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  • VERY Respectable Adult Fantasy Debut!

    I really enjoyed this. I feel like the options for finding an adult fantasy novel written by a woman is a bit harder to come by in a genre so traditionally dominated by men, but Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long is a FANTASTIC debut read—one worth a reread or few. In short, this was a wild, fun ride, and I very much enjoyed the author's style of writing. If you dig Viking influence and stories that feature strong women at their helm, give this one a shot. It’s similar to Sky in the Deep (which I found lacking), only way more grown-up. Better writing, more immersive world-building and lore, captivating storytelling and plot, and an epic cast of characters, which includes monsteresque creatures, zealot priests and legionaries, and brutal, brutal gods. The lore, the stakes, the fight scenes, battles—they were all superb in Hall of Smoke. I got major Skyrim vibes reading this book (the shouts, the setting, the weapons). I’ve put an embarrassing number of hours into that game LOL. Though it took roughly a quarter to one-third of the way into the book for it to really get going for me, once I passed that 25–33% mark, it had my undivided attention. If you’re looking for a romance sub-plot, you won’t find it here. HoS is not that kind of story. This is about one woman’s struggle as she examines her beliefs and, ultimately, avenges all she’s lost. H.M. Long is an author I’ll have my eye on for her forthcoming work. Can’t wait for more books set in this world. Very respectable debut!

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