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Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a delightful experience. Nonfiction isn’t anywhere near by genre of choice, but The Princess Bride is among my favorite movies of all time, so I decided to give it a go. Also, Carey Elwes is an absolute treasure. But even the fact that the book was the backstory of one of my favorite movies as told by its lead actor wasn’t enough to entice me into buying a copy of this book. Until I came across the audio version. Let me tell you, I jumped right on that, especially once I learned that Carey Elwes himself, along with the majority of his Princess Bride co-stars and those who were involved with filming, directing, writing, and producing the movie, narrated the audio. Getting to hear these people, whose work together has been delighting countless viewers for over 30 years, talk about their experience with the movie was a wonderful experience. It just made me appreciate even more this movie that has been so special to me for nearly half of my life. So many lines from this story have worked their way into my family’s vocabulary and, while that is in large part due to the brilliance of Goldman’s writing, the voices in which we heard them spoken are what have kept them in our heads for well over a decade.

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Book Review: Starsight (Skyward, #2)

Book Review: Starsight (Skyward, #2)

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

My rating:  5 of 5 stars

Series: Skyward (Book 2 of 4)

Genre: Science fiction, young adult

Published: 26th November 2019 by Gollancz (UK) and Delacorte Press (US)


Starsight proves once again that Brandon Sanderson is a masterful storyteller across genres and age groups, and who simply excels at writing sequels. 

I’m actually at a loss as to how to start or write this review without sounding like a broken record. As far as I’m concerned, Sanderson is a genius and he has never failed to deliver a captivating story, whether he was writing adult or young adult, fantasy or science fiction. And after reading so much from him and listening to him talk at signings and interviews, I honestly believed that it comes from his passion in just wanting to tell good stories. Notwithstanding the excellent worldbuilding and fantastic magic systems he is so well-known for these were, first and foremost, stories about people.

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Book Review: Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3)

Book Review: Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3)

 

Death’s End by Cixin Liu, (Translated by: Ken Liu)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Remembrance of Earth’s Past (Book 3 of 3)

Genre: Hard science fiction

English translation published: 2016 by Tor Books (US) and Head of Zeus (UK).


Death’s End is an incredibly epic conclusion to the insanely imaginative and unpredictable hard science fiction trilogy, Remembrance of Earth’s Past.

I’ve read the first two books of this trilogy more than a year ago. The reason why I did not read Death’s End till now was not because I didn’t enjoy these books. On the contrary, just on those two alone I was already touting Remembrance of Earth’s Past to be one of my favourites. It was due to how well the sequel The Dark Forest seemed to have wrapped up the story then that I didn’t immediately continue with the final book. Each book in the trilogy was so thought-provoking and full of creativity that I found myself needing time to absorb and digest what I’ve read. Death’s End is the ultimate entry in this incredible trilogy which utterly floored me with its mind-blowing ideas that employed real world theoretical and astrophysics in an all-out epic and fascinating narrative.

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Book Review: Genghis: Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, #3) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Genghis: Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, #3) by Conn Iggulden

Genghis: Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #3 of 5)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 434 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 1st September 2008 by Harper Collins (UK) & 24th March 2009 by Delacorte Press (US)


A seriously astounding piece of historical fiction that left me speechless in many ways.

“We are not here to earn riches with a bow. The wolf does not think of fine things, only that his pack is strong and no other wolf dares to cross his path. That is enough.”

I can’t help but start this review by saying that I’m thoroughly impressed by Iggulden’s talent for the creation of this series. Genghis’ conquest on its own, even if they’re written or told in a textbook manner, are very attention-grabbing already, but Iggulden successfully elevated the quality of Genghis’ legend so that it became much more engaging and emotional. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is the third book in the Conqueror series, and it—along with the first installment—are my favorites in the series so far. In the previous book, the story focused on Genghis’ conquest of The Chin; this book centered on Genghis’ breathtaking conquest of the Arabs. I must remind you, this series—especially this book—isn’t for the weak of heart; the atrocities and devastations committed in this war were terrifying in every sense of the word. I’m talking about wars with casualties that reached more than hundreds of thousands of deaths; innocents were instantly marked for the afterlife just for living in the opposing city. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is a bleak, intense, and also bittersweet book; it’s heavily centered around war, death, loyalty, heritage, achievements, and what truly matters in life and what legacies will continue after death.

“All men die, Genghis. All. Think what it means for a moment. None of us are remembered for more than one or two generations.” He raised a hand as Genghis opened his mouth to speak again. “Oh, I know we chant the names of great khans by the fireside and the Chin have libraries running back for thousands of years. What of it? Do you think it matters to the dead that their names are read aloud? They don’t care, Genghis. They are gone. The only thing that matters is what they did while they were alive.”

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Book Review: The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2)

Book Review: The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2)

The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, (Translated by: Joel Martinsen)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Remembrance of Earth’s Past (Book 2 of 3)

Genre: Hard science fiction

English translation published: 2015 by Tor Books (US), 2016 by Head of Zeus (UK).


The Dark Forest is a stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed The Three-Body Problem and in my opinion, surpassed it by the magnitude of astronomical units.

While I hold the first book in high regard, I had to admit that characterisation was sidelined in the narrative which focussed heavily on the science and plot. The sequel’s storytelling approach was more balanced with the hard science toned down somewhat and character development emerging more prominently. The leading character in this respect is Luo Ji, an astronomer and sociologist, who was given cryptic advice by the person responsible for the events leading to the impending extraterrestrial invasion. Luo Ji cuts an anti-hero figure who wanted nothing to do with saving the world and just continue flitting around in life, almost frivolously, as an ordinary person. On top of becoming invested in his person, I was also delighted that arising from his POV we have the return of my favourite character from the previous book, Shi Qiang (nicknamed Da Shi), the hard-boiled ex-policeman who works for the Planetary Defence Council security department. Between Luo Ji and another prominent character, Zhang Beihai, a naval political commissar turned space officer, the story and its central plot weave a compelling, fascinating and unpredictable path through the epoch-spanning narrative.

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Book Review: Genghis: Birth of an Empire (Conqueror, #1) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Genghis: Birth of an Empire (Conqueror, #1) by Conn Iggulden


Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #1 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 403 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 2nd January 2007 by Harper Collin (UK) & 1st May 2007 by Delacorte Press (US)


Unbelievably good; this marked the first time I finished reading Iggulden’s work, and it’s VERY promising that this will become one of my favorite series.

Conn Iggulden isn’t exactly an unfamiliar name to me; despite the fact that he’s most well-known for his historical fiction works, Iggulden’s blurbs have been featured on some of my favorite fantasy books such as The Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne and The Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb, to name a few. For years I’ve been interested in reading his books, and from what I’ve gathered, his Conqueror series seems to be the most often regarded as his best works by his readers. And so here we are and my god, I seriously didn’t expect it to be this great.

“Mongolia is an unforgiving land. The boy, Temujin, was never cruel, and there is no record of him ever taking pleasure from the destruction of his enemies, but he was capable of utter ruthlessness.”

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Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

The origin of this novel is almost as famous as the book itself. A group of friends seek to outdo one another with their ghost stories. Mary, the youngest and least famous of the group, writes not a ghost story but a brief novel that has far outlived the works of every other member of the party, and that is often cited as the first science fiction novel. I recently attended a lecture on Frankenstein, in which the lecturer pointed out that there was no real science present in the novel as Mary had not been well educated in the subject, and so cannot really be considered science fiction. While I admit that she has a very valid point, I still believe that Frankenstein is indeed science fiction because the plot could not have existed without some nebulous and unexplained scientific discoveries, and helped propel this speculative genre into the popularity it still enjoys today. Even though Shelley was poorly educated in the sciences, she created something that continues to entrance and repel members of the scientific community hundreds of years after she first penned her only famous work of literature.

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Book review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating : 5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Published:  July 26th 2016 by Broadway Books

“Every moment, every breath, contains a choice. But life is imperfect. We make the wrong choices. So we end up living in a state of perpetual regret, and is there anything worse?

Dark Matter made for an exhilarating, unsettling, intense and thought-provoking reading experience!

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Book Review: The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2) by Brent Weeks

Book Review: The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2) by Brent Weeks

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Lightbringer (Book #2 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 11th September 2012 by Orbit (US) & 13rd September 2012 by Orbit (UK)


Gavin Guile has said that he has seven great purposes to fulfill in his lifetime; one of those is to write a seven paragraphs spoiler-free review so that people will read The Blinding Knife and I’m here to help him achieve that.

The Blinding Knife, the second installment in Weeks’s Lightbringer series, successfully excelled over the previous book. On my first read, I remember that I chose The Blinding Knife as my favorite installment of the series; it seems like I’m going to stand by this notion on my reread. There are many reasons to love The Blinding Knife; multi-layered intrigues in its politics, superb pacing, incredible character developments and intricate expansion to its world-building, to name a few. In the first book, there was quite a lot of pages—necessarily—spent towards the purpose of making sure the reader truly understands the mechanism behind the complex magic system; that info-dumpy section is gone now, everything flows naturally in The Blinding Knife because the concept and rules of the magic system has been established clearly in the previous book. Weeks took every foundation firmly planted in The Black Prism and gradually built upon them wonderfully here.

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Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Wayfarers (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction

Published: 2015 by Harper Voyager (US) and Hodder & Stoughton (UK)


This is one of the most endearing and charming novels that I’ve ever read.

I’ve had this book for quite a while but never got around to reading it. From all the reviews I’ve seen, I got the idea that it is one of those stories which the focus is around the characters instead of the plot and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that. Perhaps I happened to pick this up at the right time, because I absolutely adored this captivating story of individuals just interacting with each other, and as a tight-knit multi-species crew they are as a whole much bigger than the sum of its parts.

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