Bookworm Burrow

Book reviews on over 125 different books from several different genres. Use the search or categories to see more.

Magician’s Gambit, The Belgariad book Three by David Eddings November 8, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile — Julie @ 10:34 am

Magician's GambitMagician’s Gambit, The Belgariad book Three by David Eddings fits into the juvenile fantasy fiction genre and was first published in 1983. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

By book three the group on the quest is quite large. With so many characters the plot can’t help but be complex however Eddings does a wonderful job at keeping it all together and not getting out of hand. Once again this book is packed with adventure and mystery however some of the mysteries from the previous books have been solved leaving the reader satisfied but wanting more at the same time. We have learned that there is a prophecy predicting not only the quest but also the presence of all the members on it. We also know that the group is after an orb that someone has stolen and intends to use to rise a god who has been “sleeping” for many thousands of years. Each group of people serves their own one of seven gods and most are peaceful but the god who is to be awakened seeks to cause a war that could end the world. In the first park of this book the group travels through the land of the god Mara, his land is deserted because his people where killed off and he spends his time lamenting them and their ghosts haunt whoever comes into the land to pillage. Polgara and Belgarath decide that even with the dangers this is the safest way to travel and cause a deep sleep to come over everyone so they will not be haunted by the ghosts. They try to get the god Mara to join their cause but he is too wracked with grief to listen or care. After that Polgara and Belgarath go to the land of their god to answer a summons. While there Garion practices his sorcery and learns more fundamental truths about this new power. They also learn more about what they must accomplish to put an end to the plans for war and to prevent the resurrection of the got Torak. Next they travel to the land of Ulgo where they are joined by a man who has an amazing ability that often comes in handy to help them on their quest. In the end they travel to Cthol Murgos a land full of dangers both seen and unseen where they find the orb and manage though to defeat the Magician who has taken it. Like book two this one is full of adventure and excitement but Eddings manages to keep it fresh and exciting. The dangers are always original and while they definitely belong in the world of fantasy they are not too farfetched to seem plausible in the world he has created. It was a great read and a fitting addition to the Belgariad series.

Other reviews available:

Pawn of Prophecy, The Belgariad book One by David Eddings

Queen of Sorcery, The Belgariad book Two by David Eddings

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Queen of Sorcery, The Belgariad book Two by David Eddings

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile — Julie @ 10:31 am

Queen of SorceryQueen of Sorcery, The Belgariad book Two by David Eddings fits into the juvenile fantasy fiction genre and was first published in 1982. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

Queen of Sorcery begins a little over a week after Pawn of Prophecy ended. Garion is struggling to come to grips with the fact that his Aunt Pol is really Polgara the Sorceress and that Mister Wolf is really Belgarath the Sorcerer. These are names that Garion has heard all his life but he figured they were storys people of fiction like the Greek gods are to us today. Garion finds it difficult to not only accept that these people exist but also that they are with him and that he is a distant relative. As he is trying to piece this together the groups adventure continues. Durnik, their blacksmith friend from Faldor’s farm is still with them and has continually proved to be a valuable asset with his hard work ethic and sensible thinking which has saved them from many dangers. They are also accompanied by Silk, the wily merchant who is also a prince in disguise, and Barak cousin to a king in the north who is struggling with his own identity crisis. Hettar joins them as well along with many horses and his amazing ability to not only speak with them but understand what they are saying in return. As the story progresses they gain many more companions and a lot more trouble. They fight off several different villains both human and non-human and rescue a Princess on the run. Garion finds out more about who he is and the power he possesses. He also manages to get his revenge for the death of his parents but is shocked when he feels worse not better. After that they enter into the kingdom of Nyissa continuing on their mysterious quest chasing someone down that has stolen something important. While in Nyissa the queen kidnaps Garion and drugs him to get him to do her bidding and be her servant. All seems lost until the sky randomly darkens in the middle of the day Polgara and Barak come to the rescue with the help of Garion and his amazing power that he now able to partially control. I think I enjoyed this one more than the first book not necessarily because it was written better. Most of the characters were fully developed by this point so there was not as many meetings and background stories so it was fast paced with one adventure following another. It was an exciting read that made my mind work to find the clues hidden within it. I also found it interesting that there was a volcanic eruption that caused the sky to darken. Eddings is from the Washington state and just a few months before he wrote this book Mt. St. Helens erupted causing ash to cover everything. It was nearly impossible to see and the sky was darkened even though the sun was still up. I was a clever way to use personal experience to add to the plot of his book.

Other reviews available:

Pawn of Prophecy, The Belgariad book One by David Edding

Magician’s Gambit, The Belgariad book Three by David Eddings

 

Pawn of Prophecy, The Belgariad book One by David Eddings

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile — Julie @ 10:28 am

Pawn of ProphecyPawn of Prophecy, The Belgariad book One by David Eddings fits into the juvenile fantasy fiction genre and was first published in 1982. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

A friend lent me the first three books in the Belgariad series. At first I was hesitant because I haven’t been in a reading mood lately, which is odd for me. However, I picked this one up and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got into the reading mood. Pawn of Prophecy tells the story of Garion and his Aunt Pol as they are living a peaceful life at Faldor’s farm. Aunt Pol was the cook and Garion spent his days with his friends enjoying the country life. Unfortunately it was not to last. An old storyteller, whom Aunt Pol called Old Wolf, came into town and that’s when things started to become complicated and different. Then one night it was suddenly time to leave. Old Wolf, Aunt Pol, Garion, and their friend Durnik who was a blacksmith, snuck off to start a mysterious adventure. Along the way they meet a few more interesting friends all who have skills necessary to help them survive on this journey and accomplish the task at hand. Garion is constantly kept in the dark about things but he is observant and quick to piece things together. In the end he learns the truth about his Aunt Pol, old Wolf, and himself. He also helps stop a sinister plot to overthrow the king of a nearby kingdom. Pawn of Prophecy is packed with adventure and fun sarcastic whit that will entice anyone to keep reading. The mystery behind who Garion is will make you pick up the next book to find out more. I often found myself getting lost in the story and forgetting my life and troubles while I read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy book.

Other reviews available:

Queen of Sorcery, The Belgariad book Two by David Eddings

Magician’s Gambit, The Belgariad book Three by David Eddings

 

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins November 6, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile,Preteen Fiction,sci-fi — Julie @ 5:12 pm

catching-fireCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2009. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

I first stumbled across the Hunger Games shortly after it was published in 2008 and waited, very impatiently, for the sequel to appear. I purchased Catching Fire the day it was released and finish it closely thereafter. I loved it even more than the first book, which I didn’t even think would be possible. It begins about six months after the Hunger Games ended. Katniss has returned to district 12 but nothing was like she expected it to be. Peeta, still hurt that she was pretending to be in love, spends as little time with her as possible. Gale, also hurt by what happened during the Hunger Games, won’t really talk to her either and avoids her as well. Everyone wants to move on with life and celebrate that everyone is still alive but they must do the Victory Tour, which is where the winner of the games goes to all the districts and makes a speech, reminding those districts that they lost not only the games but two of their children as well. Another hitch in the moving on plan comes when the president of the Capitol comes to visit Katniss and tell her that he was not convinced of her love for Peeta and that he thinks she is trying to start a rebellion. She must now prove that he’s wrong on both counts while battling the capitol and in a surprising twist the other victors as well. Through a series of unbelievable events and by trusting people she barely knows Katniss not only finds the truth about the rebellion and the districts but also commits herself to a side. Catching Fire is a fabulous book further exploring the ideas of societal unrest and the amazing things that one can do with the right friends. I highly recommend it as a quick and satisfying read.

Other reviews available:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

wind in the willowsThe Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was first published in 1908. It is recommended for readers ages 8 and up.

I had an unbelievably hard time getting into this book. Even though it was only about 140 pages it took me months to read. It’s not that it’s a bad story I think it was just written so below my reading level that I had a hard time being interested. However, I think I would enjoy it if I were to read it to my children who, I’m fairly certain, would enjoy the animal characters and their adventures by the river. In the beginning we find Mole cleaning his house. He gets tired of cleaning and without any further planning leaves his house and sets off on an adventure. He makes it to the river and finds Rat who invites him to go on a picnic with him by boat. Mole is worried because he’d never been in a boat but agrees and makes an instant and lasting friend in Rat. While on the picnic they meet Badger, who is a nice enough animal but sort of anti-social. Badger admires Mole’s common sense and again Mole easily makes a new friend. Later they decide to go visit Toad. He lives in a really fancy house right on the river. They find Toad all excited about his new venture. He’d tried and failed at so many things in the past but that doesn’t keep Toad from trying new things. Cars are the current excitement in Toads life. He routinely manages to crash and break them but survives each time only to buy another and go at it again. It’s this love for cars that causes most of his problems. Toad’s friends convince him to give it up and to a point succeed until he steals a car and goes for a joy ride, which, as it should, lands him in jail. He manages to escape with the help of a washerwoman and has a few interest adventures on his way home being incredibly unruly. When he arrives home after being gone quite some time he finds his house has been taken over by weasels. Toad then goes off seeking the help of his friends. They are disappointed in the life he chose but after a quick chastisement they agree to help him get his house back. Badger plans the whole thing, Mole helped with the more subtle parts, Rat makes sure they are armed to the teeth, and Toad moans about his role in the whole thing. In the end Toad learns how to be a good friend and thankfully changes his ways. Badger, Mole, and Rat help save the day and are happily rewarded with their great friendship and a fine feast. All in all it’s an okay book. Grahame takes too many detours and subplots for my taste. He goes into great detail when a word or two would do about things that are never again mentioned in the book. It’s a great story with fun characters just not one of my favorites.

 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter PanPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie fits into the classical juvenile fiction genre and first appeared as a play in 1904. Later it was published as Peter and Wendy in 1911. It is recommended for readers ages 8 and up.

When I discovered the Disney movie Peter Pan was based on a book I was anxious to read. Typically I read the book first but it was an interesting experience to have it occur the other way. I was amazed while I read how closely the Disney movie stayed to the novel. There were major parts left out and the character of Peter was made to be more likeable but all in all it was much the same. The story begins with a thorough description of the Darling family and how they all came to be and how they acquired Nana, the nursemaid dog. One interesting difference is that Wendy, John, and Michael were not only gone one night but they were gone for quite some time. The books goes into detail how their parents and Nana think over the night they left and planning how they could have done things differently. The night the children left Peter came in and was tempting them to leave. Nana heard and managed to escape and run for the parents. Peter heard them coming and managed to get the children out of the house just before their parents burst into the room to stop them. Their flight to Neverland took days and days to accomplish and at times Peter would even forget they were there. When they got to Neverland everything is much the same as the movie but Wendy had her own cottage to live in outside of the tree where all the boys slept. The same adventures took place with the Indians and Captain Hook and even the capturing of the lost boys and Peter’s rescue. It was an interesting read but for once I think I prefer the movie to the book. Peter’s character in the book is a little too harsh for my taste. He seems moody and flighty but not in the fun carefree way that I’d imagined before. His uncontrollable selfishness also makes him more of a villain than someone to admire. Barrie’s writing at times also leaves something to be desired. He tends to bring himself down saying how this or that detail isn’t really important or that it’s not the best story but he might as well tell it anyway leaving me wondering if this is a draft with notes and not the real thing. I enjoyed finding the origins to one of my favorite children’s movies but I hesitate to recommend it to anyone else unless you have a burning desire to experience it first hand.

 

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor January 23, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fantasy,Fiction,Juvenile,Preteen Fiction — Julie @ 4:02 pm

seeing-reddSeeing Redd by Frank Beddor fits into the juvenile fantasy fiction genre and was published in 2007. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

Seeing Redd exceeded my expectations not because I didn’t expect it to be good but simply because I forgot how good The Looking Glass Wars was. Beddor captures readers with such an interesting story line and imaginative twists on well-known characters. This novel picks up a few months after the last one ended where Redd and the Cat jumped into the Heart Crystal. They are unsure if Redd and the Cat survived the trip since no one had previously had the nerve to jump in. Alyss is trying hard to reestablish peace in her Queendom but struggles with people set in their ways after Redd’s thirteen year reign. Alyss learns that Redd is not her only enemy and has to use previously unimagined powers of destruction that may very well leave them all in ruin. Also, along the way, her and Dodge firm up their feeling for each other but struggle with what it will mean if they decide to have a relationship. Overall it was a very well written book and I repeated mentioned to my husband how much I like these books and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who likes fantasy fiction.

Other Reviews Available:

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor