Eternal Wars: Armies of Saints, from Livio Gambarini

Hi, there! Good morning and welcome to a very different book review 🙂 Today’s star, Eternal Wars: Armies of Saints, from Livio Gambarini, was received from the publisher in exchange of an honest review 😀 A special thanks to Samuel Marolla, who contacted me on behalf of Acheron Books

The moment arrived, so let’s go!

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The Story

(Goodreads’ blurb)

In 13th century Florence, the war between the Guelphs and Ghibellines is destroying entire families. Every corner of Tuscany has been drawn into the conflict, but little do the two sides realise their war is but a pale reflection of a battle between the mysterious inhabitants of the spirit world, lasting a thousand years.
The spirit that guides the Cavalcanti family, Kabal, uses every any means at his disposal to make sure his family is not torn to shreds and eventually comes out on top. The true ace up his sleeve is the new head of his family, the warrior and poet Guido Cavalcanti. Guido is driven to seek an impossible peace as he strives to save his city and marry the girl he loves. He is helped by a young, exceptionally shy poet known as Dante Alighieri…
It is a story of war, betrayal, intrigue and magic that is woven skilfully together to create a wondrous combination of historical accuracy and the fantastic world that lies behind human endeavour. “The Eternal War – Armies of Saints” is an innovative historical fantasy set against the backdrop of the Florence of the Divine Comedy. It has already conquered Italy and now, with the English translation, it is set to take the world.

 

The Analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

I was highly intrigued by this novel when Samuel contacted me. I have a weakness for Italy – in special, Florence, as I mentioned on this post – and I couldn’t wait to see what Eternal Wars was about. The thing is that it wasn’t exactly what I expected. It was a really different and enchanting story (so much that I read it on a single sitting), but I got highly confused in the beginning thanks to the narrative style and I couldn’t really relate to any of the characters. That’s why it is a three stars book for me: satisfactory and entertaining, but my heart ended the book intact.

The narrative style was my biggest in the book – and no, it wasn’t first person styled. Stop haunting me. It was third person styled with switching point of views. So far, so good? Wonderful, this is my favorite kind. The problem is that there are too many main characters and two distinct sets of narrative points of view: the “real” world and the spiritual world. I personally am really bad with names – I have to take notes in books like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (judge me) and Game of Thrones. I wasn’t expecting to have to take notes on Eternal Wars as well, but oh well.

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The switching between worlds and main characters and time passages drove me nuts, as I was always lots and didn’t really like Kabal, the spirit that protected the main-main-main family.

The plot was very complex and developed, full of action and mystery, on both worlds. It was interesting to see Gambarini’s descriptions of war, cities and of the spiritual ways. How the saints manipulated everything, for good and bad. Usually, I don’t like books that contain too much religion and are not didactic (for example, a book telling the history of an x religion), but this worked to Gambarini’s advantage, as it was an interesting historical fiction 🙂

I really liked how the characters were built, but I couldn’t relate to any of them. I mean, Cavalcante had an awesome quote in the beginning that had me laughing out loud and I made a point of writing it down on my quote notebook:

“ (…) life is like disease. As long as you have it, at least enjoy the bed!”

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HONESTLY, THIS IS JUST BRILLIANT!

Ahem, back to the characters.

I liked Guido and Bice, they were a cute couple. Also, it was cool that Guido was a poet – if a good-looking guy said that I looked like an angel, I would be taken just as Bice was, haha! I can’t deny that all Gambarini’s characters are really real (haha), but I just couldn’t connect, I don’t know. Oh, and I enjoyed far more the “real” world than the spiritual parts. I felt them massively unnecessary on the big picture 😦

Bonus point: Cavalcante. Yes, you read it correctly. He was brilliantly built and positioned. His ways made his son Guido decide to not be a typical middle-aged man in 13th century Italy. All the vices, the traumas, fornication and sodomy YASSSS and drugs. It was fairly common for men from certain social positions on that time to overindulge in all the pleasures of life. As if many things had changed.

Overall, I really enjoyed the battle scenes and Guido’s adulthood, as he was an interesting man. If you like medieval set stories, specially Italian ones, full of action and mind-blowing ends, you should pick up Eternal Wars!

3star

That’s it, thank you for reading! And, once again, thanks to Acheron Books for sending me this book 😀

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After Death, from Jacqueline E. Smith (Cemetery Tours #3)

Hi, yet again! It’s with the purest heartache that I announce that this will be the last post in my Cemetery Tours marathon 😦 After Death is the third and last published book in the series by oh-so-talented Jacqueline E. Smith, so it closes the review frenzy of this week and I shall never recover of this awesome books. Thanks again, Jacqueline, for providing me with the whole series in exchange of an honest review for each book ❤

Anyway, just a quick recap: I already reviewed Cemetery Tours (book 1) and Between Worlds (book 2) of the Cemetery Tour series and After Death is here, as book 3 🙂

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from my Instagram

The Story

Michael and Kate are finally really dating after so many delays and are trapped with way simpler problems than before: are they ready for the next step? Is Kate over Trevor? Should Michael propose now or wait for a job to appear?

All those doubts are put on hold when Michael receives a weird invitation for the inauguration of Cirque Somniatis, in Hugo, Oklahoma. Kate jumps into the opportunity on the spot and convinces Michael that he should invite Luke Rainer as second escort for the event. Michael doesn’t really like the idea, as Luke seems to always causes him weeks of trouble and headache each time the three of them hooked up, put agrees nevertheless.

As always goes with people that handles with spirits, soon enough they realize that Cirque Somniatis is way darker than it should.

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The Analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

I’m sorry if I sound repetitive when I talk about any book of this series, but THEY ARE FREAKING AWESOME! After Death was even better than Between Worlds and made me crave for more like a possessed girl when I finished it and there wasn’t more. Five stars because Goodreads doesn’t allow me to give more.

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me after finishing After Death

The good news is that Jacqueline assured me that Cemetery Tours is not ending any time soon! YAY, THANK YOU MY LORD!

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me after talking to Jacqueline

Ok, I’m under control now. Maybe. But let’s (try to) get professional.

The narrative style is once again kept and it worked just fine for me for the whole series: third person with alternating point of views. The news is that we get to hear more of the story through Luke’s eyes, and it was awesome 😀 Now I officially love Luke, even with his very weird romantic notions.

The plot was breathtaking. Really, Smith evolved a lot through her books and I had no idea who were the real villains until the very end. Everybody – even Luke himself in some parts – seems to be hiding something awful. How many ghosts are there in the circus? Is the Ringmaster really a human being? Can Chance be more obnoxious? ARE THEY GOING TO FREAKING SURVIVE?!

Seriously, Jacqueline broke me with this book. I read it in one day, crazily and non-stop as much as I could.

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Once again, the aspect that more appraised me were the characters. Besides our bffs Michael, Kate, Luke and Brink, we are introduced to new people and spirits. They all grew up a lot, specially Michael (again), the Luke himself points out on his parts of the book. Their friendship gets stronger and it’s just beautiful. I like Claire too, a new ghost in town, but she is kind of scaring and crazy, in the worse way possible: the innocent looking way, haha! Blink also has a big part in this book and it was heartwarming to see what Michael did for him in the end. I cried hard, tears of joy ❤ But, putting all the magic aside for a moment, I have to share a theory with you guys or I may die.

There’s this guy that shows up as well, called Chance. He also owns a TV show based in ghost hunting and all, called Ghost Crusaders or some other non-sense like that. The thing is that Chance is a very jerk individual, but he is especially mean with Luke and we can clearly see that it goes beyond TV rating rivalry. In the end, his reasons are revealed, but I kinda didn’t believe him. I mean, NO ONE is so cruel for such a stupid reason without being a psychopath (which Chance wasn’t, he had too many passion in his hate for Luke). Which brings me to my theory: is Chance hiding some sort of insane and sick passion for Luke? It would make all the sense in the world for me and I was so sure that I was right that I even gasped when I read what it was all about. Seriously. Love and hate are apart thanks to a very thin and transparent line. I don’t know if Chance’s dedication to Luke’s fall is fed by only hate. I don’t think he has this notion, but I believe with all my heart THAT I AM STILL RIGHT AND THAT CHANCE IS JUST MAKING EXCUSES FOR HIMSELF.

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don’t worry, Chance. I’ll keep your secret from Luke 😉

Ahem, back to the book.

Bonus point: the circus aspect was a huge one. Smith manages to immerse her reader on that feeling of darkness, magic, joy, mystery and decadency all the same time. I’m fascinated about circus in horror/ghost/suspense books and for its history in general, so I felt butterflies in my stomach all the time while “I was” on the circus with Michael, Kate and Luke.

Overall, this was one of the best full series that I read this year. I’m just not going to say that it was the absolute best because I’ve read all Percy Jackson’s books earlier this year for the first time and I also liked them very much, haha! But seriously, it’s the best ghost series ever. CEMETERY TOURS BEATED THE MEDIATOR SERIES IN MY HEART =O

5star

That’s it! Thanks for reading and for bearing with me and my Cemetery Tours marathon ❤ And, of course, thanks once again to Jacqueline, this awesome author that manage to find her own place in my heart 😀

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Ps: That was my third book on the #12daysofbooksmas2 readathon!