Featured reader reviews: Page 6

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.

Blood Of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

6 stars

Well I wouldn’t say it’s poorley written I read The Last Wish first and played the games so I love the story line and perhaps that has helped carry me through this book. Like I said it’s not the writing it’s the long chapters and lack of action. And I’m no fencer but every fight scene involves pirouette after pirouette if you are spinning that much in a fight something’s wrong. I liked this book but I feel like it focuses so much on philosophy and ideology when it should have started building the world that the characters are set in but hey what ever I’ve read way way worse and I’m still going to read the rest.

Justin
USA

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

Unlike some I read the Lord of the Rings out of order. My sister had the Two Towers and I had read everything else in her little library. I liked the cover (clearly a 70's cover) and picked it up with Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas running over the grasslands of Rohan in pursuit of orcs. I read it part way and was so lost I gave it up. But the local library had a copy of all three books. I took up the first book and literally read all three books in a span of 7 days. I didn't sleep. I couldn't. At the end I cried that it was over. I wanted it to go on and on. The world created by J.R.R Tolkien swept me up and has never left me. I read the Hobbit after the LOTR - and watched that evolve from a child's bedtime story to a much deeper, much more nuanced tale. Tolkien created a world of constant challenges to each characters moral and ethical souls. Captivated initially by the primary storyline of Frodo, Aragorn and Gandalf I raced through the book to learn the ending. On subsequent readings I understood the depth of each characters risks and rewards. The Ring presents each prime character with a vision of power capable of giving them their hearts desire with the knowledge the Ring will destroy that which they cherish most in time. Some fail, some overcome. And for some to overcome the lure of the ring is ensure the ending of what they hold most dear. Of all the lines in the Lord of the Rings the one that rings over and over to me is Galadriel who when she she refuses the Ring offered by Frodo says: "I pass the test. I will diminish and go into the west." She knows in refusing she has doomed her beloved Lothlorien but to accept she becomes the very thing she opposes. That is a terrible choice. The Lord of the Rings has a depth no other novel I have ever read has. I devoured the appendices at the end of the book. I find myself going back to read them periodically. I don't think it is for everybody - but those of us lucky few who fall into the LOTR completely it is a world that is always with us, always a comfort and cautionary.

Jim
United States

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb

10 stars

Robin Hobb writes in a genre that often lacks depth and nuance. She brings to life incredibly complex characters, who often don't have a lot go well for them, and yet somehow manages to maintain interest and excitement over the course of hundreds of pages. Renegade's Magic is no exception here. This book is also fascinating, as it is written in first person point of view, from the perspective of a person who does not have control of the body he inhabits. It sounds odd, but she does this seamlessly. As with the last few books of the Farseer series, these books at times transcend the genre and are really works of high art. They probably would have been a bit boring for me 15 years ago, and thus I wouldn't recommend it across the board. but as a long time fantasy reader who is not a bit older, I would rate this series as one of the best I have ever read. In my opinion, this series, along with the final Farseer trilogy, make Robin Hobb one of the best authors the fantasy genre has ever seen, and certainly one of my all time favourites.

Bret
New Zealand

Endgame by James Frey and Nils Johnson Shelton

8 stars

Having read all three installments of the "Endgame" I can see how similarly the plot follows along the story of "The Hunger games". However, it is brilliantly written in it's own right and must not be regarded as a rip-off. Readers of dystopian fantasy novels will find that this is a thrilling read. One one thing that sets it apart from the hunger games is that the story is not centered around a main character but rather told in the perspective of all the important characters that make the plot move forward. Begin the book, choose a character, and see how long your character of choice will last in the story. The characters are also culturally diverse, and it is not impossible for readers to find one they can most relate to. The way the scenes are portrayed capture raw emotion and really solidifies each characters' motive in playing the game. This story is not about protagonists and antagonists. This story is about survival.

Randy
Philippines

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

4 stars

Daniel from Israel has pretty much summed it up for me, just go read his review (call me lazy). The way Perry does everything right and is generally a weird combination of smug and utterly amoral in a world of alien monsters that actually eat people (his 5 minutes of upset after the stomping episode just makes it worse) is annoying. The amoral thing is the worst bit. He isn't introduced as a military man but just buys into everything without any critical thoughts or feelings. Also, every character that doesn't fit into that weird viewpoint is treated as a lampooned fool who gets death as a result and it's all they deserved anyway. Now if you feel like laughing at my opinions and saying "Idiot! It's a satire!" then it's the crappiest satire I've read for a long time. If you're going to do that you need to nail it, and this absolutely does not.

Andy
UK

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

3 stars

I heard all this "awesomeness" about Patrick Rothfuss so I checked this book out from my local library. I stopped reading about 3 chapters in because i was annoyed to the point of boredom and so returned the book. A year later I happened upon a used copy in my local used book store for $2.00 and since I was already dropping $20 on a bunch of other books I figured what the heck and bought it. There is almost ZERO plot to this novel, and the protagonist Kvothe is not only a Mary Sue who can do anything better than everyone but also an arrogant *sshole. It's obvious Rothfuss thinks he's some genius reinventing the fantasy wheel but he's not and he didn't. But his arrogance blinds the reader's eyes through his writing. And what's with Kvothe's love interest Dena? She literally just shows up going from man to man, using them to pay for everything in her life all the while complaining that they eventually expect something in return. Gee, i wonder why a man who pays for everything in a woman's life will eventually expect something in return. And so she leaves going from man to man just doing the same thing to each of them. And for some reason Kvothe is in love with her. I've read online that Patrick thinks himself as a great writer of women, but this definitely does NOT show in his female characters. I forced myself to finish this novel because I was hoping it would surprise me by the end, and guess what? It didn't. This book is basically just set-up for book two... and yes, i bought book two (thankfully also cheap used copy) and forced myself to read it and book two is even worse than book one, and I regretted every minute of it (but i definitely will NOT read book three nor anything else by Rothfuss). Book two somehow has even less plot than book one, it's all set-up for book three, and the annoying characters get even worse than they were in the first novel. Asides from Patrick becoming known over the years as an *sshole who yells and curses at his fans whenever they ask about the release date of book three, something he promised was already finished way back in 2007, i can safely say his writing is far below what i had ever expected. If you love fantasy then do yourself a favor and skip these crap novels and instead read something by Steven Erikson or Paul Kearney or Brandon Sanderson. They are FAR better writers than Patrick Rothfuss wishes he is.

Jason
Ohio

Salvation by Peter F Hamilton

4 stars

Big fan of Peter F Hamiltons books. The 2 year wait between books is a real killer in following a current author. Well the 2 year wait for this book was not worth it sorry to say. The story came across as very similar to previous works. New alien threat was very similar to the Starflyer from 6 books ago. As was the Cancer vilanesse! Sound like the Cat much from the past works. And if i was to wait around another 2 and then 4 years for the climax, im sure she'll slip back in the story too with her ill defined demise in the first book. Inferior 1st person narration, dramatic change from all past works, and the use of z at the end of words made this future a lazy gramatical hell. From a person whose 1st edition Reality Dysfunction takes pride of place in the book shelf, I'm glad i only purchased the paperback on this and wont be bothering with parts 2&3 when they come out in 2 & 4 years respectively. Sorry Peter, you've lost an avid fan 😥

Andrew
Australia

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

8 stars

The Maze Runner was a tremendously fun read and had a very interesting story. The plot in this novel constantly kept me waiting for more. The suspense used by the author made me want to keep reading more and more. The characters were all developed well, especially Thomas, the main character. The challenges the boys had to face in the maze were realistic and believable. The only real problem I had with this book is the greater conflict that will have to be resolved in the next two books is a little silly. I can see this series taking the same road as The Hunger Games series. The first book is amazing and believable, while the next two try to create a plot that is too far fetched.

Noah
United States

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

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