Review: A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire

Pages: 1177

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Adventure

My Rating: 5/5

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

{29BE96B6-A79B-4AAE-8B7F-B1856E1DD48B}Img100

“Here is the third volume in George R.R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. Together, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords…”

* * *

Another book in which Martin did not let me down. I admit, I read this book in parts because I ended up going through a reading slump, but it was fantastic!

A Storm of Swords made me smile, gasp, and even throw my book (I’m sorry, book). Without giving too much away, a lot of moments I had hoped for happened, and a lot of experiences I didn’t expect happened.

I found a new appreciation for Jaime and The Hound, and if you’ve read or are going to read this, you will too.

There isn’t much I can say without giving things away, and I know there are people who still haven’t read the books, BUT, we know there’s always deaths, right?

CAN YOU BELIEVE THOSE WEDDINGS?

Holy crap. There was some epic foreshadowing in there, but reading about these events took it to a whole new level. And I love the subtlety of the magic in this series. It exists, but in such a real way, anything is possible.

Like I said though, I can’t say much without giving anything away, so please, READ THE BOOK!

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Advertisements

Review: Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Pages: 162
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Horror, Childrens
My Rating: 4/5
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

474073

“Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.”

* * *

Why did I not know about this book sooner? I’m one of those people that reads a book long before it ever becomes a movie; however, in this case it didn’t work out that way.

In 2009 when the film Coraline came out, you bet I was there to watch it. A Tim Burton-esque atmosphere is what I wanted, and that’s what I got. When I found out there was actually a book, I was ecstatic (yes, it took me a while to realize that)!

I started reading Coraline and in a short period of time, I was finished. All I can say is, “Wow!” What a great little read!  This is one of those books that you can enjoy regardless of your age, and there’s something special about that.

Basically, little Coraline and her family move to a big house that has been converted into different sections so many families can live in it at once. She feels lonely and ignored because her parents are always too busy for her, but have no fear! Coraline is an adventurer! She goes to meet all the people in the house that, quite unkindly, refer to her as Caroline. There’s two women who used to be actresses, and a crazy old man who lives upstairs with performing mice.

The house’s yard is huge and you can tell that it used to be well kept. There’s a large garden, a tennis court, and even an old well. Coraline spends her days exploring the place, seeing if she can find anything interesting. She finds a cat, but he seems utterly uninterested in her.

One day, she thinks she sees something, so she goes into an unused room in her part of the house thinking the thing darted into the door, but not only is it locked, but when it’s opened, all it is is a brick wall. Eventually, weird things start to happen and Coraline finds herself in a seemingly other world, where the people have button eyes.

Again I repeat, “wow.”

The movie was excellent, yes, but this book beats it by a lot (isn’t that usually the case?). I found myself fully immersed into the world, and at certain points, I felt like I was right beside Coraline as her friend, helping her explore and figure things out.  I’m all for going into alternate worlds; the mere thought is completely captivating, though I don’t know how I’d feel about people with button eyes!

My favourite character in this story was the cat. He has no name, he is just the cat, and he is wonderful. Aside from the cat being amazing, Coraline surprises everyone by being brave even when she’s afraid and convinced that home is no longer her own.

I think this would be a wonderful read no matter what age you are; however, I believe that kids in the 6-10 age range would probably enjoy it the most. I know I certainly would have!

Coraline just goes to show that when you care about something enough, the courage to persevere will come out, no matter how small.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games
Pages: 374
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance
My Rating: 2.5/5
★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆


2767052

“Katniss, 16, takes her sister’s place in the televised annual Hunger Games, competing against Peeta, the boy who gave them bread to survive after their father died. The cruel Capitol forces each of 12 districts to submit a boy and girl 12-18, to fight to the death. Only one can survive and be rewarded. President Snow manipulates behind the scenes.”

* * *

Many people I know have been obsessed with The Hunger Games for a while now, and being me, I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon… after reading it, I definitely won’t be.

So The Hunger Games is about a 16 year old girl named Katniss (or Catnip to her lovely friend, Gale) who decides she’s going to take her sister’s place in The Hunger Games. Every year, the Capitol forces each district to submit a boy and girl to fight to the death in a strange arena full of deadly traps. Only one can survive.

Katniss’s sister, Prim, is one of the chosen ones from District 12. Katniss, loving Prim too much, decided to take her place. Alongside Katniss, a boy named Peeta was chosen to go to the arena.

For me, the only thing that saved this book was the idea. I loved the idea of children going off to fight to the death. I know that sounds dreadful, but the premise for the book was great. The kids are going to die one way or another, so giving them a chance to bring honour and riches to their families is something at the very least. I hated the Capitol, I thought it was terrible. But it made me think, does such a place really exist?

My favourite character was the girl from District 11 – Rue. She seemed kind enough, small, her songs were wonderful, and it wasn’t fair that she was there… or that anyone was there, for that matter.

Again, the idea was neat.

So now that I’ve given it some good points, I think it’ll be alright to completely tear apart the rest of it.

WHAT IN THE SERIOUS HELL?!

I want to give this 2.5 stars, not 3, but the fact there’s no half star symbol makes it so I can’t or I will go nuts. What in the serious hell did I just read? The writing? What the hell was that? I could write better than that, at a much younger age. Everyone is entitled to their own writing style, I know I have one, but… here’s some tips.

Tip 1. GET AN EDITOR! If I can consistently point out spelling and grammatical errors, you’re doing something seriously wrong! I’m not perfect, nobody is, but I have the tendency to be a grammar Nazi, and reading it hurts my eyes. I had to read some sentences 5 times over because it made absolutely no sense at all.

Tip 2. Okay, so I don’t have a second tip, I just wanted to rant about that.

I watched the movie before I read the book, which didn’t matter much because neither were all that great. I thought to myself, “the book must be better than this.” Well… at least the movie had pictures… and no painful sentences. And that’s coming from someone that ALWAYS reads before watching.

It was a neat idea, don’t get me wrong, but unless you don’t care about terrible writing (or don’t know the difference between good and bad writing), or they re-release an edited version, please don’t bother. It was painful, but I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Do they get better as they go along?

Okay, if you can stand the terrible writing, read it, it was interesting… and at least then you can get it out of the way.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Review: The Archived

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived
Pages: 328
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
My Rating: 3/5
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

10929432

“Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.”

* * *

I have to admit, I was drawn to this book because of the synopsis. “Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.” Okay, so the supernatural world kind of intrigues me, mostly due to personal experiences, but still…

The Archived was an interesting read and I am by no means going to berate it. It was fun, quick, and it kept my attention so I read it in one sitting. So why the 3/5 rating? Where to start, where to start…

I feel as if I would’ve enjoyed The Archived more had I read it at a younger age. This doesn’t usually bother me, considering I still sometimes pick up Dr. Suess books, but there was something about it that really made me feel out of place. Not only that, but I feel as if it wasn’t written as well as it could’ve been. I’m not the best writer in the world, but if we put ourselves out there, there’s always going to be criticism.

I really enjoyed the idea that Schwab allowed to unfold though. Mackenzie’s grandfather was apart of a secret organization that only certain people could ever be part of. He decided to choose Mackenzie. After Da (her grandfather) dies, all she has is herself, and she finds herself in the position of constantly lying to those she loves to protect them.

Every day is a bit of a struggle as she feels more alone than she ever did before. Da’s gone, her brother is gone, and her parents moved her away from her best friend! But maybe the new place will bring more adventure…?

Mackenzie meets some interesting people in this weird old building, and finds herself putting pieces of a puzzle together, all while finding love (it’s a YA, it’s not a spoiler, c’mon now). Will she ever come out on top? Read and find out.

Overall, The Archived was a good read. I’m not sure I’d ever read it again, but the idea was solid, it’s just a shame it wasn’t written better. This is probably best suited for someone in the 11-16 age range. But I promise, it really wasn’t bad! It just wasn’t as solid as I wanted it to be… nor as captivating.

Will I read the sequel? Probably. Just to see how it ends, and if the writing style improves at all.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Review: The Forestwife

The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson

Series: Forestwife Saga

Pages: 170

Genre: Fantasy, Childrens, Fairy Tales, Adventure

My Rating: 5/5

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

1063126

“Deep in Sherwood Forest, there lives a community of outlaws. These heroic people have escaped the cruelty of medieval England’s lords and their unjust laws. The brave young Robert (alias Robin Hood) is one of these rebels; the Forestwife, a woman with magic healing powers, is another. Soon a fifteen-year-old orphan named Mary will flee into the forest to avoid the fearsome marriage her uncle has arranged for her. She will not be heard from again, but the legend of Maid Marian, the Green Lady of the woods, will have begun.”

My loverly friend and I have started sharing books with each other, which works especially well considering we’re both big into fantasy. Even Friendly Giant has told me about books I need to read, so be prepared!

The Forestwife was a lovely book, full of magic and intrigue. I have a wild imagination, so this really piqued my interest. As you can tell from what the back of the book says, it’s about a girl named Mary that runs off into the woods to escape a terrible marriage she wants no part in. Luckily, Agnes, a good friend, helps her in her journey.

Personally, while reading this book, I imagined everything, from the trees to the deer. When it talked about the Forestwife’s house, I imagined a very large oak tree with a door in the trunk filled with shelves upon shelves of herbs and healing potions… corners with burlap sacks full of grain… I’ve always been into learning about natural approaches and this basically is how I always wanted to be.

If you have a vivid imagination, it’s a wonderful read.

I didn’t even really grasp the romance. It wasn’t pronounced or ugly, it was just… there. Hell, I didn’t even mind the birth stuff… not that much anyway.

And the ending? Holy bajebus…

It’s always fun to share books from your past, and I’m really glad she shared this with me (onto the next one, right?!). I gave it a 5/5 because it dragged me into the world, and I actually liked the main character for once. Not only that, but this is the type of book I would’ve read when I was younger, and it was beautifully written, thus, appreciated even at 21.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Review: Splintered

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Series: Splintered

Pages: 371

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling, Romance, Adventure

My Rating: 5/5

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

12558285

“This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.”

As most of you know, I’m incredibly stingy when it comes to giving out 5 stars. Very few books I’ve ever reviewed have received a full 5/5 grade.

Splintered is about this girl named Alyssa who has to go to Wonderland so she can have the answers she’s been craving and also to get her mother out of the asylum.

Personally, I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan. I liked Disney’s movie, I like the books, the retellings, even the games. If you give me something that’s based around Alice in Wonderland, I will generally fall in love, and Splintered was no exception. I fell for this book almost immediately after reading the first paragraph. It takes you into a new world; one you’re vaguely familiar with, but becomes something wondrous in its own right.

I don’t read things to look smart or show off, I read things that appeal to me, which sometimes means I’m reading children’s books, like The Twits or a Goosebumps book.

Splintered really dragged me into the world of Alyssa and her family. She was a young, courageous, innocent girl that did nothing more than follow her heart. And the writing style was fantastic. It wasn’t written in a “sing-song” way, or a dumbed-down way either, it was just perfect. The imagery within made you feel like you were apart of the story. You could see the stars, feel the ocean, taste the oysters, and smell the decay. All throughout this novel, you were part of the story, you were Alyssa, or Morpheus, or Jeb. You were one of the characters. You felt what they felt, you were there the entire time. A lot of books don’t have the power to drag you in like this one did.

I really liked Alyssa, she reminded me a lot of myself. Innocent and shy with a lot of pent up emotion, just to come out later on as a woman who knows what she wants.

I liked how the characters weren’t solely based off of the Disney movie, nor were they based purely off the book. Howard gave a part of herself when she unleashed her imagination, which was a dark, sometimes grotesque picture. I loved it.

What can I really say about this book? I loved it and if you like Alice in Wonderland, chances are you’ll like it too. I can’t even really complain about the love triangle (that happens in EVERY YA book) because it was interesting. Personally, Morpheus reminded me a lot of M, which sounds weird, but just the way he acted… very protective.

So why did Splintered receive 5/5?

Truth be told, I’m extremely biased. I love Alice in Wonderland and I love reading about other peoples’ interpretations. It’s more of a girly read, but hey! I’m a girl, so it’s okay! And I’d definitely recommend it if you like even the thought of Wonderland and the creatures within. Just keep your mind open, for your own sake.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Daily Prompt: Fantasy

March 8th

The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

If you think it’s a pointless lie, you’re an asshole.

Children are born with wild imaginations, sometimes they need help expanding their creativity. I don’t know how many children you know, but when I found out these things weren’t real, I wasn’t upset. It was a game.

“I KNEW IT!”

Little did I know, my parents had broadened my imagination.

Children need something to believe in. I don’t mean God, I mean something fun and whimsical. Children are untainted and so… pure. They deal with the evils of the world too and at a young age, we’re not ready to face it yet. We need something more.