Tuesday, November 15, 2011

REVIEW: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

Reading this book became a running joke because I had been raving about it to my non-fantasy-fan friends at Uni (one of whom thought I was excited about getting my inheritance ie money) and then spent the entire week in the theatre reading it, including time in the dressing room between pieces.
Seeing as this blog isn't about reviews and is more about my personal responses, I have decided to include SPOLIERS. But I will make these highlighted in white - feel free to read if you have read the book (or don't care).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


As if the book publishing universe is conspiring against me, some very exciting new books have been released this month when I am extremely busy graduating from University, have no money and still quite a large to be read collection. Oh well, can't complain and good books I suppose!


I picked this up this morning right on 9am! The last book of the Inheritance Cycle, so very very excited! Unfortunately every time I mention it so someone they say, 'Oh, I saw that movie.' I then have to explain that the movie was TERRIBLE and in no way representative of the books.

Not so very long ago, Eragon Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider, was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaƫsia. And if so, at what cost? This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.

Alloy of Law

I pre-ordered this one too and should be arriving in the mail very soon! As the Mistborn trilogy are some of my most favourite books, I have high expectations!

The Mistborn trilogy has become a firm favourite with fantasy fans the world over. The imagination that Sanderson brought to the series and his skill at marshalling epic storylines and dramatic action, his ability to create vivid characters made him a natural choice to complete Robert Jordan's epic wheel of time sequence. But with Mistborn, his standalone fantasies and his new series, The Stormlight Archive, Sanderson has shown his bountiful talents in his own fiction. Now he returns to the series that made his name with a new story set years after the events of Hero of Ages. In a world recovering only slowly from evil, a world where allomancers wield immense power through their ability to unleash the magic bound up in common metals someone who can burn metals that no-one has burned before can tip the balance ... Sanderson has the knack of giving the epic fantasy reader exactly what they want. This ability has thrown him to the forefront of the genre and the dramatic story within The Alloy of Law shows off this skill to its very best.


Ian Irvine is my favourite author, having written two quartets and a trilogy as a part of the Three Worlds series. While this is a completely new series, I am just as excited. I had to restrain myself from buying it this morning.

Twelve years ago, two children witnessed a murder that still haunts them as adults. Tali, a slave girl in subterranean Cython, saw her mother's head hacked open and something taken from inside. Rix, boy heir to the biggest fortune in Hightspall, watched two shrouded figures do the deed. He did not realise they were his parents, acting for a faceless sorcerer. Tali has sworn to bring her mother's murderers to justice, but now she is hunted by a killer who can only be beaten by magic - Tali's magic that she does not understand. Her dramatic escape precipitates Cython's war on a weak and unready Hightspall. Tali meets Rix by chance and they flee through a land in turmoil, hunted by enemies and allies alike. But before they can solve the crime, and save the realm, Tali and Rix must learn to trust each other. The rebellion is led by Lyf, the embittered wraith of a long-dead Cythonian king whose sorcery has brought Hightspall to its knees. To restore himself to life Lyf needs only one thing - the master pearl his magic has cultured inside Tali's head - and he is determined to take it. As she unravels the conspiracy behind her mother's murder, Tali's quest for justice turns to a lust for vengeance. Unfortunately, only one person can teach her how to use her unruly magic - Lyf himself.

The Sending

I've been reading the Obernewtyn series since I was twelve and often to refer to Isobelle Carmody as 'that bitch who needs to stop taking her sweet time and finish this series'. This is the penultimate book of a truly awe-inspiring series.

In a world where happiness and love are rare, Elspeth Gordie has found both. But in the midst of planning a trip to the Red Land, Elspeth at last receives her summons to leave the Land on her quest to stop the computermachine Sentinel from unleashing a second apocalypse. Though she has prepared for this day for years, nothing is as she imagined. She will go far from her desitination to those she thought lost forever. To toxic Blacklands to find a pack of mutant human-hating wolves, for only they can lead her to the forgotten Beforetime city which haunts her dreams. Accepting her mission will cost her dearly, but to refuse, or to fail, is to condemn the world to annihilation.

Out of Oz

The last book in a very unique and quirky series, starting with Wicked (which was the basis of the musical). I have a feeling it's going to be epic.

The stunning conclusion to the smash New York Times bestselling series the Wicked Years. Hailed as “bewitching,” “remarkable,” “extraordinary,” “engrossing,” “amazing,” and “delicious,” Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years series—a sophisticated fantasy cycle inspired by the classic children’s novel The Wizard of Oz—became national bestsellers and the basis for a hit Tony-winning Broadway musical. Now, Maguire returns with the final installment in his transformative work, a thrilling and compulsively readable saga in which the fate of Oz is decided at last. Once peaceful and prosperous, the spectacular Land of Oz is knotted with social unrest: The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on the run from the law. And look who’s knocking at the door. It’s none other than Dorothy. Yes. That Dorothy. Yet amidst all this chaos, Elphaba’s granddaughter, the tiny green baby born at the close of Son of a Witch, has come of age. Now it is up to Rain to take up her broom—and her legacy—in an Oz wracked by war. The stirring, long-awaited conclusion to the bestselling series begun with Wicked, Out of Oz is a magical journey rife with revelations and reversals, reprisals and surprises—the hallmarks of the unique imagination of Gregory Maguire.

Monday, November 7, 2011

REVIEW: The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin


OK so firstly I want to talk about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms predecessor. An extremely easy, fast and ruthless read and some really interesting and original concepts. Plus with me, anything that involves anything religious- or god-orientated is already a winner. Even though I'm an atheist, I have this strange fascination with theology and mythology. But I did find in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms there were some parts of the story that just didn't sit right.

I remember writing after reading it that "even though it's fantasy, you can't just make shit up." By this I mean that even though everything is fictional (and because it's fantasy pretty much anything can happen) but you still need to abide by the rules of your own story/universe. I found that towards the end, the business with the Stone of Earth became a little messy and it sounded like it was being made up as the story went along. There was also a lot of things I felt that were not reasoned properly and it was clear that it was only that way for convenience, rather than being true to the characters or plot.

That being said, I feel like The Broken Kingdoms not only improved dramatically on this but also retrospectively cleared up those issues from The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This leads onto what I felt was the best part of this novel. I loved how Jemisin continued the series with new protagonists, including one which was able to tell his side of the story from 100K (an abbreviation I picked up from the author's website). However, even with these new characters and setting, it still felt like the perfect sequel and continuation from book one.

Jemisin's writing has definitely improved in this book and she has truly mastered the art of the  seamless, fast-moving plot. I remember reading 100K in just one day and I read this one in just a handful of days. The beginning had me a little frustrated and on edge because as a reader I knew what was going on and who this mysterious man was but it took so long for the plot to acknowledge it and finally satisfy me. This wasn't a total negative though and added some nice suspense. I also think this book solidifies the universe she has created when 100K didn't - it very clearly defines the laws, the reasoning and the motivation of key characters.

I appreciated the originality of the characters and the departure from archetypes (to some degree). I enjoyed how the godlings (and even the Gods) had inherent weaknesses/fallings rather than being all godly and omnipotent. Oree being blind also added a nice touch and allows the reader to view the story and the world in a unique way. 

Cannot wait to read book three The Kingdom of Gods but it will have to wait a bit because a) I'm too poor to buy it at the moment, b) INHERITANCE IS NIGH and c) my Alloy of Law pre-order will be arriving soon and this will obviously take preference.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

REVIEW: Across the Wall by Garth Nix

Across the Wall is a collection of short stories by Garth Nix, author of The Old Kingdom series (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen). While I don't usually do short stories - I find the lack of long term character and plot investment challenging and unrewarding - I really loved The Old Kingdom series and as this book purportedly contained an Abhorsen tale, I decided to give it a go.

First of all it took me ages to buy this book because I had purchased the new edition covers of the trilogy and in Australia, they did not sell the new edition of Across the Wall. www.bookdepository.com.uk was able to remedy this.

I have to say I really, really enjoyed every short story in this book. All were instantly and completely engaging and gave enough information for me to instantly connect with the story and characters but withheld information in a way that provoked healthy curiosity. Most of the stories had potential to become a novel unto themselves, while the rest felt complete as short anecdotes similar to a fairytale.

Reading Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case brought back a lot of memories from Sabriel and also reminded me that I have pretty much forgotten them entirely. I would really like to read them again, but that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

My favourite story was Under the Lake, which was a different take on the Arthurian character of the Lady of the Lake. Nix was able to take a classic character and give it a fantastical spin, hinting at ancient peoples and magics previously unknown. He shows the other, darker side of the character (much like Elphaba in Gregory Macguire's Wicked) which highlights that what we knew before was just what had seemed to be the truth. All this and more in just a few short pages.

Quite a relatively short book but I am very glad I read it - would recommend to anyone who wants to try short stories!

In lieu of the release of Inheritance I think I am just going to knock of another shorter book from my list - The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (which funnily enough is book two of the Inheritance trilogy) as I spotted book three in Dymocks the other day.

PS ... I saw The Sending by Isobelle Carmody in Target the other day and almost wept. I have been waiting for that bitch to finish the series since I was FREAKING TWELVE! Although this is still only the penultimate book, it's still a pretty big step. And even thought it was on sale my partner refused to allow me to buy it because of the fact that I still have thirty odd books to read. He obviously doesn't understand how this works.