Featured reader reviews: Page 7

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

It really depends when you ask me, Sir Terry's best book is either Nation, Wee Free Men, or Night Watch (especially around the Glorious 25th of May.) It is far too late to foist this book upon my grown daughters (although I would still recommend it to them) but I have an 11 year old niece who I would hope would benefit from the book. Just finishing a listen to Stephen Briggs reading the audiobook version of Nation again. Sublime. GNU Terry Pratchett.

New Jersey, US

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

8 stars

One of the most extraordinary books I have enjoyed, richly imaginative, brilliantly realized and well written. I am a big fan of Mieville, and this is one of his best, but also one of the worst, because all that brilliance is let down - literally betrayed, by its ending. In the novel Mieville explores so many complex layers and nuances of society with such depth and sophistication, his descriptions of the biological impulses of the slake moths utterly genius. So why did he end the novel, topple its entire magnificent edifice, with some trite moralistic justification for what must be the most devastating betrayal of a key character - and, indeed, of the reader he carries so far?


The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico

10 stars

This is a remarkable story. My teacher at the time who is of English decent read the book with so emotion that I had never forgotten about this book. I always loved the book since then and decided to buy the book and will read it to my daughter when she is old enough. :)

South Africa

Gardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson

7 stars

This book and series is not for everyone, but not because you have to be intelligent to like it or anything silly like that. These books, and the series as a whole, employ a non-traditional structure that not everyone will find enjoyable. For those who do, these books will be an awesome, compelling, thought-provoking, humorous and emotional journey. For those who don't, these books will simply be a confusing, frustrating and boring mess. Both perspectives are valid (even for smart people). This series is neither linear nor chronological, and it holds its cards close to the vest. Most fantasy stories will establish several things in the first book, namely the central conflict, the conditions of resolving the conflict, and the stakes. Most stories let you know that the characters have to win freedom, avert evil or war, the end of the world, whatever. How do they do this? By overthrowing the evil king, the dark lord, or the invading army. By learning something, killing something, finding a thing, learning to use a thing or destroying a thing in the fires of Mount Doom, etc. My point is that the reader knows generally where the story is going, and the fun is in the twists and turns of how it gets there. However dark things may look, no one doubts that Frodo will get to Mount Doom, and the one ring will end up in the fires. This series isn't like that. Erikson does NOT identify the central conflict, the conditions of resolution or the stakes until book 10 ( out of 10 books). The reader is simply swept along with the events that are happening and must slowly piece together how they are all connected without knowing where the story is going until you get there. The books will jump around to different characters, in different parts of the world, sometimes skipping forward and back in time, and they will not seem connected until the plot points all converge. Some characters will be important from the beginning of the series to the end. Others will be important for a short time only, influencing and taking part in certain events before dying off or disappearing. Rather than a linear story of what happens to certain characters between point A (the beginning) and point B (the end), this story is a circular tapestry, with separate threads all leading to and converging at the center, which is book 10. Not everyone will enjoy this series, but it's a wild ride for those that do. Book 1 drops you in, gives you very few answers and tons of questions. It can be difficult to get into. It is better than it seems at first though, and although I liked it on my first read, I LOVED in on my second read through.

New Jersey

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf

10 stars

I agree wholeheartedly with Nobody from USA. How this book, the series of the New Sun and the final culmination in The Urth of the New Sun get overlooked is beyond me. Granted they are dense in allegory, symbols and obscure references which may elude casual readers but much like any great SF series, the joy of really understanding what Wolfe is crafting is often only apparent on the second, third or even tenth read. I have read the series annually for more than 20 years and each year wonder at the efficiency Wolfe achieved whilst conveying a great depth to the character and setting. Casting the main character Severan as an unreliable witness yet with a perfect memory is, in my opinion, a stroke of genius that only really plays out in subsequent reads. From a technology point of view, Wolfe has an unparalleled ability to imagine a future so distant that dozens of civilisations and their advancements have thrived and perished leaving a technology detritus of objects and infrastructure that behave in such a way that may well be magic to the current inhabitants of the world. Recently there was an announcement that science had created a colour blacker than black. Wolfe anticipate this 30 years prior with 'fuligin' the material that clothed the main character. Minor perhaps but speaks to Wolfe's thoughtful approach as to what may be possible. The science, the technology and the time scales are impeccable thought through. Albeit this is a work of fiction. Even so, the word fuligin has an etymology derived from sooty and this is the type of delight that awaits those who take the time to investigate closer. At heart I think it's a (classic?) story of a person who had the belief that they were someone much more than where their station had landed and hence I think, a character which is deeply relatable for many - especially a young boy who found the Shadow of Torturer lying in a gutter whilst doing a paper round! If you're a fan of SF read it. If you're a scholar of SF, you've work to do. Just pray they don't make a film out of it and remove the best parts where your imagination fills in the blanks whilst you go on a journey with Severan.


The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

I’m convinced the negative reviews are from Neanderthals. This is a beautifully written book. Have you ever had a moment in your real life when you’re desperately searching for the appropriate words to do that moment justice? Well this book is full of those moments and he nails every single one. I found myself constantly wishing I had his command over my vocabulary. Also, the way Rothfuss handles the “‘magic” in this book is a welcome relief from the majority of fantasy books just just brush over how magic is done and expect you to just accept it. If your idea of a good fantasy book is 10 pages of character development, followed by 400 pages of ultra descriptive fight scenes, then maybe give this book a skip. But if you want to read something beautiful, you can’t go wrong. It’s poetic, thoughtful, emotional, philosophical, and sits at the tippy top of my list of favourite books.


Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind

10 stars

I have the entire series of Terry Goodkinds and hopefully will get the Nicci chronicles soon enough. Terry Goodkind is by far my favourite author. I absolutely love the series and his writing as a whole! not only is it beautifully written with immense descriptions, but also a captivating story line with believable and connectable characters. so many genres are involved in this series with high adventure and intense action,even some horror compelling romance that'll make you stay up all night. taking real life dilemmas and helping to solve them through the wizards rules. " People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they're afraid it might be true. Peoples' heads are full of knowledge, facts and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool." An example of the wizards first rule. This can be demonstrated in real life as well! basically Goodkind is an absolutely amazing writer and I would recommend to anyone who is old enough as there is some graphic scenes but definitely worth it!!!


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

10 stars

I found this book really interesting, thrilling and action-packed. The book is page-turning, absorbing, fast-paced, and adventurous, and I often found myself sneaking them under the sheets along with a flashlight. I think that they should have included a bit more about Gale because they never added a scene with him in it. But when I watched the movie it was not at all how I imagined it to be. I think that the book is better that the movie. The book includes all of the details and every thought that every character is thinking. At the part when Haymitch talks in Katniss’s head is really badly filmed in the movies. I love how Katniss is a rebel that does not support the Capitol. This book changed my perspective about life and makes me appreciate that I was not forced to enter the Hunger Games.


Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

10 stars

I love this book. Great description. Dramatised in parts where needed and extremely upsetting and worrying sometimes. Michael seems real- his story seems real and this is why this book is one of my favourites. Michael Morpurgo is extremely talented and knows how to please his readers.


The Stand by Stephen King

10 stars

I was 11 years old the first time I read The Stand. I had read several other Stephen King books before, and was already on my way to becoming a Stephen King superfan. His books have a tendency to start out slow and then pick up as you read. The opposite could be said for this one, as the flu is sprung on you practically from the start. King connects the dots exceptionally well when describing how the flu could spread from a military base in California first to a small town in Texas then to the entire world. It seamlessly transitions from one character to another, giving insight into each one's strengths and liabilities. For instance, Stewart Redmond's loyalty for his friends, yet his feelings of not being strong enough to be a leader. The ending was a little blasé, but it makes sense in a way. The three men who went to Las Vegas brought God with them to a Godless place. It was their faith that let God finally deal with Flagg and his army. All in all, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who not only like horror and fantasy books, but just good stories. I'd just have to warn them about the length and recommend an eBook copy.


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