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Sean Barrs profile

Place of birth: UK
Now living: UK

3 favourite authors

3 favourite books

3 favourite films

Sean Barrs's 40 reviews

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (The Maddaddam Trilogy)

This is one of the most important and necessary novels written in the twenty-first century so far. It’s relevant, it’s powerful and it really is needed. Go read it!Margaret Atwood ended the world in Oryx and Crake. She presented a vision of t...

9.2/10

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A Ritual of Bone by Lee C Conley

First things first, if you don’t like violence and gore stop reading. This book won’t be for you. Don’t waste your time with it or my review. I will never try to convince you to read it because you won’t like it.However, if you do like violence this book might appeal to you. It’s basically about zombies in a ...

7.7/10

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The House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark (Empires of Dust)

Anna Smith Spark concludes her trilogy in a truly spectacular fashion; it is fast, violent and ferocious. ALL HAIL THE QUEEN OF GRIMDARK!The House of Sacrifice gets the ending it deserves. Marith gets the ending he deserves. I must admit, I was a little worried going into this because more often than not writers don’t end t...

9.3/10

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Empire of Grass by Tad Williams (Last King of Osten Ard)

Empire of Grass continues the epic story set in the massive world of Osten Ard. It’s fantasy at its finest because it is layered with so much history and lore. This is a world so detailed it could be real.The very best of fantasy isn’t plain and simple; it isn’t light verses dark: its people fighting for surviva...

9.0/10

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The Wolf's Call by Anthony Ryan (Raven's Blade)

Robin Hobb meets Joe Abercrombie in a story that delivers so many gut-wrenching blows. This is fantasy with a totally legendary feel; it’s epic in every regard and certainly something that needs to be added to your reading list.The best part for me was the villain. The Darkbalde is a rather enigmatic figure and his story is slowly r...

8.4/10

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Marik's Way by Nick Brown

Perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy comes a book that introduces the nicest guy in grimdark: Marik. He begins the book without even a sword. He lives in a cut-throat world of slavers, mercenaries and thugs; yet, for all that, he just wants to make an honest living. He doesn&rsquo...

8.5/10

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Circe by Madeline Miller

This is a beautiful book; it is flawless and intelligent. I do not have a single criticism for this fantastic piece of writing. I loved it!Circe chronicles the life of a lesser god. She is the daughter of the mighty God Helios, the living embodiment of the sun. She is born without any talents or powers. She exists ...

10.0/10

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The Ruthless by Peter Newman (Deathless)

The Ruthless is a fantastic sequel of epic proportions that promises to delight readers of the first book with its macabre and twisted nature.Sixteen years have passed, and political scheming still reigns supreme. Escaping death should be enough for these immortals but they only want more: they wish to dominate each other entirel...

8.8/10

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Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle)

“See my shadow changing,Stretching up and over me.Soften this old armor.Hoping I can clear the wayBy stepping through my shadow,Coming out the other side.Step into the shadow.Forty-six and two just ahead of me.”- Maynard James KeenanGather round...

9.2/10

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The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

“Light is the left hand of darknessand darkness the right hand of light.Two are one, life and death, lyingtogether like lovers in kemmer,like hands joined together,like the end and the way.” This was written in the sixties, though it feels like it was written ye...

9.0/10

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The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter (The Burning)

The Rage of Dragons is an African-inspired revenge fantasy novel. This is worthy of attention in and of itself, simply because fantasy is dominated by white male authors who write about white male characters.  Admittedly I enjoy reading such books, though it’s refreshing to see more diverse books appearing in the fantasy genr...

9.2/10

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Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle)

Jay Kristoff is an absolute master storyteller. This is such an exceedingly well-balanced novel in all its grandness. I expected some of the momentum to dwindle, as often is the case with the second book in a series, though this retained its sharp edge. And boy does it sting!He is not afraid to kill off characters. He is not afraid to des...

9.7/10

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle)

If the Harry Potter series and The Lies of Locke Lamora ever got together and decided to have a dark book baby, they would call it Nevernight. This is the sort of book I dream about reading. Only a fantasy expert could have written one this well. It’s exactly why authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Roth...

10.0/10

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The Fall of Gondolin by JRR Tolkien

I was delighted when I heard about the release of this book because in Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien erroneously stated that it was going to be the last restoration of his father’s work he undertook. He changed his mind. And I thank him for it because this is a glorious tale, showcasing much of Tolkien’s brill...

9.5/10

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The Seven by Peter Newman (The Vagrant Trilogy)

I am so impressed with this trilogy. It’s so hard to make fantasy stand out these days because the market is a crowded place; yet, despite all that, this is so unique and creative. It’s one of the most original fantasy trilogies I’ve read in the last ten years because it brings so many different elements together with such...

9.4/10

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The Malice by Peter Newman (The Vagrant Trilogy)

This is an awesome mash-up of fantasy, science-fiction and postapocalyptic fiction. It builds on the first book, The Vagrant, establishing a world that is far more complex and morally grey. And, in all honesty, I wish I’d read it sooner. I first read The Vagrant back in 2015 and was mesmerised b...

9.1/10

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Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker

This was so much fun. I could tell that K.J Parker had a real laugh when writing it. Orhan is a great character, and although he is hilariously out of his depth his keen mind allows him to pull through a rather tricky situation, though not without several awkward blunders. Orhan is an engineer, not a military man, and he finds h...

7.7/10

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Crowfall by Ed McDonald (The Raven’s Mark)

When facing duress for long periods of time, sanity can be fleeting. It’s no stretch of the imagination to see how prisoners, hostages, or fugitives can be driven toward poor decision-making when lives are at stake. If the stakes are raised to apocalyptic levels, then any form of predictive behavior becomes unreliable. Enter: Ryhalt Galhar...

8.3/10

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

As a huge Tolkien fan, and one who considers his writing to be the very best fantasy has to offer, I don’t often compare other books to his works (at least not in a positive way.) Simply because there is very rarely a good comparison to be made. Every great work of fantasy has felt somewhat shallow in contrast to the deep pool of imaginati...

9.8/10

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The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was an absolute master storyteller. His writing is creative and full of moments of pure bitter irony: he was an imaginative genius, nothing more nothing less. Bradbury picks the bones of society clean; he gnaws at them until he exposes the reality of the marrow beneath. Each story in here has a piece of wisdom ...

8.7/10

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Master of Sorrows by Justin Call (The Silent Gods)

A lot can happen in a few days. Just ask Ainnevog (just call him Annev), a deacon acolyte in the tiny, remote village of Chaenbalu. One minute, Annev is juggling duties at the Church with his mentor while training for his final shot at passing the grueling Avatar test. The next minute, he discovers he’s being hunted by a fallen evil god be...

9.0/10

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The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams (Last King of Osten Ard)

Tad Williams is a master, a true master of epic fantasy. I can only think of perhaps a handful of novels that are this well written in the genre. Firstly, it’s worth pointing out that I’ve not read Tad Williams’ original trilogy, but after this I feel like I ought to. I want to see more of this world. I ne...

9.5/10

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The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time)

The best thing about reading this series is the constant reminder of how long it is. As I read this, I frequently looked up at my Wheel of Time shelf, at the nine books I have yet to read in the series, which serve as a reminder that I’ve barely scratched the surface of this totally epic fantasy world. I have so much left to see. ...

8.2/10

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”The burning of books is such an effective tool for controlling the population, so the message of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is ...

9.2/10

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Fire and Blood by George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire Companion)

I have chosen to cast aside my frustrations over the long overdue Winds of Winter and to not let it affect my rating of this book. As annoyed as I am (and as annoyed as many of you are), I urge you to read and enjoy this for what it is. That's all we can do. And I surprised myself by writing these words because I honest...

9.6/10

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The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

"We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things."This brilliant collection of science fiction short stories combines elements of humour and tragedy to show us how much man must learn, as such a very dim view of human society is evoked in these pages. Before he enters the world of the ...

9.0/10

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The Winter Road by Adrian Selby

The Winter Road is one of the strongest standalone fantasy novels I have ever read. It has all the depth of a fully fleshed out series in just one volume and it really does pack a hefty punch. I’m impressed with everything Selby has done here, and I shall certainly be reading anything else he may write in the future.The cleverest de...

9.3/10

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”These are words uttered in the face of tyranny and complete oppression, though they are very rare words to be spoken or even thought of in this world because every human passion and ...

9.5/10

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Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (Skyward)

We all have favourite books. We have favourite books, favourite authors, favourite series. My favourites include The Lord of the Rings, The Night Circus,...

9.6/10

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The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark (Empires of Dust )

First off, I'd like to thank Hachette Audio, the author, Colin Mace, and Meriel Rosenkranz for an advanced listening copy (ALC) of The Tower of Living and Dying in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ALC in no way influences my thoughts or opinions on the novel.I can’t start off this review without stating a coupl...

9.1/10

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The Deathless by Peter Newman (Deathless)

I received an advanced reader copy of The Deathless in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Peter Newman and Harper Voyager for the opportunity. Newman's first entry into a new fantasy series presents a world with floating castles which are connected by roads of crystal alongside which human settlements are erecte...

8.8/10

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Foundation by Isaac Asimov (Foundation Series)

The scope of this is hugely imaginative; it is one of the most ambitious books I have ever read. The idea behind it is the creation of a new and perfect systematic galactic empire. The old one is crumbling and is about to die. It has but a few centuries left before complete collapse. However, new empires do not just pop up overnight; it takes ye...

9.1/10

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Beren and Luthien by JRR Tolkien

One of the great joys of my life is reading anything (and everything) by (and about) J.R.R. Tolkien. Ever since the release of The Fellowship of the Ring in cinemas back in 2001, which was immediately followed by a week-long plunge through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I have been an avid and obsessive fan of T...

9.5/10

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The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark (Empires of Dust)

"Not sure I really feel like fucking someone who's part god and part suicidal drunk, you know"I received an advanced copy of The Court of Broken Knives via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Anna Smith Spark and Harper Voyager.2017 has been a stunning year for adult fant...

8.9/10

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The Black Elfstone by Terry Brooks (The Fall of Shannara)

Over the last three years Brooks has written, well, let’s face it, a very tepid trilogy called The Defenders of Shannara. The tone was largely young adult and the scope of the story was vastly limited and unimaginative when compared to some of his earlier books. It felt like he was just trying to squeeze another trilogy out in a f...

7.0/10

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Dead Men Naked by Dario Cannizzaro

Memory is a fickle thing, but alcohol induced memory is even more so. Lou wakes up after a heavy drinking session with his best friend Neil to be hit with some weird recollections about his friend’s death. He remembers a strange skinny man, dressed all in black looking like a vampire, along with a six-foot tall crow. He is in a state of sh...

8.7/10

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The Promise of the Child by Tom Toner (Amaranthine Spectrum)

The Promise of the Child is a hard book to read, but it is also one that is incredibly rewarding. It is not the sort that gives everything away at the start. You jump straight into the lives of the characters and have to connect all the pieces together for yourself. It reveals how everything relates to each other as times goes on....

8.0/10

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman is, without a doubt, one of the most multi-talented writers alive today. I don’t say this out of a sense of personal bias, but with a degree of objectivity. Not only has he written fantastic comics, intelligent children’s stories and detailed novels about the nature of godhood (even if I didn’t personally enjoy them all)...

8.8/10

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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (The Maddaddam Trilogy)

Oryx and Crake is an exceptionally weird novel that left me baffled, stunned and even disgusted; however, as time went on, it developed into one of the cleverest pieces of fiction I have ever read.Behind the child pornography, ritualistic killings and animal abuse two young teens relished watching in their spare time on the internet, resi...

9.5/10

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The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (Lightbringer)

What Brent Weeks has painted here is nothing short of marvellous. It’s a beautifully rich fantasy universe with an awe-inspiring amount of world-building and colour behind it. There’s just so much detail that truly brought the world to life for me.The Black Prism has a fantastic magic system. I thought Brandon Sanders...

9.0/10

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