Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Richelle Mead

All I ever seem to do on this blog is apologise for the delay in writing a new post but as it is has been the festive period I won’t this time. Christmas and New Year are the busiest time to be working in any form of customer service and working in a nightclub just adds to this. So yes, I have been busy working and studying (*cough* relaxing *cough*).

So as the perceptive of you would have noticed, there is no book title above. Just “Richelle Mead”. No I haven’t forgotten to put one up there, I just don’t see the need to with Mead. So far I have read 20/23 of her books and I cannot give any a lesser mark than the other. If you have read my Vampire Academy review, you can see how much I gushed over that and the following series’ have been the same. You may be wondering why I haven’t just written about an author before but the answer is simple. Richelle Mead is the first author since Enid Blyton that I can honestly say I will read any of their work. I kid you not. I love Rizzoli and Isles but haven’t read any of Gerritsen’s others; Harry Potter is one of the greatest series’ ever written but I am not enthralled by Rowling’s other narratives; I could perhaps say they same thing about Stephanie Mayer later if she writes any more but only due to my love of The HostTwilight never really putting itself into the ‘must read every year’ category on my shelves.  From this we can surmise that I love characters. I will follow them to the ends of the earth and back. Their relationships, quests and challenges enthral and amuse but I often find authors to be disappointing in other areas. Take Garci and Stohl from Beautiful CreaturesTogether they have created these characters and world that mesmerises and amazes, yet separately and on separate stories, I found them uninteresting.

Back to Mead. It started with Vampire Academy which lead onto the spin off series of Bloodlines. From there I decided to give the Georgina Kincaid series a go and then The Age of X and now, finally, The Dark Swan series. I am literally devouring every one of her novels as quickly as she can produce them and have even accepted the £5+ charge for the e-book editions (something I usual avoid doing – you don’t get the physical book so why pay more than £3?) Every single one has had a developed plot line, interesting main AND support characters and twists that are sometimes completely out of the blue (I’m looking at you Dimitri from VA!) The first two mentioned are YA books but this doesn’t take away from a developed Adult writer. All Mead did was tone down the sex scenes (which are quite detailed in some of the books – when you write about a succubus who feeds off of sex that tends to happen) and take out the swear words. The essence of Mead’s work stays the same, excellent dialogue and believable stories.

In conclusion; if you are struggling for a book to read, a friend to buy for or just want to explore a new author give Richelle Mead a go. Every one of her books are easily a 10/10. Trust me, you wont be disappointed!

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy, YA

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (film)The Hunger Games is probably as big as Twilight and Harry Potter. All three have been made into films and have all sold 50-450 million books. Phenomenal when you see series’ such as Discworld have sold over 55 million copies and have been written since the 80’s. The power of film has done this for these. Harry Potter would always have been a high grossing book series but Twilight and The Hunger Games have hugely benefited from the films. Having said that, I read this series long before it became a film.

Plot

We meet Katniss, our heroine, and discover a few important things. One, when her father died it was left to her to raise herself and Prim (sister) due to their mother’s depression. Two, she did this by hunting in the forest by her district. Three, the Captiol makes the district “give up” two of its teenagers to compete in a bloody and barbaric “Hunger Games”. These three points are important in understanding the start of this trilogy and indeed the end. Katniss loves her sister, can shoot with a bow Cover of "The Hunger Games" and arrow and the Capitol leaders are evil. During the reaping (the choosing of the teenagers), Prim’s name is called. Katniss volunteers for her sister and in doing so puts herself into the Games. The boy tribute for District 12 is Peeta. They journey off together, along with their mentor, Haymitch, and battle against 22 other young people to be crowned victors. In a twist,  Katniss severely undermines the Capitol and becomes the face of the rebellion.

During Catching Fire Katniss is in no better a position than before the Games. Yes, her family is now rich and have a fabulous new house but she is under severe scrutiny. Her freedom to chose who she wishes to be her husband has been taken away from Cover of "Catching Fire (The Second Book ... her. District 12 now has new law keepers and is punishing the whole district for Katniss’ success. Snow wants her dead and makes it so Katniss has to enter into her nightmares, a second Hunger Game. This time she makes it her mission to keep Peeta alive, knowing she will never have a life with the Capitol in power.

Mockingjay brings us to the final and ultimate climax of the series. Katniss has been rescued from the Mockingjay
games but at the price of Peeta. She becomes the poster girl for the rebellion. Katniss is once again used by higher powers in their games of dominance when all she wants to do is stop fighting and live a normal life.

Opinion

I loved these books. Obviously had to like the first one to keep reading the series. The films are pretty good too. This is a world not to distant to us. Humanity has basically torn itself apart and the Capitol is the area that won at the end of it. The Hunger Games were designed to keep the districts subdued and it is a very feasible path that is not out of the realm of possibilities humanity could take. I think the moral and political issues behind the book are very intricately woven into the plot and hold a hidden meaning; humanity could almost wipe itself out and what we are left with won’t be pretty.

The love triangle is exquisitely done and you never feel that it is forced or contrite by Collins. The fight scenes are detailed gruesomely and you feel Katniss’ pain and revulsion for what she witnesses and what she is forced to do. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming and was shocked when it occurred. However here comes my main vital flaw for this trilogy. The last chapter. Horrendous. It was almost as bad as “And they all woke up and it was just a dream”. Collins had built up this epic suspense and had us all on the edge of our seats and then boom, a very wimpy way to end it. However, I don’t really see any other end to the books. She wrote herself into a corner and this is the result. Unlike the Harry Potter books where I felt a kind of closure for the characters, here I just felt loss and confusion. If it wasn’t for this ending these books are excellent and very much a 10/10. Due to this my verdict is: 8/10. Still epic but just not there.

The symbol of the revolution. The Mockingjay.

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Filed under Book Review, Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight, Young Adult

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 Frédéric 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
宮本武蔵 (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 Nesbø 1997–present 40 million
连环画 铁道游击队 (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
徳川家康 (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
グイン・サーガ (Guin Saga) Kaoru Kurimoto 1979–2009 26 million
Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey 1997–present 26 million
三毛猫ホームズシリーズ (Calico Cat Holmes series) Jirō 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
鬼平犯科帳 (Onihei Hankachō) Shōtarō 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
かいけつゾロリ (Kaiketsu Zorori) Yutaka Hara 1987–present 23 million
South Beach Diet Arthur Agatston 2003–present 22 million
竜馬がゆく (Ryoma ga Yuku) Ryōtarō Shiba 1963–1966 21.5 million
Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer 2001–2012 21 million
ズッコケ三人組 (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
幻魔大戦 (Genma Taisen) Kazumasa Hirai 1979–1983 20 million
青春の門 (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
科学のアルバム (Kagaku no album) various authors 1970–present 19 million
剣客商売 (Kenkaku Shobai) Shotaro Ikenami 1972–1989 18 million
Erast Fandorin Boris Akunin 1998–present 18 million
吸血鬼ハンターD (Vampire Hunter D) Hideyuki Kikuchi 1983–present 17 million
涼宮ハルヒシリーズ(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
ぼくらシリーズ(Bokura series) Osamu Soda 1985–present 15 million
His Dark Materials Philip Pullman 1995–2000 15 million
銀河英雄伝説 (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

The Power of 5 – Anthony Horowitz

Well hello! It’s been a while. I have been working in France for contiki meaning internet use and just being able to read has been

limited. But I’m home now so back to the reading and reviewing.

I have started off this new chance to read by re-reading an old favourite. The Power of Five is a teen series by Anthony Horowitz and the new and final book was released this week. I have of course ordered it and as such felt that I should refresh my memory of the story.

Plot

We start off the series with “Raven’s Gate”. The first chapter introduces us to Matthew Freeman. A troubled teen without parents and a horrible aunt. He breaks into a warehouse with a friend and we soon learn that there is more to Matt than we first thought. He has the ability to sense when something is going to happen, a link to the future.

He ends up in trouble for the warehouse and enters a new scheme invented to help troubled teens called LEAF. He finds himself in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside with a weird village and even weirder villagers. Everyone who seems to try and help him are killed and then Matt begins to piece together what is happening to him and with the help of a young journalist, Richard Cole, he begins his new life as one of the 5.

Opinion

I love this series. Actually I love Anthony Horowitz. His Alex Rider books were some of my favourites as a young teen. There are twists and turns and you do have to accept the far-fetched to really like these. However, Horowitz writes them so well that it doesn’t take much for you to believe in the storyline of the Old Ones. Straight away you can tell that this is the same author as that of the Alex Rider books due to the same flow and pace of the books. Some might call this a bad thing, that he can’t change his writing for different stories but why change something that clearly works?

As an adult re-reading them they haven’t quite held the magic that they used to possess unlike Harry Potter has. Definitely one for young teenagers or for you to read as a bed time story to your kids if this is the first time you will read them.

However, this is still a great series and an excellent introduction to it. I give the book a 7/10.

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Filed under Anthony Horowitz, Book Review, the Power of 5, 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

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