 stars This was fantastic It reminds me a little of Michael Sullivan s writing, where it doesn t take itself too seriously one of the villains is called Verruca and where it has a friendly feel A great cast of characters heros and villains alike It just misses 5 stars for me because there was nothing terribly new here Nevertheless, very well done and very much enjoyed Craig Schaefer proves he is a flexible author, moving from his urban fantasy Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series to atraditional fantasy I am thrilled to see there are severalbooks in this series just waiting for me Happy days 4.5Survive now, talk laterStarsBuddy Read at BB B 8April19 How is this book notread It is a hidden gem whose book blurb doesn t do it justice as it doesn t mention some of the best characters in the book and makes it seem like this will bereligion based than fantasy Well I m here to tell you if you are a fan of fantasy in general this book should be in your tbr or read pile Here let me help READ THISOur story is told from multiple PoVs and in a way that everything is fast pac 4.5Survive now, talk laterStarsBuddy Read at BBB 8April19 How is this book notread It is a hidden gem whose book blurb doesn t do it justice as it doesn t mention some of the best characters in the book and makes it seem like this will bereligion based than fantasy Well I m here to tell you if you are a fan of fantasy in general this book should be in your tbr or read pile Here let me help READ THISOur story is told from multiple PoVs and in a way that everything is fast paced, intriguing and at times brutal There are no punches held, no off page happenings it is right there seen from the right PoV to give the most impact to the story.Even though this is a political intrigue it is not just that This is a fantasy story encompassing a very large cast of characters and some you are rooting for and some you aren t but none of them are boring The thing I like about Schaefer s works in general are the women in them They are not all stabby, stabby kill them all or prince, come save me no, nothing that simple Every female character in the cast is many things with both attributes and flaws Mari is a bounty hunter and want to be knight She holds to the faith of her people who have been subjugated by the empire and it holds her in check most of the time She is devout and when she isn t training, she is praying But there is violence just beneath her surface and when it comes out the target of her fury has a lot to worry about, since they will be dead or maimed soon She was my favorite character in this since she is both broken and strong, and in the middle of a crisis when everyone else is talking about what happened or trying to explain something she is all business,Survive now, talk laterI also love her views on religion in generalAnd that is the difference between a church and a god How could I be angry at a god for something a church didBut wait there is not just one awesome chick in this, there are others Livia is the daughter of the dying Pope He has tasked her with looking after her useless brother to make sure he inherits the post, even if he is the worst person for it She is everything that her church probably needs, but since she is a woman, she is stuck in the shadows of the men who are trying to vie for powerI do not need, she said, to cry My father is dying My brother is a worthless glutton who s leading this church, my church, down the road to ruin And if I d been born with a cock between my legs, I d have the power to stop him, instead of being the useless daughter just waiting to be married off to some foreign aristocrat Livia, I Livia held up her hand Have you ever considered, for even a moment, the list of things I m not allowed to do because some bitter old men say so I can t lead a mass, can t earn the greens of a priest, let alone claim my birthright My entire life, from the cradle to the grave, is dictated by traditions and rules that you aren t subject to My power was taken away from me the moment I was born a woman So no, you do not get to give me permission to cryStill with the help of a good friend she is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that her faith is not destroyed by the Church and she is dipping into some dark waters to make sure that happens.There arestrong women from the leader or Winter s Reach who isbrutal than most men, to the daughter of a crime lord who is looking to take over her father s empire whether he wants her to or not, to the simple tavern wench that only wants to save the man she loves So many wonderful women to root for or against and none of them simple.The men in the story are good and again there are some great hero types and villains to be sure, but it is rare that I find so many strong women in straight up fantasy that I want to focus on them.The overall plot of the story is a good one The are plots and subplots, something is at Winter s Reach that others are trying to protect, there are so many plans to take power of the church and betrayals happening that my head was spinning I really thought that I d see some of the double crosses and betrayals coming but I totally missed a quite a few the smacked me on the back of my head, brutally I might add.While reading this there didn t seem like there was a ton of magic and lore and it is a lot less wordy than some of the other fantasy I read, but in a great way I really loved the action, brutality and surprise of the story It is a little darker than I normally read but I didn t really mind that The ending made me feel like in the next books we will definitely dive intomagic or lore history We do get to see something akin to The Kraken in this and I think that is just the tip of the iceberg.Will you like this I think that if you enjoy a good story that is fast paced and full of intrigues with strong three dimensional characters that this is exactly what you need Think Game of Thrones with a few less characters and way less wordiness I m a massive fan of Craig Schaefer s UF books Both the Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series are fantastic The blurb for this is a bit crappy sounding so I was hesitant to pick it up for a while but that was definitely a mistake as this was a good fantasy story This was a dark fantasy filled with a great mix of intrigue, action, and mystery Schaefer switched from the familiar first person, single POV, narrative of his UF books to a third person multi POV writing style I m generally fine wi I m a massive fan of Craig Schaefer s UF books Both the Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series are fantastic The blurb for this is a bit crappy sounding so I was hesitant to pick it up for a while but that was definitely a mistake as this was a good fantasy story This was a dark fantasy filled with a great mix of intrigue, action, and mystery Schaefer switched from the familiar first person, single POV, narrative of his UF books to a third person multi POV writing style I m generally fine with either writing style and can see why Schaefer chose to go with the third person style for this story as it let us keep track of a ton of different characters and that added a ton of depth to the story The problem was I know Schaefer can write better in the first person than the third I feel like the third person style created a distance from the characters in Winter s Reach that is not present in Schaefer s UF books and also limited his ability to deliver humor in the story The fantasy world was a fun one It was a reminiscent of an alternate Italy Pope Benignus is on the verge of death and all around him people are scheming to be next in line for the spot It was not just the clergy in on the plotting as the wealthy nobility all had intrigues of their own going on to take advantage of the situation and even the Emperor had an interest in the outcome The focus of the story was definitely on intrigue but we got enough personal stories thrown into the mix to give the story plenty of depth There was also a focus on witchcraft which was the magic of the world I loved the story a lot Schaefer has a super engaging writing style and Winter s Reach was packed with interesting characters and a great plot The villains were a crazy bunch but they always had believable motivations for their actions as did the good guys be they hero or anti hero I think the villains were a fantastic and interesting bunch and every bit as good as the villains in Schaefer s other series The same goes for the morally grey characters who land somewhere between hero and villain The problem in Winter s Reach for me was the lack of likeable characters It was not a problem in the early stages as we had Felix, Livia, and Amadeo to root for The problem developed in the second half of the story when both Felix and Livia took a turn for the worse That left Amadeo as the only truly likeable character in the story and he was just not enough on his own It upset the balance of the story for me and left me feeling like this tale was lacking characters I could truly emotionally invest in and as a result the tone felt overly bleak and nihilistic at times Likeable or not the one thing Schaefer did get spot on was that the story was always interesting and exciting The villains were fun to follow as were the anti heros I just wish we had a few characters that I could like to make the story even better A few of thebrutal twists and turns caught me by surprise probably did just leave the tone a little dark and bleak for my liking but I do not feel like it was over the top dark so it was still just on the acceptable side of things I liked this overall as it had a lot of good things going for it The world was good, the story was fun, the characters were a crazy bunch, and Schaefer s writing is as super engaging as always I just feel like this could have been a fantastic 5 star read with a few tiny tweaks that would have gave the story a better balance Rating 3.5 stars This feels a super harsh rating but that is what happens when I start of loving something and then feel it takes a turn for the worse as the story develops It always leaves me extra disappointed Audio Note Susanna Jones did a decent job with the audio Her character voices were good and she had a good general narration voice as well I m not sure if this series just lacks the humor of Schaefer s UF series or if it just seemed that way as Jones did not deliver any of it as well as Traister and Verner so it seemed that way 3.5 Stars This was lot darker and muchbrutal than I had initially expected, and for an epic fantasy novel on this sort of scale involving multiple political factions, merchants, councils and multiple countries and unique religions, it s also quite a short book Very rarely is a fantasy book so jam packed which so much stuff going on right away, especially with the number of things that occurred in this book, which I found interesting Normally in fantasy, I sort to get used to these slow burns, whic This was lot darker and muchbrutal than I had initially expected, and for an epic fantasy novel on this sort of scale involving multiple political factions, merchants, councils and multiple countries and unique religions, it s also quite a short book Very rarely is a fantasy book so jam packed which so much stuff going on right away, especially with the number of things that occurred in this book, which I found interesting Normally in fantasy, I sort to get used to these slow burns, which I love, while this book really throws you right into so much action, yet it does manage to build the world up fairly well at the same time, so I can t really complain about that all too much I suppose However, since it is quite short and there is a reasonably large cast of characters, it was sort of difficult to get sort of close with any of them, and there are loads of POV changes throughout the book, which, I m perfectly fine with for my fantasy epics, yet since the book is quite short, I actually would have preferred it to have been a bit longer, just so that as a reader, I could have connected with the characters better and also give themtime to develop, instead of constant action scene after action scene There was always so much going on at any one point, that while lots of people complain lots of fantasy have too much random and useless scenes and descriptions, this book has very little of that.It was also darker than I expected, though, I wasn t sure what I was going to expect since I did not know much about this book is the first place It is quite a lot darker andbrutal than good chunk of even what is considered adult epic fantasy and the author is not afraid of seriously tormenting everyone, which I suppose I m glad, since it makes the events seemreal and justified, given the context in the book None of the characters are particularly loveable, and they all have their own motives, which while sweet for them, is potentially disastrous for lots of other people I did find it a bit odd with Felix s character development, since after a point in the book, everyone notes at how much he has changed so quickly, and that part did not really work for me Yes, we saw the events that caused this change to occur within him, yet at the same time, as a reader, we didn t actually see this transformation itself within his character Additionally, I would have liked the change to have been a bitgradually than just, kabam, he s a changed man I suppose his love for Renata is real enough, though it is a bit odd normally for an author to have two characters to already be in love before the start of the book, though it is due to this that make certain events in the book make sense.There s also no map, which is fine, though I personally like my secondary world fantasy books to have a map, but that s really just a preference thing For now, I will read the second book, and will probably take a break after that before coming back to finish the rest of this Cycle, since although I m not the most invested in these characters, I still am intrigued by the plot and I want to see how all of this will end up playing out 7 10 Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic ANALYSIS This is the first volume of the Revanche cycle and is set in a world that s very reminiscent of medieval Italy The story features a multitude of POVs and is an epic fantasy that slowly introduces the world and magic system One of the first POV characters we come across is Felix Rossini who is the second scion of a house in financial tatters Felix has plans to rescue his house s worth and fortunes however he has to be taciturn as he has a secr Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic ANALYSIS This is the first volume of the Revanche cycle and is set in a world that s very reminiscent of medieval Italy The story features a multitude of POVs and is an epic fantasy that slowly introduces the world and magic system One of the first POV characters we come across is Felix Rossini who is the second scion of a house in financial tatters Felix has plans to rescue his house s worth and fortunes however he has to be taciturn as he has a secret worth protecting The next POVs are Werner Holst and Mari Renault, a pair of mercenaries who are horrified by their last job, which resulted in the burning of an alleged teenage witch.Lodovico Marchetti is a merchant lord who is planning quite a few things in the city of Mirenze and has things in motion that will unsettle things across the lands Simon Koertig is his accountant who also doubles up as an assassin who likes to kill in numerous ways Amadeo Lagorio is a priest who serves as confidant and confessor to the dying Pope Benignus Lastly there s Livia who is the first born papal child who is forced to abandon her leadership credentials simply because of the patriarchal society.These are the major POV characters and there are a fewintroduced but basically the plot hinges around the actions of the afore mentioned characters as well as the plot twists that have been set by the author The primary draw of the story is the strong characterization, beginning with both male and female characters, as well as the antagonists and protagonists The author absolutely nails down these characters and as each chapter focuses upon a new one we get a very multi faceted view of the world within This approach was very reminiscent of George R.R Martin s ASOIAF, while Craig Schaefer cannot claim the same high level prose, he does emulate GRRM s ability to make the reader invested in the POV of the character they are currently reading.My favorite characters were Mari, Livia, Felix and Simon Mari is a person suffering from a severe form of PTSD due to her family dying in a horrible manner Livia bristles against the patriarchal traps set by the society and is forced to watch her father s crown pass own to her drunken sot of a brother Felix is an honest person forced to take gargantuan risks to save his family, marry the love of his life and possibly make the Rossinni clan a successful one again Lastly there s also Simon who while being a murderer is very intriguing with his narrow minded focus and multi variate ways to kill people These characters and others truly make the story that muchshining I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the story wherein we truly get a 360 degree view into the happenings of the story.The next positive factor is the top notch plot pace as frequently we end a chapter and the next chapter easily shifts the focus on to a new person thereby amping up the tension as well as intrigue The overall plot while seemingly predictable has plenty of plot twists to keep readers guessing and ultimately take quite an unorthodox route to the climax I enjoyed how the author explored the various roles especially vis a vis the female characters stuck in a patriarchal society Both Livia and Mari are quite fierce, capable characters who strive to make the best of their sordid situations I believe the author has special plans for both of them and I m very excited to see what arcs they end up taking.While expecting a medieval epic fantasy, the author certainly undercuts expectations by providing a very fast paced character driven story that while being fantasy has magic in very small amounts This was very GRRM esque Of course there are hints provided about the true nature of the world, also there s a fantastic sequence over water that features a creature that is sure to provide terrify readers Also there s a certain sound associated with the creature and I can t wait to read how the author imagines it to be.The storyline is also not without its flaws, the background history of the world isn t really explored and only hints are strewn through The magic system also seems to be a tad confusing and I hope the author shines a light on it in the sequel volumes Lastly as with any fantasy series, a map is always a plus This series doesn t have one and as a cartophile, I was disappointed.CONCLUSION Overall this story ends on a strong note and leaves almost all characters in certain places because of which readers will be compelled to pick up the second volume The Instruments Of Control I believe this is book one on a series of four books and I started reading the second book almost immediately after I finished this one Winter Reach is the start of a fascinating political fantasy that will be sure to find its fans Make sure you grab a copy and enjoy Craig Schaefer s magnificent skills

Paperback  ¿ Winter's Reach Epub ¼
    Paperback ¿ Winter's Reach Epub ¼ to expose the truth and save her church from disaster Livia has secrets of her own, though, and one wrong move could cost her life and her soul Felix is the scion of a dying merchant house, a man with just one chance to save his family and the woman he loves His last hope lies in the snowbound hell of Winter s Reach, a former prison colony turned free city under a brutal tyrant s reign Livia and Felix have never crossed paths, but they ve both been snared in a far greater web than they can imagine They along with a pair of veteran bounty hunters, an exiled politician, and a sadistic coven of witches are cogs in one man s apocalyptic plan for revenge A plan which, if it succeeds, will leave an entire nation in flames. March 24, 2020 FREE today November 2016 Oooh Oooh Oooh Fantasy by Craig Schaefer Yum Yum Yum Buddy Read OOOFbCSYYYBR with some of my slightly excellent BB B colleagues Friendly warning I m slightly excited about this book Remember what happens when I m slightly excited about a book Yep, that s right, GIFs tend to attack en masse Enjoy.First instalment in the series BOOM 5 stars Just like that.Damn I already worship the ground Schaefer walks on, what am I supposed to do to pro March 24, 2020 FREE today November 2016 Oooh Oooh Oooh Fantasy by Craig Schaefer Yum Yum Yum Buddy Read OOOFbCSYYYBR with some of my slightly excellent BBB colleagues Friendly warning I m slightly excited about this book Remember what happens when I m slightly excited about a book Yep, that s right, GIFs tend to attack en masse Enjoy.First instalment in the series BOOM 5 stars Just like that.Damn I already worship the ground Schaefer walks on, what am I supposed to do to prove my undying love for him now Wait I think I got it I ll turn my Holy Trinity of Utter Awesomeness HToUA view spoiler Pippa DaCosta Ilona Andrews Glen Cook Duh hide spoiler into a Holy Quadrinity of Utter Awesomeness HQoUA view spoiler Pippa DaCosta Ilona Andrews Glen Cook Craig Schaefer DUH hide spoiler There, problem fixed Now on to the fangirling Just kidding Then again, maybe not I know, right I m telling you, my Little Barnacles, Hitchcock is a total amateur compared to me.Okay, so the first thing you need to know about this book is it s slightly awesome this just in case you weren t paying attention And hadn t noticed my rating And hadn t read the previous paragraph You re welcome. How and why is it slightly awesome, you ask Now that s a very interesting question, and I shall bethan happy to satisfy your eager curiosity by kindly answering it view spoiler I m so awesome sometimes hide spoiler Here goes Schemers and scammers and liars, oh my Craig Schaefer, you make Glen Cook proud Such glorious backstabbing Such delicious double crossing Conspiracies contra conspiracies Treacherous everything and everyone Cunning stuff galore Foxes being outfoxed by the foxes they thought they were outfoxing while these foxes where outfoxing them It s beautiful Okay, so there s so much marvellous scheming going on here that you sometimes lose track of who is trying to screw whom over But you know what Ultimately, it doesn t matter Because all that counts at the end of the day is that this book features one of the Mostest Exquisitest Collection of Machiavellian, Slippery Bastards Bitches Ever MECoMSBBE And what do we say to that We say YUM Obviously Mostest coolest world and stuff.Some people have been foolishly reluctant to read this book because of the blurb and the world it depicts I don t want to name names here, because I am not like that and things like these are just not done, but some people are slightly silly, if you ask me waves at Gavin cheerfully Yes, it is true that this world is a bit reminiscent of 15th 16th century Italy What with the papacy stuff, Machiavellian everything and Italian sounding names And yes, it is also true that, because of this, the world isn t that original But who the shrimp cares As long as I get political machinations, blackmail, fucked up slightly screwed up bloodlines, revenge, lies and delightful betrayal, I m happy And if I m happy, you re happy, right Right Characterization heaven and stuff.No wonder I somewhat worship Craig Schaefer I mean, the guy is slightly talented when it comes to writing mostest excellentest complexest characters Okay, so some poor Barnacles might feel kinda sorta overwhelmed here, because there are LOTS of characters in this story BUT They are ALL mostest excellentest and stuff, so problem solved and stuff Besides, there scharacter variety here than there are species at the San Diego Zoo, so I dare you to NOT find ten a couple of characters to your liking loving here We ve got mercenaries, bankers, popes, pirates, cardinals, bounty hunters, politicians, knight errands in disguise, confessors, sociopathic mayors, witches, barmaids, priests, assassins, spies, urchins Aka every single character you ve ever dreamed of reading about, right Right I know you so well, my Little Barnacles The Awesome Guuuuurl Power Display AGPD .Craig Schaefer The only male author along with Glen Cook I Worship Thee, of course who truly knows how to write amazing female characters Let me tell you, my Little Arthropods, the guy s got the whole guuuuurl power thing figured out Okay, so I already knew that before reading this book, because, you know, Caitlin rocks and stuff But I have to admit that Schaefer s Super Duper Revanche Chick Clique SSDRCC isthan I could ever dream of finding in a book written by a lowly male no offense to my Manly Barnacles These gals are so yummy I m kidnapping all of them and locking them away in my Cool Chicks Harem Poof Gone One of them will get the special High Security treatment, too Ah, Veruca I think I might be totally in love have a certain fondness for you You re batshit crazy, merciless, homicidal, and rule over a nation of criminals Sounds to me like we re a match made in heaven.But you know what makes the SSDRCC really wondrous No matter how tough as nails, delightfully ruthless, beautifully devious and or splendidly unhinged these babes are, they also have weaknesses They can be fragile They are not ALL badass ALL the time They are delectably flawed, and that makes them feel real And that, my Lovely Decapods, is bloody shrimping cool Let s dance This officially marks the end of the Deadly GIF Attack DGA You re welcome. And the moral of this It Took me so Long to Write this Crappy Non Review I Now Have Great Great Great Grandchildren Crappy Non Review ITmsLtWtCNRINHGGGGCNR is I have the best father in law ever What do you mean this has nothing to do with this book Of course it does What You didn t know Craig Schaefer was my father in law I forget how clueless you sometimes are, my Little Barnacles Craig Schaefer is MY Daniel Faust s beloved daddy ergo, he is my slightly awesome father in law Ha view spoiler hide spoiler Book 2 The Instruments of Control Book 3 Terms of Surrender Book 4 Queen of the Night Winter s Reach is Craig Schaefer s entry for this year s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and is Fantasy Book Review s first semi finalist Although he is mostly known for the Daniel Faust series, this is Schaefer s foray into writing complex dark fantasy It starts by following a young nobleman called Felix who has a plan to go to Winter s Reach to make a deal to save his family s dwindling reputation The problem is that Winter s Reach is controlled by barbaric criminals under the guiding hand Winter s Reach is Craig Schaefer s entry for this year s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and is Fantasy Book Review s first semi finalist Although he is mostly known for the Daniel Faust series, this is Schaefer s foray into writing complex dark fantasy It starts by following a young nobleman called Felix who has a plan to go to Winter s Reach to make a deal to save his family s dwindling reputation The problem is that Winter s Reach is controlled by barbaric criminals under the guiding hand of the notorious Mayor, Veruca Barrett Making this deal might not be so straightforward Against his father s advice, he goes through with the trip but, perhaps he has another motive for venturing to the infamous, blisteringly chaotic city.Elsewhere, an ageing but thoroughly loved Pope is close to death His son is a gambler, drunk and maybe unfit to succeed This leads to political unrest, doubt, plots, divided factions, and evidently a great number of betrayals within the Church Throughout this side of events the Italian esque names of the Cardinals and the Council can be slightly confusing so I took a few notes and was fine.This books greatest asset is it s brilliantly created characters We are presented with such a wide, complex bunch and I didn t think there was one weak point of view perspective The main people we follow are Felix, a pair of bounty hunters, a Cardinal, a villainous banker, and the Pope s daughter who is flirting with certain ancient arts which she really should not be doing I analysed two types of characters in Winter s Reach Firstly, those who change dramatically throughout the book due to the horrors of the world Secondly, those individuals who are aware this world is a vile and corrupt place The latter people don t change too much throughout yet we receive snippets from their past creating a truly three dimensional world The mixture of these types makes for great drama My favourite characters were Felix, Armadeo and Mari Notable mentions go to the assassin, Simon and to Veruca She reminded me of a Batman villain, however, definitely not the kind from the comedy series.From the beginning, it truly shines how well written this book is It seems edited brilliantly and the narrative has an addictive pace that kept me engrossed, essentially being the reason why I finished this in 24 hours The world building and descriptions aren t over the top or too detailed but for a character and plot focused book that isn t an issue The descriptions of the environments and the cast are still deep though just not 10 pages worth when 1 would do, unlike some modern fantasy Every character and event I had a perfectly painted picture of in my mind The prose is fluid and poetic and surprisingly in fiction these days, I didn t notice a single spelling or grammatical error The book starts off quite hopeful with a few likeable characters in the first couple of chapters Things don t stay that way for long Although not Grimdark, this is still quite macabre Mutilation, brutal murders, double crossing, ginormous sea beasts and all the other good stuff those people who ride on the darker side of fantasy enjoy The mask wearing dark religious cult is extremely interesting, haunting and sometimes brutal Towards the end of the story, I had no idea who was helping who and who was trustworthy and it was great This book is the first of 4 completed stories in the Revanche Cycle saga The finale here is pretty great but don t expect closure It sets the sides and leads to a few gems of what may happen in The Instruments of Control To conclude, a stunning dark fantasy narrative with all the double crossing, deceit, blackmail and political chaos you could hope for A great find in my SPFBO group It will take something truly stunning to beat this Note I m pretty sure all 4 of these books cost a combined total of 8.00 on .If you aren t familiar with the contest then check out this link Actual Rating 3.5 StarsThis one is tough for me to rate On one hand I really enjoyed the feel of this novel It immediately jumps into the action, spinning a few different perspectives that quickly weave together into a larger, very political picture The story doesn t try to entangle you in a complicated mess of lore or class wars, two common elements of high fantasy Though I adore both of those things, I found it refreshing to read a fantasy book without an overwhelming emphasis on them On Actual Rating 3.5 StarsThis one is tough for me to rate On one hand I really enjoyed the feel of this novel It immediately jumps into the action, spinning a few different perspectives that quickly weave together into a larger, very political picture The story doesn t try to entangle you in a complicated mess of lore or class wars, two common elements of high fantasy Though I adore both of those things, I found it refreshing to read a fantasy book without an overwhelming emphasis on them On the other hand, I don t know that I m entirely satisfied with the journey if that makes sense I only ever felt a vague interest in how things unfolded, and I faded in and out of being invested in the individual story lines I didn t discover enough about any one character to feel connected to them on a personal level The writing, however, was one of my favorite aspects of Winter s Reach Schaefer s style is descriptive but concise In fact, the beautiful images in my head were a huge part of my enjoyment while reading this I do believe some of the sexually explicit scenes in this novel were unnecessary At times I get the feeling they re tossed into adult novels as a way to sayThis IS an adult book Look There s sex Just in case you were confused Definitely a book for adults winkAlso the phrase water is wet was used twice to say something was obvious Unfortunately I could not stop myself from thinking of the following memeSo needless to say I may have giggled when it was inappropriate to do so.A pretty decent book, there are definitely things to appreciate here I m not sure though if I will continue on The plot picked up near the end, I am low key curious to see where things go from here It s on the Maybe list Craig Schaefer is officially going on my awesome authors shelf I have now read the first three Daniel Faust books, plus this one I might have even liked this better than the Faust series Where Daniel Faust is urban fantasy involving demons and magic sorcery, this is ALL political intrigue, betrayal, lots of plotting, revenge, knights in armor, swords, peasants and nobles Think Game of Thrones, but not as wordy I love that about Schaefer s writing It s succinct I hate long descriptions a Craig Schaefer is officially going on my awesome authors shelf I have now read the first three Daniel Faust books, plus this one I might have even liked this better than the Faust series Where Daniel Faust is urban fantasy involving demons and magic sorcery, this is ALL political intrigue, betrayal, lots of plotting, revenge, knights in armor, swords, peasants and nobles Think Game of Thrones, but not as wordy I love that about Schaefer s writing It s succinct I hate long descriptions and meandering filler He gets right to the point there is a lot of action and great dialogue and pacing This story involves MANY different characters who are either part of a corrupt religious government or working against it I really got into all the characters There are several plots with mercenaries, a sociopathic mayor of a nation made up of criminals I wantVeruca , powerful witches and their apprentices, star crossed lovers, ruthless sons of dead politicians, etc.I highly recommend this book and will definitely be reading the next one Buddy read with the Buddies Books and Baubles group I m starting late, but hey, that s the way I roll these days 4.5 stars This was fantastic It reminds me a little of Michael Sullivan s writing, where it doesn t take itself too seriously one of the villains is called Verruca and where it has a friendly feel A great cast of characters heros and villains alike It just misses 5 stars for me because there was nothing terribly new here Nevertheless, very well done and very much enjoyed Craig Schaefer proves he is a flexible author, moving from his urban fantasy Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series to 4.5 stars This was fantastic It reminds me a little of Michael Sullivan s writing, where it doesn t take itself too seriously one of the villains is called Verruca and where it has a friendly feel A great cast of characters heros and villains alike It just misses 5 stars for me because there was nothing terribly new here Nevertheless, very well done and very much enjoyed Craig Schaefer proves he is a flexible author, moving from his urban fantasy Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series to atraditional fantasy I am thrilled to see there are severalbooks in this series just waiting for me Happy days 4.5Survive now, talk laterStarsBuddy Read at BB B 8April19 How is this book notread It is a hidden gem whose book blurb doesn t do it justice as it doesn t mention some of the best characters in the book and makes it seem like this will bereligion based than fantasy Well I m here to tell you if you are a fan of fantasy in general this book should be in your tbr or read pile Here let me help READ THISOur story is told from multiple PoVs and in a way that everything is fast pac 4.5Survive now, talk laterStarsBuddy Read at BBB 8April19 How is this book notread It is a hidden gem whose book blurb doesn t do it justice as it doesn t mention some of the best characters in the book and makes it seem like this will bereligion based than fantasy Well I m here to tell you if you are a fan of fantasy in general this book should be in your tbr or read pile Here let me help READ THISOur story is told from multiple PoVs and in a way that everything is fast paced, intriguing and at times brutal There are no punches held, no off page happenings it is right there seen from the right PoV to give the most impact to the story.Even though this is a political intrigue it is not just that This is a fantasy story encompassing a very large cast of characters and some you are rooting for and some you aren t but none of them are boring The thing I like about Schaefer s works in general are the women in them They are not all stabby, stabby kill them all or prince, come save me no, nothing that simple Every female character in the cast is many things with both attributes and flaws Mari is a bounty hunter and want to be knight She holds to the faith of her people who have been subjugated by the empire and it holds her in check most of the time She is devout and when she isn t training, she is praying But there is violence just beneath her surface and when it comes out the target of her fury has a lot to worry about, since they will be dead or maimed soon She was my favorite character in this since she is both broken and strong, and in the middle of a crisis when everyone else is talking about what happened or trying to explain something she is all business,Survive now, talk laterI also love her views on religion in generalAnd that is the difference between a church and a god How could I be angry at a god for something a church didBut wait there is not just one awesome chick in this, there are others Livia is the daughter of the dying Pope He has tasked her with looking after her useless brother to make sure he inherits the post, even if he is the worst person for it She is everything that her church probably needs, but since she is a woman, she is stuck in the shadows of the men who are trying to vie for powerI do not need, she said, to cry My father is dying My brother is a worthless glutton who s leading this church, my church, down the road to ruin And if I d been born with a cock between my legs, I d have the power to stop him, instead of being the useless daughter just waiting to be married off to some foreign aristocrat Livia, I Livia held up her hand Have you ever considered, for even a moment, the list of things I m not allowed to do because some bitter old men say so I can t lead a mass, can t earn the greens of a priest, let alone claim my birthright My entire life, from the cradle to the grave, is dictated by traditions and rules that you aren t subject to My power was taken away from me the moment I was born a woman So no, you do not get to give me permission to cryStill with the help of a good friend she is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that her faith is not destroyed by the Church and she is dipping into some dark waters to make sure that happens.There arestrong women from the leader or Winter s Reach who isbrutal than most men, to the daughter of a crime lord who is looking to take over her father s empire whether he wants her to or not, to the simple tavern wench that only wants to save the man she loves So many wonderful women to root for or against and none of them simple.The men in the story are good and again there are some great hero types and villains to be sure, but it is rare that I find so many strong women in straight up fantasy that I want to focus on them.The overall plot of the story is a good one The are plots and subplots, something is at Winter s Reach that others are trying to protect, there are so many plans to take power of the church and betrayals happening that my head was spinning I really thought that I d see some of the double crosses and betrayals coming but I totally missed a quite a few the smacked me on the back of my head, brutally I might add.While reading this there didn t seem like there was a ton of magic and lore and it is a lot less wordy than some of the other fantasy I read, but in a great way I really loved the action, brutality and surprise of the story It is a little darker than I normally read but I didn t really mind that The ending made me feel like in the next books we will definitely dive intomagic or lore history We do get to see something akin to The Kraken in this and I think that is just the tip of the iceberg.Will you like this I think that if you enjoy a good story that is fast paced and full of intrigues with strong three dimensional characters that this is exactly what you need Think Game of Thrones with a few less characters and way less wordiness I m a massive fan of Craig Schaefer s UF books Both the Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series are fantastic The blurb for this is a bit crappy sounding so I was hesitant to pick it up for a while but that was definitely a mistake as this was a good fantasy story This was a dark fantasy filled with a great mix of intrigue, action, and mystery Schaefer switched from the familiar first person, single POV, narrative of his UF books to a third person multi POV writing style I m generally fine wi I m a massive fan of Craig Schaefer s UF books Both the Daniel Faust and Harmony Black series are fantastic The blurb for this is a bit crappy sounding so I was hesitant to pick it up for a while but that was definitely a mistake as this was a good fantasy story This was a dark fantasy filled with a great mix of intrigue, action, and mystery Schaefer switched from the familiar first person, single POV, narrative of his UF books to a third person multi POV writing style I m generally fine with either writing style and can see why Schaefer chose to go with the third person style for this story as it let us keep track of a ton of different characters and that added a ton of depth to the story The problem was I know Schaefer can write better in the first person than the third I feel like the third person style created a distance from the characters in Winter s Reach that is not present in Schaefer s UF books and also limited his ability to deliver humor in the story The fantasy world was a fun one It was a reminiscent of an alternate Italy Pope Benignus is on the verge of death and all around him people are scheming to be next in line for the spot It was not just the clergy in on the plotting as the wealthy nobility all had intrigues of their own going on to take advantage of the situation and even the Emperor had an interest in the outcome The focus of the story was definitely on intrigue but we got enough personal stories thrown into the mix to give the story plenty of depth There was also a focus on witchcraft which was the magic of the world I loved the story a lot Schaefer has a super engaging writing style and Winter s Reach was packed with interesting characters and a great plot The villains were a crazy bunch but they always had believable motivations for their actions as did the good guys be they hero or anti hero I think the villains were a fantastic and interesting bunch and every bit as good as the villains in Schaefer s other series The same goes for the morally grey characters who land somewhere between hero and villain The problem in Winter s Reach for me was the lack of likeable characters It was not a problem in the early stages as we had Felix, Livia, and Amadeo to root for The problem developed in the second half of the story when both Felix and Livia took a turn for the worse That left Amadeo as the only truly likeable character in the story and he was just not enough on his own It upset the balance of the story for me and left me feeling like this tale was lacking characters I could truly emotionally invest in and as a result the tone felt overly bleak and nihilistic at times Likeable or not the one thing Schaefer did get spot on was that the story was always interesting and exciting The villains were fun to follow as were the anti heros I just wish we had a few characters that I could like to make the story even better A few of thebrutal twists and turns caught me by surprise probably did just leave the tone a little dark and bleak for my liking but I do not feel like it was over the top dark so it was still just on the acceptable side of things I liked this overall as it had a lot of good things going for it The world was good, the story was fun, the characters were a crazy bunch, and Schaefer s writing is as super engaging as always I just feel like this could have been a fantastic 5 star read with a few tiny tweaks that would have gave the story a better balance Rating 3.5 stars This feels a super harsh rating but that is what happens when I start of loving something and then feel it takes a turn for the worse as the story develops It always leaves me extra disappointed Audio Note Susanna Jones did a decent job with the audio Her character voices were good and she had a good general narration voice as well I m not sure if this series just lacks the humor of Schaefer s UF series or if it just seemed that way as Jones did not deliver any of it as well as Traister and Verner so it seemed that way 3.5 Stars This was lot darker and muchbrutal than I had initially expected, and for an epic fantasy novel on this sort of scale involving multiple political factions, merchants, councils and multiple countries and unique religions, it s also quite a short book Very rarely is a fantasy book so jam packed which so much stuff going on right away, especially with the number of things that occurred in this book, which I found interesting Normally in fantasy, I sort to get used to these slow burns, whic This was lot darker and muchbrutal than I had initially expected, and for an epic fantasy novel on this sort of scale involving multiple political factions, merchants, councils and multiple countries and unique religions, it s also quite a short book Very rarely is a fantasy book so jam packed which so much stuff going on right away, especially with the number of things that occurred in this book, which I found interesting Normally in fantasy, I sort to get used to these slow burns, which I love, while this book really throws you right into so much action, yet it does manage to build the world up fairly well at the same time, so I can t really complain about that all too much I suppose However, since it is quite short and there is a reasonably large cast of characters, it was sort of difficult to get sort of close with any of them, and there are loads of POV changes throughout the book, which, I m perfectly fine with for my fantasy epics, yet since the book is quite short, I actually would have preferred it to have been a bit longer, just so that as a reader, I could have connected with the characters better and also give themtime to develop, instead of constant action scene after action scene There was always so much going on at any one point, that while lots of people complain lots of fantasy have too much random and useless scenes and descriptions, this book has very little of that.It was also darker than I expected, though, I wasn t sure what I was going to expect since I did not know much about this book is the first place It is quite a lot darker andbrutal than good chunk of even what is considered adult epic fantasy and the author is not afraid of seriously tormenting everyone, which I suppose I m glad, since it makes the events seemreal and justified, given the context in the book None of the characters are particularly loveable, and they all have their own motives, which while sweet for them, is potentially disastrous for lots of other people I did find it a bit odd with Felix s character development, since after a point in the book, everyone notes at how much he has changed so quickly, and that part did not really work for me Yes, we saw the events that caused this change to occur within him, yet at the same time, as a reader, we didn t actually see this transformation itself within his character Additionally, I would have liked the change to have been a bitgradually than just, kabam, he s a changed man I suppose his love for Renata is real enough, though it is a bit odd normally for an author to have two characters to already be in love before the start of the book, though it is due to this that make certain events in the book make sense.There s also no map, which is fine, though I personally like my secondary world fantasy books to have a map, but that s really just a preference thing For now, I will read the second book, and will probably take a break after that before coming back to finish the rest of this Cycle, since although I m not the most invested in these characters, I still am intrigued by the plot and I want to see how all of this will end up playing out 7 10 Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic ANALYSIS This is the first volume of the Revanche cycle and is set in a world that s very reminiscent of medieval Italy The story features a multitude of POVs and is an epic fantasy that slowly introduces the world and magic system One of the first POV characters we come across is Felix Rossini who is the second scion of a house in financial tatters Felix has plans to rescue his house s worth and fortunes however he has to be taciturn as he has a secr Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic ANALYSIS This is the first volume of the Revanche cycle and is set in a world that s very reminiscent of medieval Italy The story features a multitude of POVs and is an epic fantasy that slowly introduces the world and magic system One of the first POV characters we come across is Felix Rossini who is the second scion of a house in financial tatters Felix has plans to rescue his house s worth and fortunes however he has to be taciturn as he has a secret worth protecting The next POVs are Werner Holst and Mari Renault, a pair of mercenaries who are horrified by their last job, which resulted in the burning of an alleged teenage witch.Lodovico Marchetti is a merchant lord who is planning quite a few things in the city of Mirenze and has things in motion that will unsettle things across the lands Simon Koertig is his accountant who also doubles up as an assassin who likes to kill in numerous ways Amadeo Lagorio is a priest who serves as confidant and confessor to the dying Pope Benignus Lastly there s Livia who is the first born papal child who is forced to abandon her leadership credentials simply because of the patriarchal society.These are the major POV characters and there are a fewintroduced but basically the plot hinges around the actions of the afore mentioned characters as well as the plot twists that have been set by the author The primary draw of the story is the strong characterization, beginning with both male and female characters, as well as the antagonists and protagonists The author absolutely nails down these characters and as each chapter focuses upon a new one we get a very multi faceted view of the world within This approach was very reminiscent of George R.R Martin s ASOIAF, while Craig Schaefer cannot claim the same high level prose, he does emulate GRRM s ability to make the reader invested in the POV of the character they are currently reading.My favorite characters were Mari, Livia, Felix and Simon Mari is a person suffering from a severe form of PTSD due to her family dying in a horrible manner Livia bristles against the patriarchal traps set by the society and is forced to watch her father s crown pass own to her drunken sot of a brother Felix is an honest person forced to take gargantuan risks to save his family, marry the love of his life and possibly make the Rossinni clan a successful one again Lastly there s also Simon who while being a murderer is very intriguing with his narrow minded focus and multi variate ways to kill people These characters and others truly make the story that muchshining I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the story wherein we truly get a 360 degree view into the happenings of the story.The next positive factor is the top notch plot pace as frequently we end a chapter and the next chapter easily shifts the focus on to a new person thereby amping up the tension as well as intrigue The overall plot while seemingly predictable has plenty of plot twists to keep readers guessing and ultimately take quite an unorthodox route to the climax I enjoyed how the author explored the various roles especially vis a vis the female characters stuck in a patriarchal society Both Livia and Mari are quite fierce, capable characters who strive to make the best of their sordid situations I believe the author has special plans for both of them and I m very excited to see what arcs they end up taking.While expecting a medieval epic fantasy, the author certainly undercuts expectations by providing a very fast paced character driven story that while being fantasy has magic in very small amounts This was very GRRM esque Of course there are hints provided about the true nature of the world, also there s a fantastic sequence over water that features a creature that is sure to provide terrify readers Also there s a certain sound associated with the creature and I can t wait to read how the author imagines it to be.The storyline is also not without its flaws, the background history of the world isn t really explored and only hints are strewn through The magic system also seems to be a tad confusing and I hope the author shines a light on it in the sequel volumes Lastly as with any fantasy series, a map is always a plus This series doesn t have one and as a cartophile, I was disappointed.CONCLUSION Overall this story ends on a strong note and leaves almost all characters in certain places because of which readers will be compelled to pick up the second volume The Instruments Of Control I believe this is book one on a series of four books and I started reading the second book almost immediately after I finished this one Winter Reach is the start of a fascinating political fantasy that will be sure to find its fans Make sure you grab a copy and enjoy Craig Schaefer s magnificent skills "/>
  • Paperback
  • 357 pages
  • Winter's Reach
  • Craig Schaefer
  • English
  • 13 May 2017
  • 099033936X