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Reynwood’s Reviews: A Stack of Books, Part 1

Hey, all! Once a month I usually post a review of the latest book I’ve read, but this time is going to be a little bit different. Last month I told you about this reading challenge I undertook, to work my way through the stack of untested stories I’ve amassed over the last few years, and so today I’m going to give you an update on my progress.

We kicked the challenge off with The Iron Ring, by Lloyd Alexander. You can find the full review here, but suffice it to say: I loved it. Each page was packed with adventure and wit, but it was also thought provoking on concepts like honor and compassion. It’s definitely a keeper.


Next there was a book by an indie author and artist I met online, Zafeer Alam. It’s called Sinner, and I thought the concept was interesting. There was great potential for a grand-scale story and character development through future volumes, but the narrative itself read like a first draft. With more work I believe it could be something great. I gave it three stars.


After that I picked up A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursular K. Le Guin, haled to be on-par with authors such as Tolkein for vast worldbuilding and quality of story. This book is the first in a set of five (I believe), so I’ve only just scratched the surface, but I can definitely see where such claims came from. Ged’s adventures span the archipelago, as well as the depths of his own self, and I even found a quote in there that spoke to my own story that I’m currently working on. I gave it three stars.

Then came Eric, by Terry Pratchett, the mastermind behind The Color of Magic and all of its subsequent misadventures. I’ll say it wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. Whimsical and wild, it’s almost like a parody of fantasy, with irritable walking suitcases, time travel, and forays into Hell were micromanaged demons bore the condemned and dream of the old days of torture. It was funny, silly, and rather irreverent. It felt to me synonymous with cheesecake ─ good, but in small doses. I gave it three stars


Following that I read One Good Knight, by Mercedes Lackey. Turns out it’s actually the second volume in a series, but with the exception of a couple characters from book one the story felt fairly self contained and I didn’t feel I was missing much. This story wasn’t at all what I first imagined, happening to be a kind of fluffy spoof on fairy tales where this natural law-ish type thing called the Tradition rules. It’s an interesting concept, I’ll admit, taking all the tropes of fairy tales and turning it into a force of nature, but I still couldn’t get into the story and characters. I’d say it’s akin to jasmine tea, which is floral, and not really to my taste. I gave it two stars.


Lastly was The Iron Trial of the Magisterium series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. There are five books in the series and I currently just finished book four, The Silver Mask. It’s awesome. Gauged more toward the young adult genre, the story is reminiscent of Harry Potter, in regards to the world of magic and the setting being around a magic school, so if stuff like that is up your alley, this is a great story to try. I wasn’t too sure how I’d like it when I started, but characters and plot twists have pulled me through close battles, dark secrets, acerbic humor, irreplaceable friendships, and heartbreak, with more on the way before it’s all over. I think I’m going to have to give this story a five.

And that’s about where we stand, at the moment! Have you read any of these titles? What did you think of them? Have you taken up your own reading challenge? Let me know how it’s going, and don’t be shy to share what you’re reading!

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