The Unholy Consult by R Scott Bakker

It’s difficult to review this book. Honestly I’m still not totally sure what happened in certain parts of the book, particularly towards the end. However there is one thing to be said, it is epic, and I mean that in all senses of the word. A lot of questions are answered, things I’ve been wondering about for seven books. Some things are not. Parts of the book are truly disturbing, parts turned my stomach (the meat!), parts gave me goosebumps.

The only reason I am not giving this five stars is that sometimes the writing seems deliberately obtuse. This has always been Bakker’s style but seems even more prevalent in this book. These books are definitely not for everybody but if you don’t mind some of the crazy things that go on they are really rewarding, something quite different from the normal fantasy book.

4 stars out of 5

The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams

A novella chronicling the flight of the Norns after the battle at the end of the original trilogy. I really enjoyed reading things from a Norn POV, it made a welcome change. Was also good to spend more time with Isgrimmer. Again well written with maybe some hints as to what will happen in the new trilogy. I’d say 4.5 stars rounded down.

4 stars out of 5

To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams

Another fairly slow burn of a book though unfortunately it felt like the end was kind of rushed. I did enjoy this but to be honest I felt the end was kind of anti-climatic, it all ended a bit too easily. I do enjoy the author’s writing style, yes it’s dense but it’s so descriptive that you can get really immersed in it. I enjoyed pretty much all the POV’s this time though some of them could have been cut back a bit.

I had a burning question as to why Elias did what he did. I was answered. It was pretty much as I thought and I’m not overly satisfied with it, like the end it felt weak. This is a good read, nothing too ground breaking but considering the age of the series it was a lot darker and more progressive than a lot of books out at the same time.

4 stars out of 5

Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

This book definitely suffers from middle child syndrome. After I finished it I realised that nothing much happened, it was basically a travelogue. However I still enjoyed it, there is something nice about the slow unfolding of events. The viewpoint of the series has expanded, Simon is still the main character with the most chapters but there are a lot more POV’s now. Some of them I did not care for really but others I found very interesting. We learn more of the history of the world and the stakes have risen higher. 

Now there is one major thing that is bothering me, and has been from book 1. I had hoped there would be more clarification by now and I seriously hope it will be explained in the final book. Kind of spoilers ahead: Why did Elias make this pact with Ineluki? It makes no sense, he was already undisputed high king! There were no rebellions, no unhappiness, I just can’t figure it out. Is it something to do with his dead wife? Anyway I really hope this is explained.

Now going to start the mammoth single hardback volume of To Green Angel Tower. It is heavy.

4 stars out of 5

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

This book wasn’t bad, maybe I just read it at the wrong time. There were bits that were definitely interesting but other parts, I wouldn’t say I was bored, but I just didn’t care. The premise of the book was intriguing; what would a prototype society be like from a modern single woman and man? The evolution of language and changes to a stagnating society, and the effects of those changes, were solid building blocks but I felt the story lacked. I felt I’d read similar before. The characters were ok, a bit stereotypical but I related somewhat.

Perhaps one day I’ll revisit this and then understand why it won awards but at the moment it just didn’t do it for me.

Probably more 2.5 stars but rounded up to 3 out of 5.

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

I really enjoyed this book. Yes the start is slow but I thought that was good, it set the scene for what life was like before it all starts changing. The language is dense and descriptive and sometimes it seems to almost get in the way but it bothered me no more than reading Tolkien does.

Considering the age of this book I think it holds up fairly well to the modern reader, ok there were no shocking twists or whatever and you can kind of see where everything is going but I more attribute that to the amount of Fantasy novels I’ve read than the fault of the novel, and the fact that this book influenced so many modern authors. I flew through this book in 4 days which isn’t bad considering it’s a big book and am very eager to start the next. I highly recommend.

5 stars out of 5

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

I don’t have a lot to say about this. It was the end I kind of expected, not as I would have wished it, which I think is one of the main themes throughout all the series. It was still beautiful. Some of the smaller story-lines felt a little rushed and probably needed more time spent on them or removed altogether, however all the main ones were brought to a conclusion. Think it will be a few days before I’m able to move on to another book.

Brilliant book, brilliant series, brilliant author.

5 stars out of 5

Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

Another amazing chapter in the Realm of the Elderlings saga. This book is much faster paced than the previous one but still manages to pack the emotional punch. I think this entry has one of my favorite moments (maybe two) in the whole series, those moments when I’ll be in that wonderful anticipation mode during re-reads: (spoiler!) Fitz finally gets recognition for what he did during the Red Ship wars in the most spectacular and wonderful public way. Also Nettle finally seems to understand her dad and why he did what he did.

Of course these moments don’t last and Fitz gets emotionally beaten up all over again. And the Fool, he is not what he once was and it is not pleasant to see but still it is great to see him again and the relationship between the two. Towards the end the world also opens up and we start to see links to the other series and that is brilliant and I’m looking forward to more of that in the last book.

On that, I know this is series is not going to end well for Fitz or the Fool, it’s been fairly obvious from around mid-point of the first book, I hope I’m wrong but I doubt it. Anyway, let’s roll on to the emotional roller-coaster of the final book.

5 stars out of 5

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

I have basically grown up with Fitz. I was a teenager reading the Farseer trilogy and now in my late thirties reading this. I mention this as I identify with him quite a bit even though I have lived a vastly different life. I feel for Fitz so much, he tries but makes so many mistakes, a bit too set in his ways, too introspective. I was dreading reading this, in that the Tawny man trilogy had ended so well for Fitz and Fool that I feel this can only go somewhere bad.

It’s a slow paced book, pretty much entirely set in Withywoods and the everyday life of Fitz at the estate. As so many have already said it is testament to Hobbs’ writing that she can make these mundane scenes have so much feeling and intensity. Now not everybody will feel this I’m sure, but because I know the characters and world so well, I enjoyed this quieter introduction immensely. We gradually learn where the story is going (of course Fitz doesn’t) and then it all bursts into action for the last 50-60 pages. It is all perfectly set up for book two and I am both looking forward to and dreading where it is going.

5 stars out of 5

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

So this is the last book in the Shades of Magic trilogy, and though I feel personally that each book didn’t quite match what went before I still really enjoyed this book. It was a slow start but the pace and action did increase in tempo and I feel we actually started to see some character growth in Lila. We saw a lot more of Holland, including flashbacks, which I really enjoyed as I found him the most interesting character in the series.

The showdown did feel a little rushed and I’m not totally sure what went on with Holland at the very end but overall it was a good book and a solid end to the series.

3.5 stars out of 5

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