Browsed by
Tag: portal fantasy

Book Review: The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Book Review: The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub


The Talisman by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a lot of King lately. Very rarely do I binge read a particular author. I feel the need to mix things up in my reading life or I find myself burned out and unable to appreciate a book I should love because I’ve consumed too much of the same thing in a row. I might love pizza, but I would find it far less palatable if I had to eat it for every meal. I feel the same way about my literary diet. So I’m a readerly butterfly, flitting from author to author and genre to genre as they grab my attention. However, this is my fourth King novel in a row, and it’s the fourth in a row I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I think that’s because each of these four novels, whether King penned them alone or with the aid of a co-author as with this book, vary drastically from everything else I’ve read by him. And yet what makes them so incredible is the way they tie into each other and refer back to things King wrote before them and foreshadow books he would write after.

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)

Book Review: The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)


The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved everything about this book. I’m not really sure why I’m surprised by this, but I am. I expected to like The Drawing of the Three in the same way that I liked The Gunslinger, but I love it with the same ferocity I do The Stand. It is, in my opinion, the most powerful and successful entry into the portal fantasy subgenre since C.S. Lewis penned The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Yes, it’s really that good.

“Because the difference between seeing and not seeing can be the difference between living and dying.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Ten Thousand Doors of January cover

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


“…there are ten thousand stories about ten thousand Doors, and we know them as well as we know our names. They lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, Atlantis and Lemuria, Heaven and Hell, to all the directions a compass could never take you, to elsewhere.”

I have been watching my cats lazing about in the warm, reposeful afternoon sun. Languid stretches and lazy yawns and leisurely rolls. Complete comfort and contentment. The sheer bliss of surrendering to the moment evident in their eyes. Melting, mellow happiness. Felicity.

That is the feeling that came over me upon finishing this book, and I basked in every second of its warmth. Lyrical. Stunning. Beautiful. Spellbinding. Richly imagined. Eloquent. Wistful. A riotous swirl of adjectives, all apt and all applicable. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is an emphatically stunning debut by Alix E. Harrow, delivering a tale that speaks to one of humanity’s oldest fantasies – visiting another world.

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates, #1) by A.K. Larkwood

Book Review: The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates, #1) by A.K. Larkwood

I received an ARC of The Unspoken Name from the publisher (Tor UK) in exchange for an honest review.


The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Serpent Gates (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Science-fiction, Space Opera

Published: 20th February 2020 by Tor (UK) & 11th February 2020 by Tor Books (US)


An extraordinary debut from a fresh and exciting new voice in fantasy!

It has been a while since I added a book by an unknown author to my tbr that fast. It was unavoidable though, as the blurb of the Unspoken Name spoke to me! On the day of her inevitable death as a sacrificial bride to the god of desolation, Csorwe is gifted a choice. She can ignore her fate and walk away from this needless death. All she has to do is join a wizard named Belthandros Sethennai as his loyal agent. Her duties? Fulfilling the role of thief, spy & assassin in the mage’s quest to regain rulership of the city Tlaanthothei, and helping him recover his ultimate prize – the Reliquary of Pentravesse. As choices go, it’s not the hardest one to make, but it has consequences. Gods do not forget.

“Nothing in this world has earned the power to frighten you, Csorwe,” he said. “You have looked your foretold death in the face and turned from it in defiance. Nothing in this world or any other deserves your fear.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: Rotherweird (Rotherweird, #1)

Book Review: Rotherweird (Rotherweird, #1)


Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rotherweird is a book that’s been on my radar for a while. The cover is incredibly eye-catching. The premise is unique and intriguing, and the story proved to be just that. I can honestly say that I’ve never encountered a setting quite like it. By turns charming and almost sinister, Rotherweird hides deep secrets and a dark past that is utterly unknown to any of its residents. When outsiders, one in the form of a bumbling history teacher and the other in the guise of a wealthy lord who has just purchased the rundown Manor, elbow their ways into Rotherweird and start asking questions, the town faces unpredictable threats and must be protected by some of the area’s most unusual citizens.

Read More Read More

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Tor.com) in exchange for an honest review.

Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children novellas have quickly become one of my yearly highlights. I love having them to look forward to. I’ve been eagerly anticipating Come Tumbling Down since I read the final page of In An Absent Dream this past January. While I didn’t adore it as much as I have some of the previous installments, Come Tumbling Down is a fast-paced return adventure spanning two of McGuire’s worlds that I’ve come to love in recent years. It was an action-packed read that had me flying through its pages in one sitting.

“…the fact that I’ve been damaged doesn’t make me broken…”

Read More Read More

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)


Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some adventures being easily.

It is not hard, after all, to be sucked up by a tornado or pushed through a particularly porous mirror; there is no skill involved in being swept away by a great wave or pulled down a rabbit hole. Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.

Other adventures must be committed to before they have even properly begun. How else will they know the worthy from the unworthy, if they do not require a certain amount of effort on the part of the ones who would undertake them? Some adventures are cruel, because it is the only way they know to be kind.

Portal fantasy is among my favorite things, and Seanan McGuire excels at creating new realms. This book was just as good as Every Heart a Doorway, and yet managed to be completely different in tone and the method in which the story was told. This is the story of Jack and Jill, the identical twins from Every Heart a Doorway, before they were cast back through their door and relegated to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. The novella can be viewed as a prequel or a standalone story in the same series. It should most certainly be read, because it has much to say in its less-than-two-hundred pages.

Read More Read More

Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There was still something unfinished around her eyes; she wasn’t done yet. She was a story, not an epilogue.

This was my third time reading this, and I have loved it even more with each rereading. Seanan McGuire created something magical with this novella. I’m not one to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what attracted me to this book in 2016. A random door in the middle of a forest is the stuff of daydreams, and I had to see if the story inside was as captivating as the cover. It was. Everyone who has every felt like they didn’t fit in should read this book. It’s a love letter to dreamers and outcasts, and a declaration that everyone should have the freedom to be exactly who they are, without worrying about the disapproval of others.

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

“We are all stardust and stories.”

I adore The Night Circus, and have been eagerly anticipating Morgenstern’s sophomore novel for eight years. I really should have tempered my expectations. The Starless Sea is the type of book that, in the beginning, I believed would strong feelings. You should either love it and be completely entranced by the atmospheric quiet of the tale, or be bored to tears by the apparent lack of action and a more common pacing. That’s what I expected when I read the first few pages. Unfortunately, if fell short for me. Instead of either loving or hating it, I mostly just find myself disappointed by it.

“If all endings are beginnings, are all beginnings also endings?”

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

TS’ rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haïfa’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


TS’s Review

ARC provided by the publisher, Orbit.

Incredibly lush, exquisite and enchanting, The Ten Thousand Doors of January has all the makings of a classic. One which I’m certain will be well-loved and much-read. And I dare say not only by those who enjoy fantasy, for this novel is pure joy in literary form that is a tribute to almost every reader out there.

Do you love books? This book is for you.

Do you love the written word? This book is for you.

Do you love stories and escapism? This book is for you.

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: