Like many people, I felt inclined to reread the Harry Potter series because of the release of the last Harry Potter movie (which was excellent by the...moreLike many people, I felt inclined to reread the Harry Potter series because of the release of the last Harry Potter movie (which was excellent by the way). Since my initial reading of the Sorcerer’s Stone, I have been exposed to fantasy heavyweights like George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The question must be asked, how does the Sorcerer’s Stone stand up to these greats? The answer to this question is, sadly, only fairly well.
The Sorcerer’s Stone begins with Harry, an orphan boy, being dropped off to live with his uncle and aunt, the Dursleys. For some reason, the Durselys appear to detest Harry and confine him to living in the kitchen cupboard. After eleven years of a truly miserable time with the Dursleys, Harry learns that he is a wizard, a famous one at that. With his heritage revealed, Harry is whisked away to the famous wizarding school, Hogwarts. With the help of Ron and Hermonie, two Hogwart students, Harry tries to unravel the mysteries of some of the more questionable aspects of Hogwarts.
Since the Sorcerer’s Stone is aimed at children, it would be presumptuous of me to expect an intricate story and Rowling does not disappoint in this aspect. Most of the story deals with Harry’s escapades after classes and the central villain is telegraphed throughout the whole novel. Some of the side plots within this novel had a lot of untapped potential. For example, Harry finds a mirror that has the ability to show somebody there deepest desires.
Although I can accept the Sorcerer’s Stone simplistic story, I can not as easily accept the cookie cutter characters, Harry in particular. Harry fits snuggly into the stereotypes of a fantasy main character: orphan boy, untold power, and a destiny that is beyond his control. Thankfully, all of the characters are not as one dimensional as Harry, Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, adds depth and humor that the main characters lack.
The true star of Rowling’s work is the world she has built, most notably Hogwarts. Although Hogwarts seems to be a typical school for wizards, (as typical as something like that can be) it is filled with secret corridors, mystery, and surprising magical objects. In all honesty, reading about the secrets of Hogwarts was the only thing that made me continue to read the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The Sorcerer’s Stone serves its purpose as a children novel. It is light on plot, has terrific world building and has gotten me to want to read the sequels. Although the Sorcerer’s Stone does not deserve the praise it receives, it is an entertaining read nonetheless.
The Sorcerer’s Stone score: 34/50
Story- 6/10 Characterization-7/10 World Building- 8/10 Writing-6/10 Magic: 7/10 (less)
Like many people, I began the novel because of the new HBO adaptation, and like many people, I fell in love with it. Maybe it was the politically enr...more Like many people, I began the novel because of the new HBO adaptation, and like many people, I fell in love with it. Maybe it was the politically enriched story, the vivid characters, the gritty realism, or maybe all three. This review is meant to find out.
Story- A Game of Thrones begins in the land known as Winterfell, where the people are as fierce and cold as the weather. The faction that inhabits Winterfell is the House of Stark, which is led by Lord Eddard Stark (Ned). Ned, and his family, is forced to leave the confines of Winterfell so that Ned can be the Hand of the King. This begins a tale of heartbreak, politics and deceit. You are in for a treat if you enjoy political maneuvering.
Characters- A Game of Thrones biggest strength is its characters. Somehow Martin was able to follow the point of views (POV’s) of eight distinctive characters while providing extensive details and back story.
Here is a list of the POV characters
1.Eddard Stark(Ned)-Lord of Winterfell and Hand of the King. Ned’s flaw is his honor.
2.Catlyn Stark (Cat)- Wife of Ned. Though not as fierce or honorable as her husband, Cat should not be mistaken for a fool.
3.Bran Stark-Second youngest son of Ned and Cat Stark. Bran loves to explore and climb the castles of Winterfell.
4.Tyrion Lannister-One of the lords of the wealthy House of Lannister. Though Tyrion is the size of a small child, his intellect and witty lines (you will laugh at many of his lines) gets him out of dangerous situations.
5.Arya Stark-One of two daughters of Ned and Cat Stark. Arya is quick to anger and is more akin to a “tomboy” than a lady of the House of Stark.
6.Sansa Stark- The other daughter of Ned and Cat. Sansa is a pompous princess whose only goal is to marry the prince of the Seven Kingdom.
7. Jon Snow- Bastard son of Ned Stark. Jon is sent to protect the Seven Kingdoms at a place known as the Wall. Jon is arguably the smartest of Ned’s children and is a superb swordsman.
8. Daenerys Targaryen (Dani) - Daughter of the defeated king, Aegon the Conqueror (imagine Hitler). Dani is a timid girl who listens to the orders of her overbearing brother,Viserys.
Though I will not list the extensive cast of side characters, I can ensure you that all of them are fleshed out nicely. Some of the side characters are just as interesting as the main characters.
Make no mistake; this book is not for those who want a purely black and white story. Martin purposely weaves a tale in which the characters act just like real humans would. There is alcohol, whorehouses, greed, political maneuvering, incest and much more. Martin should not be vilified for showing the true face of humanity; he should be applauded for having the guts to show humanity in this light.
Though many people will be content with just watching the HBO adaptation, you owe it to yourself to spend the wee hours of the night being immersed in the masterpiece that Martin has created.
For years, Stackpole has been lauded by the Science Fiction community for his superb Star Wars and Battletech novels. This review is about his first...more For years, Stackpole has been lauded by the Science Fiction community for his superb Star Wars and Battletech novels. This review is about his first novel, Talion:Revenant. The interesting thing about Talion: Revenant is that it originally was not published because it was to long for an unknown author. All I have to say is I am quite glad that Talion: Revenant was eventually released.
The novel begins with Nolan, an experienced Justice, hunting down the thief Morai and his various lackeys. After Nolan deals with a fair amount of Morai’s lackey’s, the story switches to when Nolan was younger in and pursuit to become a Justice. Stackpole does a great job of switching the viewpoints of the young and adult Nolan.
The word Talion, in the title, refers to the peacekeeping force of the Shattered Empire. The closest example that I can think of to describe Talion’s are Jedi from George Lucas’ Star Wars. Talions reside in the beautiful valley city, Talianna and are divided into seven different groups.
1. Elites- A group of Talions who ride hawks and do reconnaissance missions. 2. Wizards- A group of Talions who use magic 3. Warrior- A group of Talions who are trained as an elite fighter 4. Lancer- A group of Talions who train with a lance 5. Archer- A group of Talions who master the bow and arrow 6. Servers- A group of Talions who deal with maintaining Talianna 7. Justice-The most important group of Talions who are tasked with maintaining peace in the Shattered Empire.
The division of Talions that is the most interesting is the Justice. Before one can become a Justice, they must be at least adequate in the skills of other divisions and go through a grueling training regimen. The most notable thing about the Justice is the skull tattoo on there hand which allows them to steal the soul of whomever they would like. If a Justice decides to steal the soul of a person, they must undergo a ritual in which they are cleansed of the soul. If the soul was taken in malice, the Justice is put to death.
Nolan, as a Justice, is put in intriguing moral situations as both as an adult and a prospective justice. The adult Nolan has all of the power of the world, but must refrain from using it because of his own moral code. The young Nolan’s quest to find his place as a prospective Justice is intoxicating. Should he dispense justice as a fearful entity or use his wits and good nature to ensure stability in the Shattered Empire?
I only had two issues with the novel. The first issue is more of a personal gripe than an issue with the novel itself. One of the fight scenes in the middle of the book involves Nolan and 3 others, fighting back hundreds of goblin workers. The issue I have with this fight is that it lacks the finesse of all of the other fights throughout the novel and is reduced to a massacre that resembles a DOTA game (I apologize for the nerdy video game reference) or a tower defense game. The second issue I have with the novel is that the ending is a bit rushed. The issues I have in all honesty are quite small and should not affect your decision to read the book.
Talion:Revenant was a quick and interesting read for me. The novel has all the qualities that a novel should have: a believable setting, fleshed out characters, and intriguing moral questions. (less)
What do you get when a video game writer tries his hand at writing a novel? In all honesty, a novel overflowing with horrid plot pacing and unrealisti...moreWhat do you get when a video game writer tries his hand at writing a novel? In all honesty, a novel overflowing with horrid plot pacing and unrealistic characterization.
Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne serves as a prequel to the video game Dragon Age Origins. The Stolen Throne intrigued me mostly because it was written by David Gaider. Gaider has been a blessing to the video game community for his work on Baldur’s Gate and Knights of the Old Republic. Sadly, Gaider does not understand that writing for video games and writing a novel are to entirely different beasts.
The novel follows the generic plotline of a rebel prince and his compatriots, trying to reclaim his rightful place on the throne. To befit such a generic plot premise, Gaider decided to make the prince as generic as possible. Prince Maric has all of the trappings of a storybook prince: handsome, idealistic and he even gets a mystical sword towards the end of the novel. Maric leads his army through poorly written battles and obstacles. The biggest issue I had with Maric was that he must suffer from some sort of undiagnosed bipolar disease because at the beginning of the novel he is the picture perfect/idealistic prince, but at the end of the novel he turns into a coldblooded murder.
Like Maric, the setting of the Stolen Throne suffers from a disease, Tolkien disease to be exact. The symptoms of Tolkien dieses include long bearded dwarves who live in tunnels, pointed ear elf archers, and a gallant prince with a mystical sword. There is even a segment of the novel when Maric, and his compatriots, travel through a tunnel that is a carbon copy of the Mines of Moria.
There is one saving grace to The Stolen Throne; it comes in the form of the character Loghain. While Maric gets all of the glory, Loghain stands in the shadow and formulates and executes all of the rebel army’s battle plans. If it was not for Loghain being in the book, I would have most likely stopped reading the Stolen Throne, but he held my attention the whole novel with his realistic viewpoint on life.
The Stolen Throne, as a fantasy novel, is a complete mess that will haunt book stores and libraries for years to come. Even as a video game novel, it fails to expand on the story of Dragon Age Origins. I end this review as a sorely disappointed fantasy reader and a jilted gamer. (less)
I came into The Weight of Blood not expecting much because of its low page count and free price. This dark fantasy has taught me to not judge a book...more I came into The Weight of Blood not expecting much because of its low page count and free price. This dark fantasy has taught me to not judge a book by its cover because overall it was quite enjoyable.
The story of The Weight of Blood begins with the half-orc brother’s, Qurrah and Harruq, quest to find a purpose in their lives. While on their quest, they come into contact with the necromancer, Velixar, who promises them power and control. This alliance with Velixar leads the brothers into bloody skirmishes in an attempt to bring war to the world.
The story of The Weight of Blood is an interesting one. The only issue I had with the story is the magic system. The magic system appears to not really have any balancing or explanation. Qurrah and Harraq never seem to run out of magic and when they do, it is never explained how or why. In all honestly, it is a small gripe because I understand that David Dalglish was working with a low page count.
Like most dark fantasy, The Weight of Blood has strong focus on characters. The back and forth between the brothers is interesting. While Quarrah is a cold, and merciless, necromancer, Harruq is a muscular being who sometimes can show compassion (imagine Lennie from of Mice and Men). If you like the image of the good hero with shinning armor, run away from this book. Harruq and Quarrah are cold-blooded murderers who revel and enjoy murdering citizens.
This novel is full of extremely gory, but well written, battle scenes. The brothers butcher, maim, slaughter, and kill civilians, this includes children. If you are even slightly shaken by gore, I suggest you don’t read this because there are scenes with intestines being sliced out and heads being decapitated.
There is not much else I can say about The Weight of Blood. If you like dark fantasy and want a quick read I would suggest you pick up this book. (less)