Tag Archives: High fantasy

Ghosts In The Yew by Blake Hausladen : Review

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A novel of violent magic, intrigue, and statecraft, Ghosts in the Yew is the story of four who are banished beyond the edge of the map to a land of gnarled forests, ancient magic, and the site of a terrible murder. Their struggles to survive will put them at odds with their families, their nation, and the very powers that shaped the world.

I have decided that when everyone you meet at a convention is telling you to meet this author and to read his book that you should definitely listen to them. I was worried that they had set the bar just a little too high with everything they had said about it, but I’m glad I was not disappointed in the least. I think Blake Hausladen is going to be an author to keep an eye on, his first book Ghosts in the Yew was everything people told me it would be and more. It has been weeks since I finished it and I still catch myself drifting off into daydreams about it as I walk to or from work.  Ghosts in the Yew is what I wish every self-published book I’ve read could be.

I don’t know if it’s what the author intended, but at its heart I found this book to be the coming-of-age story of Barok, one of the many selfish and self-centered princes of Zoviya. When one of Barok’s political schemes to ruin his brother Yarik goes awry Barok finds himself exiled to the the long abandoned and ill kept  boundaries of the kingdom. He’s joined by his new drunken Alsman Leger and the beautiful but naive Dia as they struggle to survive without the support of the rest of the kingdom and they soon find themselves preparing to fight a secret war at the same time.

One of the most interesting aspects of this book for me was the fact that is told in the first person, but from the perspective of four separate point of view characters, something I don’t think I’ve seen done outside of a few YA books. I was a bit worried that the view points would just blend together and I would find myself struggling to keep track of who’s view point I was reading at the time, but Blake does a great job of giving each of the characters their own unique voice that stands out from each of the others.

I found it just a little too easy to get lost in the story that Ghosts in the Yew was telling, which to me, is one of the greatest signs of a good story and author. I remember sitting down to read a little bit of the story and get an early feel for what I would think of it and got hooked. Fast forward five or six hours and you would see the panic set in when I realized I had to be to work in just a couple more hours. It was not the panic for the lack of sleep though, it was the panic that sets in when I realize I would have to stop reading a good book and go join the real world once again. I really did not want to be left wondering just how the story ended all day at work.

.I ended up taking the book with me to read on my lunch break– something I haven’t done with a physical book in a very long time. I would strongly suggest this book to just about anyone who enjoys fantasy, it is both money and time well spent in my opinion. I’ve been eying the sequel sitting on my book shelf since I finished it, but I feel the need to ration out the story over the weeks to come, or I may regret reading it so fast.


The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson : Review

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

Thousands of years past, in the lands of Roshar – a land of stones and storms. Storms so powerful and frequent as to have shaped both land and civilization alike. – the Oathpact of the Heralds has come to an end. Forsaking their vows to lead mankind against the Desolations which have ravaged Roshar since the exile of humanity from the Tranquiline Halls. Leaving humans to rely upon the Knight’s Radiant for centuries until they too fall; leaving only their mystical swords and armor which give ordinary men the power and near-invincible warrior prowess.

Now, after the King of Alethkar was assassinated; war has waged for seven years on the Shattered Plains against the race of the Parshendi. Contesting against each other to navigate across the plains – finding ways across chasms spanning sixty or more feet deep. The Alethi fight to honor the Vengeance path and to prove their abilities against the other high princes by acquiring gem hearts.

The story follows multiple characters. The main three being Dalinar – the king’s uncle, and brother to the assassinated king, he must find a way to unite the princes and redirect the war. Kaladin, an ex-soldier, slave and now a bridgeman working for one of the high princes, he seeks for a way to keep his crew alive and battle the odds. And Shallan a young artist who seeks retribution and money in order to save her family. Their situations all come at a cost – however, the price may be too high to pay.

Sanderson’s The Way of Kings is an epic fantasy spanning over a thousand pages long with political intrigue, discovery, magic and action-packed scenes. The world and the characters are both compelling in their own rights; with hints of demonic creatures, lost histories and old magic returning. He excels at keeping readers interested, with nary a dull moment throughout the entire book. Readers of  high fantasy won’t disappointed. Every chapter holds something new and hints of secrets, regrets, and of history.

 

Brandon does a wonderful job and keeps true to his style of developing an original magic system. The Way of Kings sets up the groundwork wonderfully for the next nine books of the Stormlight Archive, leaving readers hanging for more.  Book two is expected to be released Christmas 2013

 

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Brandon’s website : http://brandonsanderson.com/

Follow Brandon on Twitter: @BrandSanderson


Shadowmarch by Tad Williams : Review

A kingdom on the brink of war, the king held captive in a distant land and the ransom must be paid.
Now, the Eddon children must lead their people in a time of chaos where even their home isn’t safe. With darkness engulfing them, Briory and Barrick; the two youngest Eddon children who have no one else but each other – and even that bond is quickly becoming jeopardized. They must do what they can to save their land, their people, their king and defend it all against humanities oldest enemy – the mysterious Qar from across the Shadowline.

The Shadowline; a boundary between the lands of men and the lands of their enemies, the Qar is moving. Sweeping across the land of men, threatening to engulf the northern lands in which humans still live. The ageless race has come to claim what is rightfully theirs – the lands they had for eons before the humans had come. Now, as they spread the domain the foggy distorted world of Qar, an army marches; an army that may well mean the end of humanity.

Tad William’s SHADOWMARCH is a good read for epic fantasy lovers. With multiple point of views; those ranging from the Qar, Funderlings, the Eddons, and a few others, readers aren’t likely to get too bored with any characters in this 796 paged book. There are plots within plots, and even those who seem to be the only honest people may well be the ones who harbor the darkest secrets of them all.

I have a problem with this book though, don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of Tad Williams, and I do think that many people will love this book. There are sessions in the book where chapter after chapter nothing really happens. The characters just reflect on their situation (over and over again) or go into great detail examining things. This was extraneous at times, so I’ll be taking a bit of a break before I read the next one. But it’s on the shelf, and I’m sure it will be a great read.

For all the slow parts though, there are mysteries and surprises along the way which award the readers for their patience. With court intrigue and mythical races, readers do get the well-recognized elements of fantasy.

Tad’s website : http://www.tadwilliams.com/
Follow Tad on Twitter:  @tadwilliams


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