Book Review: Neverwhere

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” BookNerd

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

I am beyond excited to share with you guys my thoughts and feelings on Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. From the moment I started reading it, I knew it was going to be an amazing literary journey, and not just because it’s Neil Gaiman… although honestly, that’s reason enough. I have yet to be disappointed by any of his books.

That being said, I attempted several times to explain what this book was about to my boyfriend, because I knew he would probably love it as much as I did, but realized that there is just not enough word combinations to accurately describe this epic tale. There’s a little review blurb on the back of the book that described it as a ‘dark version of Alice in wonderland’, which I agree with one hundred percent. The man character is dragged into a world they can’t explain, one that defies all logic and sanity, and which is full of bizarre and colourful characters, both friend and foe.

If I’ve gleaned anything from Gaiman’s creative process, it’s that he loves to throw his protagonists into situations that are completely absurd and without any kind of rules or common sense, and it makes for the most engaging, on-the-edge-of-your-seat story every time, without fail. All of his characters have a life of their own, even if they only appear for a brief moment. I honestly believe that if you were to remove any character from this book, regardless of their significance, then the story would have an entirely different feel.

never    Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

5-stars

“Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city.”

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of other realities existing within or parallel to our own, which is probably why I loved this book so much. It opens up the doors to so many possibilities that would otherwise be impossible I our reality, even if some of those possibilities are potentially lethal, which Richard Mayhew is unlucky enough to encounter many of.

I adore the chemistry between Richard and his fellow protagonist, Door, who remains somewhat of an enigma right to the very end. Their relationship is unique in the sense that she is the reason his life gets turned upside down, and yet time and time again, she leaves him to fend for himself. She doesn’t hold his hand and lead him through this foreign world, and she doesn’t beat around the bush when he confronts her about his desire to return to his own reality. And yet, at the same time, she is neither heartless nor unsympathetic to his plight, which makes her even more fascinating as a character.

Without giving too much away, I would have to say that my favourite character in this book is the Marquis de Carabas. He’s one of those characters who, from beginning to end, you’re not entirely sure whether his motives are good or bad, and yet regardless of whichever it may be, you still like him. It’s because he’s so witty, wise and unpredictable, and even though he often acts like he doesn’t care, his actions tend to contradict that.

Even the protagonist is on the rather unique side. I mean, despite having his reality turned inside out, he’s still willing to go along with it all whilst keeping his sanity intact. He wants nothing more than to go back to his normal life, and yet he tries so hard to make himself useful to his group of travelling companions while in the Neverwhere. It’s an endearing trait, as opposed to the protagonist who does nothing except complain about the predicament they’re in and absolutely refuses to accept their situation.

So, if you like quirky characters, strange worlds, delightfully witty bad guys and life or death situations, then like me, you’ll find yourself irresistibly attracted to this book. If you’ve already read it, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs facebook page, and if you haven’t read it, then what are you waiting for! Go grab yourself a copy, and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd  

 

 

 

 

 

The Creative Potential of the Chaotic Mind

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

Since it’s been a little while since my last post, I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still here, and that I’m currently reading what is easily among my top ten favourite books of all time. I’m hoping to have finished within the next week, but there has been a lot of things going on in my life as of late that have been interfering with my reading schedule, one of which I will be addressing today.

Like most people in this modern age, I spend a lot more time on the internet trolling social media sites than I probably should be. Facebook is the worst for that, especially when sometimes that’s the only place you can get in touch with friends you never get to see.

There’s something I’ve come to notice after all of those hours clocked online, and it’s that so many people are so careless with their use of the English language. I know that meanings of certain words have changed a lot with the growing influence of popular culture, but there are just certain terms that shouldn’t be thrown about without a bit of consideration for what that term might mean for someone else. There are two words in particular that spring to mind: anxiety and depression.

Far too often, I see someone claiming to feel depressed because they didn’t have the bag they wanted at the store, or that they’re going to have a panic attack because their favourite celebrity broke up with their husband. People don’t realize how much of an impact we have on the meaning of a word based on how we use it, and how something that should be taken quite seriously, is instead turned into something of a joke.

I feel like there are still far too many misconceptions surrounding the idea of mental illness and what it actually is, and the only way to quash some of those preconceived notions is to keep shedding light on the issue until it is no longer the elephant in the room, and we can talk about it as freely as we talk about celebrity gossip or the latest grumpy cat meme.

First of all, mental illness is a lot more common than you might think. There is a very good chance that within your group of friends, at least one or two of them suffer from some sort of mental illness, and you might never be made the wiser because it’s not something that they can open up about so easily.

Second of all, mental illness comes in so many different forms and levels of severity, that it’s impossible to generalize the effects it can have on a person to everyone who suffers from it. It’s not like the common cold, where the soar throat, coughing and sneezing are pretty well the standard symptoms for everyone. It’s also not something you can cure with some cold medicine and a cup of tea… although mind you, I do find tea to be very relaxing for the mind. But I digress.

Thirdly, the worst thing you can say to a person who has a mental illness is that they should just get over it, or that it’s all in their head and they should just ignore it and move on. If it were that simple, then having anxiety or depression wouldn’t be such a big deal, but the reality is that it is NOT that simple, even if we want it to be. After all, you’re dealing with something that is inside your mind, a part of you that has sway over everything you do. There are ways to treat it, of course, but treating something and curing it are two very different ball parks.

And fourth… okay honestly, there is no end to this list, so I should probably just try to get to the point. There are so many people in the world, heck, in our own neighbourhood, who are struggling with some form of mental illness on a daily basis, even if we may not notice it. Many of us deal with it internally, because we don’t want to scare people off with all of the chaotic thoughts that plague our minds. It saps so much of our energy just trying to deal with it… which is why it’s not uncommon for them to turn to creative outlets to channel it all and achieve at least some peace of mind.

As a child, I would often spend hours reading books. I loved the feeling of being part of this grand adventure, while remaining in the comfort of my own room. Even back then, my imagination was always running wild, and at some point reading became my gateway to creative writing. As I grew older, I became more and more obsessed with books, until one day, I realized that I was no longer just reading books for enjoyment and inspiration, but as a way to escape from the anxious thoughts that were becoming more pronounced every day.

This actually put me off reading for a time, because the last thing I needed was another means of escape instead of dealing with my issues head on. So that’s what I did… for a time. However, this did not last, as it soon became clear to me that I was looking at it all wrong. I wasn’t reading books to escape reality, at least not entirely. What I was really doing, without realizing it at first, was trying to look at reality through the eyes of other people, in some cases those who see the world much like I do, in the hopes that I could understand myself better and perhaps once again find the inspiration I once discovered as a child so long ago.

The authors of some of my all time favourite books have suffered with mental illness for most of their life, and yet you wouldn’t know it with how famous they have become and how amazing their writing is. John Green, for instance, who has written many a tale of love, loss, and finding oneself, has struggled with anxiety and obsessive compulsion disorder for a long time. I fell in love with the Nerdfighter community him and his brother created before I even knew he was a writer, but even in his videos, I had absolutely no clue. You wouldn’t know it when reading The Fault In Our Stars or Papertowns, but that’s the thing about mental illness; it’s not always smack-you-right-in-the-face obvious.

Whether you’re a world renowned actor, artist, musician or poet, everyone is susceptible to developing a mental illness, and in some cases it’s the reason a person is able to take their social status in the world to such great heights. It’s human nature to want to push beyond our own limits and discover the true potential that lies within each and every one of us. It can be more of a challenge for some than it is for others, but that just makes it all the more rewarding when we’re finally able to overcome our own obstacles.

I’ve struggled with anxiety for a very long time, but something I’ve found interesting is that in spite of that, I’ve managed to find a sense of peace and solace in the one thing I love to do most; write. My anxiety has hindered many things in my life, but the moment I have a pen in my hand or a keyboard at my fingertips, then those irritating thoughts and feelings become nothing more than background noise.

When you lose yourself in something you truly love and feel passionate about, and I mean really throw yourself into it body, mind and soul, it becomes possible to forget that you even have a mental illness. Of course, there will always be days when we doubt ourselves and our abilities, giving into the lies that anxiety spreads throughout our minds, but there will also be good days, and that’s our opportunity to shine the brightest.

BookNerd

 

 

 

Book Review: The Law of Nines

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

There are so many defining elements that one can use to determine whether a book qualifies as being good or bad. Does it have a relatable protagonist? Is the plot of the story unpredictable? Does it abide by rules that make sense? Is it something that no one has ever done before?

Those are all  important elements that can amount to an amazing story, but to me, it doesn’t mean anything if the book doesn’t somehow engage you on an intellectual level. I want a book that makes me think; a book that gets me to question everything I thought I knew about life. I’m basically saying that I want a book that goes out of its way to mess with my mind, forcing me to see the world from perspectives I’d never even considered before.

In The Law of Nines, Terry Goodkind creates a version of our reality in which we truly are not alone, but not in the way you might think. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that the world Goodkind created in the Sword of Truth series and our world have a lot more in common than you may have thought. In this book, we get the chance to see our world from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know how it works, and is fascinated by things as simple as making tea or using a hair dryer.

Now, how much do I like it and would I recommend it? Let’s take a look!

9780515147483_p0_v1_s260x420

Review: The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind

Three stars

Synopsis:

“Turning twenty-seven may be terrifying for some, but for Alex, a struggling artist living in the Midwest, it is cataclysmic. Something about this birthday, his name, and the beautiful woman whose life he has just saved has suddenly made him – and everyone he loves – a target. A target for extreme and uncompromising violence…”

I knew absolutely nothing about this book going into it, except that it was written by one of my favourite authors. From reading the synopsis, I was able to glean that it was a story of a conspiratorial nature, that focused on a guy named Alex. Then there’s the ‘beautiful woman coming into his life and changing everything’ cliché, a rather overused premise, but one that can still hold some intrigue if done right.

I had no idea, until the main character’s last name was revealed, that this book had any connection whatsoever to the Sword of Truth series. It didn’t give that impression at all, what with the lack of seekers, confessors, magic and Gar’s. Granted, it’s been a while since I read any of the Sword of Truth books, so it’s possible that there’s something in one of the –  I want to say fifteen, although when I started reading them there was only ten, which is how you can tell it’s been a while since I read them – books that hints at some kind of connection between these two different storylines. This made it a little confusing for me once the two storylines collided, but it did succeed in making it refreshing, yet still familiar.

Designing a good female character who is the perfect balance between strength, courage & tenacity, and empathy & femininity is challenging. If they’re too much of either, I find they become immediately unlikeable, like Sansa Stark during the first season of Game of Thrones, and Cersei Lannister during… well, the entire series, really. On the one hand, you had Sansa, who very much behaved like a proper lady, and dreamt of meeting a handsome man who would sweep her off her feet and make her feel like a queen, both figuratively and literally. Now, this isn’t the bad part of her personality. The bad part comes with how incredibly naïve she is about the ways of the world, especially her inability to see that Joffrey is a sadistic creep, and the worst possible choice for a husband. Her life just keeps getting worse and worse, but you can’t help but feel that it’s her fault because of those aspects of her personality.

Cersei’s character is an example of a female character from the other end of the spectrum, one who is very strong, manipulative and understands very well how the world and the minds of men work, which aren’t bad qualities in and of themselves, but she portrays them in a way that basically make her look like a… well, you know. Not a very pleasant person, let’s put it that way.

Both characters have admirable qualities, but they lack balance, resulting in characters that you love to hate. In The Law of Nines, the female protagonist Jax is what I would consider a decent balance between the two extremes. She’s strong, vicious even when she needs to be, extremely loyal, and despite how out of place she feels being in our world, she learns quickly so that she doesn’t get taken advantage of. Jax is certainly one of the main reasons I kept reading this book, but sometimes, one reason is just not enough.

My overall impression is that it’s not a great book, but it’s still worth the read. It’s certainly an interesting side story, and there are several moments where I could feel my heart pounding against my chest when our protagonists found themselves with their backs against the wall and their lives on the line, but it was a bit of a struggle to read it through to the end. The story felt rather repetitive at times, even a little simplistic in its plot, and from start to finish, it kind of felt like I was reading two completely different stories that only sort of meshed together.

There was one part of the book that I really liked though, and I feel like that alone made it worth reading. I actually mentioned it in a previous post, which you can check out here. In short, the protagonists Alex and Jax were having a deep discussion about the similarities between magic and technology, and what our world would be like if we suddenly didn’t have access to any of our modern day technology. I find myself often saying that I’d be able to live without my phone and my computer if I had to, but I never stopped to consider it on a global scale, where the majority of humanity relies upon having access to technology to survive.

I also enjoyed the conspiratorial tone at the beginning of the book, evoking plenty of paranoia and suspense, as neither you nor Alex had any idea what was going on. I even enjoyed how they introduced Jax, this mysterious woman who comes out of nowhere, and initially gives Alex the cold shoulder following his rescue attempt.

So, not a great book, but not altogether terrible. If you want a sneak peak into the Sword of Truth series before reading it, then The Law of Nines might not be a bad place to start. I would classify it as the kind of book you read a few pages of before going to sleep every night. I don’t normally like to give a book a bad review, but I just found it too difficult to lose myself in this one. However, even bad or moderately good books have their merits and deserve to be read. You never know what you might glean from them.

What do you look for in a good female protagonist? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs Facebook page, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Dragongirl

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

 

I think what I love most about dragon myths is that regardless of whether these mythical beasts are portrayed as good or evil, they are still amazing to me. After all, what’s not amazing about a giant reptilian creature with wings that can breath fire? It’s something that could never exist in our reality, and yet they might as well be real given how much they appear in our literature, our movies and our imaginations.

I’m not sure where my own fondness for these ancient legends comes from, but it feels like something that has always been there. That’s why when I first got my hands on Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series, I knew I would be hooked for good.

The first book in the original series was published all the way back in 1968, gradually giving birth to dozens of stories which took us to every intricate part of the universe McCaffrey had envisioned. The interesting thing is that I started reading the books after I played a video game that was based on the series. Admittedly, the game was nothing to write home about. It was made for the Dreamcast, and even though it had a lot of potential, the game just wasn’t as great as it could have been. That being said, I really loved it. Not for it’s graphics, or it’s dialogue, or even it’s gameplay. No, I loved it because it painted a beautiful image of the bond between humans and dragons that I’d always wished to see if dragon’s ever did turn out to be real… I guess not all childhood dreams come true, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop dreaming them.

When I discovered that the game was based on a series of books, I immediately purchased the first three and fell in love. My first surprise came when I learned that they aren’t actually classified as fantasy, but science fiction! I understood why as I began reading them. For those of you unfamiliar with the Pern universe, here is my simplified summary of it from one of my previous blog posts:

“Basically, it’s a story set in a future where most forms of advanced technology no longer exist, reminiscent of a more medieval time period where the people are governed by lords, the lands are divided into different Holds and Weyr’s, and of course there are dragonriders – hence the title – which is really all the allure you need to get into it.

Humans have colonized a planet called Pern, located in the Rukbat system, and which is under the constant threat of Thread, which is some kind of space spore given off by the another planet called the Red Star every fifty years or so. The only means they have of defending themselves during the Threadfalls, as they call it, are their dragons, an indigenous species on the planet along with fire lizards and other native and non-native organisms, who are able to produce a phosphine gas from the consumption of firestones, which is not only very flammable, but also very potent against Thread.”

 

Anne McCaffrey created a version of our future where dragons are not only a reality, but they are also the key to our very survival as a species. She had such an incredible vision, and even though she sadly passed away in 2011, I was surprised when I found out that Pern’s legacy had been passed on to her son, who has carried on the series to this day.

Dragongirl is the third book to be published with Todd McCaffrey as the sole author, and even though I didn’t read the sequels, it was written so well that it took me very little time to figure out what was going on, what had taken place prior, and the direction in which Todd is looking to take the stories. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey:

*Note: As is the case with most book reviews, there is the possibility of spoilers. I will try my best to keep it spoiler free though.*

51W+hRyELmL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Review: Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey

stars-4

If you can’t decide whether you’re in the mood for science fiction, fantasy, or romance, then you definitely want to read this book. With plenty of time travelling, epic battles between Dragon and Thread, complex love triangles and a group of memorable and loveable characters, Dragongirl is a beautiful addition to Anne McCaffrey’s legacy.

Dragongirl continues the story of Fiona, a young Weyrwoman who has travelled back to the present time after helping a group of dragons reach maturity in order to continue the long and arduous battle against the deadly Thread that continues to threaten their survival on Pern. She sought to bring hope to the hopeless, and even though most welcomed her with smiles and open arms, the hearts of some were not so easily won over.

It also didn’t help that many of the dragon’s were succumbing to a mysterious illness for which there didn’t appear to be any cure. Needless to say that things were not looking so good, and after the disaster that befall Telgar Weyr, it seemed that all hope was lost to the citizens of Pern.

A very interesting aspect of this book is the relationship that Todd McCaffrey created between Fiona, a seventeen year old Weyrwoman who is very much driven by her emotions, and Lorana, a much older and wiser former Weyrwoman and the protagonist from Dragonsblood, who suffered a great personal loss, and who has not only the ability to hear other people’s dragons, but somehow Fiona’s thoughts as well. This connection they share is both a blessing and a curse, and it makes for a very unique character dynamic between the two.

This book also explores the effects that travelling Between [aka travelling though both space and time] can have on both dragons and their riders. Time travelling, as a concept, is always a tricky thing to deal with in writing, because there are so many different variables and strains of logic that you have to take into account. For instance, if you travel to a certain point in the future and witness someone’s death, can you do something in the past that will prevent it from happening? It also addresses the issue of what kind of physical affects it can have, and how often you can travel to certain points in time.

Admittedly, it took a bit of getting used to for me. Despite his knowledge of the Pern universe and its history, and his ability to give a crucial role to every character in the story, Todd’s writing style is visibly different than his mother’s, and I feel like he has a bit more to learn about story development and pacing. Overall, though, I was very leased with his work, and I look forward to seeing what other stories he’s able to come up with in the future.

What do you look for in a good science fiction story? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on my blog’s Facebook page, and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

A World Without Technology: Can You Imagine It?

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

 

Having grown up on a farm out in the middle of the boonies, I know what it feels like to be technologically limited. The house was heated with a wood burning stove in the basement, the grass was cut using a hand held scythe, the water was pumped out of a well, and the closest grocery store was very small and took twenty minutes to get to by car. When it came to watching television, one of my favourite pass times, we were lucky if we could get five channels, and that’s only if the weather was nice and we turned the antenna until it was in just the right spot using the rotor [for those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘rotor’, it was basically a device that had a nob that you turned in order to get a better TV signal… my how things have changed]. Then there was the dial up internet, which would often take up to an hour to load anything, and was incredibly frustrating when someone else wanted to use the phone, and were met instead with the familiar dial up screech upon picking up the receiver.

This may sound like a horrible way to live for some of you, but honestly, it’s a way of life that I miss sometimes. It may not have been easier, but it was definitely simpler in a way. It felt like I was living in the kind of close knit community that doesn’t really exist anymore, where people helped one another unconditionally, where parents went out of their way to run programs for the kids of the neighbourhood, and we were more afraid of the coyotes howling at night than we were of other people.

It’s also a reminder that there is so much that the youth of today who take for granted. I wrote an article once about how many of today’s children know next to nothing about cooking, food and nutrition. They think that it all just comes from the store and that there will always be plenty of food to go around. They have no concept of sustainability, of how it gets from the farm to their plate, and how pre packaged or ready made meals are not only less nutritional, but are also depriving them of the joys of cooking. It’s a shame, really, and it’s only going to get worse as society continues to make great strives towards making life ‘easier’.

I started thinking a lot about this after reading this passage from                           9780515147483_p0_v1_s260x420                 The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind, which I will hopefully get to the end of in the next week or so. For those of you unfamiliar with this title, The Law of Nines is part of the same universe as The Sword of Truth series. I won’t say too much, except that you learn quite a bit more about the world that Richard ‘Rahl’ Cypher grew up in, and how it might not be all that different from our own…

Anyway, there is this one part in the book where the two main characters get into this deep discussion about what our world would be like if we suddenly no longer had access to the technology that we have come to rely upon so heavily for everything:

 

“Well, imagine life here without technology. Imagine life without the technology that heats your buildings, helps grow food in abundance, makes your lights glow. What would life be like without your phones, your trucks, your medicines and cures, without the means to supply the people in your cities with goods and services?

Imagine all the people in cities deprived of every kind of technology, technology that they use every day to survive. Imagine everyone suddenly having to find a way to grow their own food, to preserve it, to store it safely.

[…] Without your technology the fabric of civilization itself would come apart within days – if not hours. Everyone would be on their own. One city wouldn’t know what the next is doing, or if they were even alive. There’d be no plans or cars or anything else. You couldn’t travel to other places unless you walked. Do you have any idea how long it takes to walk just a few dozen miles? A distance that in your cars takes a brief time would be days of hard travel on foot.”

      It goes on for several more paragraphs, and the more I read, the more I realized just how hopeless many of us would be if we could no longer rely on the convenience of our technology to get by. Growing up, I thought it was normal having to walk almost half an hour to get to a friends house, until I visited some of my friends in the city who literally just had to cross the road. It seemed unfair at first, but then I thought about all of the beauty of nature I got to enjoy on my long walk, a beauty that my city friends were being deprived of.

      Having to work harder to get something makes you appreciate it so much more, and I fear that that’s something else that might be lost on the next generation of youth. Having worked in a grocery store, I’ve seen all sorts of different family dynamics. It always warmed my heart to see children who were eager to help their parents carry the groceries, as if it was the most exciting thing in the world. There was even this one kid who really wanted to pass me all of the groceries by himself. Those were the days that made me smile.

Then you had the children on the other end of the spectrum, the ones that made you feel the same pain that the parents must be feeling as they watch their child throw a full blown tantrum in the middle of the store when they could only have one chocolate bar, or when their teenage child is too busy text on their phone to bother helping out when their parent is struggling to pack and carry all of the groceries by themselves.

Where has their sense of responsibility gone? Their respect for those who raised them? Their appreciation for the things that they already have? Everyday, it seems to only get worse and worse, and I fear that future generations will be completely unequipped to handle even the simplest challenges should they no longer have technology to lean back on.

What are your thoughts on this quote? I’d love to hear what all of you lovely BookNerds have to say, so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs Facebook page. Happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd   

So Long As We Believe, The Story Will Live On

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

 

There are hundreds upon hundreds of reasons for one to fall in love with the world and characters J.K. Rowling created in the Harry Potter series, the afore mentioned being among them. For me, these are the stories that opened my mind to the wonderful world of books, novels and novellas, making them very near and dear to my heart. Before that, I viewed books as little more than educational tools for teachers, or accumulators of dust bent on triggering my allergies every moment of the day. Upon discovering the school of witchcraft and wizardry, filled with students who almost never seem to attend actual classes after the first book, my views were completely transformed.

At least a few tears were shed as the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga came to an end. None of us wanted to believe that the stories would ever end. We all wanted to believe that someday, we would find ourselves under the sorting hat, shifting anxiously on the stool as we waited to be sorted into our desired house, and then be thrown into a life altering adventure as will no doubt ensue. Those books kept that dream alive,  despite the fact that we all knew it could be nothing more than a dream, but the great thing about dreams is that if they’re strong enough, they can create possibilities from the impossible. And that’s exactly what has happened.

Harry-Potter-Cursed-ChildIf you haven’t heard the news by now, you’d better have a seat. Are you sitting? Good, because it was recently made public that there is indeed going to be an eighth Harry Potter book. When I first hear about it, I was speechless. J.K. Rowling had made it quite clear that The Deathly Hallows was going to be the end, and that anything that happens afterwards is entirely up to our own imagination. So then why the change of heart?

Looking into it a bit more closely, I discovered that, although it is technically the eighth harry potter book, it’s not actually a continuation of the series. The book is actually based on the script for a two part play written by Jack Thorne, based on a story by J.K. Rowling. In other words, the script is going to be published in book form, but in the end it’s still a play script, and therefore not an actual sequel. Still, can’t say I’m not excited to see where this new adventure will take us.

Based on what we know so far, it takes place after the epilogue of the seventh book, whichlandscape-1445606246-harry-potter-epilogue1 depicted Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny waiving goodbye to their children as they were boarding the infamous Hogwarts Express, preparing for the start of their very own adventure. It focuses on Harry, now an Auror working for the Ministry of Magic, and his son Albus Severus Potter, who not only has to deal with being a Hogwarts freshman, but also coming to terms with the fact that he walks in the shadow of the schools greatest legacy. It’s a blend of past and present, and being a harry potter story, you know there will be plenty of moments that will tug on the heartstrings.

You can find more information on both the upcoming Harry Potter play and book at www.pottermore.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the eighth installment! Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

Book Review: Destiny of the Dead

BookNerd

It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

 

 

 

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

You know a book was written well when you haven’t read the first two books in a series for a very long time, and yet the chain of events that brought the characters to where you are fall into place almost effortlessly in the time it takes you to finish the first chapter. It was back in high school that I first got my hands on a copy of The Fate of the Fallen, the first in Iran Irvine’s The Song of Tears trilogy, and I couldn’t put it down.

The story was oddly reminiscent of the original star wars story; man becomes obsessed with power and is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to get it, he ends up at odds with his son who is torn between wanting to save his father and defeat him, and an epic battle ensues between the rebels and… well, the bad guys basically. There’s even a love interest, and no, she doesn’t turn out to be the guys sister after sharing a kiss.

A fantasy tale of epic proportions with memorable characters, locations and plenty of twists and turns at every corner, it’s definitely a book that will keep you on your toes, and those who love epic battles between humans nightmarish beasts will find this installment of the trilogy especially appealing.

 

*** WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING REVIEW ***

1914401_130527140338_ggugjgjReview: Destiny of the Dead by Ian Irvine

stars-4

This book I a fitting end to the original trilogy which began with Nish, a physically and emotionally wounded man who was on the verge of death; Maelys, the obedient yet constantly looked down upon daughter of clan Nifferlin; and Xervish Flydd, ex-Scrutator and a rather perverted old man. They are the pillar of our merry band of misfits, each with their own agenda, yet with one common goal between them: to bring down the God Emperor.

Destiny of the Dead drops us in the midst of the battle at the Range of Ruin, where Nish and his dwindling army continue to face off against the God Emperors superior forces. There doesn’t seem to be any feasible way that they can win, but they aren’t about to toss in the towel. Nish must find a way to lead his army to victory… or submit to his father [the God Emperor] so that no one else must die.

Compared to the books that came before, this one is certainly faster paced. There are very few moments when our favourite characters aren’t thrown into a life or death situation, and not to name names, but not everyone makes it out unscathed. Floods of tears and rivers of blood are shed, and if facing off against a god-like human isn’t bad enough, the shape-shifting being Stilkeen has emerged from the void to unleash a fresh hell upon Santhenar in its search for chthonic fire and its own personal revenge.

If there is one criticism I could make about this book, it would be that there are certain moments where something shocking or emotionally jarring would occur, but there would be very little reaction to it from the other characters. This is only the case a few times, and I suppose it could be argued that in the midst of battle, there’s just not enough time to grieve or be taken aback, which I can accept. It also bothered me how oblivious Maelys was when it came to Nish’s feelings for her, right up until the very end. I realize she’s supposed to have a very self-doubting and uncertain personality, but he was being pretty obvious. I do like her increased assertiveness in this book, which more than makes up for her inability to notice the obvious.

Overall, it was a brilliant ending, it tied up pretty well all of the loose ends, and what Irvine did at the very end of the book really took me by surprise, which is something I love in a good story. Obvious endings are boring, and I can honestly say that there is very little that’s predictable about this book. I would even go as far as to say that its almost on par with Branden Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, which is a huge compliment for those of you who are familiar with Sanderson’s work.

My only regret is not reading this book immediately after finishing the previous two, which I would have if it had been available in Chapters at the time I’d gone to purchase it. Still, there mere fact that I was able to come back to the series after so much time had passed and still feel the same love for it is the mark of a truly talented writer who knows how to create an unforgettable story.

What are your greatest character pet peeves from books that you’ve read? I would love to hear about them in the comments below or on my blogs Facebook page, and until next time, happy reading!

 

Cheers,

BookNerd