Featured reader reviews: Page 3

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.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

9 stars

A Book for the Ages Animal Farm is a timeless piece of literature which feels like a modern masterpiece. It tells a deeply engrossing story with many dramatic twists within its relatively small number of pages. This story deals with themes of corruption and utopias in a satirical but immersive way. The fact that Animal Farm is based on the Russian Revolution is no secret, but the use of animals as an analogy provides a different perspective to this historical event. This animal representation is done so masterfully that it works perfectly as a standalone story, without the reader needing any prior knowledge on the topic. Overall, Animal Farm takes creates a unique story and breaks many common conventions to create a compelling narrative. Animal Farm follows the rise and fall of an animal rebellion against the farmer, Mr. Jones. The opening speech given by Old Major creates a vision for the revolution and presents a promising future for the farm. As the story progresses, Jones and other farmers work to fight this revolution in the “Animal Farm.” Along with this conflict, the foundation of this new society where “all animals are equal” (Orwell 14) begins to crumble. At the beginning of the story, the ideas of the revolution seem justified, but the progression of Animal Farm leads to the realization of how flawed this new society actually is. This downfall is coupled with an internal battle for power and control. It is deeply interesting to follow the characters as they each find their own way to cope with this changing environment. Ultimately, this is a story of corruption which explores this concept to its full extent. Animal Farm will hit home with an older audience. This is especially true for those who have experienced similar problems of manipulation and corruption as those seen in the story. Although the animals in Animal Farm represent different groups and people in Russia during the communist revolution, the hunger for power is still largely present in the world today. An adult audience may more easily realize the connection to the story’s development and to other leaders throughout history. The true brilliance behind Animal Farm lies in its intelligent use of satire. George Orwell’s approach of representing millions of people as single characters creates an enjoyable story about a serious event. Although many other stories use animals as main characters in their story, few books do so as masterfully as Animal Farm. Each character’s limitations, roles, and skills fit the animal they are. This technique works as a great way to introduce obstacles for each animal to overcome; adding further depth to the plot and conflict within the story. The most positive aspect of this story is the unconventional plot. Almost all stories set up an obstacle and follow how the “good guys” overcome it. In Animal Farm, this is the case, but only for the first few chapters of the story. After the farm rises against Mr. Jones, the main conflict is resolved and the true conflict arises. Animal Farm is not about a revolution; rather, it is about the internal struggle in a society where “all animals are equal.” The major question this book strives to answer is if such a society is even possible. Following each character as the farm continued to fall further into turmoil proved to create a compelling and a thoroughly enjoyable tale. Overall, I would give Animal Farm a rating of four and a half stars out of five. My only gripe in reading Animal Farm is that the book ended early. The powerful and shocking conclusion had me wondering how the animals would react to this turn of events and if any of them would finally realize the weight of their situation. Nevertheless, the story kept me intrigued all the way through with a good pace and engaging conflicts. The themes of betrayal and power-hungry leaders fit brilliantly with the communist history Animal Farm is based off of. The events and nature of characters continue to hold true when compared to leaders today. These connections between the real world and the book make the story more enjoyable. Each character felt unique and added something to the story’s plot. This is a great book that I would definitely recommend picking up. Long live Animal Farm!

Joel
Africa

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

This book has touched me so deeply and its about a bloody broken girl running round with inanimate objects. But I've been travelling for the past year and have read many books in the time, always leaving them in random hostels or charity shops so other people can read them but this is the only book I can't bear to even think about parting with, which may just be selfishness on my part but that's just how it is. I would do anything for this girl or this book or even Mr Rothfuss who made them both <3 Now I'm going to go get me a big hunk of love shaped metal 100/10 would recommend to anyone and everyone

Heather
Australia

Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan

10 stars

I first started this book and put it down within a few pages because I didn't like the overly detailed description of a stable yard and the environs. Silly, I know, but I did return to it and was rewarded by a very fun book to read. I tend to prefer character driven books as opposed to place driven books, as long as the plot works. This plot not only works well, but you can actually see where certain points might lead in the future, even though they may be barely addressed, the author gives you enough to see a glimmer of possibilities. All in all, I enjoyed this without reservation, and was able to suspend disbelief easily in order to temporarily inhabit this world.

Susan
USA

Dead Men Naked by Dario Cannizzaro

9 stars

Found this book by mistake. Pleasantly surprised! It was a rollercoaster of a read, I could totally see Gaiman's influences and also a dash of Christopher Moore. While the story is on the fantasy / urban fantasy side, the topics it touches are universal and the writing is... I want to say literary? I mean it's super beautiful to read and funny. Kudos.

Erin
Scotland

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

9 stars

I notice there are a lot of one star reviews here from people who were made to read this at school. Personally I am a fan of The Hobbit and Tolkien, however I would never choose it as a book to study with a class. At a young age I was behind my peers when it came literacy, reading and writing as little as I could get away with. One day I picked up The Hobbit from the reading corner, the teacher quietly asked me if I was sure about my choice, as it was two bands above my recommended level (the books had a colour system to give an indication of reading difficulty) she seemed pleased enough when I said yes. The book had appealed to me for a while, I had heard a friend talk of it and had read the blurb on the back, however at that young age the size of the book and the grey sticker on its side were daunting. That night I took it home and spent what seemed like hours reading, many paragraphs I read twice trying to process the information (all those dwarfs with similar names.. which ones where related.. all those Hobbit surnames). Those early chapters were hard going and my bookmark showed I’d hardly made a dent in the story. Something happened when the company left the shire, suddenly the pace of my reading quickened, I wasn’t worrying trying to understand who was who or what was happening, I could immediately visualise the landscapes that were being described to me, was gripped by each new character that was introduced. It took me ages to finish that book and when I did I was buzzing.. then I realised I wanted more. The following autumn I picked up The Lord of The Rings, pleased to see it was even longer and even more pleased when I started reading and quickly decided that this was going to be even better than The Hobbit. This book was the first to capture me emotionally, taking me from reluctant reader to avid consumer of fiction. (However I would never choose this as a book to study with a class. It’s not going to appeal to all and forcing young readers to slug through something that for a children’s book is pretty long and slightly niche is likely to have the opposite effect to the one it had on me) I realise that this has to a certain extent been an anecdote more than a review, so.. I thought this was a brilliant book, deserving of it’s place as the godfather of modern fantasy. My advice to anyone who isn’t immediately hooked or immediately put off (particularly those who tend to enjoy fantasy and adventure) is stick with it till the journey really gets going, then make a decision.

Jimjoe
UK

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

1 stars

God awful... If I wanted a long, boring story about going to school, reading books, paying student loans and playing gigs in front of drunkards at the bar, I have my own life. I can't imagine how anyone finds this bullshit interesting, other than maybe appreciating the writing technique. (I personally think it is over-the-top, and annoying.) I am surprised that the chronicler didn't slap the shit out of Kvothe by the middle of the second day for wasting his time. As soon as anything mildly interesting seemed to be happening, the narrator would skip over it by saying something like: "...but this does not have much relevance to the overall story, so I will not bore you with the details." But apparently the excruciating details of reading books in the library, admiring ones own lute/lute case, borrowing and returning money, attending university classes about nothing, and playing lute at bars are important and require 1600 pages. Go fuck yourself, Patrick Rothfuss...

Magnus
United States

A Plague of Angels by Sheri S Tepper

9 stars

According to the search engine, this is the only review of any of Tepper's work on this site. This is an enormous oversight, as she wrote some of the best fantasy work of recent times, and should rank alongside Diana Wynne-Jones for her fantastic imagination, her plotting - 'The Family Tree' is breathtaking - and her willingness to take on important themes, such as the environment and feminism. The book under discussion is the first of three books, which include 'Waters Rising' and 'Fishtails' (My editions of these three books have been poorly edited, leading to whole chunks of repetition. This is a pity, as Tepper was, almost despite herself, an excellent writer). Abasio figures in all of them, and his character evolves away from the type of masculinity that figures so largely in the above review, Tepper allowing some chance of male redemption. Tepper's writing skills were particularly evident in her early 'Marianne' trilogy; later, as she said herself, she was wont to sacrifice the writing to the plot. But just about everything she wrote was readable and - like Wynne-Jones - thinkable. Read her trio of tilogies on the Land of the True Game, and the various standalones, such as 'Raising the Stones'. Oh - and one to hate for the author of the review above - 'The Gate to Women's Country.'

A. Reader
UK

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

10 stars

Loved it. Great twists. More amazing worldbuilding. Continued character growth (though I didn't like Shallan's arc that much, and I liked her in the previous books), and an epic battle at the end. Dalinar's flashbacks and his character, in general, were amazing. This book cemented him as one of my favorite characters of all time.

Rand
Two Rivers

The Barrow by Mark Smylie

10 stars

One of my favourite books of all time. Describes the world incredibly well. Many fantasy authors make the mistake of not describing the environment the characters travel through. Mark Smylie describes it excellently. Characters are described good too. Blackheart is my favourite character. Prologue the best and most exciting of any book I have ever read. The maps to go with the book are the best of any fantasy book. Many mysterious empires and environments are shown on map such as Palatia and Thessid Gola. Hope to travel to these mysterious places and more in future Mark Smylie books. Glossary at end of The Barrow was excellent. Describes many strange and mysterious people, gods and others.

Spen
Uk

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

Many do not agree with me, but I believe that this book is far better than its predecessor (which was already amazing) and it is one of the best books I have ever read. The characters progress naturally and the sex and violence scenes are handled in a mature, realistic way. The new characters in the book are superb, and the Adem are in my opinion the coolest and most unique culture in fantasy. Contrary to others beliefs I actually very enjoyed how slow paced this book was, as it gave more time to dwell on how characters evolve and change. My only problem with the pace is that due to the slow nature of the story I find it doubtful that the plot can be cleanly wrapped up with only 1 more book, especially as the author has stated that The Doors of Stone will be shorter than The Wise Mans Fear. Overall, I highly recommend this book. However, caution is advised for younger readers as the novel contains some disturbing violent imagery and a number of sex scenes.

Ahri
Australia

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