Book review: The Iron Circlet

As with the previous books, the fourth directly follows the third. Defense of Abythos ended up being a total failure due to all the creatures Tharok had enslaved and sent the humans scattered from the battlefield.

Those who survived and are capable of leading the remains are trying to create a working strategy to stop the kragh hordes yet find themselves unable to choose something they would all agree on and they’d all believe to work.

Meanwhile, Audsley is getting deeper into the secrets of the Fujiwara, secrets that are often gruesome. His path will take some twists as well, maybe more than the others.

Now, a bit more detail about the individual plotlines.


Tharok’s conquest seems unstoppable at first, yet the warlord is surprised by something he’d not expect: the White Gate. Its power knocks him out temporarily and one of the others takes the mantle of a warlord – as well as the circlet and weapon – from him, leaving him to create a plan to get them back without their help, something he eventually succeeds in doing. Then, he launches his most devastating attack on the humans who prepared their last defense. It does not go as well as he thought until he uses something that no one could be prepared for.


Tiron and the young nobles following him are one of the few that left Abythos by ground instead of portals and are moving, seemingly without a destination, through the land. That is until they encounter a group of kragh that separated from the main army. They eventually join forces with Nok and Shaya who were sent to warn and help the few remaining shamans that Tharok sent away so the medusa can’t get a hold of them.

This journey shows the contrast between Tirn’s harsh realism and the ideals of the nobles and even Tiron is shown that his approach might not be the best one – that a dream or hope can be a goal to go for, despite all the losses they face. With the help of the uncorrupted kragh, they eventually help the final battle in a way no one could expect.


Iskra does not get that much action. Instead, she’s mostly seen trying to keep things together, often being against the plan the Ascendant suggests – only to be shown that they both made mistakes.

Asho and Kethe

The two finally meet again, only to start quite cold as Kethe is still struggling with her new role as a virtue – only to be the last one standing. Both she and Asho are again forced to fight to the limits of their abilities and not always side-by-side as they defend different places against Tharok’s forces. The situation between them changes when Asho saves Kethe and they eventually fight the final battle together.

Also, Elom appears again and shows his skill in fixing things, especially fixing massive things that make massive damage.


This was probably the most interesting part of the book. Audsley, once hungry for knowledge, is now struggling with his inner demons as he delves into the dark secrets of the Fujiwara. With Zephyr, they plan to eliminate their leader and while creating the plan works well, it all goes down horribly. Audsley is given more facts than he’d like – facts that are too hard to swallow for him, a revelation about the Ascension’s dark background and how the faith he believed so much was nothing but a scheme built on a desire for vengeance.

It eventually goes down horribly and even the fact that his firecat Aedelbert finally returns or that he is finally rid of his demons are just a small consolation in what turns to be much worse than the kragh, the medusa, or the massive worms she summoned.

Read date: 26.-30.7.2018
Published: 13.4.2017
Goodreads / Amazon rating: 4,34 / 4,8
My rating: 95%
Length: 438 pages (Kindle edition)

Going 5% up compared to the previous two books.

A great part of me hoped that Asho and Kethe would finally rid Tharok of his head and get done with the kragh for all they caused. How the Fujiwara substory went down was something I did not really expect and if there’s something I am really curious to see in the final book, it’s what will happen with the Ascendant empire. As the characters were considering destruction or reformation, the situation changed many times. Now that all the dark background was revealed and everything is going down even worse than expected, the change will be most likely in some other direction.

What I missed compared to the first three books was saying at the beginning of a chapter from whose PoV the chapter is told. Sometimes it was a good idea for where to end the day’s reading.

Writing: thoughts about cuts

Even though I expected to do mostly smaller revisions and some consolidation (UK/US spelling, location naming consistency, capitalization consistency), I eventually did one larger change when preparing the current draft. I took out a big part of the early story – some parts were removed completely, some parts were compressed. The reason was that it felt like it takes far too long to set up and get to the point.

Fact is, I was thinking of doing this in one way or another for a while. And it led me to think about the topic of cutting stuff from a draft: where, how and why I did that over time.

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7/2018 Writing update: three years on the journey

As of now, it’s three years to a day when I decided to give writing a try and started writing a sample chapter.¬†Where has all the time gone? The fact that I am still going on feels like a personal victory, even though the finish line is still in distance. By my original plan, I hoped that today would be the release date for the first book but it needed even more time than I expected. So, what’s my progress for the last month and the outlook for the near future?

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Book review: The siege of Abythos

The third book in the series started by The Path of Flames, it picks up pretty much where the second book left off, the morning after the battle for Mythgrafen hold besieged by the demons. The stories of different characters will start getting complicated and more complex as the situation escalates.

As with the second book, the third follows several threads of the main story. Many of them will eventually converge by the end.

By the book’s half, it very visible that it’s all going down and that it’s not so much about who might win but about how big mess it’ll be – which helps the pace for a book that’s slightly longer than the previous two.

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Writing thoughts: backstory

Backstories. Details that make the story and the characters more likely by revealing bits that happened in their past or even before and tie in into the present. Something that makes the story more complex.

Something I feared for all those years before I gave writing a try – and even the first years. How can I, who has nothing but an idea, make a story complex enough to stand a chance?

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Fantasy thoughts: battle scars

I am back with another jumble of thoughts about something that is part of any violent story, not only limited to fantasy though it’s fantasy I read the most so my prevalent point of view will be for that genre.

Heroes and villains will both go through much and not everyone is lucky to emerge without at least a token of remembrance for the perils endured. And based on several factors, how the character and those around him perceive battle scars can vary.

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Something about TBR and series

A friend once said: “the larger an HDD is, the faster it gets filled”. I realized that I could say the same about my ‘to be read’ list – it can grow faster than I can reduce it by reading the books listed there.

At this point, the excel file with potential TBRs is 70 items long and most of them are in series, ranging in length usually between 3 and 6 books. If I average it at 4 and add to it some classics that I don’t bother to put there, it gets me somewhere to potentially 300+ books. That is without counting books that will continue existing series (as I don’t put those to that file). Even if some might not make it out of the TBR list, the choice is still quite large and I keep discovering new TBR candidates every now and then.

So, I’ll go into some factors I have for choosing a book to read as well as to factors about adding them to the TBR list.

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Writing thoughts: evolution?

It’s getting close to three-year-anniversary since I started writing. It brought me to think a bit about how it started and how it went and to see how I changed in that regard. Doubt is still pretty much constant companion yet it is more often accompanied by hope. I hope that during those three years, I learned something and that each draft is better than the previous one.

Now, where I see the changes?

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Slovakian fields

So, I am back with another hike post. This one is something I’ll start on a bit of detour: back in May 2017 when the hiking club was putting together a plan for 2018 (with me as a guest to the 9 leaders), we lacked something for the ‘slot’ of 30.6. and a few days before, there was a video from Slovakian mountain resort where a group of bikers was startled by a bear on one of the trails. And I had the ‘genius’ idea to suggest to go there. Surprisingly, the suggestion was accepted.

So, that’s the backstory, now for the hike itself.

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