December 30, 2010

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

Title:  The Dragonbone Chair
Author:  Tad Williams
Format:  HC
Pages:  60 of 765
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  DAW, 1988
ISBN-13:  978-0809900039
Series:  Memory, Shadow and Thorn, Book 1

Favorite Quote:  N/A

Synopsis (Amazon):  From the bestselling author of Tailchaser's Song comes the first volume in an epic fantasy trilogy with all the magic, wonder, and magnificence of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. A young magician's apprentice's dreams of adventure come true when his world is torn apart by war and dark sorcery.

Review:  Slow and very hard to get interested in.  There is a little too much time dedicated to religious beliefs, which always tries my patience.  I read on Amazon reviews that if you read this book past the half-way point, it gets suddenly better.  I normally give a book either 50 pages or 10% of the total pages (whichever is greater) to grab my interest, but I couldn't even make to the 76th page.  It's a shame, since this is one of the series I'd planned to complete as part of my 2011 Series to Complete Challenge, but I'm taking all four books off my To Be Read pile and donating them to the library.  Maybe someone else will enjoy them.  I won't.

Rating:  0 / 5

Shadowfires by Dean Koontz

Title:  Shadowfires
Author:  Dean Koontz
Format:  HC
Pages:  391
Genre:  Horror
Publisher:  Berkley, 1993
ISBN-13:  978-0425136980
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  It said, "Raysheeeel, Raysheeeel," no longer capable of speaking her name clearly.

Synopsis (Amazon):  A fearful divorcee is relieved when her enraged ex-husband dies in a freak accident, but her terror returns when his body disappears and she is stalked by a man who looks just like him.

Review:  I really like Dean Koontz.  However, this is not one of his better novels.  It was a fast read and not terrible, but I knew, far too soon, what was going on with the dead ex-husband look-alike.  A couple of the secondary characters were far more interesting than the two main characters, who were just kind of boring.  The plot was too obvious to me and the ending was too neat and tidy.  I'm disappointed.

Rating:  2 / 5

December 27, 2010

Against All Things Ending by Stephen R. Donaldson

Title:  Against All Things Ending
Author:  Stephen R. Donaldson
Format:  HC
Pages:  575
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Putnam, 2010
ISBN-13:  978-0399156786
Series:  The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 9

Favorite Quote:  He did not glance at Linden.  In a low voice as taut as choking, he said to her, or to the distant home of the Haruchai, "He is my son.  To the last he remained himself."

Synopsis (Amazon):  Thomas Covenant is alive again, restored to his mortal body by the unimaginable combined force of his own white gold ring, Linden Avery's Staff of Law, and the ancient dagger called High Loric's krill. His resurrection is Linden's defiant act of love, despite warnings from mortals and immortals that unleashing this much power would destroy the world. She brought his spirit back from its prison in the Arch of Time, and revived his slain body, so that Covenant lies whole on the cool grass, and the world seems at peace. But the truth is inescapable: The thunderclap of power has awakened the Worm of the World's End, and all of them, and the Land itself, are forfeit to its devouring. If they have any chance to save the Land, it will come from unlikely sources- including the mysterious boy Jeremiah, Linden's adopted son, whose secrets are only beginning to come to light.

Review:  I eagerly awaited the publication of this book.  I couldn't wait to read it.  And, I wasn't disappointed.  This book made me laugh.....and it made me cry.  It was everything good fiction should be.  Again and again, this author proves to me why he's in my top five all-time favorite authors and also why this series is still, after all these years, my favorite fantasy fiction ever.  I was left in a cliff-hanger (no surprise!) and cannot wait until the next (and last!) book comes out in a few years.

Rating:  5 / 5

December 25, 2010

Fatal Revenant by Stephen R. Donaldson

Title:  Fatal Revenant
Author:  Stephen R. Donaldson
Format:  HC
Pages:  590
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Putnam, 2007
ISBN-13:  978-0399154461
Series:  The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 8

Favorite Quote:  "Ah, risk," the Ironhand said as she subsided.  "Linden Avery, life is risk.  All who inhabit the Earth inhale peril with each breath.  Though some hazards inspire more alarm than others, the truth remains, as sure as stone and sea.  We are Giants and adore life.  We do not baulk at mere risk."

Synopsis (Amazon):  In the most eagerly-awaited literary sequel in years, Linden Avery, who loved Thomas Covenant and watched him die at the end of Book Six, has returned to the Land in search of her kidnapped son, Jeremiah. As Fatal Revenant begins, Linden watches from the battlements of Revelstone while the impossible happens—riding ahead of the hordes attacking Revelstone are Jeremiah and Covenant himself, apparently very much alive. But Covenant is strangely changed…

Review:  This is the second time I've read this book.  For me, the best part of this book was the return of Thomas Covenant.  Don't take me wrong, I like Linden Avery, but Thomas Covenant is the main character I learned to love over twenty years ago when I picked up the first book of this series at the local library.  There are many great secondary characters, including The Mahdoubt, Giants, and Haruchai.  This book is descriptive, emotional, and action-packed.  It ends in a cliff-hanger, leaving me relieved that I already have the next book in the series.  Stephen R. Donaldson shows himself to be the master of the fantasy genre once again with his completely believable and lovely Land.

Rating: 5 / 5

December 23, 2010

Literary Escapism New Author Challenge 2011

And because I don't have enough challenges, I decided to enter the Literary Escapism New Author Challenge 2011.  I'm going to start out shooting for 15 new authors (the minimum) but hopefully I can get a better number than that!  Since this is my first year doing these kind of challenges, I won't join any least not unless I just can't resist ;)

December 21, 2010

Learning the way around

Well, I think I've finally figured out my way around here.  I've changed the look of the blog.  I've added all my 2011 Reading Challenges to the right side.  They'll be updated as needed to reflect my progress.  I feel ready.  Hopefully I'll be able to at least make a good sized dent in the pile of books I've got around here....we'll see.

Tonight, I'm reading Fatal Revenant by Stephen R. Donaldson.  The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are my very, very favorite books of all time in the fantasy genre.  I revisit them from time to time.  Mr. Donaldson just put out the latest book in this series, Against All Things Ending.  I understand the final book in the series (finally, after only 20+ years of waiting!) will come out in 2013.  I will certainly be re-reading these books then, all of them, just to get the whole story at one time.

I think I'll be adding a Quotes section either tonight or this weekend with a selection of my favorite quotes from various books I've read.  If anybody is reading this and wants to send in a good quote, just send the quote, the title of the book, and the author.  I'll put it on the list if I agree it's a good one.

December 19, 2010

2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge

Starting in 2011, I've decided to document the books I read.  To start things off, I'm joining the 2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge hosted by Darlyn & Books. It's only the start for me as far as reading goes, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

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