Showing posts with label Fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fantasy. Show all posts

Friday, 6 November 2009

Dragonspell: The Southern Sea by Katherine Kerr


SYNOPSIS
CAUGHT IN A WEB OF PASSION, DESTINY AND MAGIC For years the provinces of Deverry have been in turmoil, but the conflict escalates to new heights with the kidnapping of Rhodry, heir to the throne of Aberwyn. Intent on rescuing him, his beloved Jill and the elven wizard Salamander infiltrate the distant land of Bardek, where Rhodry is held captive.
Tied to Deverry by bonds of obligation, the immortal wizard Nevyn begins to see that all its problems originate from a single source - his ancient enemy, a master of dark magics, backed by a network of evil that stretches across the sea. With this realization, Nevyn understands that he too is being lured to Bardek, and into a subtle and deadly trap...

Katharine Kerr's novels of the Kingdom of Deverry unfold in a world of stunning richness and depth, portrayed with unequalled imagination and realism. Now, with Dragonspell, she returns to this enchanted kingdom for the most powerful story yet in this epic series.

MY VIEW

The final in the first segment of the Deverry series. Overall the series is extremely well written and I loved the first three books I will say though I did not enjoy this as much as the first three but, as I read them back to back that could just be overload.

This one was slightly easier to follow than the previous books as the whole book is set in the present day, as with all the others it is a slow journey to the heart of the book but, I love books like that as you get such a descriptive image of how things are happening and the characters etc.

Like I said it was the least favourite of the four but, still a must read if you intend on reading the whole series (which I do).

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood by Katherine Kerr

SYNOPSIS
RETURN TO THE FANTASTICAL LAND OF MYTH, MAGIC AND PASSION
Over a thousand years ago the People of Deverry were driven from their splendid kingdom by their enemy, the Hordes, and forced to find sanctuary in the remote forests in the east of their lands where they eventually settled. Succeeding generations remembered these terrible events as the Burning - and they never forgot the cities, towns and marvels of the far, far west.

Dawnspell, the third compelling volume in Katharine Kerr's epic Deverry series, continues the bold saga of Nevyn, Rhodry and Jill as they battle with the evil forces threatening the world of Deverry in the decades that follow the Burning. Rooted in Celtic mythology, this dazzling novel offers a vision of an extraordinary universe of magicians, kings, elves and prophets, of a world where love is triumphant - even over death.


MY VIEW

The third in the wonderful Deverry series and the characters are really getting settled for want of a better word. Nevyn is the wizard who lives on as the same person through the various incarnations. The main characters are Rhodry, Nevyn, and Jill with Jill being the main character.

Kerr's writing does take some getting used to and as someone who can get very distracted by reading I had no problems being distracted from this also the fact that this is Celtic based held my interest as I am a massive fan of Celtic fantasy.

If you like Marion Zimmer Bradley I think you will like this series and also Kate Elliott who is a huge influence on Kerr so I hear but, having never read any of Elliotts work (a few of her novels are in my massive TBR pile!) I couldn't really say!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Darkspell by Katherine Kerr

SYNOPSIS
On the long roads of Deverry ride two mercenaries whose fates like hidden deep in that of their own land. But Lord Rhodry, exiled from the dragon court of Aberwyn, has yet to discover his true parentage, and his swordmaster-lover, Jill, has barely glimpsed her awesome powers. Meanwhile, the ancient sorcerer Nevyn, held back by his vows from boldly intervening in their lives, can only watch and wait as Rhodry and Jill move ever closer to danger. For as the two struggle to recover the Great Stone, the mystic jewel that guides the conscience of the kingship of Deverry, malevolent dark masters are weaving terrifying spells against them--and displacing messengers of death. Katherine Kerr has extensively rewritten Darkspell, incorporating major changes in the text, making this her definitive edition. Here the epic saga that began with the Daggerspell continues--a tale of might and magic, lust and glory, dark danger and poignant desires that echo from Deverry's sapphire waters to its secret mountain caverns. It's a spellbinding story destined to please fantasy lovers everywhere.

MY VIEW
The 2nd book in the wonderful Deverry series, much like the first book you are reading in different time periods about the same characters albeit re-incarnated. Its not as difficult to follow as you may think and as I have said before the information at the back of the book is very useful if you lose track of which character is who but, you soon get used to it.

Daggerspell was more I felt introducing us to the characters and getting the feel of Deverry whereas with Darkspell I felt the story moved up a notch, here there are two stories going on the time-spanning reincarnations and the present dweomer war. The worlds created are wonderful I love the wildfolk which is Katherines terms for those we know as Dwarves, Elves etc.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Star Man by Sara Douglass


SYNOPSIS
From Library Journal
Assuming his role as the Starman of the Prophecy of the Destroyer, the warrior-wizard Axis makes his way to his final confrontation with his corrupt half-brother, Gorgrael. Meanwhile, Azhure, Axis's wife, discovers her own powers as an Enchantress and learns the twin strengths of love and friendship. Douglass (Enchanter, Battleaxe) brings to the fore her world-building abilities and storytelling expertise in this satisfying conclusion to a fantasy epic set in a world of winged sorcerers and ancient races. A few loose ends pave the way for future novels featuring a new generation of heroes and villains.

MY VIEW

This has to be one of the few fantasy trilogies where every one of the three books was quite simply brilliant! Even my beloved Sevenwaters trilogy by Juliet Marrillier I found the others didn't match up to the first book.

Now that said I did find the ending was a bit of an anti-climax and makes you want morte more more. Still I guess thats how things are so you go on to the next 3 books in the second part of the series.

Its so difficult to write a review without spoiling things and I don't like to do that I have this weird habit of reading the last line of a book before reading it and so many books I have spoiled for myself by doing that! So I know how it feels if someone includes a spoiler in the book so I'll try not to all I will say is Faraday I really felt for and Axis who was one of my favourite characters became a not so favourite but, thats just the way I guess.

If you love Fantasy do read this its brilliant, I will definitely be reading the second trilogy.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr


SYNOPSIS
In a world outside reality, a young girl's spirit hovers between incarnations, knowing neither her past nor her future. In the temporal world lives Nevyn, who long ago vanquished the maiden's hand in marriage and forged a terrible bond between three souls. Now he must atone the wrong of his youth.

MY VIEW
This book has been sitting on my shelf for so long I thought it was time to get cracking, this is quite a long series and I own all of them bar one (which is on its way as I speak/type) if I didn't like it it woyuld be a damn shame however, I am happy to say this book was brilliant.

The plot is the reincarnation of souls which at first might seem a tad confusing but, there is a little guide at the book of who is who and once you get used to it and know who is who its quite easy to follow.

It has quite a Celtic feel to it and is set in medievel times, Jill is the intitial central character along with Nevyn and her Father all 3 are reincarnated souls and its good to see how each of the characters (not just these 3) interact with each other in different lifetimes.

A great fantasy series (I hope) I'm already on the 2nd book and its every bit as good.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Enchanter by Sara Douglass


SYNOPSIS
The stunning sequel to The Wayfarer Redemption

Axis is a true hero, in every sense of the word. On his shoulders lies the double burden of prophecy and war. Having fulfilled the first part of the prophecy by becoming the StarMan, he now must reunite the three races inhabiting his world.

It is his destiny to lead an army against his evil half-brother, to regain control of Tencendor, once the greatest land in the world.

It is his destiny to be caught between the two women he loves, one the epitome of gentility, beauty, and intelligence, the other a fierce warrior with a cunning wit.

And it is his destiny to be thwarted at every turn by the vicious Goragel, an insane monster bent on destroying all that Axis works to preserve . . .

Enchanter is the riveting sequel to Sara Douglass's spell-binding first novel The Wayfarer Redemption, and winner of the 1996 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Sara Douglass has taken America by storm with this powerful tale of love, prophecy, battles, and revenge.

MY VIEW
Enchanter begins immediately after the end of the previous book, the only downfall is there was no synopsis to briefly outline what happened in the previous book though as I began this immediately after finishing the last one it was no big deal.

The story is told from the viewpoint of an unseen narrator which ordinarily I am not too keen on but, this seems to work here and even though you seem to jump from one character to the next I never found that confusing or more improtantly irritating.

I loved this every bit, if not more than the first book, the cast of characters are brilliant each adding their own to the storyline, of course I had my favourites (Axis & Faraday) and whilst this was grteat I did find the final conflict between Axis and his half-brother Borneheld a little less than enthralling but, overall another great instalment in what is becoming one of my favourite fantasy series.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Battleaxe by Sara Douglas

SYNOPSIS

Epic fantasy in the tradition of Trudi Canavan, Fiona McIntosh and Robert Jordan. A thousand years ago, the people of Achar drove the Forbidden from their lands. But now the northern tribes of the Ravensbund are fleeing south again, with nightmarish tales of creatures who feed upon the terror of their prey. Winter has come early, and with it the promise of war. Axis, bastard son of the dead Princess Rivkah, is sent north to the battlefront at Gorkenfort with his elite Axe-Wielders. Once there, he must hand over command to his hated half-brother, Borneheld, Duke of Ichar and heir to the throne. But during the long journey Axis falls in love with Faraday - Borneheld's betrothed - and finds himself reassessing the very essence of his beliefs. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Axis must unite the feuding lands under one banner before it is too late and the evil rising in the north engulfs them all for good.

MY VIEW

All I can say is WOW! Its been quite a while since I have read some really good fantasy and I would even go as far to say as this was almost as good as Juliet Marilliers Daughter of the Forest although a bit different to that.

This has a great cast of characters Axis is the 'Battleaxe' and he is the leader of the axe-wielders who are a religious army, he was born to a mother who died shortly after birthing him and his half-brother Borneheld is a heir to a childless king, Borneheld also hates Axis and wants him destroyed, just to twist things Axis falls for Borneheld's betrothed, Faraday.

Looking at some reviews this is very mixed but, all I can say is its one of those books you need to read and make up your own mind, its not complex its a very easy to follow fantasy. The blurb on the back compares this to Janny Wurts, David Eddings &Raymond Feist I don't know how this compares tho those as I haven't read any of their works (yet!).

Personally I think for some reason Australians write the best fantasy unless they write most of it and I haven't come across any others yet.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Changeling by Delia Sherman

SYNOPSIS
A determined heroine, a quest— adventure galore!
Neef is a changeling, a human baby stolen by fairies and replaced with one of their own. She lives in “New York Between,” a Manhattan that exists side by side with our own, home to various creatures of folklore. Neef has always been protected by her fairy godmother—until she breaks a Fairy Law. Now, unless she can meet the challenge of the Green Lady of Central Park, she’ll be sacrificed! Neef is determined to beat the rap—but time is running out . . .

MY VIEW
This is a stand alone urban fantasy, actually personally I don't think it quite falls into the urban fantasy category, you may disagree.

Neff is the central character and is a changeling (surprisingly enough!), she was kidnapped in New York as a child and a fairy was put in her place who looked like her. So technically Neff isn't really a changeling at all. Neff is a great character, sometimes with these types of books I find the main cgharacter slightly irritating but, not Neff.

Its difficult for me to say anything without giving anything away and I hate to have a review of spoilers so suffice to say if you like Holly Black or Tamora Pierce you will like this.

This is my first delia Sherman book and hopefully it won't be my last I have read a short story of hers in one of Ellen Datlow's compilations which is what led me to this.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Karavans by Jennifer Roberson

SYNOPSIS
A NEW JOURNEY DAWNS
Audrun and her husband Davyd, along with the others of the land of Sancorra, have been left homeless because of the brutal Hecari. Consulting diviners, they learn that their newest child must be born in the peaceful province of Atalanda. They must now travel close to the sinister woodlands of Alisanos, where darkness awaits. Joining a karavan for safety, the family moves ever closer to the dangerous, mystical forest. And, as they are all about to discover, Alisanos is moving ever closer to them.

MY VIEW
It's been too long since I read a good fantasy and this is an author who although I own pretty much all her fantasy series' I have never read her before, and also checking out the reviews it seems this is not as good as her other series and strange as it may sound when it comes to authors whose books I have a lot of I prefer to read the ones that are rated not so great.

Anyway, back to the book - overall the book is quite slow to start but, then its introducing you to the characters and JR has a great way of weaving words and though it seems slow to begin with its so descriptive that you really build a great world in your mind, if you have ever read (and loved!) Cecelia Dart-Thornton you will know what I mean.

One of the main characters is Audrun, an expectant mother she has to take risks to give birth to her magical child somewhere much safer. Alisanos is a place where Demons live and if any humans vebture there they are captured.

Davyn is the husband of Audrun and he leaves to talk to Jorda (Jorda is the master of the last Karavan opf the season), Rhuan is a guide for Jorda's Karavan and Rhuan is a from the Shoia people, they are people who can rise from the dead six times.

There are many people to be introduced to and to learn about which is why if your not into descriptive fantasies this is probably not one you would enjoy as there is little in the way of action but, I think this is a pre-cursor for the coming books.

I really enjoyed this I love descriptive fantasies so if this is one of JR's weaker books sounds like the others will be brilliant!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Heir to the Shadows (The Black Jewels Trilogy) By Anne Bishop

Book Two - Heir To The Shadows
Synopsis Anne Bishop plunged into dark fantasy with her first book, Daughter of the Blood. She described a world where Blood Witches have always ruled, drawing males to their courts through seductive power. An ambitious High Priestess destroys more powerful females before maturity and has enslaved the strongest males, weakening magic and corrupting natural bonds between men and women. Sexual violence permeates Terreille. Jaenelle, born to be Queen, is vulnerable until adulthood. Though guarded by male Warlord Princes, Jaenelle is violated. Daemon, her destined Consort, rescues her but is convinced he attacked her and goes mad.
In Heir to the Shadows, Jaenelle's vampiric, adoptive father, Saetan, and her foster-family of demons shelter her. To restore her memory and emotional balance, they move to Kaeleer, where Jaenelle befriends the kindred--animals with magical and communicative powers--and gathers a circle of young Queens. She also heals Lucivar, Daemon's half-brother, who offers a brother's love and a warrior's fealty. As she recovers strength and memory, Jaenelle resolves to restore Daemon and cleanse Terreille.

Bishop subverts readers' expectations; the "darkest" powers reside in virtuous characters, demons and vampires are kindly, and Jaenelle's adolescence is more comically normal than horrific. Her vibrant characters and descriptions will keep readers hooked, anxiously awaiting what promises to be a riveting conclusion.

My View
Another great instalment of this brilliant trilogy of the three books I think this was my least favourite not that it was bad in any way it certainly wasn't and I'm not sure why I preferred it least of the three, maybe because Daughter of the Blood was such a hard act to follow but, anyway ...

This must of course be read after Daughter of the Blood or else you may get a little confused. We see Jaenelle growing up lot here and definitely see her character advancing and because of the suffering she has endured she has of course, changed quite a bit.

This is one of those books its so hard to write a review if someone reading it (this review that is) hasn't read it (and if you haven't you so must!). It truly is dark fantasy at its best, if anyone knows of any fantasy similar to this plase tell me as I have never read anything else close!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels Trilogy) by Anne Bishop

Book One Daughter of the Blood
Synopsis
Anne Bishop's debut novel, Daughter of the Blood, is like black coffee--strong, dark, and hard on delicate stomachs. Within the Blood (a race of magic-users), women rule and men serve, but tradition has been corrupted so that women enslave men, who seek to destroy their oppressors. Female children are violated before they can reach maturity; men are tortured and forced to satisfy witches' sexual appetites.
Bishop's child heroine, Jaenelle, is destined to rule the Blood, if she can reach adulthood. Her power is hidden; her family believes her mad. Saetan, High Lord of Hell and most powerful of the Blood males, becomes Jaenelle's surrogate father and teacher. He cannot protect her outside Hell, where he rules. She refuses to leave Terreille, risking herself to protect or heal other victims of violence. Can Daemon, Saetan's estranged son, keep her safe from the machinations of the evil High Priestess? Or will he lose his battle to control his destructive urges and endanger her?

My View
This is just about the third time I have read this book, actually the entire series. This really stands out as one of my favourite fantasy books - EVER! That could change of course as I haven't read every fantasy book there is but, it rea;lly would have to be some gem to beat this.

Anne Bishop has really createda totally intricate world - Jaenelle is our heroine and I was totally mesmerised by her she is a totally innoent girl yet her destiny is to be the most powerful witch. And of course, Daemon I cannot believe anyone would not b mesmerised these two.

Saetan is the Lord High of Hell and that sounds way more scary than he really is because of how we have come to associate hell I guess, Saetan is Jaenelle's adopted father and Daemon is Saetan's son. Once you read this book you will be hunting down the rest if you don't have them already.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: Charmed Life/The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne-Jones

Charmed Life

Synopsis
The adventure begins in a strange and not-quite contemporary England that is still peppered with paddle steamers, horse-drawn carriages and girls wearing petticoats. Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth and mysterious ways. Their new life is full of the surreal and unexpected, and there are several crazy new rules to master--not least by Gwendolen who must learn to channel her astonishing powers for good instead of mischief as she forever seems determined to do!


My View

Loved this! It has been said if you love Harry Potter then you will love this, the most ardent HP fans may not agree but, it has to be said this was written long before HP was even thought of! However, this was brilliant Gwendolen is brilliant I loved reading about her and her brother Cat - if you love anything magical giove this a try you may be pleasantly surprised.

The Lives of Christopher Chant
Synopsis
Christopher Chant is a dreamer, a boy who returns home each night with strange gifts from his nocturnal travels and leaves sand in his bed as proof. He's happy to play cricket and wander the world in secret--so having nine lives and being the next "Chrestomanci" is not part of his plans for the future. It's only when an evil smuggler known as The Wraith threatens his existence that the young Christopher truly takes hold of his destiny. He must try to halt his loss of lives and defeat evil before times runs out.

The childhood of Chrestomanci. Everything in this book happens at least twenty-five years before the story told in Charmed Life! Discovering that he has nine lives and is destined to be the next 'Chrestomanci' is not part of Christopher's plans for the future: he'd much rather play cricket and wander around his secret dream worlds. But he soon finds that destiny is difficult to avoid, and that having more than the usual number of lives is pretty inconvenient - especially when you lose them as easily as he does! Then an evil smuggler, known only as The Wraith, threatens the ways of the worlds and forces Christopher to take action!

My View
I loved this even more than Charmed Life this is set before Charmed Life and Christopher Chant is a fantastic character, a very powerful magician who also has nine lives! However, Christopher (much like Gwendolen) is unable to perform even the most simple of spells. Christopher starts having strange dreams, where he is crawling through this strange land, covered in rocks and fog.

Not wanting to give too much away its a really fascinating magical world Diana has created, of course primarily aimed at the YA market but, I am sure more lets say mature adults will enjoy it too! A good fun easy to read novel.

Monday, 12 May 2008

The Bitterbynde Trilogy - Book Three - The Battle of Evernight by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Synopsis
In the strong conclusion to her Bitterbynde trilogy (The Ill-Made Mute; The Lady of the Sorrows), set in the Irish-tinged land of Erith, Dart-Thornton beguiles with poetic, songlike prose that at times lapses into verbosity and odd neologisms. "It was the second of Duileagmis, the Leafmonth, viminal last month of Spring." Viminal? Rohain, now named Tahquil-Ashalind, and her companions, Caitri and Viviana, set out for the Gate of Oblivion's Kiss, where they hope to discover a way to set aright what has been wrong for a thousand years. In their travels, the three young maids encounter a variety of wights, both seelie (good) and unseelie (bad, very bad and truly nasty), each falling prey to some harrowing wight-inflicted ailment. Rohain/Tahquil also seeks to free her true love, Thorn, aka King Angavar of the Faˆran, who's trapped in Erith. Heart heavy and duty torn, she feels that her quest to reach the Gate outweighs her need to find Thorn. Those who esteem the Irish and Scottish myths of faerie folk will be delighted by the magic folklore and tales within tales that fill the book. Those looking for straightforward fantasy adventure, however, may be disappointed.

My View
I won't rave on about Cecilia's artistic writing as if you read my previous 2 reviews you will probably know that I find her fantastic and needless to say it continues here. Now I have finished the trilogy its quite sad and I rally hope that one day she returns to write about this world she created.

Again Imrhien/Rohain has a name change seems confusing on the outset but, it isn't at all and you soon get drawn into the story. The ending however, could be disappointing but, hopefully it is set up for a return to Erith (a much nicer place than the Erith in Kent I might add - LOL!) The main character I liked a lot, which always helps I find.

Apparently her next series is set in the same world with different characters so look forward to reading that. The final book was possibly the weakest of the three but, by no means a weak book at all, The Ill Made Mute really stood out for me and is one of my all time favourite fantasy books of all time. Wanting to pick up the books at every spare moment I had is always a good sign that these are fantastic books.

I would say this is not a series for every fantasy fan as it is possibly a little out of the norm and some may read them and not be as enthusiastic as me.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

The Bitterbynde Trilogy - Book Two - The Lady of the Sorrows by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Synopsis
Healed of her scars and given back her voice, the former mute known as Imrhien now carries an important message to the King-Emperor of Caermelor. Disguised as a noble to gain admission to court society, Imrhien finds that the emperor has embarked on a war against a hostile army of unseelie creatures (malevolent fairies) bent on the destruction of humankind. Her eventual meeting with the emperor proves both surprising and bittersweet, for as she finds her heart's desire, Imrhien also discovers that she is the target of the unseelie hordes. The sequel to The Ill-Made Mute continues the adventures of a resourceful heroine as she makes her way through a world filled with magic and treachery.

My View
As with the previous novel The Ill Made Mute the stunning writing is ever present here with descriptions of scenery, clothing etc its som easy to have a picture in your mind of these novels with the descriptive writing. I think its possibly these descriptions that some find quite laborious but, I think it only adds to the book. Yes if these descriptions were not there it would probably only be half as long but, IMO it would be far less interesting.

The main character again is Imhrien but, she takes on a new name here as Rohain I won't tekll you why as it could ruin it for you. This book again is full of lots of lore, legend & myth and if you loved Lord of the Rings I am sure you will love this of course, it is not in the same league as LOTR but, I am sure you will love the Faeren who are the next best elves (IMO) to those in LOTR.

Another totally fantastic book from Cecilia, I almost don't want to read the last book as I don't want this woprld Cecilia has created to end.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Bitterbynde Trilogy - Book One - The Ill Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Synopsis
A landmark publication in the world of Fantasy writing In a world where creatures of legend haunt the lands of men, and to be caught outside after dark means almost certain death, the inhabitants of Isse Tower are amazed when a mute, starving foundling is discovered outside their gates. With no recollection of her name or past, the girl soon realizes that her only hope of happiness lies in distant Caermalor, where a wise woman might be able to restore her memories. To get there, Imrhien must survive a wilderness of endless danger. Lost and pursued by unhuman wights, Imrhien is saved by Thorn, a mysterious, handsome ranger who becomes her protector-and the object of her hopeless love. But unknown to them, a dark force summons the Unseelie, and malignant hordes amass in the night.

My View
I have to start by saying aaaaaaaaah! This IMHO is fantasy at its best, I have read this before but, for some reason never got round to reading the other two in the trilogy so a perfect excuse for a re-read. If you have read any of the reviews of this book on Amazon I think this book is a perfect example of trying it yourself and making up your own mind. Yes it is long in parts and some may find it quite drawn out by Cecilia is such a word weaver I personally didn't find it drawn out at all.

There isn't a huge plot the book is essentially about a facially scarred mute who begins a journey to find someone to heal her and the book is mostly Imrhien's journey to find this healer.

Cecilia has created a truly magical world and she is one of my favourite authors (and I've only read this book, I guess that tells how much I love this!) so if after reading the reviews you thought to give this a miss please don't its easy to overlook this as a laboriously long read with not a huge plot within its pages but, you will be missing out on a beautifully written book!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

The Faery Reel by Various

Synopsis

This lively anthology brings together 17 original stories and three poems with the common theme of fairies and other nature spirits. Windling leads off with a fine introductory essay on the origins, varieties, and attitudes toward fairies in different cultures and, in particular, their treatment in English literature and art. Among the authors represented are Neil Gaiman, Patricia McKillip, and Gregory Maguire, though less-well-known writers contribute some of the most imaginative and edgy pieces. Most of the stories bring magical elements into modern settings, including New York City, an English village, a Brazilian city, a Japanese mountainside, a French farm, and L.A. Datlow and Windling, who edit the annual adult anthology The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, call this a companion volume to The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest (2002), which was published for teen readers. A rewarding choice for those who like the traditional with a twist.

My View

I loved this collection of "faerie" stories each one was so different and as with the Green Man we see those authors we may be familiar with but, also ones I certainly have never heard of. I wouldn't say I enjoyed this any more than I did the Green Man as they are both quite different but, I think if you have read and liked one of them you will definitely like the others, would be nice to see a Volume 2 of these type of books they are great to read all at once ort to dip into every now and then for a short story. Althopugh aimed at young adults I loved this and I am very far from a young adult!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Green Man - Tales from the Mythic Forest - by Various

One of our most universal myths is that of the Green Man—the spirit who stands for Nature in its most wild and untamed form. Through the ages and around the world, the Green Man and other nature spirits have appeared in stories, songs, and artwork, as well as many beloved fantasy novels, including Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Now Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, the acclaimed editors of over thirty anthologies, have gathered some of today’s finest writers of magical fiction to interpret the spirits of nature in short stories and poetry. Folklorist and artist Charles Vess brings his stellar eye and brush to the decorations, and Windling provides an introduction exploring Green Man symbolism and forest myth. The Green Man is required reading—not only for fans of fantasy fiction but for those interested in mythology and the mysteries of the wilderness.

This is a really lovely collection of short stories and poems based around the lore of the Green man. I'm not usually a fan of anthologies etc but, had this languishing on my bookshelf for a few months so thought I would pick it up. Although saying that I have discovered some really good authors from short stories collections which I may not have discovered otherwise.

There are some brilliant well known fantasy writers here such as Charles de Lint, Gregory Maguire and Tanith Lee and also some authors I had not heard of but, will definitely be looking them up to read more.

I won't bore you with descriptions of each and every short story but, suffice to say if you have any degree of fascination with the Green Man, trees etc this is one I am sure you will love - of course some of these stories are better than others but, this is a great book to pick up and dip into.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Heart of Stone by C E Murphy

'What secrets lie shrouded in darkness?
Okay, so jogging through Central Park after midnight wasn't a bright idea. But Margrit Knight never thought she'd encounter a dark new world filled with magical beings-not to mention a dying woman and a mysterious stranger with blood on his hands. Her logical, lawyer instincts told her it couldn't all be real-but she could hardly deny what she'd seen...and touched.

The mystery man, Alban, was a gargoyle. One of the fabled Old Races who had hidden their existence for centuries. Now he was a murder suspect, and he needed Margrit's help to take the heat off him and find the real killer. And as the dead pile up, it's a race against the sunrise to clear Alban's name and keep them both alive.

This is the first in a new series the Negotaiator Trilogy by C E Murphy and what a fantastic new world she has created! Margrit is a very interesting character and this book is told from both Margrits and Alban's point of view which puts an interesting view on things.

The world created here is drawn up quite slowly that said this is far from a slow book it was just a great way of getting you to understand the world that has been created. The beginning I felt Margrit seemed a little different to the character she turned into, not sure if that was intentional.

This being a trilogy of course the ending leaves you wanting more so can't wait for the nxt book out next month!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell

Four thousand years ago, a stranger's death at the Old Temple of Ratharryn-and his ominous "gift" of gold-precipitates the building of what for centuries to come will be known as one of mankind's most singular and remarkable achievements. Bernard Cornwell's epic novel Stonehenge catapults us into a powerful and vibrant world of ritual and sacrifice at once timeless and wholly original-a tale of patricide, betrayal, and murder; of bloody brotherly rivalry: and of the never-ending quest for power, wealth, and spiritual fulfillment.

Three brothers-deadly rivals-are uneasily united in their quest to create a temple to their gods. There is Lengar, the eldest, a ruthless warrior intent on replacing his father as chief of the tribe of Ratharryn; Camaban, his bastard brother, a sorcerer whose religious fervor inspires the plan for Stonehenge; and Saban, the youngest, through whose expertise the temple will finally be completed. Divided by blood but united-precariously-by a shared vision, the brothers begin erecting their mighty ring of granite, aligning towering stones to the movement of the heavenly bodies, and raising arches to appease and unite their gods. Caught between the zealousness of his ambitious brothers, Saban becomes the true leader of his people, a peacemaker who will live to see the temple built in the name of salvation and regeneration.

This is a fantastic book, if you have any interest in Stonehenge you will love this, nobody truly knows how Stonehenge came to be built and this story was so beautifully told I would like to think there is some truth in the story and the real story of Stonehenge. I have never been to Stonehenge but, have been to many stone circles and the energy you get from them is so unreal so I can only imagine what Stonehenge can bring.

If you love Historical Fiction I am sure you will really enjoy this and Bernard Cornwell is a fantastic writer and really done a brilliant job of bringing the beginnings of Stone henge to life.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.

So the final book in the long running Harry Potter series and I am sorry to say I was very disappointed, the storyline was good but, it didn't have me as engrossed as the other books had. I did feel some of the plots appeared to be a little rushed.

I have seen some people quote this book as being the best book they have ever read, well I am really sorry but, if that is so then they really can't have read very many books! I know primarily this book is aimed at children/young adults but, I think as the series went on it seemed for me more aimed at "older" adults.

Now I'm probably giving this book a really rough deal and that is only because personally I felt it was not as good as others in the series, it just seemed as though it had been rushed too much but, overall still a good book.

I'm not going to reveal any spoilers in case no-one has read it yet, I felt like I was the only person in the world who hasn't read this book, it felt that way anyway, I'm sure it isn't! Anyway overall, a good read not an engrossing one but, I am glad the series has finished now and think it was the right time for J K Rowling to finish this.

Where she will go now I don't know and whilst I don't think she is the greatest author in the world, far from it, she has brought reading to a great many people who may not have otherwise been interested in picking up a book and she should be highly commended for that.