Into the Book



  1. “There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys. The little princess had never seen the sky at night as the people were much too afraid of the goblins living in the subterranean caverns to let her out of the house then; and they had good reason, as we shall see.”

  2. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is not quite a normal fantasy novel. After all, the bad guys are so clearly bad, the fantasy names come off as contrived (The fangs of dang? Really?), and the book is just so whimsical. I love Andrew Peterson’s music, but one chapter in I wasn’t convinced that his writing was any good at all. Thankfully, I kept reading — and let me tell you, On the Edge of the Dark Sea is well, well worth the read, and holds much more under the surface than its whimsical beginning promises.


  3. “Looking back, she could see the woman leaning forward from the mass of nightmares, from the surge of clutching hands. She approached the woman and saw her more closely—a figure of sorrow. The surface of the sculpture sparkled as if made of salt. The strain in her posture was not fear but determination. The shadows were not seeking to drag her down. No, she had offered them her cloak that they might take hold and be drawn out of their darkness, like survivors from a flood.”


  4. “She looked back toward Abascar’s palace, that point of darkness in the woods, like the pin in the center of the spinning world. She held up the feather, and its color, vivid in contrast, seemed to bleed into the air, igniting the surrounding green gold, red, and blue in a violent conflagration. . . . The tail feather lay burning but whole in her hand. The Expanse lay before her.

    “Abascar waited, blind.”


  5. I’ve been waiting for Merlin’s Nightmare to come out since I read the first two books in Robert Treskillard’s Merlin Spiral (Blade and Shadow). Merlin’s Nightmare is the conclusion to this trilogy, and it matches the other books well. Whether or not it rounds out the story is another matter, but Nightmare is still a great book — good enough that I devoured almost the whole thing in one four-hour sitting.


  6. The Quest for The Red Sapphire is a medieval fantasy novel written under the pseudonym ‘Rival Gates’. Linvin Grithinshield is a half-elf with a human father and elven mother. A young adult, Linvin no longer lives at home and has spent finished military training school. As a general, Linvin is seen preparing for battle in the first chapter. Unsurprisingly, this battle is won. As Linvin’s army celebrates, he receives an urgent message stating his father is missing and presumed dead. Consequently, Linvin travels back home to be with his mother and uncle. About halfway through the book, the Red Sapphire is mentioned; a sort of ultimate power which draws heavy… parallels to The Ring in LOTR, without the addictive side effects.

  7. Andrew, you should re-visit this book in a decade or two. What one sees in it changes, with time.

    That was a comment left by “oldaggie” on my original review of Till we Have Faces. It’s not been a decade — but it has been a solid two years since I picked up the book. This comment, and some recent conversations with my roommate, pushed me to give this book another read. It’s rare that I reread books, but I figured C.S. Lewis was worth the effort. How right that proved to be!


  8. They say never to judge a book by its cover. I guess I hadn’t really taken that to heart. Firstborn, by Lorie Ann Grover, looked really great from the outside. It’s a stunning cover, and the book is solid hardback. I couldn’t wait to crack this one open. Inside, I found exactly what I was expecting.


  9. One Realm Beyond, by Donita K. Paul, has all of the trappings of a bad, run-of-the-mill fantasy novel: a flashy cover with light trails and bright colors; dragons and riders; and even a catchy name for God: Primen. But despite all this, it’s actually a very solid novel, filled with interesting takes on worn-out fantasy stories. My interest was not only held throughout the book, but engaged. One Realm Beyond is a promising start to a good series.


  10. Twelve years old, a millionaire, a genius – and a criminal mastermind. However Artemis Fowl’s most dastardly plan is yet to be unleashed. After he kidnaps a fairy for ransom in order to get his hands on real fairy gold, Artemis finds out that fairies are not quite the pushovers he expected, and ends up with a challenge on his hands that transcends any plot he has ever put together.

    I was sceptical of this book, however I was pleasantly surprised by it. Far from the expected spoiled rich brat who just wants his own way in everything, Artemis is cool, smooth, clever, and doesn’t just want to please himself. His father (supposedly) perished at the hands of criminals after which they robbed him of his enormous fortune. Though not exactly out for revenge, Artemis wants to return his family fortune to its former glory – no matter the method. And this is where being twelve years old comes to his advantage.

    Young enough to believe most things, Artemis is convinced in the existence of fairies. After extensive research and globetrotting, he turns out to be correct. He locates the whereabouts of a fairy and steals the sacred book of their laws from her, with the design of kidnapping a fairy when one comes to the chosen place of renewing their powers. It is here he ends up kidnapping Holly Short, an LEPrecon officer, and that’s when all hell breaks loose below ground – the realm of fairies.

    The book is well paced, and kept me interested the whole way, which is a good thing. Reading about young criminal masterminds isn’t something that really grabs me, and good reasoning had to be foundational for me to like it. The author played the balance between guilt about what he was doing and passion for restoring his father’s legacy very well; it was subtle enough to pick up on but not in your face. I also loved the humour. Eoin Colfer’s good old Irish snark shone through with hilarious brilliance. The fairies were also incredibly well done. Most of the time when you ask someone, “think fairy”, the first image is something fluttery, twinkly and pretty. Not so in the world of Fowl. They are tough underground little people with quick wits, trim uniforms, and futuristic technology. Their high-tech weapons and flying machines makes them highly militarized, and I was impressed by the extent of their underground cities and “airports” to the surface. The world really was breathtaking.

    However it was not without flaws. I found some places to describe things a bit crudely, especially some of the underground creatures’ habits. The cast isn’t solely of humans and fairies, but a great many other mythical beings are included, and as such, aren’t all as “nice” as others. There was no bad language, however I did have a chuckle that Colfer had invented a fairy cuss word (D’arvit). That’s not something I’ve come across before, but I thought worked well in the setting.

    All in all, it was a fun read – high tech speculative fantasy has earned a win for me with Artemis Fowl. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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