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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars all came together in the end
Other readers have rather slated this book, mainly (as far as I can see) on the basis of having read Shadowmancer first and finding this book lacking in comparison. As I have not read Shadowmancer, my opinion is either unbiased or less useful for this, depending on how you look at it!

I found this book did have elements of confusion, as others have said--we are...
Published on 12 Feb. 2009 by museumcurator

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fallen star
After reading Taylor's enthralling first novel, Shadowmancer, I picked Wormwood up with great expectation. As a work of imagination, this book is tremendous, however, this is not enough. The portrayal of those ideas and the characters within them is confusing to the point of being downright bewildering at times. Scenes change rapidly, and it is an effort to remember what...
Published on 26 Oct. 2004 by J. A. Child


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fallen star, 26 Oct. 2004
By 
J. A. Child "Jenny Child" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
After reading Taylor's enthralling first novel, Shadowmancer, I picked Wormwood up with great expectation. As a work of imagination, this book is tremendous, however, this is not enough. The portrayal of those ideas and the characters within them is confusing to the point of being downright bewildering at times. Scenes change rapidly, and it is an effort to remember what was happening to each of the main characters the last time you met them. The story dosen't flow terribly well, and skim reading it is possibly the best way to get through it. This is the kind of book I could easily lose interest in very quickly. It looks like the end has been left open for a sequel- if so, I hope GP Taylor will recapture some of the magic of Shadowmancer that got omitted in Wormwood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars all came together in the end, 12 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
Other readers have rather slated this book, mainly (as far as I can see) on the basis of having read Shadowmancer first and finding this book lacking in comparison. As I have not read Shadowmancer, my opinion is either unbiased or less useful for this, depending on how you look at it!

I found this book did have elements of confusion, as others have said--we are introduced to a seemingly endless number of characters and, even fifty pages from the end, it seems like there will be no way to bring them all together into a cohesive plot. Not so. Taylor does succeed in weaving the disparate elements together and I definitely experienced one of those 'ohhh!' moments when I finally got to this point.

I did find the book gripping--there is just something wonderful about the time he sets the story in, and in the many little details about that period. Lots of these are also pretty much on the money for intellectual thought at the time, even if simplistic (for obvious reasons) and even if we are being introduced to a fictional C18th London.

I do however feel that the book could have done with being about a third longer so that Taylor could have spent a bit more time developing the characters a bit better. There were some moments when characters acted or behaved in wildly varying ways, which made them seem wooden or even bizarre at times. Taylor often ascribes this behaviour to the influence of the Nemorensis, but it just doesn't....hang together quite right. Also, as someone else has said, Taylor does attempt to make up his own words (e.g. blentish, which comes from Shakespeare's blent or blinded. I think the other reviewr also pointed this out) but doesn't always succeed in making these user-friendly or appealing.

Overall then, this book was enjoyable and did make me think about the issues at the core of the book--summed up rather well by Abram when he says, 'you have searched for power and wealth for yourselves, you have starved your soul with your fancy philosophies and none of you have noticed. It would be better if you believed in nothing than everything served to you as belief'. It is supposedly aimed at teenagers, but I found it similar to Pullman or Jarvis in its ability to ensnare adult readers also (though not necessarily similar to those authors' works).

Stick with it, it'll be worth it!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real mess of a book, 14 Aug. 2004
By 
Paul Lemon (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
After his stunning debut novel Shadowmancer, G. P. Taylor has served up a real disaster. I am nearly three quarters of the way through it and I am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ideas, plots and creatures without any idea who are the good guys or the bad guys or what on earth the plotline is, except for a string of set piece events. Any of which shows a brilliant imagination at work, but the whole effect is diluted by piling one scene after another.
I am now jump-reading the pages, scanning each one for some hint of a resolution. A bad sign which usually culminates in me throwing books aside without finishing them. This is a real shame as I will now hesitate before buying future books from Mr Taylor. 5 stars to Shadowmancer, one for this. A major dissapointment.
Still its good news for Amazon as I now need to buy more (hopefully) good books to get the bad taste of this one out of my system.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great imagination but awful everything else, 28 Sept. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
The atmosphere is great, but the characters that come and go in bewildering profusion and mostly wooden and all nasty. The dialogue was cringeworthy and got worse towards the end. Blake's relationship with his 'friend' Bonham varies from chapter to chapter all declared in unbelievable statement like sentences. Again the atmosphere is good, the imagination of the author is immense, but the characterisation, plotting and general writing are poor.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why all the Bad reviews?, 13 May 2006
By 
S. Howard "Wuthering Heights RULES!!" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
In defence of Wormwood, i would say it has been slated here on amazon, purely becuase readers were expecting the simplicity associated with childrens literature. Woomwood is complex, both in style, plot and character. True, sometimes confusing if your not paying absolute attention, but is that a bad thing? Most of the brilliant literature in this world doesnt wash over you. Wormwood gives insight into complex Christian issues, fantasy, and is dark, its historical context fits like a glove, and if you have to think about it abit to enjoy it then i say do it! Just becuase the book has complexities that clash with typical teen books doesnt mean its drivil. For a start off how condecending is that for teen readers? Woomwood tries to mirror the classic literature that everyone remembers, it has all the darkness of the classics, and is refreshing in comparison to the modern best sellers on the market - becuase it does challenge a reader - and isnt pulp fiction. All GP Taylors books do this. I should encourage children to read this, it sets the bar for what well respected childrens literature is. It is a completely different type of book to Harry Potter and Phillip Pullman, and shouldnt be compared so generally. They all have different aims, so why compare them?

Characters were developed well, and structurally it was sound, the plot was engaging and it presents children with a challenge, it brushes on some complex theology, and would be highly interesting for a young audience, its full of adventure and mystery. The kind of things i looked for in books when i was younger, and still do. Wormwood is a winner, as are Tersias and Shadowmancer, i would recommend them to you or your kids. Its fresh perspective, and content are completely enthralling.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A so-so read with non-christian theology., 27 Sept. 2010
By 
A. Login (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
There are certainly some effective fantasy elements and moments where Taylor's books are a compelling read, but be warned that this is not a literary gem. IMO I would call this cheap fantasy: quick and (mostly) easy to read, but with many flaws ... a similair reputation as the old spaghetti westerns or Mills & Boon were to their respective genres - light entertainment (nothing necessarily wrong with that, just be aware before reading it).

Much of the hype around Rowling's and Pulman's series have probably given this series a little more momentum than it deserves, but then it is in the same category as those two (Earth-based, with plenty artistic license in spiritual, magical, and scientific views). Reviews that liken this to Tolkien or Lewis seem to rely on the fact that Taylor has the 'christian' label applied to him at some point - which is completely meaningless. This book is far from Christian: vague references to biblical themes and the use of biblical words like angel/demon/wormwood do not a Christian book make!

The theology is shockingly wrong, and in fact lines up quite well with much of modern day British's understanding of 'Christianity' (no wonder Pulman is so anti). If the vague theology in these books strengthened my faith, then I would have major concern for what that faith is in - it certainly does not stand up to any decent Biblical scrutiny.

DO NOT be trapped by the 'christian' label, or the 'kids' category - both marketing ploys. If you are a believer then be aware that this book will mess with what you believe in, and impressionable kids will be ... 'impressed'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 14 Oct. 2011
By 
M. Ireland - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
I'll give this a generous 4 stars purely because I enjoyed it. I bought it stupidly cheap and didn't expect much, having never read the author's works before, but was pleasantly surprised. However I do echo many of the other criticisms on here - notably, what is it with the characters' names? This is supposed to be 18th century London isn't it? Additionally, I found that some scenes were rather hard to picture either because they lacked description or, more often, the description of the location contradicted itself somewhat and left you wondering exactly what the author was trying to describe. I would also agree that the book could have done with a little extra attention grammar/spelling as well.

All in all though, I enjoyed the plot, I enjoyed the imaginative theological references and the characters were particularly appealing. I shall now read Shadowmancer which, by all accounts, is even better - hopefully I'll be able to give it five stars.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars oh dear...more of the same, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
The problem with second books is that those reviewers who disliked the first seldom read the second - hence the second tends to get better ratings. Unfortunately my girlfriend bought me both at the same time and I felt a moral duty to bite my lip and press on with Wormwood.
This second novel is definitely better written than Shadowmancer - you find out a litttle about the characters before they do something plot-important. However, the improvement is simply not enough - Mr Taylor's head seems to be 'teeming with ideas' but when writing fantasy literature one must contextualise things even more than in normal fiction. You can't keep adding new creatures like 'half dog half-monkeys' if all they're supposed to do is make the world look different to our own. There has to be some depth, some meaning. Anyone can write down a strange dream and call it a short story.
There are also too many characters for a relatively short novel - all lack sufficient depth to allow us to empathise with them; maybe only Blake and Agetta receive adequate attention but even then their attitudes and opinions change like the wind - on one page Agetta hates Tegatus the angel, the next she likes him again; the same occurs with Blake's opinion of Bonham - both for reasons that elude me.
I personally don't like the grey morality of most of the characters but that's just my opinion.
There is a glint of hope however - the author clearly has a great imagination, and whilst I'm no fan of writing courses generally he might actually benefit from one - unlike some of the unimaginative tripe we see published, if Mr Taylor tidied up on the 'basics' I'm sure he has some good material for the future.
My real anger is towards Faber who quite clearly have no concern for the quality of the fantasy literature they publish - their editorial department ought to be sacked en masse.
In summary, I lost all interest in what happened in Wormwood on page 190, which is a whole 100 pages later than in Shadowmancer. In that respect this book is an improvement.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pullman he ain't., 20 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
Just because it was written for older childen/teenagers there is no excuse whatsoever for the poor standard of writing, plotting, characterisation or grammar in this book! No wonder so many kids these days can't string a sentence together.

If it were possible to award no stars for this abysmal waste of paper, then I would! And I must admit that the biographical detail given about him 'he lives in a secluded graveyard' did make me think twice. Happily, I bought this book in a charity shop, so I don't consider my £1.25 totally wasted. It has prevented me from remotely considering buying Shadowmancer, which is apparently the book this is the sequel to.

Set in 1756, the only thing which Taylor has done to evoke the age is to throw in the occasional reference to The Royal Society, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, the new St Paul's Cathedral (completed in 1708) and the Monument to the Great Fire of London. [Please note, Rev Taylor, the rooms at the top of a house of that date would not have had decorative cornices or painted ceilings.]

There are far too many peripheral characters in the book (people who occupy a page and half at most, and they are over-described; do we really need to know the name and life-story of a character who appears on the scene to break down a door and is never heard from again) and the plot is top-heavy with far too many incidents in far too short a period of time, but strangely plodding and over-stuffed with over-metaphoric imagery which becomes tiresome half way through the first chapter. And the characters' names? Please!

G P Taylor, despite being a vicar and therefore having to have had some sort of education, does not appear to know the meaning or origin of some of the words he uses. The words 'blent' and 'blentish' crop up frequently. 'Blent' was a word used by Shakespere and Philip Larkin as a past tense of blended, which makes no sense in this context. Taylor is using it as a term referring to the opressed masses who are to be swept away by the comet (so no workers necessary in Herzin's Brave New World then). 'Dikka' used by Taylor as a term for a fallen angel at its lowest point was actually a term coined by Andrew Jackson Davis, an American spiritualist and theosophist (1826 - 1910) for an untrustworthy spirit (convenient for getting a detail wrong if you're fleecing the bereaved). Simply making up words seems also to be a favourite - unfortunately he doesn't have J K Rowling's knack for coming up with clever terms which are easily understood.

For future reference, Rev Taylor, if you're reading this: the word 'ground' refers to anything outside (eg 'open ground', 'waste ground'). If you don't want to use the word 'ground' twice in one sentence you can use the words 'pavement' or 'footpath'. The word 'floor' refers to anything undercover: dining room floor, wooden floor, forest floor. Don't mix them up! Also, if you're referring to plurals they don't need apostrophes. Herzin Flamberg's comment "Why eat what beggar's eat?" is a shocking gramatical error to find in a book published by a well known company. Do you actually have an editor? If so, please remove their blindfold and gag, untie their hands, give them back their red pen and let them do their job. True, your book would then be a pamphlet, but that would be no loss to society.

If you want to read an excellent fantasy book with hints at religion and religious mystery then I thoroughly recommend Phillip Pulman's His Dark Materials trilogy which is well written, absorbing, has fascinating theories and imagery and is worth every minute you spend reading and re-reading it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average childrens book, 21 Jan. 2007
By 
Gary Holroyd (Gateshead, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
I'm disappointed that this book has received such poor reviews. Following on from the success of Shadowmancer, I was thrilled to hear that G P Taylor was releasing a new book. The story isnt really aimed as younger children but its great for teenagers wh want to read a book a fanatsy book thats aimed at teenagers rather then children or adults. The storyline isnts a strong as Shadowmancer but its still interesting
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Wormwood
Wormwood by G.P. Taylor
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