Top 5 Friday | Favourite Fantasy Trilogies

They say bad things come in threes, but some novels are proof that very good things can as well. Book trilogies are quite commonplace these days, especially in fantasy. It seems like a three-book arc is simply what’s needed to cover the scope of world-building and character development. Yet, this is not always the case… sometimes they can suffer from ‘Middle Book Syndrome’, which means the second book has no real story of its own and merely serves as a link between the first book and the last.

Well, here are my top 5, which I believe are solid gold the whole way through…
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Love in the time of gods: Philemon and Baucis

philemon-and-baucisWhen it came to love, the ancient Greeks and Romans had it covered. Amidst their tales of sex, entrapment and betrayal comes my favourite tale of all time… and it’s a romance. Sure, there’s mass death in it too, but oh well.

From Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a story that borders Greek and Roman myth. This isn’t your average story of boy-meets-girl and gives her an ‘I Wuv You’ bear.

This is true love.

Philemon and Baucis

Disguised as humble travellers, Zeus, King of the Gods, and Hermes, walked the earthly realm, seeking comfort and rest. They approached a thousand houses, and a thousand houses bolted their doors against them, unwilling to offer shelter.

Growing angry and despairing of the nature of humankind, the two gods approached one last dwelling. It was a humble shack, roofed with reeds and stems from the nearby marsh. It belonged to the aged Baucis and equally old Philemon, a married couple of meagre means. They had been wedded in the cottage in their younger years, and grown old together.

It was this house that received them gladly, welcoming the disguised travellers and making light of their poverty by acknowledging it, and bearing it without discontent of mind. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW | A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab (4 stars)

agos-uk-coverVerdict: A very welcome return to Red London and the lives of Lila and Kell. I’m a bit terrified for the next book.

Question: What’s better than a cross-dressing thief and a royal magician at the end of his tether?

Answer: Nothing.

A Gathering of Shadows picks up a few months after the last book left off. Things in Red London have changed – and not for the better. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW | Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb (4 stars)

fool's quest


Verdict: High quality fantasy that feels like catching up with an old friend. Albeit a sometimes remarkably stupid old friend who frustrates you to the point of throttling him.

So, unless you pay no attention to me at all, you might have gathered that Robin Hobb is my Favourite Author of All Time. That’s a pretty heavy mantle to wear because, as the saying goes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. When I open a Robin Hobb book, I expect epic. I demand epic and, if I don’t get it, I’m probably going to throw my toys out of the pram. It’s not really Hobb’s fault, either, because I basically think she’s the best person to ever hold a pen. It’s a lot to live up to.

Fortunately, Fool’s Quest delivers on the vast majority of my expectations. Penned with exquisite care, it continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer and the Fool, a.k.a. Lord Golden, a.k.a. Amber, a.k.a. Mage Grey, a.k.a. Beloved. It picks up where Fool’s Assassin ended, with little Bee stolen by the Whites of Clerres, Withywoods in an absolute wreck, the Fool stabbed but healing behind the walls of Buckkeep Castle, and poor Fitz caught up in a tangled web of bad decisions and worse choices yet again.  Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Vicious by V.E. Schwab (4 stars)

viciousVerdict: An excellently written tale of two sociopaths. One of whom you might actually like.  

Victor Vale and Eli Cardale start off as college friends, for lack of a better word. It’s an unhealthy relationship; there’s an almost-love-triangle factor and Victor has a fixation with getting Eli to show his dark side. When Eli comes up with the idea to write his thesis on ‘Extra-Ordinaries’ (EOs), Victor is immediately jealous that he didn’t think of it. So he jumps on Eli’s bandwagon and urges Eli to make his thesis more than just a theory.

What is an EO?

An EO is an Extra-Ordinary person – humans who have died and been brought back with abnormal abilities. Some might call them superheroes. If the idea of heroism wasn’t such a ridiculous idea in this book.  Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie (4 stars)

last argumentVerdict: I’m a little traumatised by this book. In a good way.

I would like to apologise to Joe Abercrombie for waiting – and I’m ashamed to say it – seven years to read this book. My only excuse is that I was studying literature at the time and by the time I’d rested my eyeballs enough, I’d completely forgotten about it. That was actually what this re-read of The First Law Trilogy was about this year; to see if I’d made a mistake in stopping. Turns out, yes, I absolutely did.

ANYWAY. The story. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (4 stars)

uk-orig-before-they-are-hangedVerdict: A return to the old school. Underdog battles to the death, blood vengeance, conspiracy and personal growth. 

Before They Are Hanged is the welcome sequel to Abercrombie’s impressive debut, The Blade Itself. It follows the journey that Bayaz, First of the Magi, Malacus Quai, Jezal, Logen Ninefingers and Ferro to retrieve the Seed from the Edge of the World. Continue reading