Featured reader reviews: Page 1

Listed below are the latest featured reader reviews on the site. Some are positive in praise, some are negative in criticism, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are well written and explain their reasoning. We can never have enough reader reviews as they add to the quality of the site, making it ever more useful for visitors.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

10 stars

I really liked this book because it is true and not true at the same time. It is true that children like Charlie are living with their families slowly starving, having to see others indulging themselves because they have money, but the story shows that miracles can happen!

Cakiepop
America

The Horse And His Boy by CS Lewis

3 stars

After reading the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, this book was easily forgettable. Firstly, the character names are hard to remember. Secondly, it is so different in style, in a bad way: it ruins for me what this series stands for. Hence, it quickly became a dull, confusing story. Hardcore fans will love it, of course they will, but if you\'re a more casual fan think long and hard before taking on this book. And then there\'s the supposedly implied racial stereotypes, let\'s not talk about them.

Callum
United Kingdom

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

9 stars

I loved this tale. Listened to it on Audible and was initially sceptical of being enthralled by a mute and the present tense. I hung in there and, by chapter 3, I was hooked. I found the dystopian world intriguing, the demonic beings and their motivations fascinating and the protagonists, including the goat, engaging. I consumed the second book, \"The Malice\", in quick succession and am seeking a space-filling read (recommendations please!) as I await the April 2017 release of the final novel, \"The Seven\" - although I think the audio release will be much later. A big shout out to Jot Davies for his superb narration (he now ranks in my top 3 favourite narrators) - each cast member had a distinctive voice (including the baby and each demonic entity). Most kudos of course to Peter Newman - who has fashioned something compelling in a fantasy space overladen with hackneyed tropes and themes.

Christiana
UK

Proxima by Stephen Baxter

10 stars

This was my first Stephen Baxter book, and I have to say, it was one of the best SF novels I have read in a long time. Proxima has it all, from conscripted colonists, to a frontier exo planet, to colorful A I, to a sense of mystery, as well as well developed characters and realistic human relationships. I found this to be a very compelling read, a real page turner. I would highly recommend this book to all fans of hard ST and space opera. It has the effect of making one think about life in unique and original ways, and , like all really good SF, it expands our imagination and our outlook of the wotld.

Mark
United States

Dracula by Bram Stoker

9 stars

The perfect blend of horror and adventure is seen in this fantastic book. Kept it simple which you will not find in the classics and I\'m sure Bram Stoker was happy about it. The readers felt it more comfortable than other classics as it comes straight to the point and doesn\'t beat around the bush. Even though Mary Shelly enjoyed 69 years of success after writing Frankenstein it should have been difficult for him to write a book of the same genre. Still he achieved it and prooved that if there is determination,,nothing is impossible. One of my all time favorites.

Gunish
India

Gardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson

4 stars

I\'ve read a lot of fantasy in my time. This? It just isn\'t very good. It is the Emperor\'s new clothes of fantasy novels. People talk about needing to be intelligent or needing to prefer \'adult\' books in order to appreciate Erikson\'s books. You can ignore these comments as wishful thinking. The only thing you need to enjoy Erikson\'s books is a high tolerance for his faults as an author and low expectations. Erikson obviously has some imagination and some capacity as a world builder, but it just isn\'t that good. His characters are, as other people mention, poorly constructed cardboard cut-outs. There is no flesh to the world he is creating; it doesn\'t feel real, it doesn\'t draw you in. There are plenty of other authors out there who match or surpass Erikson in building worlds, magic systems and characters with more depth, more relatability, more breadth and far more mastery. Erikson\'s magic system is a mess and lacks any proper coherence. Frustratingly, this means that there is no way to tell how strong a character is - which means you don\'t know if they are in danger or are safe in any given situation - which removes all tension. This lack of coherence also allows for Erikson to implement sloppy deus ex machine - which again removes tension. Things don\'t happen for reasons that make sense or are coherent, they happen because it suits Erikson\'s whim. If his writing style was better that might be forgivable. I think the worst thing about this book is that I was reading it and I realised that I simply did not care what happened next. I didn\'t care about what happened to the characters, or to their world. I didn\'t care to find out more about them. The experience is like watching a Michael Bay film. After 30 minutes of watching Transformers (who you can\'t even identify) smash each other up, you just don\'t care. It is spectacle without substance. If you like that kind of thing then great - but there is no reason to settle for this - you can always find both spectacle and substance if you just look around. Erikson offers nothing that you can\'t find elsewhere - except he offers it worse. If you want adult writing (and have finished the obligatory asoiaf) then read Stephen Donaldson\'s stuff. Not just the Covenant books, but also Mordant\'s Need and Gap Cycle. You will get all of the gritty, adultness you could want, but with a competent writer. If you want beautiful writing that is actually art (not just words on a page) then pick up Tigana. Pick up a series from Brandon Sanderson, Feist, Eddings, Jordan, Lieber, Moorcock and you will find more than Erikson\'s limited abilities can offer. Heck, you could even pick up a Janny Wurtz novel and, despite having many of the same faults as Erikson, end up being more rewarded for your time. There is nothing wrong with liking these books per se. Just like there is nothing wrong with enjoying the Transformer movies. Heck, I like watching Shaw Brothers Kung Fu movies. They meet a certain need I am looking for, and my personal tastes allow me to overlook their glaring inadequacies. This is the same for people who like Erikson\'s books. The difference is that I would never, ever try to convince someone that the Shaw Brothers made great cinema.

Brendan
Australia

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

An amazing book, and everyone who says they can\'t relate to the characters, or that they are dull just lack the imagination required to truly read the story, and not just look at the words on the page.

Bobby, all the way
Ireland

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

10 stars

I absolutely don\'t understand most part of this review, and the hate it has, because for me Brisingr is the best book in the Cycle, at the same level as Inheritance. I won\'t deny that in the first book, Chris\' writing wasn\'t that good, but he really grew up, and got so much better at it, and Brisingr is the living proof of it. His way of telling the story, along with the character development, was so much better. The story in brisingr was slower, yes, but from my point of view, everything that happened was 100% important, and I got through a lot of feelings and nervous breakdowns for fear of the characters while I read. So then again, the only answer I find to why people dislike this so much, is that they are only here for the action, and a book can have so much more than that and still be awesome. Or is any of you going to deny that Tolkien had a lot of slow moments in his books? C\'mon.

Alia
Whoknowswhere

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

Lol the only people that didn\'t like the book were because they were in year 7 or something. I\'m still pretty young, and I\'ll admit the vocabulary, etc. is a bit old-fashioned and hard to understand, but otherwise 10/10. The movies are great too.

Paul
Australia

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

10 stars

How a great writer wrote a perfect story. We can learn how to understand each other and be kind...

Zamel
Egypt

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Professional Reader 10 Book Reviews