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.

Nation by Terry Pratchett

10 stars

What does one look for in a novel? A plot that grips from cover to cover; engaging multi-dimensional characters with developmental arcs; action; drama; humour; wonder; mysticism; deep philosophical ideas; resonating implications? Nation is a tour de force of wit, compassion, humanity and understanding and I thank whatever providence gave the world a person with the capability to commit it to paper. This goes straight into the upper echelons of my favourite books and now I'm torn between I desire to cherish it and a need to pass it on.

Dom
England

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

I'll preface this review by saying that I, obviously, love this book. The prose, pacing, characterizations, and story structure are superlative. However, since none of this is new information, I'll just leave a few responses to common complaints I've been seeing about The Name of The Wind. 1. "Kvothe is too good at everything." While this complaint is grounded in legitimacy, since Kvothe has a multitude of talents, it nonetheless misses the mark. Kvothe is not naturally gifted in everything, he's just really smart and incredibly dedicated to study. If he had a natural propensity to sygaldry, sympathy, etc. and entered the story as a pseudo-deific character, that would be one thing. But Kvothe does not have natural talent for anything but learning. The story goes out of its way to show Kvothe's struggles with accepting and learning about the larger world he is thrust into after the tragedy that befalls him at the start of the story. There's a lot more to be said on this, but instead I'll move on to... 2. "Rothfuss talks for too long about subjects that are boring, like Kvothe's poverty." Kvothe's poverty is an important part of the story. It's his bugbear, his foil, the one thing that haunts him from place to place and the ultimate counter to any advantage he gains. Kvothe's first and most important fear is not being in control, of being powerless. This, of course, (SPOILERS) stems from his complete powerlessness when faced with the Chandrian and the death of his troupe. Poverty makes him feel powerless again - he feels like it strips him of everything that makes him unique. And so, poverty is placed front and center in this story. The Chandrian may be his quest, but poverty is his truest nemesis. 3. "Nothing happens." The nature of the story is not one of epic proportions. The Name of the Wind is, at its core, a character study. The framing narrative informs the story by allowing the character of Kvothe to be the focus of the story. So, while there are no immense battles or monstrous evils to be defeated, there are personal demons and emotional quests that Kvothe explore's. This works as well as it does because the character of Kvothe that we see in the frame narrative is vastly different from the character we travel with for most of the story's length. There is an underlying tension to every victory, a sense of tragedy to every defeat, because we know where the sum total of Kvothe's experiences lead - to tragedy, anonymity, and ruin. The battles to be fought are those of a more personal nature rather than the supersized wars that are so prevalent in many fantasy novels. If you are looking for epic fantasy on a grand scale, another "Way of Kings" or "Wheel of Time" series, this is not that. If, instead, you are looking for a story with emotional resonance, beatific prose, and a tangible sense of heart and care in the construction of the world and characters, then you should give The Name of the Wind a try. "Music is a fine thing, but metal lasts." The Name of the Wind is both.

Andrew
United States

The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead

3 stars

I am glad I'm not the only one who thought this was an awful book. I have loved Lawhead's writing for years. I was truly disappointed with this one. I may abandon the whole series. The whole ' I'm lost in time I think I'll open a coffee shop' thing was just ridiculous.

Jay
Texas

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

"The Hobbit" was a brilliant written book with a great sense of adventure. The book made me realize that I am too a very home person (as Bilbo at first is) but, I know inside me I want a little adventure. I love the way Tolkien had made the English language. The English really made an impact on the vibe of "The Hobbit". I was given this assignment for a summer reading project but, even without the assignment I would have read the book anyway because, it was just calling my name!!!

Emmy
U.S.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D Estleman

10 stars

A superb take on Holmes and the legend of Dracula. I've read Loren's crime novels before, but he really has captured the essence of the enigmatic detective in this short but thrilling book. As for his version of the Count, I will say no more. Well worth investigating.

Robert
England

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

4 stars

I suspect it suffers in being translated. The English is idiomatic and stilted. The story, while atmospheric at times is slow and often dull. I found myself willing it on to the next bit and it could have done with some judicious editing. For better post-apocalyptic reads, take a glance at the helpful list compiled by this website below: 'More recommended reading in this genre'. There are at least four books in that list better than this one. You can add on 'Sand,' and the 'Silo' series by Hugh Howey to that list as well and a host of early sci-fi stuff.

Tim
United Kingdom

Magician by Raymond E Feist

9 stars

I think this one of top 5 books I read it in 82 the original edition ,and have seen some of the reviews that he borrowed from other books ie dungeon and dragons this is not true it was before most had been written and indeed they used some of his ideas ,read it and enjoy but remember much time has gone by and many books

Jonathan
UK

King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist

6 stars

As an old fan of REF, I found this book to be disappointing. Yes it drew me in and kept me reading but despite its potential it fell short on many levels. Character development was underwhelming and, as has been stated before, very two dimensional. Too much unnecessary reference and focus on sex, which could have been conveyed without the need for the crass and obvious descriptions. I had hope to introduce my eldest daughter to this sequel but no more. The plot and different characters all seamed to come together too conveniently and very predictably (i.e. Halfway through the book it was obvious). One has to wonder where has this author's subtle and creative skill at storytelling has gone? And or to what level it was vetted by a few select early readers/editors and in make their thinking visible for the story's great good...?

David
Australia

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

1 stars

Its rare for me to actively hate a book, but this is one of those times. The plot is so beyond awful I cannot believe that JK would allow this to be released. It is overwhelmingly obvious that she had minimal to no input in this monstrosity and I will never forgive her for allowing to be released. Its just total garbage. The subplots are ridiculous, the characters act absolutely nothing like their original versions, there are numerous incredibly cringey scenes and lines..  is it worth going on? Even when time travel was introduced in Harry Potter it was only short lived and quickly removed from the realms of possibility because it created too many issues and plot holes, so why these idiots thought that basing an entire book around this idea is beyond my comprehension. Why did they inflate Cedric Diggorys death to such importance, it's not like fans were chomping at the bit to see him return to life? They destroyed so many characters whose personalities were well honed and developed over the course of the books - Snape is suddenly best friends with Hermione and Ron and crying over Harry? Hermione in the absence of Ron's love becomes a nasty heartless cow to rival Snape? Harry says some things to his own son that he would just never, ever say. And poor Ron isnt given anything to do, he's just cast aside as some pathetic comic relief and is of no importance to the story at all. Honestly I could pick apart this thing chapter by chapter to explain how awful it is. Anyone who enjoyed it either is not familiar with good literature or is just so enamoured with Harry Potter and desperate for it to go on forever that they enjoy it just because it has his name attached to it. Why can't people just accept that its over? It was a beautiful well-crafted story which will live on forever in its own right. I'm glad it ended on a high and i'm content for that to be the end, I'm sad that others apparently don't feel the same way.

Charlie
UK

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

5 stars

It’s a great premise – essentially, Metro 2033 is a modern-day Gulliver’s Travels in which Glukhovsky comments on the socio-political landscape of Russia. The metro has Nazis, radical Christians, Communists and more – none of whom are spared sharp examination.

Bryan Conforto
Australia

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