So, this was my first visit to the world of Silvery Earth, and I have to say, I enjoyed what I saw. In this world, magical creatures with mythical names (e.g. Sila, Fajrulo) live alongside the humans, and four Immortals – Earth, Air, Ether, Fire and Water champion the different races.
This book really wasn’t what I was expecting, but in a good way. I’m going to say here and now that there are certain points in the book where there are mature themes. There are points where characters within the book use intercourse and sexuality as a means of control or power, which was interesting to read, as it isn’t so very different to what can happen in the real world. These areas of the book, I felt, were well written, and whilst these themes were mentioned throughout, it wasn’t overbearing, and at no point did it seem to overshadow the actual storyline. However, due to these themes, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to younger readers.
I appreciated the attention to detail on the descriptions of the races – especially characteristics – such as the Fajrulo not being particularly social or able to love. These are also consistent throughout, which helps make Silvery Earth into a tangible world. Of course, this is also helped by the descriptions of the differing cultures within the world, which vary by Kingdom. I felt that there were comparisons to be made between the inhabitants of various areas of Silvery Earth and specific cultures on Earth, but again, that added to the believability of the world.
Another important element in this book is the descriptions of the goings on in The Sect – a dark religious minority, with serious amounts of power. The descriptions were vivid, but left enough to the imagination that as a reader I was always left wondering what would happen next.
I have to admit, I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did – I ended up really caring for the characters, and hoping that each got the ending that they deserved. I also enjoyed the way that Tarn tied all the loose endings together by the end of the book – something which is often not managed as cohesively as this example. Overall, I really enjoyed this book – a good read, and I can foresee myself returning to Silvery Earth to read more in the future. Recommended for anyone into epic fantasy.
on Oct. 17, 2011
Normally, I don’t read short stories. Collections of short stories just aren’t my thing – they don’t give me enough time to get into the story, much less start enjoying it. However, when I was approached with a review copy of this book, I thought I’d give it a go – variety is the spice of life, after all. I’m actually glad I did – the three stories in this collection are all very different from each other, and written in an interesting way.
The first story, The Marshmallow War focuses on office politics in a humorous way – looking at the way companies tend to confuse youth with innovation. I appreciated the somewhat crazy ideas that the marketing company in the story came up with, especially the marshmallow guns, and the sticking marshmallows together – and their way of getting rid of their co-workers in the process. This story had a lighthearted feel, though the ‘message’ was fairly obvious, right from the offset. This was the longest story in the collection, and therefore probably the most complex, but it was an enjoyable read, and I’m pretty sure I was grinning like an idiot throughout.
The second story, The Peripheral Witches, looks at how our own negative thoughts can be demonized by looking at Miriam, a young single mother, who keeps seeing witches in her peripheral vision, though they disappear when she looks directly. It’s an interesting little story, though this is the one, I think, that I personally enjoyed the least in the book.
The third story follows the execution of a criminal, Billy Parsons, and how the townspeople who convicted him eventually saw (too late, unfortunately) that there was more to the man than his crimes. I enjoyed this one, despite the melancholy tone, and I almost wish this had been written into something longer. It’s the shortest in the collection, but it’s almost like there’s a novella or even a whole novel in there somewhere.
Overall, these tales were all very different from each other, and after finishing each I found myself thinking about what the meanings were behind them. I don’t know if I was reading into them too deeply, or maybe even not enough. This book made a nice, quick read, and it was refreshing, because it’s very different to what I’d normally read. I enjoyed this.
Andrew and the Quest of Orion's Belt (Rise of the Fallen)
on Nov. 01, 2011
When I was asked to review this, I read the synopsis, and thought it sounded like a light and fun read. It definitely provided that, though it wasn’t the YA that I sort of expected, I’d call this more mid-range.
One of my favourite things about this novel is the range of creatures – and the fact that they all had fun, imaginative names and characteristics. It’s clear that the author has some serious imagination, and I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the early manifestations of Andrew’s power, though I have to admit, when he suddenly discovered his various other ones, I did start to get a little confused!
The storyline of this book moves along at a good pace – things happen quickly, and the quiet parts don’t last for long. My only criticism is that it feels a bit like you’re bounced from one event to the next sometimes, and it might be a little hard to keep up. I also felt a bit like the story meandered away from the main storyline a little too often – I felt like I was losing track of what was actually meant to be going on because I was distracted by the sidestory.
The characters in the book were well-written and definitely gave me a few smiles, with my personal favourite being Gogingy, just for pure fun-factor. They also appeared to mature throughout the story, which was good, as they seemed very ‘young’ to me at the beginning. Besides, having to save the world is going to make anyone grow up quickly!
I notice that in this review, I’ve said the word fun a whole lot, and I think that’s really what this book is. It’s pure, unadulterated fun in an interesting fantasy setting, with a good epic quest to keep the characters – and the readers – busy. There are also some good quality illustrations, which just add to the charm and feeling of the book – really, I’m a sucker for nice touches.
I’d recommend this book to younger readers – or those who want something nice and easy to keep them busy – or those who want a fantasy book where things don’t get overly complicated with hugely expansive and complex storylines. Definitely give it a read ☺