Showing posts with label Fantasy > Epic Fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fantasy > Epic Fantasy. Show all posts

The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin

The Hedge Knight (The Tales of Dunk and Egg #1) by George R.R. Martin 


4.23  ·  Rating details ·  14,998 Ratings  ·  610 Reviews
A novella originally published August 25, 1998 in the Legends anthology, edited by Robert Silverberg. Set in the world of the Song of Ice and Fire series eighty-nine years before the events of the main cycle, the story relates the adventures of Dunk (eponymously called Ser Duncan the Tall) and his squire, Egg.

The Hedge Knight book one of the remarkable prequel series to A Song of Ice and Fire. The Hedge Knight focuses on Dunk a young man whose master, friend, and mentor Ser Arlan of Pennytree has recently died. Dunk finds himself at a crossroads wondering if he should become a hedge knight like Ser Arlan or join a city watch for a simpler more stable life and future. Dunk decides to be a hedge knight. Dunk the Lunk as Ser Arlan affectionately called him took the moniker Ser Duncan the Tall and enters a tournament that ends up being far more important than any person could imagine.

In the medieval setting of Westeros -about a century before Ice and Fire- Dunk, the hedge knight, aspires to be acknowledged as equal to other knights of the realm. He takes part in a tournament where renowned knights of the Seven Kingdoms, the Kingsguard and royalty (we get to see Targaryens at play) compete as well.
Amidst the jousting and the acts of bravery on the field, a minor quarrel escalates to a sentence of death, which finds the hedge knight in its center. The trial of the seven is the way things will be resolved, with unexpected results for everyone.

“A hedge knight must hold tight to his pride. Without it, he was no more than a sellsword”

“Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall.”

“A Hedge Knight is the truest kind of knight, Dunk. Other Knights serve the Lords who keep them, or from whom they hold their lands, but we serve where we will, for men whose causes we believe in. Every Knight swears to protect the weak, but we keep the vow the best, I think.”





Reviews


This short story is so refreshing after the marathon that is ASOIAF. When I read this the first time, I had just finished up the first 5 books in a row. I was completely exhausted and not interested in reading anything else anytime soon. About a week went by and I found my curiosity about these prequel short stories couldn't be put at bay any longer.

In The Hedge Knight, we meet Dunk and Egg and go on a journey with them to a tourney. While the original books are absolutely amazing, they can be quite overwhelming at times. In comparison, this short story was full of sunshine, happiness and rainbows. I loved getting to meet a full family of Targaryens and experience Westeros while it wasn't in the middle of war. If you have finished the ASOIAF series, this short story is a must-read!
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I have to say that comic books, which are sometimes called graphic novels now, have become more sophisticated. Writers like Moore, Gaiman and Miller, among others, have brought complex and dark realism. 
The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin  download or read online for free
The Hedge Knight
by George R.R. Martin

THE HEDGE KNIGHT is more of a medieval knight's tale with a great deal of enriched history to a fantasy world of great complexity.

In this tale, a knight with no lord to follow joins a tourney in the hopes of securing fame and fortune (i.e. winners in medieval tourneys sometimes got to keep the armor and horses of opponents which would be the value of a house today). He falls for a female woman who is being beat up by a man and his hirelings. After defeating them, he discovers him to be the grandson of the high king and in these regions it's death to touch such royalty.

His only hope is a trial by combat, and, in the tradition of their seven gods, there will be 7 on each side. The hedge knight must then find 6 others to fight in his name when he has absolutely no reputation.
The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin  download or read online for free
The Hedge Knight
by George R.R. Martin 2
If you have read neither, I would recommend the George Martin novelette first and then compare it to the comic.

Enjoy!

ARTISTIC PRESENTATION: B plus to A minus; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: A minus; STORY/PLOTTING/EDITING: B plus to A minus; WESTEROS FOCUS: A minus; ACTION SCENES: B to B plus; OVERALL GRADE: A minus; WHEN READ: last read mid 2011 (third time).
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I never knew how much I needed this until now!!! I have missed westeros so much and this was such a great way to see it from a different perspective and time! Dunk and Egg are the duo we deserve, I love them and their dynamic so much! This story felt so meaningful and I truly adored it, looking forward to seeing what these two get up to!!
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Perhaps, I'm a bit biased, I can admit that. I love Westeros. I love A Song of Ice and Fire. I didn't give every book five stars, so I feel I'm reasonable enough. With that being said, I loved this short story.


My initial fear when I first heard of this story was that neither Dunk nor Egg, the two protagonists, would have anything to do with the main story in ASOIAF. That turns out to be not true, so I just wanted to put that out there. A lot of Daenery's great relatives make appearances and both the protagonists are actually some pretty important characters in the fictional history of this world. So that had me all smiles throughout my read.

It started off, and it felt very predictable, though still enjoyable, though in classic Martin fashion, he kind of flips everything on it's head and takes it all in a different, and way better direction than my simple mind could have imagined.


The one flaw is that there are a lot of names and it gets hard to keep track. If you're a big nut like me, it's handy to have a google tab open so you can look at sigils and family trees and see who is related to who and all that nerdy good stuff.


I can't wait to get started on the next one.
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Having read all of Martin's Song of Fire and Ice significantly faster than he's writing new ones, and considering he doesn't seem to be making much progress with the next one: four years between the last book and the next, I was at a bit of a loose end for my Westeros fix. Luckily Martin has already published a trio of prequel short stories. Prequel is stretching the definition as this first one is set approximately 100 years before the events of A Game of Thrones but the families and names from Westerosi history all sound a little familiar – the Targaryens are on the iron throne and the Baratheons are still glory-seeking tourney addicts.

The Hedge Knight is the first story of Dunk and Egg. Dunk, or Ser Duncan the Tall as he becomes known, is a hedge knight – so called because they are knights without land or master, generally poor, who often sleep in hedges – the final act of his own master, Ser Alan of Pennytree, was to knight his squire Dunk. As an otherwise unproven knight, he wants to make his fortune so he enters the tourney lists. Egg is the young lad who tags along after him, just wanting to be his squire. It doesn't take too long to work out Egg's back story.

In true Martin style, it doesn't take too long for fights to break out and trouble to kick off. Before you know it the tourney is over and Dunk's sense of honour has led him way out of his depth and having to duel against proper knights – he could almost be a Stark. The story is self-contained – although there are already two follow on stories that feature the same characters, there's no need to worry about Martin not writing the sequel in seven years time.
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A great one-day read.
In the medieval setting of Westeros -about a century before Ice and Fire- Dunk, the hedge knight, aspires to be acknowledged as equal to other knights of the realm. He takes part in a tournament where renowned knights of the Seven Kingdoms, the Kingsguard and royalty (we get to see Targaryens at play) compete as well.
Amidst the jousting and the acts of bravery on the field, a minor quarrel escalates to a sentence of death, which finds the hedge knight in its center. The trial of the seven is the way things will be resolved, with unexpected results for everyone.

I've enjoyed it a lot and would recommend it to fans of the author, as well as to those of medieval fantasy in general. Although knowledge of the Houses' names can be helpful, the reader can easily follow the narration without it.
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I really love ASOFAI so this biased review should be taken with a pillar of salt.

Loved it. More knights of Westeros and a jousting tourney made for a great read. This is the first of three novellas about Aegon Targaryen aka Egg and his squiring for Ser Duncan a hedge knight.

Fun read and an absolute must for fans of the series. Not sure why I waited so long.
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Fans of George R. R. Martin’s most loved series, A Song of Ice and Fire, are always looking for more tales set in the world we adore so much. Being such a fan myself, The Hedge Knight was a must read.

The Tales of Dunk and Egg take place around one hundred years prior to the complicated story known as A Song of Ice and Fire. The Hedge Knight is the first of the prelude stories. These tales are not a necessity to understand the main series, but they’re a lot of fun for those fans who wish for a little bit more.

I’ll be completely honest about this story – I thought I’d be giving three stars. When the story started, I wasn’t as pulled in as I had hope to be. In fact, it took a while before the story pulled me under. However, once things started to move I found I was quickly won over. In fact, I went from strolling along to powering my way through to see how the end played out. Much like A Song of Ice and Fire, I went from ‘this is okay’ to ‘I am rather addicted’. It grabs you without you realising, pulling you in deep.

Despite being a short story, The Hedge Knight is a typical George R. R. Martin story. There is no denying the author of this work, the tell-tale trademarks being clear. I do not need to list out the George R. R. Martin trademarks – fans know what I’m talking about – and all are here in some way. Not all things are not as explicit as they are in A Song of Ice and Fire, but all the usual elements are simmering away in this little tale.

You’re guaranteed to be addicted to this little story, left wanting more Dunk and Egg tales.
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Now I get the appeal Sansa Stark feels when reading of tales from chivalrous Knights and their brave deeds, even the brutal battle scenes seems magical and romantic. With Dunk aka Ser Duncan the Tall, I get what a "True Knight" is supposed to be like, even though he's nothing more than a Hedge Knight, he is tall and handsome and brave and protects the weak and so dreamy!

The tale is based in the land of Westeros, 100 years before the tales of Ice and Fire began, when the Targaryans were the masters of the realm. Dunk is the underdog, newly made Knight in search honest work and at least one victory in a tourney. This particular tourney attracted all the noble families - Lannister, Baratheon, Dondarrion and even the Targaryen Princes. Overall it was Dunk from Fleabottom's innocence and strong belief in what a Knight should be that won him the friendship and admiration of the High Born and a very special squire.

Love this tale!!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11970747-the-hedge-knight

Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden

Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden


4.44  ·  Rating details ·  289,882 Ratings  ·  20,843 Reviews
Assassin's Creed Book Collection 3 Books Bundle Gift Wrapped Box Set Specially for you includes Titles in this Collection :- The Secret Crusade, Brotherhood, Renaissance.
Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade is the thrilling novelisation by Oliver Bowden based on the game series.Niccolò Polo, father of Marco, will finally reveal the story he has kept secret all his life - the story of Altaïr, one of the brotherhood's most extraordinary Assassins.Altaïr embarks on a formidable mission - one that takes him throughout the Holy Land and shows him the true meaning of the Assassin's Creed. To demonstrate his commitment, Altaïr must defeat nine deadly enemies, including Templar leader, Robert de Sable.
Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden download or read it online for free here
Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden

Box Set Collection Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood 'I will journey to the black heart of a corrupt Empire to root out my foes. But Rome wasn't built in a day and it won't be restored by a lone assassin. I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze. This is my brotherhood.'Rome, once mighty, lies in ruins. The city swarms with suffering and degradation, her citizens living in the shadow of the ruthless Borgia family. Only one man can free the people from the Borgia tyranny - Ezio Auditore, the Master Assassin. Assassin's Creed: Renaissance 'I will seek Vengeance upon those who betrayed my family. I am Ezio Auditore di Firenze. I am an Assassin...' The Year of Our Lord 1476 - the Renaissance: culture and art flourish alongside the bloodiest corruption and violence. Bitter blood-feuds rage between the warring political families of Italy. Please note these are normal standard books supplied by publishers which are then gift wraped in a generic slipcase specially for you to create your very own special gift box set ideal for Christmas, Birthday and any other special occasion.
Betrayed by the ruling families of Italy, a young man embarks upon an epic quest for vengeance. To eradicate corruption and restore his family's honour, he will learn the art of the assassins. To his allies, Ezio will become a force for change, fighting for freedom and justice. To his enemies, he will become a threat.
 I will journey to the black heart of a corrupt empire to root out my foes. But Rome wasn't built in a day and it won't be restored by a lone assassin. I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze. This is my Brotherhood...

Rome, once mighty, lies in ruins. The city swarms with suffering and degradation, her citizens living in the shadow of the ruthless Borgia family. Only one man can free the people from the Borgia tyranny- Ezio Auditore, the Master Assassin.

Ezio's quest will test him to his limits. Cesare Borgia, a man more villainous and dangerous than his father, the Pope, will not rest until he has conquered Italy. And in such treacherous times, conspiracy is everywhere, even within the ranks of the Brotherhood itself...

NICCOLO POLO, FATHER OF MARCO, WILL FINALLY REVEAL THE STORY HE HAS KEPT SECRET ALL HIS LIFE - THE STORY OF ALTAIR, ONE OF THE BROTHERHOOD'S MOST EXTRAORDINARY ASSASSINS.

Altair embarks on a formidable mission - one that takes him throughout the Holy Land and shows him the true meaning of the Assassin's Creed. To demonstrate his commitment, Altair must defeat nine deadly enemies, including Templar leader, Robert de Sable.

Altair's life story is told here for the first time: a journey that will change the course of history; his ongoing battle with the Templar conspiracy; a family life that is as tragic as it is shocking; and the ultimate betrayal of an old friend.



Reviews


I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked this book. I bought it mostly because I am somewhat obsessed with the game, and I wanted more Ezio, now please! I expected that at best it would be bearable to read because I don't tend to think too highly of novelizations of either movies or video games. But this was really good and fun.

Most of the story in the book is in the game as well, so the plot wasn't particularly surprising. But there were a few additional details - like, say, Leonardo's homosexuality, which wasn't even alluded to in the game (or if it was, I missed it) - that were fun to read about. Overall it's solidly written, and I have to say that considering the amount of both climbing and fight scenes he had to cover, the author did a really good job with this, and apparently had fun with it too (the Machiavelli jokes are a bit silly, but *I* loved them!).

I can imagine parts of the story are a bit harder to follow for people who haven't played the game, and I wish the book had covered the parts involving the present tense as well, but as it is I really enjoyed it. Especially because Ezio spends a ridiculous amount of time thinking about Leonardo ;)
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I first heard about Assassin's Creed from my brother in-law. He loves the games, was constantly commenting how Ezio was badass, how his moves and kills were impressive, and how the graphics were fantastic. When the novel came out, I spent months craving it, only now having the courage to buy, and finally, read it.

Oliver Bowden transports us to Italy, 1472, where a young man is about the learn the power and secrets of his family. After a brutal attack and betrayal, Ezio takes the name Auditore to a whole new level, seeking vengeance from those who took blood from the ones he loved. Ezio becomes an Assassin, as lethal and skillful as one can possibly get.

When I start reading a book in which the main character is an assassin, I immediately wonder if he's evil. I bet almost everyone cringed upon the words "I am an Assassin..." that's written in the back of Assassin's Creed. I know I did. So you can only guess how satisfied I was when I found out Ezio's not evil at all. He's what I would call fierce, in every single way. He loves his family and would do anything for them. At the same time, he kills without a drop of mercy, but only when he has to. I loved that. He's the kind of guy that I would be proud of, if I were his sister.

That said, I enjoyed his relationship - if multiple, and brief, encounters over the years can be called a relationship - with Cristina. I didn't expect him to be in love, and I certainly didn't expect for him to be so caring and ... cute... with Cristina. His love life was very, very different from the game, and by that, I was disappointed. But really, since I never played Assassin's Creed, my disappointment was short-lived.

To say Renaissance was a fast-paced book would be the understatement of the year. Ezio's 17 (if I'm not mistaken) when his story as an Assassin begins. At the end of the book, he's 44 years old. No, I didn't type that wrong. He's 44 years old. This means basically half of Ezio's life is described in 500 pages. I both love and hate that. I understand that the author wanted to show us what it means to be an Assassin. It's tiring and bloody. Ezio would spend years trying to find a guy, and months figuring out how to kill him. It makes the Order of the Assassins look way tougher than it sounds.

However - and that's the negative part of my review - it leaves no space whatsoever for character development. Sure, Ezio is more mature on the last chapters than he was on the first ones, but still, to write someone else's whole life, you have to describe their experiences, how they changed over each blow that life had landed upon them... and none of this happened with Ezio. It was so fast paced I was confused sometimes. The narrator would say that Ezio spent a long time searching for someone. I thought this "long time" would be weeks, months, or even a couple of years. And then I found out this "long time" was actually 8 years. How can you describe what happened to someone as special and broken as Ezio in 8 years with less than 3 pages? If the author keeps this pace up, how old will Ezio be on the third book? 89 years old?

Now, the ending itself. I liked it, but it was definitely not what I had expected. Really, it blew me away. I never thought Ezio's mission would be so important. I won't give anything away, but if I was playing the game, I'd have to pause to just absorb the ending for a moment. Just... what the hell?

Assassin's Creed is an excellent book for those who played, and enjoyed, the games. If you never played it - like me - you can read it anyway. It's a good way of learning Ezio Auditore's story, and reading an action-packed book.
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Even though I played the game, I found this book most entertaining. I have noticed that a lot of people have read The Secret Crusade as their first book. 
Which is totally understandable due to the fact that Altair was the first assassin in the game series. However The Secret Crusade is actually the third book in the series (still a bit shocked as you are)but I think I understand why Bowden did this. In the game Revelations, you go back learning about altiar's life, which is key of the game. What i think he wanted to do was make us read The Secret Crusade (after Assassins Creed Brotherhood), before Revelations so it wouldn't confuse the reader. Reading Altair's story first was a bit confusing so I put it off. After finally reading Renaissance, which ezio learns a bit of altair and gets his amor (don't rave, i have read brotherhood as well), it sort of makes sense to learn about Altair in the third book, since he is key in the 4th book.
Sorry fellow reviews I needed to get that off my chest, because a lot of people seemed confused in the comments.
Renaissance goes well with the video game in my opinion, so I give a 5 out of 5. Please don't rant because I didn't get "every detail" in the game to make me not like this book like the other people out there today. However Bowden does a good job so I'll continue to read his series. BOOK FANTASTIC
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A book that far exceeds the games plot and story. It goes more in to detail and simply floods your mind with great thoughts. 
Its one of those books where they don't get to the point very quickly and you have to be patient with it. Do not skip pages, or even chapters if you find it boring. And unless you play the game, or have read the first book, It might not be that easy to understand like the powers of the apple and how it plays in the story. But everything else in the story is pretty easy to catch on. A simple villain and hero story, but that's how its supposed to be.If it was complex, like one of those sagas where you have to read the first one, then I would not have enjoyed this book as much as I did, because I did not read the first one. But I pretty much got the idea. This book is perfect for any assassin's creed fan, or for readers who just want a wild ride, because that is simply what this book is. Now,I must go, for I am on my way to barnes and nobles to buy the first book,so I fully enjoy the second one.
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I have one word for everyone, and that's "Awesome". 
The book is so much better than the game. In the game they only showed the basic idea of what the book is, but the book it shows us what we missed out in the game. I guess being a gamer might have its disadvantages, but if you already know the story from the game then there are no surprises left for you. No matter which assassins creed it is, it always leaves you in the end saying " What the @#$% happened?). Oliver Bowden has done a amazing job of putting a game into a book, maybe there might be a movie about this series as well. Just a bit shorter though.
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Do you want to know to story of a master assassin?

This book is about the story of a master Assassin- Ezio Auditore. The novel is based on one of the most famous game, Assassins creed, more specifically, AC brotherhood. If you played the game before, you're going to understand the story a bit deeper. Because the books story simply tells more than the game itself. If you didn't play the game before, it's your best chance to understand Assassin's creed. But you won't understand a lot of things, so I still recommend you to read the previous books, since you have a lot of catching up to do. Both the story and it's characters are well written. The story starts with Ezio's successful assassination of a evil pope, and lots of problems came after it...

One thing I really like about this book, is how it keeps the original story just like in the game but simply tells more. And the events always keep you engaged, just like how the game keeps you engaged. However, the book also narrates all the violence and killing in great detail. I like it personally, but for people who dislike violence and blood, it's going to be a hard time reading the book. The author describes almost every kill in detail. And those words are so strong it actually forms a image in my mind. Again, it is in great detail.

I will recommend this book to all AC fans, game fans, or readers that likes action/adventure book. But I strong suggest people who can't take the blood and violence not to read the book, because there is a lot of killing and fighting scenes in the book.
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I love this game, I love this story, I love this book. I've been a fan of the Assassin's Creed franchise since playing the first game.

This is the third Assassin's Creed novel by Oliver Bowden but chronologically, timeline and game release wise, it comes first. Readers are not disadvantaged at all if they have not read the first two novels.

This novel is extremely faithful to the source material, it is clear Bowden worked closely with Ubisoft Montreal as most of the dialog is word perfect when compared to the game script, events and assassinations also play out almost exactly the same (albeit probably more skilled and professional than some of us gamers did it back in the day).

The story for those unfamiliar follows Altaïr ibn La-Ahad, an Assassin from Masyaf who is stripped of his `Master Assassin' rank very early in the story due to his arrogant attitude and lack of respect for the assassin way of life - the Assassin's Creed. He is offered a chance of redemption by his master, the assassin leader Al Mualim, the agreement: Altaïr's rank and status restored in return for the lives of nine corrupt men.

What starts as a righteous vengeance mission, quickly unfolds into a deeper, darker conspiracy that leads Altaïr to question his own way of life, his skills, and his beliefs. The story is quick paced and effectively told, the chapters are short but have the right structure; Altaïr will often track a target over one chapter, assassinate them in the next, and escape in the third.

As with the previous Assassin's Creed Novels by Bowden, it does add some extra details into the tale. Primarily it adds a sub story that covers Altaïr's childhood and upbringing, these additions are very welcome and really help to develop Altaïr and gain a better understanding of his character. More importantly, this novel also covers events after the "main story". Specifically, Altaïr's voyage to Cyprus that was the present in the Bloodlines PSP game, as well as his later family life that was touched upon within the Codex pieces of Assassin's Creed 2 - These additions make up the latter half of the book and detail the closing years of Altaïr's life subtly setting up the Revelations story arc.

Simply put, this novel is very faithful to the source material. It is the most complete and in depth account of the life of Altaïr. I would recommend this book to any fan of the franchise and it is certainly a great way to recap (and expand) upon the life and times of Altaïr ibn La-Ahad in preparation for Assassin's Creed Revelations. I can't wait to read next Assassin's Creed novel by Oliver Bowden.
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No words can describe my feelings for this book. Mainly because it is Assassin's Creed for goodness sake. I love the game so much. And I really, honestly, doubt on reading it due to recent reviews on this book which I still don't understand. This book is good. The story is amazing. Altair is amazing. He is such a good role model.

I have to admit that, yes, it was followed exactly from the video game. And partly that's what makes it so nice too. Because I fangirl a lot to the video game and I like to you know, read everything back; the stories, the dialogues, the feelings. And I thought the story will end like in Assassin's Creed one but it did not. It continued and I was so surprise because I didn't expect more. I didn't know the rest of Altair's tales so reading it was a thrilling and excited experience for me.

There are so many lessons that can be learnt from the assassin's creed. That's why I really love it. It's not just a game. It's more than that. So, the book was really worth it to me, I can't stop reading it though I never want to finish the book. I want to be in the assassin's world for as long as it takes but that is unacceptable. I want to listen and understand Altair. He is so smart and wise. Never will I meet such a person like him.

Rambling. Gosh. wat am i doin. these feelings I can't help.
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I recently read Assassin’s Creed: The last Crusade by Oliver Bowden, Its about a this group of Assassin’s and Altair one of their top assassin’s fails to follow orders and gets the title of master taking away from him in front of clan. Throughout the story Altair has to prove him worthy of being named master assassin once more.

The setting takes place in 11th century Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus. The assassin’s had a fortress in Masyaf where they lived and trained to be great assassin’s. The characters you will get to meet are Al Mualim (Altair’s mentor) and Abbas (Fellow assassin and good friend of Altair)and much more other characters.

One of the main conflicts in the story is that their is a constant fight between the assassins’ and the templars. Altair is then sent by al Mualim to assassinate specific leaders that are corrupted so that he can show Al Muanlim that he is worthy once more. Throughout the story Altair has this inner conflict with himself about how he thinks he's better then everybody when others say he’s not. The conflict is resolved when he starts to change make himself feel equal with the rest of the group while then knowing that his mentor Al Mualim was the who was corrupted.

In my opinion this book was great because I like reading books that take place in the 11th century and 15th century. Also its good because it shows how Altair started from the bottom and made it to the top, even he was at the top before. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a story with a good plot and setting.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10048834-assassin-s-creed, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7205214-assassin-s-creed, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8909631-assassin-s-creed

Brisingr by Paolini Christopher

Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 03 - Brisingr


4.03  ·  Rating details ·  229,588 Ratings  ·  8,070 Reviews
Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 03 - Brisingr download or read it online for free
Paolini, Christopher - The
Inheritance Cycle 03 - Brisingr
Oaths sworn... loyalties tested... forces collide.

It's been only months since Eragon first uttered "brisingr", an ancient language term for fire. Since then, he's not only learned to create magic with words — he's been challenged to his very core. Following the colossal battle against the Empires warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more adventure at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.

First is Eragon's oath to his cousin, Roran: to help rescue Roran's beloved from King Galbatorix's clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength — as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices — choices that will take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.

Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?


Reviews



I just completed reading Brisingr, and I must say that I was very impressed with the plot!

To compress all of my thoughts and the plot in to only one word, this has to be it - Unpredictable.

Certain events that happened in the book really took me by surprise and I have to applaud Christopher Paolini to even think about such a complex plot. I could hardly guess what might happen in the next few pages, and the only way for me to find out was to keep my head buried deep within its depth.

Seriously, any reader who has followed the cycle closely will be in for a big surprise! That, I can promise you!

One word of advice: Do not let the horrible movie of the first book tarnish your impression of the cycle. That is probably the last thing you'd like to do. (:

I am also very eager for the next and final book to arrive. It was a bit saddening to know that Brisingr is not going to be the last one and us fans will have to go through another few years of torment to find out the ending of Eragon and Saphira.

But until then, may your swords stay sharp and let us meet at the gates of Uru'baen for the final blow!

(whoo, I managed to write a review that didn't have any spoilers!)
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I was glad that Chris Paolini ended up spliting this book in two because I didn't want Eragon's adventure to finish. 
I felt like all the characters moved forward in their development and that Eragon finally came into his own as a dragon rider. Fantastic. I highly recommend this book.
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Finally, this series has given me a novel that I have enjoyed every part of. 
I consider it the darkest of the three novels, as Eragon realizes what a dire situation he has placed himself in, and the slim chance that he might succeed in his mission to free the citizens from the tyrannical rule of King Galbatorix. This book finally brings its characters and its plot back down to Earth, and although the novel still thrives off fantasy, and now possesses a sense of reality to it.
This book has given me new hope that the series can save itself with its finally which will came out in who knows when. But, this is definitely the best book of the entire series thus far.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this, the penultimate installment of the Inheritance Cycle, though it does sadden me to remember the end is near. 
Eragon's slow transformation from simple yet inquisitive farmboy to the last free Dragon Rider is a joy to read, and I relished every insignificant detail. Roran, who shocked me with his strength and fortitude in Eldest, continues on his path to becoming a brilliant military strategist and leader, all the while leaving his heart with his beloved Katrina. Murtagh... ah, Murtagh, my favorite tragic character doesn't get much time in the story (though a much larger part than in Eldest), but each line, each syllable is deliberate; my heart aches when he realizes there may be hope after all to release him from the binding magic placed upon him by Galbatorix. I am anxious to continue the relationship between Eragon and Arya; it started out as an akward sort of crush, leading to a dismissal by Arya, but I believe she has a newfound comraderie when it pertains to Eragon, especially toward the end of Brisingr, when Arya realizes what a great team she and Eragon make together. Will Eragon ever see his feelings for Arya reciprocated? Can Roran keep up this madman's pace with the Varden's troops before something tragic befalls him? Will Murtagh turn against the king, and how? Who will be the last Dragon Rider? And who is that strange hermit with the long beard living amongst elven ruins? It will be a long 2 years before I wil get my answers or hear Angela's biting comments, but well worth the wait. Thank you, Mr. Paolini, for leaving the book on such a beautiful note; one of subdued reverence, of the battles that lay before us, of hope, and of the inevitability of the end - maybe not the end of Eragon and his companions, but of our involvement in their lives.
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Whilst I've been going through the Inheritance Series I must admit I've struggled and have thought about putting them down on more than one occasion.
However as I've pushed myself through i'm so glad that I did - the world that Paolini has created is absolutely incredible, I feel transported to a world of dragons, magic and ancient lore, its astounding to think that Paolini wrote Eragon when he was only 15!
I have been blown away by the depth of the storylines, descriptions of the scenery and the intricate characters - I cant wait to read the final installment, though I feel i'll need to read them all again as there is probably so much information I didn't completely take in!
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Eragon and Saphira have just barely survived the latest battle between the Empire and Varden, and learned the truth about Eragon's parentage. 
Their encounter with Murtagh and Thorn has made them realize that they desperately need to revisit their teachers in Ellesmera, but their multitudes of promises keep them from returning. They must help Roran recover Katrina from the Ra'zac, rally forces for the Varden, and find a way to thwart Murtagh. But along the way, they'll discover some dark secrets and learn the sickening methods behind their adversaries' strengths.

BRISINGR is a well executed follow-up to ERAGON and ELDEST. It moves at a brisk and almost businesslike pace, only dragging slightly near the center of the book, as Eragon and Saphira struggle to fulfill their promises. Readers will be glad to see that the duo, Eragon especially, has not been placed upon a lofty pedestal, and still admit ignorance at times, an element that adds just the right touch of plausibility to the book.

Paolini's descriptive writing is becoming easily recognizable, and his ability to draw similes and metaphors between the most unlikely objects only adds to his appeal, and contrary to what one might expect, will draw in reluctant readers. Like with the prequels, the author cleverly manages to sneak in colorful myths and historical stories into the book that only add to the reality and vividness of Alagaesia, and make for a more engaging read.

The plot of BRISINGR is a little less developed than its predecessors, and seems to serve more as a segue between the first two books and the conclusion of the lively series, although the revelation of certain secrets and the suspense and tension Paolini weaves into the pages go a long ways in making BRISINGR a quick read.

Seasoned Paolini fans will enjoy the story, and be eager to move on to the final book.
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The Inheritance series was originally supposed to be the Inheritance trilogy, with this as the concluding volume; but Paolini decided that he wanted to, in his words, "explore and develop the character's personalities and relationships at a more natural pace," so he made this into a sort of transitional volume between Eldest and the final climactic conclusion. 
But this isn't purely a time-marking exercise; significant things happen here. A dwarf king will be chosen (and the stakes, and tension, will be considerable). The Varden will take the offensive. The question of whether or not Katrina and Roran will be reunited will be answered. A magic-endued sword will be forged. Major secrets will be revealed: about Eragon's parentage, and about the dragons --and the latter will hold the possible key to Galbatorix's power, and (maybe) how to overturn it. And possibly not all of the major characters will survive until the end....

Some of my Goodreads friends, in their reviews of this book, expressed some frustration with the slow pace. That's always been the converse of the author's attention to highly-detailed world building and character development, which are as rich here as ever. It's probably fair to say that the pace is slower here than in the previous volumes. That didn't strike me personally as a major problem, partly because I read this out loud to my wife, in bits and pieces as we had opportunity, over a period of more than a year; under those conditions, ANY book will seem to be slow-paced. :-) I was pleased that the lecture against religious belief put in Oromis' mouth in the second book wasn't repeated here; indeed, there were a couple of passages that subtly hinted at a more positive assessment (and at least showed that Eragon was thinking for himself in that area, rather than trying to be an uncritical clone of his mentor). As a friend also noted, we don't see as much of Arya the elf or Angela the herbalist here as we do in the previous books, and they're missed when they're not around, since they're two of Paolini's best creations. (Hopefully they'll be more on center stage in the final book.) As partial compensation, Roran comes even more into his own here.

In summary, this is a strong continuation to the series, and a must-read for anyone who enjoyed the first two. (It would not stand alone well, nor be as easily appreciated if read first; this is one series where I'd say it's particularly important to read the books in order.) So, now it's on to the concluding volume, Inheritance!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2248573.Brisingr?from_search=true

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 02 - Eldest


3.96  ·  Rating details ·  276,562 Ratings  ·  8,337 Reviews
Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 02 - Eldest download or read it online for free here
Paolini, Christopher - The
Inheritance Cycle 02 - Eldest
Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider. Ages 12+.

Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn't know whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.

Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. . . .



Reviews


Ok thank you for continuing on from my Eragon review. Now remember step one from the last review yea ok we'll call it Step 5: Go to the store and buy Eldest...
Ok now follow these steps. Step 6: I hope you've learned from your previous mistakes and set nonperishable snack foods withing reach as to keep reading while eating. Now get an empty 2 littter bottle don't worry..you'll figure it out. Finally get a drink that is pretty good a room temperature or if you just really like cold drinks be sure to get a cooler and a bag of ice. Make sure you've got a bottle of No-Doze handy Step 7: Now call all of your friends and family and tell them that you will not be answering your phone for at least the next 20 hours or so. Step 8: Turn phone off and or yank from wall and place a note on your door saying that your are ill and very contagious not to disturb unless world is coming to and end ...and even then you might want to consider waiting another day. Step 9: Turn on the light above your head even if it is daylight outside trust me that could become a pesky motion when you have to get up to do it later. You'll probably be right at the part where Eragon discovers...oh sorry bout gave it away there. Step 10: find the most comfortable place where all of the essentials can be within arms reach and bring a blanket incase you get cold, matter of fact turn the air on and get the blanket cause you don't want to be to hot...this book is intense. Step 11: Begin reading book.....wait for it....now. Step 12: OH MY GOD I KNOW!!!!!! Now you have to wait for the 3rd book just like the rest of us lol. Review to be continued aout 24 hours after the release of 3rd book.
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4.5 stars!
Truly, I have nothing bad to say about this book. 
I liked every moment, was engaged, kept finding myself excited about the story. It did many fantasy elements well. I enjoyed the training portions, the shocking revelations, the magic system, seeing young love through a male protagonist's POV, and the fact that injury and disability in heroes during wartime was something that was represented. And DRAGONS. The dragon/rider relationship is my favorite part of this series.

Even though I enjoyed everything about this book, there's something holding me back from 5 stars. I still can't say this is a favorite series, but after being unimpressed with book 1, I was delighted to enjoy this one so much and am eager to continue the series!
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Re-read
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Im a total dragon fan and when I heard of The Inheritance cycle I just ditched the other books ad started reading this series Im a total fanboy not to say...I love anything with dragons magic and fighting and this book had everything mentioned above

The book starts of with a high tension point with then rapidly goes down but steadly increases throughot the book even though this was My 3rd re-read its still made me screech!
Though I noticed I just started scanning through Rorans POV It was kinda boring I was more intrested in Eragon...
There are a lot politics In this book which is the main reason why this is the least favourite book in the series but I didnt mind the politics It was fun knowing who actually he was going to swear loyalty to!

The end is mind blowing because all secrets are revealed . Eragon as the Main character was a classical Hero of the Vardn
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     Understanding begets empathy and compassion, even for the meanest beggar in the meanest city of Alagaësia.


The battle against Galbatorix' army in the dwarvan mountain realm was only the cusp of the war looming ahead. Now that Eragon and Saphira's presence is becoming known across Alagaësia, enemies arise at every turn.

Strategy, politics, and duty threaten to delay Eragon's much needed journey to the northern region of the elves to train. As the first dragon rider in years, he has much to learn for the him impending meeting with the evil king himself.

Roran, Eragon's cousin, finds himself in charge of the small village of Carvahall. Since Eragon's mysterious disappearance, the Ra'zac lurk around its borders, requesting the villagers to turn Roran over to them as he is now a fugitive to the empire. With this town, friends, and future family's lives on the line, Roran must utilize offensive tactics to defend those he holds dear.

Time is of the essence, and each player has a vital part to play in this complex plot of treachery, suspense, intrigue, and magic.

------------------------

I was instantly reminded why this book is my least favorite in the series. The pacing is so slow throughout the first half of the book, and very gradually increases. Then the climax comes at the end and throws me off guard, every time with its unparalleled element of surprise. 


Eragon battles with himself throughout this entire book. Now at the awkward stage in his life where he transitions into a man, he battles with his growing feelings for Arya, insecurities, and immaturity. It's painful to watch him grapple with trying to understand why Arya and himself are not an appropriate fit, and I genuinely felt sorry for him. But there were times when I couldn't help think (and wish) that he'd just move on.

Ironically enough, Saphira goes through a similar scenario, when she confronts the reality that she is the last surviving female dragon in Alagaësia. Out of desperation to rebuild her race, she too, makes foolish choices that have their consequences.

Even though some of these characters' deliberations could be annoying necessary, I appreciated how it allowed the characters to show their age, experience, and understanding, which later on shows how much they have grown and matured throughout this series.

    He welcomed those limitations, for if he were perfect, what would be left for him to accomplish?


Most of use can agree that there are definite parallels between The Inheritance Cycle, and The Lord of the Rings. These similarities are especially obvious in Eldest. When Islanzadi is confronted about keeping Gleadr's existence a secret, she states, "I am diminished." It sounds almost exactly like the scene from LOTR when Galadriel says, "I will diminish, and go into the West..." (I think we all remember the scene from the movie.
The fact that Eragon spends so much time in Du Weldenvarden makes it impossible to not point out just how similar it is to Lothlórien. The universally established fact that elves possess strong ties to nature works against this series, as it handcuffs its creativity in ways. However, there are a few tell-tale differences (view spoiler)

For all of the points in this book that dissuade me, there are points equally as important, notable, and genuinely wise, and say a lot about how skilled Paolini truly is as an author.

#1 Nasuada is a gem and shines brighter than all characters in this book. Although she is young, she is extremely capable. She has several opportunities to "show her age" and react before thinking. Alas, she doesn't. It just shows that youth are just as capable of leadership as adults. Not only that, her tremendous ability at looking at situations from all angles only aids her in her station.

#2 I appreciate Paolini's approach on prejudice, and how common, and hindering it is. This is most obviously depicted towards the Urguals, (view spoiler)

#3 I also appreciate how Paolini holds his characters accountable for their actions. Every action has a reaction, and a consequence. And these characters are faced with the products of their own doing many times over.

This book has great potential in teaching great lessons to its readers, which makes it a solid read, and addition to this series.

Vulgarity: Only in dwarvish.
Sexual content: None, other that discussing the future existence of the dragon race.
Violence: Moderate, battles occur several times. But there isn't an overabundance of gore.
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The book Eldest by Christopher Paolini is a book about a dragon and his rider. The two, intertwined by the magic of thought, journey through the land to Ellemera to study the arts of magic as he prepares to face off against the belligerent tyrant Galbatorix.
The book had many interesting twists and turns. Eragon, the rider, has always thought to be the last rider, excluding the king and his evil riders, know as the foresworn. But suddenly, Ormoris, an Elvin rider appears to teach Eragon what it means to be a rider. Also, as the story proceeds, Eragon begins to fall in love with Arya, but she discovers his feelings for her in the most interesting of ways. She found out from a stone tablet that he had “imagines” up. And in the end, Eragon finds a man that was his brother, and also, his father was revealed to him. A man he could not be proud of and a man killed my one of his former mentors.
Although the story had a brilliant plot and a fascinating story, the story went far too slow. It took Eragon 300 pages to travel to Ellemera and learn magic, and 300 for his cousin, Roran, to escape the Ra’zaac and flee to Surda. Leaving only the remaining 60 pages to the great battle and Roran’s and Eragon’s reunion. It’s a good think to put details in his story, but he had too much detail, to the point where he could spend a paragraph or two just talking about what a character does or what he looked like, which I found could be irritating and annoying at some times.
Despite the overloading of details, the story was an enjoyable read and hooks readers to read the next book with a sudden stop to the story in a very dramatic place. And the magics and the spells used seemed very believable. In other words, they weren’t just randomly made up words. The works were cleverly disguised in a different language. Anyone who enjoys fiction or scientific fiction, or stories from the past would enjoy this book greatly.
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I thought the first half is a bit boring but then second half is a lot better than first half.

I agree with one review in this book "Will appeal to legions of readers who have been captivated by the Lord of the Rings trilogy." School Library Journal.

Roran is one of my favourite characters.
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I liked this one better than Eragon. The plot really thickened! 
I started to get bored about halfway through, until Eragon was "changed" and Roran was in Teirm is where it got interesting. The last half of the book was better than the first. The first half felt so dark and hopeless, then finally you started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Great plot twists, and very believable fantasy!
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This is a strong continuation to Paolini's Inheritance series, and it isn't (unlike the second volumes of some series) just a time-marking exercise between the beginning and the conclusion; significant events happen here, which move the plot in major ways. 
All of the strengths of the first volume continue to be present here: brilliant, detailed world-building (we get to see much more of the society of the dwarves, and especially the elves), fully-realized characterization, attention to relationships and ethical issues, vivid action scenes, and high- quality prose. I particularly liked the fact that the Urgals are revealed here to be NOT simply vicious, degraded animals genetically incapable of decency; there's a really valuable lesson there about ethnic and other prejudices. The addition of another (exciting!) plot strand involving Roran and the Carvahall villagers, and the deft way that Paolini cuts back and forth between them, enhances the storyline.

However, I did rate this book a star lower than the series opener. This was due to just one short section --a little over two pages, though it seems much longer when you read it, as I did, in short bits spread over several days!-- where the author sets up a lecture, using the elf Oromis as an authority figure to be his mouthpiece, for Atheistic Materialism 101. All writers reflect their worldview in their writing, especially if it's srongly held, and they're entitled to; but it's most effective, both in a didactic and a literary sense, when it's allowed to develop naturally in the events or symbolism of the story. A straightforward sermon, on the other hand, using hackneyed old chestnuts that have been bandied about (and rebutted) for centuries as if they were fresh revelations, and delivered in Oromis' cocksure, know-it-all style, complete with straw men and an interlocutor to pose half-hearted objections as set-ups, has about the same effects as the worst didactic passages in Neoclassical fiction (though Paolini spares us the ponderous Neoclassical diction). I think even many atheists would honestly be somewhat bored by it. :-) It is, though, brief --and won't stop me from going on the next book!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45978.Eldest

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 01 - Eragon


3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,139,511 Ratings  ·  18,481 Reviews
Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 01 - Eragon download or read it online for free
Paolini, Christopher -
The Inheritance Cycle 01 - Eragon
Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .



 

 

Reviews


I LOVE the Inheritance books. 
I had never heard of Christopher Paolini before, and was walking through Barnes and Noble when I saw this book on the end display. What caught my eye was the dragon on the front cover (I love dragons, and my "artistic eye" was captivated by the artwork). This is a great fiction/adventure/fantasy novel. Anyone who is a Lord of the Rings would truly have an appreciation for this book. I was hooked from the moment I picked up this book and began reading. The story begins with a young farm boy, named Eragon, from a small village. While hunting in the wilderness in search of food for their family, Eragon comes across a rare stone (which is later revealed to be a dragon egg). He takes it home with him and to his suprise the egg hatches and out comes Saphira. The two are instantly connected as a Dragon and Rider making them inseparable. Once Saphira is big enough to fly they set out to seek revenge for the death of Eragon's uncle who was murdered. This is just the begining of their journey throughout the land battling mysterious, evil forces. A very good book to cuddle up with on a cool fall day or during the winter when you need a good adventure to bring you out of being stuck in your house.
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Seriously, Me. Why have you not read this sooner. This beast has been sat on your TBR pile for years. What is wrong with you? Was little Ben intimidated by the size?

I FINALLY READ THIS BOOK
and
breath

I honestly think this is one of the best fantasy YA stories. Such a classic!

ERAGON YOU ARE MIGHTY FINEEEEEEE
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 Before we get started
-Please,please do not judge a book by its movie.
-I read Eragon for the first time when I was 15 years old.I've re-read it 5 times since (I didn't own many books back then so after I took advantage of my neighbor's and my cousin's library,I kept re-reading my poor collection) and every time I loved it just the same,because it was the book that introduced me to the world of fantasy.
 The story
When I got this beauty in my hands,I thought that Eragon was the dragon (laugh all you want,I deserve it).But it turns out Eragon is the teenage boy who finds the dragon named Saphira and together they are the only ones who can fight the powerful and corrupted tyrant Galbatorix.With an old storyteller as his mentor,Eragon travels in Alagaesia,finds dwarves and elves and rebels and embraces his heritage and his responsibility as the last Dragonrider,the protector of the weak and the only hope of an oppressed people.

    “Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it's actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.” 
 Thoughts
I know there is a great amount of readers who found this book boring and slow paced and nothing special.Maybe if I read it for the first time as an adult I would agree,maybe I wouldn't.But as things turned out,this is the first book that took me away in uncharted lands,it was my Brom to the fantasy world.I know by heart the ancient language,I still use the dwarven curses (and it is very satisfactory),I still look at it with great affection and love.Eragon could be immature but it is expected from a teenager,and there were so many interesting and vivid characters,like Brom and Murtagh and Arya and Roran and Orik.The world building is fascinating,and there are epic battles and ancient swords and deaths and magic and prophecies.
It is a wonderful journey to embrace one's destiny and purpose.

    “Books are my friends, my companions.They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”


And that's exactly what Eragon is.I can't guarantee that you will like this book,but you should give it a chance to bewitch you and make you a Dragonrider!
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I hadn't read this in a super long time, so it was fun to come back to. This is still one of my favorite YA fantasy series! The writing is a bit clunky at times, but then I remember that the author was only a teenager when he wrote this and everything becomes just straight up impressive.

Yes, there are obvious Tolkien influences (Aragorn Eragon + Arwen Arya the elf, the urgal/uruk similarities, and a lot of other names)... but I kind of like it when authors can create entirely new worlds that are inspired by material I already love. Like this book is waaaaay more than just LOTR with dragons. The whole world is gorgeous, incredibly detailed, and has stuck with me just as clearly as Middle Earth, Hogwarts, or Narnia.

But oh my goodness: DO NOT LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK. Saphira sounds like a deranged Yoda. I don't even know what that narrator was doing...

Also, the movie totally butchered this book.
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A wonderful rec from my GR friend, Anish :) Thank you! :)

Also a super great BR with Sweet Pinky , Lovely Saphy's Trainer and Gentleman Grumpy Cat :)

I saw the movie and loved it, but when I heard about the book recently, I was curious together with a slight feeling of worry as reading the book after watching the movie adaption works quite bad for me. But I wasn't disappointed, this book is wonderful!

RL keeps messing up with me, so, sorry in advance for a short review. This wonderful books is worth way more praises.

Christopher Paolini's book charmed and drew me in with wonderful world building, interesting adventures in the world of elves, dwarves and other mythical creatures. The amazing thing is that the author started writing this book when he was a teen, 15 years old and his skill shows a lot as he managed to lure me into world of "Aragon" , charming with magic, action, creepy baddies, wonderful goodies, monsters, dragons and way more.

The journey to the magical and mystical world of "Eragon" began, it's full of adventures, toils and wonder, so call your dragon and lets explore this world together :)
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I learned that this book kicks butt i mean common ppl you see this explosion in a forest gather up the guts to go see what it was and its a hue piece of saphire (or is it?) well then eragon goes around trying to sell it because his family is poor but know one wants it because it came out of the spine! (for those that dont know what te spine is its a collection of mountians only the brave go in but only the lucky come out) i seen the movie and i literally wanted to send a P.O. email to him i swear he didnt get one thing right. first of all its not a burn with a spiraling dragon its a scale on his palm.. seocndly the dragon took moths togrow so instead of making this newborn fly into the sky and then amazingly come down all grown up yeaa what a piece of crap the movie was.. but third thing is about how brom says that rajak is tough and both movie and book and it takes forever for them to kill the rajak in the book but brom and eragon goes and takes them out within 10 minutes after saying that.. totally contradicting thierself.. and the director cut so many places out of it he didnt even introduse the witch .. who was a big character in second book... i mean did the director even read the book i want a god foresaken remake of the move its nothing like the book i hated the movie loved the book... god will thier ever be a smart director or do you consist of bringing idiots to hollywood grrrr.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/113436.Eragon

The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie


 4.26  ·   Rating details ·  74,076 Ratings  ·  2,888 Reviews
The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie download or read it online for free here
The First Law 03 - Last Argument Of Kings
by Joe Abercrombie
The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but it's going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there's only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. It's past time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.

With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no one is safe, and no one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It's a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough.

Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it.

While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, as he always does. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law...
This story is a trilogy, so if you haven't read one, this are the links to the other books:





Reviews


Because, even after the first two volumes, every character will STILL surprise you. Because Glokta is the best fantasy character I've found since Tyrion Lannister. Because Logen is a mushroom-cloud-laying motherfucker. Because you should've seen it coming but you didn't. You really didn't.

Because even "gritty" fantasy writers are usually afraid to go this far against expectations. Because you will laugh. You will get angry. Because you will hate the ending. Because the ending is perfect. Because the last surprise is on the last page.

Because every combat sequence is spot on. Because every character's actions are spot on. (Despite the fact that we sometimes don't need quite as much explanation as we get.) Because we need more fantasy authors willing to give people like Terry Brooks, Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman and Robert Jordan a really good wedgie. (Giving dead people wedgies might be in bad taste, but it's occasionally necessary.)

Because worlds with swords and sorcerers are boring when they're perfect. Because people are boring when they're perfect. Because perfect things are boring. Because this series is totally not boring. Because in some ways Abercrombie's series works better than A Song of Ice and Fire (in some ways, just some, not all of them, please put down those rocks).

Because it's time to read something entirely made out of awesome. Because this is it. Because. Just because.

"Say one thing for Last Argument of Kings, say it's dark fantasy at its best" Logen's father said. After finishing the book and the trilogy, I decided to give this book a rating of 5 stars. Why? well, as Logen Ninefingers always said "you have to be realistic about these things."

Last Argument of Kings is the conclusion to the First Law Trilogy and it completely delivered on all aspect of great quality dark fantasy. It provides a fitting ending to the trilogy, it's dark, funny, bloody, oh yes it's really bloody, intense and packed with fast paced actions. Out of 670 pages around 300 pages are filled with war, death, and Abercrombie wrote it in a way that we, the reader feels we are truly in the middle of all the chaos and mayhem with all the characters. Actions scenes, torture scenes are all vivid although sometimes there is way too much details into some unnecessary stuff imo. However, it doesn't change the fact that Abercrombie really pay attention to details and gave one heck of a fine trilogy into the literature world.

Joe Abercrombie will now be included into one my favorite author lists along with Brandon Sanderson, and at the same time along with Mistborn trilogy, these trilogy are going to my favorite shelves. Any fans of dark fantasy and Song of Ice & Fire series will definitely have a blast with this series like I am. Thank you for reading my reviews and thoughts on this book!

Side note:
-Obviously this book is not for kids, "you have to be realistic about this" unless you want your kids to be a torturer or some kid who goes rampage on their lego and screamed he is the Bloody-Nine.
-The Bloody-Nine is probably one of the most badass characters I've ever had the chance to encounter in fiction worlds. (Not literally of course, otherwise.. you know, I'll be dead.)
-"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” - Ramsay Bolton

The end of this series is a cleverly crude mirroring of it’s opening, and it’s just so damn hilarious. I’m saying no more regarding that, but Abercrombie never fails to make me laugh. Logan Nine-fingers is such a great character; he really is one of the strongest aspects of this series.

His wise courage allowed him to defeat the impossible. Only he would have survived such an ordeal. Abercrombie sure knows how to write an excellent battle sequence, but the one on one combat at the end of the book a whole new level of gripping. It was tense. It was exciting. And it felt like it could have gone either way. Every stroke of the sword was vital. One wrong move and it was over. The odds were against Logan; he faced a terrible foe, but Logan is a survivor. He has been through so much in his life, and he will continue to face his enemies until he falls. He is unshakable.

His proficiency for killing grants him a new beginning by the end. He is in a position where he could go anywhere and be anyone. It will be interesting to see how far the character goes in the future. Now I’ve of course read Red Country but I want to see Logan after that. I hope one day that we finally get to see his end, whatever that may be. I think we need to because at the moment Logan’s story is far from over. An origin story would also be quite good. We know the basics of where he came from, but to read about it all would be great.

Strong endings all round

Now I’ve just been babbling about Logan so far, though he is not the only great character in this series. Sand dan Glokta stands amongst my favourite characters in all fantasy fiction. He is on par with Tyrion Lannister in his wit, cynicism and intelligence. He is the unsung hero. He is the cripple; the man twisted with rage and despair, but he also pulls through it and continues to serve his country despite his many personal daemons. He finally gets his due, one deserved and one justified.

As I said with Logan, I would love to see a reprisal of this character. His newest novels (The Shattered Sea trilogy) whist in themselves quite good, simply are not on par with his first trilogy. The tone isn’t the same. The story is no where near as good. So I think a return to this world is in order.

The last book in Abercrombie’s dark fantasy trilogy. Done. Dusted.

It’s going to be a while before I’ve properly assimilated everything that happened over the course of the series. It’s quite something, and it’s well worth your time if you enjoy genre fiction.

Last Argument of Kings – thoughts

Strange and painful events seemed to follow in his wake like stray dogs barking behind the butcher’s wagon.

Like I mentioned in one of my earlier reviews, it isn’t clear whether this wants to be (dark) heroic or (dark) high fantasy. It does contain elements of both; It’s very, very violent and bloody at times, but it also has moments of hush and awe. As expected, the action sequences are spectacularly impressive, especially any featuring Logen Ninefingers, or more particularly, The Bloody Nine.

[He] stood still and caught his breath, the sword hanging down by his side, the grip cold and wet in his clenched fist. He’d never been much of a one for moving until it was time.
“Best tell me your name, while you still got breath in you. I like to know who I’ve killed.”

I’d be hard pressed to select just one word to describe Abercrombie’s writing, but something that did spring to mind was “immediate”. There is an intimacy and urgency to the prose that pulls the reader in, kicking and screaming, for better or worse, until everything is played out. At almost 700 pages in pretty small print this is no light read, and yet it’s over before you know it.

The characterisation in this story and in this entry in particular, is extraordinary beyond my ability to describe. The POV characters are fairly ambiguous for the most part and you’re never quite sure just who is going to carry the day as the biggest bastard, or beloved, of the series. I think, though, that I’m not alone in being partial to master Ninefingers, who is easily one of the most bad-ass and provocative anti-heroes to grace (if you could call it that) the pages of a book.

It meant nothing to [the Bloody Nine] who men were, or what they had done. He was the Great Leveller, and all men were equal before him. His only care was to turn the living into the dead, and it was past time for the good work to begin.

A word of honour has to go to Inquisitor Glokta, whose inner musings are a delight and whose story is rife with intrigue and delivers the most surprises.

It always amazes me, how swiftly problems can be solved, once you start cutting things off people.

As with the previous books, there is a lot going on, mostly concerned with warfare. Siege, battle, bloodbath, siege: wash, rinse, repeat. Despite that, it remains a fascinating story that manages not to be overshadowed by the mayhem. The (extended) ending is likely the portion that readers will quibble over the most, but it’s a fantastic achievement all in all. Great stuff all round.

Addendum:
In a recent review of a different book I made a comment regarding the use of (crude) expletives during certain, um, scenes of intimacy. The same thing happens here, but it didn’t seem so out of place at all. This either makes me the biggest hypocrite in the universe, or this is just that good a book.

You have to be realistic about these things. 

"Book 3, the final one! We're almost there!"
"Yes, Sir, Mr.Abercrombie."
"So, let's see. We casted characters already and invented plots. What needs to be done now."
"Perhaps an ending?"
"Really? Aren't you enjoying my fabulous characters?"
"Of course, but you know, a good story needs an ending."
"Did Robert Jordan knew that? Does Martin think so?"
"Well, I'm not sure..."
"And they sold way more books than I did."
"Hm, this is true. But weren't you going somewhere with the story?"
"You're right, but maybe that's not the point of a story."
"Really? I'm confused."
"There is a lot of rothfuss lately on the internet about stories within stories about storytelling without telling a story."
"And people like that?"
"Apparently a huge kvothient of the peer group does. Maybe I should write something like that."
"A little late for that now, ain't it, boos?
"Well, what else is successful?"
"Star Wars, boss."
"That's an idea, finishing a trilogy and then living on it, creating tons of follow-up stuff and Merchandising. Maybe we even get Natalie Portman to play a role in a crappy prequel."
"Natalie Portman is mentioned quite often in book reviews lately, isn't she, boos?"
"Makes you suspicious, doesn't it?"
"So, we're still in need of an ending. Was way easier with the brginning."
"That's it!"
"What's it, Sir, Mr. Abercrombie?"
"We don't need an ending, we need a beginning."

And thus the third book in Abercrombie's First Law trilogy ends with an epilogue chapter called "The beginning".

This book lived up to its predecessors from end to beginning and has a few surprises for the reader.

As always, the characters are well executed and outshine the other elements of Abercrombie's writing.
So, if you're a reader for whom characters are the most important part of a book, you can easily add a 5th star to the rating.

All in all the series is a fun ride that cleverly plays with a lot of fantasy tropes and likes to turn them on their heads.

If I wanted to be really picky, I could tell you that the world-building lacked a bit for my taste and that I personally had preferred it to have a few better developed antagonists from the Ghurkish side, but that's not really what the book wants to be good at.

So, I would highly recommend it to everyone, who's not afraid of a bleak world and cruel events.
I'm definately delving back into the First Law universe with the three standalones, but most likely not right away.

"Mr. Abercrombie, sir?"
"Yes?"
"About these Northmen..."
"What about them?"
"There's more of them now. Here's a little girl with a huge hammer..."
"Well...I'll think of something."

This is the conclusion of a grimdark fantasy trilogy. At this point practically everything I can say about the plot will be full of spoilers, so the most generic description will have to do. A war is raging in the north between Union and united barbarians. Another war is about to start in the south: people led by powerful and practically indestructible flesh-eaters quietly prepare to conquer Union - unless the northern barbarians do it first. Everything seems to be lost, but some powerful people still have some cards to play (very weak ones I might add).

This is the book to which I can finally give 5 stars without any doubt. The writing quality is still top-notch, the characters remain interesting and some of the weak ones from previous books finally developed into real 3-dimensional ones. There were enough plot twists in the book to keep me interested in reading throughout the whole book and I did not see quite a few of them coming. The power play behind the scene is revealed at last with some very much unexpected shadow puppet musters.

Speaking about the whole trilogy: is it worth reading? The answer is definite yes with some minor reservations. This is a grimdark fantasy, have no doubts about it. For the most part it successfully avoids being too bloody and macabre, but do not expect it to be shiny happy read: it is not. There are plenty of gruesome moments in there: consider the fact that one of the main characters is an Inquisitor whose job is exactly what you would expect from one and who happens to be very efficient at what he does - it is impossible to avoid very dark moments.

The first book really takes its time to set up the board and the game pieces - while it is not boring at all, much more excitement starts from the second one onward. You will also get much better understanding of the whole picture after the first book.

My final recommendation: definitely read the trilogy, but beware of its dark nature; if dark fantasy is not what you like, avoid it even if this is one of the best examples of this particular sub-genre. The writing quality is excellent, the characters and their development are very good, and some of one-liners are outstanding.
Source: www.amazon.com, www.nytimes.comwww.goodreads.com

The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie 


4.27  ·  Rating details ·  78,814 Ratings  ·  2,643 Reviews
The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie  download it here or read online for free
The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged
by Joe Abercrombie
Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.
This story is a trilogy, so if you haven't read one, this are the links to the other books:






Reviews


"We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged" - Heinrich Heine

Before They Are Hanged is Abercrombie's second entry into the twisted and grim world of The First Law. It follows on from the three story arcs that The Blade itself stylishly led towards. Bayaz, the first of the Magi is venturing to the end of the Earth with his bizarre collection of distinctive personnel for reasons unbeknown to all apart from the Mage himself. Superior Glokta has traveled South to infiltrate the politics of an allied nation, hoping to find out what happened to his ill-fated predecessor and preparing defences for the attacks soon to be initiated by an advancing and ultimately imminent rival army. The remaining narrative intertwines the stories of the rough-living, legendary warrior group of Threetrees and the Dogman with the troubles in the North where the Union is tackling the Northern King's great forces. Here we follow the action of "the worst-armed, worst-trained and worst-led army in the world"

For one of the narratives arcs, three points of view presentations are followed, often within the same chapter switching between actions and opinions. The second has two viewpoints from very different characters summarising the happenings in the unwelcoming harshness of the cold real world with battles looming. The final is presented by Superior Glotka alone. A former dashing fencer who was tortured, crippled and now is an inquisitor/ torturer. Trust me, you would have to wake up pretty early in the morning to outsmart this gentleman! He is perhaps the finest creation in this series, for his tortuous past, achingly uncomfortable present and also his internal monolgues which are as highly gritty as they are humorous. I mentioned he is the only POV section in this arc, but his internal thoughts are often so comically different from his statements and actions that it is like two amazing viewpoints. His character is outstandingly well written. There is also a pretty distinctive juxtaposition in his presentation of events and environments. He still sees beauty in the world in his descriptions of things and then a second later could be commanding a subordinate to cut off a traitors body part.

I very rarely read other reviews before writing my own, but I did catch one snippet from a status update that was very apt. It stated that Abercrombie's stories are full of "bastards that grow on you." I think that that is a perfect analogy. I honestly shouldn't care about most of the people written here. Why do I truly care about vain, flamboyant, selfish officer Jezal when something bad happens to him? Perhaps he deserves all he gets for his previous outlook and analysis of existence. Why do I care about Logan Ninefingers? He seems like an average warrior guy with scars encompassing his body, who people say was pretty handy with a sword and did some damning things in the past. I really cared about the majority of the main characters. Although a few fantasy character tropes are presented, spoilt King in waiting, mages, Devils etc... Nothing at all seems cliche and that cannot be said for a lot of modern fantasy works.

My review of The Blade Itself raved about the characters and from my previous paragraph, you can see my opinions there haven't changed. If anything, my views have been reinforced and heightened about how much of a knack Abercrombie has for this aspect of his fantasy work. Although not really too negative and off-putting, I did comment on the lack of action throughout the first book. Action wise, Joe truly has raised the bar high here. Battles, sieges, and The Bloody Nine - all are expertly presented and adrenaline pumping. It doesn't all need to be full guts gory and bloody to have an emotional dark impact either, and there are a few moments here that are poignant in their effectiveness for that reason. I call this the (just made this up but it sounds cool) "pushing Bran from the Tower technique," very intricate actions that have long lasting effects even though the act in question was simple. In addition to the lack of action, my other grating issue with The Blade Itself was the world and the histories, although not hollow, did seem a bit unfulfilled. I was unsatisfied that there was still no map, but a lot of the above has been rectified here. Most of Bayaz et al's scenes are travel based (the end of the world isn't close) so we are presented cool stories by the characters to pass the time at campfires. Bayaz talking about the history of the world, his relationships with other important, almost legendary figures and his past failings are memorable. A scene that stood out to me was very simple, perhaps twelve pages where an ensemble discusses their scars. So not only have the already complex characters become deeper, the world and its past are filled in pretty well here. There is also a bit of a "love story" here to look forward to.

I was highly satisfied with the majority of what I read here. Abercrombie is a genius is his moulding of characters and of all things "grim". Normally, the ending of a story can add a star to my rating. The finale to one of the arcs of this book had the opposite effect. I will not go into details but I will be interested in the comments to see if people agree and/or know the narrative I am discussing. I felt let down and almost like I had wasted my time waiting for that culmination. This is probably a 8.5/10 but "Last Argument of Kings" must give me a reason for the arc ending this way. If it does, I will re-evaluate what I have written in this little section. To conclude, this trilogy seems to be a character driven fantasy that is unequaled in the genre. Gripping, thrilling, gritty and pretty damn awesome.

Glokta is an excellent torturer. Some would even say the best, but somewhere down his crooked path he made some rather nasty enemies. Such is life......

So, as a polite death sentence, he gets sent on a mission that is suicidal and near impossible to complete. Anybody else would fail. However, this is Sand Dan Glockta: the most ingenious torturer and manipulator to ever wear the Union’s colours. You can’t simply get rid of him. His enemies have made a terrible mistake in underestimating him. Physically, he is very weak. Mentally, he is brilliant and ruthless. You’d be a fool to cross him.

A party of haters

Abercrombie certainly likes to give a dark twist on what could have been a conventional fantasy series. Instead of having a company of friends and allies, there is a company of misfits who absolutely detest each other. Bayaz, the first of the Magi, has brought them together to recover a deadly weapon; it’s clearly for his own ends, but he has concocted a persuasive lie about his intentions. Despite his supposed moral superiority, he is just as bad as the rest. Indeed, the group’s members are mean, selfish and they’re all killers. This makes for an amusing, and somewhat unusual, group of travelers. The chances of a member being murdered are just as high as the party working together.

As the novel progresses this dynamic begins to shift. The hatred doesn’t evaporate, though it does develop into a mutual need to succeed and survive. They learn to rely on each other’s talents, and even go as far as to pay the odd compliment on each other’s killing skills. Such comradery! In the end, they’ve got each other’s backs. Either that or there all dead. It was a slow development that was appropriate to their personalities; it would have been very strange if these guys suddenly became best mates overnight. These just aren't the sort of people that have friends, at least, not for very long.

It’s all about Glokta, the nastiest bastard in fantasy.
Superior Glotka was once a hero. Those days are long gone. He now enjoys to torture in the same ways he was once tortured. But, he’s not malicious. It’s his job to torture. Someone’s got to do it, right? So why not an expert? Why not get some fun out of it? Except on his mission he learns to torture people in another way; he manipulates them emotionally and forces them to aid in his hopeless defence of Dogoska whilst he tries to uncover who murdered his predecessor. It’s not an easy task, but Glokta can handle it. He’s one tough, remorseless, bastard.

"Honour, eh? What the hell is that anyway? Every man thinks it's something different. You can't drink it. You can't fuck it. The more of it you have the less good it does you, and if you've got none at all you don't miss it."

I love his characterisation; it’s dark and powerful, but most importantly it’s utterly unique. I feel like I should hate this guy, though somehow he comes across as sorrowful. He’s a pragmatist; he knows what his weaknesses are, and he knows what he is. No other writer I’ve come across in fantasy can write such villainous characters that can so easily be sympathised with. Mark Lawrence certainly couldn’t pull it off in his Broken Empire Trilogy. I think Abercrombie has earnt his reputation as King of grimdark fantasy. What’s not to love? There’s war, political drama and evil vs evil. These early books are so much better that his newer stuff!

Don’t write off the fantasy tropes just yet, all you unbelievers. This trilogy shows that there is still an enormous amount of life left in some of them.

This dark sequel to The Blade Itself is everything I hoped it would be. I would be hard pressed to select a favourite out of the multiple plot threads featured in Before They Are Hanged, but I’m probably partial to the sequences featuring the Named Men. Again, there is an old school sense of wonder to this novel, despite the modern fantasy grittiness. There are some nasty surprises between these pages and many issues aren’t resolved in quite the fashion that the reader might have expected, or even had hoped for. But, as Logen Ninefingers would almost certainly say: you have to be realistic about these things. A great mix of epic and heroic, fantasy-heads can do far worse than giving this trilogy a spin. Unless they are averse to some swearing, violence, dark humour and the occasional rather, um, unrefined and comical hop in the sack. It is at times an uneasy and unsettling read, yet I can’t help but feel that this is part of its charm.

The action scenes are relentless and splendidly written, albeit somewhat gruesome on occasion. The book showcases everything from minor skirmishes to full scale pitched warfare. There is even a siege thrown in for good measure. Two wars being fought on two separate fronts inevitably equal a high body count. Abercrombie certainly appears to have a knack for this kind of thing. You’d think that the character development would suffer in all this chaos and madness. Oh, how wrong you’d be!

As the second novel in a trilogy, this could easily be seen as a bridging work. However, I enjoyed it even more than the first. There’s certainly a lot more going on. The Blade Itself was very good, but it didn’t really go anywhere and left the reader somewhat mystified as to where the story was headed. Before They Are Hanged rectifies this in spades, and there is a lot of progression. Here’s hoping Last Argument of Kings continues this run of good form and closes the trilogy in spectacular fashion.

Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say that he's a hell of a writer. With this, he proves that he earned his status as a Named Man of fantasy.

This picks up where "TBI" left off, and carries the characters and plot away in new and unpredictable directions. There's political intrigue, betrayal, torture, fights galore, broken hearts and twisted limbs, love, sex, laughs, and going back to the mud. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll refrain from talking about the travails of Collem West in Angland, of the Dogman and the rest of Ninefingers' old crew, of Glokta in a no-win situation on the edge of the Gurkish Empire, and of Logen and Bayaz's group on a journey to the End of the World.

Once again, Abercrombie deftly uses the tropes of heroic fiction in ways both satisfying and surprising. The fight scenes are top-notch, approaching the Bernard Cornwell-level of excellence. Abercrombie keeps the story moving, but it is driven by the characters. He never falls victim to the fantasy trap of privileging world-building over character and plot, or of using made-up words when perfectly good English ones will do (Stephen Erikson, I'm looking at you!). I learned more about the social structure of the Union and the North, but it was through the characters and not through needless exposition. The violent meritocracy of the North is contrasted with the rigid class stratification of the Union, with serious results.
Source: www.nytimes.com, www.amazon.com, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/902715.Before_They_Are_Hanged