Tag Archives: shadow

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan : Review (Or the Ravings of a Fanboy)

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The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. 

 

It has proven surprisingly difficult for me to write any sort of review for any book in the Wheel of Time series over the last few years. I seem to make it a few short sentences in before my review becomes the incoherent ramblings of a rabid fanboy. This time around I have given up on even trying to be unbiased in any sort of way. I consider The Eye of the World to be one of the greatest pieces of Epic Fantasy I have ever read. It has become the standard to which I hold every other book I now read, which is a bit funny considering it took me weeks to even make it past the first chapter.

I remember picking up a copy of The Eye of the World from my local library around 10 years ago only to return it the next day after I couldn’t even get through the first chapter. I proceeded to do this at least twice a week for the next few weeks, picking the book up over and over again because the story just sounded so good. All that it took was for me to get through that first chapter and then I was hooked, unable to put it down until the very end. I still consider the day The Eye of the World‘s cover caught my eye as one of the luckiest days of my life, who knows how long it would have taken to discover it otherwise.

I’ve never been able to really decide what kind of story this really is — whether its a coming of age story, an adventure story, or something else entirely. It’s probably a little bit of them all — Robert Jordan did an amazing job taking inspiration from so other cultures, religions and even other authors and turning it into something EPIC. I can seriously read the Eye of the World and then turn around and reread it again just a few days later, that is how much I enjoy the story and the rest of the series is just as good.

I can’t honestly believe that there are people out there who haven’t heard of or read the Wheel of Time but If there is I would strongly suggest they drop whatever they are doing and go out and buy a copy. Buy two copies even, I myself tend to go through about two a year from all of my rereads.

 


Review: The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, by Amy McCulloch

“My word and my life are yours. This is my absolute vow.” 

In the land of Darhan promises are bound by magic, tied into knots, and worn with pride. Those who break them are physically scarred, cast out into the desert, and tormented by vengeful shadows of their treachery. So when Raim agrees to give his life as a warrior to the future Khan, he knows that he must honour his word until the day he dies. 

But on the night he takes his vow, Raim accidentally breaks a mysterious promise that he has worn since the day he was born. Yet how can he break an oath he has no memory of making? 

With the dark mark of a traitor seared into his skin, and forced into exile, Raim flees on a journey that will reveal the true meaning of honour and uncover truths that will change his world for ever. 

The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, the debut novel of Canadian author Amy McCulloch, is a fantasy that breaks tradition. Instead of being set in a Medieval England expy, it’s based around Mongolia; instead of dealing with the standard fantasy creatures like elves and unicorns, it features mystical creatures invented for the setting; instead of magic being something known only by a few people, magic permeates every day life, and yet as we find out later, magic isn’t really understood or used to its full potential. It’s different from most books in the genre and offers a fresh break from the norm.

The book follows Raim as he tries to find out what promise he broke when he took his absolute vow and get forgiven for it, the only way an oathbreaker can remove the scar marking them and his only hope of getting back into society. Of course, this isn’t quite as easy as he thinks; he has no way of knowing who he made the promise to and no hope of forgiveness until he finds out. On the way, he learns of a traitor that overthrew the Khan and puts at risk everything he holds dear, including the absolute vow he just took.

One of the predominant themes running through the book is that of the nature of promises and honour, a theme which I suspect will be explored a lot more in sequels. Raim spends much of the book coming to terms with his feelings about oathbreakers and how people have come to see him. The book takes pains to show how many of the oathbreakrs are good people who suffered a moment of weakness, or had justified reasons for breaking their vows. The characters are sympathetic and realistic, making their stories and problems interesting to read about.

Overall I quite enjoyed the book; it was something new and interesting and a refreshing break from the standard fantasy tropes. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to properly get into it because I had a fairly bad book hangover from the last book I read before this; to my pleasant surprise I was able to get into it easily (and ended up with a double book hangover for my trouble, from this book and the one before). I look forward to reading the sequel.

Overall rating: 4.5/5


Book of the Day, Week 1

Everyday on Facebook we’ll be posting a short description to novels that aren’t very well known. Be sure you check them out daily on our Facebook page, or get the compiled list every Saturday on here.

Jan. 5th, 2013

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A Matter of Magic, by Patricia C. Wrede – ‘Mairelon the Magician’ and ‘The Magician’s Ward’ together in one volume. Kim is a young street urchin who finds her life turned upside-down when she tries to rob a magician’s cart. Very nice dialogue and engaging characters.

Jan. 4th, 2013

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Kingfisher Days by Susan Coyne. This is an interesting little book — a memoir, and a biography; with a magical and imaginative tale. When young Susan Coyne discovers an old overgrown fireplace, she begins her correspondence with a precocious young fairy princess, Nootsie Tah through letters left on the hearth. I first read it 11-12 years ago, and it’s a light read showing the simple pleasures and cherished memories that last a lifetime, with a child’s imagination and innocence.

Jan. 3rd, 2013

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Avalon: Web of Magic series, by Rachel Roberts. Three unsuspecting girls find they have a surprising connection to a magical land and must work to help save it, forming friendships along the way. A nice light read with some cute pictures interspersed throughout the text.

Jan. 2nd, 2013

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Book of the Day: A Whiff of Death by Isaac Asimov. After the death of Ralph Neufeld — a graduate student, Professor Brade must determine if Neufeld’s death was accidental, or if there’s a murderer afoot. Asimov’s A Whiff of Death is a fun read, that’s quite different from his well known Science Fiction stories.

Jan. 1st, 2013

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The Shadow of Malabron, by Thomas Wharton: When Will goes through a portal into the Land of Stories, he finds himself pursued by Malabron, a sorcerer who took over the land decades ago. Now, he needs to get out and back to his family before getting caught. A fun and gripping read.


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