The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, first published in three parts between 1954 and 1955. There is no bigger classic within the fantasy genre, nor a text that has been more influential. The Lord of the Rings defined modern fantasy. As such, there isn’t much that can be said about the text that hasn’t already been said. I will, nevertheless, say what I can about it, and say what the text is for me, and what it means to me.

I got into The Lord of the Rings quite late, reading it completely for the first time just a couple years ago. I’d read and loved The Hobbit many years before that, and I had attempted to start reading The Lord of the Rings then, but I actually just couldn’t get into it. I think that that’s mostly because the tone of The Lord of the Rings is drastically different from the tone of The Hobbit: The Hobbit is written as a children’s fantasy, whereas The Lord of the Rings, though it is a rather direct sequel to The Hobbit, is written as a more serious and dark fantastic history. Each tone works well for that specific book and what each one attempts to achieve, but the difference between them was too much for me after I had just read The Hobbit. For any readers of The Hobbit who are looking into getting into The Lord of the Rings, I hope you keep that difference in tone in mind.

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The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine, written by H.G. Wells in 1895, is one of the biggest classics in science fiction. Indeed, the term ‘time machine’ itself was coined originally by Wells, and Wells is often considered to be one of the grandfathers of science fiction. This novella tells the story of an inventor who invents a time machine and travels to the distant future.

Being such a huge classic within the genre, it is hard to read The Time Machine without being actively aware of its classic status. Indeed, my decision to read it now was due to my interest in becoming more familiar with the biggest names in the science fiction canon. I think this intense awareness of its status is both because of how notable the story is for the genre, but also because many elements of the novella are distinctly and strongly of its time.

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Why are There no Star Ratings?

Star RatingsTwo people can read a book, agree perfectly on why the book is good and why the book is bad, and yet still give drastically different star ratings.

That is one form of the argument I often heard from reviewers I read when they argued why they didn’t provide star ratings (or grades, or scores, etc). But, for a long time, I thought those people were simply looking for reasons to justify their lack of courage in putting forth their actual ideas about what they thought of a work. Maybe because they were afraid of upsetting their relationship with one publisher or another?

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The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

WordWorldForest CoverUrsula K. Le Guin is, of course, an absolute legend within science fiction, and I have yet to find a book of hers that wasn’t at least great. That includes The Word for World is Forest (WWF), which tells the story of Terran’s attempt to run a lumber colony on the world of the Athsheans. This novella, first published in 1976 during the Vietnam War, forms a part of Le Guin’s Hainish novels.

Le Guin’s success in her art rests primarily on her mastery over three areas: world-building, writing, and ideological/thematic exploration. I will thus investigate each of those elements as they relate to WWF.

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Void Wraith and Eradication by Chris Fox (Void Wraith Books 2-3)

Void Wraith CoverEradication CoverVoid Wraith and Eradication are the second and third books in indie author Chris Fox’s military science fiction trilogy beginning with Destroyer (review of which can be found here). These books continue the story of Nolan’s and the 14th fleet’s attempts to deal with the Void Wraith invasion.

I’ve decided to review these two books together, because the points I want to raise are essentially the same for both of them. The only difference between the two books is the degree to which those points apply to them.

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Destroyer by Chris Fox (Void Wraith Book 1)

Destroyer Cover

Destroyer is the first book in indie author Chris Fox’s military science fiction trilogy Void Wraith. It tells the story of Captain Nolan, who is sent to the lowly 14th fleet as a form of punishment in mysterious circumstances. As part of the 14th fleet, Nolan learns of a mysterious new threat and must, along with his crew, find out everything that they can of this new threat, all the while navigating the complicated relations they have to the other known races (the Tigris and the Primo) with little backing from their own government.

Brandon Sanderson once differentiated between his steak dinner and his burger-and-fries novels. Using this same broad categorisation, Fox’s Destroyer falls safely and completely in the latter category. This is not, of course, a bad thing: both categories have their places and neither is inherently better than the other. However, any potential reader of Fox’s series should keep in mind that the series is not driven by complex and sprawling plots, nor in-depth character studies, but simply the pursuit of some simple and fun action.

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Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

HP Covers

‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’

I find that there is only one place that a fantasy review blog can start, and that is with a review of the Harry Potter series. These books are my all-time favourites, and they are the reason that I am as into reading (in general and fantasy more specifically) today as I am.

But, in the beginning, I had a bit of a false start with this series.

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