Before reading my review, you should know that I read the danish version, so there is a good chance that I will not translate certain words perfectlyBefore reading my review, you should know that I read the danish version, so there is a good chance that I will not translate certain words perfectly (at least according to the original book).
The Story... Denzil lives in the middle ages around 12-something. He is a wizard's apprentice, yet have already read a lot of his master's spells, even though he probably shouldn't have. He might very well be an apprentice, yet, he is already a formidable wizard in his own way.
The story kicks off with Denzil visiting an old witch. He claims that his master sent him, but really, he was there to steal something. However, when the witch calls him a thief, he gets angry... Denzil is NO thief... he is a robber and apparently there is a great difference. Before leaving the old witch, she gives Denzil a warning that a dragon will slay him on Spy Wednesday! Denzil, however, does not believe that the warning is meant for him, instead he thinks the warning is meant for his master... Valvasor...
Spy Wednesday is in four days, so Denzil decides to use his magical amulet to travel into the future to warn his master. But something goes wrong and Denzil finds himself 7 centuries ahead of his own time... in the garden of the MacAllister family!
Will Denzil be able to do the math correctly and find his way back to his own time and will he manage to save his master from certain doom...
My Judgment... This is a children's book and it shows. However, this is not a bad thing. It has plenty of things to teach a child reading the book. It is unmistakably fantasy and there is plenty of magic within these pages, however, there is also a good story about being different from everyone else and come to terms with who (and what) you are. It is about finding your own destiny and allowing others to help you fulfill it. I feared early on that it would be far too predictable (because one of its great themes is time travel), but it really isn't. It is actually a sweet little story.
Highly recommended to children age 8-11! And don't be discouraged if you don't like fantasy... this is not pure fantasy, like the Lord of the Rings... it is more like Harry Potter....more
I've had this anthology on the shelf for quite some time and wanted to read it... several times. I bought it because I really like shared world settinI've had this anthology on the shelf for quite some time and wanted to read it... several times. I bought it because I really like shared world settings, when done right, and there are some promising writers in this book, like Charles de Lint, Gene Wolfe, Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb) and Steven Brust.
This is another review-in-progress, and I will review the shortstories as I get to read them, starting with the first, of course, and ending with the last.
A Happy Birthday (by Will Shetterly) is the story of the Magician of Liavek and how he is saved... by luck, from one of his greatest enemies. It was a little confusing at times, since it introduces a lot of new ideas, but overall - a good and solid read. (2.5 stars)
Before the Paint is Dry (by Kara Dalkey) is a tale of the artists of Liavek, and how they compete. Strong characters and definitely a story with another pace than your average fantasy story. (3 stars)...more
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