I am warm and safe in the den, with my two siblings.
Have I told you lately how much a favourite Robin Hobb is of mine? That she’s the one I recommend whenever someone asks for a fantasy author? That using ‘epic’ isn’t too much of an exaggeration with her stories?
Well, now you know. If you want sprawling fantasy with tons of (casual) world building, filled with (mostly) human characters, cool kinds of magic and enough plot, with room to breathe. It doesn’t matter if a book is over 700 pages if you can race through it, powered by excitement (too much?).
Anyway, Fool’s Quest is the second book of a trilogy and connecting worlds and stories used in previous trilogies. There is an older Fitz now, and his calm life is pretty much over and gone, because his past and the people from it, can’t let him go. It moves him from his homestead to the big city to – well, there’s a map in front of the book for a reason.
You can read these books without having read the other trilogies, but just treat yourself with at least The LiveShip Traders besides this one.
Fool’s Quest; Book II of the Fitz and The Fool trilogy, Robin Hobb, Del Rey 2015
Ze wacht op een antwoord, maar Elias weet niet wat hij moet zeggen.
Eindelijk weer eens een boek waar ik met pret in ging. Zo’n boek dat je kiest tussen televisie en internet omdat het gewoon zo snel gaat, er zoveel gebeurt, het net eng genoeg is om lekker spannend te zijn.
Er gebeuren nare dingen in Engelsfors, een klein dorp in Zweden. Daar horen uitverkorenen bij, maar deze keer zijn het tieners die tieners eerst zijn en daarna pas helden, en daardoor verloopt het redden van de wereld (?), Engelsfors (?) en zichzelf niet zo heel soepeltjes. Je zal maar moeten samenwerken met je grootste pestkop omdat een of andere heks het vraagt.
Mooi is dat het allemaal meiden zijn, die op allemaal verschillende manieren vrouw mogen zijn zonder eendimensionaal te worden. Fijn dat er geen glazuur wordt gelegd over het middelbare schoolleven, maar dat tiener-zijn in al z’n bruutheid gewoon getoond wordt.
Het is het eerste boek van een trilogie, maar alle drie de boeken zijn al uitgebracht, dus laat je dat helemaal niet tegenhouden.
De Cirkel: Engelsfors 1, Mats Standberg & Sara B. Elfgren, Bruna Fictie 2012
It was a dark and stormy night.
This was a cooler experience than expected. I expected a children’s book from another age, not a mix of Abarat, Narnia and love of science. There’s discussions of religion, space travel and personal development.
And it all starts with a missing father and strange creatures asking Meg, her weird brother, and a popular boy for help. All three of them are essential – for different reasons – in the fight against the scary dark. It’s all very visual and vibrant, and I’m quite curious about how and how much it will be shown in the movie that’s made based on it.
It’s a children’s book like one of those that are mentioned in fiction, and reading it as an ebook somehow felt like I was missing part of the experience. Yes, there are some questions raised, but they are the kind you accept as unanswered because they don’t sabotage the story and/or we know an answer might follow (there’s a lot more books in the series).
I read this for a Book club, and I didn’t even feel like it was a waste of time. Which sounds like little, but means that I feel like it added to my Books Read, instead of subtracted.
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle, Farrar Straus Giroux 1962
Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley
I read stories by Naomi Novak before, and definitely loved her way of world building and kind of clean (fantasy sometimes can be quite fussy) tone of voice and writing. Uprooted was mentioned a lot in the past year, so I added it to my list and – when noticed that it was a hefty 600 pages – got even more excited. This author offered good fantasy stories, let’s do this!
Uprooted is a clunky, dull, stuffed C-History story that can’t even be brightened up by cool elements. The characters one sympathizes with are the horses.The victim that is around to give the main character a more human, caring side, is a more interesting character, but is only used for a sympathy vote. There is a romance that isn’t really a romance, and is there anything the protagonist enjoys? Is there something more she does than just being?
I don’t know if Novak wanted to make a Serious, Epic fantasy novel, but she ended up with a brick with some fantasy elements. A few, that is.
Uprooted, Naomi Novak, Random House 2015
Sometimes you just have to cut your losses, the Wizard thought as the rolling green fields of Oz dropped away from his balloon.
I think I will add a new category: snack reads. Will you learn something from it, walk away a changed person, gain new insights, be blown off your feet? Nah, but it’s fun/entertaining/delicious.
The Wizard Returns is a prequel to the Dorothy Must Die series (another twist on the going ons of the Oz world and its inhabitants) and a novella, so not too large either. It is as it says on the tin, Dorothy and other familiar characters are mostly mentioned in passing, this is for the Wizard.
Paige uses this as an excuse to give/show more history to/of Oz and the Wizard, and to just go – once more – completely all out on technicolour descriptions on this strange but sort of familiar world. The Wizard is a brat, the monkeys fly, the reader is entertained for a hop and a skip.
The Wizard Returns (A Dorothy Must Die prequel novella), Danielle Paige, HarperCollins 2015
Definitely more fun when you watch it without knowing too much of the Star Wars universe and stories. And don’t act like it’s an international embarrassment if you aren’t well-versed in its material.
Anyway, there’s another female brunette who needs to fight the baddies. She doesn’t want to at first, but Things Change and she realises that the Rebellion needs to succeed. After a dark (literally and figuratively) first half, it’s for the viewer clear as well.
In my mind Star Wars movies have always been different shades of sand colours, so the beautiful shots of the beachy planet definitely left me pleasantly surprised. So did the tempo, never giving you the feeling that there’s filler or that you’re stuck in your chair for another [x amount] of minutes. And yes, it is watchable with nary a clue about its background.
Think Indiana Jones in space, think explosions, narrow escapes and aliens and you have an entertaining two hours at the ready.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm 2016
Just before the start of Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys.
Stories don’t have to be original to be entertaining. Unlikely hero? Absolutely beautiful, but cold-hearted-because-of-plot-point prince? Cruel authorities? Cross dressing for safety? Pompous names? Now I come to think of it..where’s the adorable pet/companion animal in this story?
Iolanthe has been warned by her guardian to not do certain things. With her listening to him, there wouldn’t be a story, and suddenly Iolanthe turns out to be a threat and a treasure to the powers that be. Good thing there’s a handsome prince that won’t let them get her. Instead, she should stay close to him, hidden away on Eton.
Emotions, hormones, friendships and a book that’s a gate way, a training room and a virtual reality of royal history all make sure that there’s nary a dull moment. Is the will-they-won’t-they sappy? Yes. Does Thomas go off on a much too long description of all the beautiful people around? Definitely. But sometimes someone wants a story you can race through without feeling like you have missed out on details, plot and information. I’m even interested in the other two books (of course this is part of a series), even though I wouldn’t know what they could be about. Sacrifice? More angry kisses? Good thing the trilogy is already completely published.
The Burning Sky, Sherry Thomas, HarperCollins 2013