Finally, a standalone fantasy book. Not to be judged by its cover of first chapters.
I hated Uprooted when I first picked it up, thanks to SciFi and FaFinally, a standalone fantasy book. Not to be judged by its cover of first chapters.
I hated Uprooted when I first picked it up, thanks to SciFi and Fantasy book club, I really did. The main character seemed utterly ridiculous and unlikable, the love interest - a poorly done Byronic Hero. But around 100 pages in the world building kicked in and I devoured the book as if it was a freshly backed pie. What I first thought to be a dull Beauty and the Beast retelling, turned out to be an involved coming-of-age fantasy fairytale loosely based on slavic mythology, covering a bit too much of a plot for its single 400ish page volume....more
If I had read Interview With The Vampire about eight to ten years ago, in my baby bat goth days, I would have given it five stars and loved it dearly.If I had read Interview With The Vampire about eight to ten years ago, in my baby bat goth days, I would have given it five stars and loved it dearly. Now? Now I find it above average, but not really meeting the expectations set by everyone's reviews and "This is the greatest vampire book ever" being repeated over and over again. That being said, it was a nice read, but it seemed dragged out a bit too much. I might even read more of the series later on....more
Throne of the Crescent Moon would make quite a good tabletop RPG story. In fact, it mostly read as a very explicit and well thought out, but still a rThrone of the Crescent Moon would make quite a good tabletop RPG story. In fact, it mostly read as a very explicit and well thought out, but still a review of a session or ten. Actually it went so far that from time to time I thought to myself "that's a natural 20" or "critical". I'm not saying that it's a bad thing though, in fact that just means that this book is a prime example of sword and sorcery fantasy subgenre - a party goes out in several tries, bashes in the heads of several monsters, goes home to treat their wounds, rinse and repeat. There were two things that made this book stand out between most other sword and sorcery fiction that I have read: - The setting. I'm yet to read something extremely fantasy-ey that is set in an Arabic setting. And the author surely did a great job describing everything from the characters to their homes, from the streets to the world structure (which could have used a little bit more descriptions though). - The age and appearance of the characters. What I hadn't seen in a lot of fantasy novels (maybe apart from Dragonlance series), but what Saladin was throwing in your face here was a severely min-maxed party here, most of whom had saved their points on charisma. It was a refreshing addition.
Overall though, it's nothing spectacular - just a fantasy novel in a refreshing setting.
Did I like it? Yes. Will I read the sequels? Maybe. Would I recommend it to anyone? If sword and sorcery floats your boat, but you're looking for something of a bit different flavor - definitely....more
The cover promises world building and adventures of the likes of "Game of Thrones". The book, however, does not deliver on that, at least not completeThe cover promises world building and adventures of the likes of "Game of Thrones". The book, however, does not deliver on that, at least not completely.
What I really did enjoy was the slowly unfolding specifics of the setting, especially all those "which famous person did you just mention?" and "oh, that's what they meant" moments, everything after the first third of the book in particular.
The characters, however, seemed pretty one-dimensional despite their grittiness and severe anti-heroism, with their actions being the way they are seemingly only for shock value. The plot, once you got beyond the world building parts, was also somewhat predictable.
I, however, feel compelled to read the remaining of the series, because I can see their potential....more
Game of Thrones is a big book, but all eight hundred pages of it feel like a long introduction to things yet to come. Well, perhaps not all of them, tGame of Thrones is a big book, but all eight hundred pages of it feel like a long introduction to things yet to come. Well, perhaps not all of them, the last chapters of most characters showed a great deal of promise for good old entertaining fantasy action.
It is most certainly an entertaining book (read through it in a couple days), which conforms to the traditional fantasy plot to a point - we have princesses and knights and wars and legends and everything and they are similar to the same ones you've read about more than once, with a few exceptions of course. But we also have the trope "Everyone can die, not only the bad guys" thrown in our faces several times, just as well as how rough the life can be generally. At some places I feel that Mr. Martin goes a bit overboard with the explicit sexual descriptions as it sometimes makes it seem that those fantasy people have nothing better to do than each other, which strangely fits into the setting for better or for worse.
Only a couple of characters experience some noticeable (and somewhat predictable) character development, others start fun and end fun and there are some that start 'blah' and end the same way, with a couple of mad ones thrown in for good measure. I doubt it was unintentionally when Martin threw in a potential favourite protagonist for most people starting from the little, wild tomboy Arya to the heroic bastard Jon finding his true place to the ascending queen Dany. Cliché, yet likeable.
It's a good book and entertaining as well, but don't go expecting something entirely new, just the old in new clothes. For this book that is, for the next ones currently look quite hopeful. It's fantasy, something that might even be considered crude guy's fantasy and save for some scenes - something that seems written in a way for it to make a good movie/series. Which it does....more
The Name of the Wind has officially awakened my love for good old (or in this case - new) high fantasy which was slumbering somewhere deep inside my mThe Name of the Wind has officially awakened my love for good old (or in this case - new) high fantasy which was slumbering somewhere deep inside my mind, just waiting for the right book. Just about everything in this book falls somewhere between okay and amazing, most of the time in the area of the latter rather than the former. Characters which are intended to be likeable are likeable, the mean ones make you want to grab a sword in your hand and challenge them to a duel, after which you'll want to go on a quest to slaughter your archenemies. The overall flow of the story is good enough to believe that it's told by someone having minstrel blood in their veins. And according to the book - it is. The Name of the Wind is probably the first book I've read which has the main character tell the story of his life (or coming of age in this case) to another character and as mentioned before - it does so remarkably well. Probably the main reason for this is that, while the narrator could match Superman in a duel, he seems remarkably human - flawed, with quirks, strong sides and weaknesses, his own thoughts, plans and dreams and most of them are not particularly hero-like. In a way the author even makes fun of overly epic and dramatic stories by emphasizing how legends twist the truth. Overall it's a must-read for any fantasy fan....more
Seeing that this book was more than once described to me as worthy to stand next to Lord of the Rings in terms of world design and Harry Potter in entSeeing that this book was more than once described to me as worthy to stand next to Lord of the Rings in terms of world design and Harry Potter in entertainment value, I dare say I had reasonable high expectations when approaching it, expectations that were not reached, so I think 3.5 stars is a worthy rating for it.
If it wasn't for all the explicit descriptions of violence and a long list of imaginative ways to kill people or worse, mentions of under-age kids engaging in bedroom pass-times usually reserved for adults and several other things that just don't belong in a novel of this genre, I'd be more than glad to tag it as a mediocre/good Young-Adult novel and be done with it.
As it is, I believe that The Left Hand of God is a peculiar mixture of Harry Potter and some dark fantasy novel (e.g. The Black Jewels series). Yes, it certainly reads as an epic fantasy novel without magic, but in its essence I believe it to be more of a alternative-history, as most, if not all, places mentioned in the book are present on this planet (though they aren't nearly as close as they are implied to be in the book) and there are vague historical/mythological/religious mentions, for example Jesus of Nazareth being swallowed by a whale or a holy war in Jerusalem.
Overall the premise of the plot is good (even despite some cliché moments), while the execution falls into upper-mediocre category. Dialogues are played out in a style that conforms with the setting, but isn't necessarily always enjoyable, the same goes with generic descriptions. Languagewise there were two things that bothered me - the high amount of fragments that could be best described as food porn and the fact that I always have to remember not to think of Riba as a fish, but as a plump girl.
For me the book was more of an introduction to the world, as characters played as little part as possible. I am somewhat looking forward to reading the next book once I can get my hands on it, but it certainly is not on the top of my to-read list....more
The Devil You Know is a great follow-up to Original Sins, wrapping up the storyline begun there, introducing past/unreal events and throwing in some sThe Devil You Know is a great follow-up to Original Sins, wrapping up the storyline begun there, introducing past/unreal events and throwing in some short stories as a bonus. I quite liked the first volume, but the original comic books included in this one made me smitten with Hellblazer.
My favorite parts were Newcastle and On The Beach, the first one telling a lot about John's past and the team introduced in the first volume and On The Beach just being a slightly schizophrenic and brilliantly thought out and well drawn (the last part goes for all the original comics included in this volume)....more
I found the movie a bit more than adequate and have actually seen it several times and wanted to know a bit more about the storyline of John ConstantiI found the movie a bit more than adequate and have actually seen it several times and wanted to know a bit more about the storyline of John Constantine. Original Sins later I've come to realize that the John Constantine of the Vertigo comic-books could kick his movie's counterpart's arse any day.
Overall it is a good introduction to the character and I was torn between three and four stars, but decided on three as I'm currently reading the next volumes and in comparison this one is a bit lacking in the story department and I enjoy the art of the two later issues more. Nevertheless it's a great volume and one that I would advise everyone new to Hellblazer start. Although in my opinion the next volume (Devil you Know) is a must as well as it gives better background information of John....more
This book clearly shows the reason why I usually don't read (direct) novelizations - while reading them I just feel as if I'm reading a more fleshed-oThis book clearly shows the reason why I usually don't read (direct) novelizations - while reading them I just feel as if I'm reading a more fleshed-out version of the script of the movie which I find dissatisfying.
I liked Labyrinth a lot when I first saw it some years ago and I read the book right after seeing the movie. That probably was my biggest mistake as it follows the trend I mentioned above with only a few additions (which might be a pleasant surprise to some). This probably makes the book a good novelization but an average literary piece.
I'd recommend it for fans of Labyrinth as it is a different experience than watching the movie, but otherwise it might be wise to just watch the film instead....more