Category Archives: Fantasy

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series A Song of Fire and Ice

Book Review: 1 treasure Box
Book Five of A Song of Ice and Fire
Publisher: Bantam (July 12, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 4109 KB (1,040 pages), ASIN: B003YL4LYI


Throughout the seven kingdoms and beyond there is strife, death and disaster. Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons are huge and can no longer be contained, plus she is struggling to maintain her rule in Mereen. Jon Snow may be the commander of the Watch, but he too has enemies all around him. King Stannis is on the march, but what will he find when he arrives? Is there more beyond the wall than coming death? Book five addresses some of these outstanding items.

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in the series. Two more books are proposed to be coming in the future. We might need to wait a long time for the final books considering there was a six year span between books four and five and Mr. Martin has barely begun writing book six. This series falls into the fantasy genre and takes place on a fictional world that is similar to earth during the times of King Arthur, but it includes magic, strange beings and winters that can last up to 10 years. The story is told in a third person narrative from the numerous different characters point of view with each chapter bearing the name of the character it is focusing on.

This book dragged quite a bit and did not really seem to move the story forward much.  It takes place at the same time as The Feast of Crows but involves different characters. Considering the length of the book not much happened, although some of the things that did happen were a bit surprising.  It took me a long time to get through it and at times it was more of a chore than a pleasure to pick it up and read it. Although I still enjoyed the story and I thought the direction that Mr. Martin went with some of the characters was interesting.

This is not a standalone story; in fact it ends with a shocking cliff-hanger. Even though I was disappointed with this installment, I am still looking forward to The Winds of Winter, hoping it will be an improvement.  Dance with Dragons is still a must read for any Song of Ice and Fire fans.

Questions to ponder:

Do you like the HBO series The Game of Thrones?

If you have been watching the TV series, do you like the direction they are going?


To Purchase: “A Dance with Dragons” from Amazon, click here or on picture above.

Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Fifth Book in the Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library, Listening Length: 9 hours and 3 minutes (412 pages), ASIN: B001PI829W

Gregor learns that the Prophecy of Time requires the death of the Warrior, and since he is the Warrior he needs to prepare himself for what is to come.  Meanwhile, the Rats are invading the Underland and with Gregor’s mom being held hostage he has no choice but to join in the war.

This is the fifth and final book in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Gregor, a 12 year old boy. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

The story is skillfully wrapped up in this final volume.  I loved how Ms. Collins examines the whole idea of prophecy and shows how preconceived ideas can impact the decisions people and the influence it has on their reactions. It also looks at society and shows us that just because something was always done a certain way, doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed. The story examines how different people with different values react to each other and it shows that if we change how we consider each other we can change how we react to each other.

The story is sad and haunting. It takes a good hard look at war and the useless damage it causes, including the impact the loss of good people has on those who remain. The subject manner is definitely not for children but the story was very well written. It has a satisfying and thought provoking conclusion. I recommend this series.

To Purchase: “Gregor and the Code of Claw” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

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Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Forth Book in The Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library, Listening Length: 7 hours and 20 minutes (343 pages), ASIN: B001FVJHWU

What is the mysterious Prophesy of Time and how does it concern Gregor? Gregor’s mother is recuperating in the Underland and Gregor and Boots go often to visit her, while there, Gregor trains with Ripred to improve his rager skills. Soon Gregor and Luxa receive word that the mice are in trouble and sneak off to help with the aid of a few friends.

This is the fourth of five books in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, 12 year old Gregor. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

This series follows a great story line. It continues in this book which was interesting and captivating from the first page. Gregor and Luxa’s relationship deepens and solidifies. Gregor faces and has to deal with his own fallibility. Once again Ms. Collins explores discrimination and she even deals with the idea of genocide. There was plenty of action, some of it pretty gruesome.  The material is pretty mature even though the story is aimed towards children.

Gregor and the Marks of Secret is not a standalone story, it was more like the end of a part.  In order to see what happens next, we will need to read the final book in the series, Gregor and the Code of Claw.  I will  be quickly picking it up to read as I am quite anxious to see how everything unfolds.  I highly recommend this series and I really enjoyed this fourth installment.  Hopefully, the series will have a great ending.

To Purchase: “Gregor And The Marks Of Secret” from Amazon, click here or on picture above.

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The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Chalion Universe

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Third Book in The Chalion Universe
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Listening Length: 16 hours and 23 minutes (448 pages), ASIN: B000P6R51Q

The prince, the heir to the kingdom has been murdered by the young and beautiful lady Ijada.  The question is why and what should be done to avenge the prince’s death. Ingrey, has been sent to investigate and bring Ijada back to court. During their journey we learn who these two people are and  how their stories are intertwined. The Gods also make an appearance, especially The Son who has  a vested interest and concern at how everything plays out and influences both Ijada and Ingrey whenever possible.

Lois McMaster Bujold has written numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy books and series including The Vorkosigan SagaThe Chalion Universe Series and the The Sharing Knife SeriesThe Hallowed Hunt is the third novel in The Chalion Universe.  This is a fantasy book, but not in the traditional sense.  There are no dragons, elves, etc but there is limited magic, demons, animal possession and the personal involvement of the Gods. The book takes place in a society similar that of the 15th Century in a neighboring country of Chalion known as the Weald.  The story is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist: Lord Ingrey kin Wilfcliff, a man who has a wolf spirit residing in his soul.

The story starts right in with a mystery that Ingrey is sent to solve. Before long we realize that Ingrey received a wolf spirit in childhood and  what this means to both him and the story. Soon it is revealed that Ijada, also recently received a leopard spirit. Finally, Ingrey’s cousin in introduced and we come to realize that there is a connection between these three characters as well as their animal spirits. The characters were all well developed and the story unfolded with a good pace, leaving just enough of a hook to keep the reader interested in what was going to happen next.

The Hallowed Hunt is a standalone story which builds up to a great conclusion. I thought it was by far the best book in the series although all the characters are new. This novel has a completely separate story line with no relation to the first two books outside of the setting.  I highly recommend this book to all Lois McMaster Bujold fans; it was a good and interesting read.

To Purchase: “The Hallowed Hunt” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

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Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Third Book in the Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library, Listening Length: 7 hours and 47 minutes (368 pages), ASIN: B000DN5UQI


The plague is killing people in the Underland in a very gruesome and horrific manner. When Gregor and Boots where called to the Underland, Gregor’s mother insisted on accompanying them, but she became ill with the plague while visiting. It is up to 12 year old Gregor, as the warrior, to find the cure and save his mother and friends from death.

This is the third of five books in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Gregor. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

This book examines discrimination and it shows the evil that can come about when people are influenced by the terrible belief that others are inferior. Gregor is given hints that the cure for the plague may not be quite what it seems and as the story unfolds we are able to see that this is true. The characters are endearing, especially Gregor and Boots. The story is well told and grabs our attention from the first page and keeps us engaged right up to the last page.

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods is a standalone story, but it also left a few loose ends.  I will be reading the next book in the series to see how these all tie together.  I recommend this series, but it is quite graphic and at times sad, so I do not recommend it for young children.

To purchase: “Gregor And The Curse Of The Warmbloods” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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Gregor and the Prophecy of Bain by Suzanne Collins

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series The Underland Chronicles

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Second Book in the Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Listening Library (December 15, 2005), Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 6 hour(s) and 32 min. (304 pages), ASIN: B000DN5UQ8

Things are rough for Gregor and his family, but at least his dad is home now even if he is really ill.  Gregor takes his baby sister Boots to Central Park to go sledding, she is kidnapped by The Underlanders and Gregor has to go back to save her.  Once there, he gets drawn into another prophecy and is forced to go on another dangerous adventure.

This is the second of five books in The Underland Chronicles. It is a fantasy book aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but can also be classified as Young Adult. The story primarily takes place on earth in the Underland, far below New York City. The story is told in the third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Gregor. Suzanne Collins has also written The Hunger Games plus a couple of other books written for youths.

I was hooked from the first page and found the story captivating, exciting and sad. The prophecy was interesting and the story had a number of twists.  There was lots of action, some of it a bit gruesome and frightening. This is a standalone story and it came to a good conclusion, but it also hooked us to read the next book in the series.

I recommend this book, but it is for older children as it is quite scary. I am going to read the next book in the series: The Curse of the Warmbloods because I am curious to find out what happened.

To Purchase: “Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools by M. R. Mathias

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Wardstoned Trilogy

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Wardstone Trilogy: Book Two
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 679 KB (420 pages,) ASIN: B005465JO2

The Dragon Queen has invaded and then usurped the Kingdom. The High King, along with his magical sword and wizard friends are trying to save the world from this evil and reclaim the Kingdom.  But is she really evil, or should they be more concerned with her demon lover?

Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools is the second installment in the Wardstone Trilogy.  Mr. Mathias has written numerous books, primarily fantasy novels, but 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.

It took a while for the story to get going, but once it did, I became curious to discover where it was going. There were several plot lines running simultaneously that were all interrelated. I like that some of the evil characters are well-rounded, particularly, the dragon queen.  She is inherently evil, yet she also has a soft side.  She cares for her people and does not endorse slavery plus she is driven to save her love, Gerard.  What Gerard is becoming, is frightening. In the previous book, he was a nice person and we really cared for him, but now after his exposure to the demons, I do not know what he is going to become, part of me still hopes he will be a good person, but I am afraid he is beyond that now.

I was never too sure where the story was going or how it was going to end, so it kept my interest throughout.  There was plenty of action, especially at the end of the book. However, at times I found the adventures to be a bit disjointed and difficult to follow. I also felt that the ending was a bit confusing.

If you read the first installment in this trilogy, then you should be sure to read “Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools” so you can follow the adventures of Mikahl, Hayden and company as they try to right the wrongs that previously occurred.

 

My Favourite Quote from the book:
“Oarly swallowed. “Aye.” he nodded. ” But we got a  couple of half-arsed wizards, a few swordsmen and some arrows. And I got me axe. All we need now is some torches and we are off.”

A  few questions to ponder:
What happened to Hyden Hawk?
Who are the fools?

 

To purchase: “Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

Witches’ Brew by Terry Brooks

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series The Magic Kingdom of Landover

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book five of The Magic Kingdon of Landover Series
Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (May 1, 1996,) Paperback: 352 pages, ISBN-10: 0345387023,ISBN-13: 978-0345387028

Mistaya, the new daughter of King Ben and Queen Willow is now two years old, but because of her unique heritage she looks like she’s ten year and acts like she’s twenty. When a strange challenger comes to threaten Ben, Mistaya is sent to her Grandfathers for protection with Questor and Abernathy, the only problem is they never arrive.  Instead Mistaya is abducted by Nightshade after she banishes Questor and Abernathy to Ben’s old world.

This is the fifth of six books in The Magic Kingdom of Landover Series. Terry Brooks is also very well known for the numerous books he has written in the Shannara Series, but these two series are totally unrelated.  The Magic Kingdom of Landover Series are fantasy books that go back and forth between contemporary and traditional fantasy depending on the location of the book.  This book is written in the third person narrative from the various characters’ point of view.

This is a fun book to read with the introduction of Ben’s daughter; Mistaya, I think she is an interesting and unique character.  Seeing Abernathy as a man instead of a dog and his reaction to this change is also good reading. We really get to understand Nightsahde as her back story is revealed.  There were several frightening and exciting scenes when Ben was forced to face the numerous challengers.

This is a standalone story, it takes place two years after the end of The Tangle Box and is a very good read. There were several interrelated subplots going on at the same time, each was interesting and the story unfolded to a satisfying and exciting ending.  I highly recommend this book.  If you enjoyed the other books in The Magic Kingdom of Landover series, then you must be sure to read Witches’ Brew.

My Favourite Quote from the book:
We have to accept who we are in this life and make the best of it. Some things we can not change, all we can do is try to help each other when we see that help is needed.

To purchase: “Witches’ Brew” from Amazon click here or on picture above

 

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Chalion Universe

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in The Chalion Universe
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (July 15, 2004,) Audible Audio Edition,Listening Length: 18 hour(s) and 27 min., ASIN: B0002P0DGE

There is a curse on the Royal family of Chalion, which is slowly destroying the country.  Lupe dy Cazaril, an unlikely knight who was betrayed and sold into slavery has escaped and is seeking peace.  He is lead to his old noble patroness, who just happens to be the Grandmother of the young Prince and Princess, with hopes that she will help him.  Instead he gets drawn into not only discovering the curse, but being guided by the Gods to remove it.

Lois McMaster Bujold has written numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy books and series including The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion Universe Series and the The Sharing Knife Series. The Curse of Chalion is the first novel in The Chalion Universe.  This is a fantasy book, but not in the traditional sense.  There are no dragons, elves, etc but there is limited magic, demons and the personal involvement of the Gods. The book takes place in a society similar to that of Spain in the 15th century. The story is told in a third person narrative, primarily from Cazaril’s point of view.

Since the story revolves around nobility similar to that of Spain in the 15th century, it took me a while to get use to the names and titles of the characters.  But once I did, I was hooked on both the plot and the characters.  Cazaril, makes a great hero, he is kind, intelligent and subtle. The details of the storytelling were captivating.  I loved Cazaril’s descriptions of his various adventures.

I enjoyed this book, the story has a good build, leading up to a great ending.  This is a standalone book, but since it is part of the Chalion Universe, I am interested to see what else will happen in this universe. I recommend The Curse of Chalion, it is an interesting and unique story with a satisfying ending.

 

To buy from Amazon, click here or on picture above

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Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Chalion Universe

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Sequel to The Curse of Chalion
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (March 25, 2005), Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 16 hour(s) and 22 min., ASIN: B0008KLPII

Demons are running rampant and unbalancing the world, so the God’s decide to send in an unlikely heroine to set things right. This is Ista’s story, she had a brief appearance in The Curse of Chalion and at that time came across quite mad.  This book takes place several years after the end of the first book and we come to realize, she was not mad, but instead God touched and suffering after making a couple of disastrous decisions. Ista has decided to go on a pilgrimage to escape her unhappy life and during her journey she becomes instrumental in helping the Gods.

Lois McMaster Bujold has written numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy books and series including The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion Universe Series and the The Sharing Knife Series. The Curse of Chalion is the first novel in The Chalion Universe.  This is a fantasy book, but not in the traditional sense.  There are no dragons, elves, etc but there is limited magic, demons and the personal involvement of the Gods. The book takes place in a society similar to that of Spain in the 15th Century.  The story is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist: dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia.

It took a while for the story to get going, but once it did, I couldn’t put the book down.   I really came to care for all the characters, even the wife of A’srhys dy Lutez. The introduction and back story of the demon ridden humans was fascinating. The story was well told and after it’s slow start it really started to pick up steam and exploded through to an exciting and satisfying ending.  There is a bit of a love story, which I thought added to the plot and created more interest in the characters.  The portrayal of the Gods was interesting and unusual.

This is a standalone book with interesting and likeable characters. It is quite different from The Curse of Chalion, with a different focus and different characters, but it still stayed within the confines of the original universe. If you enjoyed the first book, then you will also enjoy this portrayal of the Chalion Universe.

 


To purchase Paladin of Souls from Amazon, click here or on picture above
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