This is one of those books I'm glad I persevered with. I almost gave up at the start because there were so many characters (many with unprounouncableThis is one of those books I'm glad I persevered with. I almost gave up at the start because there were so many characters (many with unprounouncable names) and so much going on that I was completely lost. But I stuck with it and I'm pleased I did because it's actually a very good story.
It tells the tale of two opposing peoples, the Lunars and the Solars, who follow a different gods, both considering themselves the chosen ones, as they try to make peace to end years of war. There are two main characters, Chandi (a lunar) and Naresh (a solar) and both are well drawn and likeable. The plot is intricate and cleverly woven, the writing tight and professional. It's not a typical fantasy but reminded me a japanese managa. Once you get your head around the names, it quite refreshing. Overall, a good read. ...more
I absolutley loved Steven Erikson's Malazan series and in my opinion spin-off books are usually a let down. Not so with Night of Knives. In fact, it'sI absolutley loved Steven Erikson's Malazan series and in my opinion spin-off books are usually a let down. Not so with Night of Knives. In fact, it's not really a spin off at all but a book written by the Malazan world's co-creater. I really liked it. The action takes place during one night on Malaz island and follows two characters, Kiska and Temper as they try to deal with the harrowing events that take place as the emporer Kellanved makes a bid to become the lord of the shadow realm. It's bloody, brutal and full of action - just as I've come to expect from this series. On the downside, I think there are too many characters. Sometimes it got confusing who everyone was and who's side they were on. On the whole though, a skillfully written and entertaining read. I'll definitely be reading Esslemont's other books. ...more
I was pleasantly surprised by Inheritance. It took a while for me to get into it but I'm glad I persevered as it's a decent read. Having said that, thI was pleasantly surprised by Inheritance. It took a while for me to get into it but I'm glad I persevered as it's a decent read. Having said that, there are some problems. The first and biggest of these is the padding in the story. There seem to be lots of chapters that are added just to bulk out the story but don't add anything to the plot - such as Roran attacking the town of Aroughs and the amount of air time given to Eragon's friend from Carvahall giving birth. There was also way too much time give to Eragon's training sessions with Arya. The second is one of plot. I just don't know why Galbatorix would allow the Varden army to march all the way to the capital unimpeded. Throughout the series he's touted as all-powerful so why would he let half his cities and towns be captured by enemies when he could just fly out on his dragon and save them? Hmmm. Not convinced. I also thought Shruikan was a let down. We have this huge, old, powerful dragon that everyone fears and yet he's barely in the story at all. However, there were some nice touches to this story. I like how both Murtagh and Nasuada's stories were handled and Eragon's choice at the end is particularly poignant. Overall, a good story. ...more
Lokant is the second book in the Draykon series. It follows directly on from where the first book, Draykon, left off. We get to know more about Llandr Lokant is the second book in the Draykon series. It follows directly on from where the first book, Draykon, left off. We get to know more about Llandry, the draykons and the relationship between Eva and Tren. But the mystery also deepens as well. There was some kind of link between Draykons and humanity in the past which is gradually revealed through the book and there is also a mystery surrounding a scheming sect which wants to get its hands on the Draykon bone (and Llandry) for some dark, as yet unknown purpose. The writing, pace and characterization were all very good. It’s an original and enjoyable story that I found difficult to put down. Miss English is a very talented writer who manages to make her worlds seem very real and convincing. Her world building is complex. There are several different realms: the Uppers, Lowers and the middle realm where humans live. In the human world, half is always in darkness whilst half is always in light. Add to this the complex mixing of scientific and magical systems and it could all get a bit confusing as to which world you’re in and the strange rules that govern each. But it doesn’t get confusing. The author handles the story in such a way that it all fits together seamlessly. I really enjoyed Lokant and would highly recommend it. I give it four bookworms.
Yay for the Kindle that has reintroduced me to the power of short stories! I read Displaced whilst working out at the gym (there’s nothing like gettinYay for the Kindle that has reintroduced me to the power of short stories! I read Displaced whilst working out at the gym (there’s nothing like getting lost in a book to overcome the agony of the X-trainer). I really enjoyed the story. It’s one of those that drags you right in and won’t let you go until the end. Elle LaPraim has a very read-on writing style. The story tells of how an alien sphere has appeared on Earth and how humanity reacts by wanting to destroy it. Most people respond with fear and hostility but the narrator, the first to discover the sphere and the alien trapped within it, is the only person that feels differently. To her, the alien in the sphere is a thing of beauty. There are some interesting undertones in this story, namely themes of prejudice against things we don’t understand. I like how Elle LaPraim grounds her story in real life to make it more like something the reader can relate to. For example, the narrator talks about some of the alien films she’s watched, such as E.T and these references help us to identify with the reader. Overall, a well-written and enjoyable science fiction short story.
The Weight of Blood is fast paced and well written. The premise is quite interesting as I’d never come across half-orcs before and the underlying quesThe Weight of Blood is fast paced and well written. The premise is quite interesting as I’d never come across half-orcs before and the underlying question of whether they will give in to their orcish or elven blood (hence the title) made me want to keep reading. Both Qurrah and Hurraq are well developed characters with individual personalities and their loyalty to each other is one of the underpinning themes of the book. I enjoyed entering their world and joining them on their quest for power.
However… the author walks a very fine line between showing the characters’ darker motivations and causing the reader to lose sympathy with them completely. Any protagonist, even an anti-hero needs some redeeming qualities, or at the very least, a well-defined reason for doing horrible things. We need some reason to stick with a character, give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m not sure we get that with Hurruq and Qurrah. They do terrible things. They kill children so Qurrah can use their body parts in his magic. They butcher an entire village because their master tells them to. They kill their own father without batting an eyelid. And yet we are supposed to feel empathy for these broken and mistreated individuals. It doesn’t quite work for me. We need more reasons as to why they behave this way. Ostensibly, it’s a result of being badly treated as children, but this idea isn’t explored enough to allow the reader to fully understand these actions. In fact, the only thing that lends some likeability to these characters is Hurruq’s love for the elf, Aurelia.
But I have a problem with her as well. Her initial motivation for meeting Hurruq is to keep an eye on him as she suspects he is responsible for a series of murders (which he is). Gradually, she falls in love with him. That’s fine. I’m okay with that. But at the end, Aurelia finds out about all the horrible things Hurruq has done. Aurelia is a goodie. Shouldn’t her reaction be horror? Anger? Revulsion? Instead, she decides to leave behind all her elf-kind to go on the run with Hurruq and Qurrah. I mean, come on. Love isn’t that blind, is it? Having said that, the book ends on a note of optimism. The brothers have turned their back on their evil master and have decided to return to their home city.
I did enjoy the book and I’m interested enough to read the next books to see what happens to Qurrah and Hurruq Tun.
I’d recommend this to anyone who likes their fantasy dark and gruesome.
Bartimeaus and Nathaniel make a welcome return in The Golem’s Eye. We meet a new character, Kitty, and the plot deepens, letting us see much more of tBartimeaus and Nathaniel make a welcome return in The Golem’s Eye. We meet a new character, Kitty, and the plot deepens, letting us see much more of the world that Bartimeaus and Nathaniel live in. It seems that the totalitarian regime of the magicians isn’t without its opponents. Kitty is a member of the Resistance, whose goal is to bring the magicians rule to an end. She provides a great mirror to Nathaniel’s character. Were Nathaniel is scheming and self-centered, Kitty is brave and loyal. Needless, to say, sparks fly between these two. Bartimeaus remains as acerbic and witty as ever. With the addition of a new character, Bartimeaus’s screen time is cut down a little, which is a shame as he definitely steals the show, but the book just about pulls it off. We also get to know more of Bartimeaus background – the author gives us some tantalizing glimpse of this adventurous djinni’s past. The book is another exciting fantasy romp, but with some darker undertones. There’s definitely a bit of social commentary that makes you think about deeper issues, from Nathaniel enslaving Bartimeus for his own ends to the totalitarian state with a strict social structure based on power. There are also some truly chilling moments and others where you will hold your breath. All in all, a great read. I recommend this to any fantasy reader. You’ll enjoy it!
This book illustrates the beauty of indie publishing. It’s as good as any book you would pick up from one of the big six, and if not for indie publishThis book illustrates the beauty of indie publishing. It’s as good as any book you would pick up from one of the big six, and if not for indie publishing, it might never have hit the shelves. That would have been a loss to any fantasy reader. Draykon is well written, well edited, and a gripping story. I’m used to reading epic fantasy with big battles and fights between good and evil. Draykon is very different, more like a murder mystery in a fantasy setting. The world English portrays, with its colourful trees and strange animals made me think of Pandora in the film Avatar. But the societies are more like ones you might find in a 19th century classic, with carriages and markets and high society women shopping for jewellery. You might think these ideas would clash, but they don’t. The world of the Seven Realms is entirely convincing. I found myself liking all the characters and really wanting to know what happens next. The story didn’t pan out how I was expecting at all, which I liked. It ends at a great point for the sequel, which I’m looking forward to reading.
I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes a bit of originality in their fantasy...more
Wow, what can I say? This was a great short story. It gripped me from start to finish. The Colors of Qua is a tale about a girl who becomes a reaper wWow, what can I say? This was a great short story. It gripped me from start to finish. The Colors of Qua is a tale about a girl who becomes a reaper when she dies, someone who appears at the moment of a person’s death to help them transition to the afterlife. The story follows the main character, Sophia, as she is constantly buffeted from one death to another. She thinks her fate punishment for what he’s done, but we discover throughout the story, that this is far from the truth. It’s beautifully written and quite moving in places and the ending is just great. I really enjoyed it. ...more
Writing comedy is very hard to get right. I can count on the fingers of one hand the writers of fantasy comedy I can think of that do it well. Now I’vWriting comedy is very hard to get right. I can count on the fingers of one hand the writers of fantasy comedy I can think of that do it well. Now I’ve read Dragonscale Leggings, I'd have to add Freya Pickard to that list. I have to admit, when I first started reading Dragonscale Leggings I wasn't sure what to expect. I often find that the jokes in comedy fiction fall flat and that somehow, it misses the mark. Dragonscale Leggings though, is a great read, and very very funny.
The reason it works so well is that we have a combination of great storytelling and great characters. Dracomagan is a kick ass 21st-century gal who winds up in a land of Arthurian legend with the job of being a dragon slayer. But she doesn't let this get in her way, and goes about her business with a blatant disregard for the rules of the day and with a witty sarcasm that often had me laughing out loud. This is a heroine who knows what she wants and how to get it. There is a great supporting cast as well, including some very delicate dragons and some less than chivalrous knights. But the best supporting character has to be Tygar, Dracomagan’s horse who could easily have a book all to himself. The interplay between Dracomagan and Tygar provide lots of the laugh out loud moments in the book.
I would have liked the story to be a little longer as I really wanted to see more of Dracomagan and Tygar’s adventures. Luckily, the book ends at a perfect point to allow for sequels and I hope in time Freya Pickard will add to Dracomagan’s adventures.
I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes fantasy and a good laugh into the bargain.