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Brother Red

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When the trade caravan Driwna Marghoster was hired to protect is attacked, she discovers a dead body hidden inside a barrel. Born of the powerful but elusive Oskoro people, the body is a rare and priceless find, the centre of a tragic tale and the key to a larger mystery... For when Driwna investigates who the body was meant for, she will find a trail of deceit and corrupti When the trade caravan Driwna Marghoster was hired to protect is attacked, she discovers a dead body hidden inside a barrel. Born of the powerful but elusive Oskoro people, the body is a rare and priceless find, the centre of a tragic tale and the key to a larger mystery... For when Driwna investigates who the body was meant for, she will find a trail of deceit and corruption which could bring down a kingdom, and an evil more powerful than she can imagine. From the author of the critically acclaimed Snakewood and The Winter Road comes a gritty and epic standalone adventure that's perfect for fans of Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie and Andrzej Sapkowski's the Witcher.


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When the trade caravan Driwna Marghoster was hired to protect is attacked, she discovers a dead body hidden inside a barrel. Born of the powerful but elusive Oskoro people, the body is a rare and priceless find, the centre of a tragic tale and the key to a larger mystery... For when Driwna investigates who the body was meant for, she will find a trail of deceit and corrupti When the trade caravan Driwna Marghoster was hired to protect is attacked, she discovers a dead body hidden inside a barrel. Born of the powerful but elusive Oskoro people, the body is a rare and priceless find, the centre of a tragic tale and the key to a larger mystery... For when Driwna investigates who the body was meant for, she will find a trail of deceit and corruption which could bring down a kingdom, and an evil more powerful than she can imagine. From the author of the critically acclaimed Snakewood and The Winter Road comes a gritty and epic standalone adventure that's perfect for fans of Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie and Andrzej Sapkowski's the Witcher.

30 review for Brother Red

  1. 5 out of 5

    Holly (Holly Hearts Books)

    I’ll be honest, I’ve been dreading marking this as dnf because I know many of you were excited to hear my thoughts and are excited about the book itself but as someone who will always be honest about my feelings towards a book, I just need to rip the band aid. I got to the 100 page mark early in the month and have not wanted to pick it back up. The writing style is really hard to get used to for me. I’m not invested in the story and I don’t feel anything for the characters. Everyone feels like a I’ll be honest, I’ve been dreading marking this as dnf because I know many of you were excited to hear my thoughts and are excited about the book itself but as someone who will always be honest about my feelings towards a book, I just need to rip the band aid. I got to the 100 page mark early in the month and have not wanted to pick it back up. The writing style is really hard to get used to for me. I’m not invested in the story and I don’t feel anything for the characters. Everyone feels like a grayed out mannequin. I’ll definitely be giving Selby another chance and just hope this was a one off for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Holly (The Grimdragon)

    “I turn and walk away from the carnage, look back to the burning camp and lodge. There are no cries of battle there, just the howling of dogs and mothers and fathers. Now I feel the torment of the Flower of Fates; the vastness of the plains, the weight of the lake. There is no end to the thirst of all life, all stone and flesh, wood and leaf. The dead here will be drunk dry in their turn and the land will still take more. I can’t bear this truth.” Brother Red is grimheart poetry. That’s it. That’s “I turn and walk away from the carnage, look back to the burning camp and lodge. There are no cries of battle there, just the howling of dogs and mothers and fathers. Now I feel the torment of the Flower of Fates; the vastness of the plains, the weight of the lake. There is no end to the thirst of all life, all stone and flesh, wood and leaf. The dead here will be drunk dry in their turn and the land will still take more. I can’t bear this truth.” Brother Red is grimheart poetry. That’s it. That’s the review. Fine. Let me blather on for a bit, because this book is fucking bonkers & deserves ALL THE READERS!! While this may only be the second Adrian Selby novel I’ve read, I cannot help but want to enthusiastically yell (respectfully) at everyone to read his work because he is a fantastically unique writer with such a distinct voice. “He’s trying to find words, but love fills years, not words.” Selby’s novels are threaded within the same world, although they stand on their own. From what I understand, you can absolutely read them in any order. However, if you’re interested in reading the three like I’m doing, the chronological order is The Winter Road, Brother Red & then Snakewood. Each take place roughly a century apart. You better believe I’ll be reading Snakewood *very* soon! Brother Red follows Driwna Marghoster, who has recently been promoted as marshal of a group of merchants called the Post. After discovering the body of an Oskoro in a barrel of alcohol, Driw & her partner Cal find themselves uncovering a much larger mystery than they ever expected. Along the way, the investigation leads them to Ufra, a mystical warrior of the Ososi people. The Oskoro & Ososi embed plants & herbs into their bodies through seeds, oils, potions & even blood. Much like Sanderson’s allomancy, the user is able to enhance their physical abilities once the plant brew has been consumed, like a powerful drug. The magic concept is rad as hell & executed in this brilliantly odd, fascinating way. There are few magic systems that I find myself getting obsessed with like this one, wanting to know EVERY SINGLE DETAIL & just.. being blown away by something so completely original. Selby has this undeniable ability to write such authentic relationships. Relationships that are raw & real & passionate & full of laughter & history. They are multilayered, because that’s real life. The partnership between Cal & Driw is one such relationship. I just really appreciated having such a nuanced perspective, something we don’t often see in SFF, especially. A relationship like this where they have each other’s backs in such a profound way. However, on the flipside, there is a touch of insta-love that takes place with Driw & Ufra. I was concerned at first, because fucking hell. The insta-love trope just.. is not my favorite. BUT HAVE NO FEAR!! Selby twists & weaves the characterizations in his own original style & it ends up being an achingly beautiful relationship that I couldn’t love more. Oof. Unique, moving, brutally cinematic, near-frenetic action sequences. Brother Red is this glorious amalgamation of grimdark, epic-low fantasy, horror & western. The Winter Road was my favorite book of 2018 & I won’t hesitate to include Brother Red at the top of my list this year! CW: Slavery, torture, intense violence, death. (Endless thanks for sending me a copy, Orbit Books!)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hiu Gregg

    I'm a huge endings guy. They make or break a book for me. I was ready to give this 4 stars right up until the final third. But somewhere along the way I got really fucking attached to these characters, to their plight. Something I didn't really expect to happen in a dark fantasy novel. The way everything came together... I can't form the words at the minute. Fuck me, but I feel emotionally drained in the best possible way. It made me feel all of the emotions. Fuck you, Adrian Selby. And thank you I'm a huge endings guy. They make or break a book for me. I was ready to give this 4 stars right up until the final third. But somewhere along the way I got really fucking attached to these characters, to their plight. Something I didn't really expect to happen in a dark fantasy novel. The way everything came together... I can't form the words at the minute. Fuck me, but I feel emotionally drained in the best possible way. It made me feel all of the emotions. Fuck you, Adrian Selby. And thank you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marielle

    "The end of autumn bites into the trees now, as though a whetstone’s been taken to the air itself, keen and clear, perfected by a cold wind from the north." Another amazing book by Selby. His books are never an easy read, always rough and brutal, but that's exactly what I love about them. The characters and their relationships really come to life for me, I hated some and loved others with a passion. The relationship with her parents is beautifully described and had me crying. I will definitly rerea "The end of autumn bites into the trees now, as though a whetstone’s been taken to the air itself, keen and clear, perfected by a cold wind from the north." Another amazing book by Selby. His books are never an easy read, always rough and brutal, but that's exactly what I love about them. The characters and their relationships really come to life for me, I hated some and loved others with a passion. The relationship with her parents is beautifully described and had me crying. I will definitly reread all the books in chronological order! “I have seen death, Dreis. There’s no Leif there, not my own mun or pa, or yours, just a quiet we take nothing into and where we forget all that has gone."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dustin

    5⭐️ Brother Red is another thrilling, heartbreaking read from Adrian Selby, who is one of my favorite authors, even with only 3 published novels. Set in the same world as Snakewood and The Winter Road, this one can be read as a stand alone although names and events from the two previous books are sprinkled throughout. Brother Red is, amongst other things, a love story and a mystery. Driwna is a soldier and a member of The Post, which is a merchant guild/ delivery service kind of like FedEx but wi 5⭐️ Brother Red is another thrilling, heartbreaking read from Adrian Selby, who is one of my favorite authors, even with only 3 published novels. Set in the same world as Snakewood and The Winter Road, this one can be read as a stand alone although names and events from the two previous books are sprinkled throughout. Brother Red is, amongst other things, a love story and a mystery. Driwna is a soldier and a member of The Post, which is a merchant guild/ delivery service kind of like FedEx but with horses and wagons. Early on she discovers a baby’s body from a reclusive and mysterious people hidden in a barrel and she decides to find out what the hell happened. At first Driwna appears to be kind of an ordinary person who is a good soldier and who is dedicated to the Post. By the end of the book, and with her tragic past revealed, it becomes clear she is an imperfect badass and a true heir to the legacy of Teyr Amondsen, the heroine of The Winter Road. I can’t say I liked Brother Red better than that previous book. That would be tough as The Winter Road was my favorite read from 2019, but Selby yet again creates an impressive gallery of characters-heroes and villains- and made me care deeply about what happens to them. The plot for this one is kind of meandering and some events were too coincidental, but I flew through this book in a couple days and was extremely emotional by the end of yet another brilliant epilogue. The fighting system and scenes in Selbys books are unique, brutal and mesmerizing. Warriors and soldiers drink plant mixtures called Fightbrews which temporarily give them heightened senses and strength followed by a debilitating comedown. The brews change a person inside and out, including turning their skin different colors. Selby’s prose is tough to acclimate to for some. I have to re-read some sentences that roll off the tongue strangely. It’s also poetic and there are a number of beautiful and sad passages that just left me feeling wrung out. I consider any book that I get so emotional about to be an absolute gem. Without giving too much away, there are certain people and events in this one that suggest there is much more going on in this world than I previously thought. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction the author goes next. I hope Selby continues to write books like this. They are unique enough that not everyone will like them but for me, his style works and I’ll be waiting impatiently for the next one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Smith

    Actually giving this 5 stars, Goodreads only showing 1. Another amazing book by Selby with another tale of The Post and its riders and a bit more detail about the Oskoro and the Ososi. Exciting, emotional and extremely powerful read

  7. 4 out of 5

    James Latimer

    And so we come full circle at last. I hope that's not the end of it. Full review to follow, when I get done paying the colour... And so we come full circle at last. I hope that's not the end of it. Full review to follow, when I get done paying the colour...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simone

    “Brother Red“ by Adrian Selby [5/5] Thanks to Orbit and Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review Important things first: this book takes place in the same world as Selby's Snakewood and The Winter Road. I have not read any of those, and I don't think one needs to. The plot is fine on its own and there were no points where I thought I needed to have read the other two books beforehand. This is very much a standalone. Wearing the Red The main character in this book is a wo “Brother Red“ by Adrian Selby [5/5] Thanks to Orbit and Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review Important things first: this book takes place in the same world as Selby's Snakewood and The Winter Road. I have not read any of those, and I don't think one needs to. The plot is fine on its own and there were no points where I thought I needed to have read the other two books beforehand. This is very much a standalone. Wearing the Red The main character in this book is a woman called Driwna Marghoster and she is part of the Post, a group, or merchant guild, who protects the trade caravans to the different parts of the world. Their uniform is red which explains a part of the title. Driwna is an interesting main character and I loved experiencing the story from her POV. She comes with her own package and has strong opinions about what she thinks is the right thing to do – even if the people around her might disagree with her. Her involvement in the book's plot begins with her discovering a dead body inside a barrel. This body is also a point of motivation for her and I think the reader can emphasize with her in this regard. Most of the other important characters in this book are connected to the Post in some way or another – there is Driwna's best friend who likes to sing songs and seems to be a really nice guy everyone would love to befriend. There is also a former warrior now working for the Post, and he is one of the characters the reader learns more about throughout the novel and he grew on me the more he was in the book. There are also characters from different tribes and one, a woman called Ufra, becomes important to Driwna as both fall in love with each other. I think I like all the characters Driwna associates with in a friendly way and I became quite attached to them. Of Magic and Darkness Even though I am a bit reluctant to call this Grimdark Fantasy as the main character is – in my opinion – a bit too heroic, but I can see why other people would consider it as Grimdark Fantasy. I really liked the world-building with the different factions both inside the Post and the political elite in this world. I was very interested in reading about the Post and the very different people that work for it. While it is clear that there must be a lot of corruption sometimes it is not clear if a certain character is part of it or not (even though the main antagonists are most of the time clear to both Driwna and the reader once they meet them). For all the people who need hard-magic systems in the books they read: this book is not really focused on magic – there is such a thing as magic, but the book focuses more on the abilities the biology of the Oskoro and Ososi grant, and a system of alchemy. It is also mostly focused on how those two types of "magic" influence fighting and healing – and the side effects of using those. I can tell you, they are not pretty. Going with the Flow The plot is – if the blurb intrigues you – always interesting. There is a bit of a mystery going on – mainly in the beginning when both Driwna and the reader have no real idea of what exactly is going on. She does not really know who tries to smuggle the dead body she found or why would they do it. It becomes a lot clearer once she meets the tribes of Oskoro and Ososi people and then its more of a race to spoil the villains' plans. As this is all mainly presented through Driwna's POV Selby uses a very distinct voice for her and all the other characters have different ways of articulating, and you always know who speaks in a dialogue even without the author telling you. Mind you, it took me a lot of time to become accustomed to the writing style and how some characters speak. I would advise trying out a sample of this book if you are able to, to see if you like the writing style or if it is unbearable. I liked it after becoming accustomed to it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rowena Andrews

    RTC

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katrina Evans

    Loved this even though the ending broke me. read the full review here https://allopinionsarenotequal.wordpr... Loved this even though the ending broke me. read the full review here https://allopinionsarenotequal.wordpr...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Corey (grimdark_dad)

    BROTHER RED is a brutal & gorgeous novel. Utterly heartbreaking & uplifting in equal measure. It’s also weird as fuck at times, that can’t be overlooked. Adrian Selby has a really unique approach to writing fantasy, and the end result is something that’s so different, and so fucking compelling. I’m not sure what else to say. BROTHER RED is amazing, and I’m gonna read anything Adrian Selby writes. Full review: https://grimdarkdad.wordpress.com/202... BROTHER RED is a brutal & gorgeous novel. Utterly heartbreaking & uplifting in equal measure. It’s also weird as fuck at times, that can’t be overlooked. Adrian Selby has a really unique approach to writing fantasy, and the end result is something that’s so different, and so fucking compelling. I’m not sure what else to say. BROTHER RED is amazing, and I’m gonna read anything Adrian Selby writes. Full review: https://grimdarkdad.wordpress.com/202...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adeel

    Brother Red by Adrian Selby was a thrilling, bloody, unforgiving, and emotional read. This was the first Adrian Selby novel I have read and most likely not the last. The story is told from the POV of Driwna Marghoster who is part of a guild known as "The Post". Essentially, The Post are a guild made up of individuals who protect trade caravans that travel across the world to various locations. What makes members of the guild stand out from others is their red uniform, hence the name of the title Brother Red by Adrian Selby was a thrilling, bloody, unforgiving, and emotional read. This was the first Adrian Selby novel I have read and most likely not the last. The story is told from the POV of Driwna Marghoster who is part of a guild known as "The Post". Essentially, The Post are a guild made up of individuals who protect trade caravans that travel across the world to various locations. What makes members of the guild stand out from others is their red uniform, hence the name of the title. On one particular job, the trade caravan Driwna is protecting is ambushed and attacked by mercenaries. Although Driwna and Cal who is her best friend and fellow Red are able to kill the attackers, they discover a dead body of a baby within one of the containers. The significance of this is that the baby is from the Oskoro tribe which is a very rare find due these people keeping to themselves. What also makes the Oskoro tribe intriguing is the fact that they use seeds and plants to somewhat enhance their body and mind. Thus, we follow Driwna as she begins her investigation into where the body was headed and who was going to take it. Driwna's journey will uncover deceit and betrayal that goes all the way to the top of the hierarchy. For me this was an absolutely fantastic read and the fact that their are two books that connects within the same world really has me excited to read them! The world of Brother Red his phenomenal and reminded me a lot of Assassins Creed and The Witcher due to how rich it was. I loved the whole idea of The Post and their creeds motto "Help the helpless. Honour the purse. peace through trade. this is the creed." really hits you. The Post consists of different departments from agents to fieldsman (basically spies). What i also loved was how Adrian Selby describes the places Driwna visits. Everything is so detailed that you can picture it in your mind. I also absolutely loved the political elements. The novel was definitely part grimdark fantasy part thriller for me. Driwna leaves no stone unturned as she attempts to discover why the Ososi clan and Oskoro are going missing. The more she uncovers the more intense things became and to be honest, the more worried i became for Driwna. There are those within The Post itself that wish to see its downfall and when you discover why you can't help but feel sad about it. What i also loved were the bloody, brutal, and highly intense fight sequences. If you've ever played Dark Souls, The Witcher Three, and Assassins Creed you'll know what i am talking about. It is basically an art that requires precision and awareness of staying a step ahead of your enemy. One thing that blew me away was the fact that at the beginning of the story when Cal and Driw are scouting they use sign language so they aren't detected. As well as that, there are special potions or in the case of Brother Red, brews that increase strength, agility, and making one more aware of their surroundings. Also, like The Witcher and Assassins Creed, it is not just the mighty sword that is ones primary weapon, there are bows, throwing knives, and even throwing objects known as "spores" that release a gas that can posion or blind enemies. When considering the writing, i did like the writing as it was very detailed and you could picture everything in your mind. I do feel however that it took a while to get accustomed to some of the wording and phrasing. I did feel as well that some of the chapters were so dense at times which made me a bit annoyed. But honestly after finishing the book this was just a mediocre matter for me. I think a book like this requires a lot of detail and density to get to grips of what was going on in the world. Finally, when considering the characters, i really loved the character of Driwna. She was highly likable and you can't help but want her to push on and discover the secrets and lies that are occurring. But you end up having such a strong bond with her that you don't want her to uncover anything because it is a matter of life and death. But this is why i loved her because doesn't give a shit which beast she wakes up, she is all about doing the right thing for The Post and the Ososi and Oskoro clans. She is driven and has so much heart that you just want her to succeed. Driwna meets many side characters and each has a distinct voice that allows you tell each of them apart. Driwna meets many allies and foes throughout her journey and i would say favourites were Cal, Bray, and Ufra. Cal has basically grown with Driwna within The Post and their bond was just so wholesome. I loved their banter and when they cussed each other. You can really tell they have been through thick and thin together. "Come on, let's get you in that bath. I'm sick of seeing your bare arse." I felt this bond with Ufra and Driwna as well and they inevitably fall in love. Ufra was such a badass and I love her overall vibe. They end up having this strong body and soul connection which was just beautiful. I also felt Bray was a phenomenal side character as he grows as a person in the novel. I can't say too much without spoiling, but think Rocky Balboa coming out of retirement. "I thought you strong! I thought you fast! Who is this *****!" He shouts this to all watching. "A fat old man, I's beatin' you without sword or spear! Overall, a phenomenal and unique standalone fantasy story that I really enjoyed. I loved the world and characters so much and hope i can read the other two books so i can return to it and hopefully learn more. Adrian Selby is a phenomenal writer who grips you with the way he writes and makes you want to keep reading until you're shattered. Also, the ending was so unexpected and very impactful as a reader. My heart genuinely sank after finishing the book. Thank you so much to Angela and Orbit for gifting me a copy. I can't wait to read more books by Adrian Selby now 😊

  13. 4 out of 5

    D.A. Adam Smith

    Brother Red is the exciting, nail-biting, throw-a-spore-bag-and-hope-it-hits new standalone set in the world of Sarun that it shares with Snakewood and The Winter Road before it; a book that carves its own bloody path through the history of the Post, but also brings its story arc from the previous books full-circle. It is a story that takes the other two books in the series, and threads them into a wholesome, complete arc – if you’re a fan of Selby, or gritty, fast-paced fantasy in general, and Brother Red is the exciting, nail-biting, throw-a-spore-bag-and-hope-it-hits new standalone set in the world of Sarun that it shares with Snakewood and The Winter Road before it; a book that carves its own bloody path through the history of the Post, but also brings its story arc from the previous books full-circle. It is a story that takes the other two books in the series, and threads them into a wholesome, complete arc – if you’re a fan of Selby, or gritty, fast-paced fantasy in general, and you also don’t mind a cry, this is certainly a book you don’t want to miss. In short – and spoiler free – the plot sees Driwna Marghoster, fieldsman in the Post on a journey to discover what’s happening to the Oskoro – the tribe we saw in the Winter Road that had disappeared – and Ososi, as their numbers are dwindling, there’s word of kidnap. A fearsome Ososi cast-out behind it, a mythical Magist rumoured at work and a dead Ososi baby found, with the legendary Flower of Fates sprouted into her brain. While that may not be a great summary, I’ve tried to entice you without ruining any of the plot – trust me, there’s a lot more than that above which you know up front. It’s every bit as mysterious as the last two – and holds its card until right at the end. And even then, there’s a good lot of questions. But that’s the magic. The continuing mystery throughout the entire rise-and-fall-of-the-Post arc is what keeps me coming back to Adrian’s works. Again, there’s well-realised fight scenes, and plenty twists that you only find out when the knife’s in. I’m not afraid to say that – by the end – this series had tears in my eyes. That last bit is down to how much a master Adrian is when it comes to character relationship. You have to really care about what happens to a character to be moved to tears – something that he’s a dab-hand at. Immediately – with Cal and Driw – you get a feel for the character’s deep-connection within a few lines of shared history. A life well-spent in knowing each other. This start is what scares me the most, because you know that when an author can build that instant connection, in a book like this, it means that it’ll most likely be used against you. But in the most original, unpredictable ways. You just can’t help but care about Driwna and get behind her cause. She’s one of those characters that knows what’s right, knows what she has to do despite everything against her and just gets on with it. I admire her fervour, her steel. She’s formidable, not only in battle. She’s got a strong heart and knows how to pick those who follow her. A character that builds up those around her and loves uncontrollably because that’s what her heart tells her to do. The fights are always a favourite of mine in Selby novels – they’re a well-oiled machine, a well-rehearsed dance, a visceral, on-the-edge of your seat experience that won’t relent. Won’t let go. It paints a vivid image of fights that are a storm of spore bags flying, kaltrops dropping, swords clashing, bodies falling and much more. And wonderfully described sword forms to say the least. Fieldbelts and fightbrews are very much an integral part of the fights and are the ‘magic system’ of Sarun – though, not really magic at all. It’s a science of mixed herbs and plants that have differing purposes – some give you night vision, others cripple enemies, there’s all sort of fun. The pinnacle of these are fightbrews, those mixtures whose recipes are closely guarded secrets – the brew of the Post is one that people are tortured and killed for. But the secret remains. These brews afford the user super-human strength. Undeniable, forces of nature. If you can stone the brew, and rise to it properly. The consequences are brutal. ‘Paying the Colour’ is hours of sickness on the comedown which makes for intriguing and unpredictable scenes – if you chose to drop a fightbrew at the wrong time, you might end up on the run from the enemy when you start to come off it. A weaker form of these are ‘dayers’ brews that are weaker but more forgiving. The end all and be all of the flora of Sarun is, of course, the Flower of Fates, a flower that affords the user power above and beyond any brew … at great cost, and I love that Brother Red featured this once more as did the other two. Now … that epilogue! I mean, wow. This is the part in particular when the series comes full circle and as a fan of the rest of the series, this is what made the entire book worth it. I mean, I absolutely loved the book, but there’s nothing quite like that in a well-loved series. If for anything but the enjoyment of the end of this book, I personally would say read them in publishing order. It makes it all the more emotional ‘coming home.’ Overall, my rating for this book is buy it now, please – the more people we can get that are fans of this series, the more sway we’d have in forcing Adrian to relent and write more and more. But all joking aside, buy this book. It is phenomenal, you won’t be disappointed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark Redman

    Brother Red by Adrian Selby When the trade caravan that Driwna Marghoster, was hired to protect is attacked, she discovers a dead body hidden inside a barrel. Born from the powerful but elusive Oskoro people. The body is a rare and priceless find, the centre of a tragic tale and the key to a larger mystery. When Driwna investigates who the body was meant for she will find a trail of deceit and corruption with potential to bring down a kingdom, and evil more powerful than she can imagine. This novel Brother Red by Adrian Selby When the trade caravan that Driwna Marghoster, was hired to protect is attacked, she discovers a dead body hidden inside a barrel. Born from the powerful but elusive Oskoro people. The body is a rare and priceless find, the centre of a tragic tale and the key to a larger mystery. When Driwna investigates who the body was meant for she will find a trail of deceit and corruption with potential to bring down a kingdom, and evil more powerful than she can imagine. This novel is placed in the same world as Selby’s previous two books, Snakewood, and Winter Road. The one element that I liked was the mixing of herbs and plants into a potion, using this as a magic system, it felt quite unique. This gives the person physically enhanced qualities, such as strength, speed and better eyesight, fighting abilities. It worked incredibly well; I thought it was a neat idea. I have not seen this used in books before other than computer games. I loved the range of plants, day brews, fight brews etc. used throughout to treat certain conditions or provide an edge in combat and how much of the world revolved around them, it felt very real. I like the trade-off 'paying the colour,' having to deal with the comedown and consequences of taking these various brews was a nice touch as well, it added a sense of realism, danger and consequences to the action. As with his previous novels, Brother Red is pure ‘grimdark,’ brilliant, visceral, action-packed with some very dark story elements. The main character Driwna is a strong, clever and likeable with moral shades of grey, she is flawed, and not someone you would want to cross. This is dark, gritty fantasy, an emotional roller coaster, that kept me reading until the very last page. Each new book adds to what is a fascinating world. My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written with my own, unbiased, opinion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Brother Red is the latest in a series of standalone novels by Adrian Selby, all set in the same world across differing time periods and all interwoven with the fate of The Post. A vast mercantile empire spreading its influence across the lands. I love this approach of jumping around to different regions, characters, and times throughout the history of this fascinating world Selby has created. The book follows Driwna, the first member of The Post to be granted the position of Fieldsman which by th Brother Red is the latest in a series of standalone novels by Adrian Selby, all set in the same world across differing time periods and all interwoven with the fate of The Post. A vast mercantile empire spreading its influence across the lands. I love this approach of jumping around to different regions, characters, and times throughout the history of this fascinating world Selby has created. The book follows Driwna, the first member of The Post to be granted the position of Fieldsman which by the time of the later set Snakewood is an established position within The Post. Tasked to route out corruption within the organisation she quickly becomes tangled in a tragic mystery that draws her towards lands of the West. There's something of True Grit about Driwna striking out into the Western trails and wilderness with Bray, an old soldier gone to fat and vice but perhaps seeking his pride once more, and I do wish we'd gotten just a little more of that. I've raved about Selby's plant based magic system previously for Winter Road and Snakewood because it's just so damn good and this book gets to show off even more of it. I love the range of plants, day brews, fight brews etc used throughout to treat certain conditions, provide an edge in combat, or simply to boost sense for tracking or locating plant. It feels so organic and the inbuilt need for the best soldiers to understand plants and their uses is great. The tradeoff of 'paying the colour', having to deal with the comedown and consequences of taking these various brews and the toll they exert over the years is really well done. I'm a sucker for Selby's world and writing, his fight scenes are outstanding and made particularly unique as they're combined with the plants, fieldbelts, and various brews utilised. It's his characters that really make the whole thing work however and Brother Red features a wonderful supporting cast along with a protagonist in Driwna Bridche that is every bit the worthy heir to Teyr Amondsen.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bettina

    I never read a book by Adrian Selby before - and now I wonder why? I’ve been reading fantasy books for a while now, but never came across this author before. Brother Red is set in a grim world, where danger lurks behind every tree and every corner of the city streets. If you don’t watch your back, you’re dead. In this world the Post protects the vans delivering goods and slaves to the far-off corners - and one of those people is Driwna. She’s clever, she’s fearless and good at her job. I loved he I never read a book by Adrian Selby before - and now I wonder why? I’ve been reading fantasy books for a while now, but never came across this author before. Brother Red is set in a grim world, where danger lurks behind every tree and every corner of the city streets. If you don’t watch your back, you’re dead. In this world the Post protects the vans delivering goods and slaves to the far-off corners - and one of those people is Driwna. She’s clever, she’s fearless and good at her job. I loved her as the main character and was very relieved to see that she does not fall into the Mary Sue hole. The writing is so dense and so layered it made it hard for me in the first place, but I eventually found myself absorbed in the superb storytelling. Since I am not an English native speaker I had to look up a word occasionally - only to find out it was made up. ;) That did not in any way diminish my pleasure, but I wouldn’t recommend the English version to my friends who are not overly used to reading in English. But I will definitely recommend it to all my friends who like Game of Thrones and got tired of it, to the Abercrombie-readers, who are looking for something new and the YA-readers, who are finally taking the next step to a mature fantasy. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I almost put this book down. It was quite hard to follow for the first third, what with all the different characters, locations, races, and factions. A map would have made a huge difference. These were present in the first two novels in the series, why not here? That said, I’m glad that I pushed on, as the story settled in to a nice rhythm once the world building subsided and I became familiar with he main characters. Once again Shelby creates a compelling world with a unique take on combat-his f I almost put this book down. It was quite hard to follow for the first third, what with all the different characters, locations, races, and factions. A map would have made a huge difference. These were present in the first two novels in the series, why not here? That said, I’m glad that I pushed on, as the story settled in to a nice rhythm once the world building subsided and I became familiar with he main characters. Once again Shelby creates a compelling world with a unique take on combat-his fight scenes are gorgeous-and a dynamic, female protagonist. He is able to evoke an epic feel to these plots while maintaining at the same time an intimacy between individual characters that I find quite appealing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Darren McGowan

    Unique This book certainly stands out than the rest. While not as good as the first two novels, this one still shines. It's a little difficult to read at first, from the lingo to the way the author writes. After a few chapters, you'll be into it. Basically this book is built around one character( and what a character she is) and all the lessers filling the gaps. Don't let that put you off because this book has so much heart and thought into the plot that it's a very rewarding experience. Mr. Selb Unique This book certainly stands out than the rest. While not as good as the first two novels, this one still shines. It's a little difficult to read at first, from the lingo to the way the author writes. After a few chapters, you'll be into it. Basically this book is built around one character( and what a character she is) and all the lessers filling the gaps. Don't let that put you off because this book has so much heart and thought into the plot that it's a very rewarding experience. Mr. Selby is definitely one of my favorites.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eila

    Dark, often heartbreaking, and difficult to parse at the start if you've not read Selby before. This novel, while standalone, is set in a world with lore you end up scrabbling at; while too much exposition is a fault, in this case expecting the reader to fumble blindly for the first quarter before they get their bearings is also less than ideal. There isn't much hope or light here; there are moments where the reader is allowed to breathe, but overall the feeling is of claustrophobic danger and d Dark, often heartbreaking, and difficult to parse at the start if you've not read Selby before. This novel, while standalone, is set in a world with lore you end up scrabbling at; while too much exposition is a fault, in this case expecting the reader to fumble blindly for the first quarter before they get their bearings is also less than ideal. There isn't much hope or light here; there are moments where the reader is allowed to breathe, but overall the feeling is of claustrophobic danger and dread. Certainly atmospheric and visceral.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    This was an interesting read. With a good plot, an intriguing world, well-developed characters, and plenty of gruesome bits, "Brother Red" would be a great way to get dedicated horror readers into the fantasy genre. I enjoyed Adrian Selby's writing, and would like to read more by this author. My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion. This was an interesting read. With a good plot, an intriguing world, well-developed characters, and plenty of gruesome bits, "Brother Red" would be a great way to get dedicated horror readers into the fantasy genre. I enjoyed Adrian Selby's writing, and would like to read more by this author. My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Richly fantastic in content, bold characters along with an open twining plot revealing our Arch-rival's intentions leading to the climactic final confrontation --- with a battle royale, man's evil pitted against our more endearing qualities Fantasy indeed, but with an interesting earthy angle, definitely a classy book!! Do be sure to persevere past the odd beginning. Its a cadence worth learning. Richly fantastic in content, bold characters along with an open twining plot revealing our Arch-rival's intentions leading to the climactic final confrontation --- with a battle royale, man's evil pitted against our more endearing qualities Fantasy indeed, but with an interesting earthy angle, definitely a classy book!! Do be sure to persevere past the odd beginning. Its a cadence worth learning.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    3.5

  23. 4 out of 5

    ꪑꪖᦔꫀꪶ꠸ꪀꫀ

    Hi! I pre-ordered this book a month back and it is going to be shipped out the day of publication, which is tomorrow!!!! I will update you all on the book once I read it! :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pyjaks

    1.5

  25. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Itokvian

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aaron D

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elwood

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