Featured reader reviews: Page 9

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.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

3 stars

When I finished the book, I was really surprised to find that the book had an editor, much less an agent. Frequently throughout the story, Malerman spood feeds, nay force feeds the story through exposition rather than simply showing us the action in situ. I realize that some of this, is a consequence of the flashback narrative, but that doesn't excuse it completely, as the book sometimes chooses to play out past scenes as though they were actually happening. It's amateurish, and I had to double check the price to make sure I didn't buy a self-published book, which I would have reviewed more gently. Editors are expensive, but given that I paid the same for this I have for books by Jim Butcher, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman I considered a waste of time and money.

Maurice
USA

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

I am a twelve year old reading the book for homework given to me by school. I am currentley on the fourth chapter of the book and I can't stop reading it! Each chapter is beautifully written and the storyline is amazing! This is a book that when you get to the end you will remember all the characters and the story and it will leave you wanting more! I highley recommend this book to anyone willing for an exciting adventure with some of Tolkien's best work!

Juliet
England

Dead Men Naked by Dario Cannizzaro

9 stars

I have to say I was intrigued by the cover and expected a light-hearted novel; while I wasn't disappointed, Dead Men Naked is so much more! Louis, the main character, is an everyday hero and his take on the events that unfold is priceless. While the story is fast-paced and entertaining, the writing is almost poetry-in-prose and the philosophical digressions are challenging and interesting. I liked the style (it reminded me of Cormac McCarthy in some parts!) as it was literary but not pretentious. I am struggling to define this into a particular genre - is it fantasy? Magical realism? Don't know. It reminds me of the style of Indiana Jones or the Goonies, where out-of-this-world happenings seep into reality seamlessly. After all, this book is a reflection on mortality, but it is done so gently and poetically that you don't even realise the deep topics you're actually touching. I liked the ending, satisfying and hopeful, even if totally unexpected. I hope to read more from this author!

Adam
UK

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

10 stars

The characters are unique and vivid. I've never cared so much for fictional characters. Joshua, Sister, Swan, Paul, Leona, and Artie were such lovable characters. The best post apocalyptic book I have read, and I've read a ton.

Kathryn
United States

House Of Chains by Steven Erikson

8 stars

It has been a while since I read Memories of Ice. Baffled and impressed, I was left in awe, and at the same time eager and afraid to go on. Then, years passed, and Erikson's super-huge-chaotic-epic-archeo-fantasy universe called me again. In the interval, I matured as a reader. I learned a few things. And I am now more inclined to forgive Erikson's wanderings and clever, frustration-generating ways of telling his story. Actually I learned that there is nothing to forgive - all is to take, everything is to embrace in this wild, sprawling story. House of Chains is an achievement. In giving us something we did not expect. More closely focused than Memories of Ice, this return to Seven-Cities brings a slightly different tone to the series. It's relying more on suggestion than before, and Erikson is trying to do a lot of different things at once - stylistically, character-wise, etc. - and somehow... he's succeeding. The storylines unveil themselves quickly - no time to lose after a quarter of the book being spent (quite brilliantly) on Karsa Orlong's story. Then, Erikson offers us (again) a layered and textured tapestry of events, some small, intimate or mysterious, other grand - though don't expect an epic like the previous book. No, this one's about something else. What? Hard to tell. Finding peace. Finding one's own way. Finding balance.

Raphaƫl
France

The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

10 stars

Zelazny is incredibly inconsistent with his metaphors and descriptions. There are times when it reads like high poetry; there are times where it reads like the a joke from that vulgar ass at the bar; there are other times when it reads like fantasy, and others where it's more science fiction. It's almost as if Zelazny spent half his time writing a book and crafting a story, and with the other half he had contracted a disease where he'd grow wild hares and he'd follow the damnable things to their (logical and illogical) conclusions. Consequently, his books are a real kick in the pants to read. I found the shadow shifting sequences extremely interesting. The concepts that he wielded were phenomenal in scope, even if they were regrettably not explained as well as one might hope. What is the exact relationship between the Unicorn and the Serpent. Did the Unicorn predate the pattern? If Fiona has ten toes, which one is her favorite? My only complaint is that a few of the books in that series read a bit like an acid trip.

Jon
US

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

Excellent. I am actually truly amazed at some of the reviews on here, calling into question Rothfuss' use of prose and language?! He is an excellent storyteller and his use of language is engaging, poetic, rhythmic and easy to soak in. The main character many people forget is a boy, an exceptional boy, who early on is established as a quick study who rarely repeats mistakes and has a wisdom that makes him seem older than he is. And he seems to have the best memory I'll grant that. So people who don't like that he excels at everything, I find only half true, he excels at things he puts his sharp mind to, but he still only has the understanding of an adolescent, and the temper too, both of which are key realistic character traits, recurring throughout the story. The first book reminded me of the Harry Potter series, except where the magic actually makes sense as it has 'scientific-esque' theory behind it (which the lack of magic and societal explanation and overdose of 'convenience' was my biggest bug bear of the Potter series). I for one could not put these books down, I laughed out loud many times at characters being themselves and coming fools of situations, and It does use many storytelling stereotypes (like girls falling for him, him being the best (almost like being 'the one') but the story is so fluidly and believably told, you don't really realise until you look back. Utterly refreshing and I cannot praise these books enough.

Dave
UK

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

8 stars

Bitten is a story about a female character trying to forget her past. Which cannot be nipped in the bud as the bud as already been nipped. Literally, by a werewolf. What makes this book interesting is that Elena is the only surviving female werewolf. To date, no female has ever been born a werewolf and no female has ever survived the change. Which makes her a commodity. Awkward for a women who is just trying to pretend that she is a normal human. Once the story rolls on, we find that Elena was betrayed and the hiding makes sense. Unfortunately, this is where the book starts to get predicable. It also fits oddly with the introduction of the character, as Elena just drifts back into her old life that she was trying to escape. I did like the writing of this book, but the inconsistency of the main character struck me as strange. This did not stop me from reading all the Women of the Other World series. As the series develops, Elena move on to be a more independent character. Overall, this book is an 8 as a paranormal romance with a werewolf thriller backstory.

Lauren
United States

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

6 stars

Reasons to read this book: 1) you are newcomer to vampires or 2) are between the ages of 12-17. Twilight is to vampire lore as fairytales are to Grimm's tales. Far from the real, abet mythological, truth. This is a land not far away from our reality, where vampire's roam about not dying in the sun, but sparkle like a diamond. They live among us hiding in plain sight, avoiding bright spots? The main protagonists of the books are smitten in awkward teenage love. One confused about the other's strange behavior. The other worried about prohibited interspecies co-mingling and associated other issues. This book devolves into an emotionally abusive rollercoaster. Unless you really like drama, the following books are better for newcomers to vampire lore: Robin McKinley's Sunshine, PC Cast's Marked, or Darren Shaw's Cirque de Freak. Overall, when I was a teenager, I read this and never thought about it again. I'll give it a 6 for some creativity about the lore, but only a 6 because of the plot line.

Lauren
United States

The Children Of Hurin by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

I had been wanting to read this book since a while and when I saw a library had it, I was extremely happy. I was so excited while readingI had to close the book for a few seconds every now and then to just calm the sheer joy I was having reading and get into the more serious mood of the book. As you can tell, I was already a Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fan before, so I can't tell you if you will like it if you have never read Tolkien before. However, I think you might truly like it anyway, since it stand on its own and is not obviously linked with LotR and tH : it is set in the first age in Beleriand, a suken part of Middle-Earth by the third age when those two others books take place. I was a mild fan of Tolkien before, but this book really made me appreciate and understand his work better. I had already tried to read the Silmarillion twice but reading Children of Hurin made me went to try again, I think it might a really good gateway to the Silmarilliom, as it is between this book and the Lord of the Rings in term of writting style. P.S: I was going to give it a 8 or 9 but because of Ollie, I am giving this a 10 to raise the rating, because this is not a 6 ! I reccomend it.

Alma
England

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