Tag Archives: Eragon

List of Best-Selling Book Series

Hello readers! This is a quick overview of the top book series sales from across the globe. You can find reviews of some of these books on this blog. Happy reading 🙂

Over 100 Million Copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
Maigret Georges Simenon 1931-1972 853 million
Harry Potter J.K.Rowling 1997-2007 450 million
Perry Mason Erle Stanley Gardner 1933 — 1970 300 million
Goosebumps R. L. Stine 1992–1997–present 300 million
Berenstain Bears Stan and Jan Berenstain 1962 — present 260 million
Sweet Valley High Francine Pascal and ghostwriters 1983–2003 250 million
Choose Your Own Adventure various authors 1979 — 1998 250 million
Robert Langdon Dan Brown 2000–present 200 million
San-Antonio FrĂ©dĂ©ric Dard 1949–2001 200 million
The Railway Series (spawned Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends) Rev. W. Awdry, Christopher Awdry 1945–2011 200 million
Nancy Drew various authors as Carolyn Keene 1930 — present 200 million
Noddy Enid Blyton 1949–present 200 million
The Baby-sitters Club Ann Martin 1986 — present 172 million
Star Wars various authors 1977 — present 160 million
Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter 1902–1930 150 million
Chicken Soup for the Soul Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen 1997 — present 130 million
Frank Merriwell Gilbert Patten 1896 – 125 million
Mr. Men Roger Hargreaves, Adam Hargreaves 1971 — present 120 million
The Chronicles of Narnia C. S. Lewis 1949–1954 120 million
American Girl various authors 1986 — present 120 million
ćźźæœŹæ­Šè”” (Musashi) Eiji Yoshikawa 1935–1939 120 million
Dirk Pitt Clive Cussler 1973 — present 120 million
Twilight Stephenie Meyer 2005–2011 116 million
Clifford the Big Red Dog Norman Bridwell 1963 — present 110 million
Martine Gilbert Delahaye, Marcel Marlier 1954 — present 100 million
James Bond Ian Fleming 1953–1966 100 million
Between 50 million and 100 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
Nijntje (Miffy) Dick Bruna 1955 — present 85 million
Fear Street R. L. Stine 1989 — present 80 million
The Vampire Chronicles Anne Rice 1976-2003 80 million
Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren 1945-2001 80 million
OSS 117 Jean Bruce 1949–1992 75 million
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney 2007–present 75 million
Winnie-the-Pooh A. A. Milne; illustrated by E. H. Shepard 1926–1928 70 million
Magic Tree House series Mary Pope Osborne 1992–present 70 million
Fifty Shades of Grey E. L. James 2011–2012 70 million
Left Behind Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins 1996 — 2007 65 million
A Series of Unfortunate Events Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler 1999–2006 65 million
Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Wilder 1932–2006 60 million
Jack Reacher Lee Child 1997–present 60 million
Discworld Terry Pratchett 1983–present 55 million
Where’s Wally?[164] Martin Handford 1987–present 55 million
Millennium Trilogy Stieg Larsson 2005–2007 53 million
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus John Gray 1992–present 50 million
The Hardy Boys various authors as Franklin W. Dixon 1927–present 50 million
The Bobbsey Twins various authors as Laura Lee Hope 1904–1979 50 million
Tarzan Edgar Rice Burroughs 1914–1995 50 million
The Hunger Games trilogy Suzanne Collins 2008–2010 50 million
Between 30 million and 50 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
A Child’s First Library Of Learning various authors 1980 – 45 million
Junie B. Jones Barbara Park 1992 – 44 million
The Wheel of Time Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 1990 – 2013 44 million
Harry Bosch Michael Connelly 1992 – 42 million
Harry Hole Jo Nesbþ 1997–present 40 million
èżžçŽŻç”» é“é“æžžć‡»é˜Ÿ (Picture-and-story book Railway Guerilla) original author: Liu Zhixia 1955–1962 36.52 million
Paddington Bear Michael Bond 1958–present 35 million
The Inheritance Cycle Christopher Paolini 2002–2011 33 million
ćŸłć·ćź¶ćș·Â (Tokugawa Ieyasu) Sohachi Yamaoka 1950–1967 30 million
Ramona Beverly Cleary 1955–1999 30 million
The Dark Tower Stephen King 1982-2012 30 million
The Destroyer Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, various authors 1971–present 30 million
Between 20 million and 30 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
ノンタン (Nontan) Sachiko Kiyono 1976–2006 28 million
Curious George Hans Augusto Rey andMargret Rey 1941–present 27 million
ă‚°ă‚€ăƒłăƒ»ă‚”ăƒŒă‚Ź (Guin Saga) Kaoru Kurimoto 1979–2009 26 million
Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey 1997–present 26 million
äž‰æŻ›çŒ«ăƒ›ăƒŒăƒ ă‚șă‚·ăƒȘăƒŒă‚ș (Calico Cat Holmes series) Jirƍ Akagawa 1978–present 26 million
Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki Sharon Lechter 1997- 26 million
Kurt Wallander Henning Mankell 1991–2002 25 million
Sagaen om Isfolket (The Legend of the Ice People) Margit Sandemo 1982–1989 25 million
The Sword of Truth Terry Goodkind 1998–2007 25 million
éŹŒćčłçŠŻç§‘ćžł (Onihei Hankachƍ) Shƍtarƍ Ikenami 1968–1990 24.4 million
The Shadowhunter Chronicles Cassandra Clare 2007–present 24 million
Brain Quest series various authors 1992–present 23.7 million
ă‹ă„ă‘ă€ă‚Ÿăƒ­ăƒȘ (Kaiketsu Zorori) Yutaka Hara 1987–present 23 million
South Beach Diet Arthur Agatston 2003–present 22 million
ç«œéŠŹăŒă‚†ăÂ (Ryoma ga Yuku) Ryƍtarƍ Shiba 1963–1966 21.5 million
Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer 2001–2012 21 million
ă‚șăƒƒă‚łă‚±äž‰äșș甄 (Zukkoke Sanningumi) Masamoto Nasu 1978–2004 21 million
Shannara Terry Brooks 1977–present 21 million
Redwall Brian Jacques 1986–present 20 million
Maisy Lucy Cousins 1990–present 20 million
Dragonlance various authors 1984 — present 20 million
ćč»é­”ć€§æˆŠ (Genma Taisen) Kazumasa Hirai 1979–1983 20 million
é’æ˜„ăźé–€ (The Gate of Youth) Hiroyuki Itsuki 1970–present 20 million
The Foundation Trilogy Isaac Asimov 1950–1953 20 million
Horrible Histories Terry Deary 1993–present 20 million
Rainbow Magic Daisy Meadows 2003–present 20 million
Morgan Kane Louis Masterson 1966– 20 million
The Southern Vampire Mysteries Charlaine Harris 2001–2013 20 million
Between 15 million and 20 million copies
Book series Author First published Approximate sales
ç§‘ć­Šăźă‚ąăƒ«ăƒăƒ  (Kagaku no album) various authors 1970–present 19 million
扣漱敆ćŁČ (Kenkaku Shobai) Shotaro Ikenami 1972–1989 18 million
Erast Fandorin Boris Akunin 1998–present 18 million
ćžèĄ€éŹŒăƒăƒłă‚żăƒŒD (Vampire Hunter D) Hideyuki Kikuchi 1983–present 17 million
æ¶Œćźźăƒăƒ«ăƒ’ă‚·ăƒȘăƒŒă‚ș(Haruhi Suzumiya Series) Nagaru Tanigawa 2003–present 16.5 million
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams, plus a final book by Eoin Colfer 1979–2008 16 million
Bridget Jones Helen Fielding 1996–present 15 million
The Riftwar Cycle Raymond E. Feist 1982–present 15 million
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Rick Riordan 2005–2009 15 million
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Alexander McCall Smith 1999–present 15 million
ăŒăă‚‰ă‚·ăƒȘăƒŒă‚ș(Bokura series) Osamu Soda 1985–present 15 million
His Dark Materials Philip Pullman 1995–2000 15 million
銀æČłè‹±é›„äŒèȘŹ (Legend of the Galactic Heroes) Yoshiki Tanaka 1982–1989 15 million
Der Regenbogenfisch (Rainbow Fish) Marcus Pfister 1992–present 15 million
A Song of Ice and Fire George R. R. Martin 1996–present 15 million

All sourced from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

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Filed under Book Review, Christopher Paolini, Eragon, Stephanie Mayer, Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight

Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I first found Beautiful Creatures as a film. Although it took me a while to get into the film, I found it to be very enjoyable so obviously, once I saw the film was based on a book, I had to have it. I then found out it was a book series of four; Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption. As I bought the series as one for my e-reader I shall review them as one.

These books are written by two authors. Unusual but not unheard of. In fact, some of my favourite series’ are written by two authors. Women’s Murder Club has two and PJ Tracy is the mother/daughter writing duo. Therefore this duel authorship is nothing to deter readers.

When deciding whether to buy the books as a whole or see if I should just buy the first to see if I liked it and would want to carry on reading the series, I stumbled onto a review. This reviewer said if you liked the Twilight Saga and  The Hunger Games Trilogy then these were the books for you. I agree and I’ll add my own to that mix too. If you like these and the Inheritance Cycle, then you will also like Beautiful Creatures. Its an epic love story, a struggle against evil/darkness, mythical creatures, a mythical world and much more.

Plot

We start of meeting Ethan Wate living in a small country town in the heart of America’s Southern states. Mainstream bible basher belt. Like all towns in this area, change is slow and hard to adjust too. Ethan is a high school jock who plays basketball but has a secret love of reading. His best friend, Link knows all of his secrets and just rolls with them all – a true best friend! One day, the niece of old man Ravenwood arrives and joins school. Ethan has literally met the girl of his dreams and obviously wants to know more about her. He tries to do so and ends up falling in love. Little does he know that she is really an adolescent castor, waiting until her 16th birthday to find out if she will go “dark” or “light”. Alongside this main storyline, there is the story of the “curse”. One that involves Lena’s ancestors and Ethan’s. This adds an extra twist to Lena’s future moral compass.

Beautiful Darkness carries on from the last and we see the town dealing with the shock of Macon Ravenwood’s death. In particular, we see Lena struggling with her Uncle’s death and obviously blames herself for his death. This puts a strain on Lena and Ethan’s relationship and she begins to hang around with Ridley and another boy, John. Liv moves to town and becomes a trainee Keeper under the tutelage of Marion. Lena runs away with John and Ridley, leaving Ethan little choice but to follow his one true love. However, Liv and Ethan begin to have feelings for one another and Ethan realises that if this secret world never existed, he and Liv would have been soul mates. Lena also realises this and this hurt sends her further away from Ethan. We discover that Ethan is a Wayward in this world, a mortal who can find a way to things in the castor one. A human SatNav. Handy when no one knows where Lena is going. We end up at the edge of the magical world, once again fighting for Lena’s moral compass, Dark or light?

Beautiful Chaos again carries on where the last one left. Lena has chosen to be File:BeautifulChaos2011book.jpgboth Dark and Light, Link is now part Incubus, Ridley is mortal, Liv is no longer a Keeper in training and Macon is living his second life, this time as Castor. The world is now in Chaos and mortals even recognise this to be so. Link’s mum believes it to be the final reckoning from God. Ethan keeps having dreams about himself. However, he and Lena are now back together though still unable to touch for longer than a few seconds without Ethan’s heart stopping (a problem when a Castor and Mortal try to be together romantically). This problem seems to be getting worse. Ethan’s mother is once again sending him messages through songs and this time it seems to be telling him that the one who is two is the only one to save earth by killing themselves. Ethan also learns that he left half of himself in the underworld when he died and Lena brought him back. John Breed thinks that he is the saviour so he throws himself off the water tower. However, fate does not agree and Ethan discovers that it is him.

File:BeautifulRedemption2012HBCover.jpg

In Beautiful Redemption we find Ethan in the afterlife. We also meet his mother. Aunt Pru, who passed away in the previous book, tells Ethan of way to return to the living by taking his page out of the Caster Chronicles and destroying it. However, he needs a few things from the world of the living so he sends messages to Lena via the crossword in the local paper. Ethan continues on his journey through the underworld.

Opinion

Like I said, these books are a mixture of Twilight, The Hunger Games and The Inheritance Cycle. Star crossed lovers from different backgrounds trying to be together under impossible circumstances. An epic battle against the laws of the Castor world. A unique connection between two people. All of these throw hints at the previously said books. However, these are unique in their own right. The duo of Garcia and Stohl have a good partnership and their writing as a team is almost flawless. Lena and Ethan’s connection is excellent and does remind me of Eragon and Saphira’s from The Inheritance Cycle. Each character brings something unique to the story. Liv and Link are some of the best supporting characters I have ever seen in a book. I found book 1 to have confusing elements and certain aspects to not be explained well. Maybe because of the duel authors but something wasn’t quite right. The editing team should also have picked up on this so perhaps they were changed for the remaining three as there was nothing similar in them. Seeing as how that is my main gripe with these books, it’s doing something right.

My verdict; 8/10 if not for the first books inconsistencies it could have been higher. Great books overall and well worth a read!

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Filed under Beautiful Creatures, Book Review, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Twilight, Young Adult

The Host – Stephanie Mayer

Stephanie Mayer is famous for her Twilight Saga. The intricate web of love, honour, suspicion and hate kept everyone captivated throughout 4 books and 5 films. While I certainly don’t think the Twilight books are well written or that ingenious of an idea they do have a type of magic about them that keeps you hooked. The Host, has nothing to do with Vampires or Werewolves. It’s about Aliens. Now don’t panic. It’s not your typical little green men type book. It’s all the best parts of Twilight mixed with a new idea and written well. Plus it’s apparently set to be a trilogy with “The Soul” and “The Seeker” becoming the second and third.

Plot

We start of meeting some form of Healer who as his title suggests, has just finished healing a body and implanting a ‘Soul’. We witness the body’s final moments as a human and see the terror that these ‘Souls’ have brought to the few remaining humans on earth. Our ‘Soul’ awakens to find her Seeker scrutinising her every movement and wants to know all of the humans memories. The healer names the ‘Soul’ Wanderer and we see her become frustrated with her inability to control her Hosts previous mind. She begins to worry if this means she isn’t strong enough for this world, ironic as her name comes from the fact that she has been to 9 other planets (unusual for Souls). We discover that her Host’s name is Melanie Stryder and she is in love with a man named Jared and has a younger brother, Jamie. Wanderer and Mel join forces on their dislike of the Seeker and embark on a journey together to find Mel’s Uncle Jeb (an extreme believer in conspiracy theories meaning he was able to disappear off the grid with the first invasion of Souls). Through their journey, Wanderer falls in love with Jared and Jamie due to Mel’s memories and the fact that the body loves them so alters Wanderer’s mental feelings.

They both find Jeb’s hideout and we come face to face with real humans. However, all the humans are distrustful of Wanderer as she is,

afterall, a Soul who has taken over Melanie’s body. Jared saves them but only through his inability to allow the body he loves to die.Within the commune, Kyle and his bother Ian try every day to see if Jared has left a gap in the defence of Wanderer to kill her. Eventually, the commune needs supplies and as Jared is the only one who is able to take a group of people and get them back alive as well as get all the supplies needed, he sets off with Kyle while Jeb promises to keep Wanderer safe until his return. During Jareds absence, Jamie comes to visit Wanderer and grows to love Wanderer as a separate person to Mel and is able with his young mind to talk to Wanderer and Mel as individuals enabling him to accept this new, strange way of family. With a twist, Ian begins to have feelings for Wanderer the Soul, not Wanderer in Mel’s body and here lies the crux of the story. Wanderer and Ian love each other, Mel and Jared love each other, only problem is 2 of them have the same body.

Opinion

I loved this book. It’s far far better than Twilight. I don’t know if because we see the world through something which is technically a few thousands year old instead of 17 or because Mayer has improved as a writer but her prose is much better than in the Twilight saga. Every character is understandable and due to this we can relate to them. The love ‘box’ of Wanderer, Mel, Jared and Ian is beautifully created and grows as you read. Ian was meant to be a background character who hates Wanderer all the way through the storyline but Mayer found that his personality was too difficult to ignore and seemed to shout at her to allow him to grow and evolve into this man who Wanderer herself says has “the mind of a Soul with the strength of a Human”. I am so glad Mayer was unable to ignore his shouts as he is one of the best characters in this book.

The relationship of Mel and Wanderer is similar to that of Eragon and Saphira in the Inheritance Cycle as they talk to each other and relay information through pictures and memories. Although only one body for two minds, they begin to develop an understanding and form a relationship closer to that of sisters as they battle the prejudices and hatred against them.

Jeb and Jamie are important to the storyline as they are the only two people to fully accept Wanderer/Mel as a package deal but through very different eyes. Jamie is very naive and is desperate to be a man where as Jeb is the leader of the commune and has the ability to understand everyone’s motives and arguments but continues down his own moral road.

It is these characters interactions and relationships which make this books so interesting and a joy to read. There are no epic battles and very few dramatic encounters but the subtle shift in feeling and prejudices towards Wanderer is a fascination to watch and you feel part of this life. You love, laugh and live with the characters and it is this fact alone which makes ‘The Host’ one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I cannot wait for the sequels, although I am apprehensive of a change in narrator as we witness the goings on in ‘The Host’ through Wanderer’s eyes and I would hope we stick to Wanderer or someone within the commune so we know what happens to Wanderer and co. A total change of characters but within the same world wouldn’t be able to encapsulate the magical bonds that we find with these characters and in my opinion, that would reduce the enjoyment level of the books. However, they haven’t been written yet so no point analysing them to early!

This book gets a score of 10/10. I’d recommend it to anyone. Read it. Or watch the new film that is set to hit cinemas at the end of this month! 

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Filed under Book Review, Eragon, Stephanie Mayer, The Host, Young Adult

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness – Michelle Paver

Teen fiction is a fickle one. As a teen your too old for real children books, such as Animal Ark or Tracie Beaker, yet some adult books are just out of reach of full comprehension. So how to make a book that is in this middle market? Harry Potter, Twilight, His Dark Materials are all teen/children books and yet all ages can enjoy. Enid Blyton is a children’s author yet her books, if enjoyed as a child can easily be enjoyed as an adult. Roald Dahl wrote for children and adults (though his adult fiction is very adult!) Yet every child is different. I remember in year 9 (so 14/15 age) I had to get my mother’s permission to lend “Horse Whisperer” out of the school library due to the scenes of a sexual nature. So what’s my point I may hear you ask? Well it is this. Just because something is labelled as ‘teen’ or ‘children’ fiction, doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by a wide range of ages.

I say all of the above as this next series is classed as children’s fiction. I was in my young pre-teens when I first found this book, but I carried on the series until it’s end well into my late teens. The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness written by Michelle Paver are a series of 6 books all follow a young boy of about 12, Torak and his Wolf. We follow these two as they make friends with Renn and try and vanquish the Soul Eaters and the darkness they have inflicted onto the world. It is set before civilisation as we know it, where man followed the rules of forest and sea.

Plot
We start this adventure in Wolf Brother when Torak and his father are at their camp. All of a sudden a mighty roar emits from the forest and a huge bear appears, knocking Torack out of the way and heading for his father. The bear rips into his chest and then leaves the clearing. Fa tells Torak to run as the bear is sure to return and he needs Torak to find and kill the bear by going to the spirit mountain and that his guide will find him. Torak only flees as he swears on his three souls to do so. He finds a young cub sat by his drowned pack at a river. Nauseous from fear and infection from hitting his arm against a tree, he tries to survive on his own for the first time.
He finds out he can talk to the cub and understand the cub via wolf talk. No idea why he strikes up a friendship with the young cub and

becomes his pack brother.

On his adventure he runs into the Raven Clan where he meets a young girl, Renn whom joins in his journey.

Opinion

I struggle to describe how good this series is. For me to have read them all, this first one has to draw you in. It’s slightly like Harry Potter in the fact that Paver has a story arc in each book but an overall story arc across all the books. So little things become important later on and questions and confusion is settled in later books. These little questions keep you interested. The union of Torak and Wolf is fantastic. They remind me of Eragon and Saphira in Paolini’s series although as smart as Wolf is, he can’t express himself as well as Saphira. If Evans had this kind of Wolf bond in “The Loop” I would have given it a higher score.

The chemistry between Torak and Renn is great and their feelings towards one another develops at a good rate. They hate each other when they first meet. Torak can be a little selfish and self involved, yet this is understandable as he has never been in a clan, just him and Fa. He also has to carry a large burden and responsibility which no 12 year old should do.

I grew up with these characters and for me, it is on the same par as Harry Potter. I love them as much and have the same childish glee when I read them as when I first read them.

On its own Wolf Brother is a great start. For me none of these is better or worse then any of the others so this one is a 9/10. Well worth the read and ideal as a bed time story for the little ones that you’d enjoy too!

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Filed under Book Review, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Michelle Paver, Young Adult

Eldest – Christopher Paolini

Hello! This is the 2nd book in the Inheritance cycle. I gave the last one a 9 and it takes a lot to follow that. This book isn’t quite as good as Eragon but I think that is more my problem, not the books.

Plot

We follow on from where the last book ended. Eragon has just saved the Varden from the demise they were looking likely to have had if it weren’t for the Dragon Rider. He is however crippled now from becoming the Shadeslayer and then the leader of the Varden in killed and three people kidnapped. Eragon needs to learn how to be a true Dragon Rider so he travels to the Elf Land, Ellesmera where he meets the Cripple Who is Whole we met at the end of “Eragon”. Eragon and Saphira learn they are not as alone as they first believed.

Paolini also follows Eragon’s cousin, Roran. His beloved, Katrina, is kidnapped and he realises that the only way to save her and his village is to relocate them all to the Varden. We see how hard a task this is, but as much as Eragon got the mythical power, Roran got the soldier and leader power. He saves his villagers, convinces them to go to the Varden, fights alongside them, steals a ship and safely gets them to the Varden all so he can rescue Katrina.

In the end, the two cousins meet again and are both involved in a massive battle for the Varden, resulting in a shocking end.

Opinion

This book was following a very strong start to the series and I believe Paolini struggled slightly. He was originally trying to make this saga to be a trilogy and it shows via how much information he was trying to put into this one so he could finish it in the next. This means that too much information is put into our heads and unlike the last one, where we developed and learned at Eragon’s pace, it always seemed to be one step ahead of me. While I did like the introduction to Roran and Nasuada focused chapters, I found there to be too many and was in a hurry to return to the main story-line. For me that was where Lord of the Rings fell down, and Paolini was veering too near that precipice. I mentioned in my last post on Eragon that as a whole, the series only needed the odd chapter culling and it is mainly within this book that this could happen. The pacing is off compared to the others, seemingly dragging its feet, and little occurs quickly. It’s seem Paolini wants the reading to take as long as the adventure.

However, in its plus’s, Paolini adds depth to many characters. Nasuada and Ayra are strong female characters and we learn more about them and respect them more within this book. Neither are damsels in distress. The connection between Eragon and Saphira is sublime as usual. I stated before that this connection really drew you into the story and it carried on to do so. Their fights, nit-picking, loyalty, humour, opinions and views are both portrayed beautifully and makes you believe it is real, which when you’re talking about a Dragon, is a real tribute to Paolini’s writing.

The actual core story-line is strong it’s just how often we digress from this that is the problem. The twists and turns are outstanding and although I suspected a similar ending, I was shocked, sad and understanding of the finale. It does set up the next book well and does make you want to learn more about Eragon’s world.

All in all, this is still a great read with plenty of action, plot turns and information to intrigue and delight. It just drags and you do notice the time passing when reading. For this, I give the book a 7.5. Not as good as the last but still a solid performance. For me the weakest of the four. And as I said last time, I do give one of these books a ten so watch out!

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Filed under Book Review, Christopher Paolini, Eragon, Young Adult

The Templar’s Quest – C.M. Palov

For those of you that have read any previous posts on books will know that I seem to be relatively kind in my grading. I have never given below a 6 and even that was due to needing room to improve my score for the following in the series. This dear readers, is because of one simple fact. Non of the books so far I have recently read. Yes I have read them within the past year, and yes I did remember them quite well. However, the cause for my good memory was the fact that the books were good. I couldn’t put them down. They intoxicated me. The need to read the next one and then the next one for books such as Harry Potter, Eragon, Women’s Murder Club, Rizzoli and Isles and the Wolf Brother Saga, to name but a few, have seriously dented mine and my parents bank balances. Without the next installment, I seem at a loss and to read the books and finally have an ending in the last book gives you closure on characters and a sense of bereavement at the same time.

From the paragraph above you may think of me as a bit of a book slag. I am. Though not quite to the extent of my father, who has easily read double the amount I have, and probably by the time he was my age too. So when I come across a book that takes my fancy I find it hard not to buy it. Anything by P.J.Tracy, Cecelia Ahern and any books with a saga, I find extremely difficult to walk away from it. So when I spotted the Templar’s Quest on the shelves at Tesco for a discounted price I was torn. I had never heard of the author before but that didn’t mean it would be bad. Yes the author’s name was not bigger than the title of the book, meaning they weren’t that famous/popular an author. Though again, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be bad. I was pulled by the title, “Templar’s Quest”. As a history geek and a book geek, fictional books surrounding an historical event are my little poison. I loved Dan Brown’s “The Da Vini Code” (though did literally find it as a story, not a conspiracy theory around God, Jesus, faith) and Chris Kuzneski’s “The Lost Throne” equally enthralled me. So that was it. I bought it. And my dear readers, unlike my previous book reviews, I shall be reviewing this book a mere 1 hour after I read it.

Just to let you know in advance, it isn’t as good as any of the books I mentioned before. It’s only redeemable quality was the fact it was readable. That’s a lie. I enjoyed  2 characters and was only readable because of these two characters. So two redeemable qualities. I shall warn you, I do reveal far more spoilers in this review than usual so if you do like this author/would like to read the book and don’t want the surprise to be ruined, I would advise to stop reading.

Plot

We start of in Nazi owned Europe, in 1940. We see the secret band of the SS, known as the Seven, enter into a tomb and discover an artefact that can change the course of History. The book quickly changes to modern-day and a different war zone. This time Syria. We meet our hero for the book, Master Sargent Finn McGuire. He is in an old building looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction, instead he finds a gold medallion with some funky design. Outraged that he has been sent under false pretenses, he swipes the medallion to try to oust the culprit of such a dastardly trick. In the process of leaving Syria, he gets his trigger finger blown away, ultimately finishing his soldier career.

We next find Finn working at the Pentagon a few months later, when he is interviewed by two CID agents (Criminal Investigations Department). They seem to be trying to find a reason to arrest him for the murders of two of his previous soldier buddies. During the mini interrogation, Finn receives an email from the French Embassy to evade the two CIDs and come to the French Embassy. As an Englishwoman, this just exemplifies what us English have known for 1000’s of years, you can’t trust the French! On his escape from the Pentagon to the Embassy he uses Kate Bauer as transport. Of course this means we now have our leading lady and suffice to say she is pulled into the lunacy of the plot.

Following the talk at the embassy and many suicides, car chases and arguments, we find ourselves in the French Capital, Gay Paree. On this quest, we find ourselves a new ally in the form of former MI5 operative and Kate’s ex Oxford beau, Caedmon Aisquith.

Again, after more fights, car chasing, theoretical physics later, Caedmon goes off to the south of France to find the ‘Holy Grail’ (where have we heard this one before?) and Fin and Kate consummate their budding romance.

We finally get to the ending fight, and discover that the bad guys are trying to open a space-time continuum to send a message to the original Seven of the Nazi SS to try to help Hitler win the 2nd World War.

Opinion

As you have surmised from above, I didn’t really enjoy this book. I found the language to be confusing and using mathematical and theoretical physics to  explain something as Sci-Fi as Star Trek just didn’t work. I got the general gist of the plot but the explanation was far-fetched. Kate was an anthropologist who just happened to have an astrophysicist as a father, once bedded a Egyptologist/Templar symbolism expert who worked for MI5 and now lives in Paris and happened to be the one person driving past the Pentagon at the time of Finn’s escape. I know books and films have always tested the realm of possibility and coincidence but this was too much. Plus Finn was meant to be the regular Joe character in terms of smarts, yet the mathematical connections and knowledge of Einstein’s physics theories doesn’t ring true when just randomly blurted out by him.

This book seems to be trying to be too Dan Brown like. Many books of this type are often Dan Brown rip offs (In deed the Da Vinci Code was arguably a rip off of other ‘Holy Grail’ conspiracy theory books), yet this seems to take 70% of its story line from Dan Brown. The Louvre, pyramids, Holy Grail, France, Egypt, Faith, Templars are all used and this is too similar. If Palov pulled this off better than Brown, I could forgive him but it is sub par. 

The characters weren’t the best either. Finn and Kate were my two favourite characters but it didn’t take much. Caedmon just annoyed me and I wasn’t really that bothered if he lived or died. His adventure on his own bored me, and although it was pivotal in the story it wasn’t in my interested range. The bad guys seemed to be all talk and Finn outmaneuvered them most of the time. Even his biggest rival was undone not by him but a gorilla of a brute who seemed to have the IQ of a chipmunk (I apologise to the Chipmunk!)

One of my biggest annoyances of this book though was when Caedmon had been shot in the arm, had a bullet graze along his head, had been manhandled to open the stitches, blood was pouring out of him, unable to draw on a blackboard, unable to sit unaided yet at the end he could outrun Kate, who had very little wrong with her in terms of physical damage. Ludicrous.

All in all, not a great read. Took the Far Fetched and invited it to a tea party with Ridiculous and Improbable. My verdict is 3/10. It wasn’t unreadable and Kate and Finn were ok characters but the story was just a poor man’s attempt at Dan Brown with a bit of Star Trek added for good measure.

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Filed under Book Review, C.M. Palov

Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Hello and welcome to the New Year! Depending one which Religion/Cult/Ancient Society you follow, this year could well be the end of the world! Things to look forward to if your British or a huge sports fan is the 2012 London Olympics! Yey! Or if your cynical, to remark at how much money we have spent when we are in an economic crises! Take your pick.

Well for my first review of the year I thought I would go for a little change. Bar my first, my reviews have been Rizzoli and Isles and Women’s Murder Club based. I fancied a different book saga this time and so my favourite non crime saga came to mind. “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini. Now. Yes it is a teen fiction book but no more than Harry Potter or Twilight are one either. Though in my defence I was a teen when I read the first one. Paolini was just 16 when he wrote the first novel and was published and although the fact his parents own a publishing company does take the edge of this great achievement, it still is an achievement. Just because it is easier to be published does not mean you have a good book. It can just mean that your absolute drivel of a book is now in print (a bit like this blog!) Luckily, it isn’t drivel. If you like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and any other magical, mystical, mythical type books then this is the one for you. The main character is Eragon, a nobody from the back-end of no where with no prospects. However, he is happy. He is carefree and his greatest ambition is to be a good farmer to help his uncle. He doesn’t know who is father is and his mother is somewhat unknown, bar the fact she is the sister of his uncle. His pride in life is his tracking and hunting skills. Eragon is the only one from his village brave and confident in his abilities to dare travel into the Spine. A group of mountains feared even by the evil king.

Plot

It is this that starts our young hero’s adventure. While in the Spine, a blue rock flies from the sky and lands in front of Eragon. He of course takes this back and tries to exchange it for meat at the loathsome butchers. In time, this rock hatches and a blue Dragon emerges from within. Due to the Dragon hatching for Eragon, a bond is formed so ancient, it calls into question the title of the Ancient Egyptians. Of course, a Dragon hatching is not easy to keep quite, especially as there were only three known dragon eggs in existence before Saphira (the dragon) hatched. This leads to the destruction of Eragon’s childhood home and the brutal murder of his beloved Uncle. An epic quest begins for Eragon to avenge his uncle’s death, free the common people from the evil king and ultimately fulfill his new destiny of becoming a Dragon Rider.

Opinion

As you can see, my plot section was not as long as usual as I would have actually written the book out for you if I had carried on. It can easily be titled as an epic. Paolini creates new lands, languages and races and through Eragon, you learn them effortlessly. Maps and dictionaries are provided and they stay updated to Eragon’s knowledge. As Eragon is as in tune with his own land as we are, this means you can keep up with the history, culture and power struggles quite well. You learn as he learns. Yes, many people feel that Paolini relied rather heavily on The Lord of the Rings for his characters. There are Elves, with an Elf Queen, Dwarves, Urgals, Humans and Magicians, plus many tribes within these and these characters wouldn’t stand out within the Tolkien Trilogy. However, I have read the Lord of the Rings and can without a shadow of doubt exclaim that Paolini surpasses him. Maybe it is because of the language Tolkien is using (though as I loved the Hobbit by Tolkien it seems doubtful) but I found the Lord of the Rings very long winded and many chapters to be pointless as they neither moved the story on nor developed the characters. Paolini does use Tolkien’s structure of following two different character arcs that ultimately end up joining up at the end, but he does so with real purpose. Maybe the odd chapter or two could have been culled but out of four books, each spanning between 600-1000 pages, it isn’t really noticeable.

Eragon is someone you can relate to. Paolini chooses a human to follow in this quest smartly. Humans we can understand. Their emotions, behaviour and flaws are all reconisable and make it easier to follow. Things  which baffle Eragon about other races and cultures baffle us as a reader and makes you feel that you are not alone. Eragon is not a perfect person nor does he do good all the time, but he strives to do good, and although he has to internally battle some decisions, he generally makes the correct one (but how many people here could say we don’t have to don armour with ourselves to decide on the correct course?).

The interaction between Eragon and Saphira is golden and the chemistry between the two leaps of the page. If this was a  TV series, one could compare it to the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. series chemistry. Saphira becomes our dragon too and genuinely makes you wish dragons existed just so you could have a chance of becoming a Dragon Rider (I’m not gonna lie, I have had dreams where I was chosen, not Eragon!).

This book and the following captures your imagination and the story line is sublime. My verdict is 9/10. One of these books gets a ten so wait for that review 🙂

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Filed under Book Review, Christopher Paolini, Eragon, Young Adult