Teaser Tuesday: Aug 14

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teasertuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I have been recommended this series by my boyfriend and have read the first book maybe a year ago now. Not sure why it took me a year to start the second book, seeing as I loved the first one. Check out the little teaser for The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

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“‘No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leverer, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass.  A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of  quiet introspection.” (847)

Teaser Tuesday: Feb 9

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teasertuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

After recently reading a classic (The Picture of Dorian Gray) and a drama (The Husband’s Secret) I have decided to really switch it up this time, so I dove right into Eragon. I haven’t read this series when I was younger, but I do remember it being a big deal in the past, with a movie made of it and all (apparently the movie was not so great and quite disappointing so I may not watch it). Anyway I am only a few chapters in but so far I am enjoying it. Here is the teaser for this one!

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“Eragon found the stone both beautiful and frightening. Where did it come from? Does it have a purpose? Then a more disturbing thought came to him: Was it sent here by accident, or am I meant to have it?” (8)

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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Published: 2014

It’s hard no to be impressed by this book’s quick rise to fame. It was published early of this year and is already being promoted by Emma Watson as she is set to play the Red Queen in the film. That is how I came into contact with it; I read an interview with Emma Watson who said she read the book and loved it.

The book starts with Kelsea Glynn’s nineteenth birthday. But this is not the year for celebration. This is the moment she has been trained for her entire life. The year she rides back to the Keep in Tearling takes from her uncle what is rightfully hers; the throne. But first she has to make it there alive, as many people want her dead.

Along the way we meet many intriguing characters, like the Fetch, Mace and Andalie. For a fantasy/ science fiction it doesn’t overwhelm you with characters. True, the only fantasy that I have read other than this was “The Song of Ice and Fire” series which has hundreds of characters that you need to keep in track of. I really like the number that were presented in this book, because it allowed me to keep track of everyone without making an effort.

Kelsea is also very relatable and likeable, which is always key for me when reading books. She has many young adolescent tendencies (she falls for a handsome criminal and is concerned about her looks) but she is forced to grow up fast if she wants to become queen:

“People who make mistakes rarely live through them, Lady.” (153)

I also loved the fact that she is “plain looking”, again because it makes her more realistic.

The couple of things that I didn’t particularly like was the speed of the plot. A lot happens in a short space of time, especially near the end of the book. I wish more details were given, and (I can’t believe I am saying this but) I actually wish the book was longer. The evolution of the main character I think is compromised, as she starts of being a clear teenager and in a span on a couple chapters she seems to just magically smarten up and becomes a fit ruler.

The other part which I really enjoyed about this read was it’s connection to the real world. Kelsea grows up reading The Lord of the Rings, and Tearling is compared to countries such as USA and the UK. There are small connections with our world that I found incredibly clever.

Verdict:Great series to get into! Johansen is no Tolkien (sorry) but the plot along with the characters make the book a pleasant read. I couldn’t put it down!

Teaser Tuesday: December 2

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teasertuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

This week I have finally managed to pick up a book, after a busy weekend celebrating Thanksgiving with some friends (even though we live in the UK!). After all the cooking and baking I was exhausted! This book came to me quite by accident. I saw a post on the internet about Emma Watson being cast for The Queen of the Tearling movie, all very quick considering it just came out this year and it’s only the first book in the supposed trilogy. Nonetheless I’ve been super pleased with it and I can’t put it down! Here is a snippet:

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“Just remember, Lady: you’re not the only one gambling. You’re playing hazard with an entire kingdom. High dice, and you’d better be prepared to lose. ” (220)

Have you heard anything about this book? Seems to me like it came out of nowhere!

Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

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Published: 2011

My fantasy aficionados recommended me this series, and, although I don’t normally reach for a book in that genre, I decided to give this a try. I do realize that my lack of contact with fantasy will probably have affected my review of this book, seeing as I can make very few comparisons. Nonetheless, onwards we go!

Following the structure of his previous novels, this 1000+ paged tome, is split into numberless chapters, each labeled with the character’s name, about whom the chapter primarily revolves. True to his nature, George R.R. Martin often ends his chapters with a cliffhanger and then proceeds to a different character often miles away, with little or no connection to the previous chapter. This is one of Martin’s most powerful tricks, and one I personally really enjoyed because it kept me engaged, hungry to find out what happened and therefore kept me turning the pages. It is a rather effective ploy in literature, but to say it is unique would be exaggerating. Some may even argue it’s the oldest trick in the book.  It works though!

The character’s complexities and varieties are remarkable, and I praise the author highly for being able to convincingly depict their personalities, develop them over the series, yet still keep them realistic. Personally, I need strong characters to follow, not just plot, in order to enjoy the books. Delving deep into the human psyche through a variety of characters is one aspect of this novel that I really enjoyed. For example, to go from such an evil, self-absorbed character of Cersei Lannister to one like Jon Snow, who is compassionate, dutiful and a strong leader, is incredible. And he has yet to falter!

Having said that, I find myself eager to skim through a lot of the pages, where the plot seemed lost and the activity rather flat. At first I thought it was only when he was introducing new characters (how does one keep track of them all!) but that theory failed when I was quickly intrigued by the new character, Victorian Greyjoy. I immediately found his storyline very interesting. So then I realized that I skimmed mostly when there was a lack of action, when the characters are quietly brewing their plots in the background and when little is actually happening. The last handful of chapters are incredible and I raced through them but from about halfway until that point I will confess I struggled to keep going. Also, the myriad of characters can also be a drawback, since there are few that I care not much for personally and when their chapter came up I was a little disheartened. But I suppose that’s to be expected when so many plots are being carried out.

The diction of the novel is wonderful as well. Like mentioned before, I am not familiar with fantasy novels, or ones of medieval periods, so I found it enjoyable to refresh some new vocabulary, including phrases that we rarely, if at all, use in our society. The witty banter between characters is simply unforgettable, and frequently I would re-read certain pages because I found them so endearing. I found Tyrion Lannister an absolute mastermind, and I always enjoy his ability to “sift through the bullshit” to put it lightly and his ability to always know how to retort in conversations. Although not as heavily prevalent as in the other books, I also enjoy the intelligence and wittiness of Varys, the Spider. There are also characters that I have previously not enjoyed and now growing fonder of, including Theon, Asha, and Bran.

Other aspects I loved, was the author’s constant reminder of the “game of thrones” which the characters play, since it really reinforces the grand theme of the series and causes the reader to look at the bigger picture. His writing style is lovely as well, just sometimes the plot lacks in my view.

Verdict: Great diction, lovely characters, sometimes too many so don’t get discouraged when you can’t keep track of them all, sometimes lacking in plot, but I made it this far so I am going to keep going with the series. Also, the end is where things get interesting, and got hooked right in again. Fairly straightforward, easy read though.

 I would love to hear from you though! Would you say his novel is stereotypical of fantasy, or does this series add a new element to the mix? What did you like/dislike about the novel?