The Mark of the Horse Lord – Review

The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff

Illustrations by Felix Miall

Published in 1965; 2017 Edition by The Folio Society

Pages: 288

Genre: Historical fiction, children’s literature

 

Disclaimer: This review will be different from the norm in that it is split into two parts: a standard, albeit shorter, book review and a specific review of this Folio Society edition. I am endorsing this product through my own volition and belief in its high quality.

 

Part I: The Story

“In the long cavern of the changing-room, the light of the fat-oil lamps cast jumping shadows on the walls; skeleton shadows of the spear-stacked arms-racks, giant shadows of the men who crowded the benches or moved about still busy with their weapons and gear; here and there the stallion shadow of a plume-crested helmet.”

The above sentence describes a scene that could most likely have been taken from a historical account of a gladiator’s life. The Mark of the Horse Lord, by Rosemary Sutcliff, follows one such gladiator from gaining his freedom to becoming a central figure in a conspiracy to reclaim a tribal throne in Northern Scotland. Filled with swordplay, interesting characters, and intricate descriptions that cause the reader to become immersed in this ancient world, The Mark of the Horse Lord is entertaining in its character driven storytelling. Continue reading “The Mark of the Horse Lord – Review”

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Charlotte’s Web – Review

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Illustrations by Garth Williams

Published in 1952

Pages: 184

Genre: Children’s literature

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?”

Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White, is a classic and well-loved children’s story. The tale follows Wilbur; the runt of the litter, he is beset by the possibility of death from birth, but is saved by the kindness of friends. A book for children containing such themes as friendship, loyalty, growing up, life, and death, it is no wonder that it has remained as popular all these years after its first publication. Continue reading “Charlotte’s Web – Review”

A Monster Calls – Review

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

Illustrations by Jim Kay

Published in 2011

Pages: 205

Genre: Children’s literature, fantasy

“The monster showed up just after midnight.”

While this may seem a cliché way to begin a tale about a monster, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is anything but. Conor O’Malley is plagued by nightmares; more specifically, he has a recurring nightmare filled with wind, darkness, and letting go of someone’s hand which forces them to be swallowed by darkness. In the wake of this nightmare, a monster appears outside his home and says that it has been called there by Conor. What follows is not a happy tale (those involving monsters seldom are) but an emotional adventure into the crushing weight of guilt lain upon a young soul. Continue reading “A Monster Calls – Review”

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Review

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Published in 1950

Pages: 189

Genre: Fantasy, children’s literature

“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.”

One would be hard-pressed to find a fan of fantasy novels who hasn’t heard at least a passing mention of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is the first book published in C. S. Lewis’s seven novel Chronicles of Narnia saga. Following the adventures of the four Pevensie children, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe transports readers to Narnia; a magical place where animals speak English and the forces of good and evil battle for the fate of the land. Despite such heavy stakes, Lewis introduces us to a wondrous place and teaches a few lessons along the way. Continue reading “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Review”

Coraline – Review

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Illustrations by Dave McKean

Published in 2002

Pages: 160

Genre: Children’s literature, fantasy

“Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.”

No one seems to get Coraline’s name right. Though, this may be expected when the adults in her life seldom pay much attention to her in general. About a precocious and intelligent little girl, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline initially follows the mundane account of a lonely child stuck inside during summer break due to bad weather. She explores the house that her family lives in and meets the neighbors, but it isn’t until she sees a door that leads to (what seems to be) nothing but a brick wall that things turn truly interesting, though not necessarily for the better. Continue reading “Coraline – Review”

The Graveyard Book – Review

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Illustrations by Dave McKean

Published in 2008

Pages: 312

Genre: Fantasy, horror, children’s literature

“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”

A man stalks up the stairs of an English house, searching for his final victim. Blood drips from the knife in his hand as he nears the finish of his dark deed. Victory, however, is not to be his. So begins The Graveyard Book, the tale of a baby toddling into a graveyard and being taken in by those who walk (0r float) in the twilight. Setting the tone for the book, the opening details a killer known as the man Jack who looks for the remaining child of a family of four who were fated to fall to his blade; or so he thought. Continue reading “The Graveyard Book – Review”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Review

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Published in 1999

Pages: 435

Genre: Fantasy, magical realism

“Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban takes everything that was good from the first two books and pours it all into one fantastic read. There are fabulous creatures, a malevolent force seeking to do Harry harm, Quidditch matches, Ron hurting Hermione’s feelings, it’s all there and in full force.

Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Review”