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.

The Deverry Cycle by Katharine Kerr

10 stars

This is hands down my favorite series of any genre. It's intelligent, deep, wise, fun, well-written, brilliant world-building and characters that got inside my heart and stayed there. It's like the old druid teaching tales - not just a story- it offers principles to live by, and takes you on a journey that changes how you think about the world. In particular it holds much wisdom about how patterns repeat themselves in relationships and through time.


The Ritual by Adam Nevill

10 stars

The Ritual was an amazing book to read, I sometimes struggle getting into a story but from the first page I read the first 20 chapters in the blink of an eye. In my opinion it never got too slow and the fast pace was refreshing compared to the stories I had been reading before. Its especially fun to read when spending a week camping in the mountains... I can't look at a tree the same way again. Now Apartment 16 is next on my bucket list.


Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker

9 stars

The book is a fun, quick read. You can't help liking the lying, cheating, conniving, industrious, resourceful, philandering, teetotal coward that is Orhan. I would recommend this as the sort of book you can get into lying on a beach, commuting to work, bedtime wind-down reading or simply something to curl up with and laugh at for fun. It's a great read and an observation on leadership in challenging environments where vested interests and pig ignorance all conspire against your deep seated and illogical loyalty to those that treat you like chattel. Orhan's end to the tale was ... unexpected, and frustrating in many ways as you come to be invested in him and what happens to the thankless, feuding citizens he's determined to protect beyond the details alluded to and sketched out. This said, there is technically scope for a sequel - I'd love to see something like "Seventeen Ways To Build A Bridge Under Enemy Fire (and have fun doing so)" - If 'K J Parker' is reading this - you can have that title or any derivative therein - just as long as you give us a sequel of Orhan and the Imperial Regiment of Engineers.

England, UK

Boneland by Alan Garner

10 stars

Thanks to everyone who has reviewed Boneland'. As a teacher I have introduced my junior school classes to Alan Garner's writing with 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. and I have come to love these boohs. @I see 'Elidor' and 'The Owl Service - both of which I bought and read in hardback as soon as they were published. I see thyese and @boneland' as inhabiting a different world from the original two Weirdstone' novels. Like John Rowe Townsend with 'The Intruder, a reader canb become obsessed, in the best sense of the word, and visit their locations as I have. How wonderful when a writer achieves this! I was lucky to have friends living on t he Edge, who took me round the places in the books, 'The Moon of Gomrath' being my favourite. I will always treasure the awesome experience of standing on the eastern slopes of Alderley Edge and on the Beacon after midnight under a brilliant wintry full moon with ice creaking underfoot, gazing at the gently moonlit Pennines trough the trees. We could feel as if the characters were real and I will ever forget that. Thanks to Robinb and Judy and my college friends who formed our Weirdstone party. And thanks, Alan Garner. Whatever you touch turns to gold for your readers .I enjoyed Boneland, but for me – and I’m 77 now – the story was complete by the end of Gomrath.


The Road by Cormac McCarthy

10 stars

Great example of the ends we will go to for the love of our children, the hope for a child and the innocence of youth despite all adversity. We want the best for our kids and try and protect them from the worst. What do you do when you can't shield them from the worst, when human nature- the need for survival steals all other emotions and turns you into a monster? Are you still good? Are you a monster? How do you live with yourself and instill morals or a purpose when your life is survival and fear? Yet a child is still inherently good. Heavy read

United States

The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien

8 stars

A masterclass in world-building, 'The Silmarillion' is a seminal work of fantasy, and yet one that is not for the casual reader. It's clear that Tolkien poured all the wealth of his astounding imagination and passion into this project, and so for all that it strikes you as enormously impressive. Unfortunately, though, this biblical epic loses some of the deceptively simple beauty of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings', with the labyrinthine prose likely to throw some readers (as it certainly did me) into tedium. If you can hobble through the endless names and twisting dynasties, however, then I'm happy to report that satisfaction is the reward.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Children Of Hurin by JRR Tolkien

10 stars

It may cover material/storyline points that were already written in the Silmarillion, but as someone who has read both versions many, many times, the Children of Húrin book is so, so much more than a restatement. It’s easier to read than the Silmarillion, despite the fact that it still has quite a bit of geography and genealogy, and it moves me so deeply that every time I read it I have to stop in the middle, put the book down, and cry on the living room floor. If you like to suffer in a good way, read this book— I can’t recommend it enough.


It by Stephen King

9 stars

This book is a real commitment. I just finished reading it, and I feel exhausted by it. I began it about 7 months ago and have been thoughtfully averaging about 50 pages a week. I give it 9 stars out of 10. I feel like I know this fictional town, and like I could draw a map of it. I'll miss it I think.


Kurintor Nyusi by Aaron Michael Hall

10 stars

I’m rapidly becoming a fan of fantasy author Aaron-Michael Hall. I was intrigued by her Rise of Nazil series, which was a complex yet fast-moving “epic fantasy” with great dialog, amazing characters, and lots of twists and turns to the plot. Her latest novel, Kurintor Nyusi, is her best so far. One of the things that I really enjoy about Hall’s stories is the complexity of the characters. The “good guys” are good, but not perfect. They have human failings and sometimes make bad choices. The “bad guys” aren’t good, but the motivations behind their actions are revealed in a way that forces the reader to empathize. The cover art of Kurintor teases, “It wasn’t prophesy, destiny, or birthright. It was choice!” and as Hall tells the story, the choices themselves and the consequences of the choices intertwine for all of the characters, good and bad, mortal and divine. Another enjoyable aspect of Hall’s characters is they are definitely not cookie-cutter or predictable. For instance, the protagonist Nurisha is the daughter of the village smith. Oh, by the way, she’s “bad-to-the-bone” with mad skilz in archery and swordsmanship, but a loyal and obedient daughter and dedicated to her promised husband-to-be. That’s just the surface, as the story unfolds the character’s tapestry is woven into greater detail and rich complexity. And that’s true of all the characters. Aaron-Michael Hall again displays her deft talent for world-building as fantasy enthusiasts expect. In Kurintor, there are multiple kingdoms and priestly castes and original mythologies. The world-building is only there as far as necessary to support the plot. Hall does not get bogged down in unnecessary and distracting detail. A word of warning, if this is your introduction to this author: do not skim. Learn the character and place names and connections as they come up, because Hall does not fill in the gaps all at once. While there is a summary of the names at the end of the book, a patient reader will certainly enjoy the process of making the connections and resolving the mysteries as the plot unfolds. Hall challenges the reader to stay involved, and rewards the reader with a very enjoyable and thought-provoking story

United States

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

10 stars

I absolutely LOVE this book. It is unlike any I have ever read before. It resonates with me in a way I really wasn't expecting, and I'm kind of scared hiw much I relate with Auri. The book does nearly nothing that a normal story is supposed to; there is no real plot, no characters aside from Auri, no dialouge, and one of the most exiting moments in the book is those famous eight pages where ahe makes SOAP. It is not for everyone, that is, not everyone ia going to like it. But you should absolutely read it. Because despite the lack of plot and characters, this is a masterpeice, in my opinion. Hell, I'd say that it is a masterpeice BECAUSE of that. It is a story about a cracked and broken girl trying to suvive in a world where she is all alone. It is about names, and strange words. It is a bit of fresh air, a bit of chaos in a world where everything is supposed to be this and that, ordered, structured, and free, somehow. If you would like to see the world from Auris perspective, and if you like strange and interesting stories, then this book is defenitly for you.


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