Featured reader reviews: Page 2

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

I love this book! I think I've read it about five times. It's so moving but it's also not too heavy. Terry Pratchett manages to make even serious issues really funny. The characters are very well rounded and their flaws make them seem real. I think the best thing is watching how the characters change throughout the book. I'd recommend this to anyone.

Maya
England

Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead

10 stars

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Carefully and eloquently written, reflecting history and giving a great new feel to the already amazing story of the Island of the Mighty.

Melissa
UK

Salvation Lost by Peter F Hamilton

8 stars

Let me preface this by including a bit of background. Ever since I read the Reality Dysfunction series (when it was published in six books instead of three, IIRC (correct me if my brain cells are deserting me again), Hamilton moved into what has to be the top slot in my own personal pantheon of Sci-Fi books, authors, and legends (stories). I was reading Hamilton when his early book photos were denoting a much more, shall we say, "diminutive" character. In fact, the current physical stature of Hamilton could well be said to have absorbed anywhere from three to perhaps as many as five of the earlier versions of Hamilton, by what process I cannot say, but I have a strong suspicion that Hamilton himself understands enough of the current situation to be able to explain it completely. Be that as it may or it might, I bring this fact to attention only because in my earliest days of reading Hamilton I recall comparing said photos and earnestly thinking one of them surely must be doctored and therefore possibly (likely?) inauthentic. Which was which among them was not important, really, but I confess having a bit of fun with the various permutations and myriad possibilities such analyses produced! (Enough about me.) Salvation Lost, while a rather obvious play on John Milton, perhaps, was to be the book in the series that would earnestly begin advancing the central plot promised in Salvation (elements throughout both Salvation and Salvation Lost, actually, assure us in many ways of the actual story he intends to unfold before us.) He dangles the promise of the story to come like an irresistible, juicy, tempting fruit exotica' kept only millimeters from us, relentlessly driving us mad with desire! I make this observation in this particular, perhaps even overblown manner, because the first book in the series, Salvation, itself failed to actually advance the plot to any satisfying degree. In Salvation, the plot in the very first chapter begins crackling with potentials, moving swiftly along, robust and bursting with promise! It was with real joy and anticipation that I was convinced I was about to be hurled into one of the best (and best written) Sci-Fi alien invasion/first contact romps & space operas yet--written in the inimitable style of Peter F. Hamilton! Alas, such was not to be the case! Like a Star Trek NG warp drive engine nacelle winding steadily up through increasingly audible frequencies, churning with howling, rotary turbining force vectors sounding more like an overloading chain-reaction device preparing to blast itself into oblivion--suddenly--abruptly--the promising plot simply deflates, and for the time being, dies on the vine! Frozen, after kicking off so masterfully in chapter 1, and for all intents and purposes--dead. We then more or less slog though several chapters of background and filler materials concerning many things other than the actual plot elements kicked off so well in the first chapter! The good news is that in Salvation's last chapter--you guessed it--the plot resumes for a few cliff-hanging pages--Salvation Lost briefly picks up the plot again and rinses and repeats the formula used in Salvation. I'm still giving Salvation Lost an 8--same thing I would give Salvation--and for the same reason! The potential of the third volume here is enormous! If BK #3 stays present tense, or thereabouts, and remains fixed to an intricate, ever-involving/evolving and unfolding plot--the real core of the whole tale--it could be a masterpiece! The teenybopper love stories and whatnot in Salvation Lost I could do without--the entire story could do without--the sexual relationships were immature and superficial. I really do not know what Peter was thinking there--his other works (I've read all of his books--still own most of them) simply radiate "An adult lives here!" Here's hoping the final book is so good that I can go back and give the trilogy a solid 10!

Walt Ceevers
USA

Divergent by Veronica Roth

10 stars

My Favourite book... OF ALL TIME! Such a good read that's packed with action. I would most definitely recommend it for any Hunger Games lovers. I absolutely loved it. A real page turner! I genuinely could not put it down! Veronica Roth is an incredible writer who helps you to really engage with the characters. The characters felt so real to me and I really felt like I built up a relationship with them. If you are going to watch the film I would recommend reading the book first so that you have a better understanding. Tris is such a brave and strong-minded character! The best fiction trilogy I've ever read.

Erin-Hope
Uk

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

8 stars

Considering a debut novel, this is an brilliant piece of work. The story spins around the life of an exceptionally talented magician. She was set up by a her father and a mysterious man in a “game“, which neither she nor her opponent - an equally talented illusionist -could get to know the “true” rule. In the beginning, the night circus was established primarily for their competition. It has soon become a wonder, a desire, a peculiar memory for the children and even the so-called adult ‘dreamers’. In the end, for certain reasons, their winning or losing can decide the future if circus. They need to figure out the true rule of the exhausting game, how to end it and to find a saviour for their beloved circus, The first thing I like is the storytelling, which is enchanting so as not to let you put the book down easily. There are two story lines running at different time points then converging perfectly naturally. The second thing is the character building, especially the development of the protagonists from childhood to adulthood and the villainy of those who are too complacent about their intellectual/magical prowess. The thing I absolutely adore is the “night circus” - full of recreational activities, spectacular performances and, most impressively, exquisite craftwork. Especially, the creation of the midnight pendulum clock is way beyond my imagination (I would spend a fortune to have that clock honestly). There is not much twist and turn to my liking, however. And the protagonists roles were a bit “diluted” towards the end. Some points of the plot is quite conventional. Overall, it’s worth giving it a try. The theme is classic magic but it has its very own colour.

Nhu Tran
Vietnam

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

10 stars

Neil Gaiman is unquestionably an “unclassifiable” writer. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - the whole story is lyrical, just like the name itself. I reckon its genre might as well be categorised as magical realism. It recites the nightmare world of a boy, which only relives vividly when he is standing by “the ocean at the end of the lane“. How can something as small as a lane can end with an ocean, right? But that’s the point for the readers to find out. Through his writing, the characters are as if illustrated right in front of me, really. The horrific elements are just right, enough to jumble up your mind a bit, but surely not to the point of upsetting you. Such horrible imagination is the embodiment of childhood fear and obsession, sometimes it makes me doubt if Neil has put a touch of his personal true story there. The story ends in a way that makes me wonder if everything happened to the boy was real, or it was just imagination at all. It’s a beautifully haunting ending!

Nhu Tran
Vietnam

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

9 stars

I'm not really a fan of dark fantasy but this book is so captivating! At first, I went for the book simply to know the style of Stephen King (this is my first read of King's by the way), but then I binged the book in one day. The pace of the storytelling is not hectic nor rushing yet so engrossing. The storyline is presented at many different time points but not puzzling at all. King's way of writing casts on my mind a lot of possible scenarios, doubts, guessings,... Even in the end, the true self of some characters, and even the protagonist still appears somewhat mysterious to me. Given that 'time' is a very classic element of fantasy genre, King has given it a touch of his own 'magic'. It becomes unique, very 'StephenKing', indescribable just like the eerie feeling when one confronts 'the man in black'. In brief, this is a brilliant piece of work! I personally think King was quite 'gentle' in writing this book, regarding the badge 'dark fantasy': although sometimes, the story was even darker than darkness, King still spared us a beam of light (far ahead).

Nhu Tran
Vietnam

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

10 stars

This is the best YA fantasy book of all time, it's been so long but still I can't find a way out of this. The characters were amazing and just everything in all together was full on amazing experience reading this. Especially Its been three years or so I read this book for the first time, but still can't find an characters who is as cool as kaz brekker, in any other fantasy books.

Shizirururu
INDIA

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

9 stars

The book is incredible. The world building is so creative and in depth that you feel like you could walk out of your front door into their world. The characters are also incredibly real, with deep emotions and drives. The only complaints I have with the story is that, like the second book the ending feels strangely rushed. Along with that, the prophecy aspect of the story does not seem to have been fleshed out enough. Lastly, I would warn that it is less Harry Potter and more LOTR in terms of certain parts of the pacing, not bad but keep that in mind. To go along with the last point, the timeline is a little bit non-linear and the cast is so big and diverse that you do have keep your wits about you, but over all this book is simply genus.

An Onymous
United States

The Stand by Stephen King

10 stars

I eventually started to believe that Stephen King was cranking books out too quickly, which meant, at least to my eyes, a drop in quality, but I read "The Stand" when I was a teenager and was completely blown away by the sheer scope of the thing. To me, there are three true Stephen King masterpieces -- "The Stand," for which the subsequent miniseries was wonderful, "Carrie," the movie for which I saw when I was 16 and which scared the Bejesus out of me in the final scene, and "Salem's Lot," which made me sleep with the lights on for about two weeks. Thank you for the author's very interesting review of "The Stand." I guess I'll have to read the book again.

Karlis
Latvia

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