* Rated 5 stars
A Clash of Kings is book 2 in the series A Song of Ice and Fire. Without giving too much away, civil war has broken out over Westeros for the Iron Throne, Daenerys is still working her way back to Westeros and The Wall is having its usual troubles with wildlings.
Both books 2 and 3 of this series are the best fantasy books I have ever read, and to be honest, I am hard pressed to think of a book, any book, I like better. These books are epic, there are more subplots going on than I can count, and the amount of characters in these books are phenomenal, not to mention how well written and descriptive the books are.
Where other fantasy novels skip over the gore or sex scenes, Martin gives it to us. People die that you don’t expect to die, sometimes the bad guys win and he doesn’t end a sex scene with…’the next morning, they woke up’. Martin gives the people what they want.
A STORM OF SWORDS, by George R. R. Martin
* Rated 5 stars
A Storm of Swords is book 3 in the series A Song of Ice and Fire. Westeros is still at war, but with a whole bunch of new people in the mix. I really don’t want to say much because if you have read the series, you already know, and if you haven’t I don’t want to give anything away.
As I mentioned in my mini-review of book 2, these are my favorite books. They are a realistic type of fantasy (though Martin adds more 'magical' people and creatures as the series continues), based in medieval times with knights and kings etc. The characters are realistic as well. There are those that you will love and others that you will absolutely hate, and sometimes even the good guys are a bit evil and vice versa.
I often struggle to decide whether I liked book 2 or 3 best. Book 2 has a really cool story arc for Theon Greyjoy which I really enjoyed reading and Tyrion was entertaining as well, however, we get more of The Hound in book 3 and I am so totally in LOOOOVE with The Hound!!!
THE MAGICIAN'S APPRENTICE, by Trudi Canavan
* Rated 4 stars
Tessia works as an assistant healer to her father in a small village. When treating a patient at a local magician’s house, she encounters a Sachakan mage who uses magic as he tries to make the moves on her. In an attempt to fight him off, she inadvertently uses magic herself, and then becomes an apprentice to the local magician.
Canavan’s novel is descriptive, the characters well rounded and the book is very easy to read. It builds to a couple of big events, which I wont discuss here, but there is a sh*tload of magic flying around, so if you like your fantasy with lots of magic, this one is pretty good. This is the prequel to the Black magician’s trilogy, so it’s a stand-alone novel, but I enjoyed it enough to buy the trilogy. I actually kind of missed some of the characters I met in The Magician’s Apprentice.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, by John Ajvide Lindqvist
* Rated 4 stars
Oskar lives in a depressing housing estate in Blackberg, Stockholm with his mother. He fantasizes about killing those that pick on him but lacks the courage to even stand up to them. When 12-year-old Eli moves into the apartment next door with her father, it is easy for her and Oskar to become friends, as they are both loners.
This story goes from shocking and disgusting moments to ones that are tender and hopeful and Lindqvist has done an excellent job of making the reader care about characters, even some of the drunks, while other characters are truly disgusting.
The narrative flows beautifully and the book is a true page-turner with a few surprises in the mix. It is more of a coming of age novel more than a vampire novel, focusing on the relationship that develops between the two main characters, Oskar and Eli, however there is still enough gore to satisfy the horror fans.
THE NAME OF THE WIND, by Patrick Rothfuss
* Rated 4 stars
When Chronicler, a famous scribe promises to record Kvothe’s story without embellishment, a reluctant Kvothe eventually agrees and tells the real story of his life beginning with when he was a young boy and traveled in a troupe of performers with his parents.
Rothfuss’ debut fantasy novel is well written and full of intricate details providing readers with a real visual of Kvothe’s world. Kvothe’s adventures include burning down a town, admission to university, learning sympathy (a type of magic), and loving women, writing songs and learning to name the wind.
Rothfuss creates some deep and likeable characters, and some equally despisable ones, and weaves an intricate story that will hold the readers attention from beginning to end. Moments ranging from funny to tender and through to scary make this an engaging story. An excellent debut fantasy novel that will leave the reader sad that it ended.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, by Lionel Shriver
Fifteen-year-old Kevin Khatchadourian goes on a killing spree at his high school, murdering seven of his fellow students, a teacher and a cafeteria worker.
Shriver has written a compelling book, clever and poignant, readers will feel for Eva, despite the fact that she is a self centered and vain person. It’s a dark and deeply disturbing book that explores the sacrifices of motherhood, rather than the rewards.
The story forces readers to question Eva’s choices and the nature verses nurture debate. With well-rounded and believable characters, this book is a fast paced and masterfully written novel.
THE PILLARS OF THE WORLD, by Anne Bishop
* Rated 4 stars
Witches are being tortured and slaughtered by black-coat wearing men called Inquisitors. Their quest to destroy magic leads to Fae clans being lost and for any surviving witches to flee. But for many, it is too late.
Characters have depth and emotion and are very likable. There is also depth to the evil characters, and it is just as easy to dislike them. The witches’ magic is linked to the Great Mother, with witches having strengths in one branch or another of earth, air, fire and water.
Bishop paints a remarkable world and her descriptions are very visual. The Pillars of the World could be a stand-alone novel, however, it is such a joy to read that most readers will want to continue the series, though the second one is not as good as the first, Bishop makes up for this with the third/final book. If you like witches, this is the book/trilogy for you.