The Story... The Sword of Lankor is the story about Thuron of Ulmekoor, an adventuring warrior (I wont go so far as call him barbarian, as he doesn'tThe Story... The Sword of Lankor is the story about Thuron of Ulmekoor, an adventuring warrior (I wont go so far as call him barbarian, as he doesn't act like one) and Gaar, a Kend oracle and conjurer. The Kend, by the way, are furry beings from a land called Kendsahr. These two meet up one fateful night at an inn, when Thuron decides to help Gaar in a battle against a group of blue-skinned guards from the city of Taveeshe. That same day, a strange Golden Sphere also appears out of nowhere.
The Golden Sphere speaks and is apparently seeking a champion, the True Son of Waabis Ka'arbu, to undertake a Quest. Yes, you can surely see where this is going. Gaar convinces Thuron that he must compete in the arena, to become the True Son, and that is exactly what happens.
Now, Thuron must undertake the quest for the Golden Sphere, a quest that will take him far from Mount Thona, to the Forbidden Sea and the Crystal Isles. This is a classic sword and sorcery tale... with a small twist.
I wont go into more detail, as it would surely contain severe spoilers!
My Judgement... Well, I knew what I was going into; a classic sword and sorcery tale in the tradition of Conan and Brak the Barbarian. I also knew (from the cover and backcover) that there would be a twist... a twist from Outer Space.
However, when that is said, I really enjoyed reading about Thuron and Gaar (especially Gaar) and their journey across the surface of Lankor. The story is humorous, fast-paced and easy to read. It knows its genre well and offers plenty of fights, strange monsters, evil priests, amazon warriors and even a group of shrewd pirates.
Don't expect more... or you will only be disappointed.
[Ah, I almost forgot to tell you that there is a (fun) mistake by the end of the tale... concerning the sword No'ondo'or, the Blade of Truth!]...more
It's been a while since I read the first book in the Brak the Barbarian saga, but now it was time to continue the saga and read the next book.
So whatIt's been a while since I read the first book in the Brak the Barbarian saga, but now it was time to continue the saga and read the next book.
So what is it all about? Brak the Barbarian continues his journey south, towards Khurdisan, the fabled city of his dreams. In the first book he was ever on the road, visiting strange places, but now Brak has come to some unknown place that reminds me a little of an english feudal farm community. However, before he finds that place, he is forced into the Pit of the Manworm where he rescues a girl named Elinor, meets a weird old man and hears the voice of Septegundas. Oh, he also finds his pony half-way eaten on the road.
The beginning is great. We learn that Brak is nothing like Conan... he has lots of weaknesses and is incapable of slaying even a simple hellhound called Scarletjaw. I loved the setup as it gave me a chance to learn a bit about Brak, however, from here it becomes one long walk towards the altar.
On the way there, we are introduced to Nordica Fire-hair, the witch who dominates the hellhound and, in fact, the small community. An old lord called Strann, his son, Prins Pemma and a bunch of other minor characters. Apparently, Nordica has taken over the rule of the community and for one specific reason...
Yep, I won't say any more about the plot.
Did I like the book? Well, as I said, the beginning was great, but from there, the story becomes a little back and forth. I had hoped to learn a bit more about the setting, but didn't learn a whole lot to be honest. I liked the idea of Nordica, but she should have been a bump on the way, not the center of the entire book.
Overall, worth reading but had it been 30 pages longer, I probably would have rated it much worse. I hope the next in the saga returns Brak to the road....more
The Story... Brak is a barbarian in the tradition of Robert E. Howard's Conan. He is a simple man who was exiled from his northern and slightly moreThe Story... Brak is a barbarian in the tradition of Robert E. Howard's Conan. He is a simple man who was exiled from his northern and slightly more savage homeland. Ever since hearing of Khurdisan the Golden, Brak has been wanting to see that place with his own eyes. This is what drives him south to warmer and more exotic lands.
Brak's life is one of endless adventure!
My Judgement... As you can probably tell, this book is pretty straightforward. Brak owns a broadsword that is more often than not, what saves the hide on his back. He must be a favored of the Goddess of Unluck, because Brak seems to attract danger like a cow's dung attracts flies. He is not discouraged, however, but face the dangers that is presented to him. He fights stranger Darter boys, mad cultists, evil conjurers and strange creatures of the ancient lands.
Brak the Barbarian is a classic Sword & Sorcery tale with everything that you could and should expect. Its language is flamboyant and slightly over the top, but also quite accessible and easy to read. There is much to like here, but only if you like the genre, I guess. I will probably forget most of the book, but there are certain moments that I wont let go any time soon... moments that will feed my imagination... at least for a little while....more
I've only read a couple of the stories within these page, but really... good stuff so far! (Edit: after the first two stories, this read "great stuff!I've only read a couple of the stories within these page, but really... good stuff so far! (Edit: after the first two stories, this read "great stuff!") Looking forward to reading the rest of it. I'll try to write short reviews of the stories as I read them, starting at the beginning, of course.
Oh, and it might be worth noting that each of these stories start with a short introduction by Niven himself. We are talking... very short, but still, nice to have.
Becalmed in Hell (13 pages) is, as far as I see it, a hard science fiction story about an intelligent ship which may or may not have some psychological problems. I am not a hard sci-fi fan, but there was something strangely appealing about this story although I am sure that most of the ideas were probably lost on me. I liked it. (3 stars)
Bordered in Black (19 pages) is what I'd call a sci-fi horror story, yet, it wasn't as horrific as I would have liked. There is, however, a nice little revelation by the end! (That I had seen coming, but still nice) I am not sure, though, that I would ever sent a spaceship into unknown space with only two crewmembers... seems too risky. It had potential for more horror, which would have made it a 4 star story. (3 stars)
Neutron Star (18 pages) is the story of a neutron star (not entirely sure what this is, though), a dead couple and a man named Shaeffer who was forced to risk his life for money. It has a few elements of hard science fiction, which my brain finds it hard to understand (being a linguist more than a science nerd), but also has a human aspect that I liked. (2.5 stars)
All the Myriad Ways (9 pages) might be "just another parallel univers" story, as Niven calls it, but I really like it. It involves a series of strange deaths and suicides, as well as the Crosstime technology, that allows one to pass into a parallel univers where something is changed (there are essentially trillions of these). This idea could easily have been expanded into a short novel. Recommended. (3.5 stars)
The Flight of the Horse (14 pages) is a time travel story in which a man is sent back in time to bring... a horse. Yeah, you could have probably guessed this from the title. The whole time travel aspect is only covered briefly, because this story is all about the twists at the end. I was amused, certainly, but its honestly not all that interesting. This is not hard science fiction, merely a watery light version. (2 stars)...more
The Story... This is the second book in the Merlin Trilogy and starts with a young Merlin leaving his burned down home. Before leaving, though, MerlinThe Story... This is the second book in the Merlin Trilogy and starts with a young Merlin leaving his burned down home. Before leaving, though, Merlin buries his 'family', Master Robin, Meg and Nell. Apparently, young Merlin foresaw the fire, but did not know how to interpret his prophetic dream at the time.
The road brings him close to a nasty man who has a wish to sell Merlin, along with his horse and cow, however, again fate helps young Merlin, who manages to escape. He also meets a couple of gypsies in a nearby town, whose presence yet another dream has foreseen, these two bring a little joy into the life of young Merlin. However, Merlin is pure of heart and has little wish for lies, which eventually forces him to leave the company of Ambrosius and Viviane.
My Thoughts... This book is clearly the second in a trilogy and I am afraid that I haven't read the book that came before. It presents us with a very different view of Merlin, the great mage who taught Arthur, but I quite like this portrayal. He is a kid like most kids, but with a very special gift, the one of prophetic dreams. Hobby is a short novel, and almost reads like a poem, it has a very poetic language. I am definitely going to read the first and third book!...more
The Story... In The Crystal Palace (in danish, Krystalpaladset) we meet a young girl named Sofie. She is just an ordinary girl living in an ordinaryThe Story... In The Crystal Palace (in danish, Krystalpaladset) we meet a young girl named Sofie. She is just an ordinary girl living in an ordinary world. She lives alone with her father, Zacharias, and goes to school every day. She does not like school, mostly because her teacher is always yelling at her, pointing out her faults.
Above her lives an old lady called Ms. Hansen. One day, Ms. Hansen and Sofie makes a short trip to a botanical garden. It is closed, but Sofie really enjoys the trip and is especially fascinated by the Crystal Palace (a place with lots of exotic flowers). Sofie returns to this place on her own and then something strange happens...
The flowers start to talk to her. They tell her of a faraway land and even tells her that (if she wants) then she is allowed to go there. Sofie is intrigued and agrees. Suddenly she finds herself in another land called The Colourful Desert. Here she meets the Peaceful People and becomes close friends with another girl called Wabanaki.
I wont tell you what happens in the end, except to say that Sofie finds out that the Peaceful People has an enemy, and that maybe the world itself is in danger.
My Judgement... This is a children's book and one of the better. It is a small book that tells a very straight forward story. I would be tempted to call it fantasy (in fact, I've put it on my fantasy shelf), but it isn't fantasy in the classical sense. It doesn't build a big fantasy world (like the Neverending Story), but it does hold some interesting elements, like a Key to the World's Backdoor... ...more