Should Books Have Happy Endings?

Let me start off by saying that this post will refer to the fantasy genre, as opposed to other genres. I’m not asking whether tragedies should have a happy ending because – hey – that’s a silly question really isn’t it?

This is something I’ve been thinking about recently. We all know the sort of stories where the knight in shining armour saves the beautiful princess from the dangerous dragon, takes her back to the glorious king who gives him her dainty hand in marriage. Happily ever after (and what a depressing use of adjectives, if I may say so!). Is that how a story whould always be? Should a fantasy author mould himself to the happy ending, giving absolution to whatever hurts the hero has gotten (I couldn’t find a synonym for ‘gotten’ beginning with a ‘h’ to get that alliteration flowing, my apologies [I seem to be waxing prose today!])? Continue reading

Dark Rift – The Grey Tower (Alesha Escobar) Book Review

Yay, my second free book review, again from the wonderful Ms. Escobar. Dark Rift is the sequel to The Tower’s Alchemist in the Grey Tower trilogy, you can see the previous review here. I hope you went and bought it, as this really is an awesome series, gripping and thrilling. You can probably tell from my buoyancy that I enjoyed this book; and you bet I did! Let’s get going, then.


In Dark Rift, Agent Isabella George knows that she is The Drifter – the time travelling wizard seeking the Akashik Records. Except she isn’t looking to infiltrate and steal the records. However, the Grey Tower law states that all Drifters must be hunted down and killed for the threat they post. Isabella’s father, a master Philsopher has them believing that he is the Drifter, and the seven trackers hunt him without pause. The war still rages through Europe, and Octavian’s forces are still pushing at the Allies. Isabella knows that she must prove to the Tower that she will use her powers as the Drifter to help them, whilst keeping them secret all the while. Octavian, however, is planning his move.


The plot of this book is not quite as fast as the previous book. There is a reason for this, however – it all adds to the sense that Isabella is treading on eggshells. She is trying to figure out the secret of her powers, and waiting for her father to contact her. She knows that time is limited, but she cannot expose herself for fear of becoming a fugitive of the Tower. There are a lot more subtleties to this plot, and it makes for a very rich read. It’s not quite as action packed as Tower’s Alchemist, but this serves to highlight the fun when it really starts blazing; and there are a few scenes where things get pretty intense. It’s a very believable plot line, and Isabella does not overstep her bounds. You see, I saw one comment on the net regarding these books which claimed that whenever Isabella gets into trouble, she just uses a new power to fix things again. This is definitely not true, the author stays within the bounds of the restrictions she has placed on her character and doesn’t use a deus ex machina! This plotline will grip you relentlessly, and I’m sure you’ll absolutely love it. Going back to the romantic subplot I discussed in the previous review, it has refined a little. Let me just say this; one of the two blokes gets knocked off, so the choice becomes pretty clear. However, Ms. Escobar doesn’t move on to begin creating a relationship there. Will we see this in the third book? I don’t know for certain, but I can’t wait to find out!


If you remember (or have read the books) you’ll know that the characters of the books are of a really good quality. They are incredibly deep, and believable. Not much is done to advance Isabella’s character, though we do see new elements of it. There aren’t too many new characters brought in, though we meet Isabella’s family. I’ve found it quite hard to tell which (if any) of the new characters will become a major plot element. We learn the names of a few of the seven trackers, most specifically Hotaru. However, I get the feeling that his part is played by the end of the novel, as you’ll be able to tell when you read it.We meet Octavian, but there aren’t any forays as to exposing him as a character, although I’d love to find out more about him in the third book. He’s been built up as an almost godlike figure, incredibly powerful and nigh on impossible to destroy. I doubt we’ll see it, but I think it would be amazing if there were a few chapters from his point of view in the third book, so as to show just how twisted and insane he is. Isabella’s first person thought-stream is also still vivid and very enjoyable to be a part of. The characters are much in the vein of the first book, so there isn’t a huge need for adaptation.


Again, I have tried for a balanced review, and I feel that I have given it. It’s a very positive review as I really loved the book, but I hope the author can take the few pieces of advice I’ve imparted on-board. Thinking about it, it’d be really nice to think I’ve given a little bit into the final book, but that’d be indulgent of me. I really think you should purchase this book (and the first). They’re wonderful examples of modern literature, and anybody into fiction-fantasy is in for a wonderful ride! It’s only $4 on the Kindle, as it’s a very recently published novel (only a few months off of the press). Please, please download, and take a look at Alesha’s site (that’s free).

9/10. I really loved this book, and I’d recommend it highly. Congratulations, Ms. Escobar, another successful novel!

The Saga of Larten Crepsley (Darren Shan) Series

The Saga of Larten Crepsley is an offshoot from the Saga of Darren Shan, Shan’s longest series of novels. There are four short novels in the Saga, adding to the current twelve. In fact, all of Shan’s novels are fairly short, and these are only slightly shorter than he normally writes; so if you’re a fan you probably won’t mind. Anyway, I think that they are a worth addition to the saga(s) and I’m glad I read them. Here we go.


The saga (in saying this I refer to Crepsley’s, not Darren’s) is the story of Larten Crepsley’s history; how he became a vampire and rose through the ranks to become a general and so on. It does also tie in with the SODS (Saga of Darren Shan) and the war of the scars (vampires vs vampaneze). There’s also a bit of Larten’s romantic side, what with humans and with the gorgeous Arra Sails. This won’t be lacking in Desmond Tiny either.. Continue reading

The Thin Executioner (Darren Shan) Book Review

The Thin Executioner, by Darren Shan (whom happens to me one of my all time favourite authors) is a book I believe Shan released last year. It’s really strange writing about Darren Shan as an author, when you’ve read the whole of his ‘Saga of Darren Shan’ which features himself as a main character. Most people know Shan for his two large series; the Demonata and the aforementioned Saga. The Thin Executioner (TTE) is a one-off, standalone novel not related to either series. It’s nice, in a way, to have something totally new from one of your favourite authors which doesn’t relate to your previous readings.


Jebel Rum is the executioner’s son. The trade of the executioner is one of the noblest and most respected position in the city, and the contest for it is rough. A day comes though, when Jebel’s father, Rashed Rum calls a speech after an execution and names the date of his retirement. In this speech, Rashed names his two eldest sons, J’An and J’Al, but not Jebel, whom is the runt of the family. This rejection of Jebel is as disowning him, and of the highest disrespect to Jebel. The only way to secure the position of the executioner is to win the mukhayret, a competition of strength and endurance. Knowing he has no chance in completing this, Jebel sets out to find a way he can, and takes upon himself the quest to Tubaygat, to petition the fire god Sabbah Eid! Continue reading

Unseen Acadmicals (Terry Pratchett) Book Review

Hello all, and another book review! Back to Terry Pratchett, as I re-read Unseen Academicals recently. This was the first TP book I read, and what got me into the Discworld series. It’s great! I expect this will be a fairly short review, especially in comparison to the LOTR one.


Unseen Adademicals is the story of a Mister Nutt. Mister Nutt is a something, in that many people (including he) don’t know what that thing is. In UU, Mister Nutt attempts to achieve worth through working as a candle dribbler at the Unseen University. That is, until the wizards decide to get in on the troublesome game of foot-the-ball. Along with an unorthodox ally in the form of Trev, Mister Nutt comes into his own, and learns a thing or two along the way.
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Orcs (Stan Nicholls) Book Review

Stan Nicholls’ ‘Orcs’ is a book that definitely strums a different string to most other fantasy books. We have no knight in shining armour, nor silver elven lord. This book caught my eye in Waterstones (I do most of my shopping in brick and mortar stores, not online), and turned out to be a really good novel. I’d reccommend this to anybody looking for a good read.


Orcs is the story of the Wolverines, an Orc warband enslaved by an evil queen ‘Jennesta’. They are set against the Unis (humans whom worship one god), their master being a ‘Mani’ (worshiping many gods). The orcs also hate the humans for bringing advancement and technology to the land, and draining the magic of Maras Dantia (the world). Sent to retrieve an artifact, the Orcs are delayed and Jennesta believes herself betrayed, so she sends a second warband to pursue them. Under captain Stryke, the Wolverines decide they must garner four more of the artifact ‘stars’ to bargain their freedom. As their enemies mount up, things become a little more difficult, however. Captain Stryke is having strange dreams, though. Dreams that mean more than he realises.. Continue reading

Unfinished Tales (J.R.R. Tolkien) Book Review

Tolkien’s ‘Unfinished Tales’ is not a story in itself, but a collection of tales that relate to stories in The Lord of the Rings universe, which Tolkien has added to. Some are not ‘unfinished’, but more explanations, or even a ‘prequel’ style story. In this way, I cannot write this review as I normally would, as the book does not follow a single coherent plot, nor follow the deeds of one group of characters. Continue reading