A Game Of Thrones | Review

a game of thrones review

GENRE: FANTASY

PAGE COUNT: 790 PAGES

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

Plot Synopsis:

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

“When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.”

So I’m late on the train for reviewing A Game Of Thrones I know, but for those folk who have yet to read the series, allow me to persuade you to pick it up. From what I’ve heard you either hate the book or you love it, and I defiantly fall in the later category. This book introduced a lot of people to the world of fantasy books and has been adapted into an extremely popular series that I’m fairly certain everyone and their mother has heard of. I was hesitant at first to dive into the series because I must confess I have stopped watching the series… I know I know, please don’t kill me. I simply got sick of the constant hype and discussion over it, and found the show started to drag a bit. However as soon as I picked up the book I was reminded that the original work is always better…once again please don’t hurt me.

“A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinion of sheep.”

A Game Of Thrones is a classic fantasy through and through with a rich world full of history that is enthralling and characters going on wild adventures. George R.R. Martin writes with descriptive prose which is extremely quotable. I know some people aren’t big fans of lots of description in books but it really works here as the world the characters are surrounded by is huge and filled with colourful people and places.

One thing you have to get used to is the abundance of characters, every page you meet soo many and though at first it is a lot to get your head around you get used to it I promise. As with all books readers will find themselves drawn to particular characters which was absolutely the case in this book!

Before I get into some of my favourite characters I will say I found a certain characters perspective rather annoying. I was really not a fan of Catelyn’s parts as I found them a bit slow and flat for my taste though fortunately this only happened with her sections.

Arya

“A bruise is a lesson… and each lesson makes us better.”

I know I’m not alone in my love for the youngest Stark sister. Arya has an astounding sense of self right from the start and refuses to be placed in the box society wishes to put her in. She choses her friends regardless of status and understands the importance of being able to defend herself. Though this is only the beginning of Arya’s journey she is already exceedingly bright for her age and manages to get herself out of trouble swiftly. She is with out a doubt my favourite character so far and I cannot wait to see what the next book has in store for her.

“The man who fears losing has already lost.”

Tyrion aka The Imp

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

Another favourite is of course Tyrion. He has learnt to make himself indispensable in a world that views dwarfs as broken. He is probably one of the smartest characters in the book, using his mind as a weapon and manipulating others with strength to protect him when his mind isn’t enough. I’m especially a fan of how he owns Joffrey on multiple occasions.

“And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”

Sansa

“Life is not a song, sweetling.
Someday you may learn that, to your sorrow.”

Oft so of course Martin intended for Sansa to be ..let’s say trying at first, and I felt that whole heartedly for most of the novel. Many things she did left me internally (and sometimes outwardly) screaming. I will say I noticed some huge character growth towards the end of the novel which was both impressive and makes me intrigued for where her character will go in the future. I love when an Author demonstrates character growth when you least expect it and I believe this is a skill Martin has mastered.

Bran

“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”

Another Stark! I’d say the family has so many characters that readers tend to root for as they are both outsiders and the most down to earth. They are the most well developed, at least in the first book. Bran has had to deal with the most life altering event in that he has lost the ability the walk. A trauma that is hard in any situation let alone in a world where in order to move anywhere he must be carried. Bran has huge character growth in this book and I’m excited to see where the next book takes him.

Jon Snow

“What do we say to the Lord of Death?’

‘Not today.”

Everyones favourite under dog gets a new family in this book and we get to begin to learn about the Nights Watch and the terrors that lie beyond The Wall. Jon’s sections are a lot more intriguing then in the show. Martin’s writing had me on edge whenever Jon was making his way around the white snowy land of the Wall.

Daeneys

“He was no dragon, Dany thought, curiously calm. Fire cannot kill a dragon”

I was excited to read through Daeneys journey as she discovers her strength and the fire within her.  I found her sections a bit slow at first, However I was very invested as she started to grow into herself and become confident.

Overall A Game Of Thrones is excellent, it’s very hard to put down and the world in so interesting I can’t wait to find out more. It’s without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read this year. The first book is very similar the first series but from what I’ve heard the second book is quite different so I’m excited to discover the changes and see the characters grow. If you’ve never thought to read the books I highly recommend you do so! I enjoyed this book so much more them the series (Sorry HBO).

RATING:
★★★★★

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone | Review 

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone Review 

GENRE: FANTASY

PAGE COUNT: 246 PAGES

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

*Potential spoilers if you have not read any of the books or seen any of the films
Synopsis: 

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

“Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,

Teach us something please,

Whether we be old and bald,

Or young with scabby knees,

Our heads could do with filling

With some interesting stuff,

For now they’re bare and full of air,

Dead flies and bits of fluff,

So teach us something worth knowing,

Bring us back what we’ve forgot,

Just do your best, we’ll do the rest,

And learn until our brains all rot…”

As expected I finished my reread of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone in one day, because putting it down is rather impossible. I had no doubt I would enjoy the book as it has the unique magic of being timeless, but I don’t think I expected to enjoy it well beyond just childhood memories.

There are a great many things I forgot about the book which I discovered in my reread but the Dursley’s and Privet Drive was not one of them. Reading with Jim Kay’s illustrations throughout the story was a delight. I loved his interpretation of the Dursley’s and it served as a reminder of how J.K. Rowling pictures the characters and not just the actors that have become forever linked to them. I was thrilled to relive the character that is Dudley and his hilariously entitled behaviour that I remembered so well.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” 

Harry 

“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” 

Harry was much like I remember, and this stage in his journey is a definite favourite. He isn’t yet jaded by everything that goes along with being the chosen one and is instead a plucky eleven year old who is discovering the wonder of magic and the wizarding world for the first time. He makes a great character for the reader to relate to and go on this journey to Hogwarts where I’m positive all Potter fans are upset they never got their invitation too. Harry’s inner Gryffindor is on heavy display throughout this first book too, he’s very much the brave, courageous lion that the house is so known for.

Ron 

“Harry: “And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?”

Ron: “Throw it away and punch him on the nose.”

Book Ron is without a doubt one of my favourite characters, I had forgotten how funny the character actually was. The movies tend to portray his humour as a laughing at him rather then with him situation whereas in the book I feel it’s more laughing with him vibes. Ron is also the perfect counterpart to Harry, and you can see this right from the beginning. They balance each other out perfectly. 

Hermione 

“Oh, HONESTLY, don’t you two read?” 

Poor, clever buck toothed Hermione. She is very much coming into her personality in this book. Right from the start you get a sense of her intelligence and quite possible photographic memory. Personally I find Hermione the most relatable, I genuinely think she was so over the moon with discovering she is a witch that she filled herself to the brim with information she wants to share and she’s is of course so bright that she comes of as a bossy know it all at first. I have definitely had times in my life where I have been over eager to share info and come off similar. Of course the boys realise they cant do without her in the end, and really what would the series be without Hermione Granger?

“There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” 

Dumbledore

“Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.”

I’m sad to say I had forgotten Dumbledore’s quirky nature and all his odd mannerisms! Why the movies didn’t include them is a mystery to me as they are what makes Dumbledore such a great character! He is known for his philosophical quotes, which there is no debate about their brilliance! However without his random word outbursts and love of funny hats I think the movies scrub the character of what makes him unique. Book Dumbledore trumps movie Dumbledore easily.

 

“What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows.”

Snape

“Clearly, fame isn’t everything”

I couldn’t do this review without mentioning our favourite misunderstood double agent. The enigmatic Professor Snape! He is exactly how I remember him. Mysterious, talented and hella sassy. How can you not love this character I ask you? I could be biased as I am Slytherin who would most likely have an easier time in his classes then most. 

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” 

Those few people who are still resisting the draw of Harry Potter.. Um what are you doing? Get sorted (literally) and pick up the books! Fandom obsession aside, J.K. Rowling is an extremely talented writer. You will laugh, cry, get angry, be surprised and pretty much every other emotion under the sun. She is a master with descriptions making it easy for the reader to completely immerse themselves into the world. I promise, once you read it you’ll be wondering what on earth you were thinking waiting so long to become a Potterhead. 

RATING:

★★★★★

One of my favourite parts of the book; 

‘So — after that obvious and disgusting bit of cheating —’

‘Jordan!’ growled Professor McGonagall.

‘I mean after that open and revolting foul —’

‘Jordan, I’m warning you —’

‘All right, all right. Flint nearly kills the Gryffindor Seeker, which could happen to anyone, I’m sure, so a penalty to Gryffindor, taken by Spinnet, who puts it away, no trouble, and we continue play, Gryffindor still in possession.” 

A Darker Shade Of Magic | Book Review

a darker shade of magic review

GENRE: FANTASY
PAGE COUNT: 398 PAGES

“If red was the colour of magic in balance – of harmony between power and humanity – then black was the colour of magic without balance, without order, without restraint”

Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

“Some thought magic came from the mind, others the soul, or the heart or the will. But Kell knew it came from the blood.”

Oft, what a journey! I have just finished A Darker Shade Of Magic and I can attest it’s every bit as good as all the hype! V.E.Schwab writes a vivid fantasy world in beautiful prose, filled with real, complex characters.

“Magic was a truly beautiful disease. But only when the hosts were strong enough. Pure enough. The people here were not”

Kell

I adored Kell’s character, he is a thrilling narrator who sees the world (or worlds) for what they are truly like. Kell is very much the wallflower, who hasn’t quite found his place in the world. Schwab has cleverly written Kell so you have enough information about who he is to relate to the character, while still maintaining a sense of mystery about his past. I’m really looking forward to what the future books have in store for him.

“Trouble is the looker, it keeps looking till it finds you, you may as well find it first”

Lila

“The shadow thief they called her”

Lila is a mix of the everyman hero and the outsider. She’s the character I believe most readers will see themselves in, minus the whole loving to stab people thing… She craves a true adventure and a life that is beyond what the people around her aspire to have. Luckily (or perhaps it’s more than just luck) she quite literally bumps into Kell and the rest is history. I truly enjoy reading the Lila driven sections of the story, she is brave, witty and just a tad on the crazy side. You’d be hard pressed not to fall in love with her character.

“Lila knew how to use a knife, knew where to cut to hurt and where to kill”

Holland

Holland was my favourite character, though we don’t get much insight into what he’s thinking. Seeing him only how others see him, I found him to be the most complex character in the story. He is definitely jaded, and completey mysterious. A great part of this of course is because his actions are not his own. Despite that I find him endearing, he’s a survivor, and I have a feeling he’s going to feature again in the next books in this series. He also has those major bad boy who needs to be saved vibes and I’m here for it.

“Our throne is not something you’re born to. Its not held by blood. Bur taken by it. Someone cuts their way to the throne and holds it as long as they can”

The idea of multiple Londons held my attention immediately, and at first I was mainly intrigued by learning about the fantasy world itself. The characters easily draw the reader in and by the middle I was rapidly turning the pages to find out what happens next. A Darker Shade Of Magic is an exciting, extremely fun read and I highly recommend it!

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still”

“A life worth having is a life worth taking”

RATING:

★★★★★

The Lightning Thief | Book Review 

The Lightning Thief
GENRE: FATASY/YA
PAGE COUNT: 375 PAGES

“My name is Percy Jackson. 

I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York.

Am I a troubled kid?

Yeah. You could say that.” 

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. 

“Right,” she said, “We’re going to the Land of the Dead and I shouldn’t think negative.”

Another one bites the dust! I have just finished The Lighting Thief and I am beyond impressed. I admit I thought the book may be to young for me and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as if I had read it when I was younger. I’m glad to report I was completely wrong! Rick Riordan writes much like J.K.Rowling, with both children and adults in mind. While I was reading I didn’t once feel like I couldn’t relate to the story or characters, which was a wonderful surprise. 

“How did you die?”

“We er….drowned in a bathtub.”

“All three of you?”

“It was a big bathtub.” 

Throughout the book I laughed, got teary eyed and cheered Percy on from where I sat on my bed. Having a much less interesting adventure then Jackson. Percy is a very mature twelve year old, and while reading I had to keep reminding myself he wasn’t an adult. His moments of humour and bitting sarcasm aided in reminding me of his youth as well. Percy  is a brave, loyal, and hilarious character whose growth throughout the book was a joy to behold. I can only imagine what is in store for him in the next book! 

“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.” 

“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.” 

Annabeth is the wise, kickass female character I always pray is within the pages of whatever book I’m reading. She is an excellent counterpart to Percy’s character and is another character of whom clearly grows throughout the book and reveals herself to be an equally loyal friend to Percy. Though I spy a romance in the future I’m glad the first book isn’t about that, and sets the foundation of friendship. Making Annabeth more then just a love interest, but an essential support in his quest. 

“The real world is where the monsters are.” 

The Mythology is the element of the book that I can see keeping me hooked for many novels to come. I have been a fan of Greek, Roman and Norse Mythology since I was in primary school and have a large collection of books on the subject to prove it. The way Riordan weaves the myths into the story is exciting and clearly well researched. I found myself getting giddy with each reference to Nymphs, Olympus and of course the Gods themselves. 

“It’s funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.” 

The invention of Camp Half-Blood is ingenious and I adored reading each moment spent there. Being completely enthralled by the imagery Riordan so expertly creates in the readers mind. Naturally I found myself wondering which cabin I would want to stay in myself, and obsessively reading the pages for more information about all aspects of the camp.

“The real world is where the monsters are.” 

“Hades raised an eyebrow. When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment, as if the garment was stitched of trapped souls from the Fields of Punishment, trying to get out. The ADHD part of me wondered, off-task, whether the rest of his clothes were made the same way. What horrible things would you have to do in your life to get woven into Hades’ underwear?” 

This book flew through my fingertips as a clamoured to read each page to find out the fate of our heroes in this journey. I can honestly say it’s a journey with a brilliant finish and I cannot wait to pick up the next book. The hints of whats to come has set of an excitement that will not be quenched till I have that hot little book in my hands! Please don’t follow my lead and let the fear of this book being to young for you stop you from reading it any longer. It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read this year!

“Names have power.” 

RATING:
★★★★★

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard | Book Review

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard Book Review

GENRE: PARABLE/FABLE/CHILDREN’S
PAGE COUNT: 108 PAGES

“There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight.”

Book Synopsis:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.

“Pay me the proof of you pain,
Pay me the fruit of your Labour,
Pay me the treasure of your past”

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard is a delightful companion novel to the Harry Potter series, and can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. J.K. Rowling once again proves her writing talent with poetic prose in these children’s fairy tales.

“No man or woman alive, magical or not, has ever escaped some form of injury, whether physical, mental, or emotional. To hurt is as human as to breathe.”

This book has added charm by including  commentary from the beloved character, Albus Dumbledore. It’s both charming, funny and especially relevant when it comes to the Tale Of Three Brothers, which everyone who has read Harry Potter will understand the relevance of.

“And then he greeted death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life”

The Tale Of The Three Brothers is in my opinion the best written of the tales, though I could be biased because I’m so familiar with the tale and it’s relevance. It shines as being written so rhythmically and perfectly, setting the stage for how important the story is in the Potter-verse.

“And so death took the first brother for his own”

“The three witches and the knight set off down the hill together, arm in arm, and all four led long and happy lives, and none of them ever knew or suspected that the Fountain’s waters carried no enchantment at all.”

I also particularly enjoyed The Fountain Of Fair Fortune and believe it is as well written as The Three Brothers, and if it was mentioned in the series more perhaps would have the same impact. The story reads as a parable and I can see it being popular if it was commonly read to children.

“Clever as I am, I remain just as big a fool as anyone else.”

You could read the stories to children without the commentary from Dumbledore and have them be enjoyed. Though the book is definitely intended for those familiar with the Harry Potter books and as such, I highly recommend it for fans!

“Humans have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worse for them”

RATING:

★★★★★