Friday, 31 December 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter Book Seven)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
Deathly Hallows (Not the new cover)
Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter
Preceeded By: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Score: 8/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: If only there was one...


Harry Potter. The most famous wizard of the last decade. To be honest, if you don't already know who he is, this review might not mean a lot to you. If you've just seen the films... READ! The books are infinitely better. Read those instead. If you've read the books, well you probably don't need to read this review.

Harry Potter has been reviewed, summarised, and talked about plenty of times, across various media. Everyone knows about it. But now, and this is the reason I was sent a copy of the book to review, IT HAS A NEW COVER.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Last Stormlord (Watergivers Book One)

The Last StormlordTitle: The Last Stormlord
Author: Glenda Larke
Series: Watergivers (aka "Stormlord Trilogy")

Succeeded By: Stormlord Rising


Score: 7/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Probable


This book sounds and looks exciting. It's cover emblazoned with lightning and the silhouette of what appears to be a magic-wielder standing at the forefront. Could this be the titular character that the cover proudly proclaims to be "The Last Stormlord"?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Betrayal (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Book One)

Betrayal (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, Book 1)Title: Betrayal
Author: Aaron Allston
Superseries: Star Wars
Series: Legacy of the Force (NB: not all by Aaron Allston)
Succeeded By: Bloodlines, by Karen Traviss


Score: 10/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Added to my Christmas list already!


I loved the star wars films. From the first time I saw them they were my three favourite films. Then they made three more! Six fantastic movies (let's pretend Episode III was as good as the others). But then I discovered the Expanded Universe, and that's what really makes star wars. And this book is a perfect example.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

NEWS: New Format!

Hi Everyone,

Due to personal reasons, this blog has been sadly lacking of reviews of late. However, I'm hopeful that things are now looking up. December has already seen more posts than the previous few months (not including this one!) and there are two more already scheduled for before Christmas.

In addition, and this is what this post is really about, is the format is changing. As you may have noticed, several things about the layout of the reviews has changed. This is due to me getting used to how the blog works, and new features.

The first thing was that pictures started appearing! Now clicking on these pictures, or the link further below, will take you to the Amazon page of that book (Handy, huh?). I feel like I should tell you that if you DO buy the book, or anything else from amazon between clicking that link and closing amazon, I will get commission. I don't know how much, but if this troubles you, you can just go to amazon the normal way.

Secondly, the template of the blog changed. I preferred the old one, but the main body was too thin. So it had to change.

 And thirdly... There's something called Jump Break - click Read more to find out about it.

Friday, 17 December 2010

DC Comics 75th Anniversary Poster Book

DC Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book
Title: DC Comics 75th Anniversary Poster Book
Author: Robert Schnakenberg & Paul Levitz


Score: 9/10


This is a somewhat different... type... of book than those I normally review. But I'll give it a go!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Force Unleashed II (Star Wars: Force Unleashed Book Two)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed IITitle: The Force Unleashed II
Author: Sean Williams
Superseries: Star Wars
Series: Force Unleashed
Preceeded By: The Force Unleashed
Succeeded By: The Force Unleashed III ?


Score: 9/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


The first thing to note is that this book is a sequel. It's kind of obvious from the name, but it would have helped to have read the previous story, or to have properly played the game the previous novel was based on prior to reading this. While it did make sense knowing only the skeleton plot of the last book, I feel that mch of the feelings we had for the characters would have been very much amplified by the previous story, as it is then that we learn most about them (As it is, I've only read summaries of the previous story).

Disregarding the story for a moment, the writing itself is fantastic. The narrative flow is smooth for the most part, and when it does jump, it's deliberate and suspense building.

There are a few sections that I thought didn't fit in with the rest of the Star Wars universe, understandable in what must be one of the biggest fictional universes, but sometimes awkward. The biggest one in this book is the ending, which would drastically change the story of the original Trilogy. Although this simply suggests a sequel to bring the story inline with the rest of the super-series. But other than that, although I remember thinking "That seems wrong" at the time, they were small enough for me to not remember what it was that was wrong.

One line that did seem out of place, was "It's a trap", said by Ackbar, a line that he is famous for saying in the original star wars movies. I feel that it was weird to have him say it here as well. It's a clear reference, and a funny one, but it doesn't fit well with the serious situation of the time. Another character saying it would have been better.

Conclusion: While the writing is practically flawless, the storyline is quite dependent on the previous story, and although it does manage to give the general impression of "The Force Unleashed I", I would recommend reading that first. The odd occasion exists which seems out of place, but these are few and generally unmemorable. Any Star Wars fan, or any sci-fi fan not averse to extended universe fiction should give this book a go. It's a great, well-written story, with some memorable scenes, and impressive characters.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 Male; 1 Female;
Main Antagonist(s): 1 Male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Science-Fiction
Brief Synopsis (from Amazon):

This is a brand-new novel tying in to the huge "Star Wars" video game that is the follow-up to the blockbuster, award-winning "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" video game which came out in 2008 and has sold over 6 million units. Written by Sean Williams who also penned the number 1 "New York Times" bestselling first installment, this promises to be a thrilling sequel.

ISBN: 978-1848568488
Website: Star Wars SiteForce Unleashed (Game)
Amazon Link: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
First Published: 5th October 2010
Publisher: Titan Books

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Spook's Nightmare (Wardstone Chronicles Book Seven)

The Spook's Nightmare
Spook's Nightmare on Amazon
Title: The Spook's Nightmare

Author: Joseph Delaney

Series: Wardstone Chronicles
Preceded By: The Spook's Sacrifice


Score: 8/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite!


It's always more difficult to review a second (although this is actually the seventh) book in a series than the first, or even a second book by an author. This is because the writing style, and pitfalls of an author often change little between books. So If you haven't already, I would advise reading my review of "The Spook's Sacrifice" as well as this one, which will give a more detailed account of the author's style.

On saying this however, there are some marked differences between the two books I've reviewed of the series so far. The main one being is that this book's storyline, while not actually being set in "the County" as the first five were, is much closer to them in storyline than the The Spook's Sacrifice was. By this I mean that while in The Spook's Sacrifice they were on a heroic quest to save the world, Once more they are dealing with local enemies, in fact one they've faced before, and also the fact that there is again distrust between characters, and peoples as a whole, that were more muted in The Spook's Sacrifice. This book felt somewhat more realistic for the fantasy world Delaney has set up.

Speaking of the world he was set up, I would appreciate a map that covered more of the county. I live near the area the county is based on, and it would be nice to see the real towns on a map, such as Kendal. But I do appreciate the geography of the County, and I love the idea of it.

There are a couple of points that went very well, and one that didn't go so well. Beginning with the Spook's failures mentioned in the blurb; It's good to see that the Spook isn't perfect. It helps with the realism and roundedness of the character. Although we have already seen this before, in the Spook's Secret for example, it's also good to see the main character noticing the weaknesses. Similarly, the use of the Dark by the 'good guys' is also good to see. Not because I think they should be dark, but because it represents that not everything in life is black and white. I think that this book generally represented our world a little more than the others, particularly The Spook's Sacrifice, did.

---SPOLIER ALERT: Tom & Alice (Highlight to read)---

Now, the thing that I didn't think went so well was the romantic tension between Tom and Alice. It's been there for several books now, and I'm quite disappointed that they haven't done anything with it. They hold hands every now and again, but I get the impression that the Author's reluctance to take it any further than that is due to the fact it's aimed at children.

While I disagree even that romance should be minimised even in normal children's books, this series has been growing darker, and in many ways more mature, as it's characters age. I don't think that it would be out of place for the two teens to kiss, or be boyfriend and girlfriend. In fact, it's something that I hope will happen in the next book.


But overall, this is possibly my favourite of the spook's books so far, and I am eager to read the next, which will hopefully be written soon. Bony Lizzy is a fantastic opponent, and she is restored brilliantly in the book. I look forwards to more returning villains, and new ones, in the future. As before, I would seriously recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy or supernatural novels, adult or child.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 2 Male, 1 Female
Main Antagonist(s): 1 Female
Main Relationships: Hinted Heterosexual
Genre: Fantasy/Supernatural
Brief Synopsis:  (From

The Spook, Tom and Alice return from Greece to find the County under siege – and the Spook’s home burnt to the ground. With his precious library of knowledge destroyed, they seek refuge on the nearby island of Mona. But with Mona in the thrall of a twisted Shaman there is little respite from hostility or denizens of the dark. And as Alice dodges the ever-tightening net of the island’s witch hunters, a more deadly enemy emerges...

Bony Lizzie, freshly-escaped from the Spook’s bonds, has grand ambitions: to take for herself the throne of isle. She has harnessed the services of a tunnel-dwelling buggane, an evil creature which thrives on stealing the animas, or life force, from its unsuspecting victims. With the buggane as her secret weapon can she become an all-powerful Witch Queen?

ISBN: 978-0-370-32981-9
Amazon Link: The Spook's Nightmare
Pages: 401 (hardback edition)
First Published: 2010
Publisher: Bodley Head (Random house imprint)

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Spook's Sacrifice (Wardstone Chronicles Book Six)

Spook's SacrificeTitle: The Spook's Sacrifice
Author: Joseph Delaney
Series: Wardstone Chronicles (Book 6)
Preceeded By: The Spook's Mistake
Succeeded By: The Spook's Nightmare


Score: 7/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


If you haven't read any of the Wardstone Chronicles books before, go and do so now. Or after you've finished reading the review, anyway. They are one of the best children's series I know, alongside the Edge Chronicles (although somewhat different), to the point where I know many adults who read them.

This book has a different cover to the originals, which is something I'm quite disappointed about, given that I rather liked the original style. But while I like matching books, It's not vitally important, and the new covers do give more of an impression of what the story is about.

Which in this case is a blend of supernatural and fantasy genres that works really well (OK, you could say that supernatural is a sub-genre of fantasy anyway).The general premise is of a character who protects "The County" from "the Dark", and takes an apprentice, Tom Wardstone. In this sixth book, the heroes must defeat a goddess, who threatens to destroy the world.

It is a very different tone from the first books in the series, heavier and darker, as many series tend to become, but the quality of the stories hasn't changed. The characters are still brilliantly presented, particularly the Spook himself, and the story flows particularly well from the previous book, despite being an almost entirely new setting and enemy.

There is only one problem that I had with the story, and that is that the tower-climbing section of the book seemed to me to read like a computer game would progress. It's not a major problem, since it's not a huge part of the book, but the fact that I noticed it meant that the narrative wasn't keeping me as tightly focused during that section.

While some parts might be understood a bit better if you've read the previous books, there really is no limitations if you haven't (although you should!). I couldn't really remember the Spook's Mistake very well, but nevertheless found myself enyojing this book immensely, and you should allow yourself to do the same. Adult or otherwise, buy this book.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 2 Male, 1 Female
Main Antagonist(s):  1 Female Goddess/Demon
Main Relationships: Very minor hints of Heterosexual
Genre: Fantasy / Supernatual
Amazon Synopsis:

As the Spook’s apprentice Tom’s first duty is to protect the County from the dark. But now Mam needs his help in her homeland of Greece. One of the most dangerous of the old gods, the Ordeen, is about to return there, bringing slaughter and devastation. Meanwhile, the Devil himself is still loose and if he and the Ordeen join forces, a new age of darkness will descend. Mam has summoned a powerful group to her side but among them are Tom’s old enemy, the Pendle witches, including the assassin Grimalkin, and the cunning clan leader Mab Moldheel. Can Tom go against all the Spook has taught him and ally himself to the witches? What is the secret that Mam is keeping from him? And what sacrifices must be made in the battle against the dark?

ISBN: 978-0370329321
Website: Spooks Books
Amazon Link: Spook's Sacrifice
Pages: 384
First Published: 4 Jun 2009
Publisher: Bodley Head (Random House Imprint)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Farlander (Heart of the World Book One)

Title: Farlander
Author: Col Buchanan
Series: Heart of the World (Book 1)

Succeeded By: ???


Score: 10/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite!


Given that this is a debut novel, it is perhaps forgivable that I hadn't heard of Col Buchanan before I read this book. But I'm glad that I have now. Farlander is a fantastic novel, with an incredible storyline, and a completely unexpected twist that, well, was quite a surprise...

The story starts quickly, in media res, and while the pace varies for the situation, the book never seems rushed, and never too slow. Somehow Buchanan always manages to get it right, and always keeps the plot flow interesting.

Uniquely, in my reading experience, there was one particular scene that stood out in memory, where Buchanan wrote an explanation for the immoral behaviour of "the bad guys", and constantly questions the morality of "the good guys", although he does explain their reasons too. Despite this, there is still the classic good and evil characterisations, but here it seems a deeper, more realistic blur of morality and conscience.

As with any good author, Buchanan writes several characters well, and even characters that appear for only a page or two can appear quite rounded. But the best characters were the Rōshun. Every one of them (Including the apprentices and a not-really Rōshun called Che) were well-written and extremely enjoyable to read.

In fact, there were only two problems with the book that I encountered, and they are minor. The first is that there was one storyline, that of Bahn, the General's advisor, didn't seem to make a lot of difference to the story, although it was interesting. Given that this is just the first book in the series however, it will be interesting to see where this leads. The other problem was the use of the ō character in the word Rōshun, but that's mainly because it meant I had to figure out how to write it in notepad for this review.

In summary, this book was incredible. Buchanan has the potential to become a popular author, and I hope that the publisher, Tor Books, helps him achieve this. Farlander is now one of my favourite books, and I look forwards to the next with anticipation.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Several Male
Main Antagonist(s): Mixed Genres
Main Relationships: None (Hints of Heterosexual)
Genre: Fantasy
Description: (from amazon)

The Heart of the World is a land in strife. For fifty years the Holy Empire of Mann, an empire and religion born from a nihilistic urban cult, has been conquering nation after nation. Their leader, Holy Matriarch Sasheen, ruthlessly maintains control through her Diplomats, priests trained as subtle predators.
The Mercian Free Ports are the only confederacy yet to fall. Their only land link to the southern continent, a long and narrow isthmus, is protected by the city of Bar-Khos. For ten years now, the great southern walls of Bar-Khos have been besieged by the Imperial Fourth Army.
Ash is a member of an elite group of assassins, the Rōshun - who offer protection through the threat of vendetta. Forced by his ailing health to take on an apprentice, he chooses Nico, a young man living in the besieged city of Bar-Khos. At the time, Nico is hungry, desperate, and alone in a city that finds itself teetering on the brink.
When the Holy Matriarch’s son deliberately murders a woman under the protection of the Rōshun; he forces the sect to seek his life in retribution. As Ash and his young apprentice set out to fulfil the Rōshun orders – their journey takes them into the heart of the conflict between the Empire and the Free Ports . . . into bloodshed and death.

ISBN: 978-0230744813
Website: Author's Site
Amazon Link: Farlander
Pages: 384
First Published: 5 Mar 2010
Publisher: Tor Books

Monday, 27 September 2010


TroubadourTitle: Troubadour
Author: Mary Hoffman


Score: 7/10


Troubadour is an interesting book, that readers of most genres should enjoy. It is written fairly simply, in the sense that it is an easy book to read. The vocabulary isn't particularly difficult, and any period terms are generally explained in the prose (with a handy glossary at the back in case you forget).

In fact there was only one problem that I had with the historical aspects if the book, and that was the definition of France. In my mind, France is as it is defined now. But according to the map in the book, the south of France was a region known as Occitania. Now this in itself isn't a problem, but it would have been nice to have known this at the BEGINNING of the book. Consequently, "the French were attacking" confused me, given that I was under the impression it was a civil war.

But other than this slight confusion, I found myself enjoying learning history while reading a novel. Of course it's not  perfectly accurate, it's fiction, but it was an interesting experience, that I'd be happy to repeat. In fact, I really loved the first two parts (of three).

The third part however, feels rushed, sometimes unrealistic and somehow wrong. Obviously the war had to be won by the historical victor, but the fictional main character's end-story seems to disregard many of the threads that began the book, particularly what I would consider the main one, the love interest.

But before this final part, the feelings and emotions of the two main characters, Elinor and Bertran, are acutely described, and they seem to be very real people.

So while this book isn't in my normal reading genre, it has left an impression in my mind that perhaps I should read more historical fiction. The plot weakened towards the end, which was disappointing, but the first two parts, in my mind, more than made up for that. If you can't stand a book with a weak ending, this probably isn't for you, but if you read to appreciate a good writer, then buy/borrow/steal* this book as soon as possible.

*Do NOT steal the book, that was a joke.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Female
Main Antagonist(s): Lots of Men
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Historical Fiction
Brief Synopsis:

A story of persecution and poetry, love and war set in 13th century Southern France. As crusaders sweep through the country, destroying all those who do not follow their religion, Bertrand risks his life to warn others of the invasion. As a troubadour, Bertrand can travel without suspicion from castle to castle, passing word about the coming danger. In the meantime Elinor, a young noblewoman, in love with Bertrand, leaves her comfortable home and family and becomes a troubadour herself. Danger encircles them both, as the rising tide of bloodshed threatens the fabric of the society in which they live.

ISBN: 978-0-7475-9252-5
Website: Author's Site
Amazon Link: Troubadour
Pages: 278
First Published: August 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


ThistleTitle: Thistle
Author: Casey Simpson
Succeeded By: ???


Score: 5/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Probable


The first thing that can be said for this book, is that the characters are wonderful, especially the titular character, Thistle, during the middle section of the book. She is a lost and confused girl, who nevertheless is devious and very, very loveable. Another favourite are the two captains, Parma (a major character) and Dozy (a more minor character).

But while the author has written these wonderful characters well, I get the impression that the editing hasn't gone so well. There are regular mistakes in spelling and punctuation, as well as word misuse (their instead of there), which I believe needs to be looked at before this book can become widespread. There was also the single use of brackets, which personally, i find offputting in any story.

But as I earlier mentioned, the author writes rather wonderfully, and I'll discuss the plot in a moment, but there are two devices that I think the author uses exceedingly well. The first is psychology. The descent into madness of a particular character is impressive - the author switches to her perspective regularly, and each time she is less and less composed. But the author doesn't stop there. He manages to show us how each main character has changing views of increasingly insane woman.

The other device is more commonly done well, and is the dropping of important information early in the plot. I don't want to go into detail, as not to ruin the story, but it is there.

As with almoat any book. There are weak points, and the greatest weakpoint here was the romance. Early on, it starts well, in a scene with a drunken thistle, but then at the end it moves far too quickly. There is no real description of the getting together scene, it just happens, and no description of Thistle's feelings. Additionally, thay start calling each other beloved almost instantly, and while I could maybe expect that from the man, I would imagine that thistle would be scornful.

That getting together scene is one that I would have liked to have seen. The other is the ear removal scene. Or at least before and after, as it would keep that particular character in our minds, and show more her change in position.

Finally to the plot! While at first I found that there were too many sub-plots, and that the story was too complex for it's length, they quickly tied together nicely, and the one or two remaining sub-plots were woven well with the main plot. While each of the sub-plots were interesting (and Anselme's in particular could have been the start of a completely different book, such was the impact it had), when they joined together it made Thistle's storyline much richer.

Overall then, the main downfall of the book is the grammatical and spelling errors, which really need to be looked at. Nevertheless, the story is a good one, with the odd scene that I would like to see included to ease the flow of the plot.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 Female (with 2 secondary male)
Main Antagonist(s): 1 Female
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Fantasy
Amazon Synopsis:

On the edge of a crumbling empire, a young orphan struggles desperately to escape a life of poverty and slavery. When she stows away aboard a galleon headed for the capitol of the world, Thistle is set on a collision course with the Royal House of Ran. Aided by a drunken sea captain, a one eyed peddler and a boy soldier, Thistle fights to save her world, even as she learns the strange truth about this far future earth. A queen who must remain forever masked dreams of reviving ancient glories-and unspeakable weapons from the dawn time. But she is not what she seems, nor is the unforgettable girl known as Thistle. 

ISBN: 978-0982640913
Website: None Found
Amazon Link: Thistle
Pages: 350
First Published: March 1, 2010
Publisher: Flying Panther Media

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Dead Forever: Apotheosis

Dead Forever: ApotheosisTitle: Dead Forever: Apotheosis
Author: William Campbell
Series: Dead Forever Trilogy (Book Two)
Preceeded By: Dead Forever: Awakening
Succeeded By: Dead Forever: Resonance (coming 2011)


Score: 9/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite!


The first thing that I want to say about this book is: Read it! Although I didn't give the first book in the series a particularly glowing reference, this book is a great read, and very thought provoking.

But I'll get to that in a moment. For the last book I began with the cover, and I'll start there again. It's a great cover, mainly an wraparound of the world the first part of the book is set on, overlayed with one of the final scenes and an image of the main female character, which ties it in nicely to the previous cover (see image above). This time the cover is more representative of the full story, and works really well.

But even if you don't like the cover, This is a great book to read. It's as entertaining as any good book, but unlike many it tackles some of the deep problems and questions of the world today, in a way that is subtle as you read the book, but makes you think when you put it down. If you are looking for a book that makes you think about the world, then this is a great one to read. I don't want to give anything away, but the theological implications are fascinating.

If you aren't looking for such a book, then don't worry, the book is great entertainment even if you ignore the philosophical ideas it presents. The first part in particular is very cleverly written, and great to read, while the second is full of action and humour. Well, on saying that, the whole thing is full of humour.

This is probably the most indescribably good book that I have read, and the only bits I found annoying were the main character's dreams, which seemed to get more and more confusing as the book progressed. But since there are few of these scenes the good far, far outweighs them.

If I were you, I would hunt a copy of this book down until you find one. Of course, I'm not you, and already have a copy, but I would seriously recommend this book to anyone.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 male, with other secondary characters (mixed genre)
Main Antagonist(s):  1 male + 1 association
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Science Fiction, Bordering on Religous Fantasy...
Amazon Synopsis:

A god? No thanks, too much responsibility. Sequel to Awakening, the adventure continues as our hero travels to the Restricted Zone, where mistakes mount and the mission falls apart. Plunged into an alien world at war, the hero is caught between battling natives who either worship him as a god, or another heretic scheduled to burn alive. The hero struggles to bring peace among chaos but his nemesis has arrived, and he likes playing god, poised to launch unthinkable wrath that fulfills a world-ending prophecy. The natives are confident their savior will prevail, but trouble brews back home: the rebels are under siege, two planets ruined, and the body supply is depleted. More of all the hero is expected to fix while he only longs to be a child again, the one dream denied him for lifetimes. He hatches a daring plot to outsmart the enemy but in doing so risks his own life, in the last body to enjoy as a free soul. A single choice could spell his end, for real this time. Dead forever.

ISBN: 978-0-9717960-5-8
Website: Books Page on Series Website
Amazon Link: Dead Forever: Apotheosis
Pages: 357
First Published: 2010
Publisher: Glyd-Evans Press

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss, Book One)

The Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss, Book 1)

Title: The Iron Hunt
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Series: Hunter Kiss

Succeeded By: Darkness Calls

Score: 7/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


This book surpassed my expectations. I expected it to be another of the now commonplace vampire novels , with a main female character with some special ability. Now, although we do have that type of protagonist, I was happy to see that the books style was somewhat unique to me. It is important to know that the first chapter is not representative of the whole. It is a somewhat poetic prologue, which sets the rhythm of the plethora of unanswered questions going, while the rest of the novel is closer to standard prose.

The main strength of the novel is it's fast pace, as many questions are answered as not, and there are plenty of plotlines that seem to range from minor to major, although due to some of the twists these minor themes can become major at any time. In addition to this speed, which makes the reader hunger for more, is the characters. While in many other novels, the characters are deliberately left less developed to preserve mystery, here the author manages to make hers more rounded, while revealing almost nothing, this is particularly true of "the boys", which is rather impressive since only one can actually speak. Somehow what we know we don't know about them helps to shape their characters, and I would recommend Reading it for those characters alone.

However, no book is perfect, and this is no exception. The biggest problem I had was that her name, Maxine Kiss, is supposed to be secret. Yet there is no sense of secrecy applied to, even though it seems to be important. There a couple of other small moments like that, where the way Maxine acts or feels seems to defy the narrative, but they are less noticeable. Perhaps this is evidence of characters not behaving the way the author wants them to...

The other possible downside is that the novel didn't have a sense of ending, by which I mean that it feels like the first part of a larger book. The other parts of the trilogy, or at least the next one, would help give a much more solid major story arc to the first book, as we still don't really know the major goal of the protagonist, except try and stay alive as her world gets worse and worse, which is pretty standard anyway. But this can also be seen from a more positive point of view, by considering that it leaves a perfect place, even demand for the next novel, and instead of the traditional single strong sense of "what happens next", it provides a collection of weaker ones.

Is it worth reading? Definitely. It's an interesting concept to read, and the "boys" are excellent characters. Is it worth buying? Well. I can't answer that until I read the next book. It was a good read, but since it's plot depends so much on book two, I personally wouldn't want to buy it until I knew it was going to lead to a great story. If you can get it at a discount, go for it, or if you just want to read about demons that turn into tatoos (which you should, it's brilliant), then buy the book. I sincerely look forwards to Reading the sequel.

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): 1 Female + 5 (male)demons
Main Antagonist(s): 1 Female Demon + ???
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Amazon Synopsis:

Nomad born and bred, demon hunter Maxine Kiss has always relied upon herself to fight the darkness that surrounds her, and the predators - human, zombie and otherwise - who threaten the earth. But one man has managed to get through the isolation she uses to protect herself: Grant, the last of his kind. With music he is able to control any living creature ...including demons. And now his life is in danger. Haunted by the past, and determined to change the future, Maxine soon understands that to save Grant, she has only one choice - to lose control, and release her own powers of darkness. 

ISBN: 978-1841498010
(Note: This is a really nice website)
Amazon Link: US Site UK Site
Pages: 384
Publisher: Orbit

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Poison Throne (Moorehawke Trilogy - Book 1)

The Poison Throne (The Moorehawke Trilogy)Title: The Poison Throne
Author: Celine Kiernan
Series: Moorehawke Trilogy

Score: 4/10
How long I would stay up reading: 1am at most.
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Probable


The first thing that I'm going to say about "The Poison Throne" is that I'm not entirely sure which genre it's meant to be in. I assumed it was fantasy from the style of the cover. I continued to believe it was fantasy until It had an Italian character. In the interview with the author at the back of the book it says that it is set in Europe, although in mediaeval times. So I'm going to label it had "Historic Fantasy". It reads like a fantasy, and I believe it is at heart, but there are a few areas that overlap with the real world (The settings, and the christian followors of Jesu Christi).

Speaking of settings, the book only really has one. The royal palace/keep. Other than a brief period on the road to and from this palace at the beginning and end of the story, all of the action takes place within the grounds of the building. To me, this limited the book somewhat, as the unchanging setting made the book seem slow paced, and not in the traditional fantasy style, which is what I was expecteing. (Although as I said, I found some confusion with the Genre).

The strongest point of the novel is the characterisation of all the major characters. The characters are so well described, the relationships between them are well defined, if not explained initially, and the characteristics are believably realistic. The most moving scene, and the one with the most impact, is the first "departure" scene, where one of the main characters leaves the rest. The emotion in that scene is exquisitely written, and draws emotion from the reader. AUTHOR should be extremely proud of her characters. In some ways they are more realistic than any other characters that I remember reading, as their motives and emotions change and twist from scene to scene, particularly the King's, whilst all the time remaining true to the personality of the character. AUTHOR seems to find a way to let us see all sides of a character.

Except for Wynter and Lorcan, the main character and her father, who are undeniably good, each character has a changing and undefined place on the scale of right and wrong. None of the supporting characters are clearly defined as either, but reside in the grey area between good and evil. This again supports the realism of the novel, and while commendable, leads to confusion as to who the real antagonist is. As it is, I'm not sure.

This lack of antagonist is one of the things that contribute to the poor quality of the books plot. Essentially, the novel chronicles Wynter's time in the palace, where things have changed since she was last there. As the novel takes it's course, we don't find really find out why things have changed, although there are hints, while all the time, the palace is still changing. But there are few action scenes, or major events, and so the overall storyline is slow-paced, and towards the beginning easier to put down than I normally find fantasy books.

Having said that, The book is easy to read, and although it is easy to put down, it is also easy to pick up again. While the plot and pace of this book wasn't brillant, it is the first in The Moorehawke Trilogy, and the evidence suggest to a stronger plot and a faster pace in the next book. Despite the shortcomings of this first one, I look forwards to reading the second book, especially if it is as well written with as strong characterisation.

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): Female + male secondary protagonists
Main Antagonist(s): Unclear, but male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Brief Synopsis: (Taken from Amazon)

A Friend. A Father. A Kingdom. Which one would you sacrifice? This compelling trilogy of court intrigue, adventure and romance is a winning combination of imagination, powerful storytelling and magnificent characters. Fifteen-year-old Wynter Moorehawke returns home after a five-year sojourn in the bleak Northlands. All has changed in her absence. Wynter is forced to make a terrible choice: stay and bow to the King's will, or abandon her ailing father and join her friend Razi and the mysterious Christopher Garron in their efforts to restore the fragile kingdom to its former stability. But this changed kingdom is a dangerous place, where all resistance is brutally suppressed and the trio constantly risk assassination, torture or imprisonment. Atmospheric and intriguing, it evokes an enchanting and convincing other world - love, treachery, jealousy, tenderness, war, wisdom and court life are all vividly depicted. Set in a fantastical medieval Europe, "The Poison Throne" is a gothic tale of intrigue, adventure and romance which draws the reader in from the very first sentence and doesn't loosen its grip until the last.

ISBN (13): 978-1847171108
Website: The Poison Throne

Amazon Link: The Poison Throne (The Moorehawke Trilogy)
Pages: 512
First Published:2008 by O'Brien Press (Ireland)
Publisher: Orbit

Succeeded By: The Crowded Shadows

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Prophecy of Zephyrus

Title: The Prophecy of Zephyrus
Author: G.A.Hesse
Series: Standalone

Score: 8/10
How long I would stay up reading: 2am
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Quite Likely (if there is one)


Where do I start? The world that Hesse creates is a wonderful to be taken to, whether by the spirit comet as Obie is, or by reading the pages of the book. I was severely disappointed when the book ended, as it meant that I would be forced to leave.

It is not a particularly described world, the author leaves much of that to the imagination. But the characters are particularly realistic, even though one consists of a talking mole, and another as a half-lion, half man. The only character I though unrealistic was a talking falcon, a minor character in the last few pages of the book. It is easy to become attached to the main female character, and we can easily understand the main characters fascination with her, as if we herself were fascinated. Through these characters we percieve the world around them, and it is through them that it comes alive.

The title refers to the prophecy that the events unfold around. While Zephyrus is not really mentioned, or explained, the prophecy is incredibly well thought out, referring to some little details that cannot be predicted until after the event. It makes me wonder if it was actually written after the rest of the book.

The beginning of the book however, is far too rushed. Until he is taken to the fantasy world, we understand little of what's going on, and an event is over short after it has begun. The matter of the nightmares and discovery of the stone, the two reasons for him goint to the other world, need to be expanded upon, and so does his main love interest, Shannon, who is barely mentioned. I would like to see a longer first part, until the comet takes him to Windermere.

But the ending is spectacular, unpredictable, and unexpected. Perhaps not the most spectacular twist, it's plausible if you consider the story in hindsight, but one of the most unexpected. And also quite satisfying. It leaves no burning questions, and few loose ends. In some ways however, it is quite an emotional end, drawing soft but real emotion from the reader as they read the closing chapter.

The artwork is stunning, and althought the title made me dubious of the story, I would recommend it as light reading. It is an easy story to pick up and get into, and doesn't mean you lose the plot when you put it down as some more complex books would. It would be an ideal book for a fantasy lover to take on journeys and holidays.

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): 3 Male
Main Antagonist(s): 1 Male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual (But Minor)
Genre: Fantasy
Brief Synopsis: (From Amazon)

17-year-old Obie Griffin knew he was a jinx. He d proven that. So why was he chosen to fulfill an old prophecy and become the Protector of the Moonpath Riders, the beautiful Gabrielle and her windlord, Mara? Whisked back to an ancient kingdom at a time when black sorcery is destroying the world, he must decide whether to remain there, or return to the safety of his own time if it still exists. When an unexpected event occurs, Obie makes a decision that hurls him into an epic journey with his horse, Shadow, and two unlikely companions. Traveling through gloomy oak forests and deadly highland blizzards, they encounter Zelda the River Witch, enemy goblins, fierce warriors spawned by black magic, and others. But the worst is yet to come, for it dawns on Obie that he must soon defend Gabrielle against the King of Darkness in a battle to save the earth---and the soul be thinks he's lost.

Website: Publisher's Page (A brilliant website for the book)
Amazon Link: UK Site (unavailable in UK store) US Site
Pages: 431
First Published: November 2009
Publisher: AHAH Books

Still testing:
I recieve comission if you go through this link. But it has a picture :-).

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Space Crime Conspiracy

Title: Space Crime Conspiracy
Author: Gareth P. Jones
Series: -


Score: 9/10
How long I would stay up reading: Well past my bedtime.
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: If there is one, I would love to read it.


I always find that the hardest part of writing a review is starting it. So those who follow my blog will have noticed that I tend to begin with the cover of the book. Now this is a fickle place to start, as new editions are often released of books, but since this book is released in just over a months time, I imaginge that that will not happen for some time.

The cover makes the book obvious as marketed at children. It has a cartoon style drawing on the front, which contains the main character, and bright writing. As an adult I've found that this would make most others wary of approaching it, and they would be wrong to take this approach. As with other books aimed at children, this is an interesting story that both adults and children can enjoy.

Obviously, as a book aimed at children, the storyline is not deeply involved, and the more technical aspects of science fiction aren't quite as described as more traditional adult novels, but the storyline is well thought out, and the ending is a huge twist which works extremely well. Most of the secondary characters are not particularly fleshed out, but since it suits the style of the book, it didn't occur to me until I had actually begun writing the review. The only character I wished I could have known more about is the girl Jupp, who seemed to give a sense of importance to the plot at first, and then seemed to become a background character.

The idea of a talking mushroom seems at first rather silly, even in fiction, but he instantly becomes a character that the reader feels a stong sense of amiability to, and when the reasons for his ability to move and talk become clear, he doesn't seem out of place at all. Indeed, some of the technology in the book is incredibly well imagined, and suggests that more thought has gone into them than is revealed in the books. They are an example of something that an adult can take from the book that it's target audience may not.

The biggest problems that I found with the book is that it is divided into two periods that are interleaved throughout the book. The main parts, set in the past, are the interesting storyline, and often amusing. The other parts however, are the present sections, and interrupt the narrative at specific points which helps to increase the tension as I expect they were meant to. The problem I found is that those parts set in the present are actually written in the present tense. In my experience, the present tense doesn't usually work well as a narrative, especially third person, and I found that this case was no different. Fortunately however, these sections were few, although the conclusion of the book is one such part, the climax is in the past.

The very last event (which occurs in the present), is quite predictable, and I find myself wondering if it is meant to point the way to a sequel, which I would undoubtedly read if it was to be written. Perhaps not a book for the die-hard Sci-Fi fan, but for those that like to dabble (especially those who like mystery) I would definitely recommend it.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 Male and 1 Mushroom
Main Antagonist(s): Various
Main Relationships: None
Genre: Children's, Sci-Fi
Brief Synopsis: (from Publisher's Book Page)

Stanley has been arrested for the intergalactic crime of the century!
In prison, accused of murdering President Vorlunar, things are not looking good for Stanley. But when he is released, matters get even worse! He discovers that his assumed crime has given him not only notoriety, but value.

How can a boy who lives above a pub in south-east London cope with bounty hunters with beards on their foreheads, lawyers who specialise in Intergalactic Law, Pan-Dimensional Litigation and Criminal Prosecution, and the terrifying bird-headed space pirates, the Marauding Picaroons.

ISBN(13): 978-0-7475-9981-4
Website: Publisher's Page
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 311
Released: July 12th, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Note: -This amazon link is a test, and the first time I've used it. I feel I should stress that I earn comission if you use this link and buy something. If you have anything particularly against this, feel free to use the link above. - Adam

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Ambassador's Mission (Traitor Spy Trilogy - Book One)

Title: The Ambassador's Mission
Author: Trudi Canavan
Series: Traitor Spy Trilogy (Book One) or Book Four in the Kyralia Sequence


Score: 10 /10
How long I would stay up reading: Long Past Dawn
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Eagerly awaiting it's release.


Trudi Canavan's name is synonomous with quality, and with this book she doesn't fail to meet the high expectations that her previous novels have set. It would seem that she has a way with sequels that few authors possess, and makes this book at least as readable as her first. In addition to the original Black Magician Trilogy, Canavan's latest book also draws quite a lot from the Magicians Apprentice (The one-novel prequel to the BM Trilogy). This exquisite entwining of plotlines across novels is something that only a master writer acheives regularly, and Trudi Canavan is one of them.

The book itself starts rather slowly, but in a way that builds tension rather than bores the reader. After that things begin to heat up. Ceryni is a much bigger player in this book than previously, where he appeared it seemed only where needed. In this he takes one of the major viewpoints, along with returning characters Sonea and Dannyl, as well as new character Lorkin. Each of them is quite different in their own way, although Sonea/Ceryni and Lorkin/Dannyl are closer to each other than the rest. But Each of the viewpoints explores a different relationship.

Without giving too much away there is Romance; beginning and ending, Family; Lost and Found, and Alliances with old and new enemies. The way that Canavan expresses these different relatinships from different viewpoints not only brings the characters vividly off the page, but also stirs the emotions and feelings of the reader. They yearn for love. They miss their children (Even if they have none). They are confused by their old enemy. Because Sonea's relationships become the readers. Lorkin's relationships, Dannyl's and Ceryni's too.

That just the way Canavan does things. She draws the reader in until they are not just in the story, they almost live it. They are the character, whichever one it may be, They are in Imardin, or Sachaka, or wherever the narrative takes them. There is nothing lacking in this book that I can think of.

In fact, there is only one thing I can think of that is even slightly off in this latest book, which is Sonea's age. The book is set twenty years after the BM Trilogy, yet whenever I read Sonea's sections, I imagine her as the same age. That's not true of Ceryni though. But I think Sonea could do with older descriptive language ascribed to her.

I always find it difficult to write much for excellent books, and this is no different. Normally I give a "how long would I stay up reading for?" rating, since I know I personally use that as a measure of a book's worth. Now here I was going to put "dawn" as the answer. However, Since the sun isrising behind me as I write this, It is well past dawn that I would stay up reading. I hate to sound cliché, but if there is one book you read this year, make it this one.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Three Male, One Female
Main Antagonist(s): One Female, Suspected Others
Main Relationships: Homosexual (Male) and Heterosexual
Genre: Fantasy
Brief Description: (From Wikipedia)

Sonea, former street urchin, now a Black Magician, is horrified when her son, Lorkin, volunteers to assist Dannyl in his new role as Guild Ambassador to Sachaka, a land still ruled by cruel black magicians. When word comes that Lorkin has gone missing Sonea is desperate to find him, but if she leaves the city she will be exiled forever, and besides, her old friend Cery needs her help.

Most of his family has been murdered – the latest in a long line of assassinations to plague the leading Thieves. There has always been rivalry, but for the last decade the Thieves have been waging a deadly underworld war, and now it appears they have been doing so with magical assistance . . .

ISBN: 0316037834
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 528
First Published: 2010
Publisher: Orbit
Preceeded By: The High Lord
Succeeded By: The Rogue (due 2011)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Dead Forever: Awakening

Dead Forever: AwakeningTitle: Dead Forever: Awakening
Author: William Campbell
Series: Dead Forever Trilogy (Book 1)

Succeeded By: Dead Forever: Apotheosis


Score: 5/10
How long I would stay up reading: 11-12pm
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: I would if it came my way, but I wouldn't look for it. (The cover looks exciting though...)


Where to begin? The first thing that most people see is the cover, and despite the popular adage it is normally a large part of the decision to buy a book. For a Science Fiction book, this cover has it all: A spaceship, A rather attractive young lady pointing a laser-gun type weapon and plenty of mysterious figures over a metropolis backdrop. Good Stuff. This cover however, meant that it took me a few pages to realise that the main character was male. So brilliant but misleading cover.

Now we can look inside the book. The first two chapters are confusing and quite hard to get through. For me, it took some work. Things change rapidly, confusingly, and since the main character knows nothing, neither do we. I nearly put the book down out of disinterest. My obligation to review the book however, meant that I had to continue.

Fortunately, the Book gets a lot better very quickly. As soon as the main character is rescued it get's more interesting (and funnier). The character's friends have a sort of drunken humour, which can creat an interesting mind effect when reading sober. As for Adam, the protagonist, his observations of the world around him can be highly amusing.

The author is rather good at writing sexual tension, but when emotion starts to be an issue he loses it slightly. This could be because we don't understand the feelings, Adam's returning memory makes feelings apparently come from nowhere, for a character we don't meet until the very end.

In addition, there seems to be no main objective to the plot, which weakens it somewhat, although the ending is a direct suggestion of a sequel (which does exist). I've read other reviews saying that the author tackles the subject of reincarnation well, but I disagree. Not that his ideas on the matter are well written, but that it is truly reincarnation. It's a different sort of process. I would be interested to see where the author takes it next, but for me the sequel is not a priority read.

In all, the book is entertaining and not entirely frivolous, but if you are looking for a strong plot and realistic human characters, you'll need to look elsewhere.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Male, with mixed secondary protagonists
Main Antagonist(s): A group, gender not specified
Main Relationship(s): Heterosexual
Genre: Science Fiction
Brief Description: (from amazon)

Imagine a world where death is merely an inconvenience. A new body awaits, and we resume living, fully aware of the past. Every talent, love and distaste is retained, from one life to the next. But this immortal paradise has a price--eternal life as slaves, oppressed by masters who forbid individuality, creative expression, and free thinking. A band of rebels refuses to surrender their freedom, and these misfits have no place in a world that enforces social harmony. But for a population that reincarnates, the conformist rulers are powerless to eliminate insurgents. Putting them to death is useless. The rebels will return, again and again. The final solution is devised--perpetual amnesia. Kill all memory of past lives. Identity erased, origin unknown, and destiny uncertain, the rebels are banished to a lonely corner of the galaxy and left for dead, forever. Having suffered the enemy's amnesia by design, a reluctant hero awakens under a bridge, and without a past, he regards himself as insignificant. But he is not the loser he imagines, as he learns when agents in black come to collect him. His decision to flee begins a journey of rediscovery, but some of it he would rather leave buried. He must face his past, and take charge of the future, or the rest of his immortal kind are destined to share his fate--Dead Forever.

ISBN: 0971796025
Website: none
Amazon Link: Dead Forever: Awakening
Pages: 270
First Published: 2010
Publisher: Glyd-Evans Press

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time - Book Four)

Title: The Shadow Rising
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time

Score: 10/10
How long I would stay up reading: All Night
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


This book is incredible, and that's just the least I can say. Apart from being the longest, largest book so far, it is also the best. Beyond that there are not enough superlatives to do it justice.

The biggest improvement on the previous books is the lack of a prologue. In the first three books I felt that the prologues harmed the story somewhat by being either irrelevant or confusing. The absence here is a huge benefit and means that when you read the opening paragraph you know that you are reading a wheel of time novel.

Most importantly though, is how well the independant storylines are woven around each other. Whenever the narrative moves between them it masterfully generates a sense of longing for the previous scene and excitement for the one that is upcoming. For me, no other book has managed this so acutely, so finely building suspense.

The characters, as always, are well written and developed. I personally grew quite attached to Faile (a character introduced in the last book, but more major in this one). But the three main characters truly come into their own here, especially Perrin. We learn how they see each other, and how they see themselves, which brings their character to a new depth. In particular the way each of the main three characters believe the other two to be better with women helps to tie the three men together in a way that i've never seen before in fiction.

To summarise then, this is the best book in the series so far, and one of the best out there. It does really need to be read as part of the series, but I would read the previous books as many times as i had to in order to read this one once. The Shadow Rising is brilliant, and sets an incredibly high standard for the rest in the series to meet.

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): Several Mixed
Main Antagonist(s): One Entity with Mixed Lieutenants (The Forsaken)
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Brief Synopsis: (From Amazon)

The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.
In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken?
In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn.
In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.
In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.
Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn.....

ISBN: 1857230272
Website: US Publisher's Author Page
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 1046
Publisher: Orbit Books
First Published: 1992

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

NEWS: The Dearth

Recently I've had internet troubles and Exams to worry about, which have both contributed in their own special way (especially the exams) to the lack of updates towards the end of last month and beginning of this month. But both are over (famous last words), So hopefully I'll be able to update more often. Some upcoming reviews are:

Dead Forever : Awakening
The Ambassador's Mission
The Poison Throne
The Iron Hunt

Although as of yet the last three haven't arrived. If they take too long I'll have to fill in the gaps with something else...

Keep Reading,

The Sword (Chiveis Trilogy Book 1)

Title: The Sword
Author: Bryan M. Litfin
Series: Chiveis Trilogy

Score: 9/10
How long I would stay up reading: 3am
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Very


The day this book arrived was the same day that another book arrived, which I felt more obliged to read and review first. I opened the other book, and before I started reading it I had put it down and opened this one. I regret nothing.

The cover is a traditional fantasy style (two people on horses in the foregound with landscape behind). And although this may change in future editions it drew me in rather quickly. It was either that or the fact that the author told me I probably won't like it. I'm glad to say that he was wrong.

The basic premise of the story is a post nuclear apocalypse world has returned to mediaeval lifestyles, with ruins of our world dotted here and there. They worship certain gods, who the main characters come to despise, and later find to be false. Then (handily) they find a copy of the old testament which gives them a god they can believe in, and they try to bring him to the kingdom of Chiveis.

The book is simply written, with few of the deep or complex sentences commonly associated with the genre, and to avid fantasy readers it could seem inferior in that respect. But this should not be allowed to put you off reading this book. Once you get past the writing style, which I must stress is not bad, just different, the story is interesting and unique.

When the author told me that If I wasn't religous (I'm an Agnostic Atheist) I probably wouldn't enjoy the book, I was expecting christian propaganda telling me to worship god in a new format. But the story is entirely self contained, the characters never break the fourth wall, there are no notes to the reader etc. Instead the author seems to analyse the religion, considering it bit by bit from different points of view. Although the first in this series hasn't converted me, and I wouldn't want it to, It has helped me understand the christian religion more than I used to.

In addition, it is an analysis of human character and choices. With some characters believing, others not. And all in different ways. Without reading the conclusion of the trilogy we cannot know if this will continue throughout, but the world Litfin writes in seems to be both a reflection and critique of our own.

From an entertainment viewpoint, the book is filled with action, conspiracies, secret meetings, betrayals and false magics. There is some romance, which given the general idea of the book almost surprised me, and although there are no sexually explicit scenes, the subject is mentioned, and doesn't seem to be a revolting idea which is again not what I expected. The area is not the author's strongpoint however, and the story flows much better in action and political scenes. There are two major problems I found however, which continue to niggle me. The first is the main character, Teo, saying that his muscle is his religion. It seemed too out of character, and didn't work well. The second was the name of the princess Habiloho. Both of these broke the flow of the narrative, bringing me out of the almost trance-like state that one must be in to fully enjoy a book. For such a book however, these are fairly unimportant, and should not hinder the decision to buy and read the book.

It was undeniably entertaining, and it is for this reason that I would recommened, or even insist that others read it. I almost feel bad for getting this copy free, and I certaintly look forwards to the next in the trilogy. I won't say that it is one of my favourite books, but it is one of those that should be read by every fantasy lover, from christian to hindu or otherwise, For both the entertainment it brings, but also the cultural understanding it has the potential to help develop.

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): One Male, One Female
Main Antagonist(s): One Female
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Religious Fantasy
Brief Synopsis: (Taken From Website)

This novel of page-turning action and adventure poses the question, “If a society had no knowledge of Christianity, and then a Bible were discovered, what would happen?”

Four hundred years after a deadly virus and nuclear war destroyed the modern world, a new and noble civilization emerges. In this kingdom, called Chiveis, snowcapped mountains provide protection, and fields and livestock provide food. The people live medieval-style lives, with almost no knowledge of the “ancient” world. Safe in their natural stronghold, the Chiveisi have everything they need, even their own religion. Christianity has been forgotten—until a young army scout comes across a strange book.

ISBN 13: 978-1`-4335-0925-4
Website: Chiveis Online
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 412
Publisher: Crossway Books
First Published: 2010

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Dragon Reborn (Wheel of Time - Book Three)

Title: The Dragon Reborn
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time


Score: 9/10
How long I would stay up reading: 4:00ish
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


This has to be the best book in the series so far. Although there is still a prologue, it is much more readable and integral to the plot of the book than in the second in the series (although the prologue of that book is relavant to the plot of this one). Other than that there seems to be a pattern developing here, fulfill a prophecy and defeat the dark one. For that we'll have to wait until book four for more information.

In this book, as well written as the others if not better, there is everything that a fantasy of this kind should have; magic, swordery and political strife. Although it doesn't quite get 10/10, since I was able to put it down to do other things, this is amongst the best epic fantasy books i've read. It sets a high standard for future authors to reach for, and which few have reached in the genre. I eagerly look forward to reading the next books.

Apologies for the shorter review here, but it's difficult to describe the thrill of the story in this book. Read it, and you will understand. This is one of the first times I have been unable to say much about a book, and to be frank, I hope to be in this position again in the series...

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): 3 Male, plus mixed sex secondary characters
Main Antagonist(s): Male Entity, plus mixed sex "forsaken"
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Preceeded by: The Great Hunt
Succeeded by: The Shadow Rising
Brief Synopsis:

The Dragon Reborn--the leader long prophesied who will save the world, but in the saving destroy it; the savior who will run mad and kill all those dearest to him--is on the run from his destiny.
Able to touch the One Power, but unable to control it, and with no one to teach him how--for no man has done it in three thousand years--Rand al'Thor knows only that he must face the Dark One. But how?
Winter has stopped the war-almost-yet men are dying, calling out for the Dragon. But where is he?
Perrin Aybara is in pursuit with Moiraine Sedai, her Warder Lan, and the Loial the Ogier. Bedeviled by dreams, Perrin is grappling with another deadly problem--how is her to escape the loss of his own humanity.
Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve are approaching Tar Valon, where Mat will be healed--if he lives until they arrive. But who will tell the Amyrlin their news--that the Black Ajah, long thought only a hideous rumor, is all too real? They cannot know that in Tar Valon far worse awaits...
Ahead, for all of them, in the Heart of the Stone, lies the next great test of the Dragon reborn....
(Taken from Amazon)

ISBN: 1857230655
Website: US Publisher's author page
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 699
Publisher: Orbit
First Published: 1992

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time - Book Two)

Title: The Great Hunt
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: The Wheel of Time


Score: 8/10
How long I would stay up reading: 4:00 am
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


I was pleasantly surprised to find that in this second book of the series, the maps that seem to adorn most fantasy books were before the prologue. Anyone who has read my review of the first book, "The Eye of the World", will know that I found it being the other way round rather offputting. It feels like a much more natural order here. In fact, the majority of the problems I had with the previous book have simply disappeared.

The transitions between characters are smooth, and there are many more sub-plots than in the original, most of which tie together nicely in the last few chapters. There are less similarities to other famous works here, perhaps as Jordan seems to become more comfortable with his own style. Most importantly though, to me at least, the story starts a lot faster, opening with a sword fighting lesson and moving on to a raid of the town.

The prologue here seems to get in the way, since it is seemingly not very important. It refers to the whitecloak subplot, yet this is a very vague sub-plot, and rather hurridly ended. Despite being minor in compariosn to the rest of the story, it is ended quite badly, and leaves a lot of questions as to what exactly was going on.

However, as previously, it was brilliantly written and I will most definitely be following the series to it's conclusion (The last book has just been published).

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 5 male and 4 female
Main Antagonist(s): 2 male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual undertones
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Preceeded by: The Eye of the World
Succeeded by: The Dragon Reborn
Brief Synopsis:

Every so often, a Great Hunt begins for the lost Horn of Valere, a legendary horn that when sounded will bring back the ancient heroes to do battle. Rand and his companions don't need to join in however, since the horn is safely in their possession. Or so they think. They are attacked by trollocs and darkfriends, who manage steal the horn, and cause Rand, Mat, Perrin, Hurin and Loial the ogier to travel with a host of warriors on the true great hunt. Meanwhile Egwene and Nynaeve are taken to Tor Valon to begin their training as Aes Sedai. But an Aes Sedai of the red faction betrays them, resulting in Egwene's slavery at Toman Head. With only their new friends Min and Elayne to help, How will Nyneave free Elayne, and why are the darkfriends, led by Padan Fain, taking the horn to Toman Head? Most importantly, will Rand al'Thor take up his destiny as the Dragon Reborn?

ISBN(-10): 1-85723-027-2
Website: Publisher's Author Page
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: ~ 680
First Published: 1991
Publisher: Orbit Books

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Wizard's Son

Title: The Wizard's Son
Author: Kathryn L. Ramage


Score: 7/10
How long I would stay up reading: Midnight
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Very Probable, if there was one.


The first thing that captured my attention with this particular book was the smell. It was interesting, different from the standard smell of a book. I attribute this to the differences between large presses and the small press that produced the book. However, it intrigued me, and as soon as I had finished the book I was reading upon it's arrival, I began reading in earnest.

The story is fairly unique in the genre of Fantasy, neither being an Epic adventure such as the Lord of the Rings nor exactly a story of learning such as Harry Potter, despite having elements of apprenticship and learning within it. It is a coming-of-age tale, with a well written non-linear structure that allows Orlan, the wizard's son, to move from childhood to adulthood without the narrative being required to jump between interesting points. The setting of the story, primarily the wizard's home and a nearby city, are described sufficiently well, but certain characters have the potential to be much more developed, particularly ones that are introduced near the end. This is especially true of one of the main character's love interests, whose loss results in a major decision for Orlan. The reader is not as in love with this character as we should be, and so it is harder for us to understandt that decision.

The story, despite being well written, doesn't seem to have any one particular story-arc, except the emotions and feelings of the main character. This is what sets it apart from other fantasy works, and although the idea could seem unappealing to some readers, it is a book that is well worth reading. Although it doesn't have a great physical struggle between good and evil, it discusses the issue in great depth, through the different types of magic and the tumultuous opinions of Orlan, in a way that few authors can do. In addition to this it looks at the themes of self-restraint and human nature, both difficult topics that are incredibly well approached.

While not the most addictive book that I've read, it was a highly interesting and enjoyable read, and I look forwards to reading more of the author's work.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): One Male
Main Antagonist(s): None
Main Relationships: Heterosexual, (But not a major theme)
Genre: Fantasy (alternate earth)
Brief Synopsis:
When Orlan's mother dies in the first three pages of the book, Lord Redmantyl (Title, not name) reveals himself to be his father, and places a spell to make him forget the pain of his mother's death. Orlan is tested for magical ability, and when he is old enough, begins to train as an a apprentice. For an apprentice to become a full wizard they must spend five years of abstinence from red meat, alcohol and sex. A year prior to his period of sober celibacy Orlan is sent to the local town, where he meets a group of boys that show him the attraction to drink and eventually women, weakening his self-control. In addition he finds the spell that his father placed on him to make him forget, and attempts to remove it. His final day in the town estranges him from his father, causing him to run away and begin a new life. But eventually, he must accept his place as his father's son.

ISBN(13): 978-0578032931
Publisher: The Wapshott Press
Website: Publisher's Book Page
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 286
First Published: 2009