Oh yes, you’ve all heard of Gandalf, and I’m sure all of you fantasy writers dream of someone of his magical prowess in your own books (be warned, such ambiguous wizardry is a difficult beast to tame), but what is it about him that captivates readers of the Lord of the Rings? His seemingly boundless powers? His vociferous nature? His exquisite fireworks? Or is it something altogether more subtle? J. R. R. Tolkien’s spontaneously regenerating, sardonically witty wizard is worth a wonder over.
If fools really do rush in where angels fear to tread, then Prince Jalan Kendeth is the least foolhardy man you’re ever likely to meet. If he’s rushing anywhere, then it’s out: out of money, out of luck, out of the way of those angry men wielding swords.
Prince of Fools is the first book of Mark Lawrence’s The Red Queen’s War trilogy, set in the same world, and at the same time, as The Broken Empire series, which we reviewed not too long ago. But it is glimpses of familiarity we get, rather than a re-treading of old stories and characters.
Ah apostrophes. The bane of sign-makers and internet pedants everywhere. It seems so simple; they’re just commas in the sky, but dig a little further and they will trip you up with their many howevers and buts. So let’s dive right in and answer: How do you use apostrophes?
We’ll start this writing guide with the basics. Apostrophes have two functions; they indicate possession and the omission of letters. Let’s start with possession.
It has come. The final novel of the Shattered Sea trilogy is here. A tale of oaths, lies, war and love has reached its explosive end. We have been through Yarvi’s toils in Half a King, seen war brew and love blossom with Thorn and Brand in Half the World, and now we see Half a War through the eyes of a young, anxious, but fiery queen; a truculent warmonger whose starting to feel the weight of his regrets; and an aspiring minister with a torturous dilemma. But how did they do narrating the end of the Shattered Sea trilogy?
Also known as the serial comma, the Oxford comma can be a tricky subject, as well as a disputed one. It is commonly known as the Oxford comma because its use is advocated by the Oxford University Press (and the Harvard University Press too). Essentially, it is a comma that is placed before the ‘and’ that comes before the last element in a list.
Here is an example of such a list where the Oxford comma is absent:
Talking in the group was John, Martin’s father and a trained helicopter pilot.
Without the Oxford comma, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on. Are there three people – John and Martin’s father and a trained helicopter pilot? Or two – John (Martin’s father) and a helicopter pilot? Or is just a very busy John, who is Martin’s father and a helicopter pilot?
Those paying close enough attention may have noticed a theme permeating many of our articles: We are all big fans of fantasy.
Whenever the small voice at the back of my mind tells me that I should read more classics novels, it is quickly silenced by the roar of dragons or the clash of swords. So I thought I would explore why this is.
Probably the greatest and most obvious point is the number of possibilities available to fantasy books. Most fiction involves ordinary people who are exposed to extraordinary circumstances. It is, for the most part, escapism. I consider fantasy to be the ultimate escapism because these circumstances are no longer limited to the realm of the possible. The scope broadens.
This article will briefly introduce five of the must read fantasy novels out this year that we at Sentient Ink are particularly excited about. The five we have chosen are not in any particular order, and this isn’t an exhaustive list, but we think you’ll agree they’re all going to be awesome.
The Shepherd’s Crown, by Terry Pratchett (Out August 27, 2015 in the UK, September 1 in the USA)
So far we have reviewed the Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett’s first novel in the Discworld series, and Night Watch, the first in The City Watch sequence. With Terry Pratchett’s sad passing, The Shepherd’s Crown will bring an end to the epic, thirty two year old fantasy series.
The Shepherd’s Crown is the fifth Discworld novel to follow Tiffany Aching, a young witch in training who has grown up throughout the four novels in which she has starred, being just nine years old in The Wee Free Men, up to almost nineteen in I Shall Wear Midnight. Not much has been revealed about The Shepherd’s Crown, but with Tiffany’s fiery character and Pratchett’s famous literary bombardment of adventure, magic and humour, it is sure to be a wonderful, and very emotional, farewell to the Discworld and its creator.
Diving into the literary world can be an intimidating thing, all those terms and rules and conventions just longing to trip you up and have you mocked on forums and Reddit. We at Sentient Ink feel your pain, and we’re here to guide you through them one by one. So what is a run-on sentence? And what is a comma splice?
Just to put your minds at ease, I have been very careful to avoid all spoilers for fans of both the books and television series.
Tyrion Lannister is most people’s favourite character (and in everyone’s top three) in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as in the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones. But what is it about him that lures readers and watchers? What magic is his wonderfully crafted character emanating to captivate us so?
Since my last review of men wielding swords, albeit in a slightly more familiar land, I have read three books, all of which were from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy series and, more precisely, from The City Watch sequence. Because I have a little bit of a bad habit of judging a book by its cover, I started with book six (Night Watch), before moving on to book five (The Fifth Elephant), then book seven (Thud!). I am currently reading book one (Guards! Guards!).
Though I do mildly regret starting with Night Watch, as the time travelling element would have been more enjoyable had I known the older versions of the characters, one of the beauties of the Discworld series is the ease with which you can pick it up from anywhere in the series. This is the message I hope to convey most of all in this review: do not be intimidated by the long list of books in front of you. All of the books I have read so far are more than accessible to a new reader, even if you do miss some nods and winks (and the occasional elbow nudge).
The reason I first picked up Night Watch is because I read that it was a detective fantasy novel involving a policeman travelling to his own past along with a murderer, set in the back drop of a revolution. If this doesn’t make you want to read it then I’m sorry but we can’t be friends.