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Archive for the tag “Garth Nix”

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?:

Northern Lights – by Philip Pullman

northern lightsAfter seeing the (terrible) movie The Golden Compass years ago, I wasn’t in the least bit interested in reading Pullman’s acclaimed His Dark Materials series, no matter their fantastic reputation. But the rumours of their excellence continued to follow me – as someone who loves both fantasy and YA, the series seemed like a natural fit, or so I was (often) told. There are always so many things to read that they were never a priority. Until about three weeks ago, when I visited Oxford.

Oh my goodness. Oxford is amazing. It’s a gorgeous city, one big university town, made of white stone buildings that date back for hundreds of years. It’s been home to so many incredible figures, including writers like Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and, of course, Philip Pullman. While visiting, I saw an exhibition at the Bodleian Library called Magical Books, about works that inspired these great writers to their enchanting worlds. Pullman set the His Dark Materials sequence in a parallel Oxford. I was so intrigued by my visit here that I finally read the first book in the series. Here’s what I thought:

Oxford University is a place of learning and knowledge. But to Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon, it’s just home. The rooftops, the alleyways, the underground hidey holes are all part of their domain. Before long, however, destiny calls for Lyra and Pantaliamon. Lyra’s famous uncle, the intimidating Lord Asriel, brings reports of strange doings in the north. And in Oxford, children are going missing. When Lyra’s friend vanishes, she refuses to be left out of the plans to find him. Soon, Lyra’s on the run from mysterious forces, racing to the mysterious north to find answers. And all the while, strange forces who mark Lyra out as important are gathering ever closer. Take Me Home, I Can’t Stand This Place:

Gameboard of the Gods – by Richelle Mead

gameboardAs you may already know, I’ve been a Richelle Mead fan since the first time I picked up Vampire Academy. What you mightn’t know is that I’ve tried and failed to read her previous adult paranormal fiction. The succubus series really never grabbed me, which was disappointing given how good Vampire Academy is.

I went in to reading Gameboard of the Gods, Mead’s newest novel, a dystopian/sci-fi adult novel that’s the first in her new “Age of X” series, with some trepidation. Ha! Completely unfounded. Gameboard of the Gods is fantastic. Here’s why:

Meet Mae Koskinen. She’s not just any law enforcement officer. Mae is a Praetorian. These elite, enhanced warriors are the pinnacle of the Runa’s armed forces – as terrifying as they are effective. Caught In the Storm:

Top Ten Characters (and Literary Figures) That I’d Name My Children After

top ten

Hosted by the awesome folks as The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme celebrating all things book.

This week, it’s all about great characters with great names. Names that you like enough to potentially inflict on your children. These are the top ten characters/literary peeps that I’d theoretically name my kids after:

Let me preface this by saying I met a guy called Oberon the other day. Hem. And that’s not what I’m looking to inflict on my theoretical children. (Mostly…)


I don’t think I could call my daughter Vin. But I love the name Elend for a boy. Although, again, probably not Kelsier for a boy. Also, have you read the Mistborn series yet? If you love high fantasy with strong characters, a plot that just keeps escalating when you don’t believe it can, and hands-down the best magic system I’ve ever seen – what are you waiting for?! SO GOOD.


I’ve always wanted to call a kid Sabriel. Or maybe Lirael? They’re just lovely names! And the fact that this is a less well-known series means not too many people would get the connection, and I’d just be really cool. Right?!


In a series the size of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time there are going to be a fair few character names to choose from. For my part, I’d be happy with a girl called Egwene or Nynaeve, or even Moiraine (I actually love Moiraine!) But not so impressed with a boy called Rand. Or Perrin. Or even Lan – way too easy to tease people called Rand or Lan!


Avry is an excellent name! For an AMAZING character. And I’d love it – for a girl or a boy. I also think Loren and Quain are awesomesauce names. But I don’t think I could inflict them on a child. Maybe Quain for a girl if I was a little mean…


Not so much for the Katniss factor. Everybody’s gonna have a Katniss, like all these small humans running around called Hermione. But I think Gale makes a fine boy’s name.


I just like the name Clary – it’s actually a normal name, especially compared to the others on this list, which makes sense as City of Bones is modern urban fantasy. (Make that, kick-ass modern urban fantasy!) Also Jace. Because Jace.


Again, Austen names are classic (see, I said this list wasn’t going to be all about inflicting childhood scars!). I’d love a Jane, or an Elizabeth, or an Anne – with the ‘e’ at the end. I insist! And I’m back and forth on whether a boy called Darcy is a bit cute or a bit awful – or a bit both…


I’m reading the (freaking awesome) Gameboard of the Gods at the moment, and the Praetorian female protagonist, Mae, is just fantastic. Also Mae is a family name, so I could totally get away with that for real! The male lead, Justin, is pretty messed up and great too…

One Day

Because Dexter is a great name for a boy. Dammit, that’s a normal and boring reason. If it helps, I’d be reluctant to do this because of the TV show Dexter. Just a little too creepy for me…

Name of the Wind

Oh, well. Not really, I guess… But I TOTALLY want a kid called Kvothe because Kvothe and The Name of the Wind are both made of awesome and I’d like to think that’d rub off on the child lucky enough to bear his name. A girl called Kvothe might just work, don’t you think??

What names would you like to inflict on give to your future kids? Tell me all about it in the comments!

The Way of Kings (Part One) – by Brandon Sanderson

Way of KingsIt’s no secret that I love a good fantasy series – emphasis on good. I’ve amassed a small handful of favourite fantasy authors, such as Patrick Rothfuss, Garth Nix, Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson. The Way of Kings is one of Sanderson’s most ambitious new series, and I sank my teeth into Part One the other day.

Welcome to Roshar. A land of highstorms: storms of such terrifying intensity that the land itself has adapted. Plants withdraw into the ground, and animals and people alike hide in strongholds in the rock until the storm’s fury has passed.

Roshar is also a world with a long history. Men tell stories of those fabled warriors known as the Knights Radiant. All that is left of them are their swords and armour, Shardblades and Shardplate. A warrior bearing such tools is close to unbeatable, and the wars nations fight to obtain them are unceasing. In the Way of Kings we meet three people of these lands who are not aware that their individual quests will soon be a part of a much greater struggle. Speak Again the Ancient Oaths And Return to Men the Shards They Once Bore:

Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen – by Garth Nix

SabrielNewYesterday, I got to meet one of my favourite authors – Garth Nix. I remember my Dad encouraging me to read Sabriel when I was around fifteen, and I think this trilogy was one of the first times I really experienced:


I read the whole series within a week or two, and it’s been one of my favourites ever since, as well as one I’ve re-read many times because I want to visit these characters, this world, again.

And this week, I not only read the trilogy again (in six days, whew) but got to meet, talk to, introduce to a crowd and generally hang out with its creator! I also got a whole lot of things signed – five of the thirteen Garth Nix books I own as well as a hand drawn picture of Mogget that one of my amazingly talented colleagues had used as part of our display – I feel very lucky today! Oh, Right, A Book Review:

Shade’s Children – by Garth Nix

ImageYes, another Nix already – I’m continuing my preparations for his impending arrival at our store next month! I’ve never read Shade’s Children before, so thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

One day, a child woke up in his bed to discover that his parents were gone, Not only his parents, though – everyone’s. In fact, every person over the age of fourteen had disappeared. All the children left behind were soon rounded up into the Dorms where they lived until their Sad Birthday, the day when their brains and various other body parts would be ripped out and used to make one of the Overlord’s creatures. Another monster to die as part of the Overlords’ armies as each Overlord strives to win that year’s tournament.

That’s just the way it is now. But a few – so few – children escape the dorms, and if they’re incredibly lucky they survive long enough to be found by Shade, the only person in the City who can offer any protection from the creatures. Shade isn’t human, not quite; he’s what remains of a human in Artificial Intelligence form, with a human personality – and Shade wants freedom from the Overlords just as desperately as the children do. But how many of the children under his protection is Shade willing to lose in pursuit of that freedom? And is he any better than the Overlords if he’s playing with the children’s lives in such a similar way? My, How the Creepy Have Prospered:

A Confusion of Princes – by Garth Nix

I adore Garth Nix! His Old Kingdom trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen) were books that helped create my enduring love of fantasy as a genre, and ten years on from the first time I read them, I still think they’re wonderful. I also enjoyed the Keys to the Kingdom series he wrote for younger readers. So I have high expectations for new Garth Nix material – and happily his latest novel doesn’t disappoint! Here’s my thoughts:

Garth Nix has an uncanny ability to create characters I fiercely identify with, mainly because no matter how fantastical or alien the universe they inhabit, these characters are unavoidably, unapologetically human. They have egos, and at times they can be arrogant, reckless, foolish or even cowardly. But beyond any of this, Nix’s creations have a great deal of heart. Prince Khemri, Nix’s latest protagonist, is no exception.

You see, Khemri has been chosen. From a young age he has been raised in luxury, taught to use his physical and psychic enhancements, and regaled with tales of the deeds he will do and the battles he will win as he fulfils his destiny to become the next Emperor. Unfortunately, the other ten million Princes of the Empire have been raised on the same tales. And when Khemri comes of age he quickly discovers that there is more to the stories than anyone has been told. A Universe Full of Troubles:

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