Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

It isn't often a book grabs me so fully that I have to read it right to the end without pause. Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris is one of those though. It is curious More »

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – A few months on.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – A few months on.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about joining the beta test for Square Enix‘s new MMO: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. In the subsequent months it has been launched and I find More »

The world of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Ozian cannon

The world of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Ozian cannon

There are few households that haven’t heard of the Wizard of OZ, and the franchise has gone in a multitude of directions, most recently the major Hollywood film: Oz the great and More »

Literature Discussion: Will Self’s Dorian, an imitation

Literature Discussion: Will Self’s Dorian, an imitation

Dorian by Will Self is a charming walk in a cesspit of debauchery. It is a strange, re-invention of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and offers the same lack of redemption. Will Self More »

Literature discussion: Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Literature discussion: Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray

For many years, I have wanted to read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  It has intrigued me mostly because I cannot remember when I learnt of its story. I knew I More »

Book Review: Going Out by Scarlett Thomas.

Book Review: Going Out by Scarlett Thomas.

Going Out by Scarlet Thomas, is a strange novel, one that will enthral, confuse entertain and frustrate. Based around the exploits of Luke and Julie(t) and a mishmash circle of friends. The More »

After A Memory of Light: The end of The Wheel of Time

After A Memory of Light: The end of The Wheel of Time

Twelve years ago, on a dusty shelf in the back of a library I found a novel called The Eye of the world. It was a lofty volume but I thought i More »

After Six years of playing World of Warcraft has the end finally come?

After Six years of playing World of Warcraft has the end finally come?

Back in January 2007 an old friend of mine introduced me to World of Warcraft. I recall with relish, his excitement over the release of the first Expansion: the Burning Crusade. More »

Book Review: The Age of Five Trilogy

Book Review: The Age of Five Trilogy

The Age of the Five Trilogy by Trudi Canavan is the second series written by the Australian fantasy author.  While set as a trilogy of three volumes; Priestess Of The White, Last More »

 

Category Archives: Book reviews

Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

It isn’t often a book grabs me so fully that I have to read it right to the end without pause. Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris is one of those though. It is curious really, as I’ve always been a bit hesitant to pick it up. I could never put my finger on why, but I would read the back, it would pique my interest but I would always put it back. However, I can say after finally reading it in a twelve-hour marathon, that it is one of the best novels I have read in a very long time.

I think, for me, the driving force behind why Elantris is so good has be the cast of characters: they are superb and inherently human. Even from the first line of the novel, “Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware he had been dammed for all eternity.” Brandon Sanderson draws us in with vivid hooks. While it is easy to shrug this off as a little melodramatic, it is simply the first in a series of superb hooks that force you to read on and discover how Raoden will adapt to his damnation and his new position. It is clear from early on, that Raoden is a character that is infectiously optimistic and driven not out of self-interest but genuine care for his people and those around him. Elantris itself seems to delve into and explore the psyche of human existence and human desire. Our ability to be kind, always one step away from our complete disinterest in the world around us, and that only a circumstance away from being inhumane.

These themes are found throughout the novel, especially focused on the desperate and at times feral nature of the denizens of Elantris and are balanced by the swirling maelstrom of intrigue that surrounds Serene. As a stranger in a foreign land, Serene must adapt to an entire culture, while coming to terms that the husband was to marry is dead and the terms of their political marriage binds her tighter to his country, than their marriage ever could. Even though she never meets her husband to be, she is soon to discover that the foreign land she finds herself in teeters on the brink of anarchy, wrought by religious and social upheaval only aided by its king. It is one of many examples where it seems that the world building that Sanderson has brought together is sublime.

I don’t think I have encountered a character like Raoden, one whom I pity, one who I desperately hoped to overcome his situation in quite some time. As the novel progressed, I found myself torn from not wanting him to die or to fall prey to the Hoed, an affliction worse than death.

If you are inclined to enjoy Fantasy, Elantris is a novel you simply cannot afford to overlook.

 

 

To purchase Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris, Click below.

 

Book Review: Thief’s Magic, by Trudi Canavan

Thief’s Magic, book one of The Millennium’s Rule Trilogy,  is a novel about love, betrayal and trying to do the right thing, when the world is compelling you to do the exact opposite.

The world of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Ozian cannon

There are few households that haven’t heard of the Wizard of OZ, and the franchise has gone in a multitude of directions, most recently the major Hollywood film: Oz the great and powerful. There has also been the highly successful spin off book series, Wicked  by Gregory Maguire which has also been reworked into the highly acclaimed west-end musical. We’ve had two films, The Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz and the mini series aired on the Syfy channel Tin Man. All of these have bred a treasure trove of topes and imagery that can all be traced back to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Each of these have contributed to the large Ozian cannon that we have been exposed to, but in truth, they are but the tip of an iceberg of Ozian literature that can be found right across our entertainment spheres.  It was this that first inspired me to go back to the source and question how has one story, transmigrated into so many different forms? What is it about the novel that gives us the need, or rather the inspiration to transform it into something new?

Literature Discussion: Will Self’s Dorian, an imitation

Dorian by Will Self is a charming walk in a cesspit of debauchery. It is a strange, re-invention of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and offers the same lack of redemption. Will Self takes the sexual debauchery of Wilds Dorian and turns it into a nasty, Drug fuelled, violent den of sexual gratification and pleasure seeking. But strangely it works. Self has recreated Wilde’s Wotton, Dorian and Basil and turned them into the emerging homosexuals of the 80’s and 90’s. However, in doing so he has painted a picture of Homosexuality that leaves much to be desires and will certainly offend. In Dorian the AIDS epidemic is lain entirely at the feel of promiscuous homosexual, drug addict men and there is little offered that shows a positive side of the Homosexual lifestyle. However, as this view is given trough the eyes of the passion obsessed Dorian and the ever cynical Wotton, it is not surprising that this is the result.

Literature discussion: Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray

For many years, I have wanted to read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  It has intrigued me mostly because I cannot remember when I learnt of its story. I knew I had not read the novel. But The Picture of Dorian Gray  is in many ways a legend like Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of  Romeo and Juliet; similar insofar as that one doesn’t need to have read the novels or seen the films to know the icons. It is never a hard leap to think of Sherlock Holmes when we see the spyglass. Many know, without prior knowledge just who he is and what he represents. The same is true of Dorian Gray. He is the epiphany of scandal and corruption, yet wears the face of innocent youth.

Reading Dorian Gray was a strange occurrence; It was an easy read – not something I would usually  coin with a victorian novel. It was also quite devoid of heavy description of Dorian and Henry’s scandalous pleasure seeking. It is strange to read a novel wholly about sexual deviation without there being any mention of sex at all. But i think this is to the benefit of the novel. Its skirting of the sexual deviation, drug use and other demoralising allows for a focus on the soul of Dorian and his character. In many ways we can empathise with him, as it seems all Dorian is truly searching for is happiness. He is tragic because every time he gets close to it he destroys it as he did with Sybil Vayne. But then, that is the beauty of Wilde’s work, it takes the common idea and mutilates, gives us sinful and horrible characters, but ones that are inevitably likeable. While at times, the prose can be overtly flamboyant – downright pompous at times; this is to the novel’s benefit, it is after all about the british aristocracy of the Victorian Era. I do not know of anything that could be more Decadent and pompous than them.