When I read The Name of the Winds my initial thought was frustration that I had somehow missed the launch and subsequent success of this book a few yeWhen I read The Name of the Winds my initial thought was frustration that I had somehow missed the launch and subsequent success of this book a few years ago and that I have had to wait this long to read such an enjoyable story. I could even put aside my abhorrence of the overused, lengthy "Will they, Won't They" love story and happily give the book five stars.
Low and behold I eagerly get my hands on the sequel to that great novel only to have my first thought be once again one of frustration, but this time frustration for a different reason. This was the frustration for an opportunity missed, the frustration of seeing yet another promising beginning for a fantasy series be torn down by the disappointing sequel.
I will state right here that the book is in no means unenjoyable, and to be perfectly honest I didn't hate it. But after the first novel that was so well rounded and easy to read I couldn't help but growl my frustration every time this book began to slip. If taken on its own merits and out of context I could say it was an enjoyable read, but when compared to what it could have been the book begins to fall short.
The first half of the book isn't even worth a mention really, there are some more exploits at the university that are all too familiar from the book that went before only this time the title character (the boy genius) continues to make mistake after mistake that are incredibly painful to read because they are so out of character from the Kvothe we came to know and love in Name of the Wind.
I often find in novels that characters can be dumbed down so that the right question can be asked to get a response that will give a good explanation to the reader. It is always lazy writing but often forgivable. But when writing of a boy who is so intelligent that he can learn a language in a day and constantly awe the brightest minds of the greatest university in the land, the dumbing down of his character is far too obvious and really jarring.
Throughout the book he blindly falls from one messy experience to the next, fumbling his way to an inelegant solution to every problem that shows none of the ingenuity that he possessed in the previous book. Even when he leaves the university for new adventures this continues and it is quite a sad experience to read about.
In fact inelegant solutions are probably a good summation to the book. For example :
(view spoiler)[ Problem 1 - How to deal with Kvothe being too poor to function properly in every day life?
Solution 1 - Send him off to a far away land where he can instantly save the life of the richest man in the world and thereby earn his gratitude and money.
If Kvothe is as brilliant as we are lead to believe it is hard to understand why this would be needed when surely his ingenuity could lead him to successful business ventures that could make him money.
Problem 2 - How to deal with Kvothe reaching sexual maturity?
Solution 2 - Send him off to a nymphomaniac fairy who is not only the most beautiful woman in the world but also has the ability to almost magically transform him from a virgin to a sex god almost over night.
Problem 3 - How to make Kvothe into the kick ass fighter he is expected to be in the future?
Solution 3 - Send him off to a race of people who just happen to not only have an almost magical martial art that makes them the best fighters in the world but also have them teach him in a few months what takes them a life time to learn.
These few examples are just a taste of some of the real quick fixes that stretch the usual levels of disbelief the lover of fantasy will entertain.
But by far the most disappointing thing in this book is the love story with Denna. As per usual a Will They Won't They love story has reared its ugly head, been dragged on for far too long and has destroyed any real chemistry between the characters and of course caused the reader to come to dislike one of the characters or possibly both.
In this case I have come to greatly dislike Denna unfortunately. In spite of the incredibly annoying use of men before throwing them away in the first novel there was a hint of a good character beginning to arise. I could even put the poor way she treated the men who she lead on and of course the poor way she treats Kvothe down to some thing in her past that broke her, some barrier that Kvothe will later over come.
But the cardinal sin of Will They Won't They relationships has been committed and she has been allowed to continue to flaunt her relationships in front of Kvothe who obviously loves her and is jealous, tease him terribly and basically act in such a way that it becomes impossible to see her as a nice person any more. Obviously she is a broken creature to be fixed and she will probably be worth the effort one day but I no longer care, instead I find myself eagerly awaiting the moment when the author hopefully kills her off and in doing so also kills off the horridly devoted stalker Kvothe becomes when he is around her.
All in all this is not a terrible book and often I find myself thinking that Patick Rothfuss has some nice ideas and could be heading towards something really great. His writing style is a true strength and even those bits that ad nothing to the story and are even incredibly frustrating are so well written you will still want to turn page after page to find out what happens next.
In spite of the downfalls of this novel I have high hopes that the author will rise to the occasion for the next book, he has it in him as we all know from The Name of the Wind and I sincerely hope he finds his rhythm again for book 3. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
David Gemmell is one of the authors most responsible for shaping my taste in books as an adult.
I first picked up Legend with the intention of readingDavid Gemmell is one of the authors most responsible for shaping my taste in books as an adult.
I first picked up Legend with the intention of reading about warriors and action just like most teenaged boys, but what Gemmell taught me was that whilst action can make for an interesting read, great characters and an engaging story lifts the experience to a completely new level.
Thirteen years later and even though my tastes now run almost entirely towards intriguing and complex stories, and action is definitely a secondary interest when picking up a book, Legend still grabs my attention and gets me excited as it always has.
This story is Gemmell's debut novel and just as with all his other works, it is incredibly well told, action packed and engaging right from the start. This is the story of the once great Drenai people who face a new power coming in the form of the Nadir tribes combined under one great ruler. The Drenai must make a desperate stand at their famous stronghold, Dros Delnoch, and though death seems inevitable, still heroes come and amongst them is one of the greatest in Drenai history, Druss the Axeman.
As with all of his works that I have read (the only one absent from the list being White Knight, Black Swan), Gemmell brilliantly creates realistic and engaging characters. Where he rises above everyone else in this sub-genre though is his exploration of what it means to be a hero. All of the characters in this book are both flawed and great at the same time and it is fascinating to read about their unique paths to becoming heroes.
Legend is the first brilliant book of so many written in David Gemmell's career and as I start on reading his works once again, I am reminded of how much a tragedy his early death was.
I recommend Legend to all. Even if you are not a fan of lots of fighting and wars in the stories you read, I would still recommend giving this a try....more
One of the main criticisms that I hear about David Gemmell's work is that the stories are often about the same thing, the characters are often similarOne of the main criticisms that I hear about David Gemmell's work is that the stories are often about the same thing, the characters are often similar and basically each series is a carbon copy of the one before. However, I have always liked to think of it as an author seeking perfection, constantly polishing his works so that each one stands out a little prouder than the one before.
In no way is this more evident in my eyes than with Waylander. Waylander is the third book written by David Gemmell but it introduces my personal favourite of all of Gemmell's heroes. Waylander is an assassin, a ruthless killer made famous for his skill and feared by all. This is the story of how he begins to turn from his dark and evil ways in order to help the Drenai in their ongoing war.
The real strength of this book is in the character of Waylander himself. It is more than just his super competence and the fact that he is a deadly assassin (something we all love to read about in this sub-genre of fantasy), it is also the strength of his past, the story that turned him into the slayer in the first place and the internal struggle of a once good man having to face nearly two decades of terrible deeds.
All these things combine to create my favourite of Gemell's heroes and it seems I am not alone in loving this character as he stars in two more books in this series.
Waylander is an excellent read and a sign of an author truly getting into his stride. Legend was great as was King Beyond the Gate, but Waylander is just one of those stories that really stands out even amongst such good company as the other books on my David Gemmell shelf.
I have always believed that no matter what the genre of a novel, or whether you like that genre or not, if something is really good then it is worth a read. Therefore once again this is a book I recommend to everyone, even if you are not necessarily a fan of this type of novel. ...more
Running with the Demon is the first book in the Word and the Void trilogy and what we now know to be the first book in the long running Shannara serieRunning with the Demon is the first book in the Word and the Void trilogy and what we now know to be the first book in the long running Shannara series. On its own this novel is an enjoyable tale of a teenage girl who is caught between a demon who is inextricably tied to her family and a Knight of the Word who hunts that demon. She struggles with magic of her own as well as a dark past that she is denied knowledge of and the story unfolds into what could be quite a nice enjoyable one off story.
The characters in this novel are well written. The teenagers are suitably childish at times and serious at others, the grandparents are set in their ways while at the same time flawed with the bad habits acquired through the years and the Knight of the Word was a brilliantly written reluctant hero. The strength of these characters and their relationships within this novel bring this story together nicely.
The real strength in this book however, is in the re-reading of it after having read the whole Shannara series. Whether it was a conscious choice to have these books be the beginning of the Shannara series or if it was just a happy accident this book was made that much better when thinking of the events that would follow what happened in this book.
Upon re-reading I get the sense of epic beginnings and as both the demon and John Ross said in the book, big events do not just happen in big places but always start in a myriad of small places and come together to form something big. This felt like one of those small events and the book was made more enjoyable because of the knowledge of what it would lead to.
if you are new to the Shannara series I recommend reading the books in the order in which they were written but if you have read them all before I definitely recommend not glossing over this novel as I had planned to. It gained a star rating just from the knowledge of what this book begins.
Overall as a one off novel this is a three star story that has enjoyable moments but is ultimately unmemorable after some time has passed. For the start of the epic series that is to follow this novel quickly grows to a four star read and sets the stage brilliantly for what is to come. ...more
This second installment from Brent weeks was a truly enjoyable read. As with the first novel in this series he has managed to create a highly involvedThis second installment from Brent weeks was a truly enjoyable read. As with the first novel in this series he has managed to create a highly involved world even though his writing at times can be quite lighthearted. I am particularly impressed with this being as his previous trilogy, the Night Angel trilogy, were far darker in their content.
Brent weeks is fast becoming one of my must read authors if for no other reason than the truly enjoyable characters he churns out. Kip (aka Breaker) is one of the most brilliant characters I have read in a long time and not nearly what one would expect from a central character in a fantasy series. He is funny at all the right times and heroic when he needs to be. There are few lead characters who you find yourself taking to as much as Kip and I think what I really enjoy about this book as that I can honestly say I would love to have him for a friend.
All in all this is a thoroughly enjoyable read that progresses the story in this (literally) colourful world to new levels of intrigue. I was hooked from about ten pages in and the time seemed to fly by.
If you haven't read the first book then obviously please do so before reading this but if you have then what are you doing reading this review rather than the book itself, hop over to Amazon and get it now! You won't be sorry...more
Set about 300 years after the events of The Wishsong of Shannara, the Scions of Shannara is the first book in a series of four that continue the storySet about 300 years after the events of The Wishsong of Shannara, the Scions of Shannara is the first book in a series of four that continue the story of the descendants of Jerle Shannara.
This book marks a break in format from the previous novels which were all self contained stories that were single volumes in a larger series. This book is the first part of a four book series and in my opinion this new format has done wonders for Terry Brooks' writing. As much of a fan as I am of his earlier novels and their single volume formats I always felt as though they ended a bit too early and their stories were never explored as deeply as was possible. Also because of the limited amount of time available to spend on each character, the characters were never as strong or as well rounded as they could have been (with the exception of the Elfstones of Shannara where the cast was a bit smaller than the other two books in the trilogy).
Also as a result of this new format the deeper story that will run through all four books and encompass all three quests (one for each of the Shannara children) is much stronger and feels far more epic. I have finished this book eager to read the next one instantly and even though i have read them all before, it is a feeling I never got with the single volume novels.
Overall this is an excellent opener to this series and one in which I am eager to follow up with. The pace of of the story was fast with plenty of action mixed with plenty of story that is always unfolding. There were elements of this book which summed themselves up in this single novel and other elements that hinted at larger things to come which is exactly what I look for with stories in a longer running series. This really is an excellent read and a welcome change up from the Original Shannara Trilogy....more
It's strange that even though there was nothing overly wrong with this novel, I always find it very unremarkable after I have finished reading it.
ThiIt's strange that even though there was nothing overly wrong with this novel, I always find it very unremarkable after I have finished reading it.
This is the final book in the Original Shannara Trilogy and whilst it went out with a bang and there were some big changes to the Shannara world this book is very unmemorable. This is very surprising as so many things happen in this novel that are important to the rest of the series. (view spoiler)[Things like the death of Allanon, the removal of Paranor, the birth of the wish song and the removal of magic from the land for a time. (hide spoiler)] All the things that happen in this book are very important but still this book lacks impact.
I think it may be because there were no really strong new characters in this book. In The Elfstones of Shannara, Wil Ohmsford and the other characters were so well written that you were eagerly turning over every page to see what would happen to them next but in this novel that didn't seem to be the case.
All the characters had only one dimension. Brin was the reluctant heroine who never believes in herself. Rhone the desperate lover and protector who will stop at nothing to protect Brin. Jair is the excitable youth that gets in over his head. Garet Jax the implacable warrior. Slanter the kind hearted outcast. All of these characters were stereotypes in their own right and though they moved the story forward, their characters did not move forward with it. By the end of the novel they were much the same as they had been before.
All in all this was the difficult third novel and it was also the last in the series (with the exception of the First King of Shannara) to work in the single novel format. I wonder if maybe the change to having multiple books with the same characters was for this very reason, so that Terry Brooks could spend more time on delving into his characters and making them more memorable.
Either way this is still a decent read but it is simply not quite good enough for five stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
For fans of Terry Brooks who have discovered this novel after reading his Shannara works, they might find themselves quite surprised when reading MagiFor fans of Terry Brooks who have discovered this novel after reading his Shannara works, they might find themselves quite surprised when reading Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold.
This novel revolves around Ben Holiday, a lawyer based in Chicago who is struggling in the aftermath of the death of his wife and unborn child. In fear of losing himself to depression and recognising his need to make a huge change in his life and take a big risk he leaves everything he has behind when he pays a million dollars to become the king of a magic kingdom.
Though he never truly believes that such a place can really exist he does eventually find himself in the magical kingdom of Landover and he is indeed the king. The kingdom however has fallen on hard times and the monarchy is almost completely destroyed. It is up to Ben and a few unlikely retainers to restore this kingdom to a former glory, facing down knights, demons, a witch and a dragon in the process.
This is a fun novel that it is definitely not taxing in any way of the reader. The story is a highly unlikely one and so we must take the leap of faith that comes when reading an almost ridiculous fantasy concept so that we can follow the tale. The idea of anyone in their right mind actually giving up their existing life and a million dollars in order to buy this kingdom was always going to be the big hurdle in this book. I am not sure that Mr Brooks has quite managed to convince me of the reasons why a successful lawyer would ever do this but he has at least left enough plausibility to make this hurdle easy to forget when the rest of the story moves on.
Though this story is an enjoyable tale there is an issue which detract from the likability of the book. This is the lack of continuous humour throughout this novel. In a novel with as many ridiculous characters and concepts as this one, (view spoiler)[i.e. a man who has been turned into a dog who can both walk, talk and read books in spite of the fact he has paws instead of hands, (hide spoiler)] this story really needed a lot of humour to make it obvious that it was meant to be a comedy. This was lacking and as expected with Terry Brooks there was a lot of well written backstory and action sequences which almost tried to make the book seem like a very serious fantasy novel rather than the satirical fantasy I believe this book was supposed to be.
Overall whilst I did enjoy the book it does not come close to the brilliance of Terry Brooks' amazing Shannara series. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The second book in the Heritage of Shannara series, the Druid of Shannara encompasses the second quest in this series, the quest of Walker Boe and theThe second book in the Heritage of Shannara series, the Druid of Shannara encompasses the second quest in this series, the quest of Walker Boe and the search for the Black Elfstone.
This novel lived up to the promise that the first novel in this series created. It was fast paced with great new characters and a wonderful story full of tension and twists. The introduction of Quickening, the daughter of the King of the Silver River, starts the tale as she goes out into the world and encounters the rest of a small party that will aid Walker in his search for the Elfstone.
Not much needs to be said about the story of this book as it pretty much continues what was started in the first book of the series. The quest took the story to new places that were not imagined in the first book and for a time at least the Shadowen took a back seat to an other evil that threatened the Four Lands. This four book series is pretty formulaic in that the first three books encompass the three quests of Allanon and the final book will bring the tale to an end. Though this is the case the stories are still wonderful individually and this one will not disappoint.
It might have been nice to see a bit more of Par's story as well as Wren's as it seemed they were all but forgotten in this novel but again I think that was to be expected in the way that Terry Brooks has put together this series.
All in all this was another excellent novel and it leaves you eager for the next in the series....more
This is a review for the entire Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Trilogy rather than just this final edition because really all books merge seamlessly togThis is a review for the entire Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Trilogy rather than just this final edition because really all books merge seamlessly together and do not stand alone.
Without a doubt this series is my favourite of the whole Shannara series. Set 130 years after the events of the Heritage of Shannara series, this trilogy encompasses the adventures of those aboard the Jerle Shannara air ship and those who follow them in search of a treasure to be found in a far off continent. For the first time Terry Brooks explores a world away from the four land and we discover more information about larger world after the devastation of the Great Wars.
This new take on the Shannara series is a welcome break of format for the series as a whole. Still with the same character set (a druid, an Ohmsford, a Leah and the elves along with a collection of members from other races) this is none the less a new direction for the Shannara series. Rather than struggling against some enemy that threatens all life they are instead on a voyage of discovery and that is definitely the strength of this trilogy.
In hind sight after having read the whole Shannara series on numerous occasions, the strength of the series is that it is set in a world that is a constant state of evolution. This first became apparent to me when reading this series and discovering their advancement in technology and how it almost felt as though it was a step out of the medieval world of previous novels and a move forward towards a more enlightened world.
Overall this is a great series with a great set of characters and engaging villains. There is less black and white scenarios and more shades of grey with the character stories and as a result this is a more grown up version of a Shannara tale. Not since The Elfstones of Shannara has Terry brooks written something as complete, fast paced and engaging as he did with this trilogy of novels....more