Featured reader reviews: Page 4

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.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

Best book I have ever read! I have read many fantasy books and I have a unique imagination of how I think but the creatures and lands of this book is beyond the mind of a mere mortal. J.R.R. Tolkien is truly the best writer when it comes to fantasy books. Never turn down this book for it will open up many paths in your mind and you will discover creatures you never thought could be thought of. I recommend this book to all ages that can read and that includes 5 or even 4 year olds. It has been greatly written and is practically the father of all fantasy books.

Fawn
The UnderWorld

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

10 stars

The Ocean at the End of The Lane is, I think, Gaiman's most personal novel to date. A hauntingly beautiful tale of a seven year old boy and his brush with the nightmare world that lives just below the surface of reality, this is the type of book that will stay with you for ages after you have finished it. The protagonist revisits his old childhood haunts after a funeral and finds himself remembering a half-forgotten episode from his childhood. We meet the Hempstocks, three women (well, a girl and two women who are obvious representations of the Maid, Mother, Crone triple goddess beloved of our pagan ancestors) who seem to live out of time, yet are as old, if not older than time itself. There is a death which sets off a chain reaction of events with our seven year old hero at the centre. It is a simple story of sacrifice and the way an innocent action can unleash a whirlwind of consequences. The prose has a dreamlike, even nightmare quality to it at times, as the things that live on the shadowy borders of our imaginations come rushing in. Gaiman has the ability to tell the tale through a young boy's eyes and make it work. It is wonderful writing. I used to say that American Gods was his masterpiece. I think he has just surpassed himself. Very highly recommended.

David
United Kingdom

Boneland by Alan Garner

9 stars

As a child I read, and loved, Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen and its sequel The Moon of Gomrath. Many thought there should have been a third book, completing the stories, but Garner resisted and moved on to books aimed at older children and adults. I reread Stone and Moon a couple of years ago and they were as good as I remembered. Wonderful fantasies set in and around Alderley Edge in Cheshire. So when I discovered that Garner had finally written a third book in the series I didn't know what to expect. A children's book in the same vein? Or something else? What we get is a concise novel about loss and grief, about blame and self-doubt, about mystery and myth. This is not a children's book, but rather a book for the adults who remember the first two books. It is by turns oblique, poetic, strange and cathartic. Colin Whisterfield, the boy protagonist of the first two books is all grown up, a professor no less, who works at a radio telescope. He is brilliant and troubled with mounting psychological problems caused by a childhood trauma that means he can remember nothing before the age of 13. Living alone in a hut in a quarry by the Edge, Colin is eventually forced to seek the help of psychologist Meg, who, with several doses of tough love, makes him confront his greatest fears and his deep sense of loss. The tone of this book is very different. Mixing poetic, mythic passages of prose that read like a description of a dream, with vivid descriptions of the broken Colin, Garner creates a story that fills in some of the blanks and ties up some of the loose ends left at the end of The Moon of Gomrath. The twist at the end is well handled, the finale both moving and satisfying. Alan Garner is one of our greatest, and probably most underrated, writers and this is a fine example of his work and a fitting end to the Weirdstone trilogy. Bravo sir, bravo.

David
United Kingdom

Redemption's Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky

8 stars

An excellent first novel in the "After the War" shared world series from Solaris Books. Author Adrian Tchaikovsky introduces us to a fantasy world where the big battles are over, the great Evil has been defeated and....what next? This is a tale of aftermath, of a world trying to put itself back together after ten years of brutal warfare. And as for the heroes who defeated the big baddie.....what now for them? Does a world need heroes when all it wants is to heal? Tchaikovsky's heroine, Celestaine, helped to defeat The Kinslayer, one of the immortal Guardians who roam the world, with the help of two of the Yorughan sent to torture and kill her. Now she seeks to make amends for what The Kinslayer did to the noble Aethani, winged humanoids of great sophistication who were brutally cast down, wings clipped, their lands destroyed. She and her companions seek the Kinslayer's crown, to use its power to heal the Aethani. But someone else also seeks it and so begins a long chase through the broken world into the Unredeemed Lands where nightmare creatures still roam the earth. There are brutal action scenes alongside moments of real humour and deep philosophical questions about the nature of war, of vengeance, of the cost of peace and the sacrifices to be made to remake a world. Above all, its a great read. The pace is swift, the characters well drawn and the dialogue well written. The next book is by Justina Robson and carries on the story with new characters and settings, so I look forward to reading that one too. I hope Tchaikovsky returns to this tale at some point though, because he's really very good at this.

David
United Kingdom

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

10 stars

One of my all time favourite books. The story is spellbinding and will rob you of sleep as you turn the pages. If you like Tigana , then you should definitely read a song for arbonne.

Joanne
Canada

King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist

2 stars

As an avid Raymond E Feist fan in my teens, I was dismayed by Firemane. The narrator kept telling us the same key points every couple of pages, which besides being annoying for the reader, sucks up good oxygen that could have been used to flesh out details about culture / character / history etc. I struggled to maintain attention because of this. Not to mention Hatu and the other major characters lacked depth. I couldn't even finish the book and have resigned it to the recycling bin. I know this seems extreme, however for someone of Raymond E Feist's amazing imagination and experience this is a massive let down to fans. In contrast, I'm re-reading Magician. I struggled with the first half - particularly the Tolkeinesk / folklore elements of elves and dwarves, who lack mystique and magic. What saves this is Tomas and his regression to the memories of Ashen Sugar. What an interesting and complex psychological narrative Feist spins here. I agree with an earlier reviewer who said the story - with better characters and less condescending & repetitive narrative descriptions - could have been saved with a deft editorial touch.

Joanne
Australia

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

10 stars

I really liked this book because it is based on greek mythology, which i like a lot and because of its unpredictible plot. In my opinion it is the Best fantastic book ever. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy greek mythology. This story isn't only for children and teenagers. I think adults would be crazy about this book after reading it. So people of all ages, don't ignore this book if you see it in a bookshop - just buy it. You'll definetly like it!

Denis
Russia

Kurintor Nyusi by Aaron Michael Hall

9 stars

Kurintor Nyusi is one of the most exciting and refreshing books I've read in a long time. The plot was not the usual fantasy fare, the world not like the usual worlds you find in the genre, and the characters...well, it was the characters that made this tale a pure pleasure to read. The author has created something very unique, and this is sure to be an award-winning story. Through the eyes of these believable and well-portrayed characters, the reader is treated to a wonderfully enthralling experience, seeing the world through their eyes and coming to care for each and every one of them. We feel their emotions, share in their pains and joys. Even the antagonists. Nurisha, Xavion, Qaradan, Zuri, Alyelu and so many more. Yet, while there are plenty of characters, I did not feel overwhelmed at any time while reading this book. This is fantasy as it was meant to be, not focused on creatures and landscapes, or even on the events, but on the people who live them, and we get to experience it all right along with them. I cannot say enough about how well-written this story is. This is an author all fantasy fans should keep their eyes on, and I highly recommend reading Kurintor Nyusi. I am anxiously awaiting the next book, and if this book is any indicator, the next will be magnificent!

Tom
USA

The Machine Stops by EM Forster

10 stars

In one of my elective classes at University we were assigned a book that mentioned "The Machine Stops" briefly. I was so intrigued by the quotes that I went looking for this short story and I do not regret it at all. This story perfectly captures the extreme of full reliance on technology and machines for every form of resource and the changes it creates in humanity. The fact that this entails for a large admiration for something that humans created is insane and will of course end poorly. I enjoyed Forster's story and the thought provoking features it holds.

Serena
USA

Animal Farm by George Orwell

10 stars

This is the greatest satire of the darker face of modern history which highlights deep issues about trust, betrayal, tyranny and corruption. Orwell's chilling fable is remarkably accurate and gives is one of the best allegories out there to read. It is a book worth reading by anyone who understands its context and structure. This 94-page book is the best book I have ever read and I am glad I read it! A MUST READ!!!!!!

Rads
United Kingdom

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