Author: fantasyst95

Review: Making History – Stephen Fry

How would the course of history have changed if Adolf Hitler had never been born?

When I started this book I didn’t really know what to expect. I added it to the TBR last minute on recommendation alone. A work colleague of mine who writes short news articles, which are published weekly in a local newspaper also takes a bit of an interest in my blog. It’s nice to get some local feedback on what I am reading and the things I discuss on here. It was this work colleague that recommended Making History to me, following my review of Extracted by R R Haywood.

Prior to this book, I had never read anything written by Stephen Fry, so I went into this book with very little knowledge of what I was going to get out of it.

Making History
GoodReads – Making History

In Making History, Stephen Fry has bitten off a rather meaty chunk by tackling an at first deceptively simple premise: What if Hitler had never been born? An unquestionable improvement, one would reason–and so an earnest history grad student and an aging German physicist idealistically undertake to bring this about by preventing Adolf’s conception. And with their success is launched a brave new world that is in some ways better than ours–but in most ways even worse. Fry’s experiment in history makes for his most ambitious novel yet, and his most affecting. His first book to be set mostly in America, it is a thriller with a funny streak, a futuristic fantasy based on one of mankind’s darkest realities. It is, in every sense, a story of our times.

 

My Thoughts…

Cambridge history graduate Michael Young and physicist Leo Zuckermann come together, quite by accident, when Michael’s thesis falls out of his briefcase and is scattered into the wind. Michael has studied the early life of one of the most famously horrific and anti-semitic figures in our history, Adolf Hitler. Despite the thesis not being his speciality, Leo takes a personal interest and requests to read a copy. Michael later discovers just why Leo has such an interest in Michael’s study and together they undertake a project in the hope of re-writing history, for the better. The narrative flits seamlessly between the present day and fictional scenes based on true events during both “halves” of the book – both realities are explored in the same way.

It was the explored concept of time travel that prompted Mark’s recommendation of the book to me. In particular, we talked about what is known as the grandfather paradox… to keep it simple – if you travelled back in time and killed your grandfather before your parents were born, you could never have existed to kill your grandfather. It boggles the mind to think too hard about it, so unless that’s really a subject of interest to you, I wouldn’t think any further than the general concept too much.

Michael Young and Leo Zuckermann, with the use of a machine built by Zuckermann,  succeed in ensuring Adolf Hitler was never born – but their actions have disastrous consequences. Can they restore the course of history to its former self? Michael wakes up in this new alternate reality as a student studying Philosophy in Princeton, New Jersey. He has a full recollection of his life before the experiment and little recollection of the life he SHOULD now be living. With vague memories of being out drinking with friends and banging his head the night before, Michael, who now goes by Mikey struggles with his “amnesia” and eventually comes to terms with his new life and the consequences of his and Leo’s experiment.

The book suggests that people (both individually and as groups), despite various circumstances, have certain in-built reactions or behaviours – for example, in both versions of history – Leo Zuckermann invents the time machine in response to feelings of guilt over his ties in what happens during this dark period of history. In our alternate version of history, the unchanged socio-economic circumstances Germany experiences and the unchanged general public opinion is offered by way of explanation as to why history does not change radically in the way Michael and Leo had hoped.

As much as this book is based on a turbulent and sensitive part of our history, it was still a fun and enjoyable read. I loved history at school so I fell in love with this book pretty much straight away. Anyone who isn’t so interested would probably not enjoy this book as much as I did, being perfectly honest… but you never know!! Michael is a lovable character, despite his flaws. I actually find him quite relatable. Even though he is graduating from Cambridge, he is still a bit of an idiot so the reader doesn’t feel either patronised or alienated from the narrative.
One of my favourite elements of the book is that it both discusses and challenges our current history, yet in a fictional and humorous way. Even though historical and philosophical messages can be interpreted from the narrative, it also succeeds in being an entertaining read.

At 575 pages I wouldn’t suggest this was a light read, but to my mind, it’s an absolutely worthwhile one. Thank you for the recommendation Mark – this is high up on the list of  favourite reads this year!
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Sunday Summary – 8th October 2017

Hi everyone!! Welcome to the Sunday Summary, in which I post every week to update you on my reading progress during the week just gone and to advise you of what you can expect on my blog next week. So… here we go!
 

Books Read

This week I managed to squeeze two of the books on my TBR into my schedule, which I am very pleased about. Both of these books are review copies which I have very kindly been provided with in exchange for an honest review.

GoodReads – The Kitsune in the Lantern
GoodReads – The War Queen
The first book I was provided with was The Kitsune in the Lantern by Daniel Curry and the second being The War Queen by J M Robison. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the Coming Up section below!

Books Discovered

Every week I manage to find books I really want to read and it gets added to the never-ending list. Not that I’m complaining – at all!! The great thing about connecting with other bloggers is that you get to see what they have been reading and potentially discover something new!
cat reading military

Source: Giphy

Pretty much all of the additions to the TBR this week are as a result of reading other bloggers reviews! The two exceptions are that a good couple of months ago Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes was recommended to me at work by probably THE MOST unbookish person on my team… but that’s okay. He seemed to enjoy it, so I’m sure I will! I also discovered The Bone Season via Instagram and added that to the list.

The other books I added to the TBR this week are Moonrise by Sarah Crossan, Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, Blackwing by Ed McDonald and A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne. This last book is due out locally on the 19th October so as soon as it’s out, I’ll be getting myself a copy!


I also bought myself two books this week, including Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death that changed the British Monarchy by Helen Rappaport. That title is far from catchy… just saying. It’s what it says on the tin though, I’ll give it that. This year I have been making a conscious effort to read more classics and I also know appallingly little about the British Monarchy… Oops!

Coming Up…

I am really looking forward to next week! I am just about to start reading IT by Stephen King and I have a number of review-related posts coming up on the blog. On Tuesday I am reviewing the last book on September’s TBR list, Making History by Stephen Fry.
Remember above I mentioned I was reading two review copies of books? Well, on Thursday I will be publishing an interview with Daniel Curry, the author of The Kitsune in the Lantern. My review of the book will be published on Friday. I hope you get to join the discussion!
On Sunday I’ll be posting my Sunday Summary again and tidying up the loose ends I always seem to have.
If I don’t see you around and about the blogosphere before then, I’ll see you on Tuesday!!
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Review: Dunstan by Conn Iggulden

Following my post on Thursday, written in all haste in the last ten minutes of my lunch hour, I announced that to celebrate reaching 100 followers I was going to post an extra review this week!

I was fishing for an excuse really. It had already crossed my mind that I was going to be falling behind if I didn’t throw some extras in. Nevertheless, today I am posting the review, as promised!

Dunstan
GoodReads – Dunstan

The year is 937. England is a nation divided, ruled by minor kings and Viking lords. Each vies for land and power. The Wessex king Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a spear into the north.

As would-be kings line up to claim the throne, one man stands in their way.

Dunstan, a fatherless child raised by monks on the moors of Glastonbury Tor, has learned that real power comes not from God, but from discovering one’s true place on Earth. Fearless in pursuit of his own interests, his ambition will take him from the courts of princes to the fields of battle, from exile to exaltation.

For if you cannot be born a king, or made a king, you can still anoint a king.

Under Dunstan’s hand, England may come together as one country – or fall apart in anarchy . . .

From Conn Iggulden, one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and murderer, liar and visionary, traitor and kingmaker – the man who changed the fate of England.

 

I originally decided I was going to read this book as I was introduced to this particular period of history by a work colleague, in the form of another series of books by Bernard Cornwell. Maybe this particular period of history is new to you. Perhaps you had the opportunity to watch “The Last Kingdom”, which aired on BBC Two here in the UK. I am also assured by other sources on the world-wide-web that it was shown on BBC America and the first season is also available on Netflix. If historical dramas are of interest to you – I really recommend it!

Dunstan picks up a little after the reign of Alfred the Great, whose reign and resistance to the Viking invasion features in the aforementioned series. Having loved this particular set of books so far I wanted to see how history panned out after the invasion.

Turns out, whilst England was under one rule, much of the struggles faced by King Alfred the Great live on past his reign.

Some slaves are kings and some kings, slaves, but that is because the world is corrupt and in ruins, no matter how high we build. – Dunstan

The history and turbulence within the monarchy following King Æthelstan’s death is narrated by Dunstan, who dedicated his life to the restoration of the Abbey at Glastonbury. You would expect a man in this position to be a humble one, serving God through his position as Abbot. Think again. He is far from honest: he cheats, he lies and he is a murderer. He’s a manipulator. At one point he saves his brother from death by performing a risky surgical procedure on him and succeeds. The fact that he then later emotionally blackmails Wulfric and puts him in the position of committing treason for his own gain, well, I think that tells you everything about our MC. There is only one person Dunstan will truly look out for, and that’s Dunstan.

Naturally, I didn’t like our far from humble and backstabbing narrator, but the narration from his perspective was not completely spoiled by this brat of a human being. We get to experience first hand the repelling of the Scots and the Danes in Ireland, as well as the reformation of the Royal Mint.

Dunstan finds himself serving many Kings following Æthelstan’s death. He had very clear ideas about who he liked and who he disliked. Of course, those in his favour were either his friends or people he felt he could influence with his affiliation to God. I found it laughable at Dunstan’s distaste for Prince Edwy. In my humble opinion, he was very much like Dunstan and their clash is probably as a result of having similar personalities!! Dunstan favoured Edwy’s younger brother to be King, voted for at a Witten (a meeting of influential lords, landowners etc).

I am not going to turn this review into a history lesson. In my experience, you are either interested or you are not, so I’m not going to be that person to throw facts and figures at you. If you are interested, I would recommend the book to you. Whilst exploring the history of the English monarchy, it is still an entertaining read. Please note that my opinions are my own – let them cloud your judgement. You may have a different opinion. The only way you will know is if you find out for yourself. If anyone has read this book – I would love to hear your thoughts!!
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The Book Blogger Test

Good morning everyone on this wonderful Friday!! (It’s nearly the weekend – yippee!!)
Not long ago I was having a read through the blogs I follow and I came across the Book Blogger Test. Whilst the post didn’t nominate anybody, it left it open to anyone who opted to do it. I saw this post on  snowlyramble’s blog and ask you all to go and check it out – I loved her answers to this test and I think you should all go and take a look if you don’t follow her already!!
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Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
2. Answer the ten questions asked on this post
3. Nominate at least five people to do it also
4. Let your nominees know you nominated them
 

Three Book Pet Hates

  1. Cracked spines – need I say any more? I try to read books as carefully as possible so as not to damage them!
  2. Much in line with point 1, bending the pages and making them all dog-eared is a crime against books.
  3. Book endings that are extremely disappointing – so a few years ago I invested time into the Books of Pellinor series and I loved it… except the ending. I’m sorry, it was atrocious. As with a lot of fantasy, there is a lot of build-up to the end sequence. Then it just fell flat on its face. It was a real let down and I detest investing time into a series that just doesn’t deliver.

 

Perfect Reading Spot

The perfect reading spot has to be at home, sat in my front room with my feet up under a blanket. A cup of tea is also compulsory. Preferably I’d have a personal, shirtless waiter at my beck and call… but we can’t have it all.
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Source: Giphy

 

Three Book Confessions

  1. I imagine a lot of bibliophiles feel the same – I find I relate a lot more to book characters than I do people. I read to get AWAY from people…
  2. When mum and dad moved house last year I borrowed some books (at least 10) from dad. I still haven’t read a single one. Sorry dad, you’re probably not going to get them back unless you ask.
  3. Whilst I acknowledge that new books are amazing, they smell great (if they did a room spray in new book fragrance, I would genuinely buy it) I find it EASIER to read on Kindle – NOTE I DID NOT SAY BETTER PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED!!! Ahem.

 

Last Time I Cried Reading

It has to be when I read The Green Mile. Anyone who follows my blog will have seen more than one impassioned blog post about the book. It’s pretty much my favourite book ever. If you want to read my thoughts about it, here are a couple of my posts about it:-
Special Post – My favourite books!
The Green Mile – Stephen King
 

Number of Books on my Bedside Table

I’m actually quite good for this at the moment – I have one IN my bedside table but none sat on top. I think the book within is one of dad’s as well…
 

Favourite Reading Snack

I am not picky. Anything sugary or even savoury is good for me. Basically, I like food – I won’t turn my nose up at anything.
 

Three Books I Recommend

  1. If you have never read Tolkien, you have not lived. Technically its three books, but I recommend Lord of the Rings to anyone and everyone.
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird – it is a difficult thing to comprehend that the very judicial system designed to be fair and just can be corrupted. It is a worse thing to know that your peers will rule against you despite all evidence pointing the other way because of the colour of your skin. The best way to learn is from our mistakes.
  3. George R R Martin’s books. All of them. Right now.

 

Picture of my Favourite Book Shelf

This is my only bookshelf – which is already an upgrade. I needed something bigger without taking up too much space, and I am not ashamed.

 

How Much Books Mean (in three words)

A lot… duhhh…
 

Biggest Reading Secret

Books are means of enjoyment or pleasure; they can be a break from reality. They can teach you more about what used to be a reality, or they can explore the realms of “never going to happen in a million years” – but that doesn’t matter.
For me, my mind is my temple. It’s my space and anything goes. Well, almost. It’s an escapism from the bills and the job and all of life’s little annoyances – and believe me there are plenty. I love to learn and every day is a school day. If I can be introduced to new ideas or different perspectives through books, without interruption then I am broadening my horizons.
Whilst I try to read books with an open mind – there are just some genres I won’t even touch because I am 99% sure I won’t like them. I hope to change that – but it’s something I need to work on.
 
Okay, so I am not going to name individuals to do this test in case you have been nominated already. If not and you’d love to take part… then TAG. You’re in the club. Let me know if you opt to do this tag so I can read what you have to say!!
Thanks for reading and much love, as always

Milestone: 100 Followers 

It’s astounding to me that it was only six weeks ago I posted to celebrate reaching 50 followers in four months. Last night, I reached the 100 milestone!
Since April I have learned a lot about blogging and I hope to pick up a lot more from all you wonderful people.
As a little celebration, I am going to be posting an extra review on Saturday, of Dunstan by Conn Iggulden. This is OF COURSE totally unrelated to be fact that I need to catch up so as not to get behind… 😂😂
Seriously though, a last little thing from me…

Thank you to all my followers and to all the blogs out there that give me inspiration 😊 Here is to the next milestone!
Yours and eternally grateful,

Review: The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Aloha fellow book fiends!! I have for you today my review of The Maze Runner, written by James Dashner!
As I mentioned in my post on Sunday, when I regularly give you all a little preview of the week ahead, this book is one of the exceptions to the general rule I have adopted. I watched the film first! Shock horror – I hear you cry! I know a lot of other book fans prefer to read first. Do let me know if you are of a different opinion mind, I’m keen to know!!
Personally, watching the film sold the book to me – If I hadn’t watched it I may not have picked the book up. I find though, given that I am highly biased towards reading and then watching… I was worried the book wouldn’t live up to the film. I was pleasantly surprised though, I still preferred the book but equally didn’t feel disappointed by the film for not being of equal expectation. Maybe there is some merit to doing things the wrong way around after all!!
The Maze Runner
GoodReads – The Maze Runner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.

What is it about?
We pick up the story from the perspective of Thomas, who finds himself in a new and harsh environment surrounded by other young adult boys. When Thomas enters the Glade he knows only two things for sure – his name, and that he must become a Runner…the Elite – the best of the best. Having lost all other memory, he quickly has to adapt to his new life in the Glade, however, he finds himself unwelcome by some and when things start to go wrong, suspicion and blame follow him everywhere.
Then, the most unusual thing happens. The first female enters the Glade. Things go from bad to worse, and in order to survive the Gladers have to face the Grievers and escape the maze.
My thoughts
I was actually impressed with the diversity of the characters within the book; in particular I liked how there are different levels of maturity among the youths. For example, everybody is made to work, growing crops, tending animals and a few other unsavoury jobs just to name a few. Also, there is a democracy of leaders representing all the Gladers when it comes to big decisions that have to be made.
Equally, there are the inevitable bolshy characters, aggression, and bullying that can be expected from the young men. Sorry guys – this isn’t a pointed remark at you or anything like that… it’s just that in this case, 99% of the Glade population is male. In my humble opinion, girls can be just as bad worse. WORSE. The youths have also developed some of their own language, which is very reminiscent of people (sadly a lot of them are my age) today. Having read an article including 28 slang words used on the internet today (link), I only knew three of the more obscure ones. The first, and probably the one I fucking hate the most, is “fam”. The other two are “AF” and “salty”. I think that probably tells you a hell of a lot about me.
Emma Stone sarcasm
Now that I’m done being a savage and throwing shade (too much? – okay I’ll stop) at some of the language choices of people my age today, I’ll get back to my review…
I’m not going to lie, there were times when I really wanted Thomas to get a grip. Yeah, I get it, self-doubt and finding oneself is a big part of being a teenager. Having come out of the other side of my teenage years with a “don’t like me, well screw you” attitude, I found Thomas’ doubting and uncertainty frustrating. I would like to think in the situation I would just make the best of a bad situation and get on with it, but who knows until you end up in it.  Everyone is different. I am not saying he is unjustified in his thoughts and fears, I just don’t like it personally.
One of my pet peeves is that the book and the film get to the ending differently. As ever, books and their TV adaptations, they are just that, aren’t ever going to be identical, (unless you watch The Green Mile – that’s the closest I have ever seen). It’s also just as emosh…tional.
Dystopian novels are a big win for me… in fact it is one of my favourite themes to read. Whilst I found myself a bit frustrated with Thomas, the rest of the book made it a good read. I knew the ending from watching the film, but that didn’t particularly detract from the book. It is a trilogy after all, and there are still many unanswered questions as to why the Maze was ever created. I’ll have to read the next book to find out.
Have you read the Maze Runner? If so, what were your thoughts?
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Sunday Summary: 1 October 2017

Good morning, from a very dreary, windy and rainy Sunday here!!
Another week comes and goes, and this one ends with the realisation that my holiday is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow…
I would much rather talk of the week of freedom I have had as opposed to the week ahead, so I’ll get straight on with it!
 

Books Read


On account of having the week pretty much to myself and only odd jobs to do around the house, I managed to get a fair bit of reading done! I started reading Dunstan last Sunday and at the point of writing my last Sunday summary, I was about 25% of the way through it. Well, I managed to finish this book on Wednesday this week and following on from finishing it, I picked up Making History by Stephen Fry. It was the first time I had ever read one of his books and I didn’t know what to expect. I actually picked this up as it was recommended to me by a work colleague and I wasn’t disappointed! I finished this book on Friday!
 

Books Discovered


I haven’t spent a single penny on books this week… *faints* I must be all shopped out from last week!! That being said, I have added books to the TBR, being Invictus by Ryan Graudin, Before It’s Too Late by Sara Driscoll, The Weight of Shadows by Karl Holton and That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston.
I also noticed this week that a few of my blogging peers (yes you guys!) have been reviewing the latest novel by Allison Pearson, How Hard Can It Be? which was published last month. It got me thinking back to my school days and I remember starting to read the first book of this now series, I Don’t Know How She Does It. Regrettably I never finished the book, but I loved what I had read… so I’ve decided I am going to pick it up again. It also got me thinking about another quite different series I started reading back at school, being The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I’m as far as the fifth book of the series, being Soul of the Fire.
I have been paying a lot of attention to some of the books going around the blogosphere lately and I have added one final book that has a lot of discussion lately… A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab!
A Darker Shade of Magic
 

Coming Up…

Tuesday is review day – as always, and this week I am reviewing The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is one of the exceptions to the rule in that I actually watched the film of this first. I still preferred the book though. More about that on Tuesday!!
On Friday I am taking part in a book tag. Technically I wasn’t tagged, it was kind of an open for all, but I decided to give it a go as it will let you all get to know me better. Hopefully…
Lastly, as ever, I will follow up the week with another post just like this one!!
If you have any thoughts I would love to hear from you! Have you read any of the books mentioned?
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Reading List – October 2017

October is nearly upon us!! Where has this year gone? I think back to when I started this blog back at the end of April and it seems like it was yesterday. Well, not quite, but you get the picture…
I normally publish my reading list on the first of every month, however as I don’t want this post to interfere with my Sunday summary post, I have decided to publish this list a couple of days early!
I’m not making my life very easy next month because I am setting myself a mammoth challenge. I have two ARC’s to read plus an additional three books. I know this is less than my September reading list, but take a look at which books I am reading and perhaps you’ll understand…
 

1  The Kitsune in the Lantern – Daniel Curry

The Kitsune in the Lantern
GoodReads – The Kitsune in the Lantern

“You were chosen by Yako, the bringer of Darkness.”
Join Argus Todd and his friends as he uncovers a great power exploring an old ruin, that has stood for decades in his town.
Inari, an age-old Kitsune must train Argus in his new gifts, in order to stop the chaotic Yako from bringing the darkness to our world.
But Yako appears a complex character, and all may not be as it seems…
Debut novella from author Daniel Curry, for Children and Teens. Experience the magic of the power of the Kitsune in this first book of a brand new series.

I am very kindly being provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is marketed as for children / YA and it should make for an interesting read! This is Daniel Curry’s debut book release… so watch this space – a review to follow.
 

2  The War Queen – J M Robison

The War Queen
GoodReads – The War Queen

Altarn is the first woman to hold the position of State Head in Blindvar. When Lord Kaelin, State Head of Ruidenthall, propositions her to merger with their states, Altarn believes it’s his subtle way of taking her state for his own, making himself king. On the cusp of war, she rides in disguise to her last ally, Luthsinia, to ask for help.
During her journey, Altarn is ambushed but rescued by a man called Torren who offers her protection. Quickly they realize they share a mutual attraction. Upon their arrival to Luthsinia, Altarn receives news that an army has invaded Blindvar in her absence and blames Kaelin. Except it’s not Kaelin’s army, because she discovers Kaelin is in Luthsinia for the purpose of spying on her to take her land. And Torren is not who she thought he was.
Taking advantage of the unraveling situation, Kaelin kidnaps Altarn so he can take her state without her in the way and brings her to Ruidenthall. There’s a war ship on the horizon, led by a fallen angel craving mortal worship. Kaelin realizes he needs Altarn’s help to fight this army if he’s to save his state. She’s forced to agree, but how will she react when he’s wounded in battle? If she lets him die, can she fight the enemy on her own? Or if she saves his life, will he still try claiming her state, or try claiming her heart?

This is the second ARC I have been kindly provided with and will be reading this month. Not only is the genre of this book right up my street, having read the first chapter online this looks to be full of promise and I cannot wait to read it!!
 

3  IT – Stephen King

IT
GoodReads – IT

It was the children who saw – and feel – what made the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.
Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as it sirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

So… now you guys might have realised what I meant by my mammoth challenge this month. For anyone who is unaware, this book is HUGE. In fact it is 1,376 pages long, and once completed, it will trump War & Peace at being the longest book I have read a) this year, b) all-time.
No pressure…
 

4  The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings
GoodReads – The Way of Kings

Speak again the ancient oaths,
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

And return to men the Shards they once bore.
The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of Knights fell, their Shardblade swords and Shardplate armor still transform men into near-invincible warriors. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.
In one such war on the ruined Shattered Plains, slave Kaladin struggles to save his men and fathom leaders who deem them expendable, in senseless wars where ten armies fight separately against one foe.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Fascinated by the ancient text namedThe Way of Kings and troubled by visions of ancient times, he doubts his sanity.
Across the ocean, Shallan trains under eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece Jasnah. Though Shallan genuinely loves learning, she plans a daring theft. Her research hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

In the Down the TBR Hole post I published yesterday, I announced the little spoiler that there would be a Brandon Sanderson book featuring on this month’s TBR, and here it is. I haven’t read any of his books for so long, and this was personally recommended to be by a friend, so I felt it was time to pick up one of his books again.
 

5  The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

The Black Prism
GoodReads – The Black Prism

THE BLACK PRISM begins an action-packed tale of magic and adventure . . .
Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

If I’m completely honest, I will be delighted if I get to start this book by the end of October, never mind finish it. It’s not that it can’t be done… but it will be a big push. I added it onto the list to try to motivate myself to push through any difficult periods, but as to whether it will work or not remains yet to be seen.
Brent Weeks is another author I haven’t read for a long time. Back when I read the Night Angel series, The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows, I fell in love with his writing so I’m looking forward to picking this book up. It’s been on the TBR FOREVER!!!
What books are you reading at the moment?
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Top 5 Inspirational Quotes by Terry Pratchett

So… WordPress very kindly informed me that my last post published this morning, Down the TBR Hole #5 was my fiftieth blog post! Hasn’t that gone pretty fast?!
I decided, in order to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to share with you my top 5 quotes by one of my favourite authors. To be honest, it isn’t just his ability to put pen to paper and write hilariously witty novels, all the while administering a good kick in the teeth to social issues like racism, sexism and corruption that I love. It was his attitude to life I admire.
Some of you may not know about Terry’s background.
At primary school he was told he would never amount to anything and as a teenager he left school with no qualifications. It must have been difficult to make your way through life with nothing to testify your ability. You certainly couldn’t do it now.
Whilst he had taken an interest in writing from a young age, he worked in a library before he started up in journalism. It was through his journalism role that he handed over his manuscript of The Carpet People to Peter Bander van Duren, which became his first published novel.
The point I am making is this. Terry was a grafter. He was by no means defined as (though I dispute) intellectually exceptional and he had far less of an education than the vast majority of people, but did he let that stop him? No. His determination is what inspires me. Just because he didn’t have an education, it doesn’t mean he didn’t know his shit. Here are just a select few of the things he had to say about life:-
Terry Pratchett insanityTerry Pratchett knowledge and ignoranceTerry Pratchett Light & DarkTerry Pratchett Open Mind QuoteTerry Pratchett Wisdom quote
These are just a select few of my favourite quotes – and there are plenty of them. Punch it into Google (other search engines are available) if you don’t believe me.
If we can all adopt a little of Pratchett’s attitude, I think the world will go a long way. Wouldn’t you agree?
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Down the TBR Hole #5

This meme was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story and I am clearing out my reading list of unwanted books. I have old items on Goodreads that I need to sort through and gradually amalgamate into my current reading list. Here is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here are the five books that I have focused on for this post:
 

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart
GoodReads – Steelheart

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Who doesn’t love Brandon Sanderson?! I have had a number of his books come up when going through my old entries on the TBR and it reminds me of just how long ago it was since I read one of his books!! …. but… not for much longer – I’ll let you in to a cheeky spoiler. One of his books is coming up on the reading pile for next month! Exciting times! If you want to check out the books I am going to be reading, stay tuned, because that post is going live on Friday, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
I digress. As I was saying, who doesn’t love Brandon Sanderson?! I think pretty much all his books I have come across sound interesting so if he comes onto the list, it’s probably a 99% chance of being kept… and this one is no exception. I seem to recall a previous post in which I ditched a book with a not-to-dissimilar plot line. Oops.
Verdict: Keep!
 

Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker
GoodReads – Warbreaker

Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.
Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.
By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

So again, we have another Brandon Sanderson novel. Now I know I said above that his books are probably a 99% chance of being kept… but having read the synopsis for this again, I think I am going to exercise the 1% here and take this off the TBR.
I don’t doubt that I could read this. Maybe one day I will. To be truthful, I’m just not feeling so inclined at the moment. It evidently doesn’t appeal to me as much as it once did. That’s okay – reading tastes change.
Verdict: Go
 

Sailing to Sarantium – Guy Gavriel Kay

Sailing to Sarantium
GoodReads – Sailing to Sarantium

Crispin is a master mosaicist, creating beautiful art with colored stones and glass. Summoned to Sarantium by imperial request, he bears a Queen’s secret mission, and a talisman from an alchemist. Once in the fabled city, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, intrigues and violence, Crispin must find his own source of power in order to survive-and unexpectedly discovers it high on the scaffolding of his own greatest creation.

Has anyone, at the point of reviewing their TBR ever come across a book they’ve added and thought… was I bored that day?
I genuinely don’t know why I would have added this to the list. No offence meant, but this really doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t honestly think it ever would have?
I don’t know. Either way, the verdict is clear. Sorry.
Verdict: Go
 

The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King
GoodReads – The Demon King

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.
One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…
The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Okay, I think I have redeemed myself a little bit here. I added this to the TBR on the same day as Sailing to Sarantium and I was seriously doubting as to whether this was going to be of interest. Having reviewed the synopsis though, it does seem to be a book right up my street. Who doesn’t love a whole lotta magic and a woman/princess wanting to be kick-ass warrior? I’m sure there are plenty… but the point is – I am not one of them. Bring it on!!
Verdict: Keep
 

Theft of Swords – Michael J Sullivan

Theft of Swords
GoodReads – Theft of Swords

THEY KILLED THE KING. THEY PINNED IT ON TWO MEN. THEY CHOSE POORLY.
There’s no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it’s too late.

I had quite a hard time with this one. I like how this tries to avoid some of the common clichés in fantasy writing. Other than that, I can’t decide if I am going to like this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it doesn’t sound like I could read it. It does. It just doesn’t particularly smack me in the face and say “PUT EVERY OTHER BOOKS DOWN AND READ ME INSTEAD”… do you know what I mean?
I have a lot of books to read, and I’m inclined to say that if I am sat on the fence about a book, it should go. There are thousands of others I’ll enjoy that I could read instead.
Verdict: Go


 
So there we have it! Of the five reviewed, I am keeping two. Even if I only review a few books at a time, I’ll eventually whittle down the TBR so I only have books I really do want to read on it.
I hope you have enjoyed my post! Have you found any books you no longer want to read lately?
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