All posts by carvedbytheshadows

Book Review: Assassian’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Hi

From Goodreads: In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin

Assassin’s Apprentice follows the story of a boy who is a prince’s illegitimate child as he grows up in a castle, is treated badly by his family and learns to be of use by becoming an assassin for the king.  It sounds like a stereotype of the fantasy genre, but it is actually a pretty fun book to read.  At times it feels like all the action is going to happen when he grows up, but the end is interesting enough and the characters definitely grow on you.

The ending is actually quite exciting, so overall I would say that Assassin’s Apprentice is worth the read.  It is the first book in the Farseer Trilogy and is nice and easy to read.

Xmas book gift ideas for a geek girl

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Here are some nice book gift ideas for a girl who is into fantasy, science-fiction or just creepy things in general.  Obviously, the best way to think of a gift idea of your own is to know what the geek girl you are buying for likes.  Alternatively,  here are some general ideas.

1. The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien.  The second movie in the series comes out in December, so a tie in book would also be an interesting idea such as ‘Chronicles: Art and Design (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)’

2. The Walking Dead.  This show is pretty big at the moment, which is based on a series of graphic novels so it would be the perfect gift this Christmas.  You get her the shows box set, or the first volume in the graphic novel series or, the game.

3. If your geek girl is more into paranormal romance and urban fantasy, then chances are she likes True Blood the TV show.  Obviously, you could get the DVD, but alternatively, you could get the omnibus version of the first three books.  Or another option would be to get the Harper Connelly Omnibus another series by the author of True Blood, Charlaine Harris.

4. On the same note there are lots of other urban fantasy series out there.  A personal favourite of mine is the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, which begins with Bitten.

5. Comic books/ graphic novels are huge now.  There are the Avengers series of films, plus the new Man of Steel which comes out in early December on DVD.   There are lots of comic books available, such as ‘Avengers – Volume One: Avengers World’    

6. In terms of less mainstream comics, the Sandman Library by Neil Gaiman is amazing and is beautifully illustrated by a host of different artists.  It begins with’ Preludes and Nocturnes’ 

December To Be Read

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File:Robin Hobb - Royal Assassin Cover.jpg

Yesterday I posted my November Wrap-Up, so today I am posting what I would like to read in December.  I would like to finish ‘A Song for Arbonne’ by Guy Gavriel Kay, ‘Dagon and other Macabre Tales’ by H P Lovecraft and ‘Royal Assassin’ by Robin Hobb.  I would also like to read Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb and ‘The Snow Child’ by Eowyn Ivey.

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November Wrap-UP and Blogmas

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I am probably going to regret typing this but I have decided to do blogmas – basically blogging every day of December.  I am going to try my best, but I have never really done anything like this before.

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Okay, so back on track.  In November I read ‘Assassin’s Apprentice’ by Robin Hobb and started ‘A Song For Arbonne’ by Guy Gavriel Kay.  I also started the sequel to ‘Assassin’s Apprentice’ called ‘Royal Assassin’ and the ‘H P Lovecraft omnibus two Dagon and other macabre tales’.

Black Friday Book Haul!

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So, on Friday I decided to buy a couple of books for my kindle and ended up with a nineteen book for under three euro.   I thought I would share what I got.

Firstly, I got ‘The Snow Child’ by Eowyn Ivey for 99c.  I had wanted to get it for a while – it is a critically acclaimed book – and when I saw it on the deal I just snapped it up.

Secondly, I discovered book bundles.  I purchased three, but there were many more all for around 49c.  The fist one I got was ‘Six Times A Charm’ which features books by Deanna Chase, Angie Fox, Julie Kenner, Mindy Klasky, Rose Pressey and Liz Schulte.  From what I can tell the books are all urban fantasy and the introduction to several series.  I also got ‘Magic After Dark’ a bundle of six paranormal romance/ urban fantasy books by authors such as; S M Reine, Marie Hall, Deanna Chase, Danielle Monsch, Kate Daniley and Dannika Dark.   Finally, I also got ‘Faery Worlds’ which features six novels that are kind of urban fantasy but with an emphasis on the fae and fairies.  The authors included in this volume are Tara Maya, Elle Casey, JL Bryan, Anthea Sharp, Jenna Elizabeth Johnson and Alexia Purdy.

These are a bit out of my comfort zone of fantasy, but I think a bit of diversity does no harm, and like I said, these were on incredible deals.  I guess I just couldn’t say no 🙂  I would upload pictures but I am a wee bit computer challenged at the moment.

My New Blog

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I have decided to start blogging under the new blog Sondering Shadows.  ‘Sonder’ means the moment when you realise that other people are living other lives independent of your own.  I just like the concept.  I don’t know if this is goodbye to I Remember Delight just yet, but I know that I need a bit of change in my life at the moment.  I want Sondering Shadows to be a blog that is kind of about anything that I want it to be about.  So, if you like this blog then you should check out Sondering Shadows.

Review: The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

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DSC00190From Goodreads: In The Queen of the Damned, Anne Rice continues her extraordinary “Vampire Chronicles” in a feat of mesmeric storytelling, a chilling hypnotic entertainment in which the oldest and most powerful forces of the night are unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Three brilliantly colored narrative threads intertwine as the story unfolds:

– The rock star known as Vampire Lestat, worshipped by millions of spellbound fans, prepares for a concert in San Francisco.  Among the audience–pilgrims in a blind swoon of adoration–are hundreds of vampires, creatures who see Lestat as a “greedy fiend risking the secret prosperity of all his kind just to be loved and seen by mortals,” fiends themselves who hate Lestat’s power and who are determined to destroy him . . .

– The sleep of certain men and women–vampires and mortals scattered around the world–is haunted by a vivid, mysterious dream: of twins with fiery red hair and piercing green eyes who suffer an unspeakable tragedy.  It is a dream that slowly, tauntingly reveals its meaning to the dreamers as they make their way toward each other–some to be destroyed on the journey, some to face an even more terrifying fate at journey’s end . . .

– Akasha–Queen of the Damned, mother of all vampires, rises after a 6,000 year sleep and puts into motion a heinous plan to “save” mankind from itself and make “all myths of the world real” by elevating herself and her chosen son/lover to the level of the gods: “I am the fulfillment and I shall from this moment be the cause” . . .

These narrative threads wind sinuously across a vast, richly detailed tapestry of the violent, sensual world of vampirism, taking us back 6,000 years to its beginnings.  As the stories of the “first brood” of blood drinkers are revealed, we are swept across the ages, from Egypt to South America to the Himalayas to all the shrouded corners of the globe where vampires have left their mark. Vampires are created–mortals succumbing to the sensation of “being emptied, of being devoured, of being nothing.” Vampires are destroyed.  Dark rituals are performed–the rituals of ancient creatures prowling the modern world.  And, finally, we are brought to a moment in the twentieth century when, in an astonishing climax, the fate of the living dead–and perhaps of the living, all the living–will be decided.

From the Hardcover edition

‘The Queen of the Damned’ is a good, if a bit of a  mixed book.  It is very immersive in places, and parts such as Jesse’s point of view and the story of the twins are very enjoyable to read.  However, in parts I also found the book disjointed and slow to read.   Personally I liked this book, but not as much as the Vampire Lestat, my review of which can be found here.

October Wrap-Up

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Here are the books that I read, started or finished in October:

 I started and finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett.  I also finished The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice on the seventeenth.  I started the Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simmons and Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice.

My favourite book of the month was the Vampire Lestat and my least favourite was The Fifth Elephant.

Book Reaction: H.P Lovecraft Omnibus One

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From Goodreads: A complete short novel, AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS is a tale of terror unlike any other. The Barren, windswept interior of the Antarctic plateau was lifeless–or so the expedition from Miskatonic University thought. Then they found the strange fossils of unheard-of creatures…and the carved stones tens of millions of years old…and, finally, the mind-blasting terror of the City of the Old Ones. Three additional strange tales, written as only H.P. Lovecraft can write, are also included in this macabre collection of the strange and the weird

So it’s Halloween and I thought I would write a post about one of my favourite newly discovered authors, H.P Lovecraft.  This is the first of three omnibuses of his work and it consists of a group of longer short stories (bar one).  My favourite in the collection was ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward’ because it was creepy and awesome at the same time. At the Mountains of Madness is also really good and it sends a shiver down your spine for sure.   I thought the book was very enchanting and Lovecraft’s prose is amazing to read – it is simple yet elegant.   If you are looking for something to read this Halloween I would give H.P. Lovecraft a try because you won’t regret it.

Review: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

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From Goodreads: Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rock star in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying existence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice’s best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.

The Vampire Lestat continues on from Interview with the Vampire, this time following the story of Lestat.  My review of Interview with the Vampire is here.  The Vampire Lestat is a very exciting book.  A lot happens within five hundred and fifty pages.  It is sometimes hard to believe that it happened in a short number of years before Interview with the Vampire. The mythology that is introduced in this book adds to the atmosphere and excitement.   It is very complex, and is expanded on in the follow-up book ‘Queen of the Damned’.

 Lestat is more comedic character than Louis, but at the same time by the end of this book you will see Lestat differently than his portrayal in Interview with the Vampire.  He isn’t as sad as Louis and his sense of humour permeates his point of view.  It is a joy to follow him around really!  I’m giving this book and eight out of ten because I loved it.  It was awesome and I think it is my favourite in the series.