Prince of Fools, by Mark Lawrence – Book Review

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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.

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Half a War, by Joe Abercrombie – Book Review

Shattered Sea, Joe Abercrombie, Half a War, Half the World, Half a King

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?

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Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett – Review

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.

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The Ice Dragon, by George R. R. Martin – Review

This is a short story by the author of the masterful, sensational, beautiful A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, made even more popular by the very much worthy A Game of Thrones television series on HBO and Sky Atlantic. Following the dramatic conclusion of Season 5 with the episode Mother’s Mercy, I have decided to review the short and delightful story Martin wrote for younger viewers (though oddly there’s still people burnt to cinders and with limbs hewn off). Though I must stress this is not a companion to A Song of Ice and Fire (though set in ‘Westeros’ it is in fact a different fantasy world).

The story is very short and simple, but also very elegant and sweet. In it, we follow a girl called Adara through the early years of her life.

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The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss – Review

A short opening chapter describes only the silence of a room – Boring, right? (And only seventeen million words to go) It’s quite the opposite, actually. I have never read a book that is so long that is never boring, and this opening chapter, less than a page long, is my favourite ever beginning to a novel. It is gripping, poetic and mysterious, and that is how I would describe The Name of the Wind as a whole.

The opening of the book sees Kvothe, our, somewhat rumour-distorted, hero, who has set up retirement in hiding as an innkeeper. What lures the reader this early is the smooth and flawless writing style of Rothfuss, who can seemingly write about anything, adding flare, wit, poetry and meaning to the otherwise latent, bland and passive.

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Half the World, by Joe Abercrombie – Review

Within minutes of writing my review of Half a King (the first novel in Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea Trilogy), I leapt to my bookshelf and tore Half the World from it, eager to find out what happens next in this fantasy adventure.

Don’t worry, no Half a King spoilers here, but it was clear to the end of the first instalment that a war was brewing. In Half the World we see old friends and new journey far beyond the regions of the first book to recruit allies for the inevitable conflict with the High King, Grandmother Wexen and their One God.

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Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie – Review

The first instalment of the Shattered Sea trilogy is very direct. You are thrown into the life of an unlikely, and unlucky, ‘hero’, and a world full of betrayal and revenge. Yarvi is an unusual protagonist – a boy with no fighting skill and a crippled hand, a quick mind and a quicker tongue. You won’t agree with all his decisions and he’s not necessarily ‘likeable’, but as you read his story you admire him no matter what he does or how he acts. Because of this, he is a great character, and through him this sensational story begins.

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The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch – Review

By Andy Wright

Locke-Lamora-UKFirst off, I feel it should be noted that all of the reviews we have written so far have been ones of glowing praise. The simple reason for this is that we have chosen to start the reviews with our favourite books, both of our recent reads and of all time. On top of this it is much more enjoyable for us to write about books we love. That being said, here is another novel that I adore.

I did a rare thing recently: I reread a book. I know, I know, it’s crazy. Here I sit, with thousands of great stories, magical worlds and fascinating characters a few clicks away and yet I pick up a book I have already read. But hopefully you will curtail your angry tirade when I tell you that the book was the ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’; the story of a master thief and his gang, who are the most gentlemanly of bastards.

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The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett – Review

By D.C. Ward

The new hardback collection is ace! See it here - http://goo.gl/fqF4kr

The new hardback collection is ace! See it here – http://goo.gl/fqF4kr

First of all, it would be ignorant not to pay tribute to the wittiest of wordsmiths, who recently passed away. I only read my first Pratchett book a few weeks ago, and I was blown away. For so long I put this series off, unsure as to whether it would be childish, embarrassingly unfunny or even boring. It is not even close to any of these things. Just from this one book it’s easy to see the extraordinary talent of Pratchett; his thinking-out-of-the-box creativity is evident in his world, character and plot creation, and his humour is subtle and tickling throughout.

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The Broken Empire Trilogy, by Mark Lawrence – Review

By Andy Wright

Sentient Ink Logo-01Do you feel the need to question your very humanity? Do you want to spend three books cheering on a near-psychopathic rapist and murderer? You should, because The Broken Empire is a damn fine series.

I must admit that I had to fight through the early chapters of Prince of Thorns. I like a good anti-hero as much as the next bloke, but I initially found nothing redeeming in Jorg Ancrath: he was a merciless and reprehensible tyrant. In short he was pure evil and I simply didn’t like him. I’m not quite sure when this began to change, perhaps as I got to know where he came from and what made him the person he is today. I say person because he is only thirteen when we join the action, the youngest roving murderer this side of Westeros.

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