The Shadow of the Wind – Review

La Sombra del Viento (The Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Published in 2001; English translation in 2004

Lucia Graves Translation

Pages: 487

Genre: Mystery, Spanish literature

“I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.”

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, is a novel about love, mystery, and (most important of all) books. Following Daniel Sempere from his childhood until he is a young adult, the book is about his life in Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War while he searches for the truth about an enigmatic author named Julián Carax. Revelations abound as his life intertwines with that of the tragic author and danger is around every corner when malevolent forces try to bury their secrets. Continue reading “The Shadow of the Wind – Review”

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Elric of Melniboné – Review

Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock

Published in 1972

Pages: 181

Genre: Fantasy

“It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair which flows below his shoulders is milk-white.”

This first sentence describes the eponymous hero in Elric of Melniboné, by Michael Moorcock. The albino emperor takes center stage in this fantasy tale about love, betrayal, magic, and fate. What seems like a standard hero’s journey for most of its story turns into a promising start to a series, though possibly too late in the book for it to be effective. Continue reading “Elric of Melniboné – Review”

The Wars of the Roses – Review

The Wars of the Roses by Desmond Seward

Illustrations by Frances Button

Published in 1995; 2011 Edition by The Folio Society – Third printing 2013

Pages: 372

Genre: History, nonfiction, English history

 

Disclaimer: This review will be different from the norm in that it is split into two parts: a standard, albeit shorter, book review and a specific review of this Folio Society edition. I am endorsing this product through my own volition and belief in its high quality.

 

Part I: The Story

“During the last years of the fifteenth century, on a morning in late summer, a small man stood alone by himself in a meadow in the English Midlands.”

The Wars of the Roses, by Desmond Seward, tells the story of one of the most politically intriguing and ruthless stretches of time in the history of England. Brother fought brother and nobles were slandered in the pursuit of power and control of the nation. This book, reproduced by The Folio Society, dives into the gritty details of the conflict and creates a story by following the threads of five people who played integral parts during the decades of death and deliverance. Continue reading “The Wars of the Roses – Review”

Eragon – Review

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Illustrations by John Jude Palencar

Published in 2003

Pages: 503

Genre: Fantasy, young adult

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

Though it may initially look like a typo because the story focuses on a dragon and the boy who rides her in battle, Eragon by Christopher Paolini actually refers to the book’s main character. A story of swordplay, waiting, meandering, and possible narcolepsy, Eragon fails to deliver on the promise of interesting dragon action and instead finds itself bogged down by indecision and onerous world-building. Buckle into your dragon saddles, kids; this isn’t gonna be pretty. Continue reading “Eragon – Review”

Norse Gods – Review

Norse Gods by Johan Egerkrans

Illustrations by Johan Egerkrans

Published as Nordiska gudar in 2016; English translation published in 2017

Susan Beard Translation

Pages: 160

Genre: Mythology, Norse mythology

“In the beginning – before the world existed, before men and before the gods themselves – there was only fire, ice, and nothingness.”

There are few characters as provocative, intimidating, and fascinating as the gods that reside within Norse mythology. Many books retelling the myths that survived the oral tradition have been written, but none so beautifully realized as Norse Gods by Swedish illustrator, Johan Egerkrans. In the first English edition of his book, translated by Susan Beard, Egerkrans leads the reader into the halls of Asgard, the depths of the sea surrounding Midgard, and through dwarven holds in a book that maintains its fidelity to the old tales while injecting a refreshing visual translation of the old gods and their tales.

1. Midgard.jpg

Continue reading “Norse Gods – Review”

Tuesdays with Morrie – Review

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Published in 1997

Pages: 192

Genre: Nonfiction, memoir

“The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves.”

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, is probably one of the most famous works of writing to come out of the 1990s. After being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a professor of sociology decides to use the remaining time he has to spread a message of love and hope. Throughout this process, he is reunited with a former student who helps him as he makes the transition toward his next journey after life. Continue reading “Tuesdays with Morrie – Review”

A Game of Thrones – Review

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Illustrations by 18 different artists

Published in 1996; 2016 20th Anniversary Illustrated Edition

Pages: 843

Genre: Fantasy

“We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them.”

There are few fantasy series that have made such an impact in the 21st century as the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Ironically, the series began in 1996 with the release of A Game of Thrones, but didn’t receive mainstream attention outside of the genre until it was adapted into the HBO show that has garnered dozens of accolades and millions of viewers. Focusing on the lives of men and women living in a fictional world, A Game of Thrones takes the first step in a long, winding epic that turned the genre on its head and has made a lasting mark in Western pop culture. Continue reading “A Game of Thrones – Review”