The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Admittedly, it’s not much of a synopsis for the book but what it does do is set the scene of long ages past, an established world, and a cyclical recurring of Shadow.  The beginning of the story does have a similarity to Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings, to give you some idea of the direction of the book, but soon opens out into something pleasingly different, once it gets going.

I savoured the beginning much more this second time around, knowing all that would happen in the next 13 instalments, it was good to appreciate the build up.  Straight from the off there are plenty of details fleshing out the land and its peoples, and a compelling legend of the local area.  The world building was one of the main reasons I came back to this series.

The burgeoning foundations are very solid, and also puts many important pieces in play for later books, something the reader won’t appreciate without the hindsight of latter entries, and a reread.  There is plenty of peril coming from all angles which keeps the story moving, and the atmosphere is heavy on the hunted feel, where anyone or anything could be masking  its own hidden purposes. Continue reading “The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan”

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Viridian Gate Online

An extinction-level asteroid is cannonballing toward Earth. In humanity’s final hours, a lucky few earn a one-way ticket to the brand-new, ultra-immersive, fantasy-based VRMMORPG, Viridian Gate Online. Making that leap of faith might mean survival, but it comes with a steep price tag: “Travelers” will forever be stranded as digital avatars inside a fantastical world filled with vicious monsters, all-powerful AIs, and cutthroat players. Let the games begin…

Recently I have been dipping my toes in something a bit different from my usual literary tastes.  As someone with little enough time for gaming, it is perhaps best that I live that life vicariously through the means of a humble book.

Having got my hands on two of the nine books in the Viridian Gate Online series, so far,  I am looking forward to immersing myself in this virtual world, whilst sagely nodding along to references that I may or may not quite get.

As the ever long, and still growing list of books continues to weigh heavy on my time, and my shelves, never let it be said that I don’t keep stretching my boundaries, in new and interesting directions.

Thanks to James. A. Hunter, and J. D. Harpley for securing me these copies, reviews will be coming just as soon.

Book Memories #3 The Eye of the World

After the obligatory reading of all the Middle Earth literature, there came a hankering for another Big Fantasy, and perusing the pages of the Waterstones Quarterly magazine back in 2001, I came across a review for the paperback version of Winter’s Heart, book nine of the (then) ongoing wheel of time series.

The bite sized paragraph review spoke of convoluted quests, many characters, and wanderings on a vast map.  Naturally, I was sold on this.  Not only for the amount of words to read (the overall total for the series being 4,410,036 according to Wikipedia) but the word convoluted appealed, greatly too.

Almost two decades since I picked up that first entry, and I again plucked it from a bookshop’s shelf home, due to a hankering for the series.   The covers in the UK are now a fancy black but this cover (as was my original) is of a quite unimpressively realised depiction of some of the main characters.  Thankfully only my original books one and two were these hand drawn creations.  Although I imagine many fans were annoyed by the mid series change of cover that came about before book ten (and if I remember rightly the lone prequel New Spring).

Having read a few things in the glossary whilst in the shop, I was eager to delve straight into its 782 pages, there were so many characters and events popping back into my head.  It’s good to return in this world, I enjoy being there even if nothing happens (not an exaggeration) in book ten. I am just happy to relive the adventure in Jordan’s world. Continue reading “Book Memories #3 The Eye of the World”

Books, Again

After the good news of last post, Crissy’s anniversary gift to me was to let me run rampant in a bookshop.  This excitement was slightly sullied as half of the shop was blocked off due to cleaning so I couldn’t get to the science section, amongst others. The history section was disappointingly lacking too.

Rallying, I did manage to pick up three books, and went to a coffee shop, pleasingly empty, to review my new purchases.  Supping a hot Mocha, and trying not to gag at the stupidly powerful smelling cheese meal the woman half the café away was eating, it was with great pleasure that I slowly peeled back the plastic bag to review the new reads.

Having read The Great Gatsby all the way back in sixth form, and being reminded of the pleasure I had from that book by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie.  I fancied reading more by F. Scott Fitzgerald so Now The Beautiful and Damned can take its place on the unread shelf next to Tender is the Night, which I also picked up a while back for the same reason. Continue reading “Books, Again”

Coming Soon!

When this popped up on my Facebook feed it was a pleasant surprise.  Regularly reviewed author Jess Harpley (AKA J.D. Astra) is part of a forthcoming anthology from Shadow Alley Press. Of which more details available soon. Check out the publishers if it takes your fancy!  At a later date will also see book two of the Earth’s Peril series, I reviewed book one, Sway’s Demise here if anybody needs a refresher.

Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks – David Lavery

Full of Secrets contains virtually everything you need to know about Twin Peaks. This fascinating collection of essays considers David Lynch’s politics, the enigmatic musical score, and the show’s cult status, treatment of violence, obsession with doubling, and silencing of women. Also included are a director and writer list, a cast list, a Twin Peaks calendar, a complete scene breakdown for the entire series, and a comprehensive bibliography.

What a comeback event the first few episodes of the third season  of Twin Peaks was. No doubt one of the seminal shows of television history, this book analyses the first two seasons and prequel film Fire Walk With me but rest assured as ever, there are no spoilers contained anywhere within this review.

The twelve detailed analyses contained in this collection are part of the fascinating world of deconstruction that never ceases to revolve around this enigmatic show.  It is a shame, then, that it is such a challenge to tease out the interesting bits from a lot of overblown posturing.

Any attempt to intellectualise Twin Peaks (as written by these authors all with a Ph.d) will predictably straddle the fine line between pretentious and sometimes insightful.  There is a lot called on here to illustrate points from art and literature all the way through to Semiotics.  It underlines the point that when something is a mystery, more obscure references must be pulled in to explain points and thus widen and convolute the original enigma.

The selection of subjects is of varying interest, the internet chatrooms – in their infancy in the early 90’s – is interesting, as the state of US TV and how programmes are marketed to different demographics. Any mention of Umberto Eco is always likely to make my day as well. Continue reading “Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks – David Lavery”

Booked Up for a While

It’s been a while and although this is sadly not the review I mentioned in the last post, it is nonetheless a post.  Recently I have been distracted by even more good literature (fiction and non fiction) and I’m really excited to be in the process reviewing.  I will do that as soon as I can but first, here is a bunch of new books that cost less than a tenner.

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There is a sensible reason for these purchases, wanting to downsize my books somewhat this year, It makes sense to buy more books so I can feel inspired to start clearing the ones I don’t want anymore as I read/review them.This is logical as otherwise I would be drowned by paper through my own laziness and/or hoarding tendencies.

these purchases also represent a pile of firsts, which just occurred to me as I was casting around for more to say about them… Continue reading “Booked Up for a While”