The Rose of the World – Fool’s Gold #3 by Jude Fisher

The Rose of the World. Fool's Gold #3 by Jude Fisher

Title: The Rose of the World

Series: Fool’s Gold

Author: Jude Fisher

Sexual Content: Moderate

Objectional Content: torture, violence, rape

Synopsis: The brilliant conclusion to the “fascinating” (Anne McCaffrey) Fool’s Gold trilogy, The Rose of the World features one of the most dynamic and charismatic heroines to ever grace the pages of a fantasy novel. The godlike entity, Rosa Eldi, has escaped the clutches of the evil sorcerer Rahe. But will she regain her memory and restore her world before man’s baser nature triumphs and brings ruin to Elda forever?

My Review

I’m staring at this blank screen trying to figure out how to start this review, to figure out what I want to say so let’s start with the characters.

The majority of the characters in The Rose of the World, and indeed the trilogy, are despicable, horrible excuses for human beings. Katla, Saro and the Rosa Eldi are probably the only likeable characters, but they each have their flaws. Katla lets her anger rule her actions, Saro is too sensitive and the Rosa Eldi just doesn’t know who she really is. Overall, I’d say the Rosa Eldi is the most interesting because she doesn’t know who she is. She’s a mystery to herself and the reader. Unfortunately, the focus isn’t on her as much as I would like.

Honestly, these books felt more like a long extended series rather than just a trilogy. I got very “Wheel of Time” vibes with the number of characters and switching POV all over the place.

I didn’t really love the ending. The major plot was concluded but there were so many little side things that weren’t properly resolved. It felt open ended, like the author might continue the series, might not. There doesn’t appear to be anything else written in this book world.

So, overall, am I glad I read this trilogy? I don’t know if I would say “glad” per se, but I don’t feel like I wasted time on reading it. I did genuinely want to know how everything was going to turn out. The writing was good and I did enjoy the progression as things that were introduced earlier in the first book began to come together.

My rating for The Rose of the World is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend the Fool’s Gold trilogy to those who enjoy fantasy with multiple POV with some mystery thrown in.

Have you read this book/trilogy? Let me know what thought of it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Fantasy Novels with Unique Magic Systems

Are you looking for some new fantasy novels with unique magic systems to read? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Fantasy novels go hand in hand with magic. What kind of fantasy would it be if there weren’t magic? I don’t know about you, but I like uniqueness in my books. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a few tropes. They are tropes for a reason and there are many that I enjoy. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. I’d like to share with you a list of fantasy series I have read that have the most unique magic systems.

The Wheel of Time is probably one of the most well known fantasy series of all time, after the Lord of the Rings of course. In this world, the Source of magic is divided in two, female and male. Long ago, the male half was tainted, causing any man who used to go insane. Since that time, only women used the Source and have become a powerful organization in the world. The magic is only visible to those who can use it and is handled in a sort of weaving way. I’m not sure how else to describe it. In the books it’s often described as threads being woven into a pattern to achieve a desired outcome.

The Sword of Truth series divided it’s magic into positive and negative. Positive magic is considered to be from the Creator and is the most commonly used type. Negative magic is from the Dark One and therefore considered evil. Positive magic creates things or changes them, while negative magic removes or destroys. As an example, there is a scene in the first book where the wizard, Zedd, uses magic to grow his beard, but then requires a razor to shave it off as removing it would be Negative magic, which he doesn’t possess.

Anne Bishop’s world of the Black Jewels has witches and warlocks who receive a specific colour of jewel during a ceremony called The Offering to the Darkness, around the time of puberty. The colour of the jewel determines the strength of their magic with Black being the strongest and white being the weakest.

The Death Gate Cycle has the use of runes to channel magic. Those who use the runes have them etched into their skin for various purposes, such as protection. While this magic isn’t widely used, except by a select few people, I did find it quite unique in comparison to many other magic systems.

In the Codex Alera series, magic exists through elemental being called Furies. People are naturally affiliated towards a specific element and will form a bond with a fury of that element type. Everyone has some ability and therefore furies are used everywhere in every day life. Most people have only one fury but stronger magic users can have two or more.

Initially, the Cloud Mages might seem similar to the Black Jewels in that magic is channeled through stones. However, in this trilogy, each stone has only one specific purpose and can only be used once before it needs to be recharged. At night, magic comes down from the clouds and recharges the stones.


The Realm of the Elderlings series has a few different types of magic, but the one I want to focus on here is the Skill. The Skill is a bit difficult to describe. It’s like a mix of telepathy and empathy that allows the user to influence others and sometimes even physical surroundings.

What are some fantasy novels with unique magic systems that you’ve read? Let me know in the comments and as always, thanks for reading!

Clear the Shelf Reading Challenge 2023 Update #2

What have I read so far this year?

So far this year, for this reading challenge, the above books are what I have read from the list.

What am I reading now?

I started The Rose of the World a few days ago and it will conclude the Fool’s Gold trilogy by Jude Fisher.

What am I reading next?

I haven’t decided what I will be reading after I finish the Rose of the World. I have a few review requests that I accepted and I feel like I should probably read those.

Unfortunately, the list has actually expanded. i was recently going through and rearranging books and discovered some complete trilogies that were on my shelf but not on the Goodreads list, so it is now at 51 instead of being under 50.

I’m fairly satisfied with how my reading challenge is going this year! How are your reading goals for this year going?

If you are interested, you can check out my previous update here.

Gender Roles in Fantasy Books

I’ve been reading fantasy books for well over two decades now. As evident by this blog, it is my favorite genre to read and likely always will be. Like any genre of books, fantasy has it’s own tropes. Generally, the setting is similar to the middle ages in Europe. Horses and wagons are the main form of transportation, swords, daggers and bows and the main type of weaponry, and gender roles are clearly defined.

This is what I want to talk about today.

It seems to me that gender and gender roles are very much the topic of discussion on social media recently or maybe that I personally am just seeing more of it but it made me realize how often women are treated and portrayed as inferior in fantasy books. Granted, the books I’m currently reading are ones that have been sitting on my shelf for quite some time so they were published years ago. I’m not up to date on the newer releases because I’m catching up on so many older reads.

Still, it very common for the women in fantasy novels to be portrayed in a certain way. They obsess over finding a husband so they can get married and have children. They are expected to be beautiful and desirable and also fertile, because, of course, their main function is to produce babies. They are expected to have domestic skills like sewing, cleaning, cooking and child rearing. Any woman who lacks these skills will “never find a good marriage” or something along those lines.

When books do try to portray strong women they often have a bad temper that gets them into trouble, are stubborn and arrogant and end up needing to be saved by a man.

All too often, women are raped and assaulted casually. In some cases, the woman is to blame for this as she is now “damaged goods” and won’t be able to find a good husband since she is no longer a virgin. The women aren’t allowed to learn to fight so they have no idea how to protect themselves when inevitably they come across a man or men looking to assault them.

These men who assault women never even face any consequences for their actions either. True, some may die after the assault occurs but it is rarely as a punishment for the assault or a direct result of it.

The Wheel of Time is actually a good example where these types of gender roles are not as prevalent. Women have the ability to use the One Power and they basically oversee all governments and countries. But even they have been waiting thousands of years for a man to be born who will save the world. There is a culture that has warrior women, but if those women decide to get married they have to give up the warrior life and settle into a domestic one. Some people might say that the Wheel of Time has amazingly strong and powerful female characters, but honestly, I found them all to be haughty, arrogant, and think way too highly of themselves. They were more annoying than strong.

I couldn’t find an actual statistic to see how many women vs men read fantasy, but from what I have seen on social media like Bookstagram, more readers are women than men and a lot more books seemed to be marketed towards women. So why are women portrayed as so inferior in fantasy? As I said before, I’m reading books that were published a decade or so ago so maybe this trend has changed. Have women in fantasy begun to evolve as women’s roles in society have evolved?

This is something I’d be really interested in discussing so if you read this please do leave a comment. Perhaps some recommendations of fantasy books with actually strong and prominent female characters?

Thank you so much for reading and I hope to have a meaningful conversation about this!

Wild Magic, Fool’s Gold 2 by Jude Fisher

Wild Magic. Book 2 of the Fool's Gold trilogy by Jude Fisher

Title: Wild Magic

Author: Jude Fisher

Series: Fool’s Gold

Sexual Content: Minimal

Objectional Content: Violence, Sexual references

Synopsis: The brilliant follow-up to Sorcery Rising and the continuation of the “fascinating” (Anne McCaffrey) Fool’s Gold trilogy penned by Jude Fisher-a major U.K. publisher who oversees all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.

Magic has returned to Elda, creating all manner of wonders and terrors. None yet know that the source of this magic is the legendary Rosa Eldi, restored to the world, but not yet restored to herself. Unaware of her true nature, she has married King Ravn Asharson of the North, and now with usurpers and assassins circling she must conceive a child to establish the succession. But the Rosa Eldi is no ordinary woman…In the Southern Empire, the fire of holy war is smouldering and violence is everywhere, fuelled by fundamentalist hatred and bigotry. Caught up in these machinations, peace-loving Saro Vingo is forced to take up arms against the North and Virelai, apprentice sorcerer, finds himself chained to the murderous plans of his master, Tycho Issian. Ignoring the call to arms, Aran Aranson, chief of the Rockfall clan, is in the grip of a mad obsession borne of a magical map and dreams of sailing the frozen seas to Sanctuary, island of legend, to find a fortune. His daughter, Katla, dreams of sailing with him but her fate lies elsewhere. All over Elda, forces are aligning themselves for good or for evil. There is magic in the world again, but it is wild and unpredictable, and few will count its touch a blessing.

My Review

If I’m being honest (which I strive to be in my reviews) I’m not entirely certain what the plot of this book actually is. The first book in the trilogy, Sorcery Rising, felt very much like it was setting things up, staging things if you will for what was to come. This book, Wild Magic, feels sort of the same, like everything is going to happen in the third book, The Rose of the World.

Wild Magic follows the same characters, picking up basically where Sorcery Rising left off. Everyone has returned to their respective homes after the events of the Allfair. Some characters have been scattered away from their people and misunderstandings about whether a certain character lived or died abound.

There aren’t really all that many characters that I actually like in this trilogy. Katla is presented as a strong female character, which of course I like, but she also has a petulance and stubbornness that makes me think of her as younger than she actually is. Her father has become obsessed with finding a legendary place called Sanctuary, to the detriment of his personal relationships. Her twin is basically going insane and her mother berates her for not having any “womanly” skills.

I enjoy Saro Vingo. He feels like a relatable character. The rest of his family and many people his family interacts with are all pretty horrible, especially Saro’s brother. I certainly can’t help but feel sorry for him as his brother enjoys torturing him so much.

The Rosa Eldi is an interesting character. She has obviously been much more than she seems from the very beginning. I’m interested to know more about her and how her story will progress. Other than Saro, she may be the only character I’m truly interested in.

My rating for Wild Magic is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend this book and it’s predecessor to people who love fantasy with a lot of characters and a bit of mystery.

Thanks for reading!

Other Hobbies – Crochet

We all have hobbies other than reading. Let’s face it, as much as we might like to, we can’t read all the time and sometimes, we just don’t feel like reading. I, like I’m sure everyone else does, have several other hobbies that I enjoy and spend time doing. Today I thought I would share one with you: crochet.

Growing up, I remember my mom always crocheting in the winter months. Usually, she made afghans. When I was a teenager, I finally had some interest in it and she taught me how to crochet. I recall making an afghan for my bed, though not much else.

Last year, around September, I fell into quite the reading slump and decided that I wanted to crochet again. A quick pinterest search showed me all kinds of things I could make. There were so many things I wanted to try. On a shopping trip, I was in the bookstore and came across an amazing book: A Crochet World of Creepy Creatures and Cryptids by Rikki Gustafson.

A quick flip through and I knew I had to have this book! My first few attempts were not the best, but as I’ve been doing more, I think my skills have improved. One of the first things I tried to make was a kitsune. To say that it didn’t turn out well is a bit of an understatement lol.

What do you think? Pretty terrible right?

Well, I have a friend who I discovered also like to do crochet and the two of us started to get together to make stuff. We’ve been working our way through the book and I think my stuff is starting to look much better.

I think this little zombie may be the best one I’ve done to date. My crochet has been pretty consistent for the most part in terms of tension. It was the sewing of the pieces together that made the finished product look terrible. My sewing skills have definitely improved which has make my crochet projects look much better on completion.

I also did some fun halloween projects where I made little ghosts and pumpkins. For christmas presents last year, I made people scarves and gloves.

I’ve branched out and tried making different things, experimenting with different stitches. It’s a fun hobby and a great way to keep both your mind and hands occupied.

What are some of your hobbies? Do you do any crochet? Let me know in the comments below!

Life Update September 2023

One good thing about having a blog nobody reads, is that I can say pretty much anything I want and no one will get upset with me. So, I’ve decided to write this post as a way to vent.

For context, more than two years ago I had to put down my cat. He was the last of four and I can’t even begin to describe the bond I had with him. He was my baby and my best friend. I did everything I could to save him when he got sick but eventually I had to do the hard thing and let him go. The grief is indescribable. Due to my current living circumstances I have been unable to get another cat.

So fast forward to this past weekend. My brother recently got a new kitten. He decided that he wanted to go away for the long weekend and asked me if I would look after her for the weekend as he didn’t want to leave her alone so soon for three days. My roommate agreed to it and I brought her home on Friday night.

I knew from the beginning that the kitten wouldn’t be going home on the Monday. She is a crazy little thing who tore around the house like a psycho demon, but when she was calm, she was very sweet and cuddly. It reminded me so much of how much I miss my own cat that when I had to take her home I cried the whole there and back, then cried again in the evening and when I went to bed.

I thought I had been doing much better with my grief but having the kitten in the house just brought it all back. I want to cry now while writing this.

I’ve struggled with depression the majority of my life. Sometimes, I can get into a very dark place. And this resurgence of grief brought me back to that place. Driving home from dropping off the kitten I had thoughts about cutting myself. I won’t do it, I know better at this stage of my life.

This year has not been great for me mentally. My birthday is coming up in a few days and I will be 39. I don’t know why but this birthday has been hard for me to handle. I don’t want to have a party with my friends, I don’t want to go out or even have people over. I want to hide away in my house. I’m going to buy a whole birthday cake and eat it myself.

I’ve been thinking about my life. What have I done with my life? I’m not married, I don’t have children and I have no intention of ever getting married or having kids. I have an ok job. I’m not poor or in debt (anymore). I live in a nice house, but I don’t own it. I rent from my roommate. I have several hobbies that keep me entertained like blogging, reading, crochet, cross stitch and jigsaw puzzles. My life isn’t bad. I know there are people out there who have far worse lives. I still feel like my life is half over and I have nothing to show for it.

I’m not looking for sympathy or pity by posting this. I just need to get it off my chest and don’t want to burden anyone in my life.

Sorcery Rising – Fool’s Gold 1 by Jude Fisher

Sorcery Rising, Book 1 of the Fool's Gold trilogy by Jude Fisher

Title: Sorcery Rising

Author: Jude Fisher

Series: Fool’s Gold

Sexual Content: Moderate

Objectional Content: Rape, violence

Synopsis: A talented knife-maker with a natural affinity with the elements of the earth, Katla Aransen, the beautiful and rebellious daughter of an Eyran merchant, finds herself targeted by Istrian fanatics after she accidentally commits sacrilege and by Saro Katla, a blade-forger; and Saro, the second son of an Istrian nobleman–are forever changed.

Sorcery Rising starts out by introducing a plethora of characters. I was almost instantly confused by the number of names being thrown at me and could not keep track of who was who. I also noticed pretty quickly that there is a weird sexual undertone to the narrative. I understand that the majority of the characters here are in their late teens/early twenties and sexual attraction is completely normal and it makes sense for them to be having these types of feelings. However, the father who is lustful of his own daughter was a bit much.

This book takes it’s time establishing the setting, introducing characters and pointing out, in a way, the differences between the different people. On one side are the Isstrians, who worship a goddess, but closet their woman away, clothing them in robes that cover everything except their mouths and hands. It’s sacrilege for a woman to show her face in public. They are not taught to read or write and essentially exist as property to be traded from a father to a husband. This seemed very backwards to me for a people that worship a goddess. I would have thought having a female deity would be more empowering to the women in society instead of the opposite.

On yhe other hand, there’s the Eyrans, who are the ancient enemy of the Isstrians and considered barbarians. They worship a god and their society is some what more equal, though not completely. The women are allowed to do things most women wouldn’t, such as forging swords and knives and being considered to excel at her craft. At the same time, a daughter can be bargained off by her father and the woman has no say in the matter. This was so contrary to me as the Eyrans are described as having equality between the sexes.

The third people are nomads. Not as much is told about these people, but my impression was something along the lines of gypsies.

I felt like the story took a long time to really pick up. As I said, there were many characters and it was hard to keep track of them all. I did like Katla, though the way she is described gave off “I’m not like other girls” vibes. She is a strong character, who loves to climb and has an affinity with the earth. She is brave and stubborn and the kind of person I’d like to have as a friend since she would risk her own life for a stranger in need.

Other than Saro and Katla, I didn’t find many of the characters to be overly likeable. Many of them are greedy, making deals in order to get money for something else they want out of obsession.

As for the plot, it was slow to start. As the characters are introduced and interact with others, we see how tensions still exist between the Isstrians and the Eyrans and how little it would take to spark another war.

For a fantasy novel, there isn’t a lot of magic or fantastical creatures. There is some magic, but it is mostly confined to a few individuals. however, as the novel progresses, it become clear that magic is beginning to return to the world. Charms and potions are suddenly working more powerfully than they should, and characters begin to develop powers they didn’t have before.

Overall, this novel feels like setting up for what is to come in the rest of the trilogy. I’m curious to see how it goes and will continue with the next book.

My rating for Sorcery Rising is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy fantasy with a slower pace and lots of characters.

As always, thanks for reading!

Monthly Wrap Up – August 2023

Is August really over already? Wasn’t it just Easter? Seriously, where has this year gone?

Well then, what did August bring my way? Well, unfortunately I got a stomach infection that I am just about recovered from. Sadly, though I was home for a few days, I couldn’t focus to read. I was too light headed and nauseous. I don’t recommend it.

I did manage to read 2 books this month though.

I finished The Oasis and The Horus Road, which completed the Lord of the Two Lands trilogy by Pauline Gedge. Both were enjoyable though a bit slow in places.

Currently, I’m reading Sorcery Rising by Jude Fisher, the first book in the Fool’s Gold trilogy. I’m around half way through and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet.

After that, I plan to read the two sequels to complete the trilogy, Wild Magic and The Rose of the World.

Depending on how my health cooperates, that may be all for September, but if I do get through these more quickly, I’ll decide then, what to read.

What was August like for reading for you? How many books did you read?

The Horus Road by Pauline Gedge – Book REview

The Horus Road, book 3 of the Lords of the Two Lands by Pauline Gedge

Title: The Horus Road

Author: Pauline Gedge

Series: The Lords of the Two Lands

Sexual Content: Minimal

Objectional Content: Incest, Infant death

Target Audience: Adults

Synopsis: The Horus Road is the riveting conclusion of Pauline Gedge’s three-volume epic, the Lords of the Two Lands, which chronicles the courageous and often tragic struggle of the Tao Princes to free their country from the foreign rule of the Setiu king Apepa.

Ahmose vows to continue the struggle that has taken the life of his father and brother. It is up to him to devise a strategy to capture the Setiu capital, Het-Uart, in order to free Egypt once and for all. But the devious Apepa will stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to rob the Tao family of its chance for total victory. Military might alone will not be enough for Ahmose to breach the city’s walls. He will need a miracle from Amun.

My Review

I always try to be as honest as possible in my reviews so I’m just going to admit from the start that I considered not finishing this book multiple times. My mind was constantly wandering while reading and there were whole paragraphs, maybe even pages, that my brain didn’t absorb at all. The reason I didn’t give up on it was because I still wanted to know how it would all end.

The Horus Road is engaging in spurts, but for the most part, I found it to be quite tedious. This trilogy is more about the characters than it is about the plot to retake Egypt.

I had certain expectations going into the book, as it is the third in a trilogy. My expectations were met but not in any way I might have predicted. That is one thing about these books that I really enjoyed. I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next.

Sadly, the ending didn’t really do it for me. It felt like it was all building up to a victorious moment but when that moment came, it fell flat. It just wasn’t climactic.

I did really enjoy the writing style. It is clear that Pauline Gedge has done her research on ancient Egypt and knows how to incorporate that knowledge into her writing and characters. The characters themselves were relatable and interesting. They showed proper development throughout, though I never knew when someone was going to die.

Overall, my rating for the Horus Road is 3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who has read the first two books.

Thanks for reading!