Fox on Books

Book reviews, opinions, musings and ramblings. General bookish excitement!

Archive for the tag “Fantasy”

Sensational Quote Sunday

Some books change your life. They change the way you see the world. They do this not only with the story as a whole, but sometimes with an idea, a beautiful phrase, or even a word, that resonates with you the way nothing has before.

Sensational Quote Sunday is my way of paying homage to those books that remind me every day why I love reading.

grossman2

Today, I’m highlighting a quote from The Magicians by Lev Grossman. One of the hardest things for me to deal with in Grossman’s wonderful novel was our perpetually underwhelmed protagonist, Quentin. He spent most of the book discovering new worlds – discovering that magic was a thing, for goodness’ sake – and remaining not quite impressed. He was always looking for that (excuse me) magical solution to all his feelings of aimlessness and failure, and it took him a long time to realise that there’s no fix it. There’s no easy out. There’s just growing up.

I admired The Magicians for not shying away from such a frustrating, such a true perspective. And I particularly admire Lev Grossman’s turns of phrase, which elevated his work to an impressive height.

Also – read it!

The Maze Runner – by James Dashner

maze runnerI’m going to start providing summaries at the top of my reviews, for those who want the TL:DR version. Behold:

“Oh my god just tell me what is happening!” – my brain the whole way through The Maze Runner.

I defy you to read this book slowly. I couldn’t wait to get to the end, although that was mainly so I could have some idea of what just happened! It’s a great YA adventure story, aimed squarely at teenage boys, and a good read for anyone who wants an unputdownable tale.

I was infuriated by the first few chapters of The Maze Runner. Without ceremony, you’re dropped straight into a confusing world full of teenage boys, living in a place called The Glade in the middle of, apparently, a giant maze. Would you have questions? Because both I and our protagonist, Thomas, had A LOT of questions. Such as:

– WHAT?
– Where is this place? WHAT is this place?
– Why am I here?
– Who am I? How can it be that I know my name and understand concepts but I know nothing about my history?
– WHY ARE WE IN A GIANT MAZE?
– Seriously, WHAT?? Let Me Feet Hit the Ground Running:

Short Stories, or, Review-Palooza!

It’s become clear that I read a lot of books. This year, I’m (still!) averaging one book every three days, across all sorts of formats, including manuscript, eBook, audio book and, of course, my true love, the paper book.

In order to keep them fresh in my mind, and to deliver opinions about them in a somewhat timely manner, I’m going to do bite-sized reviews of a recent selection.

Come along, then:

fathers eggersYour Fathers, Where Are they? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? – by Dave Eggers

My second Dave Eggers, this was so intriguing! And whew, what a title. Written entirely in dialogue, Your Fathers is an exploration of America, a comment on a generation, and also a look at one really disturbed guy, spiraling into self destructive criminal madness. Very weird. Very cool.

four fox

daughtersmokeDaughter of Smoke and Bone – by Laini Taylor

Karou’s never been exactly normal. How could she be, raised by Chimeras? She’s always been kept at arms length by those who raised her, but there’s more to Karou’s background – and her future – than she could ever have imagined. And not all of it is good. Even though it suffered from a little bit of too-many-recommendations-itis, this book and its sequel Days of Blood and Starlight left me reeling. Also, Laini Taylor exploded her own world twice in two books! I can’t wait to see what on earth the third book brings.

threenhalf fox

unwindUnwind – by Neal Shusterman

In this future society, abortion is illegal. But before a child turns 18 they can instead be ‘unwound’. Every part of their body is used by someone else, so they’re not truly dead. Here, life is at once sacred and cheap. What a cool, freaky concept. And this book delivers – sometimes. It’s not as gripping as I wanted it to be, given the solidity of the premise, but it’ll keep you up at night reliving the brutal unwinding process. *shudder*

twonhalf fox

TheFeelGoodHitOfTheYear C CVR SI.inddThe Feel-Good Hit of the Year – by Liam Pieper

I’m not that interested in memoirs unless you’re Stephen Fry (sorry, everyone else). But I absolutely raced through Liam Pieper’s accounts of misspent youth, from his birth in a sort-of hippy commune in the Melbourne suburbs to becoming an accidental teenage drug dealer, to figuring out that life’s more profitable when you’re a little less criminal. (Only a little…)

four fox

So, whatcha been reading lately?

The Magicians – by Lev Grossman

MagiciansI’m going to start providing summaries at the top of my reviews, for those who want the TL:DR version. Behold:

The Magicians is incredibly ambitious, odd, cynical and sometimes downright infuriating. I LOVED it.

What if Hogwarts (or a place a lot like it) was real? But what if being a magician doesn’t magically solve all your problems, or automatically furnish you with a purpose and direction in life? What if you’re still just you?

This book came to me both highly and widely recommended as an adult’s Harry Potter. People I knew from disparate parts of my life were ranting excitedly at me about how wonderful it was. WOW. Talk about great expectations. Alohomora:

Short Stories, or, Review-Palooza!

It’s become clear that I read a lot of books. This year, I’m averaging one book every three days, across all sorts of formats, including manuscript, eBook, audio book and, of course, my true love, the paper book.

In order to keep them fresh in my mind, and to deliver opinions about them in a somewhat timely manner, I’m going to do bite-sized reviews of a recent selection.

Dear reader, dive in:

What Came Before – by Anna George

whatcamebeforeOof. This was a hard read. Following the spiral of a gradually abusive relationship, What Came Before challenges us to look at what we expect – and what we’ll accept – from those we love. Ambitious and confronting, it’s not for everyone, but is a particularly powerful novel.

threenhalf fox


Looking for Alaska – by John Green
lookingforalaskaUK.indd
John Green’s first novel has all the hallmarks of his later work. Teens who act like teens (bright, loyal, apathetic and often a wee bit pretentious), a simple narrative that allows the beauty and poignancy of his prose to shine, and a quietly wrenching third act make this a must read for older teens and fans of this brand of honest, contemporary YA. (Also, have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet? If not, what are you even doing with your life??)

threenhalf fox

Words of Radiance – by Brandon Sanderson

wordsofradianceThe Way of Kings (Parts One and Two) and their sequel The Words of Radiance are perfect examples of high fantasy with truly epic scope and huge payoffs. If you’re a fantasy reader, you’d be foolish to go past Brandon Sanderson. He and Patrick Rothfuss are the best current fantasy writers around. I’m repeating myself and I don’t care: Brandon Sanderson is the real deal. He is astonishing, and if you haven’t read him, you’re missing out.

five fox


Wool and Dust – both by Hugh Howey

dusthoweywoolhowey

I’m a little late on this bandwagon but Wool and its sequel Dust are something you definitely want to experience. Howey’s exploration of a possible future after the world has been destroyed by nuclear warfare is sophisticated, claustrophobic and nail-bitingly tense. It’s the kind of sci-fi you’ll rant excitedly about in turn. I listened to these as audio books, and the SECOND I finished Wool I had to find out what happened next. four fox

Have you read any of these? I’ve covered a range of genres – what’s your pick of the above?

The Dream Thieves – by Maggie Stiefvater

Hello, dear readers.

dreamthievesI’m going to start providing summaries at the top of my reviews, for those who want the TL:DR version. Behold:

Gansey and the Raven Boys need Blue’s help to find the resting place of a long-gone Welsh King, Glendower. Time’s running out, though, because they’re not the only ones searching. This is brilliant YA fantasy, and one of the few series that’s great for boys and girls. It’s also SFT (safe for teens) – Blue has to worry a little about boys, but the focus is on the race against time, the chase, and the bromances rather than the romance.

Want more than two cents? Read on!

Do you know what one of my favourite things in YA fantasy is? Originality. It’s not a prerequisite – I enjoy many YA fantasies that are variations on themes, such as a really well done dystopian novel. They’re hardly rare, but a well-executed story will often override the sense of deja vu.
Read more…

Steelheart – by Brandon Sanderson

SteelheartIn a world where people with extraordinary powers exist, what happens when the superheroes are the bad guys?

David knows. He’s seen first hand what having that kind of power has done to the Epics. David was only eight when his father was killed by one of them, a particularly strong Epic called Steelheart. David’s the only person who survived the Epic’s attack on the bank that day. He’s the only living person who has ever seen Steelheart bleed. Ten years later, David hasn’t forgotten the vow he made that day: he will see Steelheart bleed again.

Okay guys. I LOVE Brandon Sanderson’s work. It’s inventive, detailed and consistently brilliant. This means two things:

1) I’m probably predisposed to like any Brandon Sanderson book by now, but also
2) I have incredibly high expectations for his work.

Each new book makes me both gleeful and wary, because I look forward to them SO MUCH that they have the potential to be a huge let down.

Thankfully, Steelheart was not a let down at all! In fact, it might be my favourite Sanderson novel since the Mistborn series. And that, dear reader, is no mean feat. Walk In Like a Fistful of Bottle Rockets:

The Fiery Heart – by Richelle Mead

FieryOh yes, the fourth book in Mead’s fantastic Bloodlines spinoff series is finally here! I went in to this book with high expectations, since I really enjoy Mead’s work in general (for example, Gameboard of the Gods, and The Indigo Spell). I’m really invested in Sydney and Adrian’s story now – as are we all – and I was counting on Mead to deliver a cracker of an installment. Here’s how I thought she did:

Sydney and Adrian have come a long way since they were first forced to work together. No longer is Sydney the standoffish, distrustful Alchemist, and no longer is Adrian the dissolute, oft-drunk mess he once was. Well, mostly, anyway. Truth be told, they’re been more than tolerating each other for a long time, now.

Oh, Sydrian. I love ’em. And they’re finally getting it right.  Which is a good thing – because they’re facing a whole lot of problems that they can’t fix alone. In fact, they might not even be able to fix them together. I Fell Into A Burning Ring of Fire

Sensational Quote Sunday

Some books change your life. They change the way you see the world. They do this not only with the story as a whole, but sometimes with an idea, a beautiful phrase, or even a word, that resonates with you the way nothing has before.

Sensational Quote Sunday is my way of paying homage to those books that remind me every day why I love reading.

I’m doing something a little different this week. Instead of a direct quote, I’m featuring two diagrams from The Rithmatist, the excellent young adult fantasy from Brandon Sanderson which I just read (and loved).

They’re a great example of the detail Sanderson includes in his work, and how much this adds to his storytelling:

rithmatisttaylor  rithmatics

Have you come across many novels that use artwork to add to the story? I think it’s a lovely technique!

The Rithmatist – by Brandon Sanderson

RithmatistBrandon Sanderson remains one of my favourite fantasy authors. His work is consistent, detailed, and engrossing. Here’s what I thought of his latest offering, his first young adult novel, The Rithmatist:

Joel knows not everyone can be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists are those chosen to defend the American Isles against the chalklings: two-dimensional chalk drawings, somehow infused with life – and with the ability to kill. But the fact that Joel isn’t one of the lucky few cannot curb his fascination with their arts.  He knows more than almost any non-Rithmatist about the subtle battle techniques, defensive diagrams, and offensive chalklings that form the basis of the Rithmatist’s craft. And when Rithmatic students start to go missing from Armedius Academy, Joel might be the only one with the right combination of knowledge and perspective (as well as a healthy dose of recklessness) to be able to get to the bottom of it. Where’s an Eraser When You Need One?:

Post Navigation

gabriellefeather5

Kissing Frogs and Other Misadventures

Darling Bibliophile

So many books, so little time.

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

The Escapades

The Escape Publishing Blog

Lisa Jakub

Writing about what happens when we stop acting

Love Hypothetically Books

purveyors of scorching hot romantic fiction

%d bloggers like this: