I took a trip to Dymocks today – always a very dangerous thing for me to do! Especially when I have some money with me! (Only bought one book though – ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell!)
I picked up a copy of their March catalogue and was very amused to discover that I had already read most of their Fantasy and Science Fiction suggestions.
This week, in lieu of a full book review, I thought I’d quickly describe what I liked/didn’t like about the fantasy suggestions:
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – This was always going to rate highly for me! Brandon Sanderson is an author of perpetual brilliance in the fantasy genre and the second book in his Stormlight Archive continues to enthral! With over 1000 pages it is not a quick and easy read, but the immense and wonderful new world he has created definitely grips you. We hear from a wide variety of characters with very different motives and emotions, which also lets us learn as much as we can about the fantastical world. My personal favourite is Shallan, a scholar trying to avoid her dark past. But the boyfriend prefers Kaladin, an inspiring and capable military man who, in the first book finds himself branded a slave. It has been planned as a ten book series so for those who like getting in for the long haul, this is a great place to be!
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – I was warned upon purchasing this book that it would be a very long time until the trilogy was completed. Rothfuss takes his time in writing but it is so very worth it! The prose is divine and the story itself, is fascinating. Set in a fantasy world which draws on medieval settings, the story is paralleled between the now and the then. A hero is chronicling his story for the last time, and the novel jumps between the tale and the present day.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin – I liked this book, but was completely over it by the time I got to the end of the next. It is a very well-rounded fantasy world, also with medieval elements, but I feel that there are too many characters to keep track of! It is a bit like reading history, and I felt a great need for notes – thank goodness for wikis! However, the television series is actually a very accurate representation of the books, and I would recommend watching rather than reading. The fact that the story can be depicted in ten one-hour episodes instead of a slightly repetitive 900 pages is very telling for Martin’s unwillingness to edit or cull. While I liked the themes and the world, the writing annoyed me greatly. While I hardly every recommend watching over reading, watch the TV series instead.
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence – This one is very violent, so be careful when reading. It is a sort of dystopian novel cross fantasy. Prince Jorg has seen some dreadful things in his life, not least the death of his mother and younger brother. At fourteen, he is hanging out with a group of hardened criminals – highway men, if you will – thieving, raping and pillaging. While it is immensely confronting to see a child being such a monster, the story is still highly entertaining. It is a world torn apart by the humans of our time and raises grim questions about what we are doing to our planet. It is also a fascinating look at what power games and a great insight into what happens when children are expected to behave so, as in medieval times. It might sound disturbing, and it certainly is, but it is still a very good read. My description cannot do it justice, especially without giving anything important away!
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan – This book is the epitome of fantasy epics. While the thirteen-book series does get repetitive at times, it will always hold a special place, because it gave me my first taste of Brandon Sanderson, who is my favourite author of the moment. Jordan died without finishing his series and Sanderson took over, compiling the novels from Jordan’s huge piles of notes. The series is full of magic and prophecies, as well as excellent characters! Mat deserves a special mention, a gambling farm boy who becomes one of the greatest generals in the world. It is a hard slog but well worth the effort. I don’t know many people who have finished it though and would love to talk about how brilliant it is with a fellow fan! So read up!
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch – I was initially wary about reading this urban fantasy novel but I am so glad I did. PC Grant is a policeman who discovers he can see ghosts. This leads to him being taken on by the police force’s resident wizard, who everyone prefers to ignore. It is a very funny story, mixing fantasy and crime in a witty, entertaining manner. And, for people who like that sort of thing, everything gets resolved in the end. It is fun to consider the secret magic in London and its surrounds and we are witness to some wizard training too – something Harry Potter fans like myself are sure to love! I would recommend it as a good break into fantasy, as it isn’t too extreme.
It has been a while since I’ve read some of these, but I hope that gives a little insight! I just bought ‘Wool’ by Hugh Howey, another book from the catalogue. Review will come soon.
Other suggestions I am keen to read include ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor – the book blogs on Tumblr speak highly of it – as well as Robin Hobb’s ‘Assassins Apprentice’ – I’ve read all her dragon books but not this series. ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J Maas looks interesting too, but I haven’t heard anything about it yet.
Now to get on and read some more! I’ll be back soon.