While the blurb implies this book is the sequel to The Shadow of the Wind, it's set a generation earlier and therefore a prequel. The premise works w...moreWhile the blurb implies this book is the sequel to The Shadow of the Wind, it's set a generation earlier and therefore a prequel. The premise works well as the stories aren't really connected – they share only one or two characters. Together, they form a greater narrative of Barcelona and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.
While Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a master of suspense and mystery, I don't believe this book is as good as Shadow of the Wind. I do wonder if it's the distinct paranormal and supernatural qualities that surround the central mystery. Nevertheless, The Angel's Game is still a great book. (less)
The People's Guide to J. R. R. Tolkien is a collection of nearly fifty short essays on Tolkien, primarily focusing on The Lord of the RingsTheOneRing....moreThe People's Guide to J. R. R. Tolkien is a collection of nearly fifty short essays on Tolkien, primarily focusing on The Lord of the RingsTheOneRing.Net in the lead up to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. The book also contains five reviews of the first two film instalments and a question and answer section, dealing with some of the most common queries they get.
The essays cover a broad range of the topics, such as Tolkien's inspiration, morality and cultural norms in Middle-earth, the fantasy genre, and, of course, the films. Most of them are quite short, but they're also informative and provide further food for thought. Written in an informal style, the essays are accessible – you don't have to be well-versed in Tolkien academia to "get" them, but I did find the essays were almost too colloquial in places. But that's just me.
The question and answer section is quite good, though I (being a more knowledgeable Tolkien reader) did skim and even then I found some sections a bit repetitive.
Called the "People's Guide", there is no doubt in my mind that is an excellent resource for new people who want to dig a little deeper into Tolkien's world. (less)
The History of the Hobbit is a series similar to Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-Earth, with Rateliff providing early manuscripts of the story...moreThe History of the Hobbit is a series similar to Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-Earth, with Rateliff providing early manuscripts of the story, plot notes and his own commentaries, allowing fans to see how The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again was formed. While a few names differ from the published version, the story isn't so dissimilar from the published version we're used to. Indeed, the biggest change is probably the meeting between Gollum and Bilbo, which was only changed to the version everyone knows after Lord of the Rings was published. The plot notes, however, allow us a tantalising glimpse at different ideas Tolkien thought about including.
The commentaries are – to me – more readable and interesting than those in History of Middle-Earth. They trace possible inspirations to related material, including historic texts, but also to Tolkien's own legendarium.
On a shallow note, the presentation of the hardcover editions are absolutely beautiful. (less)
In the second volume of the The History of the Hobbit, we reach the conclusion to the story and from there, the post-publication changes Tolkien sough...moreIn the second volume of the The History of the Hobbit, we reach the conclusion to the story and from there, the post-publication changes Tolkien sought to make.
One of the most notable pieces of content this book offer is the exploration of published and unpublished revisions Tolkien considered after the completion of the sequel-that-grew. Notable content of this book is the exploration of the revisions (both published and unpublished) based on writing of The Lord of the Rings. This includes an effort to rewrite the entire Hobbit into something more in-line with Lord of the Rings. This is particularly interesting while we wait for Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Hobbit.
While I don't recommend this for readers with a passing interest in Tolkien, this is a must-read for Tolkien geeks and fans.(less)
First, let me say that it's well written and there's some great characterisations to be found. I really like how th...moreI like this book, but then I don't.
First, let me say that it's well written and there's some great characterisations to be found. I really like how the fallout from Akhenaten's reign and life is explored. I also liked that Akhenaten, while portrayed negatively, was somewhat sympathetic.
However, I felt like the atmosphere of the book was too much. The book is full of characters who are all out for themselves, ready to screw over anyone that gets in their way. It means that very few are actually likeable. Oh, I loved Gedge's take on Amenhotep III, admired Tiye and even pitied Smenkhkare, but the majority are simply awful. The constant scheming, assassinations and conspiracies gets so tiring. It's like swimming through a sea of murk. (less)