“Shaman’s Crossing” by Robin Hobb

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I consider it a favorite. Emily at Embuhleeliest, my buddy-reader in all things Hobb, and I completed the Realm of the Elderlings books last year and really wrapped it up by reading a novella and a short story set in its world earlier this year. We then took a break before jumping into Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy, which is fantasy but set in a different world than the Elderlings books and which begins with this novel — Shaman’s Crossing.

I had such a good time reading this novel with Emily that I slowly fell into a little reading and blogging slump. It took a while to move on from this story, especially since the books I picked up after it were lackluster. I also had a hard time drumming up energy to create new posts for my blog because I was procrastinating on reviewing this. I needed to get out my thoughts on it, but there were so many that I didn’t know where to start.

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

Soldier Son trilogy, book 1

Pubbed:

2005

Quick summary:

Like the Farseer trilogy, Shaman’s Crossing begins with the protagonist, Nevare, as a young boy learning about his station and duty in life and the world beyond his father’s lands. Through him, we learn that he lives in a very patriarchal society that is also very religious. Sons are treasured, of course, and the religion dictates that the first son becomes his father’s heir while the second son serves as a soldier; the third son should be a priest, the fourth son an artist, and the fifth son a scholar. Nevare is the second son and strongly believes his destiny is to become a soldier, like his father.

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“The Diviners” by Libba Bray

This book has been sitting on my shelves for the past four years. If not for a buddy-read with Rachel from Life of a Female Bibliophile, it probably would still be sitting there unread.

We decided to call our buddy-read “Diviners in December” because we scheduled to read it in December. I thought it would make a great seasonal read; for some reason, I thought the story was set in winter and was probably atmospheric with lots of snow and cold. I was surprised not to find that and was even more surprised at how spooky it was at times.

I guess I was aware of this before, back when I learned of the book through Becky’s blog, but some details had faded from memory since then. All I remembered is that the story should be a good read. It was.

Genre:

YA Historical fiction; paranormal

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The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton, illus. by Jan McCafferty

I’ve been searching for this book for years. Ever since I decided to start collecting books, I’ve wanted to add the books responsible for making me a fan of the fantastic and peculiar. They are three: the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and a series of books I couldn’t recall the title or author of…until now.

My interest in fantastical stories was piqued by fairytales, but these three books cemented my interest in it. I borrowed them constantly from the library as a kid and read them over and over again, never getting enough and wanting more. But my library in Jamaica was limited on such stories.

Over the years since childhood, I’d forgotten about Enid Blyton and her books. I started collecting books in college starting first with the books I love: the Harry Potter series, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Neverending Story. I knew there was another book I should get, one that I cherished as a kid, but try as I might to remember it, I couldn’t. For years I wracked my brain about it and mentioned it often on this blog hoping someone would be able to tell what I was talking about from the few clues I could remember: It’s an old children’s fantasy book with pixies and elves and there’s sometimes a mention of a garden.

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What’s On My Bookshelf Tag

I have reviews and other stuff to post, but I’m so not in the mood for them. Instead, here’s a tag! 😀 Yep, these are more fun to do and quick too.

This tag was created by Naty at Naty’s Bookshelf. I wasn’t tagged. I found it on Never Not Reading and filed it away to do on a day like this — lazy weekend.

Rules:
  • Link back to me so I can see everyone’s answers! (Naty’s Bookshelf)
  • Also link back to the person who tagged you!
  • Name one book for each category; try not to repeat books to make this more fun!
  • Tag at least 5 people
A library book

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (illus.)

It’s a graphic novel about a guy who travels from the north pole to the south pole, where he meets his true love, but it’s impossible for them to be together. I’ve had this library book on my shelves for over a year now (or has it been two years). The librarian overlooked it when I sought to check it out, which has made it easy for me to procrastinate on reading it. I refuse to return it without first reading it, and — gosh damn it! — I better read it this summer.

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‘I Spy’ Book Challenge | Book Tag

Another day, another book tag. This one is the ‘I Spy’ Book Challenge that I saw on Becky’s blog, Blogs of a Bookaholic. I liked the concept and decided to give it a go. It was created by booktuber Books and Lala, who was inspired by her son’s I Spy books.

Instructions:

Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category.

You must have a separate book for all 20.

Get as creative as you want and make it happen in under 5 minutes!!

* * *

My plan was to search my physical book shelves and snap photos of my choices, but since my shelves are stacked two and three books deep, contain over 800 books, and are very disorganized (because of a recent home improvement project), I’ll instead refer to my digital shelves where I’ve recorded all the books I own. It’ll make it possible for me to complete this in 5 minutes (hopefully).

….yeeaa…that 5 minutes thing didn’t work out. I totally cheated.

Animal | Weapon | Transportation | Food

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“The Curse of Chalion” by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve often heard of Lois McMaster Bujold, but have never been tempted to pick up one of her books until I read Jonathan’s review of the Curse of Chalion.

I’m immediately drawn to fantasy novels in which religion factors greatly. It’s not something I often see in the fantasy novels I read. Often, religion is a slight thing in the society and not a major part of the world building. It certainly doesn’t often affect magic, unless it is to denounce the use of magic. However, in the Curse of Chalion, magic is greatly influenced by religion and the gods.

Side note:

I really enjoyed this book and it’s now one of my favorites, which means I went overboard with this reflection piece. It’s long ass fuck. Skip to the Overall section and read some of the quotes for a quickie.

Quick summary:

The Curse of Chalion is a high fantasy novel told using a limited third-person narrator from the perspective of our protagonist, Lupe dy Cazaril, a former soldier and courtier who returns home to the provincar of Baocia (basically a dukedom) mentally and physically scarred after his serving aboard a Roknari slave galley. Roknar is a country to the north of Chalion.

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“Assassin’s Quest” by Robin Hobb

Assassin's QuestI don’t know what to say. This trilogy was a quite a ride. I enjoyed every moment of it and it was great buddy reading it with Emily at Embuhlee liest because I had someone to talk to about the story but now it’s over and I don’t know what to think. Except, Verity…

Goodreads overview:

From an extraordinary new voice in fantasy comes the stunning conclusion to the Farseer trilogy, as FitzChivalry confronts his destiny as the catalyst who holds the fate of the kingdom of the Six Duchies…and the world itself.

King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz — or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest — perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return — or the heir his princess carries–can save the Six Duchies.

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“Royal Assassin” by Robin Hobb

Royal Assassin2Not long after completing the first book in the Farseer trilogy, Assassin’s Apprentice, I picked up the second, Royal Assassin, and was glad to find it just as great as the first.

Goodreads overview:

Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king’s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.

Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz’s hands—and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.

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“Assassin’s Apprentice” by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice 1I first heard of Robin Hobb years ago and placed her book on my Goodreads TBR, but then forgot her. Luckily, I discovered booktube and Samantha’s channel, Sam’s Nonsense, where I was reintroduced to Robin Hobb. If not for Samantha’s love of Hobb’s books or her recent, ongoing readalong for Robin Hobb’s books, I would have missed out on a new fantasy series to love.

Quick summary:

From Goodreads:

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

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“In Search of Lost Dragons” by Elian Black’Mor and Carine-M

In Search of Lost Dragons
In Search of Lost Dragons

A beautiful graphic novel filled with glossy pictures of dragons is sure to entice anyone who loves fantasy and art and, of course, dragons!

Quick summary:

A reporter documents his journey through Europe in a travel journal as he searches for evidence of dragons. Blessed with the ability to see the unseen, he draws what he witnesses in his journal and jots down quick notes alongside his illustrations. He is later chosen to discover what has happened to an exploration party, and the assignment takes him through Scandinavia and Asia, where he continues his documentation and happens upon an amazing race that might be connected to dragons.

My thoughts:

My first foray into graphic novels and comics kicks off with In Search of Lost Dragons by Élian Black’Mor and Carine-M. This book was first published in France in November 2005 as Sur La Piste Des Dragons Oublies, and was translated into English and published by Dynamite Entertainment this year in February.

I discovered this book in a Shelf Awareness newsletter (what would I do without that newsletter) that contained a book trailer for it (see below). I usually don’t pay much attention to book trailers because they never get me hyped but this one did. The mention of dragons caught my attention and the shots of pages from the book excited me so much that I bought it soon after it was published.

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