Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale

I received this book via NetGalley for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

It’s The Last of the Mohicans meets HBO’s Rome in this exciting and inventive debut novel from Sidewise Award-winner, Alan Smale, that will thrill fans of alternate history, historical fiction, and military fiction.

In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, a legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must reevaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land.

Review:

Such a unique story with some pretty amazing characters! Alan’s writing style is just perfect, not overruling with details but clear enough that you could even smell everything that happened! (And can I just say how awesome the cover is?! Wow, just gorgeous!)

There were many issues that contradicted my morals however, and actually caused me to stop reading in the height of action, much to my dismay. From the very beginning, Clash of Eagles consists of the smaller cuss words and not very frequent, but the intensity of the cursing quickly escalated as the book went on, eventually using all cursing.

The gore and action is decently high, containing vivid scenes of maiming as well as killing in the war scenes. There is an unnecessary sex scene, that though it is not overly detailed, it is still disturbing.

So it hurts me to give a book that has as much potential as Clash of Eagles does, only 2 out of 5 stars because of all of the unnecessary content. However, the story line, writing, and characters are brilliant and I wanted to mention that again!

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Forgotten Reflections by Young-Im Lee

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

 DARE TO DREAM IN THE MIDST OF WAR.

1945. Rice fields seem endless in a quaint farming village of South Korea, yet Iseul and the villagers have been on the verge of starvation for as long as they can remember; the last of their Japanese colonizers have taken every last grain with them. In the newly independent Korea, Iseul dreams of what her future might bring. Yet, war is on the horizon, and the boy she has fallen for is an alleged North Korean communist spy.

Amidst war, Jung-Soo and Iseul embark on a comic journey of self-discovery across the mountainous peninsula, where they are aided by the occasional legendary ghost and animals. Music helps them pass the time, as does the radio and the crafty carpentry skills of Iseul who would eventually make history with her handcrafted hanji paper. Unexpected friendships are forged, love burgeons and betrayal taints their elusive dreams.

In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” ponders on what the Korean War means to South Korea, spanning three generations as the nation rises from the ashes.

Review:

Iseul’s and Jung-Soo’s story is a heart-wrenching one but, one worth reading. In Forgotten Reflections, we travel to the rice capital in South Korea during the time of the Forgotten War.

I love the history content in this story as well as the characters who bring it to life. Forgotten Reflections is written in my favorite style of historical fiction, in which the main story unfolds at the same rate that a character in our time is discovering the history, therefore we have two stories in one book.

It’s a slower paced novel for sure, and may seem to drag on for some readers, but it is filled with many interesting facts that help the story along. It’s relatively clean, with the occasional curse words and the violence that comes with war is only mildly graphic.

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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