Fantasy Book Review

At Fantasy Book Review we are dedicated to reading and reviewing the very best fantasy books for both children and adults (both young and old).

Latest reviews

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

The Betrothed book cover
9.0

This is the antithesis of pure pabulum, it reaches out to those readers both clerisy and avid; we turn the final page realising our empathy with the vicissitudes of Renzo and Lucia, becoming sympathetic with their emotions. The sedulous nature of their journey from separation to reunification is neither abstruse nor pellucid, it is laid out like a Pilgrim’s Progress with a hundred side roads for the reader to stray into, watch, muse over, and then retreat back to the onward sprightly step of Manzoni’s exquisite narrative.

Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley

Something Coming Through book cover
8.5

The Jackaroo has given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They're a chance to start over, but they're also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo's previous clients. Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could forever alter humanity - or even destroy it. Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger. And on one of the Jackaroo's gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site. Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe's orphans, and Vic Gayle's murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo's benevolence...

"I find the idea of the Jackaroo and their associate aliens the !Cha really interesting and the concerns that are brought up by characters around how much their decisions are being manipulated by them. The Jackaroo maintain that their only desire is to watch what happens when a less advanced species is given access to a whole treasure trove of new things to discover, but are they truly as benevolent as they seem? What is the point? Are humans providing them with some form of entertainment in our struggles to understand artifacts from long-dead cultures? Are we being experimented on? We don’t know, and that gives the more human crime plot an uneasy edge as different players converge on an ancient ruin, led by some remnant of an alien intelligence trapped in a bead, whilst a massive dust storm closes in. Great stuff."

The Cheapside Corpse by Susanna Gregory

The Cheapside Corpse book cover
9.5

London in the spring of 1665 is a city full of fear. There is plague in the stews of St Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to leave Charles II's government with no means of paying for the nation's defence. Amid the tension, Thomas Chaloner is ordered to investigate the murder of Dick Wheler, one of the few goldsmith-bankers to have survived the losses that have driven others to bankruptcy - or worse. At the same time, a French spy staggers across the city, carrying the plague from one parish to another. Chaloner's foray into the world of the financiers who live in and around Cheapside quickly convinces him that they are just as great a threat as the Dutch, but their power and greed thwart him at every turn. Meanwhile, the plague continues to spread across the city, and the body count from the disease and from the fever of avarice starts to rise alarmingly...

"Yet, as always with the finest historical murder mystery author alive today (bar none), we are treated to a deft handling of the tale, lose easy hours sunk reading in an armchair, plunge wholly into the world of Restoration London, cheering and groaning in cadence with Gregory’s wonderful narrative."

The Ghost of Shadow Vale by Jonathan Stroud

The Ghost of Shadow Vale book cover
9.0

Glam killed the monster of Shadow Vale-but he also died in the fight. Now Glam's ghost has come back and he's worse than the monster ever was... Barrington Stoke specialise in books for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic readers.

"With a scary cover image from artist Siku, showing ghostly Glam ready to fight the monster, there are interior illustrations in ink drawn by the same artist in a shonen manga style. Jonathan Stroud's The Ghost of Shadow Vale is the perfect read near a roaring fire with a slice of cake and a hot drink. All Barrington Stoke novels are designed to be dyslexia friendly and other titles are; The Goblin of Tara by Oisin McGann, Young Merlin by Tony Bradman, Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Samurai by Ian Beck."

Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

Coming Home book cover
6.5

Thousands of years ago, artefacts of the early space age were lost to rising oceans and widespread turmoil. Garnett Baylee devoted his life to finding them, only to give up hope. Then, in the wake of his death, one was found in his home, raising tantalizing questions. Had he succeeded after all? Why had he kept it a secret? And where is the rest of the Apollo cache? Antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his pilot, Chase Kolpath, have gone to Earth to learn the truth. But the trail seems to have gone cold, so they head back home to be present when the Capella, the interstellar transport that vanished eleven years earlier in a time/space warp, is expected to reappear. With a window of only a few hours, rescuing it is of the utmost importance. Twenty-six hundred passengers - including Alex’s uncle, Gabriel Benedict, the man who raised him - are on board. Alex now finds his attention divided between finding the artefacts and anticipating the rescue of the Capella. But time won’t allow him to do both. As the deadline for the Capella’s reappearance draws near, Alex fears that the puzzle of the artefacts will be lost yet again. But Alex Benedict never forgets and never gives up—and another day will soon come around…

"There is a significant level of debate in the book around whether antiquities that are salvaged should be given to museums or sold to private collectors, which focuses the story very much on people and the importance of history rather than glittering descriptions of thundering through space, and this is an interesting angle for space-based sci fi, but to get the most out of the characters I would suggest starting with the first in the series, A Talent For War, which hopefully would generate more of an investment in the outcomes of Coming Home."

Latest author interviews

We often interview authors, sometimes to discuss a new publication, sometimes to talk about their career. We also interview authors as part of our "How Stories Connect Series", where they talk about the books and authors that have inspired and influenced them.

An image of Damien LoveDamien Love
2015-01-10

An image of Paul ProffetPaul Proffet
2015-01-08

An image of Patrick RothfussPatrick Rothfuss
2014-12-14

An image of Trent JamiesonTrent Jamieson
2014-12-02

An image of Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood
2014-11-15

An image of Avril SabineAvril Sabine
2014-11-06

An image of Mercedes M YardleyMercedes M Yardley
2014-10-18

An image of Frank P RyanFrank P Ryan
2014-10-10

An image of David BowenDavid Bowen
2014-09-27

View entire interview archive

Books of the Month

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