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Kitty (UK)

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The Dragon's Blade: The Reborn King
The Dragon's Blade: The Reborn King
Price: £3.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid and entertaining fantasy!, 26 Jan. 2016
** I was sent this free by the author in exchange for an honest review **

With that said, I genuinely found this a pleasure to read and many of the traps which I see some indie authors fall into were avoided within this book. This is a fantasy book which is really fun. Although it draws on various classical creatures of fantasy such as Dragons, Fairies, Humans, Trolls, Wizards and more, it does so in a fresh way and with a story that was fast-paced and original.

I felt that the story pulled me in from page 1 and I was really loving the book for the first section. I do think that the central section of the book suffered a little from overly descriptive sections, but it was still good and there was still a lot happening so this is more of a niggle than a full complaint. I really liked the revelations and speeding up of pacing for the ending though so not bad overall!

This is a story about a Dragon (although in this world the Dragons have transformed so that the don't have a bestial form but rather a human form with dragon abilities such as extra stamina/strength etc.) called Darnuir and the challenges he faces as the heir to a kingdom filled with battles and strife. His role within the Dragon community is important, being the heir, but he is frustrated with his father and the way the Dragons are being led in their war. Darnuir believes, as many young creatures/people do, that he would be better for the job than his father, and when the time comes for an all-out battle he gets the chance to prove himself... but the plan doesn't quite work out...

The story had a fair amount of surprises which I didn't see coming and this is something which I always enjoy, when a book has the ability to entertain me and interest me. I found the relationship between all the characters, races and magics of the world to be well thought-out too and I think the power struggles were handled well. Basically I just found this a really fun and interesting read for the majority of the book and would say that if you want a good fantasy, this is a good fantasy!

In the end I settled on a 4*s as I really liked this and I do want to see where the story ends up going whenever the next book comes out. It's a fun story with some great character moments, and I look forward to seeing more from Michael R. Miller in the future, recommended :)

Porcelain A Gothic Fairy Tale
Porcelain A Gothic Fairy Tale
by Benjamin Read
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Original - A lovely indie graphic novel, 15 Jun. 2015
This is a story which I picked up without ever having heard of it before. I got it on a recommendation from my local comic books shop and the style of artwork and colouring drew me in.

The story is a cross between gothic and fairy tale and I have to say it was original. The premise is that there's a big old manor house and everyone avoids it, but one day a young street girl is dared to go in there by her 'friends'. The story feels like a classical fairy tale to begin with, except with some more adult language and realistic scenes, but as it goes on it takes some peculiar and interesting turns and I really enjoyed the evolution of the story, characters and plot.

The main character is Child and she's a street urchin with little to go home to or care for. She's feisty and investigative and she's got a strong curiosity which I think really endeared her to me. I also have to say that the way she's drawn felt both believable and fun all at once because she's not conventionally beautiful, but rather a little rough around the edges, and I think that suited her well.

The artwork and colouring of the book does make it stunning to look through and there's a few smaller quirks added at the back to show the early designs etc too with added annotations. These were really interesting to give a little more backstory to the characters and plot and generally make me like the book and creators even more.

Some pages have large spread which are certainly the most emotional and beautiful in my mind. The scenes are rendered beautifully and the choice of colours is perfect to set the scene and make us feel however the creators want us to feel.

On the whole I'd say this is an indie-publisher and series that I would highly recommend you check out and I will certainly be picking up volume #2 as soon as it comes out because it was a great little gem. 4.5*s

Thorns and Tangles (Zane Halloway Book 1)
Thorns and Tangles (Zane Halloway Book 1)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic start to a highly promising series. Very Locke Lamora and Throne of Glass in style. Highly recommended!!, 29 Dec. 2014
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This is a fantasy indie novella which is fairly short, but by no means lacking in action, adventure and fun. I picked this up without knowing anything about it, and it was exactly what I was in the mood for. I'd certainly compare this to Locke Lamora and also to Throne of Glass in some ways and I'm not sure if I would rate this as YA or adult because it certainly wasn't as predictable as many YA books are, and it had some darker themes which I'd associate with Adult fiction. Overall it was a very punchy short story and one I look forward to continuing in the later novellas planned.

This is the story of Lily and Zane who are assassins and the various jobs they have to undertake in their magic-focussed world. In the world the live in there are a few types of magic such as Thorns which can be used to attack people, and tangles, which are defensive. I really enjoyed the magic system because the names Thorns and Tangles really helped me to imagine the magic and the power and intent of it, and I believe that the magic society and the way it was all set out was very believable as a premise.

Zane and Lily are both intriguing characters in their own way. Whilst Lily is the apprentice and therefore under constant scrutiny from Zane she's also very clever, highly trained and well on her way to becoming a fully fledged assassin. She's good at blending in and passing unnoticed but her social skills need a little work. Overall I very much enjoyed her character and felt that she carried her sections of the story well.
As for Zane he's a little more complex and darker as a character. We learn a few things about hints of his past within this story and that's certainly really intriguing so I cannot wait to see where that leads in the future. Equally he's a highly trained assassin with lots of cool skills and high caution. He always researches the target before he takes a job, and he's a very secretive yet sought after man. I really enjoyed his mysterious character and the way he tested Lily to reach her potential and train her as an assassin. They are a great duo and I can't wait to see more from them.

I bought this novella on Amazon very cheaply and for the price I paid it's a steal so I would highly recommend checking it out as it's a fast and really fun read. Highly recommended!! A very solid 4*s!

Saga Volume 1 (Saga (Comic Series))
Saga Volume 1 (Saga (Comic Series))
by Brian K Vaughan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.00

5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME, 2 Sept. 2014
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This was amazing. Instantly this graphic novel captured my attention and held it for the entire 40 mins I was reading this. It's a great storyline which is set in a world where people from Planet Landfall and people from Satellite Wreath are always at war with one another, and it tells the story of a couple (kind of like Romeo and Juliet) where each person is from the opposite side. They are lovers and you learn more about them as the story goes on, and you also get to see what is happening to them now that their affair has been uncovered.

It's told from the POV of their young baby (who is born right at the start) and it's essentially the story of her life. There are all sorts of different planets, places, storylines and races, but it's a very easy story to follow and instantly be hooked into. I have to say it's certainly one of the best and most interesting ideas for a Graphic Novel that I've read and I whizzed through it really enjoying it.

I loved seeing all the different planets and races as I think that they were all individual and they all made an impression on me. I enjoyed the winged race of Alana as they were super pretty (and pretty deadly) and their design was probably my favourite. The robot race was a cool one which felt very desensitised and that seemed to fit with their personality. I also liked Marko's horned race as they seemed to be pretty bad-ass.

The characters I really liked because although this is not a huge book you really get to see each individual and learn a bit about them and how they react to certain situations. Alana was a very determined and ruthless character who was certainly my favourite for her sheer 'bad-assery'! I think that Marko was a bit of a weak character most of the time as he doesn't often assert himself against her, but as soon as she or the baby were threatened he turned into a wicked enemy and I loved the fight scenes with him!

On the whole this was SO much better than I had expected it to be. The artwork was great and I loved the colours too, I think that this is more driven by the story than the art, but it's great that the art really enhances the story. I am certainly going to buy the next volume asap and start that soon, and I really look forward to it as this was such a great, fast and fun read :) Highly recommended!!

The Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive Book One
The Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive Book One
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and so interesting, 8 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)'s hard to know where to begin with this book, for a start it is a huuuge book, over 1000pgs long. However, even noting the length of the book, it's worth the amount of pages and the extra time that it will take you to read this, compared to something else shorter, because of how well-crafted this story is.

The tale is told from a variety of different view-points such as Shallon, who is a young woman on a mission, Kaladin, a man who puts others before himself, Dalinar, a soldier who commands well and has a troublesome problem to overcome, Szeth-Son-Son-Vallano, a man who bears a burden upon his life, and many many more interesting characters are involved in the plot.

The story follows a variety of different cultures and ages across the spans of time and distance. The realm that they live in faces a new age of magic and intrigue so long forgotten that it threatens to overwhelm the world.

The plot is intricately weaved and beautifully balanced between character creation, plot line and scenery. A true masterwork and I highly anticipate the rest of the series coming out!

The Light Fantastic
The Light Fantastic
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, 8 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Light Fantastic (Paperback)
I think that this story gets better and better. This is book 2 in the series and once again follows Rincewind and Twoflower who are both wacky and amusing characters. This book continues where The Colour of Magic leaves off (a cliffhanger) and is highly entertaining from the outset.

The world is a wild one with all manner of creatures, craziness and romping storyline which takes us throughout a large amount of the Disc. This story certainly improves upon book 1 and I am very much looking forward to continuing on with this series asap.

I love Rincewind's cynical and pessimistic view of the world which is offset by Twoflower's optimism. It's as if the two of them were made to contradict one another and yet they work so well as a duo that you can't forget them and you follow their mis-adventures with glee. They get into all sorts of scrapes and they find themselves in a variety of highly amusing situations.

They also meet some new characters in this story, Cohen and Bethan are two quirky characters, Cohen is a grandfatherly figure who was actually a barbarian (very highly regarded) in his prime and still practices to this day. He's bitter and grumps a lot but he's also strong of heart and has great morals making him very endearing.

Bethan is a little less approachable at first but she warms up as a character when it progresses. We first meet her in a rather unusual fashion which I found very entertaining and from then on things speed along with her situation making her a very odd but equally intriguing character.

The world is just as vibrant and phenomenally imagined as ever with even more madness being introduced throughout and lots of puns and laughs along the way too. It's a fabulous place to reside and a brilliant world to fall into or onto.

I would say that the writing and plot of this story is a LOT better than book one and I would certainly recommend this. If you like magic then this story is a brilliant one although you need to read The Colour Of Magic first to understand it. A very fun read all round, 4*s!

Steelheart (Reckoners 1)
Steelheart (Reckoners 1)
by Brandon Sanderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Super-Hero / Anti-Hero clashes, 8 Jun. 2014
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Another example of how Sanderson can turn his hand to almost anything and make it amazing. I loved this story and I read it in one sitting. The character David is a loveable yet nerdy guy who has worked his whole life to attempt to find a way to defeat the Epic, Steelheart, who controls the city and who killed his father. He is a well-written character with a terrible lack of metaphor ability which makes him charming in some ways and ridiculously silly in a good way too.

The plot is exciting and eventful and the character's abilities and potential is endless so it's an enchanting read. The plot is fast-moving and there are a few twists which really make me want to read the next one as soon as I can!

Highly recommended and a wonderful read! My first superhero-like read, and certainly not a let-down!!

Ready Player One
Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this so much more than I imagined, 8 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Ready Player One (Paperback)
I am going to have to say that this book is the height of everything geeky, nerdy, and just plain awesome from the 80s. Prior to reading this I had no interest in the 80s and knew very little about early video games etc that are mentioned within this story, but it doesn't matter at all! This story is so truly wonderful and the characters and plot are just captivating. The idea of a virtual escapism in the form of an online game is so fun because it could so easily be real in the near future and the immersion I got from the book was unbelievable. I can't wait to film my review of this.

This is the story of Wade, an average guy from 2044 who spends as much time as possible in OASIS, the online game which is so much better than the real world. It's set in a time where climate change and politics have all gone mad and the world is really not a fun place for anyone to live with disasters and problems happening all the time.

Wade has an Avatar named Parzival which he plays in OASIS and anyone who plays can create an entirely new identity for themselves. He spends every moment that he can on the game, and he also attends an online, virtual school. He loves OASIS and he is absorbed daily into the magical world where anything, literally anything is possible if you have the money to travel around the hundreds of thousands of worlds within OASIS.

OASIS is a multinational game which has branches all over the world and it was all created by James Halliday. When we pick up the story Halliday is dead, but like the amazing video game-maker that we all know and love, he left behind a legacy, an 'easter egg' which is essentially a hidden gem in the game. Not only did the announcement of this after his death cause an uproar but it also sparked a huge competition to find it first as Halliday's will states that the finder will take over the running of OASIS, and get all his money, which is a lot! The people who search for the Easter Egg are caller 'gunters (egg hunters) and they are all completely crazy about everything Halliday loved because they know that the things he enjoyed must be the keys to the code which will allow them to find the egg. Wade is a gunter, and it's his discoveries and story which we follow along with.

One aspect which I really cannot fault is the depth and detailing of the games and world. The world-building is phenomenal and the images which I came up with from reading the descriptions were wonderfully vibrant, fun and enticing. I can see why a lot of people choose to live through the game, it sounds addictive! I also have to note that although I am not a gamer and do not profess to love comics, anime or many of the other items referenced throughout the story, I loved the way that every game was described and approached and I certainly felt like I was learning a lot of really interesting stuff and I highly enjoyed it. I would certainly say that if you are into those items from the 80s then you will adore this book!

I also really liked the world-building for the real world outside of OASIS because the chaos and madness of the way that the world had disintegrated was believable. I really loved the idea of stacking trailers on top of one another in towers to use the space effectively as I felt that this really contributed to us visualising the true extent of the devastation that the world was facing.

The characters and corporations were another fantastic part of the book. Parzival himself is a very down to earth (if a little obsessive) kind of guy whom I think a lot of gamers could relate to. He has only one online friend and no-one in real life who he can talk to so he tends to devote his life to the quest and that makes him very geeky, but also the perfect one to follow and see through their eyes as he truly is a Halliday-fanatic! His knowledge and skill at deciphering the coded messages is astounding and he's also very genuine and fun to read about. He's very clever and a brilliant hacker too which makes for some fun!

Aech is Parzival's best friend and he's a truly fun guy too. He's very similar to P in the way that he acts and thinks which makes them the perfect duo and he is a very careful and precise friend. He's got more money and influence that P as P is poor and cannot afford to travel much, but Aech never holds this against him and they are firm friends, bonding over the mutual adoration of everything 80s.
Art3mis is another key character in the story with a very important part to play. She is also a super nerd and she is just as geeky as the other two. She is a wonderfully fun character with a spark to her personality which makes her feisty and funny all at once. I certainly liked seeing her grow closer to the others as the story developed.

Shoto and Daito are the other main contenders for the egg and they are amusing because of their Japanese backstories and the way that they respond to honour. I really liked the spirit of their characters and I felt like their brotherly bond showed a new side of them which we didn't really see with the other characters who were all rather lonely and working alone.

The other main competitors for the egg are the Sixers which is also known as IOI the corporation that wants to take over OASIS and charge more money and advertising for the whole game. They were 'the bad guys' (because every game has some bad guys) and they truly played their part well because I can honestly say that I have a very real loathing for Sorrento (the boss) and the other people who were in the Sixer group. As it stands OASIS is just 25¢ for a lifetime subscription but IOI wants to change that the a higher monthly subscription. The fact that the game cost virtually nothing and was available to all was one of the major positives in my (and the character's) opinions so together we developed a hatred of IOI and the Sixers who were working against that ideal!

The immersion and wonder of that story and world is so wonderful and the pacing is fast, action-packed and just so much fun the whole way through. I would highly, highly recommend this story to anyone, whether you like the 80s or not, because of the writing, world and just the wonderful ideas that the story sparks within you. This is a wonderful read and I am surprised it took me so long to get to it, but I am so happy I did. A wonderful book, and a brilliant story!

Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two
Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two
by Brandon Sanderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning continuation, 8 Jun. 2014
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Oh my goodness, where to start with reviewing this huge and fantastic book?

I will begin by saying that I loved this book the whole time I was reading it and the ending has made me so excited for the next book in the series. I know now that Sanderson will be able to make this into something completely brilliant because of how wonderfully this has all played out so far.

So, to begin, this book is a staggering 1087 pages long but as I said in my previous review of Way of Kings (WoK from now on), the page count is perfectly justified because truly the story is wonderful. I would highly recommend this series to anyone, especially if you have previously read and enjoyed any of Sanderson's work. It may be a lot of reading, but falling into the world of Roshar again is a fantasy I can't wait to experience in the next book.

The story continues to be told from a variety of different POVs including Shallan and Kaladin. These two have certainly become the main focus of this story which is understandable when you read the things that have happened to them and do happen to the across the course of the book. Along the way we meet some of out other characters from WoKs but we lose some and gain new ones too.

Again the story is divided into sections, 5 main sections and 4 Interludes sections. The main sections are where the real plot of the story is developing and we see our favourite characters conquering evil, battling inner demons and much more. The Interludes act more as context for the rest of the world, giving us an insight into how the actions of our main characters have affected the other areas of the world. We see through a variety of characters eyes in the Interludes including Eshonai who becomes a very key character, Ym, Rysn, Zahel, Taln, Lift, Szeth, who was in WoKs and returns in Words of Radiance (WoR), Lhan and Taravangian. I would say that out of all of the characters we meet through the Interludes the most interesting was Taravangian as his part certainly explained why some of the events in the book have happened and the reasoning behind them. I also really enjoyed meeting Eshonai who I must say I misjudged as a character to begin with. Some of the characters are included in only a short burst of a page or so, others have enough pages to be as long as a chapter from the main sections so it varies a lot. I think that the inclusion of these Interludes is vital to introducing the new characters and the new trials that the world is facing because of what is happening at the forefront of the action in Alethkar.

The plot of this book has developed a fair amount from that of WoKs which is really all about setting up the world and sorting out who everyone is and why the are where they are etc. The storyline of WoR certainly feels like it is always building up to something hugely dramatic at the end of the book (which it is) and so the tension and excitement is mounting the entire way through the read. The realm is constantly being tested and they have entered a new age which no one really knows much about. New magical powers are being discovered all the time and people are changing, whether they wish to or not, into something that they cannot control. Everything is always on the edge of destruction and the whole story is leading up to something greater than we can really imagine!

One of the aspects in WoR that I truly enjoyed was the introduction of the Spren in a big way. I felt like we got a taste of what they could do in WoKs but we really had no idea of quite how everything fit together with them and what their purpose was within the story. I feel like we get to see a lot more of their abilities, morals and power throughout this story and that as their influences are made more clear they become far more intriguing and magical.

Another element which I have to mention is the illustration work which is once again included throughout the book. The style of illustration from Shallon's note book pages and the maps and details which appear to be taken from reference books are just so incredibly beautiful and so intense. The rendering is flawless and I am certain that the addition of the illustrations is why I cannot help but love these books even more.

I would certainly say that there are echoes of the Mistborn Trilogy in here and that the magical systems and the powers are so meticulously worked out that I cannot fault them. I would say that this series is exactly what Sanderson hoped it would be, his best work, and that I know the rest of the books will be just as well received and adored if Sanderson keeps this standard up!

The plot lines sometimes seem to be getting a little confusing but rather unlike The Wheel of Time books (which Sanderson claims inspired this series and you can see influences of within his work) these string are all interwoven pretty quickly and although they raise questions at some points, frequently those questions are answered, at least in part, a little bit further into the book. There is no need to be confused about the names either as they are all pretty distinct and the voice of the characters (especially the main ones) is very easy to recognise if you have put the book down for a while and then pick it back up.

On the whole I would have to say I was a little worried about whether Sanderson would be able to keep this series up to the standard of the first and whether he would be stretching it out too much across the 10 books intended, but after having read this I can confidently say that I believe this will become one of the best fantasy series ever written and I believe that I will be hooked into pre-ordering all of the future books as soon as I hear about them. If you love fantasy and epic fantasy in particular, then this is truly the series for you! I cannot recommend this series any more, so many twists and turns, but so well thought out, I would buy it right now if I were you! Highly, highly recommended and I can't wait for book 3!!

The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora
by Scott Lynch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL through-and-through, 8 Jun. 2014
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I did not realise how quickly this story would take off when I started it and although initially the idea of thieves as a fantasy world was interesting and different, it wasn't something entirely new to me so despite the hype around this book I didn't expect it to be as good as it was.
The characterisation in the story is phenomenal with inventive characters across the tale and various personalities being displayed. Locke was naturally my favourite character due to his wit and charm and the way he was able to fully adapt to any situation he found himself in. The other characters, Galdo, Caldo, Chains, Jean and the others were certainly individual and quirky, but Locke is the one we really get to know and love and admire throughout the tale.
I loved the fast pace of the story and the way that it flips between the present day and then explains the history behind different sections of the plot was really well done (which says something because usually I hate that style of writing when poorly executed) and the explanations given were all believable and understandable to a point.
When the ideas of sorcery came into the tale it was still believable to a point and the Falconer was certainly and interesting idea and character to read about.
Overall this book thoroughly deserves the good reputation it has earned and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good story or fantasy!

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