Posts Tagged With: fantasy

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

witches-abroad

Synopsis from Amazon:

It seemed an easy job…After all, how difficult could it be to make sure that a servant girl doesn’t marry a prince?

But for the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, travelling to the distant city of Genua, things are never that simple…

Servant girls have to marry the prince. That’s what life is all about. You can’t fight a Happy Ending.

At least – up until now…

Book 12 of the Discworld series sees a return of Granny Weatherwax. This time, with her partners, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, they go travelling. Their aim: to stop a servant girl from marrying a prince. Based around fairy tales, namely The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella, the three witches travel abroad to fight mirror magic and happy endings.

As usual, Pratchett has delivered a treat. I love the Discworld books. None of them have disappointed me. Pratchett writes in a way that draws you in; he is engaging and funny; and when reading, although these books are fantasy, you have no trouble believing them. His descriptions are near perfect, and you find yourself there in the Disworld alongside the characters. I really enjoy how Terry Pratchett takes a story or a concept, so in this book it was fairy tales, and reinvents them and makes them his own. He is a very talented writer.

Along with his other books, Pratchett has a feast of characters who you just enjoy reading. The witches are so funny. Every book that features them is funny. Granny Weatherwax is legendary. She is witty, intelligent, and never backs down. My favourite bit was when she tried to dance. As for Nanny Ogg – she is a genius creation. Her post cards, and her translations, along with the drinking was very funny. Of course, Death features in this book too. And of course, he was not a let down. He is a very funny character.

I enjoyed this novel. It is full of fantasy, adventure, and a few family secrets. This book wasn’t a let down.

8/10

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Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis from Google Books:

Discworld’s pesky alchemists are up to their old tricks again. This time, they’ve discovered how to get gold from silver — the silver screen that is. Hearing the siren call of Holy Wood is one Victor Tugelbend, a would-be wizard turned extra. He can’t sing, he can’t dance, but he can handle a sword (sort of), and now he wants to be a star. So does Theda Withel, an ambitious ingénue from a little town (where else?) you’ve probably never heard of.

But the click click of moving pictures isn’t just stirring up dreams inside Discworld. Holy Wood’s magic is drifting out into the boundaries of the universes, where raw realities, the could-have-beens, the might-bes, the never-weres, the wild ideas are beginning to ferment into a really stinky brew. It’s up to Victor and Gaspode the Wonder Dog (a star if ever one was born!) to rein in the chaos and bring order back to a starstruck Discworld. And they’re definitely not ready for their close-up!

This is the tenth book in the Discworld series, and in my opinion, one of the best, alongside Mort, which was hilarious.

In this adventure we see the creation of Moving Pictures, basically films. This is Pratchett’s take on the creation of the movie world. Set in Holy Wood, the alchemists have created something dangerous and enchanting.  People rush to Holy Wood from all over the Discworld to seek fame and fortune – but something is not right. As Victor gets drawn into the fray, him and his co-star Ginger find out the secret danger that is Holy Wood, and with the aid of Laddie and Gaspode, a talking dog, they have to save the day.

This book is incredibly funny. Pratchett is subtle and sly with his humour and mocking of Hollywood. We see the characters chasing fickle dreams and destruction. As ever, the books are engaging and exciting. There was adventure and some heart stopping moments. Pratchett does not fail to catch the imagination and like with the other books I was quickly and easily transported to the Discworld.

As in the other books, Death features. He seems to be the most regular character, and as always he made me laugh. I loved it when he was in the bar drinking, very funny. Gaspode was probably my favourite of the new characters. His dry humour and sarcasm were great reading. There were so many funny characters andstory lines in this book. I loved the troll, Rock and his aim for fame, and the troll Ditritus and how he tried to date Ruby, and I think the funniest part of the book for me was when the senior wizards were sneaking out of the university like naughty students.

This is a great book. I highly recommend it. There is action, film, adventure, love, trolls, dwarfs, talking animals, wizards and Death, alongside fire, hidden cities and Dibler, the man always out to make a fast profit. I can’t think of a complaint for this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9/10

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Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

breaking-dawn

Synopsis:

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs. Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life – first discovered in TWILIGHT, then scattered and torn in NEW MOON and ECLIPSE – seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed…forever?

This is the final part of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I was wary to begin with because it is a large books – 755 pages, and because I had heard some negative reviews about the book. However, although not as good as the other three books in the series, this is an enjoyable book, and worth reading.

For the final installment we attend the wedding of Edward and Bella, and then the honeymoon – which has interesting consequences. Faced with therepercussions of the honeymoon, the Cullens group together ready to face the Volturi – the vampire royalty. But this is not a fight they can win alone, so they call upon all friends and alliances for the final fight…

Interestingly, a section of this story is narrated by Jacob. I liked this. Although not my favourite character, he is vital to the storyline and Bella’s life. It was fascinating to read the book from a werewolf’s point of view, especially someone as close to the protagonist as Bella. It was well written and I enjoyed it.

There were, however, story lines in this book that I didn’t like/wasn’t convinced by. The main one is the Jacob and Renesmee story. It just didn’t work for me. Although these are fantasy books, for me that was just pushing a little too far towards the extreme.

My favourite character throughout the whole Sage has been Edward. I just love him – the way he looks, how he thinks, how he loves, just a great character. I would love it if Meyer did go ahead and publish Midnight Sun, Edward’s version of the Twilight book. In addition to Edward, I loved Renesmee – everything about her except the name. That too was a little far-fetched for me, however her character was adorable – just too cute.

For the most part, I loved this book. Maybe it was a little too long but it was engaging and fun. A nice way to end the Saga. I definitely encourage people to read this series if they haven’t – they are really good books.

8/10

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Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

guards-guards

Synopsis:

This is where the dragons went. They lie…not dead, not asleep, but…dormant. And although the space they occupy isn’t like normal space, nevertheless they are packed in tightly. They could put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly. And presumably, somewhere, there’s a key… Guards! Guards! is the eighth Discworld novel – and after this, dragons will never be the same again!

This has become another one of my favourite Discworld books – and the focus is on dragons! The story follows a Guild who summon a dragon to gain the throne, but of course, this back fires when they try to dismiss the dragon. It seems, dragons have minds of their own and don’t like being controlled. So the dragon comes back and claims the throne. And of course, there is fire, fear, little dragons, dwarfs and fights. This book is genius, I really enjoyed it.

I liked Errol, the old, lazy, pet dragon – a cleverly written character. I still like the Librarian, he is funny! I like how people don’t mess with him, genius! And I liked Carrot – an officer of the law who actually arrested people! What an incredible idea! A dwarf, who was too big to dwarf, who killed someone using a metaphor – very funny.

The whole book was highly enjoyable. We haven’t seen dragons since The Colour of Magic, the first Discworld novel, so it was exciting to have them feature so highly in this book. As always, Pratchett is humorous and descriptive. I have no trouble imagining what is happening around me, however fantastic and crazy. I love this series, none have been a disappointment.

9/10

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Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Date of Publication: 1999, Harper Perennial

Number of Pages: 250

Synopsis (from back cover): Young Tristan Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria – even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristan learns, lies Faerie – where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.

Review: Stardust is a superb story, hearkening back to both ancient fairy tales and to Tolkien’s beloved works. It pulls you in to its magical world and makes you believe in it without question. At the same time, there is a sense of modernism to the story that adds a complex element to the story. Many of the characters, even the magical ones, are recognizable as the heroes and heroines of modern stories, as well as the fairy tales we all heard as children. The love that drives Tristan Thorn to journey through Faerie, looking for his beloved’s star, is at once timeless and innocent. He remains an innocent throughout the story, just like the young adventurers in the old stories.

Everyone pursuing the star does so for a different, but elemental reason. Tristan seeks the star for love. Septimus and Primus, heirs to the throne of Stormhold, pursue the star for power. And the old witch searches for the star to regain her youth. All of these things – love, power, and youth (health) – are sought everyday by all people in their different ways, meaning that the reader is able to connect with this story on many levels.

In terms of simple storytelling, Gaiman once again delivers. The language is flawless, and it is here that I could sense the influence of Tolkien, which is more than appropriate for the story. The characters are engaging, funny, terrifying, and real. The setting comes alive on every page. This book made it into my dreams as I read, and for me, that alone is proof of its magnificence. I would recommend this book to all fans of fantasy and adventure.

Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by Sarah

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Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

pyramids

Synopsis:

Being trained by the Assassin’s Guild in Ankh-Morpork did not fit Teppic for the task assigned to him by fate. He inherited the throne of the desert kingdom of Djelibeybi rather earlier than he expected (his father wasn’t too happy about it either), but that was only the beginning of his problems…”Pyramids” (the book of going forth) is the seventh Discworld novel – and the most outrageously funny to date.

This Discworld novel follows Teppic as he trains as an assassin (yep, I thought that was funny too) and then becomes king of the pyramid country that is Djelibeybi (pronouced De- Jelly-Baby, another that made me laugh). The problem beginnings when Teppic has to build a pyramid for his father, something they both think seems a ridiculous idea. The book sees exploding pyramids, crazy priests and gods going mad. And of course, a visit from Death.

So far, this has been the worst Discworld novel in my opinion. I felt it took a little while to get going, and there were some times I found myself tuning out. However, towards the end, the action picks up and it is fair to say the book is exciting and hilarious. It was definitely worth persevering for.

As ever, Pratchett transported me to a different area of the Discworld, and I was happy to go. The descriptions were such that I could clearly picture the area and the characters were as funny as usual. My favourite was probably Teppic’s father, as he watched himself being mummified and listening to him chat to people who couldn’t hear him. His journey of self-discovery in death was very humorous.

Although I eventually enjoyed this book, it has not been my favourite. However, I am eager to get to the next one in the series.

7/10

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The Colour of Magic. – Terry Pratchett.

Synopsis from back of book.

Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on Discworld.

Tourist, Rincewind decided, meant idiot.

***

Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Certainly, it refuses to succumb to the quaint notion that the universe are ruled by pure logic and the harmony of numbers.

But just because the Disc is very different doesn’t mean that some things don’t stay the same. It’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the arrival of the first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. But if the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard, a little logic might turn out to be a very good idea…

***

My thoughts.

After never reading a Pratchett book, and while hearing so many things about how people have enjoyed his novels, I decided to give one a go. Because of the amount of novels in the Discworld series, it’s quite hard to know where to begin. So I thought I’d just go for the simple option, start at the begining; The Colour of Magic.

***

At first I found it tricky to get into; the writing style of Pratchett surprised me a lot, and I wasn’t expecting what I got, so I guess it pays to do your homework. After reading on though, I discovered something. Terry Pratchett is a comic genius. He engages his writers in a world of magic and adventure, and weaves a thread of octarine light through time. I’ve been told that this novel isn’t as good as his others in the Discworld series, and if that’s the case, then I’m pleasently surprised.

***

In this, the start of many adventures to come for the Discworld’s occupants, you are offered an exciting journey through space and magic alike. Rincewind is an inept and cowardly wizard who carries in his mind one of the eight spells from the Octavio, The Grimoire, left (accidently) by the Creator after finishing the Discworld. As a result, he is not a very good wizard, as none of the spells will stay in his mind. He has come to the conclusion that they are too scared to stick around for long. Rincewind has the gift of languages and meets Twoflower, the first tourist of the Discworld. Closely followed of course, by the “The Luggage”, a chest that has a mind of its own and follows Twoflower around on hundreds of little legs. Lets not forget about Death, lurking glumly away in the background, swirling his scythe expertly.

***

All sorts of strange events occur around Rincewind and Twoflower. My personal favourite is when they are swept of the edge of the Disc (rim) and rescued by a sea troll, Tethis. Lets just say the pair aren’t short of excitement, by any stretch of the imagination. As Pratchett leads us through a fantastical world filled with gods, dragons and trolls, everything is described so well you could imagine being there.

***

With a brilliant cliff-hanger, I was left wanting the next instalment. So dive in and and take a plunge into Pratchett’s world of magic and adventure. I would recommend it to all fantasy and magic lovers out there.

8/10.

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The High Lord. – Trudi Canavan.


Synopsis from the back of the book.

In the city of Imardin, where those who wield magic wield power, a young street-girl, adopted by the Magicians’ Guild, finds herself at the centre of a terrible plot that may destroy the entire world.

Sonea has learnt much at the Magicians’ Guild and the the other novices treat her with a grudging respect. But she cannot forget what she witnessed in the high lord’s underground room – or his warning that the realm’s ancient enemy is growing in power once more. As Sonea learns more, she begins to doubt her guildmaster’s word. Could the truth really be as terrifying as Akkarin claims, or is he just trying to trick her into assisting in some unspeakably dark scheme?

***

My thoughts.

After waiting to borrow this book from a friend for several days, I can say that I haven’t been disappointed. It was worth the wait. The final volume in Trudi Canavan’s stunning trilogy of action, magic and adventure. The Black Magician trilogy is a trilogy of fantasy books about a young slum-girl, Sonea, who finds she has magical potential inside her. Discovered by the Guild after what can only be described as an interesting incident, Sonea is forced to flee through the slums to try and escape the magicians. Eventually, Sonea finally sees sense and in the end goes back to the Guild and learns Control over her powers. Sonea is one of her kind, gifted and a powerful magician.. but enough of that, you will need to read books 1 (The Magician’s Guild), and 2 (The Novice) to follow Sonea through her earlier adventures.

***

The plot and characters in this book are what makes it such a good novel. The story is very fast paced and full of action. The mysterious Thieves are at the thick of the action again, and this time they cannot hide away amongst their tunnels to escape what is coming. We will finally see how resourceful the Thieves really are in this thrilling finale. Through this book you’re rushed along through the slums of Imardin wondering with each turn of the page what will happen next. The character that probably made this book what it was for me, was probably Akkarin. The mysterious black-robed magician that through the day watches and takes care of guild matters, while at night stalks the slums in ordinary clothes stained with blood in the glow of the night. A murderer is lose on the streets of Imardin, murdered in a very strange way. He is thought to be a magician, from the marks found upon the bodies. Everything is not what it seems in the Guild, and an ancient enemy is coming, that maybe even the Guild cannot be prepared for. In a race through time, can the truth be uncovered and the city of Imarin be saved? Master your own Control, call on your own power and open up the book to a different world.

***

Another thing that I noticed with this book was that I found it touched upon some important issues such as sexuality. Through brief mentions and snippets we see how growing up is showed throughout this book. Trudi Canavan manages it really well, bringing up issues regarding what is moral and what isn’t. This I found really interesting how the author manages to fit this in the novel in such a way that you take notice of it but at the same time you aren’t drawn away from the plot.

***

It’s with a sad sense of regret that I have found that I have finished this magical trilogy, but I’m happy that I found these fatastic fantasy books. With unexpected turns and twists this is a very good series for anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel or three.
10/10 – A thrilling end to the series.

***

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Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

sourcery

Synopsis:

There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we’d better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son…a wizard squared…a source of magic…a Sourcerer. Sourcery sees the return of Rincewind and the luggage as the Discworld faces its greatest – and funniest – challenge yet.

Another great book in the Discworld series. Again, not let down. Although I didn’t think this book was as good as Mort, Sourcery is still a good book. It is full of adventure and magic, and humour as we follow Coin, the new sourcer try to take over the world, battled by none other than Rincewind! There are eccentric characters throughout the book, and old favourites, such as Death and The Luggage. I laughed a lot through this book. Pratchett again caught my imagination and I was transported off to the Discworld, and he held me gripped as the Discworld nearly experienced The Apocalypse…

As mentioned, the characters were fantastic. I love Rincewind, and how he survives purely on being scared and running away. Death was full of his usual humour, although this time he was added by War, Famine and Pestilence. I love how Pratchett personifies things such as death and war – unique, and pure brilliance. The Luggage had it’s own storyline too, which I loved. Such a funny object – I want one! And of the new characters, I loved Nigel. Training to be a barbarian through a book was justgenius!

As usual, I was left feeling satisfied and I am now longing for my next installment of the Discworld magic. I am hooked to these books.

8/10

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Mort by Terry Pratchett

mort

Synopsis from back cover:

‘Although the scythe isn’t pre-eminent among the weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of , say, a peasants’ revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome’ For Mort however, it is about to become one of the tools of his trade. From henceforth, Death is no longer going to be the end, merely the means to an end. He has received an offer he can’t refuse. As Death’s apprentice he’ll have free board, use of the company horse and being dead isn’t compulsory. It’s the dream job until he discovers that it can be a killer on his love life…

Well I think this is my favourite Discworld novel so far! It definitely contains the funniest/most memorable line for me:

Death: “I could murder a curry” – hilarious!

Well this story follows Mort as he becomes Death’s apprentice. Death is still my favourite character, I loved him! He had some great lines, and I laughed so hard at his storyline, and how his character developed.

What I truely loved, was the return of Rinsewind! He too had my laughing! Pratchett definitely did not let me down with this book. Again, his writing kept me gripped, and kept me there in the Discworld.

Of course, this is a love story though, which meant a bit of soppiness – and this I felt ruined the ending a little, but not even for it to completely let me down or ruin the story. Actually in some cases this storyline was quite amusing.

But as I said, this is my favourite so far!

9/10

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