Tag Archives: Fantasy

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb


Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) by Robin Hobb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great start to what is clearly an epic saga. Fitz is the bastard son of a (now deceased) Prince, his mother didn’t care for him well, and his Grandfather wanted nothing more to do with him, so he dumped him to be brought up within the household of the royal family. Fitz grows up a stable boy, until he is recognised to have more useful skills, both physical and magical, and is trained in various arts of deception, poisoning, and eventually the psychic communication and influence that is part of his Royal heritage.

With a lot of character progression, and many trials and tribulations, this book is a hefty novel that does keep you well engaged throughout. With many many sequels already published, I’m a bit late to the party, but it’s never too late to pick up a good book! I will certainly add the next one in the series to my list. And the next..

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman


The MagiciansThe Magicians by Lev Grossman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Addictive! I couldn’t put this book down. Quentin Coldwater is highly intelligent, adept at card tricks and slight of hand, but normal life seems to be missing something. For comfort he falls back on a series of children’s books, which have been his favourite since he and his best friend Julia were small. The Fillory books are similar to Narnia, in that a group of children find their way into this fantastical world by passing through hidden doors and such (in the books).

Whilst attending an interview for a place at a prestigious university, Quentin’s circumstances suddenly change when the interviewer is found to be dead, he acquires a copy of the final (previously unknown) Fillory book, and stumbles to the steps of Brakebills University. Where you study Magic – for real. Not only is magic real, but there are beasts encroaching on the real world, studies and assignments to complete, relationships to be made – and as it turns out Fillory is also real!

Part Harry Potter, part Narnia, part Hex (anyone else remember that short-lived TV series in the early 2000s in the UK?!), part Buffy the Vampire Slayer – but for adults! The setting is not a school, but a University, therefore the relationships are more adult, the drinking and swearing are definitely not for the uninitiated, and there’s also sex and intrigue! What’s not to like?

Packed with well-drawn out characters, who only occasionally fall on the whiny side, you want to follow them through this journey and beyond.

The first of a trilogy, and also the basis for the SyFy TV series of the same name (broadcast on Channel 5, or one of its’ variants in the UK). I’ll definitely be back for parts 2 and 3.

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The Magicians by Grossman, Lev (2009)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two: The Official Playscript of the Original West End Production (Harry Potter Officl Playscript)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two: The Official Playscript of the Original West End Production by John Tiffany

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Through his first few school years placed in Slytherin house at Hogwarts, we follow young Albus Severus Potter, son of Harry and Ginny. Harry Potter is now a Minster of Magic, and has trouble connecting to his son on a personal level. Albus, being the son of such a famous Wizard is unhappy; discontent with who he is and his family’s history. He befriends Scorpius Malfoy, and together they go about (indirectly) proving that a name and school house don’t necessarily dictate who you really are.
Along with the help (and hindrance) from a few other characters, Albus tries to right a wrong in the past which he thinks will help make the future better – the ramifications of which, of course, go way beyond anything he could have imagined.

Ultimately a stand-alone story, which gives some new perspectives on previously seen and read situations, but don’t ultimately affect or interfere with the overall narrative of the Harry Potter books, or movies.

Written, as explained on the cover, as a play script, the action is primarily delivered through dialogue and set directions. The world building in a play script is always bare-bones, in order for the director to utilise their own vision for the production itself.

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The Vagrant by Peter Newman


The Vagrant (The Vagrant, #1)The Vagrant by Peter Newman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this book because of the intriguing main characters, and the fantasy setting. Stay with it because of the GOAT! That’s a farm animal with one hell of a survival instinct!

The Vagrant has no name, and he never speaks. His only purpose initially is to keep his ward alive, a young baby, hidden within his cloak. He has come into possession of a mystical sword, and it is this item which drags him into the plot of the novel, somewhat reluctantly. Since an invasion by an infectious entity (or two) from the underworld, the human inhabitants struggle to survive in this new reformed world. Many humans and creatures have become infected with mutations, or are mind-controlled by the entities as they spread their influence and corruption. The invasion is described in flashback passages whilst the current narrative continues.

I’ve not read pure fantasy in a while, and it took me some effort to conjure the setting, characters, and entities in my mind. These types of books are very good for exercising your visual memory and imagination. If you don’t have a particularly “visual-brain” then fantasy can be tricky to follow. I’ve certainly got to be in the right mindset to begin with, when starting one of these novels. But they’re usually worth the effort!

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How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman


How the Marquis Got His Coat Back
How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short novella. Story wise, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Minor spoilers in the review below. You do need to have read Neverwhere before reading this follow on, as it happens concurrent to the events in that book.

The Marquis, during the plot of Neverwhere, is relieved of his precious coat. Croup and Vandemar essentially kill our Marquis, and dispose of his body. Luckily, the Marquis had a back up plan, and he can therefore continue in his quest and get his coat back! And also, eventually return to his responsibilities in the main story of Neverwhere.

A very enjoyable reminder of the world of London Below, the sewer people, the rat people, and all of the other varied inhabitants of that other world.

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