Posts Tagged With: fantasy

The Prophecy of the Kings – David Burrows

Amazon Product Description

All three books in one. Long ago the Eldric mysteriously disappeared from the land, shortly after the Krell Wars when Drachar’s shade was finally banished from the world. Perhaps they believed the threat was gone, but in leaving they took with them their sorcery, the only effective means of defeating demons. Then came the Prophecy. Only one thing is certain in the cryptic lines, Drachar’s shade will one day return. Against this backdrop three men seek what became of the Eldric. One man, Vastra, recklessly ambitious and driven by greed for power, harbours a secret for which he will kill to protect. His companions, Kaplyn and Lars have their own reasons for helping, but who will succeed? Vastra seeks an Eldric talisman and his journey is fraught with peril, already there are clear signs that demons once again seek souls. None of the men realise the train of events they are about to set in motion will affect three worlds, nearly destroying theirs in the process..

My Thoughts

This is a mystical tale filled with fantastic action scenes. It’s set in a land inhabited by  dragons, 3 princes, wizards, astral travelling, demons and tree spiders! The 3 princes have many adventures and get caught in several battles which involve a lot of marvellous sword wielding action. Burrows has written an amazing epic fantasy that will have you glued to the pages. The author is a fan of LOTR and his trilogy is in a similar vein, yet is filled with original ideas that are unique to Burrows. This amazing trilogy is a must read for all fans of fantasy lands and epic battle scenes.

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The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis from Amazon:

It is fantasy? No – it’s a different and more eccentric reality, where the world is flat and moves through space on the back of a giant turtle, Death stalks glumly about his duties, and dragons only exist if you believe in them. And your luggage follows you around on hundreds of little legs…

Follow Twoflower the naïve tourist and his inept guide Rincewind in their hilarious search for thrills, adventure and opportunities to not get killed. Follow them all the way to the Edge – and beyond…

This is the first Pratchett novel I have read, and I am glad I did, what a funny book!

Pratchett leads us through a fantastical world filled with gods, dragons, trolls and the like. This book was not a disappointment. Everything was described in such a way that it was easy to imagine and be transported there.

I loved Twoflower, I found his character hilarious. Pretty much all he did and said was funny. My other favourite character was Death. He had some great one-liners.

My only problem with the book was there were so many events and adventures and characters I slowly forgot who was who and what had happened before. However, this didn’t really spoil the story for me.

The end is nicely set up for the next in the series, and I am looking forward to carrying on the adventure 🙂

8/10

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Rue De La Pompe by James Earle McCracken

This book is described as a satiric urban fantasy, which is pretty accurate!  It’s also very original and a whole lot of fun.

The novels starts on the 30th birthday of everyman Michael Whyte, an American living in Paris, who is not sure how he has found himself there, and is doing a job which is never fully explained (either to Michael or the reader).

Longing for a bit of excitement in his life, Michael soon learns that you should be careful what you wish for.  On what he thought was going to be just another ordinary, forgettable birthday, Michael receives a tuxedo from an unknown benefactor, and an invitation to a party at his eccentric (to say the least) neighbours’ apartment.

Michael soon finds himself on a quest which takes him through a Paris which will be completely unfamiliar to anyone who has ever visited the city.  His task is to find the very first French franc coin.  Along his journey, he is aided by a deaf mute, an friendly epistomologist and a beautiful but enigmatic French lady.  He find himself involved in ten day long feasts, pursued by a crazy concierge, meeting flatulent statues and talking sculptures, and facing danger almost wherever he turns.  Michael also has a running inner monologue (voiced by several facets of his personality), which is very amusing.

If you don’t like fantasy, I would not recommend this book.  But if it’s a genre that you enjoy, I would strongly recommend it.  I laughed out loud on several occasions, and will definitely look out for further works by this author (this is his debut novel, but hopefully it won’t be long until he writes another).

The only thing that I found a little bit of a let down was the downbeat ending, which did not seem to resonate with the tone of the rest of the book.  However, all in all this was a very very good read.

Published by: iUniverse (www.iUniverse.com)

ISBN: 9780595485055

Price: (12th Oct 2008) £9.00 paperback, £14.00 hardback (Amazon.co.uk)

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Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage

13-year-old Marcus is an outsider – orphaned, friendless, with disabilities to his arm and leg that require the use of a wheelchair, the new boy at school facing a group of relentless bullies. His only escape is Farworld, the place he has created in his mind where magic abounds. When a menacing stranger appears threatening to take him away, Marcus finds himself suddenly pulled out of his normal life  – and into Farworld. His rescuer is Kyja, herself an outsider in Farworld – in a land where magic abounds, she possesses none. The pair is guided by Master Therapass, who knows the true link Marcus has with Kyja.  The Dark Circle has discovered the secret that can be the undoing of Farworld, and only Marcus and Kyja can convince the elusive Elementals to work together to make a path between the two worlds.

Savage has a wonderful, visual style of writing that enables the reader to see exactly how this new, magical world appears. Several times I found myself re-reading paragraphs, not because I was confused but because I loved reading Savage’s descriptions of the world he has created.  I believe he does a good job of allowing the reader to sympathise for his two main characters withouth making them seem weak. Both Marcus, with his physical limitations, and Kyka, with her insecurities, are often pitied by the people around them. Savage, however, never feels sorry for either of them, but allows them to discover how strong they can become when they work together and believe in themselves.

As a woman, I am thrilled to see a young girl in a novel who is written as a true equal to the young man. Too often, the girl is the sidekick – plucky and cute, but watching as the boy gets to be the hero. Savage gives Kyja just as much importance as Marcus, and allows her to be heroic in her own right. And the bad guys are truly scary – I found myself anxious several times when the kids were in danger.Trust me, you don’t want to mess with the Thrathkin S’Bae!

I really enjoyed this book. Because this is the first in a series, Savage has to spend a lot of time explaining and introducing , which can at times slow the pace of the novel. However, he has created several characters – Master Therapass and Bonesplitter especially, that I can’t wait to read more about. This series has a lot of potential, and I am very exited to read the continuing adventures of Marcus and Kyja. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Finished: 6/9/08

Rating: 8/10

Source: ARC from author

reviewed by Elizabeth

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Ink Exchange – Melissa Marr

 

Amazon Synopsis
Mortal affections and faery rivalries continue to collide in the town of Huntsdale, as New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr takes urban fantasy to new heights. After suffering a terrible trauma at the hands of her brother’s dealer friends, Leslie becomes obsessed with the idea of getting a tattoo — it’s the one thing that will allow her to reclaim her body, renew her self-confidence. And when Rabbit, her local tattoo artist, shows her a secret book of his own designs, she finds one of them irresistible. Soon, her back is adorned with a pair of mysterious eyes, framed by black wings. Leslie feels good — more than good. Nothing bad can touch her. But what she doesn’t know is that her new tattoo binds her tightly to the faery whose symbol she chose: Irial, the exquisitely dangerous king of the Dark Court

 

My Thoughts

This is the sequel to Wicked Lovely. It’s a dark faery tale; with the main character Leslie having been the victim of abuse that was instigated by her own brother. In an effort to hide her pain she decides to express herself by having a tattoo. She unwittingly chooses a design that incorporates the eyes of the Faery King of the Dark Court. What follows is a tale that is darker than any other faery tale I’ve read. At times Marr seems to ramble and her writing is confusing, but this is a story that is well worth sticking with, as the suspense just builds and builds. I can’t wait to see what Marr has in store for her readers next.
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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

wizardearthsea.jpg

Date of Publication: 1968

Number of Pages: 183

Synopsis (from back cover): Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed and terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.

Review: I am not a fan of fantasy or science fiction. I am, however, an enthusiastic fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, and especially The Lord of the Rings. I knew that the Earthsea saga was supposed to be similar, and it is, but happily, it is also very different. The entire population of the world lives on small islands that make up the Archipelago of Earthsea, and wizards are common, if revered, laborers. Each village, township, or great city employs one, and they are all educated on one enchanted island, Roke. Fishermen depend on wizards to help calm the weather and the sea, and even the very fish themselves. Wizards are healers and magicians. And Ged is both the most powerful and talented, and also the most prideful and, therefore, the most cursed of these wizards.

This story follows Ged’s early life, from his birth and childhood on the Gont, where is father was a smith and his aunt a petty village witch who taught him his first spells, to his education at the great wizard school on Roke, and to his great mistake of pride and his journey toward rectifying it. In a way, it is very much like The Lord of the Rings, if it had been told from Gandalf’s point of view: a powerful wizard wanders the earth, doing great things to help people, but always in pursuit of some dark mission. In another way, it reminded me of Homer’s Odyssey, in that Ged is constantly sidelined by manipulative and dark forces. All of these likenesses in fact add to the enjoyment I had in the story. Ged is a wonderfully complex hero; he is not wholly good and makes terrible mistakes that endanger the entire world. He gives in to pride, anger, and envy, and this causes his early downfall, but it also makes him a better person. The people around him either help him or hinder him, but this doesn’t make them one-dimensional. In fact, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Tombs of Atuan not just to read more about Ged, but also about his friends, Vetch, Yarrow, and Ogion, and also about his nemesis, Jasper. I recommend this book to any fan of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis…to well-read fans of fantasy and science fiction, this book will already be a favorite.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Sarah

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Date of Publication: Published in three volumes, 1954-1955Number of Pages: 1178 (in one-volume edition, including appendices and index)

Synopsis: Four hobbit friends leave their beloved Shire on a quest to destroy the Ring of Power, bequeathed to Frodo Baggins by the famous Bilbo. They are helped along the way by the wizard Gandalf, a mysterious stranger named Strider, an Elf called Legolas, a Dwarf named Gimli, and Boromir, a powerful warrior from Gondor. They are met by tragedy and loss, unexpected friends and good fortune, and always adventure throughout their long journey. Finally, they are separated, and three groups must go their own way. Strider, Legolas, and Gimli come to the aid of the Rohirrim in their struggles against the wizard-turned-evil, Saruman. The young hobbits, Merry and Pippin encounter a mysterious race of beings deep inside Fangorn Forest, and unwittingly play an important role in the war against the dark forces. Frodo and his extremely loyal servant, Sam, go on their own to the land of Mordor, to destroy the Ring, which is slowly strengthening its hold on Frodo, in the fires of Mount Doom. They are followed, and sometimes helped, by the creature Gollum, who is obsessed with the Ring, which he once possessed. Each member of the Fellowship goes into the unknown, but finds in himself the courage to face it. None of them emerge from their adventure without being changed forever.

Review: I have to start out by saying that this is my favorite book of all time. I’ve read it multiple times, I’ve studied it, I’ve written a paper about it, and I’ve read books about it. For some, this can be one of those life-changing books. The first time I read it, I was astounded, not simply at the story, but the incredible beauty of it. Tolkien started his long writing career by trying to create a mythology for his beloved adopted country of England. He created two languages, Sindarin and Quenya, and made up stories about the people who spoke them. The Lord of the Rings is the result of over 15 years of work and a demand for a sequel to his classic, The Hobbit. When you read the story, you can not only see the landscape and recognize it, but you believe that it’s real. You feel like you’ve discovered some long-forgotten manuscript, written by a vanished race, something that must have existed.

Many people ask me how they should go about reading The Lord of the Rings. My answer is simple. If you’ve read The Hobbit, great, if not, read that first. Then you can move on to the more difficult The Lord of the Rings. If, after that, you find that you want to know more, then you can read the true work of Tolkien’s heart, The Silmarillion. Some people object to The Lord of the Rings, saying that it’s too long, it’s too dense, there are too many characters and songs, or that it’s too religious. I say that these people are too closed-minded. Remove any expectations from your mind, and take it for what it is: a work of heroic fantasy, inspired by the legends of the ancient Norse and Anglo-Saxons. Accept the songs and poems as relics of a forgotten age. Allow yourself to become absorbed into the story, and it’s an experience you can never forget.

Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by Sarah

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