Tag: Books: Fantasy


Review: Time’s Convert

Posted 6 February, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Time’s Convert
By: Deborah Harkness
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus’s deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor–the young employee at Sotheby’s whom Marcus has fallen for–is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he’d escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both–forever.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time’s Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

Readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls trilogy. So you can imagine my delight with the announcement that there was going to be another book: Time’s Convert. I usually wait until the paperback is out but I could not in this case and my friend gifted it for Christmas last year.

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Review: The Fall of Gondolin

Posted 21 January, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Fall of Gondolin
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.

At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.

Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

It’s always exciting to learn a new Tolkien book is to be released, even if it is just early drafts to a well-known tale (and even with the debate of whether these drafts should be published since these were clearly not the final polished edition that the author preferred). The Tale of Gondolin is one of the more memorable stories in the Silmarillion so I did come to it (even if it took a while) with great curiosity.

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Review: The Reluctant Queen

Posted 28 November, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Reluctant Queen (The Queens of Renthia #2)
By: Sarah Beth Durst
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

In The Queen of Blood, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive the malevolent nature spirits of Renthia and claim the crown. But now she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. If she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her realm will once again run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people.

Naelin has the power necessary to become an heir, but she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen. Her world is her two children, her husband, and her remote village tucked deep in the forest. But when Ven, the Queen’s champion, passes through her village, Naelin’s ambitious husband tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows embracing her power will bring death and separation from those she loves.

But Ven must find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. As the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened, the only way Naelin can keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.

Alrighty, here we are, second installment of The Queens of Renthia trilogy. I enjoyed the first book enough so I was wondering how this new character plays a role in the story and where the story was going to go.

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Review: The Queen of Blood

Posted 26 November, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1)
By: Sarah Beth Durst
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

I have been staring at this book for perhaps two years now, lol. I think it first caught my attention while I was browsing a bookstore in Denmark; the cover was lovely and the premise was intriguing, but then like most books I encounter, I don’t actually pick them up until a year after the fact, lol. And here we are, in desperate need to read something that’s not nursing school-related and therefore checking out this book at long last.

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Review: The World of All Souls

Posted 15 November, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The World of All Souls: A Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and the Book of Life
By: Deborah Harkness
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

A Discovery of Witches introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Shadow of Night and The Book of Life carried Deborah Harkness’s series to its spellbinding conclusion.

In The World of All Souls, Harkness shares the rich sources of inspiration behind her bewitching novels. She draws together synopses, character bios, maps, recipes, and even the science behind creatures, magic, and alchemy–all with her signature historian’s touch. Bursting with fascinating facts and dazzling artwork, this essential handbook is a must-have for longtime fans and eager newcomers alike.

I don’t remember why I stalled on picking up this book…It was probably the price, thinking I didn’t need a complete guide or anything. Who was I kidding? Of course I needed it in my life! lol

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