This review was written by Manon for RantingDragon.com
District Twelve, the coal district. The least prestigious, poorest and most ridiculed district i...moreThis review was written by Manon for RantingDragon.com
District Twelve, the coal district. The least prestigious, poorest and most ridiculed district in Panem, the country that rose from the ashes of what was once called North America. District Twelve lacks nearly everything, from electricity to most importantly, food. Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen takes care of her mother and little sister, Primrose, ever since her father died 5 years ago. She hunts for game and knows of the plants in the forest and knows how to do business at the Hob, the local black Market.
We meet Katniss at the day of the Reaping, the day when two children between the age of 12 and 18 from each District are selected for the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games were introduced by the Capitol after the last rebellion. They are designed to keep the Districts in check. The goal of the Hunger Games? Be the last one standing by killing all other participants, called “tributes”.
The Hunger Games has a slight 1984 feel to it, combined with the Japanese gory movie “Battle Royale”. An oppressing government that tries to control their people by making them enjoy each other’s blood, sweat and tears - the Hunger Games are broadcasted all over the country and it is mandatory for every citizen too watch.
Often, I have seen this book tagged with the “young adult” tag. Honestly, a book revolving around teenagers doesn’t automatically make it “young adult”. I wouldn’t let my young kids read this book, if I ever got kids. It has a lot of detailed gore in it, which more than once made my stomach turn around. Unless that is what kids like these days.
The big success
Suzanne Collins has done a great job at writing this page turner that pulls you in from page one. Even if we can’t relate exactly to the characters’ problems, the characters are very easy to identify with and are enjoyable to read about. I was actually upset when the book ended, just because I wanted to read more. I’m glad to inform you that The Hunger Games is not a standalone novel: book two ( “Catching Fire”) and three (“Mockingjay”) of the trilogy have already been released.
In just 14 months, 1.5 million copies of The Hunger Games were printed in North America alone and the book has been on the New York Bestseller list for more than sixty weeks in a row. Time Magazine has named Suzanne Collins as one of the most influential people of 2010.
Lions Gate Entertainment has bought the rights to produce a film adaptation of this book, which is planned for 2013, according to IMDb. What’s awesome about this is that Suzanne Collins started out her career as a screenwriter and consequently, she will adapt the book for the film herself.
Why you should read this book
If you have a spare couple of days, and don’t know how to fill them, get this book. Because if you don’t have spare time, you are going to procrastinate like no one ever has. This book pulls you in, and will not let you go. If I didn’t have to sleep, I would have finished this book within one day, and I’m a slow reader.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a good story. This is most certainly a must-read as this is going to be the next big hype. (less)
This review was written by Manon for RantingDragon.com
Catching Fire. What can I say. Again, I was blown away.
After Katniss and Peeta beat the Games in...moreThis review was written by Manon for RantingDragon.com
Catching Fire. What can I say. Again, I was blown away.
After Katniss and Peeta beat the Games in The Hunger Games, they return to District 12 to be reunited with their families. Both have won a huge amount of money and they never have to be hungry again. However, the way they beat the Games does not please the Capitol. Katniss and Peeta have defied the rules and by doing that, they have inspired the people of the Districts to rebel.
A few months after their return, Katniss and Peeta have to start their Victory Tour, during which they visit all the Districts and the Capitol. Just before that Tour, President Snow visits Katniss’ home. He tells her that if she doesn’t calm the Districts, her family will die. During the Tour Katniss tries to do the best she can, but instead she seems to inspire people more and more to rise up against the Capitol.
The next Hunger Games will be the Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Games held every 25 years. This will be the first Games where Peeta and Katniss will have to mentor the tributes from District 12. However, President Snow has very different ideas about this year’s Quell and shocks the entire Capitol by instead of sending in regular tributes, sending in the Victors from previous years.
Goosebumps, tears and laughter
One scene in this book gave me goose bumps, made me tear up, made me laugh and then gave me goose bumps again. In that order. Honestly, I had never experienced that before. Suzanne Collins’ relatively simple style of writing speaks to the imagination and the story just pulls you in.The plot of Catching Fire is even better than the one in The Hunger Games, and the end will take your breath away.
To quote a review from the New York Times: “Collins has done that rare thing. She has written a sequel that improves upon the first book.” I cannot agree more to this statement. Catching Fire has made the entire story even more interesting by adding the story of the rebellion within the Districts. This book will leave you wanting more, it will leave you wanting to get the third book as soon as you can.
Why you should read this book
You will want to read this book without a doubt after you have read The Hunger Games. There is no doubt about it. I don’t think I will have to convince many people to go and read this book.
Simply put, this is again a must-read that you won’t be able to put down when you pick it up. I personally can’t wait to start reading Mockingjay, the third book in the trilogy – first thing I did this morning was getting that book. And I do expect myself to rip the book apart by reading as fast as I possibly can. (less)
This review was written by Manon for RantingDragon.com
The redundant beginning
Sonea is a dwell that lives in the slums. Everyone in the slums hates the...moreThis review was written by Manon for RantingDragon.com
The redundant beginning
Sonea is a dwell that lives in the slums. Everyone in the slums hates the Magicians that live safely, luxuriously and arrogantly up in their Magician’s Guild. Only those of the Houses can become Magicians, and those in the slums are regarded as rats of the city, without any magical potential.
Until Sonea and her gang start throwing rocks to the heads of the Magicians that have gathered for the annual Purge (the Purge being the event where Magicians throw out the poor inhabitants of the slums out of their houses to live on the streets). The stone that Sonea throws at one of the Magicians’ heads, actually breaks through their magical barrier, uncovering Sonea’s magical potential.This will ensue a lot of trouble for Sonea, her friends and family.
Sonea is forced to go into hiding as she does not want to join the Guild. For about 300 pages, nearly 50 percent of the book, we follow her running from the Magicians. Then, finally, after her magical potential becomes so strong and she can no longer control her magic and she nearly destroys the city of Imardin, she is caught and brought to the Guild. She is assigned a benign mentor, Lord Rothen, one of the few Magicians actually interested in helping her instead of working her out of the Guild. According to most Magician’s, Sonea should be kicked out as soon as possible, because slum dwellers do not belong in the Guild.
In her early time in the Guild, Sonea is manipulated, angered, scared, freaked out, confused, lost and sad. She is insanely hard-headed, almost to the point where it’s annoying. Her being so distrustful of the Guild is not helped by the fact that she saw one of the higher-ups of the Guild coming back from a secret assassination, before she was caught by the Guild. Sonea thinks every one of the Magicians are self-centered, manipulative bastards and in fact, most of them are.
What seemed silly was that from both sides, both the developed, educated Magicians and the lowly slum dwellers are full of generalizations. One slum dweller steals? All of them steal. One Magician accidentally kills a boy? They all are senseless murderers. The generalizations became a little too evident and in my opinion, too easy.
There are not a whole lot of positive vibes in these books, whereas it’s mostly about Sonea’s very negative, insecure feelings. That 50 percent of the book is about the hiding from and being chased by the Magician’s Guild to only end up there was really very redundant – I felt fooled when she was caught by the Guild. What is the point of elaborating so much about her running from the Guild, while it could have been done with in only a few chapters?
Why should you read this book
I’m not a person who stops reading a series or Trilogy. When I’ve started a story, I like to finish it. In this case, I’m glad I did continue to read, because the following two books in the Trilogy, “The Novice” and “The High Lord” were both very enjoyable reads. If this were a standalone, I would not have recommended it to anyone, because it was simply a boring story with a lot of redundancy.
If you want to read an enjoyable trilogy with a meager first novel, go read this trilogy. I promise, the second and third books are a lot better than this one!(less)
Fire is set in a world where there are beautiful creatures with fantastic colors, called monsters, that have the...moreWritten by James for RantingDragon.Com
Fire is set in a world where there are beautiful creatures with fantastic colors, called monsters, that have the ability to influence peoples minds and make them more susceptible to attacks, since what they want most is flesh – especially the flesh of other monsters. The world is already torn apart by an impending war, and the balance of that war can be tipped by Fire, the last human monster.
An interesting world:
I was very impressed by the world building used in this book. It wasn’t very advanced, but what little that there was, is very interesting. The idea of a race of creatures who are identical to a species except for their coloring having the power to influence people is very interesting, and the idea of having a human creature like this is pretty awesome. Unlike all of the other monsters in the world, she can communicate with other humans and can use her powers for good since she possesses a conscious and is driven by more than her bloodlust.
A likable character:
Fire is a gorgeous woman with fiery red hair and the power to read and influence people’s minds. This, in my mind, makes her a pretty awesome character. She’s insecure, but that’s to be expected. Unfortunately, she is the only likable character in this book. The rest of the characters are either too boring, or if they’re supposed to play a big part in the story, they aren’t mentioned enough, so that when their big part comes around, you feel like you should care more, but there just wasn’t enough about that character for you to actually care.
A see-through plot:
Everything that happened in this book I could call 100 pages beforehand, which is sad. There were absolutely no surprises, no moments where I had to re-read a section to make sure I read it correctly, because surely, that could not have just happened. The story was enjoyable, but there just weren’t any plot twists at all, which I think is a must for any fantasy book.
A horrible start:
The first hundred pages of the book were an incredible struggle to get through, and absolutely nothing happens until Chapter 9, which is unfortunate. After that, it does pick up, but it’s a huge struggle to get to that point.
Why you should read this book:
You shouldn’t. The first book in the series was fantastic and I loved it, but this book, while set in the same world, is horrible in comparison. The characters were weak, the plot was exceedingly bad, and while the world was interesting, it just doesn’t live up to expectations.(less)
The Child Thief is a dark retelling of the story of Peter Pan. He’s no longer the playful forever-young child that we know in Disney stories, but instead he is a haunted boy with a troubled past who will do anything to protect the Fae world of Avalon and its Goddess, the Lady Modron. Filled with bloodthirsty battles, crude language, hauntingly twisted characters and a few touching scenes, The Child Thief is an amazing book, and here’s why.
A Twisted Main Character When the book started, I didn’t like the character of Peter. In fact, I thought he was an incredibly selfish child who didn’t care about the children he was recruiting to fight for him. But as the novel progressed, Peter grew as a character and subsequently grew on me. He changed from a boy who just wanted what he wanted for his own reasons to a boy who slowly realizes that his decisions affect others. Very rarely do I see a character change so much in a book, and it’s very refreshing.
An Amazing Backstory Normally when I read a novel, there’s a little bit of backstory for the main character – a few reasons as to how he acts the way he does and what’s happened to him. In The Child Thief, I got much more than that. I saw how Peter grew up, the trials that he experienced, how he thought he found a savior in the Lady Modron, and why he eventually started stealing children to fight for the land of Avalon. I honestly expected there to be a few words on Peter’s history, how he came to be, what his origins were, maybe a chapter or so in length, but Peter’s history is told throughout the novel in flashbacks. Some made me cry out in joy when he did something truly spectacular, others made me hate him for being so selfish, but all of them made me feel something, and that’s very impressive.
A New Villain Going into this, I expected to see the Captain as a horribly bloodthirsty man who just wanted to gut some children to feed his own twisted mind, but instead I got a Captain who ended up in Avalon with no way to escape doing his best to survive. Yes, he wants Peter dead, but only because he views Peter as the cause of all of his problems. Instead of the Captain being the same old villain from every other Peter Pan story, we get Ulfgar, the son of the Horned One, perished God of Avalon, who thinks he’s entitled to his father’s place in the world and despises Peter for being loved by Modron. Ulfgar is a truly twisted character, and it surprised me how much I felt for him.
Amazing Artwork Now, this isn’t something that I normally mention in novels, simply because it has nothing to do with the story – most of the time. Each chapter starts off with a black and white sketch, and they’re truly magnificently done. In the middle of the book are eight full color drawings done by Brom of the main characters, and they’re fantastic. I was as impressed by the artwork as I was with the novel, simply because the descriptions of the characters given by Brom match the drawings exactly, and that’s something that rarely happens simply because most authors can’t draw worth a damn. It’s a great touch to the book.
Why you should read this book? If you like dark fantasy, then you’ll love this book. I appreciated the new take on Peter Pan, simply because it’s something that I haven’t seen before. This book isn’t perfect – it has a few flaws, but not enough to detract from the story. I applaud Brom for writing this, because it must have been a huge undertaking on his part. I look forward to reading this book again and again.(less)
Though based on the geography of what we know as Europe, this story is set in an entirely different world. Our F...moreWritten by Manon for RantingDragon.com
Though based on the geography of what we know as Europe, this story is set in an entirely different world. Our France is known as “Terre d’Ange”, where we get to know Phèdre. Phèdre, an unwanted child is a child that is given to Cereus House of the Night Court. One day, a nobleman, Anafiel Delaunay, comes to Cereus House to buy Phèdre. He buys her for the reason that Phèdre always thought was her biggest flaw, the scarlet mote in her eye. Delaunay, however, is the first to recognize her for what she is: pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, meant to always experience pain and pleasure as one.
Phèdre spends her childhood in Cereus House, where she is taught all the courtly arts and talents of the bedchamber, until she is old enough to move to the Delaunay residence, where she is trained to become an expert spy as well and Phèdre quickly becomes the most desired courtesan in the City of Elua.
The day Delaunay makes a misstep in the games he plays with the court of the City of Elua, and he and his household are betrayed, means a major change in the life of Phèdre. She is sold into slavery to the barbaric Skaldi, with only her Cassiline (a warrior priest that serves as a bodyguard), Joscelin as her companion. As barbaric and disorganized as the Skaldi seem, they have a leader that seeks to unite them, to destroy Terre d’Ange. As Phèdre and Joscelin are the sole beings that are aware of this plot, they must find a way to escape and warn the Queen of her homeland.
Poetry and sexuality
This is an excellent book. Jacqueline Carey is one of those few authors that knows to make every sentence to sound poetic. She has built a world so intricate but sensual at the same time that it is very appealing. Her characters have real depth and are interesting. Undoubtedly, the frank description of Phèdre’s passions in the bedchamber will put people off. However, the many sex scenes are not overabundant and are very elegantly written. Personally, it has introduced me to a whole different viewpoint on sexuality, which I found very interesting. If you open yourself up to such unusual sex scenes, you’ll find yourself amazed and intrigued.
The plot of the story is exciting and interesting, even if it’s a bit long and Carey does tend to get a bit overly wordy. This 1015 pages big brick will keep your mind occupied and will leave you craving for the next book in the series to find out more about the complicated culture of the D’Angelines.
Currently there are eight books in Kushiel’s Legacy, compromising two finished trilogies and one unfinished trilogy. The first trilogy is “Phèdre’s Trilogy”, Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen and Kushiel’s Avatar. The second trilogy is “Imriel’s Trilogy”, consisting out of Kushiel’s Scion, Kushiel’s Justice andKushiel’s Mercy. The third trilogy currently has two released novels called Naamah’s Kiss and Naamah’s Curse. This trilogy is called “Moirin’s Trilogy”. The remaining book is scheduled for release in June 2011.
You will probably agree with me that with all those similar names, it gets a bit confusing which book you have to get next.
I doubt there will ever be movies made based on these books because as great as they are, they won’t likely appeal to the mainstream public because of the rather dark, sexual nature of Phèdre. A tv-series could me more likely in my opinion, but for as is known to the internet, there are no commercial adaptations of Kushiel’s Legacy scheduled.
Why you should read this book
This is a book that every fantasy fan should have read. It’s intricate plot, the depth of the characters and the beautiful writing style of Jacqueline Carey will be a pleasure to read for everyone. Do keep in mind that there’s a lot of 18+ explicit scenes in this novel, so I wouldn’t recommend that you give this book to your 12 year old niece who likes Harry Potter. Go get it for yourself, though! This book most certainly won’t disappoint. (less)
Neil Gaiman is one of the most talented writers of our age, well known for writing in a variety of media from novels and comic books to movies and audio theater. American Gods is one of his many critically and publically praised novels that has been awarded the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, SFX Magazine and Bram Stoker awards and well deserves its place on our Legacy of Fantasy list. If you have not picked this book up yet, do so right now. Don’t read my review, buy it!
Why are you still here? You don’t trust me? Well, I suppose I should explain why it’s so worthy of your investment before you take the advice of an online personality.
Shadows The story picks up as a rather young man called Shadow is on the verge of being released from prison. Serving a sentence for assault, he has kept his nose clean and only wants to be released to return home to his loving wife Laura. But tragedy strikes and just before his release from custody, his wife is involved in a fatal car wreck, leaving Shadow desolate and lost. Upon release, he hops a flight back home to Chicago, a flight that changes the course of his life. A man known only as “Mr. Wednesday” offers Shadow a job as an errand boy. Somewhat spooked, Shadow intentionally misses his connecting flight and instead rents a car to make the final part of the trip to the windy city. Stopping to rest for a quick drink, he enters a bar only to be confronted once more with the mysterious Wednesday. Shadow is quickly swept up into a menagerie of characters that vaguely resemble figures dredged up from some deep, dark memory.
Godspeed Wednesday and his allies are revealed to be none other than ancient gods of the old worlds, brought to the new world bundled up safely in the minds and belief of the original immigrants. And these gods are at war, not with one another, but with a new generation of gods that have sprung up across America. Gods of technology, media and government, facets of our culture that we have unwittingly deified in our daily lives take form and personification. Wednesday sees a confrontation approaching and seeks to unify the gods of lore to counterattack, using Shadow as a messenger and bodyguard, while these modern day gods are poised and ready to destroy the gods of ancient times.
Convoluted and Elegant It’s hard to look back on my first reading of this book without remembering being in a constant state of mild confusion. I could sense that I was missing something, one small, niggling fact passing right before my eyes, but my brain refusing to recognize it as being important. And yet, I was still able to keep my eyes on the plot and the characters before me. I could feel that slight tug to question what I was reading and what lay behind the story, but it was not so compelling as to push me to ignore the plot for trying to reveal what lay beneath. Upon reflection, that confusion was nothing more than a brilliant and masterful manipulation by a truly talented writer. Hindsight being what it is, I can see all of the connections and the underlying truth that was simply hinted at throughout the entire novel and the intricacy of it astonishes me.
Why you should read this book American Gods is at times disturbing, strange and mysterious as we follow Shadow and his employer as they travel the country, interacting with mythological and modern gods. This book examines our nation in a way few have attempted. American spirituality, obsessions and heritage are gathered together into a single novel that comments not only on the country we have become, but the nation we once were. Well worth the hours put into reading, I cannot more highly recommend a book, so I’m polishing my five stars and placing them high and proud.(less)
Sabriel is the first novel in Garth Nix’s young adult Old Kingdom series (Abhorsen Trilogy in North America). Nix was Guest of Honor at the 2009 World Fantasy Convention and was invited to emcee the Hugo Awards ceremony at Aussiecon4 in 2010. He is obviously no slouch in the fantasy publishing community, but it is worth noting that his bibliography is almost exclusively young adult. . Strong beginnings Sabriel opens with a gripping flashback sequence in which a mysterious magical figure known only as the Abhorsen enters Death, saving a child from the creature Kerrigor and ordering that she be named Sabriel. Eighteen years later the Abhorsen disappears, and Sabriel is forced to leave behind her comfortable school life to assume the mantle of the Abhorsen and cross the Wall in search of him. This crossing takes her from modern Ancelstierre into the Old Kingdom, where the rule of Charter magic is under threat.
A unique concept of magic Like many novels, Sabriel toys with the clash of magic and technology—and magic is where Sabriel shines. Nix takes the well-worn trope of necromancy and inverts it—Charter necromancers use their powers to bind the dead away from the living. Charter spellcraft involves common elements of magic like words and hand movements, but Nix has built in a wonderfully realized application of bells. The most evocative and well-written passages in the novel involve Sabriel’s use of magic, particularly the ringing of bells with their unique properties and “voices.”
Similarly, the most interesting element of Sabriel’s world is the realm of Death. The dead, when they arise, are appropriately creepy and provide the peak moments of the story. Nix’s world-building in general is intriguing, but opportunities for development seem limited by the scope of the novel.
Can a concept sustain a story? Sabriel is driven by plot devices; Sabriel herself is not a particularly interesting character. She is dragged along by the story rather than showing initiative of her own. It would be inaccurate to describe her as a damsel in distress, but she is too often placed in situations that far exceed her own ability to cope. While there is some level of sympathy between reader and character, there is no deeper connection.
It should be a concern if one of the secondary characters is far more intriguing than the protagonist. Not simply more humorous, because of course there will be characters used for comic relief, but genuinely more conflicted and more interesting. In Sabriel that character is Mogget (who is designed to be the knowledgeable foil to the youthfully ignorant Sabriel) because he is the mysterious and complicated one. I now understand why many people I know have a cat called Mogget.
Appropriate for the target audience To be fair, many elements that I perceive as weaknesses in Sabriel can be attributed to the book’s intended audience. The prose is occasionally simplistic, particularly the imagery. The characters are flat. In a story rich in magic and plot perhaps characters of intensity and depth would be too overwhelming. I’m giving Sabriel the benefit of the doubt.
Why should you read this book? I read and reviewed this book as a 28-year-old male, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to teenagers—teenage girls in particular. Any parent who wants their daughter to read stories with (what I assume is) a relatable heroine and no vampires would do well to pick up Sabriel. There are moments for adult readers to enjoy, and the plot pulls together nicely, but I felt that there were too many weak points to go through to reach the payoff.(less)
The Princess Bride is a unique story because it treats the reader to two completely separate narratives: the story of Buttercup, a “classic tale of true love and high adventure,” and the story of young William Goldman’s father reading the book to him when he was sick. What Goldman does not clarify, though, is that both stories are fantasy, not just the tale of Buttercup and Westley; most of the anecdotes about Goldman’s life are fictional (ex: he writes about his son, but in actuality he has two daughters). These asides had the potential to distract from the actual story of The Princess Bride, but Goldman wrote them in such a way that they not only help to advance the story in several chapters, but they also add a good deal of humor to the book.
The Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure The Princess Bride tells the story of Buttercup, the most beautiful woman in the world, and Westley, the farm boy who is her true love. When Westley leaves to seek his fortune, however, his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves survivors. Buttercup is devastated and vows never to love again, so when Prince Humperdinck asks for her hand in marriage, she initially refuses. He informs her, though, that it is not necessary for her to love him, and she accepts.
The real adventure begins when Vizzini’s Crowd (“two’s a company, three’s a crowd”) kidnaps Buttercup. Vizzini’s Crowd is comprised of Fezzik, the gentle Turkish giant who is fond of rhymes, Inigo, the Spaniard who has reached the nigh-impossible swordsmanship level of wizard and is on a quest to avenge his father, and Vizzini, the hunchbacked evil mastermind who thinks so highly of his own intellect that he scoffs at Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. Following Buttercup’s kidnapping, we are treated to fantastic duels, a hilarious battle of wits, the treacherous fire swamp and its Rodents of Unusual Size, the five terrifying levels of the Zoo of Death, murder, miracles, and, of course, true love.
All the while, Goldman is interjecting his thoughts, and his interruptions are not only funny, but also occasionally surprisingly poignant. No, the story of his father reading to him isn’t true, but how many of us can relate to loving a book so much that we can’t wait to read the next chapter? Loving it so much it makes us cry? Loving it so much that we learn lessons from it that we carry with us for the rest of our lives? Such is the effect of The Princess Bride on the fictional young Goldman, and it is for these reasons that many readers will relate more to him than to the characters of the actual story.
Personal Bias This is my favorite book in the entire world, and I’ve read it every year, several times a year, since I was twelve (I’m now 23). That being said, I am able to recognize that this book is not perfect. There are several points at which Goldman’s asides go on for a little too long and bring us too far away from the main narrative. Also, although Westley is a wonderful character, it could be argued that he is perhaps too perfect; I am not of this opinion, but I will still recognize its existence. Westley’s exceptional skills and near-perfection can, for some, remove the suspense from most situations since it is assumed that he will escape unscathed. Why am I giving this admittedly flawed book a five-star review, then? Because I think this book is as close to perfection as a book can get (and I challenge you to find me a book that’s 100% perfect). Because I think there is still suspense since Westley does not escape from every situation unscathed. Because this book is able to both take me away to a fantasy world and keep me grounded in reality. Because it’s my favorite book in the entire world.
Why Should You Read This Book? The Princess Bride is, above all else, a very fun read. It’s fairly short and a very quick read, but those 250 pages are packed with a fast-paced plot, extremely lovable characters, a beautiful love story, humor, and the interesting and fairly unique double-narrative. Even if you’ve seen the movie, the book is very enjoyable (I read the book after seeing the movie) because there is a lot more character and plot development.(less)
This is Jon Sprunk’s debut novel, and it’s a dark read. This book may look small, but once you begin, it is apparent that this is an intelligent read. I should note right away that if you aren’t a blood-splatter and guts type of person, you might want either to brace yourself or skip it. Sprunk truly does give a blow-by-blow, or should I say a blade-by-blade, account. There are a few twists in this story I wasn’t expecting, but I got caught up in this assassin’s tale.
Vibrant Action I’ll admit it now: I love a good action sequence. Sprunk delivers that in spades throughout this tale. What makes this an intelligent read is the action is not only there because Caim, our unsung-not-by-choice hero, is an assassin by trade and it is expected, but also because it propels the story; it serves as a complement, not a hindrance. There is a seamless transition between the action scenes and the story, and the level of detail puts any diehard action lover in the middle of the fight sequences. You’ll flinch and hold your breath wanting Caim to survive. They say detail is everything, and Sprunk delivers just that; although action is often difficult to translate to paper, Sprunk’s action scenes are alive.
The Women Caim has two women and yes, they are a handful. Kit: loyal, beautiful, and insightful… and a guardian spirit. Yes, a spirit. She is the comic relief and the practical character of this dynamic duo. She’s an intriguing character you’ll come to appreciate, and you’ll want to know more about her, as well. Kit is as loyal to Caim as need be, but when she is annoyed, she will disappear until she has calmed down enough to return. This is both a blessing and curse in Caim’s mind.
Josephine: this is no wallflower high brow lady, she’s tough. You’ll love how she is portrayed in this story. You get to see how her mind works as you follow her on a treacherous journey with Caim. While that is happening, you become invested in her story line, and with her, the stakes become very high. You’ll love the relationship that develops between her and her would-be hero.
Symbolism and Meaning As the title implies, shadows are a part of this story, and there is a lot of meaning in them. What is beyond the shadow? Is there anything beyond the darkness? This and other questions are raised. It isn’t forced upon you, but Sprunk inspires you to think about the underbelly of things in this world where politics and religion collide. There is more to what you see with the naked eye. Caim is your guide into this world and he is the light, but you’ll have to read the book to discover what he sees within the shadows.
The Wait This is a good book, and if you read it you’ll not be disappointed. However, even though the chapters are short, it takes a while to get to the meat of the story. The intricate weaving of the tale of how Caim and Josephine were brought together and put on their path makes getting to the heart of the story difficult. I say it’s worth the wait because once you get there, you are there with Caim, Kit, and Josephine to the end.
Why should you read this book? As a debut novel, it’s really good. Caim and his partners, Kit and Josephine, are the best. It’s a dark fantasy with a great story, and it’s full of action. The twists and the action will keep you glued to the story, and you will become invested with this rich group of characters. And like most good dark stories, the villain isn’t always whom you expect… or maybe it is?(less)