Tag: Books: Fantasy


Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 11 May, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Mini-reviews seem to be my friend these days 😛 Included in this post are reviews for the following titles:


Sonnets from the Portuguese
By: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prolific writer and reviewer in the Victorian period, and in her lifetime, her reputation as a poet was at least as great as that of her husband, poet Robert Browning. Some of her poetry has been noted in recent years for strong feminist themes, but the poems for which Elizabeth Barrett Browning is undoubtedly best know are Sonnets from the Portuguese.

Written for Robert Browning, who had affectionately nicknamed her his “little Portuguese,” the sequence is a celebration of marriage, and of one of the most famous romances of the nineteenth century. Recognized for their Victorian tradition and discipline, these are some of the most passionate and memorable love poems in the English language. There are forty-four poems in the collection, including the very beautiful sonnet, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

I first read this collection two years ago (review) when I was first making a serious foray into poetry. Revisiting it now after having read quite a range of poetry, I find her poetry evokes a lot more emotion out of me with the passion conveyed about her love for Robert Browning and how that love affects her. I suppose you could say I appreciated this collection a lot more than I did the first time around 😛

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Tolkien Reading Day!

Posted 25 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments


(image source)

Launched in 2003 Tolkien Reading Day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages, from primary schoolchildren to university students and library users of all ages. 25th March has significance to Tolkien’s readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the ‘War of the Ring’ in The Lord of the Rings.

more information about the event here

According to the Tolkien Society, the theme this year is ‘Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction.

Interesting topic for this year’s Tolkien Day seeing as poetry and songs make up such a huge part of Tolkien’s fiction: The Lord of the Rings (review #1, #2, #3) alone is filled with both folk songs and ancient hymns, and all of the recently published, incomplete poems with his take on Beowulf and King Arthur shows just how steeped in old poems Tolkien really worked from. It’s quite informative reading these titles (see author tag) even as it can be frustrating that they are incomplete! He really loved old tales and mythologies, as he expressed in his essay about The Kalevala (review; and which I found myself nodding in agreement), and his love of these tales really shows in the poems he produced in his own works.

Oh, and if writing poetry and songs isn’t enough, he also writes them in the Elvish languages that he created, Sindarin and Quenya! I’m always in awe that he did this, it adds further depth and richness to the world and the story he created. One of my favourite poems from LOTR:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
o menel palan-diriel,
le nallon sí di’nguruthos!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!

(O Elbereth Starkindler,
white-glittering, slanting down sparkling like a jewel,
the glory of the starry host!
Having gazed far away
from the tree-woven lands of Middle-earth,
to thee, Everwhite, I will sing,
on this side of the Sea, here on this side of the Ocean!

O Elbereth Starkindler,
from heaven gazing afar,
to thee I cry now beneath the shadow of death!
O look towards me, Everwhite!)

source

Oh, and for fun, here’s an audio of Tolkien reciting “Namarie” sung by Galadriel in LOTR:

I suppose one can go on and on talkin about the poems and songs that Tolkien wrote about, as well as those old mythologies that he loved so much and attempted to re-write in his own perspective and grasp of language. And I guess that’s the root of it: not just his love of mythology and old stories but his deep grasp of language. It really reflects in his works (see: his version of Beowulf (review) compared to the version accesible to most).

What do you think of poetry and songs in Tolkien’s fiction? How will you be celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? I’m not entirely sure how I’ll be celebrating today; I’ve been wanting to re-read LOTR for some time now but with all the books on my TBR queue and some other books on my re-read queue I haven’t quite wiggled around some time to re-read LOTR. Maybe later this year? In the meantime, maybe I’ll re-read Bilbo’s Last Song, a song Tolkien wrote on Bilbo’s voyage to the Grey Havens and off to the West. Seems like the perfect way to celebrate this year’s theme 🙂

Review: Tiny Deaths

Posted 27 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Tiny Deaths
By: Robert Shearman
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

Analyzing the complexity, absurdity, and blessedness of seemingly ordinary people, this debut collection examines the metaphysical assumptions surrounding death. From the end of a relationship to the meaning behind its title, this anthology continually surprises and subverts, utilizing topics such as alien intelligence, reincarnation, imaginary children, and even conversations with Hitler’s childhood pet. Engaging and diverse, this compendium offers a fascinating perspective on mortality.

So fun fact: this was actually the first Robert Shearman book I came across and that I added to my wishlist. It was a wee bit difficult then to get my hands on a copy of it but lo and behold, I finally did indeed get a copy of it so hurrah! 😀 Tiny side note, but how awesome is that book cover? One of my favourites that, coupled with the title of this book, definitely drew my attention in the first place 😛

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Review: The Hammer of Thor

Posted 26 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)
By: Rick Riordan
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

And here we are, the second book in the Magnus Chase trilogy. I bought books 1 and 2 roughly around the same time, figured best not wait between books 🙂 Plus, there’s something about the colour of this book that was appealing…as well as the title of the book 😛

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Review: The Sword of Summer

Posted 25 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
By: Rick Riordan
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Okay I’ve been eyeing this series for some time now, ever since it was announced that Rick Riordan’s newest series was going to feature Norse mythology. Because I love Norse mythology and I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series (the Heroes of Olympus series too, but not as much as Percy Jackson; sadly never got around to posting my thoughts here though). So I eventually caved and picked up the first two books in the trilogy last year (and ended up reading them during NaNoWriMo because I needed something light to read) 😛

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