Featured reader reviews: Page 5

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.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

10 stars

There are no words to describe this book. It is absolutely one of my favourites. Red Sister was so beautifully written and Nona, the main character, is raw and real. I like that the characters have flaws and aren't perfect. I read a lot of books in this same genre, but never have I ever read a book like Red Sister. Many of the horrible truths of humanity are seen in this book and Nona's journey throughout the novel is inspiring. We watch Nona grow as a person and we almost grow along with her. I love the fact that this novel has no romantic relationships even though the main character is female. Nona Grey is truly a strong female lead character. And Mark Lawrence is truly a talented and excellent writer.

Tj
South Africa

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

7 stars

I enjoyed it the series. First Book = Amazing. Secound Book = Good. Third Book = Ok. Third Book - Part 2 = ..what? I have to say I was recommended this book by sites relating it to books such as, Kingkiller Chronicles or the Mistborn series. Definitely not in their realm as it has little to no magic other than "the Art", which really isn't much of anything. Has amazing characters and a great plot (quest) but really lacks in the final book. Its mind-boggling how bad the ending is. It wasn't that it was poorly written or I didn't agree with the events. It just was built up and up and right when its about to get interesting... goes nowhere and then oh, here's a long epilogue. There basically was no conclusion. Id say its worth a read but try not to be disappointed with the ending.

Joel
Canada

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

9 stars

Can we just appreciate how B-E-A-UTIFUL this cover is? The edition that arrived in the FairyLoot box actually had some exclusive silver foiling - see my instagram photo at the bottom of this review for a peek at that edition! But I absolutely adore this cover. Asha is the daughter of the Dragon King, and her mission is to hunt and kill all dragons into extinction - why would the Dragon King want to kill all dragons? A few years previously, the first dragon, oldest of all the dragons, burned their home of Firgaarrd. Asha is given the title of Iskari; from the old stories, the character who brings about destruction. Fantasy books are my thing, completely - and having read the synopsis of this book, and hearing so much about it, it really had a lot to live up to! The plot itself I found almost to be coming to a conclusion around 60% of the way into the book, but then... plot twist! Yayyy!! This book contains many issues affecting both modern-day and historical lives; where Skral are enslaved by the Draksors, and our protagonist; thanks to her upbringing, seems to believe that a slave should not be able to look a Draksor in the eye, nor should they have the same rights - however there are moments within this book where cracks begin to appear. Her brother Dax, and the very forward and rebellious slave, Torwin, begin to question her beliefs, and Asha wonders what her brother's recent trip to the Scrublands was really to do with. I always worry when I come across another book with Dragons in, but Ciccarelli is able to add her own original twist to the creatures which makes the book a lot more refreshing. There are some cliché themes running through the book, the forbidden and expected love, the thinking-she-is-bad-when-really-she-is-good. There were huge and exciting plot twists which rescued this and ensured that the book remained engaging and captivating. In some places some of the characters fell a little flat in my opinion, but the majority are rich, complex, and diverse. Dax was probably one of my favourites, despite his quiet nature, and withdrawn stance for much of the story, when he does come into his own he is loyal, and willing to do anything for the good of the realm. Asha's betrothed - Jarrik - is a tyrant, but this does not stop Dax from stepping up to protect his sister when necessary, despite his sister being feared across Firgaard. This book makes an amazing and magical debut novel, with a diverse cast, and exciting plotlines running through the book. My one criticism is that I felt like the plot was ending long before the end of the book - causing my attention to falter a bit; though the plot twist did redeem this! The characters are mostly vibrant and provide entertainment and action keeping the story going at a nice pace throughout the book. Overall I am awarding this book 9*/10. I really enjoyed the originality the author used with the dragons to take the creatures we love to have in our fantasy stories, and make them her own whilst not taking away from their familiarity. It was an action packed story, with lots of mysterious twists and turns. I would recommend this to fans of the Snow Like Ashes series, and Throne of Glass.

Sammy
UK

Rise of The Wolf by Curtis Jobling

10 stars

Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by: Curtis Jobling This is a great book about werelords (people who can turn into animals), unfair rulers, mystery, and a lot of suspense. Drew, the main character, is an average boy who lives in Cold Coast, a small farming town. He lives on a farm with his mother, Tilly Ferran, his father, Mack Ferran, and his twin brother, Trent Ferran. Drew was the opposite of his father in every aspect (except that Drew is a guy). Trent, on the other hand, is almost the spitting image of his father. Drew has a special connection with animals (AWESOME!!!!!), and he’s sweet like his mother. One day, Mack and Trent go to the market. While they’re gone, a wererat kills Tilly and leaves Drew greatly wounded. During the fight, Drew transforms into a terrible creature. Drew later finds out that he’s a werewolf, and the last of his kind. Before he leaves his home in Cold Coast, his father blames Drew for killing Tilly, and stabs Drew! Drew runs away to Dyerwood, a dangerous place for anyone to travel in. Drew found a scout’s apprentice named Whitley who fell off her horse and passed out when she saw Drew. Eventually, her master, a man named Hogan, caught Drew and brought him to Duke Bergan of the werebears. Later, Prince Luke came to get Drew to find out who and what he was. (Yeah, the prince of all of Lyssia and the seven realms has no clue who the last werewolf is. Laugh all you want.) Drew breaks free thanks to Lord Hector, a wereboar. They go on many adventures to help free Lyssia and the seven realms from the king, King Leopold the werelion. Read the book and enjoy!

Anna
United States

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

10 stars

If I could only read just one book for the rest of my life I would choose Swan Song, without a doubt. Which is no small feat considering how many books I've fallen in love with since I first started reading. There is just something so undeniably magical about McCammon's writing and storytelling ablility. This is a book that I would recommend EVERYONE read (even those who don't typically like the horror genre). You won't regret it 😁

Randall
Australia

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

10 stars

This story has always been my favorite of all the eventual Ryhope books, and one of my favorite books of all time. I find myself referring people to it even more these days if they want to understand real-world anomalies like "Skinwalker Ranch". We often tell ourselves crucial information about the world in the form of fiction stories. Not only was this a mind expanding book to read when I was younger, but it's become an invaluable tool for navigating this changing world.

Mychael Lee
USA

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

8 stars

It's a beautiful book, yet disappointing because it wasn't what I wanted to read. It's over 800 pages and I didn't feel them at all. Jonathan Stange and Mr. Norrell, talks about magic, it doesn't exist anymore, until the nobleman "Norrell" from the Northern England begin to study real magicians old books. He has a huge library with unvaluable rarities. And this is the good part because the story is about how hard it means to learn magic, it's how it should be, Norrell takes all his life studying and finally can show to the world that magic exists. He's the only true magician, he's careful, introverse, but confident. He is special, he deserved to be special. Since then the events get an other road. Jonathan Strange is the second magician which emerges casually for no reason at all, he hasn't books, he didn't learn, he cannot learn, he just copies spells and experiment on field, eventually he got "natural talents" which makes him like: "hello there, I'm a mage, I can move the world, a country, the moon, with almost no efforts, with no clue at all of how I succeeded", or something close. It ruined my expectations, magic must be hard, magic needs efforts and long studies, a lot of practice, failures, and strict rules. This is suddenly lost. Now I'm not saying it's a bad book, because Susanna Clarke knows how to tell stories, but somehow she missed a great opportunity to write something epic. This genial thing of this book is that is based on a dualism: Team Norrell vs. Team Strange, at the begin there is peace between them, but they don't share the same point of view of magic and eventually divide their partnership. Both of them have good and controversial bad aspects: Strange wants teach magic to everyone with no care of criminals who may use magic for their crimes, and may begins a world disaster. Norrell instead tries to keep magic for himself, because he wants be "the greater wizard of all times", he also care for his Country, he says black magic is despicable and tries to protect the world, attempting to stop Strange who wants spread magic knowledge publishing it in a journal or books. Norrell however isn't gentle at all with people, he's selfish and doesn't care of anyone, neither of his best friend/servant Childermass. The author of this book gives all her best to depict Norrell as hateful as she can, to counterbalance things. Strange care for people, but he's reckless, he protect his country in a different way than Norrell. He goes directly with the army to give assistance (still without killing anyone, but stressing the enemy), risking to die. And this is it. Choose your side when you talk with a friend about this book, argue with him. Why did you choose Norrell or Strange?

Piero
Italy

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

10 stars

This was such a beautiful book, I was as soon as I started reading it and its just got this beautiful moral to the story and the overall such a bitter sweet heartbreaking book, I actually miss the characters, Toby was the shit!

Elle
Australia

The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner

9 stars

I adored this book when I was a child. I still adore it. However I respect the criticisms of there being simply too much going on too quickly and too many players from Gaelic, Nordic and Anglo-Saxon myth jangling and clamoring for attention without adequate resolution or consistency. Who are the dwarves for instance and do they have a homeland and live invisibly like the Elves of Sinadon seem to? Or do they just eke a living out like gypsies? And who is mortal and who is immortal? And who the heck are the Children of Danu anyway, and how come Albanac seems to be the last one? And is Colin's bit of faith healing with the Mothan, connection with the Hunter and his adoption by Albanac's horse going to set him on some incredible future path? And is Susan really destined to become a powerful white witch with connection to the Moon and to the Pleiades! For me, the power of Moon of Gomrath was actually the LACK of answers to these questions. Because, there was so much that remained unanswered, this book has stayed with me all my life and I have craved to have a final instalent in the trilogy in order to tie things off. But as it never came... at least in the form I imagined, the Moon of Gomrath remains a deeply melancholic and powerful story. Boneland is a different matter and whilst I am glad Garner wrote it, I still have a completely different sequel in my head with roaring pines and glinting gold buckles and flickering blue lights and white eaglefeather cloaks and wrist bracelets which provide words of power to their wearer in their moments of need.

Ralph
Australia

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

10 stars

Before I read this slim novel I was sure LOTR would remain my favorite fantasy work of all time. Now The Broken Sword takes its place as my favorite. It is a brilliant work and all the more extraordinary that he managed to create such a rich fantastic tale in just over 200 pages. Truly astonishing.

Terrence
USA

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