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Morgoth's Ring
Morgoth's Ring
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, 18 Aug 2008
This review is from: Morgoth's Ring (Paperback)
I found a lot of the History of Middle earth books a bit tedious, too much repetitive drafts of the silmarillion to get through to find small nuggets of wonder at Tolkien's ideas. This volume is different, there is a remarkable amount of back story that is not evident elsewhere. A really interesting essay on the nature of Elves and their immortality, and what happens to a spouse when an elf dies and awaits rebirth. There is also a lengthy discussion between a human wisewoman and an Elven king as to the nature of humans and their role in the world and their future, hinting that humanity experiences a Fall of some kind due to the Great Enemy, Morgoth.

There are other chapters on the origins of Orcs, and some contradictions as to what they are. Tolkien seems unsure whether they are of elven origin or not, not wanting to allow Morgoth the power to pervert an entire group of people against the power of the Creator, Eru.

Also some interesting comparisons on the nature of Sauron and Morgoth and the different aspects of what they wanted to accomplish (morgoth wanting to destroy or corrupt everything, sauron being content to merely rule).

The title comes from the comparison of the Great Enemy morgoth and his successor, Sauron. Whereas Sauron concentrated his own power into the One Ring to rule the other Rings, Morgoth sent his much greater power into the very fabric of the world to taint and corrupt everything, hence Morgoth;s Ring is the world itself.

Heartily recommended for tolkien enthusiasts, but I suggest reading Silmarillion first.


Trials Of Shazam TP Vol 02
Trials Of Shazam TP Vol 02
by Mauro Cascioli
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.61

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere near as good as v1, 18 Aug 2008
Slightly disappointing second and final volume, collects issues 7-12 of the 2007 maxiseries. Freddy continues in his trials to gain the powers of Shazam, while we learn a bit of the backstory of his opponent Sabina, who is attempting to claim the same powers for evil.

They seem to have run out of ideas in the second half, and the ending is a bit cliched. Art is still good though.


Labyrinth
Labyrinth
by Kate Mosse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.03

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars tedious, 5 Jun 2008
This review is from: Labyrinth (Paperback)
I always thought this looked rather interesting but it turned out to be tiresome and boring. The constant to and fro from past to present was irritating, the villains were poorly characterised and pantomime in nature. Audric Baillard doesn't make much sense in his final actions, and the revelation of the labyrinth secrets just seemed anticlimactic somehow.

Interesting to have female central heroines and villains, but fairly forgettable otherwise


The Children of Húrin
The Children of Húrin
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new., 8 April 2008
This review is from: The Children of Húrin (Hardcover)
I already owned the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. This book doesn't add much more to the versions of the tale of the children of hurin as recounted in those earlier volumes. I am not sure it would be very easy to read for those unfamiliar with the Silmarillion, as there are so many characters from the tales of the First Age that will be unknown to those who have only read Lord of the rings.


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing finish, 3 Jun 2005
The writer's more recent book (Kafka on the shore) got very bad reviews, but each critic compared it to The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, which they claimed was a fascinating book. Therefore I was intrigued enough to try this. The story revolves around Toru Okada, a Japanese man who has recently quit his job and spends his time taking care of his home while his wife works. For now it is an ideal lifestyle, but it won't last long. First the cat disappears; then his wife, who grows more and more distant each day, puts him in contact with a psychic. The wife runs away, and Toru's life becomes odder and stranger as he meets many new people.
It's well written and each new character is odd and fascinating, but the ending is just so pointless and understated, I didn't see the point of it all. There were a variety of different story threads, but they didn't really pull together properly, and the motivations of the "villain" were vague. The overall plot was ended, if somewhat unsatisfactorily. I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the book but it seemed to run out of steam and left too many unanswered questions of a fundamental nature. I don't need every loose end to be tied up but this was in my mind an unpolished conclusion.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2011 11:56 AM GMT


Batman: Hush
Batman: Hush
by Jeph Loeb
Edition: Paperback

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is Hush?, 3 May 2005
This review is from: Batman: Hush (Paperback)
This collects parts 1-5 of a 12 part story which was the big DC event of 2003. A new villain emerges who appears to be manipulating villains and heroes in a complex plot to trap Batman. Poison Ivy, Catwoman, even Superman are drawn in to bring down the Batman. The artwork is gorgeous, Jim Lee is phenomenal. The plot is drawn out a little, and ending on issue 5 leaves you a little irritated. I bought the two hardcovers but i think you'd be better buying it in paperback and saving a few bob. There are a few additional pages of artwork which are unique to these collections and not released in the original comics.


The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.93

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars insipid and dull, 5 April 2005
With such a huge furore aurrounding this book i was quite looking forward to reading it. Fortunately i waited until i was at home sick, because otherwise i would have wasted leisure time on this ridiculous novel. It is so badly written, the protagonists are so poorly characterised, the writing style is jarring, each chapter ending on a semi cliffhanger. The puzzles were interesting at first but became tiresome. I don't uite understand what has made this book such a best seller, buti certainly won't be contributing - luckily i borrowed this copy from someone else.


Rising Stars Volume 2: Power (Rising Stars (Image Comics))
Rising Stars Volume 2: Power (Rising Stars (Image Comics))
by J Michael Straczynski
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT ORIGINAL WORK BY JMS, 6 Jun 2004
Written by JMS of Babylon 5 tv series fame, this is an interesting follow up to volume 1. 113 kids were endowed with special powers during a meteor storm (before Smallville!). Called the Specials, they each manifested unique and amazing abilities. In volume 1, America turned against them when they were shown to be dangerous and keen to overthrow the government. Of course it was all a lie. Now 10 years later, the survivors are keen to find out what happened. JMS manages to keep the plot tight and sharp, and brings in a few loose subplots from volume 1, changing them into important factors in volume 2. He manages to avoid awkward or mawkish dialogue (which sometimes dragged down his scripts on B5). The art is dark and powerful. The first main storyline is concluded, which surprised me - i thought it would take longer. Many comic writers seem unable to resist taking a 3 part story and dragging it out into 12 parts to last a year. JMS has successfully concluded the first major storyline. As a bonus, we get a possible view at what the purpose of their powers are. The 2nd major plot begins in earnest, and leaves you desperate to know what is to follow.


Unity (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Unity (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
by S. D. Perry
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ambivalent, 28 Nov 2003
Pocket Books have managed to create a very authentic season 8 of Star Trek Deep Space Nine in a series of books that started with SD Perry's 2 parter Avatar (and a comic book story called N-Vectors, collected in the tpb Alternate Realities) and concludes here in Unity. Kasidy Yates is preparing to give birth to her child prophesied as the Avatar. Bajor is riven by secular and religious turmoil, with the return of the missing Orbs, the spreading of a new religious movement and the recent assasination of the First Minister. The planet is under seige by the parasites, providing a poor welcome for the weary crew of the Defiant as they return from their long exploration of the Gamma Quadrant. The return of Jake Sisko and previous Kai Opaka is marred by a Cardassian incursion, and the Alpha Quadrant seems poised for disaster.
It is a difficult job to pull all the threads together, and I give credit to Pery for trying, but somehow the effort does not quite gel. Most of the book deals with the threat of the parasites and their sudden attack. While there are some startling revelations concerning their origins it is't really explained entirely, and the conclusion to their threat is a little sudden and unexpected and haphazard. I'm not sure if i like the way the Prophets intervene but in a way it ties up one loose thread from season 6.
Most of the plots get some kind of resolution but not entirely; obviously the editors want to keep a few hanging to prepare for the next wave of novels, but i felt a bit disappointed. At least the ending manages to fit 3 dramatic and long awaited events in. Elias Vaughn does not get to do much, and his experience of the Benny Russell vision is dull and drags on too long.
Having had to wait for ages, with the book being delayed by Perry's pregnancy, i guess i had too many expectations, but i cannot help feeling that Avatar and Rising Son were far superior. There are just too many storylines to resolve (Kasidy's pregnancy, the parasites, the religious upheaval, the Emissary, Jake returning with Kai Opaka, the Cardassians, Bajor entering the Federation, Ro and Quark, Ensign Shar, Vaughn and Prynn, plus new subplots of the O'Brians). Still, if you have read the previous books you'd be mad not to get this one! If you haven't read the previous books, then definitely get ALL of them as they are worth every penny; you'd need to read them first before Unity, although this book has a long summary of all the events after the television finale.


The Spectre: Crimes and Punishments
The Spectre: Crimes and Punishments
by John Ostrander
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars too short, 10 Sep 2003
The Spectre is an old character for DC, from the 1940s. who has been revamped and relaunched several times, although his origins always remain routed in the 1940s. Jim Corrigan is a polic officer who falls foul of a mob boss. After his murder, he denounces God for His lack of justice in the world, demanding it be brought about now rather than in any Hereafter. A mysterious voice grants him the power to be the Spectre, a ghoslty force than can walk upon the earth judging men for their evil and punishing them for their crimes.
This trade paperback colects issues 1-4 of the series in 1992. It gives a nice retelling of the spectre's origins, how Jim Corrigan thinks and how the events of his life shaped his vengeful personality. The art is dark and moody, the story is grim. I quite enjoyed it. Only complaint - it is far too short! Four issues are not enough! I hope DC reprints some more issues and releases them soon!


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