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Category Archives: Fantasy

Sabriel by Garth Nix

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Abhorsen Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in The Abhorsen Trilogy
Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (August 23, 1997), Paperback: 496 pages, ISBN-10: 0064471837, ISBN-13: 978-0064471831

Sabriel is a necromancer, but instead of raising the dead, she returns the dead back into the grave.

Garth Nix has written numerous young adult fantasy novels and series, including: the Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower series, and The Keys to the Kingdom. Sabriel is the first book in the Abhorsen Trilogy and it is told in a third person narrative from the perspective of the main protagonist, a young woman who can control the dead. The story takes place in a world filled with magic that can be controlled through sound. Particularly the sound created by whistling or bells.

The story was intriguing from the first page.  The characters were all interesting and the concept of the world was unique and captivating. I was never too sure where the story was going but I was anxiously turning each page to find out what was going to happen next.  There was plenty of action during the fight scenes against the dead.

“Sabriel” is a standalone novel. There are two other books in the series, but each has its own characters and storyline, which only lightly touch each other. I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase: “Sabriel” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Wyrmling Horde by David Farland

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Runelords
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Wyrmling Horde: 3 Treasure Boxes
Runelords, Book 7
Scions of the Earth, Book 3
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 11 hours and 38 minutes, ASIN: B008S7BBU0

Fallion, the son of the Earth King and a powerful fire wizard, has bound two shadow worlds. One shadow world, the world of Gaborn Val Orden and the place we have come to know from the previous Runelord books, has amalgamated with a dark version of itself. With the combining of the two worlds, there has been a combining of the two versions of the people within, as well as a combining of the land and the magics.

However, the darker shadow world has a ruling class of evil wyrmlings. These creatures are actually loci, sinister parasites that feed on human souls. The wyrmlings are powerful and plentiful. They have created a self-serving, cruel society that seeks to dominate and destroy the world. The wyrmlings have devised a new form of forcible, one of compassion, and it is used to transfer pain. Fallion is captured and has received hundreds of endowments of compassion. He is made to continually experience the pain of others; pain of torture, dismemberment, and despair.

This was a well told story and picks up right after the end of Worldbringer. New characters are added, and some of the older characters have changed and morphed with the combining of the worlds. We learn more about how the one true world split into thousands of shadow worlds, and we learned more about the netherworld. This is a story of good versus evil, with the underlying message that evil can only be destroyed through love.

I really enjoyed the story, but I was shocked when it ended. I did not feel that the story had come to any kind of a conclusion. It felt more like the end of a chapter than the end of the book. Luckily for me the next book, Chaosbound is available. I will be picking it up in the next few days because I am anxious to see where this story is going.

I highly recommend The Wyrmling Horde and all the Runelord books, but they do need to be read in order. These books are all very good reads, and anyone who enjoys fantasy with enjoy these stories.

To purchase: “The Wyrmling Horde” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series The Farseer Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Assassin’s Apprentice: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Tantor Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 17 hours and 18 minutes, ASIN: B003ATP9VI

A young boy, FitzChivalry, is an outcast, because he is the bastard son of the King-in-Waiting. From the day he was dumped at court by his grandfather, he never felt connected to anyone or anything, except his little puppy. Fitz has magically bonded with the little dog, but soon learns this is an evil thing to do, and has his dog cruelly ripped away from his life. King Shrew has decided to earn Fitz’s loyalty by turning him into an assassin. During his training Fitz is faced with many different tasks and challenges, including uncovering a sinister plot that if successful will place a cruel and uncaring man into power. Meanwhile, the red ship raiders have a secret weapon that turns the captured citizens of the Six Dutchies into living, soulless beasts.

Robin Hobb is a pseudonym for Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden and she has written numerous books, primarily in the fantasy genre. Assassin’s Apprentice was written in 1995 and it was the first book in the world of the Six Dutchies and is the first book in The Farseer Trilogy. The Tawny Man Trilogy was released in 2001 and continues the story, but from a different point of view. Assassin’s Apprentice is in the epic fantasy style because in this world there is a form of magic, no modern conveniences and there is a ruling class of aristocrats, including kings and princes. The story is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, FitzChivalry.

The magic in this fantasy novel is subtle. There is a mental type of control, called The Skill, and it is where, if one has the ability and is properly trained, a person can enter into the mind of another person. There is also another gift, a deeper, darker gift, that is considered evil or dirty, and it is the ability to join minds with an animal. The story is original and enjoyable. Fitz, even as a young boy, is a danger to the crown as the bastard son of the King-in-Waiting. For this reason, King Shrew decides to keep him close and to earn the boy’s loyalty by secretly training him to become an assassin.

Fitz is a great character, and there are other interesting characters in the book, but most of the other players are not well developed. They tend to be one-dimensional without any real depth.  Unlike most epic fantasy novels, this story does not have any real action, but it is well told and well paced with a steady stream of tension throughout.

I recommend this book as a very good read. The story was intriguing and from start to finish, I was never quite sure where it was going and I found it hard to put the book down. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Royal Assassin.

To Purchase Assassin’s Apprentice from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Snow Child: 2 Treasure Boxes

The Snow Child is a novel based on the Russian fairy-tale, “The Snow Maiden” and feels like a fairy-tale. Mabel and Jack are an old married couple who have never been able to have children. They escape to Alaska in 1920 to wallow in their despair and in their their misery they decide to make a snow girl. The next day a young girl miraculously appears out of nowhere in the middle of the Alaska wilderness. 

I enjoyed the story and I liked the fairy-tale qualities. All the words spoken by Faina were said without quotes and this gave the girl an ethereal quality. She really did come across as an elemental creature, yet at the same time she seemed very much alive and real. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

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Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Keys to the Kingdom

Book Review

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Keys to the Kingdom, Book Two
Publisher: Listening Library, Audible Audio Edition, Release Date: March 31, 2004, Listening Length: 6 hours and 52 minutes (336 pages), ASIN: B0001ZZ054

Grim Tuesday, the keeper of the Second Key is threatening Arthur’s family and the only way Arthur can protect them, and himself,  is to return to the House. The House is the center of the universe and the source of all creation. Arthur has only been home a few hours, but once again he must leave earth, and with Susie’s help, he must defeat Grim Tuesday in order to save his family and stop the universe from unraveling.  In Mister Monday, Arthur defeated the holder of the First Key, became the Lord of the Lower House, and has started to repair the damage that has occurred to the House and the denizens. He left some capable and trustworthy people in charge for several years so he could return to Earth and have some time to grow up.  However, Grim Tuesday has his own plans, which include retrieving the Key and Lordship of the the Lower House.

Garth Nix has written numerous young adult books and series including: The Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower series, and The Keys to the KingdomGrim Tuesday is the second of seven books in The Keys to the Kingdom series and it is a fantasy story that is told in the third person narrative primarily from the point of view of the main protagonist, a 12 year old boy named Arthur Penhaligon. This book is good for grades 5 to 8, can be considered a Young Adult fantasy, but it can also be enjoyed by adults.

I enjoyed this story, but I did not think it was as good as the first book because it followed the same format. There were some engaging characters, like Tom Shelvocke the Mariner, who is the second son of the Architect, and Suzy Turquoise Blue. Overall, the story was interesting and kept me wondering how it was all going to end. The beginning started with plenty of action and then the story progressed with steady momentum until the final conclusion. There were plenty of obstacles along the way and the ending was quite exciting. I was intrigued with the concept of nothing, where globuals of nothing floated around and destroyed whatever they touched. This nothing is also at the basis of  creation, with the concept that first there is nothing and then it turns into matter, creating whatever is required.

The story has a good and satisfying ending, but it is clearly just part of a bigger story. The end introduces Drowned Wednesday, the next book in the series as well as the holder of the Third Key.  I recommend Grim Tuesday as a good read, and I am looking forward to see where this story is going. I am planning to read the next book in the series.

To Purchase: “Grim Tuesday” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Kingkiller Chronicle

Book Review

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two

 Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Listening Length: 42 hours and 59 minutes (1120 pages), ASIN: B004QJOG2O

Kvothe was the most notorious wizard ever known and this book covers the middle portion of his tale. He is retelling his life during his later years at the University where he was learning to become an arcanist, as well as his adventures in Faerie, his time as an adviser to the Lord of Severen, and his time with the Adem where he was learning how to fight.

Wise Man’s Fear is the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles and the final book in the trilogy is expected to be released sometime in 2014. The story is told primarily in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Kvothe.  This book is a fantasy, and in this world magic, dragons, elfs, as well as the Chandrian exist.

I really enjoyed most of the story, and I found the majority of Kvothe’s adventures to be compelling.  The bulk of the story was well told, but some of it was overindulgent and boring. Some of the writing was fun and imaginative, but at times I thought there were too many phrases using simile. The part about the Lethani went on too long, but eventually I was pulled into and intrigued by this storyline. However, I thought Mr. Rothfuss devoted too much time describing the Lethani hand talk. How Kvothe decides to go and stay with Ferlurian, a faerie creature, was unbelievable.  Felurian lures mortal men into Fae which leads to their ultimate death, and Kvothe knowing this decides he must go to her because of what she could teach him. Ultimately, his adventures while in Faerie were intriguing and helped to give a better understanding of the world this story takes place.

I am not at all sure where the story is going or what will happen, but I am curious to find out how Kvothe ends up hiding as an unimposing innkeeper when he was once known as the most notorious wizard.  Most of the book was very entertaining and interesting, but Kvothe’s tale is still not finished, so I am planning to read the final book in the trilogy when it is released. I recommend Wise Man’s Fear as a good read.

 Favourite quotes:

“So yes it had flaws but what does that matter when it comes to matters of the heart? We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because that’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket, but to love something despite? To know the flaws and love them too, that is rare and pure and perfect.”  Track 3, Ch006b – Love

 “It’s just a figure of speech. The figures of our speaking are like pictures of names. Vague weak names, but names none the less. Be mindful of them.” Track 14, Ch050- Chasing the Wind

I invite you to leave a comment and let me know what you think of the review or the book.

To Purchase: “The Wise Man’s Fear” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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The Wizard and the Warlord by M.R. Mathias

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Wardstoned Trilogy

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Wardstone Trilogy, Book Three
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 593 KB, (Print Length: 425 pages), ASIN: B008E71GY00

Hyden Hawk knows he must defeat The Warlord, even if this evil creature was once his brother. The Dragon Queen was defeated but she is not gone. The Warlord can use her body as a tool to reach into the world. The Elves realize it is time to stop hiding and instead they must help the humans defeat this evil before it annihilates the world. The Warlord and his minions are extremely powerful, but can the High King and Hyden Hawk, with the help of the Elves, Giants, Dragons and Dwarves defeat this evil?

The Wizard and Warlord is the third and final installment in the Wardstone Trilogy.  Mr. Mathias has written numerous books, primarily fantasy novels, and he has also written a couple of Horror books as well. There are several protagonists in this fantasy tale and it is told in the third person narrative with the voice and thoughts of the main players.

This is the best book in the trilogy.  The story starts with the Elves and introduces their culture as well as some new characters. These new characters are skillfully brought into the storyline and connected with some of the previous players. There are numerous quests that occur which lead the characters into unique situations. Most of the characters grow and develop as the trilogy concludes. The characters are likeable and the comradery that exists between them is fun the read.

The book examines the idea of revenge and shows the undesired effects that can occur when revenge is the only motivator. Within the Warlord a small part of Gerard remains, and it is sad to see how evil power corrupted a sweet boy. Hyden Hawk hopes that he can stop The Warlord, the being who was once his brother, but he also hopes they can both still survive.

Although this book is the final in the trilogy, the story can stand on its own, however to receive the most enjoyment the previous two books should be read first.  I recommend this book as a good read. It is an exciting epic tale filled with interesting characters, lots of action and numerous adventures.

Favourite Quote:

“The snow-capped mountains literally looked to be formed of molten copper as the sun inched down behind them. Then as the sun’s glow faded and the silvery light of the stars took over, the mountains appeared frosted in crystal.”

 

To purchase: “The Wizard and the Warlord” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Mister Monday by Garth Nix

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Keys to the Kingdom

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Keys to the Kingdom, Book One
Publisher: Listening Library, Listening Length: 8 hours and 9 minutes (368 pages), ASIN: B0001ZZ04U

 

Arthur is close to death from an asthma attack when he notices two strange men who seemed to appear out of nowhere. One of the men, Mister Monday, gives Arthur a key and a small notebook because he thinks Arthur is about to die.  However, the key has healing abilities which help to restore Arthur to good health.  When Mister Monday realizes this he tries to recapture the key. Arthur does everything in his power to protect himself and the key from these evil men.

Garth Nix has written numerous young adult books and series including: the Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower series, and The Keys to the Kingdom.  Mister Monday is part of The Keys to the Kingdom series and it is a fantasy story that is told in the third person narrative primarily from the point of view of the main protagonist, a 12 year old boy named Arthur Penhaligon.

Mister Monday sets the premise of series by introducing the characters and the world that the story revolves around. As Arthur learns about the key he received, both he and the reader learn about the Keys to the Kingdom, which are the keys to the House. The House is the center of the universe and anything outside the House, like the earth and the solar system are part of the Secondary Realms. There are seven keys for the seven territories within the confines of the house, with each key governed by a master named for a day in the week. This first book covers the Lower House and is ruled by Mister Monday. Arthur’s adventure takes place both on earth as well as in the House.

This series is great for children of all ages, starting from age 7 and it is very well written.I really enjoyed this book.  I loved all the characters and found Arthur to be a likeable protagonist, who shows compassion to those around him. Garth Nix has a great writing style, creating an interesting universe and a unique concept of creation.  The house is the center of creation and the idea of the seven days of the week each ruling one part of the house alludes back to the seven days of creation in Genesis. Throughout the book there is a big emphasis on the written word and its impact on creation.

This is a standalone book, but it is also just the beginning of a bigger story. It ends with an introduction to the next book in the series. I recommend Mister Monday as a very good read and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Grim Tuesday.

To Purchase: “Mister Monday” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Kingkiller Chronicle

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day One
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Listening Length: 27 hours and 58 minutes (736 pages), ASIN: B002A2BO2Y

Kvothe was the most notorious wizard ever known, but now he can no longer access magic and he is hiding out in a small town. Kvothe is retelling his life story which he claimed would take 3 days for the tale to unfold; this is day one. The story covers the first part of his life, reliving in detail the early years of his life.

The Name of the Wind is Patrick Ruthfuss’ debut novel and it is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles. The story is told primarily in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Kvothe.  This book is a fantasy, and in this world magic, dragons, elfs, as well as the Chandrian exist.

The story was interesting, moving back and forth through time, but it progressed at a pretty slow pace. As Kvothe tells his life story the past is replayed. Kvothe is a likeable and interesting character. The world that the story takes place in is unusual and unique with a fascinating magic system.

This is not a standalone story, but only one third of the tale, and by the end of the book, we still do not know how of Kvothe ended up as an Innkeeper. I am curious to find out what happens next, so I will be reading the next installment, Wise Man’s Fear. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

To Purchase: “The Name of the Wind” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
Publisher: Alcazar AudioWorks, Listening Length: 11 hours and 32 minutes (368 pages), ASIN: B000VDNAE4

Gulliver’s Travels details Lemuel Gulliver’s four journeys to paranormal lands. First he goes to Lilliput, a land of tiny, six feet tall people, then Brobdingnag, a land giants, then Laputa, a land that has a flying island and a backwards idea of technology, and finally, he goes to the land of Houyhnhnms, where horses speak and rule. There are humans there, but they are slaves, savage and very crude.

 Gulliver’s Travels is considered to be the greatest satire ever written in English. It was first published in 1726 by Jonathan Swift who wrote numerous poems, essays, and several novels. The story is told from a first person point of view by Lemuel Gulliver as he narrates his four journeys and describes his observations of the people he meets and the lands he visits.

There are numerous political references throughout the four books, but the story can be read and enjoyed by people of all ages. I thought the various different rules within each of the lands were interesting. The first two books are fun to read. However, throughout the book humans are not portrayed in a good light.

I recommend the first two books which I enjoyed. I also enjoyed the first half of the third book, but I would not recommend the third or fourth books.  There was not as much action in these two books and thought there was too much commentary on the ills of human nature.

To Purchase: “Gulliver’s Travels” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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