Elric of Melniboné – Review

Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock

Published in 1972

Pages: 181

Genre: Fantasy

“It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair which flows below his shoulders is milk-white.”

This first sentence describes the eponymous hero in Elric of Melniboné, by Michael Moorcock. The albino emperor takes center stage in this fantasy tale about love, betrayal, magic, and fate. What seems like a standard hero’s journey for most of its story turns into a promising start to a series, though possibly too late in the book for it to be effective. Continue reading “Elric of Melniboné – Review”

Eragon – Review

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Illustrations by John Jude Palencar

Published in 2003

Pages: 503

Genre: Fantasy, young adult

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

Though it may initially look like a typo because the story focuses on a dragon and the boy who rides her in battle, Eragon by Christopher Paolini actually refers to the book’s main character. A story of swordplay, waiting, meandering, and possible narcolepsy, Eragon fails to deliver on the promise of interesting dragon action and instead finds itself bogged down by indecision and onerous world-building. Buckle into your dragon saddles, kids; this isn’t gonna be pretty. Continue reading “Eragon – Review”

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – Review

El laberinto del fauno (2006) [Pan’s Labyrinth]Poster.jpg

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Written by Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Doug Jones, Pablo Adán, and Maribel Verdú

Length: 1 hour and 58 minutes

Genre: Drama, fantasy, war

MPAA Rating: R

Description from IMDB:
“In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.”

Continue reading “Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – Review”

A Game of Thrones – Review

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Illustrations by 18 different artists

Published in 1996; 2016 20th Anniversary Illustrated Edition

Pages: 843

Genre: Fantasy

“We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them.”

There are few fantasy series that have made such an impact in the 21st century as the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. Ironically, the series began in 1996 with the release of A Game of Thrones, but didn’t receive mainstream attention outside of the genre until it was adapted into the HBO show that has garnered dozens of accolades and millions of viewers. Focusing on the lives of men and women living in a fictional world, A Game of Thrones takes the first step in a long, winding epic that turned the genre on its head and has made a lasting mark in Western pop culture. Continue reading “A Game of Thrones – Review”

Lords and Ladies – Review

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

Published in 1992

Pages: 375

Genre: Fantasy, satire

“Now read on . . .”

Mystery abounds in Lords and Ladies, another entry in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Much like the first line, little is given in the way of direct explanation as to the strange and esoteric beings that give their name to the book’s title. A culmination of the events from previous witches stories, Lords and Ladies sees the return of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick as they face a dastardly and ancient evil. Continue reading “Lords and Ladies – Review”

Witches Abroad – Review

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Published in 1991

Pages: 342

Genre: Fantasy, satire

“This is the Discworld, which travels through space on the back of four elephants which themselves stand on the shell of Great A’Tuin, the sky turtle.”

Stories have power in the fantasy realm of Terry Prachett’s Discworld series, and they take center stage in the novel Witches Abroad. Fairy godmothers, fairy tales, and happily-ever-afters come into his satirical scope in a novel that is as entertaining as it is endearing. Granny Weatherwax returns, alongside Nanny Ogg and the timid Magrat Garlick, for an adventure that dives not only into stories in general, but her own family history. Continue reading “Witches Abroad – Review”

A Wizard of Earthsea – Review

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Published in 1968

Pages: 183

Genre: Fantasy

“The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.”

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin, follows the young wizard Ged from his humble beginnings to his ascension to greatness. Taking advantage of many tropes of the fantasy genre, the tale spans years of Ged’s life and hits the highlights rather than diving into the everyday minutia of Earthsea. Though the story follows the well-trod road of the hero’s journey, there is little to elevate it above other spell-bound tales. Continue reading “A Wizard of Earthsea – Review”