The Furies of Calderon is an excellent first book in what I am hoping is going to continue being an excellent series.
This is the story of a world wheThe Furies of Calderon is an excellent first book in what I am hoping is going to continue being an excellent series.
This is the story of a world where people are born with the ability to control the elements around them via furies, spirits that are part of those elements. We come to this world just on the onset of a power struggle within the land of Alera and we are introduced to key characters who will shape that struggle.
Without a doubt one of the key strengths of this novel are those characters. They are all well written, well rounded and incredibly likable. It is easy to get caught up with them and to cheer for them as they struggle on in this novel and because of that I am left itching with excitement to read the next book and see how they fare in the future.
With a fast paced story line, plenty of action, a great magic system and a wonderful cast of characters, the Furies of Calderon is a great read that I am happy to recommend to anyone with a taste for fantasy. ...more
I will start this review by stating that I am judging this book by higher standards because of the author who wrote it. Brandon SandeSo dissapointing.
I will start this review by stating that I am judging this book by higher standards because of the author who wrote it. Brandon Sanderson is without a doubt the most exciting author in modern fantasy. His works are always highly original, well written, gripping and always a great read. That then makes it all the easer for this mediocre book to be such a huge let down.
To be honest there were problems with this book right from the start, even with the very premise. As much as I like the idea of the bad guys being people with superpowers and the good guys all being regular humans, everything starts to fall apart after this point. This is such a shame because the one thing that Brandon Sanderson does better than anyone else I have ever read is come up with complex and imaginative magic systems that are greatly intriguing and always add something to the book. This novel had none of that, this novel had the X-men where each person only had a single flaw that simply needed to be sought out and exploited. This concept is so black and white in its simplicity that it just seemed utterly unreal to me and made this book hard to stomach from the outgo for it seemed to have the same depth of story as a 20 year old video game.
This story was in essence the stereotypical story of a world in which some evil has come to power and there is one last group of men fighting against that evil. There is the stereotypical brilliant yet bumbling young man seeking the approval of the greatly over exaggerated resistance and constantly having to prove himself to them. There is the beautiful warrior goddess who is destined to fall in love with the bumbling idiot but of course has to start out hating him and thinking him a nuisance until suddenly some event turns them around on the matter. Then there is the brilliant but haunted leader of the resistance, the technical/research geek and the gunslingers that all make up the bog standard force you always read about in these books. Considering Brandon Sanderson normally writes such imaginative stories it is worrying that he has fallen back on an old standard for this novel.
After the first half of the novel when finally I had given up on liking any of the characters except for the main character, David, I was just rushing through this novel simply to finish it. It was certainly good enough that you want to finish it in order find out how it ends but it is not good enough for you to really enjoy it. The characters were one dimensional and in some cases outright unlikable, they were constantly acting in a deliberately stupid fashion that was completely not in character with their supposed intelligence in order keep the story moving and over all there was just no chemistry between any of them. The love interest, when finally that comes around, was so unebeivable that I actually laughed out loud the second that the world "love" was used.
I couldn't help but feel that this novel was basically the practice novel that lead to the brilliant Mistborn series. That too is set in a world where the bad guys have come to power and a last group of rebellious people have to act in order to bring the world back into balance. If this book came out first then it would not have been so bad but after reading the Mistborn books this novel really makes me sad as it is a step in the wrong direction. The mistborn books had a plenty of strong plot points and twists, powerfully written and three dimensional characters with great relationships, a brilliant magic system and best of all it had a wonderful story that I have read through three times at this date and loved it each time.
My advice to anyone reading this book, even those of a younger audience who this book is more targeted towards, would be to not worry about this book and read Brandon Sanderson's other works first. He is an incredible author and you will get more of a taste for his brilliance from his other works than you will ever find in these pages and also once you then get around to reading this book, you will be more eager to forget the unsatisfied feeling you get at the end of the book and trust that Sanderson will at least deliver next time.
Overall not the best but certainly not a something that will stop me reading this author's future works....more
This book took me by surprise. It has been sat on my book shelf for close to eight years and every time I picked it up something always stopped me froThis book took me by surprise. It has been sat on my book shelf for close to eight years and every time I picked it up something always stopped me from getting past the first few chapters. I therefore wrote this book off thinking it definitely not for me.
Recently however I decided to give it one last attempt based on a series of reviews I have read about the series and after forcing myself past those first initial chapters which still came close to making me put the book aside, I found myself starting to get into the story.
The story of Sabriel, a young woman who has inherited the dread job role of Abhorsen, and her journey to find out the truth of what really happened to her father was actually not a tale that was out of the ordinary. The story seemed quite flat to me, there were no extreme highs or lows but just a steady pace that took it through to the inevitable end of the book.
I quickly realised that it was this monotone progression through the novel that had stopped me reading past a certain point and it had also stopped me from realising the true strength of the book; the remarkably real character relationships.
The characters themselves are incredibly well rounded which is a huge strength in a book but at the same time isn't enough to lend a lot of weight to a novel on its own. I have read many bad books with realistic characters. But where this novel stood out for me was how those characters interacted with each other.
There was a natural flow and progression to the relationships that were built up between the variety of characters in this book which made the story flow far more smoothly. Because of these relationships I found myself becoming more attached to the characters themselves and the omnipresent danger of the Old Kingdom began to pick up real weight.
By the end of the novel, the story had me genuinely enthralled and I have to admit that this was an excellent reaad, let down only by a beginning that lacked the gripping storytelling needed in the start of a new novel in order to capture my imagination.
I eagerly now look forward to the next installment....more
I will start this review by stating just how well this book has been written. It is witty, the dialogue is sharp and the imagination behind it has serI will start this review by stating just how well this book has been written. It is witty, the dialogue is sharp and the imagination behind it has served up the kind of writing that I normally love to read about... with one exception.
Sadly, the reason why I couldn't get into this book was because of the insanely-unsympathetic protagonist. No matter how much I wanted to like Johannes Cabal and root for his cause, I find it impossible to grow attached to a character who's primary goal in this book is to condemn a hundred souls to hell and eternal torment.
Maybe if he had only gone after souls who were cut and dry evil I might have been able to get on board, but when a lot of the people he got to sign their souls away were just borderline sinners, I found it a hard pill to swallow. At one point in the book a case of infanticide was used as leverage to get a soul, and that is not something I can get behind in a character even in a fictional novel that was at times as funny as this.
So sadly at the end of the novel, even with the expected twist and the final unveiling of the motivation behind all of the acts in this book there was still nothing that redeemed the protagonist in my eyes. However, as I have stated this book is incredibly well written and I am sure that I will read other works by this author in the future, just maybe not with the same protagonist. ...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
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
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
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