Posts Tagged With: fantasy book

Kristin Cashore – Bitterblue [3]

bitterblueFinally, with “Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 3; ISBN 0803734735; 576p.; Goodreads) I have finished the Graceling Realm trilogy. After all three of them, I can say that they are indeed simple enough to be liked, and this third one was pretty good, in compare to the other two. Still, this was very much not my cup of tea. While I love the worlds that aren’t yet fully explored, I dearly dislike having all the action happen elsewhere, and return in form of a story only, and not even something we can witness first-hand via someone else eyes.

Bitterblue became the queen of Monsea, after her cruel, mind-control graced father, has finally been killed. Yet even after his death her kingdom is filled with fog. People don’t know what’s real, and what’s only lies told by Leck. Bitterblue is determined to find a way to make this fog lift once and for all. She wants the truth. But here’s the thing with the truth: while some things people were made believe by king Leck could still be fixed, say, like the funeral traditions in Monsea. Others weight so heavy that people get killed for them. Or choose death themselves. What could Leck have made them do, or see, for her own trustworthy, good soldiers, to kill innocent people, and commit suicides? Can a truth be that bad?

In the meantime, Po gets sick with fever, and his grace becomes erratic for the time being. During one of such delirious moments he speaks of path through the mountains opening up, and Katsa jumps to investigate. Because if anything did open, and they can get through, then, truly, someone might just be able to get in also. And when she returns, Bitterblue’s world shifts again. For in Katsa’s hands there’s a pelt of a rat, so vivid and gorgeous in colors, that it can be nothing else but a Monster from the stories her father used to write. Could it be that out there, behind the mountains, there’s another world, another kingdom?

Well this was an odd review. So many questions I gave you, like I’m trying to sell it. In truth, I can’t really recommend these books, since while they’re pretty okay, or even good, there’s just way too many way better ones. You take these when you’re done with all other things, not before. Or maybe indeed before, so you don’t get disappointed. The very good part here is the political bit. Whole ruling of the land happening is interesting. And a very bad part is that you get the story through eyes of someone who gets told about the adventure, rather than lived it. So I guess you’d like these books, if you like good old classics, where whole story is written by two people sitting down, and one of them telling their best adventure. Still, I can absolutely give this book a 3.5, which we’ll translate to 4 out of 5 for the sake of it. I’ve no regrets.

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

Kristin Cashore – Fire [2]

fireI’ve read the first Graceling Realm book fairly recently, and can’t say I liked it. It’s just that I liked it about enough to get to the second book. And after I’ve read “Fire” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 2; ISBN 0803734611; 480p.; Goodreads), I don’t know how to pick up the third one, so that I can actually finish the trilogy.

The setting of this story is just behind the mountains that separate Seven Kingdoms and some other place. This place has no gracelings. Instead here live monsters. Really, just regular things, but so intense, so vivid, in color, in presence, in mind, that no one can resist them. People walk out willingly to be eaten by giant raptor birds. They might kill a regular biting beetle, but not the shiny blue monster beetle, who, by all means, is the same beetle, but severe and saturated. And of course, there are human monsters too. Fire is one of them. With her hair the color of fire, her flawless beauty so startling, and her power to influence thoughts, and emotions, she seems almost divine. And men do want pretty things…

While a monster might want to eat her, due to her own monster nature, human men are much more graphic when they lose their wits in sight of her, much more violent in expressing what should happen before they kill her. Thus Fire lives her life constantly nudging, pushing, and altering the course of people’s thoughts, steering them away, trying her hardest to quench their desire to hurt, rape, and murder what they can’t have. It doesn’t help that there’s spies appearing in their forests. Tension for warfare is rising, and their small land is far too little to defend themselves. They’ll be needing allies. To make allies they need to know where the spies came from. And to know that one only needs Fire’s powers. And everyone knows the value of such a tool in the shed.

The book is very pointlessly long, and happens before Graceling took place. In a sense, this is a prequel: King Leck’s Rising, if you please. And the idea of monsters is, of course, wonderful. But most of the book concentrates on telling the reader how horribly everyone wishes to either marry or rape Fire, and her crying for not being able to have children doesn’t help the already heavy feeling that sets before us. She walks with guards surrounding her, and still people randomly run at her with knives, or yell obscenities. And there’s a lot of this walking back and forth, with war happening somewhere out there, with someone else fighting it… So… All in all I can only offer this book a 2 out of 5. While the idea is truly good, execution of it was poor.

Categories: 2-5, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

V.E. Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic [1]

ADarkerShadeOfMagicAh, what a discovery, what a find! Thank You, Hannah Cassie, for all those relentless recommendations at P.S. I Love That Book, for at last I reached one and it was oh SO good. This is my first encounter with V.E. Schwab, and her first book in the superb fantasy trilogy “A Darker Shade of Magic” (Shades of Magic 1; ISBN 0765376458; 400p.; Goodreads) blew me away. One of those books I nearly finished all in one sitting, but then scolded myself, and reminded how bad it feels to not be able to continue the next day. I promise, there was more than 2 chapters left when I put it down.

Kell – a messenger from Red London, traveling among the other ones, passing letters from royals to royals. Grey London is mighty boring, no magic, no nothing. White London is fairly scary, for magic there is enslaved, and thus – fights back, draining the life out of the users to the bone. Legends say there was once Black London too, but people don’t speak of such nasty things in good company.

Of course, being one of the rare creatures who can travel among Londons is not the only talent Kell has. He’s a great damn smuggler too, taking little trinkets between the worlds, under the nose of the law. Sometimes just because it’s fun. Other times because it pays off, thou how is a heavy question: what do you need, belonging to royal family, with crown prince loving you as his own brother? And another time – just because he wanted to do something good to the desperate. On one such expedition Kell finds himself with an artifact that by all means, should not exist. The artifact creates magic, where magic shouldn’t be, as in – those who have no talent for it – suddenly can create like they were born into it. Worst of all, the inscription on the artifact is written in the language Kell knows for a fact was used so freely only in Black London. No, wait, that’s not the worst. The worst is that he notices it too late.

Oh, this was so amazing. Delilah is amazing, the most wonderful woman I have ever read about. Kell is fantastic, such a bad-ass with so little understanding of how bad-ass he is. No “fell off my unicorn due to how gorgeous you are” shit, they’re imperfect, usually dirty like chimney-boys, and so on. No “I wanted to travel, but I’ll stay here, because you’re here” bullshit either. The pace was perfect, build up – great, tension – even more so. 5 out of 5, this is definitely among my favorites of all time now.

 

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

John Flanagan – The Burning Bridge

144349I’ve read the second book of Ranger’s Apprentice “The Burning Bridge” by John Flanagan (ISBN 0399244557; 262p.; Goodreads) a few days ago, but I couldn’t seem to find the right words to describe it, and review it. So here goes nothing.

The evil warlord from the dark wastelands is raising his armies of mindless creatures, and greedy men. It’s time for him to take back what is his, no matter the price. He waited too long to worry of such petty things as lives that serve under him. And his desire to go forth with the plan grows just so much brighter when a slim chance to get the one who was responsible for his downfall before appears at hand.

Will, in the mean time, is slowly but surely becoming a true ranger, already amazing with a bow, and still in training. His abilities, and youth make a perfect combination for him to be chosen as one of the three messengers who are to go out, warn and raise other lands, for war can no longer be avoided. Some rulers already refused to help, not seeing how this is their problem. Others gave no answers, and these are the ones Will has to visit and find out what’s with all the silence. On this journey he gets a true chance to prove his worth as a ranger, bow, tracking, quick wit, and heroism one would not expect from a young lad who wasn’t even into all this ranger stuff so recently.

I liked this book a lot more than the previous one. And this book is also one of those that prove my point that I keep trying to get across to all those who quit books mid-way. Last chapter can sometimes save the whole book, and this was exactly that case. There were plenty of interesting points, but boring ones lasted ever so long. Yet the very end of it made me question whether I can really give these books away, for now I’d rather keep them. Anyway, a solid 4 out of 5 for sure.

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

David Gaider – The Calling [Dragon Age #2]

6940494Ah, finally, I had the chance to indulge in the second Dragon Age book, a closer prequel to Origins game, “The Calling” by David Gaider (ISBN 0765324091; 444p.; Goodreads). While simple these stories are a great source of background to those who play, and just a light fantasy read to those who don’t. Yes, reading them does seem perfectly enough to get to know Dragon Age world, in case you’re not a gamer, or those games are not your style.

The Chant of Light speaks of Tevinter mages, Magistres by their mighty ranks, who entered The Fade, world of dreams and spirits, in flesh. They walked the halls of Golden City, arrogance of man corrupting all it touched, and when they reached the Maker’s throne – they found it empty. Once Golden City, heavenly dream to reach upon, became tainted Black City, a place where we fear entering even in our worst nightmares. Magistres were struck down, far down, deep below any Deeproads, where their taint, their corruption spread, creating darkness, and creatures just as they are. Their will gone with their minds, at the sight of empty throne, and at the horror they created, they are now led by one instinct alone: find the light, find the source of the timeless Song. A song sung by the Old Gods, sleeping deep underground. Maybe it’s their only hope. Or maybe it’s the final punishment Maker has put upon the world. For when Darkspawn find the old gods they cannot resist the instinct to touch it, and corrupt it, turn it the way they are. And then, when such tainted god awakens: Blight happens.

When there are no Blights – Grey Wardens, via rituals put in between humans and darkspawn, end up living long enough for the taint to start taking them over. From merely sensing the darkspawn, they start hearing the song too, and that song compels them to come. Yet, instead of giving in, and ending up like darkspawn, Grey Wardens walk out into the Deep Roads, and fight till death, trying their best to take as many of those cursed creatures with them, as they possibly can. This is The Calling.

Genevieve’s brother has been underground too long, and yet she can still sense him. Visions enter her mind, corruption spreads all wrong. Something’s happening underground, and she, if nothing else, is afraid. For her brother had a rare gift some Grey Wardens possessed: he knew where the Old Gods rested. And while darkspawn aren’t known to take prisoners – things might change if there was such a mighty reward at the end of the line. The only problem is not even how to convince other Grey Wardens to come with her, and help her find her brother, for she is their commander, and worst case scenario – they will do as she will command them. The problem is getting them into the right tunnels without getting lost and dying beforehand. For there are only two people who know the way. Loghain Mac Tir, not a pleasant fella, General to Ferelden Armies and very lacking in trust to Orlesians, Wardens or no. And King of Ferelden himself, Maric Theirin…

The book is slow, I won’t deny it. There’s a lot of walking in the dark, and getting to know each other. Action too often reminded me of a mush from Origins, Deep Roads quest and Circle of Magi combined. But hey, there was a fight with a dragon, and we got to know Alistair’s mother better, not to mention a closer look to Architect. I give this book 4 out of 5, can’t give it more, but refuse to give it any less either.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, games, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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