‘I’m free. I’m free. Quick. Quick. Wish for something outrageous. Say, “I, I want the Nile.”‘

This week over at the Fantasy Review Barn we are once again travelling through the tropes of fantasy with Nathan.  This week, I admit I struggled a bit and so some of my suggestions might not quite fit ‘awesome’ magic.

AWESOME DISPLAYS OF MAGIC

Sometimes magic can be subtle. Who wants that? Big explosions or acts of creation, death and destruction or acts of awe inspiring wonder. If your world has magic then why not show it off?

Pug – from the Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist – I think this is my only example of awesome magic – don’t ask me to explain why – but basically there’s a lot of serious magic in the first three books (I haven’t read further than that at the moment).

Howl’s moving castle – I love the magic in this book – and I do think it’s awesome – living in a moving abode with doors that open into different places – so okay, I think I had two.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – there’s one scene where the witch turns a goat into a man and creates a whole Inn with roaring fires and hot bath tubs – it’s a little bit impressive.

The Witches by Roald Dahl – those witches are not messing about – turning boys into mice – not to mention killing lots of children – nasty!  And, they have a plan to kill ALL the children – that’s big magic – not nice, but big!  Watch out for the sweet shops.

The Curseworkers by Holly Black – I’m not going to elaborate though because it would be a spoiler but things pretty much get transformed in the most unexpected ways:

Honorary mentions

Gandalf, LotR and The Hobbit – although, and don’t all beat me up now, but, his magic never seemed overly impressive to me – there it is, I said it – what’s the point of having a wizard who can only create fireworks, light up his staff in the dark, and shout ‘you shall not pass’ when the baddies arrive.  Okay, you all know I love Tolkien but as far as impressive and awesome magic it’s not going on with Gandalf – unless he’s keeping his ‘big’ magic hidden (although he did fight with a Balrog and come back as a white wizard).

The World of Harry Potter – okay, I’m not going to give all the examples but there is some good examples of magic – people being transformed into creatures, bones being turned to jelly, etc, etc, not sure if it’s awesome but there it is.

Madame Mim and Merlin – so good the battle they have – I call that some pretty good magic – not only thinking on the hoof but trying to best each other!

Two Serpents Rising by Max Gladstone, readalong week 1

Hi everyone, sorry I’m late with this one but life just conspires sometimes!

So, the first week of the Two Serpents Rising readalong is upon us.  Susan from Dab of Darkness is our lovely host (over here) and the details for the readalong are here.  You know you want to join us!

Without further ado, other than to add an obligatory spoiler alert, here are the Q&A for this week:

1) Poison in the Bright Mirror reservoir! What are your thoughts on the infestation? Then an explosion later on! Any ideas of who is the culprit yet? Are the two events related?

That was a bit mind blowing wasn’t it – I certainly didn’t see that coming at all – makes me have second thoughts about walking round reservoirs.  I can’t help thinking the reservoir and the explosion are linked – it’s just too much of a coincidence and it will be interesting to see if Mal is being used or is involved.  I hope that she’s not involved as it would be a bit obvious.

2) Let’s talk about Mal and the sport of cliff running. Care to compare this sport to one here in our real world? What do you think Mal gets out of the sport? 

I suppose she gets to be rebellious to a certain extent – she seems to come from a privileged home so it seems that this is her little break out.  Also, I suppose she gets a massive rush of adrenalin and a certain number of cool points as she does seem to be rather a daredevil. I’m not sure what sport it reminds me of – other than perhaps something I saw about people jumping roofs – but I could have just made that up or dreamt it or something.

3) Are you enjoying the deities and culture this book is infused with? Has any of the architecture wowed or frightened you? 

The first book was impressively creative so there was a lot to live up to and I think so far this one is definitely doing well to live up to it. And, in spite of the clue in the title  – snakes, really!!  Yes, between the serpents and reservoir monster – omg!  Both scary – and what was the whole thing with the slaughterhouse.  Talk about watch this space.

4) The Red King is a pretty serious guy. Will he make the deal with Alaxic concerning the powerhouses known as Achel & Aquel? 

I think it’s too soon for me to call at the moment.  There is definitely something big afoot but I’m really clueless to be honest.  The Red King though – what a description heh!  Wouldn’t really like to meet him alone in a dark alley – he just sounds creepy.

5) Finally, Caleb has a wealth of scars, linguistic skills, and a complex relationship with his father. Discuss!

This is very intriguing to me.  I wouldn’t say that Caleb seems unduly jumpy or scared when his dad is around so I’m kind of discounting certain things, I suppose.  And he doesn’t seem to hate his dad – they just clearly don’t agree with each other – which no surprise there given what his dad is up to – and certainly his dad’s got a terrible reputation which does rather get in the way of Caleb’s work.  It’s complicated to say the least.

A great start to the series – I feel like I’ve been very bad this week though – I’ve not really given this a detailed examination so looking forward to everyone elses’ comments.

Sorry for being absent.  Loving the book so far though.

Top Ten Tuesday. Book quotes that count. 

Posted On 13 April 2015

Filed under Book Reviews

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A quick TTT post this week with no graphics or links as I’m away.  This week we are looking at book quotes and how they relate  to you or have an impact. Mine are below:

‘All children except one grow up.’ PeterPan by J M Barrie. Make that one child you and stay young in your heart and your reading. 

‘Few things worth having can be got easily’. Prince or Thorns by Mark Lawrence.  In other words if you want something you have to work for it. 

‘You keep nasty chips’. Gollum from tolkien’s Lord of the rings.  Stick to the healthy eating!

‘To each his own fear’. Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. One persons fear of spiders is another persons fear of heights. They’re all real!

‘Inconceivable’. The Princess Bride. A phrase I use far too often when somebody doesn’t agree with me about a book I love!

Beware of Doors!  Pretty good advice from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. 

No, try not. Do, or do not.  Yoda. Words of wisdom indeed. 

I don’t have to beat you, I just have to keep you here until Jean arrives. The Liea of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Always have a back up plan

That’s it for me this week. Sorry for the hasty post and lack of links but this  is done a bit on the fly. 

The Unremembered by Peter Orullian

Posted On 12 April 2015

Filed under Book Reviews

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Just finished reading Peter Orullian’s epic adventure story.

The Unremembered is almost a coming of age story with a Fellowship of the Ring type feel. Which isn’t to say that it’s mimicking Tolkien or anyone else just merely it’s an adventure story in which a number of travellers unwittingly embark upon a quest, get split up along the way and all continue to travel towards a known destination.

This is a story of good vs evil although there is still room for manoeuvre in that respect, by which I mean not everything is as cut and dried as it may first appear. I don’t really want to elaborate on the plot too much as it develops quite well as you read along.

There are a number of characters and I won’t deny that these are all introduced in fairly quick succession which does slow the read down somewhat as you try to remember who everyone is, their names, the relationship they have to each other and their histories. We have Tahn, who is really the ‘chosen one’. His sister Wendra, who has some magical ability of her own and their friends Sutter and Braethen. We are then introduced to a mysterious character called Vendanj. He is a Sheason and therefore able to perform magic. Unfortunately in this world this isn’t a welcome ability. His companion is Mira of the Far race of people. The Far live their lives full and fast and die young with the promise to meet in the lands beyond. Alone the way we have a young boy who is taken under the wing of Wendra and something of a rogue character who lives in Exile, called Grant.

Now on top of these characters and all your other everyday types we have the evil which is currently being kept apart from the rest of the world by a veil. This veil is maintained by magic. Unfortunately over the course of time people have forgotten about the danger that lives so close to them. They have become complacent and in fact superstition and fear means they have now turned against those that would protect them. Magic is outlawed and the League enforce law and order. For those practising magic the penalty is death.

I thought this was a well imagined and well written book. The threat from evil escalated quickly with creatures called The Quiet Given and the Bar Dyn. The author clearly has a vision of where this is going and this story provides a strong foundation. I did however have some criticisms.

The story starts out in a complicated way with many introductions and this undoubtedly slows down the speed at which you become involved as there is a lot to take on board. On top of that I personally felt this could probably have been shortened slightly. I really enjoyed the late introductory and middle chapters but personally felt like the last third dragged a little. This definitely has an old school feel to it which I personally really enjoyed as it’s becoming fairly rare these days but in that respect there is no snarky dialogue to offset the darker elements. In fact there aren’t really any darker elements. I would have liked to see a bit more banter between the group. And of course we have the whole ‘chosen one’ element which I’m never overly fond of, particularly when in conjunction with a number of the people knowing more than the rest and sharing nods and winks but never sharing their knowledge. I really dislike this to be honest. It ranks right up there with my dislike of love triangles. I just don’t see how withholding information from people who are already in life threatening situations is a good thing. You certainly won’t be able to impart your words of wisdom to them if they die in the next fight so really this comes over as little more than a poorly concealed device to keep information from the reader. On a very small note I found the constant reference to Sutter as ‘Nails’ irritating. Okay. It’s his nickname. But it wasn’t used as such. It just changed from Nails to Sutter for no apparent reason. Only a little niggle but nonetheless something that did bug me slightly.

On the whole though I thought this was a good read. It could use a little refinement but I think if you’re looking for old school, epic fantasy this could be just what you’re after.

I received a copy from the publishers via Netgalley for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

I’ve packed up my spotted hanky…

Posted On 12 April 2015

Filed under Book Reviews

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and gone off to spend a few days in London. Which means I won’t be around the blogosphere for the next few days. 

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