epic fantasy

book review | The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French | The Lot Lands 1

the grey bastards jonathan french the lot landsAuthor: Jonathan French
Title: The Grey Bastards
Series: The Lot Lands 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 529
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Thick books are hard to review, for they tend to encompass a very long period of time, with too many events happening. Such is “The Grey Bastards” by Jonathan French, a great book that doesn’t really fit in a single paragraph to express what was it all about.

About the Book: Jackal and his other half-orc brothers and sisters, The True Bastards, lived a relatively easy life in the Lot Lands, all up until a series of events, starting with a single pebble, sent down this mountain of almost leisure down in an avalanche. An argument with knights, a stolen and sold elven girl in the hands of the nastiest possible monster, an appearance of half-orc wizard, a being unheard of… There’s a tension for war in the air, with almost every possible enemy. Jackal isn’t sure their old chief is capable of keeping them all alive, and the wind already smells of blood.

My Opinion: I do greatly enjoy books told from non-human perspectives; extra points for them not being elves too. Nothing against elves, I love them dearly, but I’m pretty sure we’re all a little too used to fantasy meaning elves and dwarves as the only possible adventurers. Characters are written well, with tales of their own, even if their characters sometimes blend together. The book is a pretty good example of what’s epic fantasy adventure like, but made better by overload of filthy jokes, down to earth heroes, and clever beasts. The only problem I had were the overly long discussions that led nowhere, or to conclusions that could’ve been reached in two sentences.

A good book, not the best, but definitely good, so a 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Adventure Books, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore | The Legend of Drizzt 4

crystal shard the legend of drizzt dark elf salvatore book coverAuthor: R.A. Salvatore
Title: The Crystal Shard
Series: The Legend of Drizzt 4
Genre: Fantasy; High Fantasy
Pages: 344
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I keep craving classical fantasy, something like J.R.R. Tolkien, or Peter S. Beagle, or Frizt Leiber. I’d even happily read George R.R. Martin’s next book in the Song of Fire and Ice if it was out, but since it isn’t… I picked up another book by R.A. Salvatore, a fourth book in the Legend of Drizzt series in The Forgotten Realms. The Crystal Shard is the first book in the second trilogy in the Legend of Drizzt series, The Icewind Dales, and it was good, with a promise for better.

About the Book: An enthralled mage, ruled over by a demon he foolishly tried to summon now influences the minds of warring folk, and leads great armies towards the Icewind Dales, a place our dark elf Drizzt calls home. So, the moment he spots a sign of it in the horizon, he hurries to warn people. It’ll take a force of the whole united peoples to withstand this, but rulers are having hard time believing a word of a dark elf, especially since there’s no proof. They don’t wish to abandon their fishing boats and homes for an alliance that might not even be needed. And when they’ll have their proof, Drizzt fears it’ll be gravely too late.

My Opinion: The one point I took away is for the slightly forced sense of honor. While it’s a trait very common in classical fantasy, I find it bitterly annoying when people do what’s right, and not what’s logical. Still, the book was amazing! Full of great battles against barbarians, giants, orcs, mages, demons! And it ended with a note of a great adventure in the next one, so I’m really looking forwards to it.

A great book to satisfy that classic High Fantasy craving, a firm 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson | Mistborn 3

the hero of ages brandon sanderson mistbornAuthor: Brandon Sanderson
Title: The Hero of Ages
Series: Mistborn 3
Genre: Epic Fantasy; High Fantasy
Pages: 572
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’ve finished the last book in the first trilogy of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson (I say “first trilogy”, because there’s sequels that are far in the future), The Hero of Ages. And I am speechless to say the least.

About the Book: The very world is ending. Ash falls from the sky, blackening, burying fields. Mists remain during the days, and go as far as kill people, or make them sick. Scared, hungry, and under constant threat, they huddle together and seek hope. In religions sprouting, in rulers rising. It serves as one of the sharpest tools in Ruin’s hands, for he can find access to emotional, irrational, hopeful mind, and steer them. This is something Vin and Elend learn the hard way, and despair. For how can you fight an enemy that can change the written letters, and twist your very spoken words? When only your thoughts are safe, how do you communicate with anyone, let alone those you must fight beside?

My Opinion: If you like epic fantasy in a scale of world and gods creation, shaping, reshaping; full of great heroes who did not matter, and yet were absolutely essential, well then do yourself a favor and pick these books up. So much happens in them that I’ve no just way to review it.

You must follow the events to notice the events happen (yes) for a prophecy is so clear in the end. It’s amazing, simple, brilliant, and yet so incredibly complex, that I had to sit there and just hold the book after I was done with it. It plucks you away, out of now and here, and sets you knee deep in ash, with nothing visible over mists, war all around you, death, blood, and metal. Metal spikes, coins flying. Like a violently shaken dirty, ashy snow globe.

Yes, this book is greatly lacking. But it has so much happening in one, seemingly small little world, that I think it was more than enough. I give it the 5 out of 5, fully, strongly. And I will absolutely see into those sequels. This was… This was beyond words. Even though it was written in those same damn words.

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

book review | Redemption’s Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky | After the War 1

redemptions blade adrian tchaikovsky after the warAuthor: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Title: Redemption’s Blade
Series: After the War 1
Genre: Epic Fantasy; High Fantasy
Pages: 367
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

Alright, Adrian Tchaikovsky definitely goes onto my list of favorite authors. I’ve just read his “Redemption’s Blade“, first book in After the War duology, and it was amazing. Summon up the memories of what high fantasy you’ve ever read where there was a battle against great evil. And now imagine the heroes who slain the evil go back to tending fields and farms.

About the Book: Kinslayer, the innovative tyrant, set out to shape the world more to his liking, equalizing as he thought fit. Monsters made from people, monsters made by magic, monsters made in laboratories, trinkets, artifacts, curses, all set out onto the land, together with races forgotten, nations from deep underground. But when evil rises, so do heroes who can’t stand for it. They united nations and fought back. And when Kinslayer fell… Well, old disagreements between nations were not forgotten. Monsters still roamed the land. Curses didn’t just go away. And creatures from deep down had no wish going back into the darkness now that they saw the beauty of the sky. Celestine was one of the heroes during the war. And upon its end she couldn’t find peace at her farm. Seeing world still act like they’re at war wasn’t helping either. So she gathered her most trusted friends, and went back into the world to right the wrong.

My Opinion: This was a magically amazing book, so well written, so very interesting, full of witty moments, breathtaking fights, and a world brand new. We got to know an equivalent of orcs here, those ugly brothers with more strength than brain usually. Usually. We got to know their reasoning. It’s almost like in movie Bright, where orcs were on the Dark Lord’s side, but then sided with humans, right? Here they are not called orcs, and they chose to fight sooner, but… It still has that very amazing familiarity and newness combo to it. Not to mention all the creatures that were made by magic, entirely new unimaginable places, beings, and the reoccurring thought our heroes had: why did Kinslayer make them this way? Imagine being a creature who got dragged from another world into a war that wasn’t yours. Now you have no way home, and nothing to eat here too. All you can do is starve for the rest of the eternity, because you cannot die either, or until someone finds you, and finds how to send you back home. This is what this book is about.

A marvelous, fantastic damn amazing book. I highly recommend it, and give a 5 out of 5

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, epic fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

book review | Sojourn by R.A. Salvatore | The Legend of Drizzt 3

sojourn r.a. salvatore dark elf drow fantasy epic highAuthor: R.A. Salvatore
Title: Sojourn
Series: The Legend of Drizzt 3
Genre: High Fantasy; Epic Fantasy
Pages: 309
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

I’ve just finished the final book, Sojourn by R.A. Salvatore in the first trilogy, The Legend of Drizzt, of this wonderful series of trilogies, The Forgotten Realms. And it was beautiful, amazing, and oh so damn classic in the very best of way.

About the Book: Drizzt, now a surface dweller, has to learn to survive in these absolutely different conditions. There’s a cycle of light and dark, growing shorter or longer. There’s cycles of weather too, with cold sometimes so bitter it threatened his life a time or two, until he learned to light a fire, and keep it lit. It would be difficult to live as a vagabond, roaming from forest to forest, from cave to cave, even if the loneliness wasn’t driving him mad. For, after all, no matter what lies in his heart, Drizzt is still a Drow, a Dark Elf, and both good races and the evil ones too, see him as a threat, danger, and tend to be hostile. But Drizzt lives on, with hope. For who can know what tomorrow will bring. And there’s still much to learn and see in this strange surface world.

My Opinion: These books will sit proudly with the likes of Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, Peter S. Beagle, and so on, for it is that classic adventurous high-epic fantasy, full of strange lands to explore, stranger races, people to meet, magic, dragons even! It’s classic in the best of ways, as I said.

I’m not sure how will other trilogies approach it all, for some, judging by the titles, eventually return to the Spider Queen, and Drizzt’s homeland. But I guess I’ll read it and see. This one gets a solid 5 out of 5 from me. It definitely re-stocked the little faery fire back into my elven heart.

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

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)

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Other Fiction, epic fantasy, Mythology Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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