Review: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz By L. Frank Baum


FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

THE FITTINGLY WONDERFUL MODERN FAIRY TALE WITH BRAINS, HEART AND COURAGE THAT BECAME A TIMELESS CLASSIC

 

Book CoverThe Wonderful Wizard Of Oz
(The Oz Series, Book 1)

L. Frank Baum

Genre: Children’s Classic, Juvenile Fantasy
Publisher: Hesperus Press
Format: Paperback, 448 Pages
Date: 1st April 2013 (First Published 1900)

ISBN-10: 1843913909
ISBN-13: 978-1843913900

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

In the introduction to his defining work, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, American children’s author, L. Frank Baum mentioned that his purpose in writing the story was to bring about a new kind of fairy tale for children to enjoy. He was of the view that the traditional fairy tales of old should essentially be confined to the dustbin of history; that it was no longer required for children’s stories to be cautionary tales with moral lessons to impart, as morality was now part of a modern education. His goal was to make his book a modernised fairy tale that retained the excitement and entertainment, but did away with all the moralising. Whether his opinion of traditional fairy tales has merit or not is for others to decide.

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Quote: Guilty Pleasures, “Graves Are For The Living…”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY

 

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Graves are for the living, not the dead. It gives us something to concentrate on instead of the fact that our loved one is rotting under the ground.

Laurell K. Hamilton
Guilty Pleasures

 
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Review: The Lies Of Locke Lamora By Scott Lynch


THEY SEEK HIM HERE, THEY SEEK HIM THERE

AN ELUSIVE CON ARTIST FINDS HIMSELF EMBROILED IN THE DEADLY SCHEME OF A FOE EVEN MORE ELUSIVE

 

Book CoverThe Lies Of Locke Lamora
(Gentleman Bastard Series, Book 1)

Scott Lynch

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback, 544 Pages
Date: 1st February 2007 (First Published 2006)

ISBN-10: 0575079754
ISBN-13: 978-0575079755

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Warning! This book is liable to make your blood boil if (like this reviewer) you have a deep antipathy towards criminals and criminality. The “hero” of the story, and his associates, are not just criminals, they are the unrepentant variety who take great pleasure in their scumbaggery, and the misery they cause. If their victims were also criminals it would be less of an issue; however, as this is not the case, every misfortune that befalls these lowlifes will warm your heart, while, by the same token, any time they escape their just comeuppance will leave you bemoaning how unfair life is.

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Review: God’s War By Kameron Hurley


A NEW BREED OF (ANTI) HEROINE HAS ARRIVED

ASS-KICKING, HEAD CHOPPING WOMAN RE-WRITES THE CONVENTIONS OF A GENRE AS SHE UNDERTAKES A MISSION SHE CAN’T REFUSE

 

Book CoverGod’s War
(Bel Dame Apocrypha, Book 1)

Kameron Hurley

Genre: Science Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
Date: 16th January 2014 (First Published 2010)

ISBN-10: 0091952786
ISBN-13: 978-0091952785

 
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Part science fiction, part urban fantasy, God’s War is a rather difficult novel to nail down, due in no small part to its inherent contradictions. For example, certain facets of the book are incredibly original and unique, yet the plot progresses in a very predictable manner; there is little, if anything, within the run-of-the-mill narrative that will take you by surprise. Also, several interesting characters are introduced throughout the story, yet interesting never translates into memorable; you’ll have a hard time remembering any names once you’ve finished reading the book. It is a novel that is rather good at setting up expectations, but not so good at meeting them.

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Quotable: A Princess Of Mars, “I Do Not Believe…”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY

 

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I do not believe that I am made of the stuff which constitutes heroes, because, in all of the hundreds of instances that my voluntary acts have placed me face to face with death, I cannot recall a single one where any alternative step to that I took occurred to me until many hours later.

Edgar Rice Burroughs
A Princess Of Mars

 
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Review: Bitten By Kelley Armstrong


IT TOOK A SECOND TO CHANGE ELENA’S LIFE…

FEW READERS WILL ESCAPE THE SENSE OF DEJA VU. YES, YOU’VE READ THIS STORY NUMEROUS TIMES BEFORE

 

Book CoverBitten
(The Women Of The Otherworld, Book 1)

Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 464 Pages
Date: 6th May 2010 (First Published 2001)

ISBN-10: 1841499188
ISBN-13: 978-1841499185

 
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When Kelley Armstrong’s debut novel, Bitten, was first published in 2001 the urban fantasy genre was still very much in its infancy, hence the book didn’t need to do much to stand out; Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series was more or less the only high profile competition. As the market was not yet as saturated as it is today the tropes that readers now come to expect of the genre had not been established. One obvious benefit of this circumstance is that readers at the time would more than likely not have viewed the story as lacking in originality. Sixteen years later, however, anyone reading the book for the first won’t be able to escape the feeling they’ve read it all before.

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Review: Ancillary Sword By Ann Leckie


SOCIAL JUSTICE WILL COME TO THE EMPIRE

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED… ABANDON YOUR REVENGE AND WORK FOR YOUR DISSOCIATIVE DISORDER AFFLICTED NEMESIS?

 

Book CoverAncillary Sword
(Imperial Radch, Book 2)

Ann Leckie

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
Date: 7th October 2014

ISBN-10: 0356502414
ISBN-13: 978-0356502410

 
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If you cast your mind back to 2013 you may not recall that Ann Leckie’s début novel, Ancillary Justice, was published with little in the way of fanfare or hype. Yet you’ll have no difficulty remembering that the book quickly garnered great critical acclaim, which translated into significant commercial success. The book went on to win both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel, as well as the Arthur C. Clarke Award. These plaudits, in addition to the other awards and nominations, were well deserved because Ancillary Justice was a breath of fresh air. The space opera genre had for many years been a stale wasteland of tedious novels weighed down by their bloated, cliché-ridden narratives. But Leckie conspired to bring something more original and satisfying to the table than most of her contemporaries were producing.

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Review: The Curse Of Chalion By Lois McMaster Bujold


A DARK CLOUD HANGS OVER THE HOUSE OF CHALION

A RELUCTANT HERO IS THRUST INTO THE ROLE OF SAVIOUR, TO PROTECT THE ROYAL HEIR TO THE THRONE FROM A SINISTER CURSE

 

Book CoverThe Curse Of Chalion
(World Of The Five Gods, Book 1)

Lois McMaster Bujold

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 448 Pages
Date: 11th April 2006 (First Published 2000)

ISBN-10: 0061134244
ISBN-13: 978-0061134241

 
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Lois McMaster Bujold is an author whose name is, perhaps, synonymous with science fiction. However, no reader could have any genuine concerns when a writer of her calibre chooses to step somewhat out of her comfort zone to write a high fantasy novel. Bujold is, after all, one of the most acclaimed and decorated genre authors ever, with four Hugo Awards for best novel to her name; equalling Robert Heinlein’s record. That being the case, it should come as no surprise to learn that The Curse Of Chalion is a splendid novel, coming as it does, from a writer with such a pedigree.

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Review: Hyperion By Dan Simmons


THE PILGRIMS PROGRESS

SEVEN STRANGERS EMBARK UPON A ONCE IN A LIFETIME MISSION, EACH WITH A STRANGE TALE TO TELL

 
Book CoverHyperion
(Hyperion Cantos, Book 1)

Dan Simmons

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback, 496 Pages
Date: 12th May 2011 (First Published 1989)

ISBN-10: 0575099437
ISBN-13: 978-0575099432

 
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It’s difficult deciding how best to describe Dan Simmons’ Hugo Award winning novel, Hyperion. Though it is a full-length novel it is structurally more like a collection of short stories loosely connected by an overarching conceit; a narrative choice acknowledged to have been directly inspired by Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Likewise, though Hyperion is a book that is ostensibly science fiction, stripping away the copious amounts of technobabble leaves a story that reads very much like a work of literary fiction. This is, perhaps, not surprising given the author’s known fondness for classical literature, which is very much in evidence throughout Simmons’ narrative.

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