Books: Fantasy

book review | Heroes by Stephen Fry | Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology 2

stephen fry heroes mortals and monsters quests and adventures book coverAuthor: Stephen Fry
Title: Heroes
Series: Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology 2
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Pages: 478
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I feel like Stephen Fry could make any book better. For instance, I don’t really like Greek Mythology due to it so overused in media that it feels more common than my native. But “Heroes” was a marvelous and very fun book that rekindled my interest.

About the Book: The Age of Heroes began, it seems, suddenly. Great people began cleaning out the world of monsters, curses, and scary things from scarier places, making it nice and proper for us to live in. They challenged the gods themselves, took up quests, adventures, solved riddles, and invented things we to this day use. And we ourselves took delight and joy in telling those tales, to our friends, to our children. From Hercules, to Orpheus, to Argonauts, to Icarus, and many, many more.

My Opinion: This is a fascinating piece. Stephen Fry does a great job explaining chronology and errors in it, overlapping and such. He does his best explaining us the relations among people too, how were they connected, who sired whom. The book is well written, tales are told in this light, easy fashion, with comparisons and descriptions fitting our modern world. In fact, once or twice I laughed out loud at some of those. Audiobook is great too, so if you’re new to them, or have troubles getting into them, Fry’s mythology books are a great start point.

Yep, it’s a great book, I give it a 5 out of 5, for making even such a seemingly dull topic – great. (I’m sure it’s not dull, and this is merely the perception of someone who had to study it all in school)

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Other Fiction, epic fantasy, Mythology Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia | 1

we set the dark on fire tehlor kay mejia book coverAuthor: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Title: We Set the Dark on Fire
Series: We Set the Dark on Fire 1
Genre: Fantasy; LGBT literature
Pages: 384
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

For once it was not IG that lured me into reading a book blindly, that I didn’t like all that much. I saw “We Set the Dark on Fire” by Tehlor Kay Mejia on Twitter. It was sadly too light, too simple for my liking, so it’s not my cup of tea.

About the Book: Medio School for Girls prepares the most prestigious brides for those in power who can afford such luxurious set. For it isn’t easy to get into this school either. Such girls as Dani shouldn’t even be here. Born on the wrong side of The Wall, she’s an illegal. But her parents have found a way, and so here she is, about to marry one of the most powerful politicians, together with her worst rival, a girl who made her life here – hell. And taught her to never trust anyone.

But not even out of school yet, there’s signs of Resistance. Poor people, pushed to the very edge, are desperate to draw attention to their cause with protests and even riots. They’re starving. They die of simple illnesses for which there’s easy medicine they can’t afford. But all they get is disdain and bullets. And Dani’s heart bleeds for them.

My Opinion: The plot, at times, barely, just very barely with the best of wishes made it through a spin and turn without being completely lacking. Some events hang by the thread of hopes and dreams, so to speak. And the plot is a bit thin, simple: poor people are criminalized, rich people are overloaded. Resistance is recruiting brides from schools to be spies. And that’s all.

I’m sure this book will be loved by many, and I hope author will never see my review or any other negative one for that matter. For I do wish her all the best, there’s definitely potential there. This book, from me, by my personal opinion meant only for other readers, gets 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” by British Library, Author Collective

history of magic harry potter jk rowling book coverAuthor: British Library, Author Collective
Title: Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 256
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’ve no clue where I even got the “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” by authors collective. But I’ve read it, and it was quite nice.

About the Book: Any author, especially any aspiring one, should read this book, just to see how books earning millions to billions are constructed. And how books, in general, the good ones, get written. What it takes, what an overwhelming web it can be. But how it absolutely can be done.

This book describes the basics of how the whole Harry Potter world was created. From the symbolics surrounding the characters, characters that were in our history, to places, buildings, potions, magic beasts…

My Opinion: As an aspiring author I have found a lot of good in this book. Many authors, of course, if not each one, have their own strategies. The key is to find one fitting you. R.R. Martin somewhere wrote he’s the kind who plants a seed and watches it grow, meaning he starts writing and sees where it goes. While Rowling had this whole month-by-month sheet of data, scribbles and scrabbles, several ideas for a single scene, and so on. But as a reader… As a reader who grew up with Harry Potter, loving that world of hope and magic, I found this book full of repeated information. “And this relates to that, and this is equivalent of that in real life, and that means this…

Either way, the book is fun. I’d say it’s unnecessary for a reader, but might be good for an author, but definitely a fun read either way. So I give it a 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Other Fiction, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Fever King by Victoria Lee | Feverwake 1

the fever king victoria lee book cover lgbt fantasy young adultAuthor: Victoria Lee
Title: The Fever King
Series: Feverwake 1
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT literature
Pages: 375
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

This is a very strange and interesting tale I’ve just read. “The Fever King” by Victoria Lee is the first book in duology. And I am eagerly awaiting the second one.

About the Book: In this broken world magic comes as contagious virus. To most it’s a death sentence, for there is no cure, just experiments little to none can afford. And those who survive often wish they’d be dead anyway. For in the wake of magical virus taking over blocks before government contains it, it destroys communities, families. If you survive, you’re all alone, a thing called Witching, a weapon in the hands of an oppressive government in a brutal war, with no real power to help anyone in honest need.

Noam wakes up in the hospital, left among the dead, for he was supposed to be dead soon enough too. What are the chances someone from the slums would survive the magical fever anyway…

My Opinion: Let’s start with the bad things. First, the style. It’s a bit tough, at times even demanding. There were moments where I had to re-read entire pages, because something essential slipped by among minor details or got burdened with other things, or wasn’t described well enough to understand right away. Second bad thing, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I needed more world building here, some origin stories or whatever. Yes, I understand most these things can be answered in the second book, but that only means I’ll pick up second one feeling as confused as I was picking this one up. There’s way more good things though. For one, this is a very standard love story, but with very non-basic characters. Jewish, colored, gay or bi, they’re both amazing guys, and their tale is familiar from your regular white-and-straight YA fantasy romances, so this was funny and great, and I loved it. The whole magic thing was amazing too, nothing I’ve ever read before, and the book is worth being read for that alone. Truly, a unique piece of literature.

At times the lack of background, and the boldness of a brand new story reminded me of tales like Guns of Dawn. It’s just that that one was so thick it eventually told us everything, while this one has a second book coming up. I’ll still give it a strong 4 out of 5, and, as I said, will grab myself the second one as soon as it’s out.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Homeland by R.A. Salvatore | The Legend of Drizzt 1

r.a. salvatore homeland dark elf trilogy drow book cover legend of drizztAuthor: R.A. Salvatore
Title: Homeland
Series: The Legend of Drizzt 1
Genre: High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Pages: 343
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I wanted to read the whole tale of Dark Elf trilogy, the Forgotten Realmsthe Legend of Drizzt of which I’ve read the first, Homeland by R.A. Salvatore since I was a teenager. But back then getting books in English was so much harder than it is now. 

About the Book: Drows, the Dark Elves, live deep underground, scorning both the light and the surface dwellers. Their way is that of darkness, solid stone walls, battle and power. And for that they worship a Deity, Queen Spider, who grants them power and favors. Under her laws you can cross any boundaries or rules, as long as you execute it successfully.

Thus, House Do’Urden has decided to take a step up on the social power ladder and completely destroy another house. They’ve done such thorough job slaying anyone alive, that in the eyes of Queen Spider such a house ceased to exist, never been for all it matters. And House Do’Urden deserves only praise, no punishment. But during this battle a third boy was born, meant a sacrifice to the Queen Spider. Fate has deemed him survive that day, and many more. Drizzt grew up to be a strange Drow, making many of his family members wish they proceeded with the sacrifice…

My Opinion: This is the most unique, way ahead of it’s time piece of very dark high fantasy. I’m quite happy I’ve read it now, not earlier. This is a brutal realm of so very familiar elves who are so very different from everything we got to know from such places as Elder Scrolls or Lord of the Rings.

Their society is ruled by vicious people, priestesses, mages, high matrons and alike. Men are war pawns, soldiers, fodder, and means to get more daughters. A neighbor here can kill another, and if he succeeded, he’d get away with it, for such is law. A sister would attack a brother, and if he raised an arm to defend himself, he’d get killed or at least punished, for how dare he raise an arm against a drow female. There’s monsters, there’s darkness, and there’s blindness. And in this hell of a homeland, there’s the purple-eyed Drizzt, and I hope to read the rest of his tale, for it can only get better from here.

Truly, if you seek dark high fantasy, take these books, The Witcher saga has not prepared you for the bloodshed you’ll find here. I give it a 5 out of 5, solid, and am taking up a quest to get the next book asap.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

the priory of the organce tree samantha shannon book coverAuthor: Samantha Shannon
Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 848
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I do really like dragons. And I’m a curious person in general. So, often, when I see hype start over a book, I feel a great need to find out why. Even though I have rarely ever liked the super hyped books. There’s even a pattern to it, if you see hype, but everyone’s talking about the cover, pages, beauty of it, and how they’ll read it: the hype is a hot air balloon. Yet here I am.

About the Book: Religion built on lies. Empires, Queendoms built on religions. House Berethnet queens have held the throne for a thousand years. It is their sacred duty. For with the end of this dynasty of queens, the Nameless One, a fire breathing dragon, will rise again, and Draconian rule will start once more.

But lies aren’t safe even in the graves. No end is ever fully hidden. Curious, innovative minds dug up the truth, and are in fevered frenzy to let the people know the truth. The truth of this dynasty, of the dragons, worms, cults, religions, and the cycle, the balance of the world.

My Opinion: The book is so overloaded with useless information that doesn’t add to the story, that it gets unbearable at times. I understand that hearing a detailed homely description of this random event is meant to introduce you to one of the main characters better, but the book is 800 pages long. It gets on your nerves eventually. To add to that, it felt like some things didn’t connect well, not only were they useless. It’s like, you’re given this information, it feels vital in the moment, but then through next 700 pages – nothing. The book has left me with more questions, than answers because of it. Meaning, I think that there was no more room to tell the truly interesting stuff, like where did those immortality granting trees come from, why there’s this many, why are they different, what would happen if one was to mix it up a little, and so on.

But saying all that, the book wasn’t bad. It had some fine stories, great legends, and interesting characters. Diverse characters too, LGBT friendly. Only in a fantasy realm, it seems, can some things be so very normalized, things like pure Matriarch, or a pious woman accepting that her husband is gay, and requires a different kind of a mate, but also needs to maintain a reputation. So, I say, let’s read more fantasy, and see how we can change our world for the better.

All in all, if you don’t like dragons all that much, you might not enjoy this book all that much either. The battles were weak, villains had a great need to tell their origin stories in the middle of it, and the names were a nightmare. So I give this book a weak 4 out of 5, for it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have to be so colossal either.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | Strange the Dreamer 2

muse of nightmares laini taylor book coverAuthor: Laini Taylor
Title: Muse of Nightmares
Series: Strange the Dreamer 2
Genre: High Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages: 522
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I loved the first book in Laini Taylor‘s duology Strange the Dreamer, by the same title. And I am very happy to say that this book, second book, Muse of Nightmares, is just as good if not even better.

About: After Lazlo has taken control of the fortress that has once belonged the to blue skinned gods, people of Weep were forced to remember that nightmare of a life they led under the rule of the Empire, the blue skinned Gods. For they have not expected survivors. But there they were, those young children, teenagers, young adults, with their blue skin and horror in their eyes. For why wouldn’t they be scared, met by a horde of armed people they only knew as godslayers, killers. And so it was time to reopen old scars, tell old secrets, find the truth, and see where it leads.

Mine: This book tells an origin tale of who were those blue skinned gods, where their power came from, why they required children born by humans. Why they took them, where they took them, and what happened to them. This is woven absolutely perfectly with current events. And it all is then gilded by a turn of events I couldn’t even dream of, but here it was. Truly, this is the most brilliant tale I’ve read in a very long time. The only other tale I can lightly compare it to would be “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin, due to unimaginable story, world, magic within it, and that mixture of high fantasy and sci-fi. But this one’s lighter to absorb, consume, so I’d very much recommend starting with Strange the Dreamer duology, to have a taste of what it could be like, these colossal tales of worlds, dreams, and unimaginable things imagined.

It’s an amazing book, and an amazing duology. Laini Taylor ends it with a hint for a spin-off, which I’m excited for beyond words. It could be great. It could be just as great. And it absolutely could be even greater. Laini Taylor has a mind unlike any other. 5 out of 5, and it barely gives it justice.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Cress by Marissa Meyer | The Lunar Chronicles 3

Cress Lunar Chronicles Marissa Meyer Cover Menulio Kronikos Trecia DalisAuthor: Marissa Meyer
Title: Cress
Series: The Lunar Chronicles 3
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Pages: 552
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Well, it doesn’t seem like we’ll get a translation to Marissa Meyer‘s The Lunar Chronicles series in Lithuania. They stopped after Scarlet, and Cress doesn’t seem to be happening. I’ll just finish them in English. Really, Marissa Meyer is becoming one of my top favorite authors. I’ve read her Heartless before, it was unbelievable. And so are these. Guess I’ll just have to rampage through the bibliography.

About: On a satelite in orbit lives a young woman, a girl, named Cress. She’s a lunar, a shell, sentenced to die for the crime of being born powerless. But most of those children don’t end up dead. They end up slaves to Queen Levana and her ambitions to rule the whole galaxy. Cress, for instance, is an amazing hacker. Her guardian visits her ever so often to take more blood samples and inquire on any new data about the lost princess Selene. Neither she nor Queen Levana know, that Cress is long as not on their side. With access to Earthen information feed, she learned to love those people, who didn’t just give up their kids because they were born wrong. She loves their romances and drama shows. Especially the ones where a damsel in distress is saved by a charming, morally flexible rogue. Like Captain Thorne, who is now doing his best to save princess Selene… What a hero, right?

Mine: So as you might have already guessed, this is a retelling of Rapunzel. Cress’s hair is long and prone to tangles. Her “stepmother” or guardian, rarely brings her new articles of clothes, so there she is, shoeless, in a child’s dress, hair down to her knees, erasing every trace of princess Selene’s ship from the net, covering their tracks, hoping beyond hope. I can’t put to words of how very impressed I am by the writing, how perfectly fantasy and sci-fi fit here, together, creating something so powerfully unique out of an old tale. I can’t wait to read the final book of Snow White, whom we meet near the end of this book. It’s amazing, truly.

Loved it, so, of course, the book gets 5 out of 5, and I must start remembering to put Marissa Meyer into my top tier favorite authors from now on.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Sci-Fi, Fantasy Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

the crown and the lion eli easton book coverAuthor: Eli Easton
Title: The Lion and the Crow
Series: –
Genre: Historical Romance, LGBT Literature
Pages: 146
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

After the giant book that Mistborn 2 was, I wanted something light, short. So I picked up The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton. I don’t know this author, nor have I read anything of hers before. But after this one, I’m down to getting more.

About: Seventh son should not be a threat. He shouldn’t concern his brothers. He’ll have no claim to the throne unless all six before him die, and that’s unlikely. And he’ll marry the most profitable bride for the whole family. But the young man is too pretty. His eyes linger on other men too long. And he’s far too dangerous. So when Christian, nicknamed Crow, offers to be the guide for the knight known as Lion, on a suicidal mission to save his sister from a tyrant, there are those in Crow’s family who don’t take this selfless suggestion as such. But in truth, Crow just wants to escape the pressure, the constant watchful eyes, the bullying. And if that can only be achieved on a deadly mission, well, at least the knight he’ll be with is not hard on the eyes.

Mine: I expected many things, but none of the ones I got. The plot twisted on me, making turns where I least expected them. I mean, take the plot: a knight, honorable and brave, is off to save his sister from an abusive husband. He takes another brave young man with him, whom he believes to be a pampered lordling. So you’d expect what? Proving of self, and a honorable entrance into the castle of a tyrannical old man who’d order them cut down instantly. But luck would be on their side and so on, and on. Instead we got planning, clever scheming, daring but weighted plans. The story, if short, was dynamic, serious, and concluded. Hands down, a real well written book, if nothing else. The only thing, and that’s purely my own preference, is indeed that seriousness. I’m more into light-hearted, humorous characters.

I was wondering, should I let you know if there’s detailed love scenes in books? Would that make a difference in choosing the book? Because some just skim over it, others allude to it, and then some are like this one. I, personally, can give this one a strong 4 out of 5, and will definitely check out what else Eli Easton has written.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, historical romance, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

book reviewn | The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | Mistborn 2

the well of ascension brandon sanderson book cover mistborn 2Author: Brandon Sanderson
Title: The Well of Ascension
Series: Mistborn 2
Genre: Epic Fantasy; High Fantasy
Pages: 590
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’m always a little worried I won’t be able to recall people, their names, after I abandon series for too long. But so far that has never happened. If slow, you recall everyone eventually. And the second book of Misborn by Brandon Sanderson, the Well of Ascension, was so well written, that you’re practically reminded of everything. It’s a very well woven story.

About: Their God is dead. Killed by Vin who became part of Kelser’s, the Survivor’s religion. She became his heir, the one he trained and led against the Lord Ruler. Yet ash still falls from the sky, and the Mist once again became dangerous, killing, unlike the teachings Survivor preached. And if that wasn’t enough, a good, kindhearted and honest man now sits on the throne, Elend Venture. He tries his best to make everyone equal. But a honest man can’t be a good ruler, it seems, for very soon the Final Empire finds itself surrounded by armies. One of them – not even human. The only hope Vin now has is finding the legendary Well of Ascension that has supposedly given Lord Ruler his power. She could take it, she could set it free, she could fix this broken world…

Mine: This was… This was huge beyond any words. It was beyond any epics or myths I’ve ever read, no matter how layered and interwoven they were. What you were told at the start of the book might change from truth to lie by the end of it. Progress happens before our very eyes, characters grow, evolve, develop, and so do their stories. Truths get unearthed, lies get found, new foundations are built, all in the face of utter horror, destruction. Some were proud as gods, believing themselves too much. Others believed so little, and yet came this far. And then some preached lies, believing them truth. It was amazing.

The best thing I can compare this book too, for there’s nothing similar I have ever read, and I have read a lot by now, is Frank Herbert’s “Dune” but without the dragging flaws. It was very well paced, full of action, puzzles, mysteries, secrets to solve, and the reader is fully allowed to make their own assumptions, deductions, we’re allowed to solve it on our own. I happily give this book a 5 out of 5. It is hard for me to explain a book as huge as this one is, and for that I apologize. It was amazing, that’s all I can say. Definitely among my very top favorites now.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, epic fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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