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Monday, 21 July 2014

The House of the Four Winds

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Tor Books for giving me this book to review.

Clarise is the eldest of the duke and duchess of Swansgaarde’s thirteen children. With twelve daughter’s and one son, Dantan, they have realised that there will be no Duchy for Dantan, if his twelve older sisters receive a dowry. They have decided that when each of their daughters reaches their 18th birthday, they will go their own way to make their own fortune. Clarise decides to disguise herself as a boy, and become a gentleman traveller, but both romance and bad luck hit when she buys passage on the Asesino, with the attractive, charming and ethical First Mate Dominik, the friendly Dr Chapman, the repulsive and cruel Captain Sprunt, and the slimy Reverend Dobbs. However, after pushing the crew too far, a mutiny happens upon the Asesino and the victors come into possession of a magical artefact which leads them to the haven of pirates, The House of the Four Winds.

I really like The House of the Four Winds, as Mercedes Lackey has written a very well-paced book, which drags you into the story from the first chapter. This is a very action packed book, with romance, which has you rooting for Clarise and Dominik, although wondering how and when she will eventually reveal she is a girl.

Clarise is an interesting character because, whilst she has grown up as a princess to a duchy, she is surprisingly unspoilt, and remarkably self-sufficient. Dr Chapman is a complex character I really liked, because whilst he is a doctor and does not wish to do any harm, he sees that some cause more harm by existing than their removal would do.

I really hope that Mercedes Lackey continues on this series, and whether it follows each sister as they set off, or continues Clarise and Dominiks story, I hope we find out what happens to them in the future. I would recommend The House of the Four Winds to anyone who has read any of Mercedes Lackey’s other books, especially the Obsidian Trilogy.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Fool's Assassin

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Edelweiss and Del Rey for giving me this book to review.

After returning from the Out Islands, former assassin and Royal bastard Fitz, believed dead by most and now called Tom Badgerlock, has settled down with his childhood sweetheart, Molly, at Withywoods, whilst their daughter Nettle is at Court as part of Dutiful’s Coterie. The years pass and Fitz is no longer heavily involved in Farseer politics and most of his time is spent managing the holding.  Molly and Fitz are content but another child would complete their happiness, though their age is against them. Fitz has not heard from the Fool for many years, until he hears rumours of his “Unexpected Son” and starts making inquiries as to whether the son exists.

Robin Hobb has returned home to the familiar and successful world of the Six Duchies and the character of Fitzchivalry Farseer, and I really enjoyed this book as feels as if it was written directly after the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies. Whilst this book starts of gently, reintroducing you to Fitz and his now comfortable life, it really picks up the deeper you get into the story, along with some unexpected twists.

I really love the character of Fitz, as he seems quite a complex man, but at his core, he is intensely loyal to his loved ones, his country and his principles.  Fitz has matured into a surprisingly well balanced adult, considering what happened in the earlier series.  In the Farseer trilogy he was an arrogant and embittered youth, who became a recluse who was reluctantly dragged back into Farseer politics in the Tawny Man Trilogy.  In this book, whilst he is over-protective of his loved ones, he is now content.


I really enjoyed this book and am waiting with bated breath for the next in this series.  I would recommend Fools Assassin to those who enjoyed the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies but would strongly recommend reading them in the correct order.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Enchanters' End game

****
4 Stars/5


The fate of the world depends on one duel. Garion is now the King of Riva, but he knows there will be no peace as long as Torak lives. Garion along with Belgarath and Silk set out to find him. In order to keep Torak’s forces focus away from Garion, and also to keep the peace in the West, Ce’Nedra has gathered her forces and is ready to take on the Angarak’s. With Garion getting close to Torak, he knows he will have to fight him, but how can he possibly win against a God. With the two prophecies converging, which side will win?

Enchanters’ End Game is the final book in the Belgariad and it wraps up everything from the previous books. There are two storylines going on in this book and whilst I liked Ce’Nedra and Pol’s, I was more interested in Garion’s.

Garion is really depressed in this book but is also very determined, and it has been enjoyable watching him grow up. Whilst I like Ce’Nedra more than when we first met her, she doesn’t realise how dangerous and serious war can be, and doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions


This is the end of a really good classic fantasy book and I would recommend Enchanters’ End Game to people who enjoyed the first 4 books and if you have enjoyed this series, I would suggest you read the sequel series, The Malloreon, and the prequel’s Belgarath the Sorcerer, and Polgara the Sorceress. 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Castle of Wizardry

****
4 Stars/5


The companions have retrieved the Orb and are travelling to Riva, to return it to its rightful place. On the journey back, with both Belgarath and Polgara incapacitated, the role of leadership is thrust on Garion, which is made difficult with the Orb fascinated with him. When Garion arrives in Riva, his life changes forever, but Torak is still out there and waking up. Garion discovers he is the only one who can defeat him. With war brewing between the West and the East, Ce’Nedra and Polgara must gather an army to hopefully protect Garion.

Whilst I still really like Castle of Wizardry, I did miss the quest as it was the main plot in the first 3 books, however, it makes up for it with more politics and character growth. The big twist, which I knew from the first book, is revealed, and it really changes the characters and the dynamic of the story.

Garion is more responsible in this book and has to learn how to deal with power and people with different opinions than him, and it is nice to see him change, but I do miss the farm boy a bit. I still like Silk as after everything they have been through during the quest and at Riva he has never treated Garion any differently.


Castle of Wizardry is really good book and I would recommend it to people who enjoyed the first 3 books. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Magician's Gambit

****
4 Stars/5


With the Orb now in Cthol Murgos, the group go to the Vale of Aldur so that Garion can learn more about sorcery from Belgarath and Pol and to talk to Aldur. However, the group has to still retrieve the Orb which will mean travelling into enemy territory. With people both leaving and joining the travellers, they may not all survive and if they do they will not be the same. With the prophecies starting to come true will they be able to regain the Orb?

Magician’s Gambit is the third book in the Belgariad series and I enjoyed it more than the last two books. This book has more action, was faster paced and I found it easier to get into the plot as we are getting nearer to the end of the quest.

While I like and sympathise with Garion, it is not that hard to figure out the big secret that Belgarath and Polgara are keeping from him and he should have guessed it ages ago. I liked Ce’Nedra more in this book, mostly because we got to see how she thinks.


Magician’s Gambit is really good and I would recommend it to people who enjoy classic swords and sorcery fantasy books. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Queen of Sorcery

***
3 Stars/5


Belgarath and Polgara are on the trail of the Orb, hoping to retrieve it before it wakes up Torak. Garion is still tagging along with them, confused as his life has changed a lot is a small space of time, and everybody seems to be focusing on him for some unknown reason. He has never believed in sorcery but as the journey continues there is a power inside him that seems to be growing. Will Garion be able to accept and control his powers before he endangers their quest?

Queen of Sorcery is the second book in the Belgariad series and is just as good as the first book. The pace is a bit quicker and in this book we get to see many different lands and cultures.

Garion is still very likeable but is also very conflicted and confused (not helped by Belgarath and Pol) but that being said I wish he would stand up for himself a bit more and be less of a doormat. I was not a fan of new character Ce’Nedra as she is a spoiled brat and just unlikeable. I also did not like how everyone disapproved of Garion having a go at Pol, as she and everyone else have been keeping secrets, he was going through a lot of changes and he is still a teenager, if I was in his shoes I would have snapped a lot earlier.


This is an enjoyable series and I would recommend Queen of Sorcery to people who liked the first book Pawn of Prophecy. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pawn of Prophecy

***
3 Stars/5


Mr Wolf, the storyteller, says that according to the prophecy, the Evil god Torak seeks domination over the world, but the world remains safe as long as the Orb of Aldur is in Riva. However, farm-boy Garion thinks that this is only a story and has lived a good and quiet life with his Aunt Pol. But, when the orb is stolen, Garion realises that his life has been a lie, and is led on a quest to different lands that will change his life forever.

Pawn of Prophecy is the first in a traditional fantasy series which has the classic setting of a young farm boy setting out on a quest to defeat evil. I first read this series as a teen when I had just started reading, and whilst I still enjoy it I can see the flaws in it.

Garion is a brave and na├»ve young man who is very easy to empathise with as you can easily put yourself in his shoes. Also, Silk is one of my favourite characters as he seems complex but is rather easy person to understand, also he is not as wholesome as most of the others. I didn’t like Pol as she says she loves Garion but she doesn’t treat him like she cares about him only who he is meant to be, and allows Garion to find out about Pol’s secrets from others.


Pawn of Prophecy is a good start of the series and would recommend it to fans of traditional fantasy books.