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.

The Children Of Hurin by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

It may cover material/storyline points that were already written in the Silmarillion, but as someone who has read both versions many, many times, the Children of Húrin book is so, so much more than a restatement. It’s easier to read than the Silmarillion, despite the fact that it still has quite a bit of geography and genealogy, and it moves me so deeply that every time I read it I have to stop in the middle, put the book down, and cry on the living room floor. If you like to suffer in a good way, read this book— I can’t recommend it enough.

Finduilas
Nargothrond

It by Stephen King

9 stars

This book is a real commitment. I just finished reading it, and I feel exhausted by it. I began it about 7 months ago and have been thoughtfully averaging about 50 pages a week. I give it 9 stars out of 10. I feel like I know this fictional town, and like I could draw a map of it. I'll miss it I think.

Steven
USA

Kurintor Nyusi by Aaron Michael Hall

10 stars

I’m rapidly becoming a fan of fantasy author Aaron-Michael Hall. I was intrigued by her Rise of Nazil series, which was a complex yet fast-moving “epic fantasy” with great dialog, amazing characters, and lots of twists and turns to the plot. Her latest novel, Kurintor Nyusi, is her best so far. One of the things that I really enjoy about Hall’s stories is the complexity of the characters. The “good guys” are good, but not perfect. They have human failings and sometimes make bad choices. The “bad guys” aren’t good, but the motivations behind their actions are revealed in a way that forces the reader to empathize. The cover art of Kurintor teases, “It wasn’t prophesy, destiny, or birthright. It was choice!” and as Hall tells the story, the choices themselves and the consequences of the choices intertwine for all of the characters, good and bad, mortal and divine. Another enjoyable aspect of Hall’s characters is they are definitely not cookie-cutter or predictable. For instance, the protagonist Nurisha is the daughter of the village smith. Oh, by the way, she’s “bad-to-the-bone” with mad skilz in archery and swordsmanship, but a loyal and obedient daughter and dedicated to her promised husband-to-be. That’s just the surface, as the story unfolds the character’s tapestry is woven into greater detail and rich complexity. And that’s true of all the characters. Aaron-Michael Hall again displays her deft talent for world-building as fantasy enthusiasts expect. In Kurintor, there are multiple kingdoms and priestly castes and original mythologies. The world-building is only there as far as necessary to support the plot. Hall does not get bogged down in unnecessary and distracting detail. A word of warning, if this is your introduction to this author: do not skim. Learn the character and place names and connections as they come up, because Hall does not fill in the gaps all at once. While there is a summary of the names at the end of the book, a patient reader will certainly enjoy the process of making the connections and resolving the mysteries as the plot unfolds. Hall challenges the reader to stay involved, and rewards the reader with a very enjoyable and thought-provoking story

MIKE
United States

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

I absolutely LOVE this book. It is unlike any I have ever read before. It resonates with me in a way I really wasn't expecting, and I'm kind of scared hiw much I relate with Auri. The book does nearly nothing that a normal story is supposed to; there is no real plot, no characters aside from Auri, no dialouge, and one of the most exiting moments in the book is those famous eight pages where ahe makes SOAP. It is not for everyone, that is, not everyone ia going to like it. But you should absolutely read it. Because despite the lack of plot and characters, this is a masterpeice, in my opinion. Hell, I'd say that it is a masterpeice BECAUSE of that. It is a story about a cracked and broken girl trying to suvive in a world where she is all alone. It is about names, and strange words. It is a bit of fresh air, a bit of chaos in a world where everything is supposed to be this and that, ordered, structured, and free, somehow. If you would like to see the world from Auris perspective, and if you like strange and interesting stories, then this book is defenitly for you.

Martin
Sweden

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

LotR and Tolkien's writing style is not for everyone as I can see from the comments, but I don't think the ppl writing all the negative reviews really understand Tolkien's works at all. LotR is very deep and I get that it takes a while for the story to get moving, but once it gets moving, it is like reading norse myths in their original prose form or Beowulf. after reading one of Tolkien's biographies, I found that he was inspired from the myths more than anything else and an important fact to keep in mind when reading LotR/the Hobbit is that Tolkien created middle earth for his languages rather than vise versa. Tolkien uses language(English, not his invented ones) in very complex way that many modern writers don't grasp, and many ppl are so accustomed to the writing styles of the modern era, that they LotR way out of their comfort zone. I love Tolkien's works and I would recommend it to anyone who likes mythology and history as well as anyone who is up for a bit of a deep read, but as always READ THE HOBBIT FIRST!!!! the most similar book I have come across are the earthsea books by Ursula LeGuin

emerok
the earth

The Death of Grass by John Christopher

1 stars

If I could give a zero, I would do. I also love dystopian fiction and read this because it’s meant to be a classic. I have no idea why: it’s dull; the timeframe in which everything falls apart (about 24 hours) is ludicrous; the portrayal and use of female characters actually enraged me - the author clearly dislikes them (see Floresiensis’s review, which perfectly sets out my feelings), they are good for domestic tasks and rape only. AVOID.

Mary
UK

The Horse And His Boy by CS Lewis

10 stars

This is the best Narnia book out there. It's quick and easy to read because it has an engaging plot. The character of Aravis is a strong female character and there is no racism! Just because some people with brown skin in this book are evil doesn't mean C. S Lewis said that all people with brown skin are bad. In fact there is the Tisroc, who is a cruel yet wise leader, Rabadash, who is a hothead, Aravis, who is brave, proud, loyal, and stubborn, Lasareen, a loyal friend who is vain, and that guy who Aravis was going to marry, an old weasle who has no pride. There are many different types of character with brown skin and only 1 out of 5 is a bad guy. A main good guy has brown skin. Nevertheless this is a great book and a must read.

Gina
America

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

Best book I have ever read! I have read many fantasy books and I have a unique imagination of how I think but the creatures and lands of this book is beyond the mind of a mere mortal. J.R.R. Tolkien is truly the best writer when it comes to fantasy books. Never turn down this book for it will open up many paths in your mind and you will discover creatures you never thought could be thought of. I recommend this book to all ages that can read and that includes 5 or even 4 year olds. It has been greatly written and is practically the father of all fantasy books.

Fawn
The UnderWorld

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

10 stars

The Ocean at the End of The Lane is, I think, Gaiman's most personal novel to date. A hauntingly beautiful tale of a seven year old boy and his brush with the nightmare world that lives just below the surface of reality, this is the type of book that will stay with you for ages after you have finished it. The protagonist revisits his old childhood haunts after a funeral and finds himself remembering a half-forgotten episode from his childhood. We meet the Hempstocks, three women (well, a girl and two women who are obvious representations of the Maid, Mother, Crone triple goddess beloved of our pagan ancestors) who seem to live out of time, yet are as old, if not older than time itself. There is a death which sets off a chain reaction of events with our seven year old hero at the centre. It is a simple story of sacrifice and the way an innocent action can unleash a whirlwind of consequences. The prose has a dreamlike, even nightmare quality to it at times, as the things that live on the shadowy borders of our imaginations come rushing in. Gaiman has the ability to tell the tale through a young boy's eyes and make it work. It is wonderful writing. I used to say that American Gods was his masterpiece. I think he has just surpassed himself. Very highly recommended.

David
United Kingdom

Boneland by Alan Garner

9 stars

As a child I read, and loved, Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen and its sequel The Moon of Gomrath. Many thought there should have been a third book, completing the stories, but Garner resisted and moved on to books aimed at older children and adults. I reread Stone and Moon a couple of years ago and they were as good as I remembered. Wonderful fantasies set in and around Alderley Edge in Cheshire. So when I discovered that Garner had finally written a third book in the series I didn't know what to expect. A children's book in the same vein? Or something else? What we get is a concise novel about loss and grief, about blame and self-doubt, about mystery and myth. This is not a children's book, but rather a book for the adults who remember the first two books. It is by turns oblique, poetic, strange and cathartic. Colin Whisterfield, the boy protagonist of the first two books is all grown up, a professor no less, who works at a radio telescope. He is brilliant and troubled with mounting psychological problems caused by a childhood trauma that means he can remember nothing before the age of 13. Living alone in a hut in a quarry by the Edge, Colin is eventually forced to seek the help of psychologist Meg, who, with several doses of tough love, makes him confront his greatest fears and his deep sense of loss. The tone of this book is very different. Mixing poetic, mythic passages of prose that read like a description of a dream, with vivid descriptions of the broken Colin, Garner creates a story that fills in some of the blanks and ties up some of the loose ends left at the end of The Moon of Gomrath. The twist at the end is well handled, the finale both moving and satisfying. Alan Garner is one of our greatest, and probably most underrated, writers and this is a fine example of his work and a fitting end to the Weirdstone trilogy. Bravo sir, bravo.

David
United Kingdom

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