Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Debt of Bones by Terry Goodkind

Title: Debt of Bones: Sword of Truth Prequel Novel

Author: Terry Goodkind


Who Should Read It? Lovers of Terry Goodkind. I would really recommend that you do what I didn't do and read the other Sword of Truth books FIRST.

What I Have to Say: When I started this book, I didn't know that it was a prequel novel. I for some reason thought that it was the first book in the Sword of Truth Series. As such, I felt kind of lost. I mean, it was the before to things that I was supposed to already know, even though they hadn't already happened. That's just a weird feeling. I really wish I would have known so that I could have read it AFTER reading the books.

That said, I really enjoyed it. Not enough to make me feel the need to go immediately read the other books or anything, but enough. Enough to read through the whole thing without ever feeling that I wanted to stop.

BUT, it just felt, well. . .generic. And that could be because I hadn't read any of the other books to be curious about the back story, but, well,. . .I wasn't curious. I never felt like I got to know any of the other characters, and I kept going back to it getting it mixed up with other epic fantasies. It was short, and there just wasn't enough. . .feeling. Again, this could be because I was supposed to ALREADY know and love the characters.

If I could just get over the lack of caring about the characters, it really was a good, solid piece of epic fantasy. The story was convincing and enthralling. It was solid and well thought out, and despite me not loving it so much, it convinced me that Terry Goodkind is definitely an author worth reading.

Summary:A milestone of storytelling set in the world of The Sword of Truth, Debt of Bones is the story of young Abby's struggle to win the aid of the wizard Zedd Zorander, the most important man alive.

Abby is trapped, not only between both sides of the war, but in a mortal conflict between two powerful men. For Zedd, who commands power most men can only imagine, granting Abby's request would mean forsaking his sacred duty. With the storm of the final battle about to break, both Abby and Zedd are caught in a desperate fight to save the life of a child...but neither can escape the shadow of an ancient betrayal.

With time running out, their only choice may be a debt of bones. The world-for Zedd, for Abby, for everyone-will never again be the same.

Discover why millions of readers the world over have elevated Terry Goodkind to the ranks of legend.

Cover Story: Maybe it's just me, but I tend to find all Terry Goodkind covers relatively boring. This one is no exception.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham

Title: The Other Lands: Book Two of the Acacia Trilogy

Author: David Anthony Durham


Who Should Read It? This book is perfect for lovers of dark epic fantasy! If you loved the first book in this trilogy, you will love this one just as much, if not more. If you haven't read the first book in the trilogy but you love dark epic fantasy with a focus on the fantasy, read the first book and then love this one!

What I Have to Say:
Wow. Just wow.

I know I said it after reading the first book in this triology, but MAN, does David Anthony Durham sure does know how to do epic fantasy. Even though quite a bit of time has passed, The Other Lands seems to start off right where the first book in this trilogy, the War with the Mein, leaves off, and we are once again immediately drawn into the world of Acacia and the Akaran children. Without repeating or summarizing what he has said before, Durhamn subtly brings the reader up to speed on what happened in this first book of the trilogy, while still allowing for the story to progress. Durham seems to be quite good at this kind of thing. There are so many characters in the story that it seems like it might be easy to occasionally lose track. And yet, without ever repeating anything, when a character shows up again, through a word or an action or a thought or even sometimes an article of clothing, Durham reminds the reader who the character is without becoming wordy, redundant, or repetitive.

As in the first book, the world Durham has created is awe-inspiring - it is unique and amazing and creative while at the same time paralleling old cultures we have seen on our Earth throughout time. This time, though, we make our way over to the Other Lands, where an entirely new world and new culture that, honestly, is like no other I have ever read or even heard of.

With Durham's deft hand and engaging writing style, we learn what happens to the quota slaves, we begin to learn the truth behind the "league," and we finally come to really understand the kind of people that the Akaran children have grown up to be (and can I just say - I LOVE Mena and Dariel, but grrrr!!! Corrin!). The Other Lands actually focuses quite a bit more on characters than the War with the Mein, which seemed to focus primarily on world building, and Durham has proven to be just as adept at writing character-driven stories.

Because of this change, to a more character-driven story along with a little bit of magic and a new entirely unique, entirely creative culture, The Other Lands seems a bit more fantasy and a bit less epic than its predecessor. Some people might not love this, but I found it to be absolutely fantastic, and I can only hope the third book in the trilogy (HOW am I going to wait to read it?) will continue in this vein.

Durham is a great story teller telling a great story. The characters are all well-developed with strong voices, but Durham's voice also shines through, clear and strong. It is a beautiful and beautifully written book that will leave you absolutely DYING to finish the trilogy!

Summary:Queen Corinn Akaran of the known world has a primary goal that is to topple the Lothan Aklun and so she sends her brother Daniel, disguised as a slave, on an exploratory expedition to the Other Lands. Daniel soon discovers a mainland that is a more lush, exotic, and expansive than the Known World.

Cover Story: I asbolutely ADORE the cover of the version I read, which I think is the British cover. THe odd looking bird, the ship sailing towards huge rocks in rough water - absolutely beautiful! The American cover (which you see in the Amazon tag) is also lovely, but it just seems to pale in comparison to the British one, in my opinion. If you get a great feeling from either of these covers, though, you're going to love this book!

Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review by Transworld Books. This in no way affected my review.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Title: White Cat

Author: Holly Black


Who Should Read It? Everyone who has ever enjoyed a YA book. For serious! Especially those who enjoy male protagonists but find good ones hard to come by.

What I Have to Say:
I seriously ADORED this book. Unexpectedly adored this book. I'd read several reviews of it, and everyone said it was good, but after how I felt about "the Spiderwick Chronicles" (liked but certainly didn't love), I never felt over inspired to read it. Then a friend gave me a copy, and I was looking for something a little different, so I gave it a try.
And I am SO glad I did.
Cassel grows up a non-curse worker in a family of curse workers, and this has caused some resentment and some problems for him throughout his life. When he wakes up one morning to find that he has sleep-walked to the school roof after a dream in which a White Cat steals his tongue, his entire world changes.
Holly Black does an AMAZING job of subtly creating a world that is similar to ours but also completely different. The world she has created is fascinating. Curse workers work with their hands, so everyone wears gloves. The idea of being touched by bare hands actually repels some people. She slowly develops it throughout the book in such a way that you're dying for more, to know more, without ever realizing why.
Cassel's attempt at coming to terms with his past and allowing himself to live in the present, dealing with his manipulative brothers and his jailed mother.
White Cat was filled with twists and turns that will keep you wanting more until the very end. As the plot develops and Cassel learns more about his somewhat mysterious past, you'll find yourself rooting for him despite some of the horrible things he's done.
The only unfortunate thing about this book is that it doesn't keep you guessing. Some of the bigger plot points were extremely obvious very early on in the book. Luckily, this didn't really take away from anything. And I would recommend against reading the summary beforehand. It gives way too much away.
Definitely worth the read!

Summary:Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

Cover Story: I guess it's alright. It's got the right feel, even if I don't love the real person on the cover making it seem like a movie cover for the book. It's better than the original brown cover, though.


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