Release date: February 16th, 2012 (Originally June 10th, 1982)
Age Group: Adult
In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger.
He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is one of the must-read series that I hadn’t gotten to yet. Sentiments seem to be mixed about these books, some finding it brilliant, others disappointed by it. I seem to hang somewhere in between. The Gunslinger is not a long book. With just over 300 pages it’s an easy and fast read. It’s also fascinating, brutal and confusing.
Roland Deschain of Gilead or The Gunslinger is on a quest to find and kill the ‘Man in Black’ who seems like a deranged evil priest with immense powers. All of this plays out in a place that can best be described as the Wild West. At first I got the impression that this was a dystopian version of our world, but slowly we learn that this is not the case. It remains quite vague however what kind of world The Gunslinger lives in and what happened there.
The part of the story that plays out in the ‘present day’ in the desert is strange and reminds me most of King’s other horror books, the more typical King-style. Strange, bloody and unforgiving. When King takes us back in time to Roland’s youth though, the story gets a different feeling. I can best compare it to the feeling you get when reading an Epic Fantasy tale. It feels familiar and warmer. The contrast fascinated me immensely. Being thrown back and forth between these two completely different worlds was unnerving, but in a good way.
In the end though, I can’t decide if I really liked this book or not. It was a fun read and I already knew I had a bit of trouble with King’s style before I started this book. So I can’t really say that I didn’t expect to feel a bit negative about it. I’ll probably read the rest of the books before passing final judgment.
That’s right! I have now been living in Australia for a week. It still feels a bit surreal and I can’t figure out yet how I feel about it.
You may have noticed that the last few months no new reviews or other book-related posts have gone up on the blog. Though I’ve still been reading a lot, I felt I needed to focus on my studies and my friends and family a bit more. In October of 2015 I moved to the UK to start my PhD there and since then my life has been a whirlwind of new experiences. I met an amazing group of friends in Nottingham and knowing I would have to leave after a year, I spent almost all my time and energy on enjoying their company. Of course, doing a PhD is not an easy thing either. I am still really excited about my project and I wanted it to go well. Lastly, there was also my family and friends in Belgium that I left behind last year. It was important to me to spend some time with them too, because of the big move I knew was coming.
All that is in the past now. I had to say goodbye to friends and family in both countries and I moved yet again to another one. This time on the other side of the world. I don’t think it has really hit me that I’m living in Australia now. The only thing that makes it real is the sad feeling I get when I Skype with my parents and see the home I grew up in or when I see my friends doing things together and me not being a part of it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it has been amazing being here. When the weather is good (and it hasn’t been for most of the week unfortunately), I went out to explore and Adelaide is truly beautiful. I also have some friends here who have been amazing, showing me around, helping me make sense of everything.
I will be living here for the next two years and I have a feeling this is the right time to revive the blog. I miss being part of the book community sometimes and I certainly miss talking about the books I’ve read.
So bear with me, I’m currently trying to find a flat and hopefully that will happen in the next few days, so that in a week I’ll be all settled in and can start writing reviews again.
Release date: July 31st, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Let’s talk about the most hyped book of the moment: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Sometimes called the eight Harry Potter book, actually the script of a play based on J.K. Rowling’s idea of an adult Harry, Ron and Hermoine. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t planning on buying the book, because it’s not really a novel and I’m not a big fan of reading scripts. I also said goodbye to the Harry Potter universe quite decisively after the 7th book and 8th film. It was the end, I was happy. But there I was at 1am in front of a book store in Ghent, buying 50 copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for the Harry Potter fans who attended our quidditch tournament. It wouldn’t be right for me to walk out of there without a book for myself. So I did buy one. I finished it in 2 days and I am as disappointed as I thought I would be.
Release date: March 1st, 2016
Age Group: Adult
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
For more than sixteen hundred years, Nick Medea has followed and guarded the Gate that keeps the mortal realm and that of Feirie separate, seeking in vain absolution for the fatal errors he made when he slew the dragon. All that while, he has tried and failed to keep the woman he loves from dying over and over.
Yet in the fifty years since the Night the Dragon Breathed over the city of Chicago, the Gate has not only remained fixed, but open to the trespasses of the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk. Not only does that mean an evil resurrected from Nick’s own past, but the reincarnation of his lost Cleolinda, a reincarnation destined once more to die.
Nick must turn inward to that which he distrusts the most: the Dragon, the beast he slew when he was still only Saint George. He must turn to the monster residing in him, now a part of him…but ever seeking escape.
The gang war brewing between Prohibition bootleggers may be the least of his concerns. If Nick cannot prevent an old evil from opening the way between realms…then not only might Chicago face a fate worse than the Great Fire, but so will the rest of the mortal realm.
I’m having real trouble rating and reviewing this book. It was a bit of an odd one. It is an interesting story with a new take on Feirie that quite surprised me, but it also had a number of flaws. Right before the end I was going for 3 solid stars, but the ending makes me want to add another half one. I was happy about the turn the book took in the last few pages and it shifted my whole perspective of the book a bit.
Release date: February 11th, 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Age Group: Adult
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming
Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She can’t disown half her soul, so escapes – with the killer Broken Axe in pursuit.
Maniye’s father plots to rule the north, and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, a time of testing and broken laws. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. But what spark will set the world ablaze?
I’ve said it here and on social media a hundred times before: that cover was enough to convince me to read this book. On top of that, I read ‘Empire in Black and Gold’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky recently and really enjoyed it, so I was curious to see how he would use his talent for creating fascinating and imaginative worlds in this book.
About the book
The final adventure in the New York Times bestselling Temeraire series that started with the beloved His Majesty’s Dragon which has won fans of Napoleonic-era military history, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, and Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring adventures.
The deadly campaign in Russia has cost both Napoleon and those allied against him. Napoleon has been denied his victory…but at a terrible price. Lawrence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the fleeing French army back west, but are demoralized when Napoleon makes it back to Paris unscathed. Worse, they soon learn that the French have stolen Termeraire and Iskierka’s egg. Now, it is do or die, as our heroes not only need to save Temeraire’s offspring but also to stop Napoleon for good!
Publication date: June 14th, 2016 (Del Rey(US)/Harper Voyager(UK))
There is currently a contest going on to win a signed copy of League of Dragons! For more details, look here.
About the author
Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973, a first-generation American, and raised on Polish fairy tales, Baba Yaga, and Tolkien. She studied English Literature at Brown University and did graduate work in Computer Science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide.
Her first novel, His Majesty’s Dragon, was published in 2006 along with Throne of Jade and Black Powder War, and has been translated into 23 languages. She has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. The fourth volume of the Temeraire series, Empire of Ivory, published in September 2007, was a New York Times bestseller, and was followed by bestsellers Victory of Eagles and Tongues of Serpents.
On April 26, 2011, she published Will Supervillains Be on the Final?, volume one in a new graphic novel series titled Liberty Vocational. She is also currently writing League of Dragons, the final Temeraire novel.
She is one of the founding board members of the Organization for Transformative Works, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the fair-use rights of fan creators, and is herself a fanfic writer and fan vidder.
Naomi lives in New York City with her husband and eight computers. (They multiply.)
I can’t believe this is the last day of May already… For me, that has brought so many things closer than I thought they were. I’m leaving for Australia in 4 months. 4 months. It feels like I only arrived in the UK just yesterday. The Quidditch World Cup, where I’ll be a referee, will happen in less than 2 months. I will finish my first PhD year in 4 months. Can you slow down a bit now, time? It’s getting a bit scary.
Book-wise things are going pretty great though. I’ve read quite a fair amount of books this month, for me at least. I’ve bought a lot of books too. The local bookshop closed down last Saturday and had to sell all its books at reduced prices. I spent about 45min in there just browsing all the books, wishing I could take them all home. I asked what would happen with all the books that didn’t get sold, but that was still a big mystery it seems. I just hope they can find a nice home in charity or a library somewhere.
Read and Currently Reading
The Tiger and The Wolf – Adrian Tchaikovsky
What a treat this book was. It’s the second book by Adrian Tchaikovsky that I’ve read, Empire in Black and Gold being the first one. I enjoy his writing very much and I love how he can make his novels so imaginative and unique, without giving up any other aspect of good storytelling. The premise is original, the characters well-developed and the whole book is an amazing page-turner.
Planetfall – Emma Newman
I reviewed this book earlier this month, so go ahead and have a look at the links at the end of this post if you want to know what I thought about this one.
The Gunslinger – Stephen King
Finally! This one has been on my TBR for a very long time. I was really curious to find out if I’d like this book or not. I’ve had some trouble with reading King’s material before. I encountered the same problems in the beginning of The Gunslinger. I couldn’t really get in to it, the writing threw me off a bit. Slowly though I got sucked into the story more and more and ultimately I began to quite like it. It is a short book, so I’ll leave my final judgement for after I’ve read the second book in the series.
The Bones of You – Debbie Howells
My psychological thriller for this month. It was advertised as a thrilling debut and it looked really interesting. I enjoyed reading it, but again quite quickly I suspected what had happened to the victim. The rest of the build-up around it and the glimpses we got into the life of the victim added an extra dimension of drama to the story which still made it interesting.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
I’m going to be controversial here and say that this book didn’t convince me at all. I bought it because everyone (and I mean, literally everyone) was raving about it. I really had to struggle to get through this book, it took me a couple of months to finish it. It didn’t really appeal to me. Even though it is quite progressive and that is what a lot of people loved so much about this book, it all seemed a bit forced to me. The last bit of the book was alright, I actually cared a bit then, but it was not enough to redeem this book for me.
Black City Saint – Richard A. Knaak
Still on this one. I kinda lost track of it, getting caught up in other books or trying to finish some I had been reading for a while. Will definitely get back to this one asap.
Nunslinger – Stark Holborn
After The Gunslinger it seemed fun to start Nunslinger. So far it’s been really good, I like Stark Holborn’s way of writing. The chapters are very short and the book itself is actually a collection of a series of 12 short stories. This makes it pretty fast-paced, which I really like.
Dancer’s Lament – Ian C. Esslemont
My first steps into the Malazan world! I’ve only just started this one, but I’m super excited!
- Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 edited by Mercedes Lackey
- Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Air War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
- Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F. Hamilton
Thank you Pyr for the Nebula Awards Showcase 2016!
Posts in May
- Top Ten Tuesday: Four Website I Love That Aren’t About Books
- Spotlight: The Sudden Appearance of Hope – Claire North
- Cover Artist: Tommy Arnold
- Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim
- Review: Planetfall – Emma Newman
How has your month in books been?
Release date: November 3rd, 2015
Age Group: Adult
From the award-nominated author Emma Newman, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing…
Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.
More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.
Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.
The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…
After reading Emma Newman’s successful The Split Worlds, I was eager to read her new book, Planetfall. It promised to be something completely different and I wondered how I would end up liking that. Planetfall has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. It’s an emotional, intelligent tale about surviving and coping with tragedy. It maybe wasn’t completely what I had expected, but I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless.
op Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. Every Tuesday bloggers list 10 bookish things according to a certain theme. Today we’re listing ten books that we picked up on a whim. I’m going to interpret this as buying/reading books that I hadn’t heard about before. As a blogger and follower of the online book community it’s hard not to buy based on recommendations, so I really liked this opportunity of looking through my books finding these that I just bought because they stood out on the shelves. They’re mostly older ones that I bought before I got into the book-blogging community. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of them again, a lot of them were absolute favourites of mine when I was a teenager.
1.TimeBomb – Scott K. Andrews
I picked up TimeBomb from a table of free books at a convention. I can’t remember if it was Nine Worlds or Fantasycon. I liked the cover and the description of the book and I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed the book very much and can’t wait to read the second one (which also has a stunning cover btw).
2. Shadow’s Son – Jon Sprunk
I picked up Shadow’s Son when I was a at big book fair in Belgium. They do a tour of Flanders and the Netherlands with a huge amount of all sorts of books, most at reduced prices. I go every year and because it’s always very busy, the selection of books I buy there are mostly based on covers and quick glances at descriptions. Shadow’s Son was one I bought solely based on the cover and it is basically how I discovered Pyr. It is the first book in a trilogy and I enjoyed all three of them very much.
3. The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima
Aaah, The Demon King! I bought it at the same book fair as Shadow’s Son and fell in love with it straight away. I bought the other two books in the series immediately after and eagerly awaited the fourth and last book after that. Seven Realms is a series that’ll always belong to my favourite YA series and it’s all because I picked up the first book because I liked the cover.
I stumbled across Tommy Arnold’s work when I discovered the books Skyborn and Fireborn by David Dalglish. I was blown away by the beautiful covers and after looking through his other work, I must say he’s a new favourite of mine. I’ve added some examples below, but for more art, prints or to get in contact with the artist you can go to his website.
All images shown below are copyrighted by the artist.