Featured reader reviews: Page 8

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.

Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes

9 stars

I started reading Seve Blades in Black on a routine lunch-break visit to my local book-store. It had its hooks in me from the first page. I still couldn't bring myself to buy it as I had a ton of unread books at home. Next day, I came back and continued reading. Stopped after a few pages, promising myself this book would the first I'd buy once I was through with my other books. Didn't help - I bought it a couple of days later and burned through it in a few days. If you like a fast-paced, gritty, Joe-Abercrombie-type of story - though Sam Sykes defenitely has his own tone of voice - with more depth than initially apparent, Seven Blades in Black is your book.


High Rise by JG Ballard

9 stars

An absolutely amazing voyage of the human condition and the impersonal power of concrete and steel. This is a great book that has helped me see deeper into my own writing and should be read by anyone that enjoys the macabre and dystopia.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

10 stars

This book was amazing. Definitely one of the most gripping novels I have read. The characters are unique and flawed, each with different struggles and detailed backstories, yet with incredible and realistic character arcs. The world building is masterful, and the plot twists are amazing, but it the characters that really drive this novel. It was given to me for my birthday, and having not previously read any of Bardugo's other works, I was thrown into the GrishaVerse with no prior knowledge, however became easily hooked into this intricate world. The sequel is just as good, if not better. Each characters individual struggle is unique and real, and the characters are so well fleshed out. Also, bit of LGBT+ representation, which I believe to be great representation, as well as characters of colour, and differing nationalities. So much praise for this novel!!!! Highly recommend this to anyone who is interested, as it is a captivating, realistic, fantastical novel with detailed characters, a intricate world and an incredible plot.


It by Stephen King

6 stars

The span of emotions regarding this work by Stephan King is very interesting. I found the book a bit of a disappointment. Having read several of his books before and hearing great praise for IT, I downloaded the book with high hopes. The length of the book was an instant surprise, and as I later found out, a serious drawback. Yes, I belong to the group of readers who think that the book is loaded with much too many stories, narratives, characters and detail. So many that the names, places and times just get lost in the flood. Almost all of them are well written and interesting in their own right, but after a while, it becomes too much and irksome. Perhaps even more disappointing were the multiple climaxes at the end. So many things and characters that were endlessly built up throughout the book sort of fizzled out without much explanation, or detail, just when they were most expected. The list of characters in this respect is pretty long, but I won't mention them for sake of not spoiling things for new readers. I can't say I was shocked by the bit about the interaction between the children towards the end, but I truly don't get it, or why it was important. In summary, while I am not sorry I spent the time to read all of it, King has written better books.


Charlotte's Web by EB White

8 stars

I loved the review and found it so amusing at parts the book was an absolute blast and I am not the type of person known for reading. I love the beautiful drawings incorporated with the creative way E.B White words the whole story and then strings it together with creative and imaginative twists. The story really gets you to step inside Wilbur's [the pigs] shoes. The story gets you to really understand the everyday life of a pig. The story also gets you to see how phenomenal the spiders web is. You would think that this outstanding book would be forgotten because of the 21st century books, but it holds its own and is even better and informative than the books now!


Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

10 stars

An impeccable book that is so amazing that I cannot stop reading it! Michael Morpurgo is an old man, no offence, but he really makes this book all adventurous and full of excitement! I would recommend this book to anyone of all ages.

Callum Ridley
South Africa

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

9 stars

This is, in all honesty, a deeply compelling and wonderfully creative historical fiction novel masquerading as a sci-fi book. All the characters are remarkably human, the settings—though different from the usual—are very believable, and the story keeps you invested. Despite not having a “real” villain, the battle against the black death was more thrilling than many a story I’ve read that ends with a final epic battle. This story keeps you on your toes and is a really good read. It makes you feel things and learn things, and shows a great picture of many sides of humanity.

Adrian Cooke
United States of America

It by Stephen King

9 stars

A long episodic novel, at times exciting, that mostly moved at a reasonable pace just enough to keep me engaged throughout. There were a few lags due to long winded details mixed with philosophical insights that I thought were fillers, but they were well written so I still felt captivated by King's command of the narrative. My only gripe was near the end when the kids did something that ruined the coming of age aspect of their epic adventure. I don't know what King was thinking when he'd decided to include this weird interplay between the kids; maybe he thought that upping the craziness and absurdity would satisfy readers' expectations and jolt them out of boredom, ensuring readers that the book would end without a controversial bang...but it didn't do anything for me other than feeling cheated, disappointed, and disgusted. For this reason, I thought it cheapened the novel and prevented it from becoming a true literary classic.

United States

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

10 stars

The needle in a haystick "The Wierdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley" by Alan Garner is an amazing fantasy based on Congleton folklore. The main characters, Susan and Colin, are staying with their mother's nanny Bess. They decide to explore Alderley Edge and with no knowledge of the consequences wander off the elf road. Suddenly and irrationally cohorts of monsters, intent on kidnapping them rise from the mines and roam the countryside. This thrilling chase for "The Wierdstone of Brisingamen" is beautifully written. Garner has balanced vivid detail with heart stopping action creating a masterpiece. He manages to intertwine ordinary life in Congleton with the magic of mythical creatures like the 'Svarts' who are more than an old wives tale for Colin and Susan. I recommend this book for ages 11+. The slightly older reader will appreciate the subtleties of language and detailed second world Garner worked so hard to create. Throughout the entire book the author quietly promotes bravery and striving against the odds no matter how useless someone thinks you are. Unlike most characters in modern day fantasies, who tend to lean towards the genre 'chosen one' Susan and Colin walk straight into an adventure yet develop no powers other than those all children possess inside them. This makes for an interesting yet refreshing read.


Dracula by Bram Stoker

9 stars

This book is a true literary work, with stunning use of language to portray the fascinating romanticism of this gothic horror novel. To me this book was more about philosophical meanings of life and death, and the meaning of true friendship, loyalty, and love. Although sprinkled with several graphic horror scenes, this book was not written as some attempt solely to scare people in some shallow way. It has so much depth to it, and I found myself admiring Mina, a main character, for her courage and faith throughout the novel. Beautifully crafted, this novel pieces together diaries and letters in a way that keeps the reader engaged. The relationships these characters build with one another is very special. I felt I went in a time machine back to a place where people truly cared for one another and built intimate relationships based on true trust and friendships. I recommend this book for mature Christians, since a common theme seemed to be relying on God for strength and hope throughout the story.

United States

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