Review: Magician – Raymond E Feist

Good evening everybody!

It’s Sunday night again, and many of us have the joys of going back to the daily grind tomorrow. On a slightly more positive note we’re not quite there yet, so let’s enjoy the time we have 🙂 I’m going to have a few posts coming up in the next few days, including my monthly profile of the books I intend to read; I have another review coming up after this for A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (I finished that this morning) and I’ll also be reviewing my TBR pile once again in the next few days… I hope you’ll stay tuned!


Magician Apprentice

GoodReads – Magician

I don’t know about any of you my fellow readers, but I have a habit of staying up past my bedtime when I am extremely close to finishing a book. Magician is the first (and largest book) of the Riftwar Saga trilogy, being 841 pages in itself whilst the remaining two books add up to this together. At approximately 11pm on Thursday night, I knew I had 60 pages left to read in order to finish this book, so I WAS going to finish this book. I packed up from the front room, made my lunch ready for work the next day and made myself ready to read the home stretch whilst sat in bed.

I finished reading this book, brushed my teeth and got into bed at 12:45am 🙂 It’s a good job I’m a night owl anyway – I don’t need much sleep. It was absolutely worth staying up late to finish.

I read Magician before a number of years ago, not long after I had started working full-time and I was still living with my parents. I bought the further two books in the trilogy after reading and enjoying it, and that was back in January 2014. I still haven’t read these yet and that is why I wanted to re-visit the first book and refresh myself before I tried to read these.

I get the sense that Magician was written with the potential to be a standalone book initially. It isn’t like most books in that it doesn’t leave with some cliffhanger to draw you on to the next one. Certainly, there are plenty of things that could be picked up, revisited and elaborated on if the fact it was going to be a series was in doubt at the time of writing. Equally if Raymond E. Feist had never got the chance to write nor I the chance to read the last two books of the series, it wouldn’t be the end of the world either. From my perspective, Magician could exist as a standalone book. I’m glad it’s not though…just saying.

The book begins with us learning about Pug, a small orphaned keep boy who is effectively raised by his best friend’s parents. Every boy progresses to manhood at the point of the Choosing, in which they are apprenticed to a variety of crafts. Pug finds himself apprenticed to the great Magician Kulgan, and is elevated into court as reward for a courageous feat to save one of the royal family.

Pug struggles to find his way in this new life, but all is about to be turned on its head when Pug and Tomas, his best friend, find a foreign ship smashed against the rocks near castle Crydee.

Kelewan is a distant world from Midkemia; its people having fled from the Enemy through a rift in time and space onto this world. The Tsuranuanni have a vastly different social system and live in the harsh conditions of the world they are forced to live on. They greatly value the precious metals available on Midkemia, and after discovering this world quite by accident, events lead to war spanning years as the Midkemian’s fight against these new invaders.

Yet Kelewan also has something that Midkemia is lacking; the knowledge Pug needs in order to train in the Greater Path of magic. In training to do so, he becomes the Master Magician he was destined to be.

If I have one criticism of the book, it’s that I found the part of Pug’s education in the higher arts to be very lacking. It was almost like the need for Pug to be educated was merely a stepping stone in order to carry on with the rest of the book so a couple of chapters were stuck in to acknowledge the fact. I would have liked to see more development here personally. I don’t feel that this detracts from the book at all, what is written is well done and flows nicely.

It’s a bit clichĂ© if anything, but I don’t mind that so much once in a while.

 

Down the TBR hole – #1

How many of us have so many books on our lists, compiled in various and completely different places that we lose track? *raises hand*

I’m very guilty of this. I have a list that I have made since starting this blog of books I am reading and in what order. I also use Goodreads and I have books on there that I marked for the TBR pile in 2014 and am yet to even plan touching. I’m also sure books have made it onto my Kindle and escaped both of these lists entirely too.

I have decided it is time for a spring clean, and this meme/tag, whatever you wish to call it was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story for this purpose.

It works like this:

  • 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?

Without further ado, here are the first few books on my list –

1.The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Verdict: KEEP

So, I was first introduced to this series via a friend whilst at school, and by one of my not normally bookish friends at that. I don’t know if she read all of the series, but she has definitely read a respectable number of them. That for me gives the book some credit.

I also happened to try a sample at some point (I added this book to my TBR nearly three years ago, so I cannot be precise as to when) and whilst it was okay and perfectly readable, it clearly didn’t entice me to drop everything and read every single one there and then. A lot of reviews complain/whine criticise that it is very Tolkien but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my mind. I’ll keep it as it has potential, but I won’t be fast tracking it up the TBR pile.

 

2. Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Assassins Apprentice

Verdict: KEEP

I have only very briefly tried to read this once before. I bought an e-book version of this back in June 2014 and I started to read it one day on my iPhone. I must have been really bored and without much else to do because I know I cannot read more than one thing at a time properly. I marvel at anyone who can manage this without getting things mixed up or forgetting one book whilst becoming engrossed in another! I personally like to read, binge and indulge in one book and them move on to the rest… but that is just my preference.

I need to give this book a chance on its own and not treat it as a second, casual read when I’m bored.

 

3. The Black Prism -Brent Weeks

The Black Prism

Verdict: KEEP!!!!

I absolutely forgot I added this book/series to my TBR… how rude. I read Brent Weeks’ The Way of the Shadows book series years ago and added this one after discovering those. And then I just went and forgot about it, didn’t I?! Having looked at some reviews I have seen one that indicates this series is even better than the other one I have read, so in that case, I am definitely putting this high up on my TBR!

 

4. Among Thieves – Douglas Hulick

Among Thieves

Verdict: GO

I probably decided to read this because Brent Weeks has an endorsement on the front. I added the book to my TBR the same day I did The Black Prism, so I wouldn’t be surprised. Having re-read the synopsis I have decided that I’m not completely against reading this book. It’s kinda my thing, but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to read right now. I’ll probably end up re-adding it to the TBR at some point in the future, but for now, it’s coming off.

5. The Thief (The Queen’s Thief) – Megan Whalen Turner

The Thief

Verdict: GO

Evidently the day I set up my Goodreads account I decided I wanted to read books from every dishonest and less than reputable perspective going. Basically a guy who believes he is a good thief is plucked out the the prison to go and retrieve an artifact for a King, by the looks of the synopsis. Truth be told I’m not entirely sure why I added this… I love the fantasy genre but I’ll openly admit I’m a sucker for some complex politics or something interwoven deep within the plot that causes twists and turns. Call me unfair if you will but this seems a bit basic to me, and other Goodreads reviewers agree that this isn’t the best of the series so I’ll give it a miss.


 

So that’s all for now guys!! I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have! I’m going to try and post these fairly regularly in order to get my TBR all tidied up and hopefully you’ll find some books that you like the sound of too! I’ll tidy my list up and make you look bad adding to yours! haha!

Also a quick update, I’m now about 75% through Magician by Raymond E Feist so expect a review soon. I set a target to have read two additional books after this one this month but I was being too ambitious in light of the fact I finished early last month. The way it is going, it looks like A Handmaid’s Tale is going to be my first read of August instead… please don’t be disappointed!!

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*Credit to Amazon for the use of images*

 

Review: Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien 

I would just like to wish everyone a pleasant weekend from over here, in the not so sunny climes of the island upon which I live. As I am typing this, the view outside my window is far less picturesque than the rolling, lush green hills of the Shire, but never mind. For what any of us lack in gorgeous countryside and dazzling sunshine we have in imagination!!

It’s a good job really… We only get a couple of weeks a year that can constitute as a summer so we take whatever we can get!

Moving along, I wanted to share with you my thoughts as to my latest read, being the last installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Return of the King. Admittedly I was apprehensive about finally reading this book; I was concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the hype around it. I think that is a real danger with any book, film or TV program when it becomes so popular.

 

GoodReads – Return of the King

I was glad to see that a lot of my time wasn’t wasted in the set up of where Gandalf and company left off in The Two Towers. I was concerned that this wouldn’t have led to anything particularly consequential given that I would argue this was the lesser important side of the two perspectives we read. Here we get to see the raw power of Mordor and the vast numbers fighting for Sauron.

I don’t know about anybody else, (with the exception of my dad, as I’ve discussed this with him) but I found this last book to be really dark, and it made it difficult to read; like someone condemned takes their next step more begrudgingly to their doom, each page turn was more difficult than the last. I was determined to finish. I waited with bated breath for events unfold, hoping against hope that little Frodo and Sam made it!

I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book, but what I will say for its difficulty to read (that’s just one – well two opinions anyway) it is spectacular. It was worth the perseverance and I was not disappointed by the end. It’s a little sad, but it felt like it ended as it should have, even though you would never have anticipated it in the beginning.

Now I’ll have to catch upon the films, because I am a firm believer that the books are better and must be read first. I have made a few exceptions:

  • War & Peace – because I would never have understood the book without watching it first
  • A Handmaid’s Tale – I did actually try the book a few years ago but didn’t finish it
  • Game of Thrones – purely because I don’t have a choice and I’ll be damned if I get behind! I’m sure there are plenty of people who agree with me on this one!

That’s all for now guys! I’m presently half way through reading Raymond E Feist’s first installment in the Riftwar Saga, Magician. This is a re-read from a few years ago, as I have the next two in the series to read but admittedly I’ve forgotten what happens!

This has also brought my round to thinking about having a tidy up. I need one comprehensive reading list, so I’m going to be tidying up my TBR “pile”. I’ve found a lovely book tag dedicated to the task which should make the task of deciding easier! I look forward to seeing you then!

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Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Hi all! I know I promised this review sooner, and I apologise. I’m a slacker.

Truth be told, my time has been taken up with reading Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I’m trying to space my reviews out so they aren’t too infrequent, in relation to how far I am through the next book, but this has taken me longer than I expected to read.

Stardust

GoodReads – Stardust

To be perfectly honest I only picked up this book because I have heard such good things about the author. The story is based around a young man who runs off to retrieve a fallen star for the sweetheart of the town, after she promises to give him his greatest desire if he succeeds. Of course his wish is to marry this beautiful girl. Prior to this promise, he had once or twice sat in a tree looking through windows at her. Not at all creepy…

Now call me a cynic if you want, but I’m not for all this mushy stuff. At the proud age of 22 I can testify that nobody has come to sweep me off my feet. No Prince, Page or Peasant has promised to fetch me a fallen star, bottle up the northern nights or whisk me off into the sunset for my happy-ever-after. What have all these bitches got that I haven’t?! Destiny. Whilst these ladies fulfill their destinies, promising their lives away to the heroes of these grand fairy tales I sit here typing away…

As much as I criticise, the book was well written. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the plot outline was original because it isn’t, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Tristran, the young man in question, in order to retrieve the fallen star must pass the Wall between this world and Faerie, a land of all things magical. But the fallen star has drawn the interest of others too; withered witches require the heart of the star to restore their youth. The Star holds an amulet, cast into the sky by the Lord of the Stormhold on his deathbed and is the cause of her fall. Each of the surviving sons of the Lord searches for this amulet to claim the lordship, and so is their invested interest in her movements.

For a fairy tale story, it is actually quite gruesome. This doesn’t particularly bother me as it happens, (I’m a die-hard Game of Thrones fan so I can’t be squeamish) but I’m not sure that it entirely fits. By all means, the fighting of the brothers of the Lord of Stormhold seems entirely reasonable. We know one brother is particularly keen on bumping the others off. That’s fine. The witch and one of the sons of the Lord of Stormhold fighting with each other as they both need something of the star. Not unreasonable. The graphic descriptions though – not so much. Not for me anyway. This is also very graphic at the beginning; it’s not a bedtime story for the children folks!

My favourite thing about the book is Neil Gaiman’s writing style – it is this that saved the book from being a write off for me. Despite not being a great lover of the plot it hasn’t put me off reading his other books. I bought a copy of American Gods not that long ago; that will definitely be more to my taste, so I’m looking forward to reading that one in September (or thereabouts).

One thing I have decided, having read some other reviews on this book… I will not be watching the film. I thought this was lovey-dovey, sickly sweet and vomit inducing romance, but if anyone, ANYONE, makes me watch that film, I cannot be held accountable for my actions.

 

Review: The Last Wish – Andrej Sapjowski

Hi guys!

So today I’m bringing you a review of Andrej Sapjowski’s book, The Last Wish. Please, never ask me to even attempt to pronounce this author’s name! My Polish is not up to scratch at all… and by that, I mean it’s totally non existent 🙂

All joking aside, this is the first book I have read of this series and it is one I am adding to my TBR. It seems to me lately that the pile does not go down – for every book I read I’ve added three more!

The Last Wish

GoodReads – The Last Wish

Geralt of Rivia wakes in the temple of Melitele, having been grievously injured. In order to recover, he stays at the temple under the protection of Nenneke. She attempts to persuade him to be entranced, in order to understand what afflicts him so, but he refuses on the grounds that he cannot be hypnotised and lacks faith in her God. Instead he reflects on past events that have lead to his appearance at the temple.

It is through these reflections that we learn of Geralt, his past and his profession. He is a Witcher. As a child he was trained and mutated to develop the supernatural abilities required to fight the various monsters that plague the planet and human existence, but not necessarily to slay them. He is also trained how to reverse the many spells or curses that may have been placed on people.

He battles a striga and restores a seven year old child (presumed dead) to its father; he encounters the lord of an abandoned mansion that can control the house with his will alone. His lady friend is a bruxa, a kind of vampire like creature that uses song to manipulate people. Morality and “deciding the lesser evil” challenges Geralt at times along the way, and a simple fishing trip and the releasing of a Djinn brings the Witcher into the clutches of a powerful sorceress.

I think the moral of these tales is this: not all is as it appears to be. That which appears sinister may not be at all and not all that appears fair is good.

All in all, I have enjoyed the book… but I have one observation. Pretty much all the monsters/individuals possessing the power of magic or Geralt ends up fighting (as they are monsters) are women. Not necessarily a criticism at this point in time, but an observation. I hope to see a little more diversity in “The Sword of Destiny”, which is the second book which prequels the main book series.

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In the brief time that I spoke to you last I have also managed to read Stardust, by Neil Gaiman. I will be releasing the review of that within the next couple of days! Until next time,

Rebecca

Book Tag – My Life in Books!

Hi everybody!!

So I’ve seen this tag going around a little bit and decided that I should let you all know a little bit about me, instead of just what I’m reading at the moment 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

 

A book for each initial:-

R – The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson

E – Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini

B – Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

E – Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

C – The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

C – A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin

A – Animal Farm by George Orwell

 

Age – Count your age along the bookshelf:-

Mother Tongue

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

Whilst I was still at school I was planning on going to University to study in Linguistics after taking a gap year, however by the end of A-Level exams I got thoroughly fed up. I got into full-time work and four years on I’ve never looked back. I still love the subject and am fascinated in the psychology of learning languages etc, but uni life would not be for me. It would require socialising for starters…

 

A book that represents a destination you wish to travel to one day:-

So I’m pretty boring in that I don’t really have anywhere I specifically want to travel to. If I had to pick anywhere, I would probably say Italy (and that’s not purely for the pizza/wine I promise!) I had to look up a book for this section and I’ve actually found one that I’m interested in reading, being The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis.

The Borgia Bride.jpg

 

Favourite Colour:-

Less vehemently so than when I was younger, I have to say my favourite colour is purple. Everything in my bedroom used to be purple… like EVERYTHING! I’m for boring beige now, but it’s different when you’re an adult.

Mistborn

For this one, I chose Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I love this series. Somehow I’m yet to finish it. So many books, too little time! I appreciate this is an old cover, the more modern version is blue. I like blue too!

 

Fondest memories of:-

This one is an absolute no-brainer for me. I have read the books in this series twice, all the while waiting for number 7 to be released. They are full of action, back-stabbing, court intrigue and outright war and I absolutely love it! If anyone hasn’t guessed, I’m talking about A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin.

A Game of Thrones

 

Most difficult to read:-

This one isn’t particularly difficult for me to decide either. I did actually force myself to finish this book, although I shouldn’t have bothered. I clearly didn’t get anything out of it because I cannot remember what happened! I even attempted a re-read and got fed up again, so it’s fair to say this one isn’t for me. In theory, I should love it – I love other books with similar themes. I. Cannot. Get. Into. This. One.

This is The Darkness that Comes Before by Scott Bakker.

The Darkness

 

 

Book on my TBR list that I will get the greatest sense of accomplishment from:-

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Later on this year I plan on taking on this behemoth of a book – all 1,376 pages of it! My longest read so far (this year and all time) is War & Peace at just over 1,000 pages, so if I can manage to read both of these and meet my reading challenge target, I’ll be chuffed with myself.

I’m excited because although I haven’t read much Stephen King, I love what I have read. So this is a fairly new author and definitely a new genre for me too…

I’m not making things easy for myself… am I?!

 

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little bit about me! Being new to blogging and having a few new followers I think it would be good to get to know each other a little more. I won’t tag anybody but if this inspires you to give this tag a go, consider yourself tagged! Drop me a line in the comments so I can see your answers 🙂

 

Rebecca

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Hi all!!

Anyone who follows my blog will know that I managed to sneak this book into my June Reading List, having managed to get through all my planned reads ahead of schedule. I won’t keep you all from browsing too long  – a short review for a short book!

Animal Farm

GoodReads – Animal Farm

George Orwell has a remarkable ability of understanding society. Not only does he understand it – he tears it apart into little pieces, personifies (or rather animal-ises) all these elements and writes it down in simple terms for us all to see.

I am surprised I wasn’t made to study this at school – I know some other classes did, but not mine. It’s the perfect kind of book to pull apart and analyse to death! It’s one of the few books I would argue that was written for this purpose.

Orwell’s satirical approach to reflecting the nature of our society is very accurate. Much like animals, we are divided by our abilities and are expected to produce for what we perceive to be our own benefit. Money is always short, but the Leader never wants for whiskey. The Commandments are set and then the benchmarks moved to suit when the need arises. Hopes and dreams for a better society always remain dreams, yet somehow we never give up hope all the same.

This is a very quick and easy read, and it is a good eye opener. I rate this book 4/5 stars.