The Catacombs by Jeremy Bates (Book Review)

World’s Scariest Places: The Catacombs

The Catacombs is written in first-person narrative, mostly from the perspective of an American called Will, though includes some shorter chapters from the perspective of other characters. Will has relocated to Paris with the intention of starting over, after a boating disaster turned his life upside down, killing his younger sister and best friend, on the night before his wedding.

He befriends a local girl called Danièle, who shows him video footage of an Australian woman lost in the Catacombs beneath the city. She convinces him to join her on a night-time trip, deep into the caverns and tunnels on a hunt for this missing woman, along with her friends, Pascal and Rob. Although reluctant, Will later agrees to accompany them, after an unexpected conversation with his ex-fiance spurs him on.

 

Initially I was a little sceptical going into this book, I’d read the previous novel in the ‘World’s Scariest Places’ series last year and was a bit underwhelmed by the story. Suicide Forest didn’t live up to the creepy goose-pimply tale I’d been expecting, but I was hoping, considering the location, that The Catacombs would make for a much scarier story.

…possible spoiler warning…

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Revenger Series: Book 3 – Bone Silence (Book Review)

Bone Silence is the third of the 3 Revenger series books by Alastair Reynolds, and continues the story of Arafura and Adrana Ness, and their rag-tag crew aboard the Revenger.

…potential spoiler warning for those who haven’t read the preceding novels…

You can check out my reviews of book 1, Revenger here via this link, or book 2, Shadow Captain here.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling (Book Review)

Lord Voldemort, the powerful wizard that murdered Lily and James Potter 14 years ago, has returned and is currently keeping a low profile as he recruits more Death Eaters and followers. Professor Albus Dumbledore believes that Voldemort may be seeking a dangerous weapon and has called forth the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society of the Dark Lord’s enemies, in an attempt to foil the newly reborn wizard’s plans.

Meanwhile, young Harry Potter is back living with the Dursley family on Privet Drive and is frustrated at being kept in the dark about Voldemort’s plans, especially considering the strong connection between them. When two Dementors suddenly appear out of nowhere and attack him and his cousin, Dudley, resulting in the illegal use of magic in front of a muggle, he is threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Harry’s fury finally boils over.  

A technicality during the disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Magic, allows Harry to return to Hogwarts, but the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Umbridge has been appointed by the Ministry to inspect the teaching standards at the school, causing problems for both Harry and Professor Dumbledore. 

The situation for both students and teachers at Hogwarts takes a nasty turn after Harry and his friends are discovered breaking the strict new school rules imposed by the Ministry of Magic, and Professor Dumbledore takes the blame, leaving Professor Umbridge in charge as the new Headmistress.

As if Professor Umbridge’s presence at Hogwarts wasn’t bad enough, Harry struggles to juggle the stress of his Ordinary Wizarding Level Exams, with his nightmarish connection to Lord Voldemort, which allows the young wizard to catch glimpses of the Dark Lord’s intentions.

Just what exactly is this weapon that Voldemort is searching for and what is its purpose? Can the Order of the Phoenix find the object first and prevent Lord Voldemort’s evil plot from coming to fruition?

The immense, 800 page long, 5th volume of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, called the Order of the Phoenix is the most elaborate and detailed of the seven novels. It offers answers to some of the obvious questions that have cropped up in previous volumes, surrounding Harry’s background and the link that exists between him and Voldemort. It is this aspect that makes the Order of the Phoenix, at 5 out of 5 stars, such an important read for fans of the series.

See also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2 – The Chamber of Secrets

Book 3 – The Prisoner of Azkaban

Book 4 – The Goblet of Fire

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling (Book Review)

During the summer holidays Harry Potter has a dream that Lord Voldemort and his servant Wormtail (AKA Peter Pettigrew) are plotting to murder him and he suddenly finds himself wide awake with the lightning shaped scar on his forehead burning. A few days later he attends the Quidditch World Cup Final with the Weasley’s and Hermione, where Death Eaters attack Muggles and Voldemort’s Dark Mark is summoned.

Meanwhile, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is playing host to the first Triwizard Tournament in over a century, a magical competition between the three largest European Schools of Wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. One champion from each school is to be selected by the Goblet of Fire to compete in three dangerous and potentially deadly tasks, but somehow Harry Potter’s name is also drawn as a 4th competitor, much to everyone’s surprise.

Believing Harry to be seeking fame and attention, the backlash he faces from his fellow students, competitors and teachers leaves the young wizard feeling rather lonely. Especially since his best friend Ron, like everyone else, refuses to believe that he has been set up and did not enter his own name into the goblet.

Harry suspects that Lord Voldemort is to blame for the situation, probably hoping that the trials will kill him, but can he prove his innocence and finish the tournament alive?

The Goblet of Fire is the longest book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series so far, and despite its detailed descriptions and complex storylines, every word has a meaning and purpose. Rowling only fills the pages of her novels with important facts that are necessary to the plot, and her writing matures drastically with every book.

At 4.5 out of 5 stars, book number four plays host to a spectacular magical tournament filled with an extensive variety of magical creatures, while also continuing on with the main theme that runs throughout the entire series of novels, the connection between Harry Potter and his nemesis Lord Voldemort. 

See also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2 – The Chamber of Secrets

Book 3 – The Prisoner of Azkaban

Book 5 – Order of the Phoenix

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

Revenger Series: Book 2 – Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds (Book Review)

Shadow Captain is the second of the 3 Revenger series books by Alastair Reynolds, and its story begins precisely where Revenger left off.

…potential spoiler warning for those who haven’t read Revenger

You can check out my review of book 1, Revenger here via this link.

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Revenger Series: Book 1 – Revenger by Alastair Reynolds (Book Review)

Having read a few Alastair Reynolds books before, I decided to pick up his three Revenger novels: Revenger, Shadow Captain and Bone Silence, hoping for more of his gripping hard sci-fi adventures. However, I later discovered that these are actually young adult books and so are not quite up to the same standards as earlier reads.

…potential spoiler warning…

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Divergent Trilogy: Reviews of Books 2 & 3

Divergent Trilogy: Book 2 – Insurgent

After all of the fast-paced action and excitement of Divergent, the follow-up seemed very lethargic and slow. Insurgent began exactly where Divergent left off with Tris, Caleb and Four on the run from the Erudite and Dauntless forces. In the early parts of the book the characters travelled around between different factions, without much of real importance or consequence happening.

I really struggled to read Insurgent as the story dragged without much real purpose. There was far, far too much focus on the relationship issues between Tris and Four, as they constantly bickered, kept secrets and repeatedly antagonised each other.

Having suffered my way to the end of this book, I discovered that the story didn’t really conclude in any meaningful way, but continues on into the next, and final, book of the series. If the dialogue in Insurgent had been trimmed down and there had been better focus, instead of all the confusion of running around between factions, this might have been interesting. However, I’m really disappointed in the direction of this novel and it makes me somewhat reluctant to continue reading.

At 1 out of 5 stars, I wouldn’t recommend Insurgent. Divergent was a fantastic book, but this one was just boring, stretched out with tedious, irritating and pointless dialogue to flesh it out. No real story progression or character development, with Tris constantly complaining and feeling sorry for herself.

 

Divergent Trilogy: Book 3 – Allegiant

Simply to round-out this series and complete my reviews, I pressed forward and read the final book in the trilogy. However, I found it difficult to focus with the story’s perspectives constantly switching between Tris and Four, as it was hard to keep track and distinguish between them. It seemed to be a persistent battle to remember which perspective I was following, as there was no difference between them and the chapters were so short that they switched viewpoints regularly.

However, one consolation was that this novel provided the answers to questions I had after reading the first book. But since this is revealed fairly early on in the story, it just makes it doubly difficult to finish reading. At 0.5 out of 5 stars I really can’t recommend Allegiant to anyone, as its only redeeming feature is the origin story. This book is extremely monotonous, and so long that I honestly thought it was never going to end.

If you really want to check out the Divergent series, then I suggest that you watch the movies. The films are a lot more entertaining and the story moves at a much faster pace. However all that cool sci-fi tech you see in the movies, they don’t exist in the books. Just be aware that, as with most adaptations, somewhere along the line the books and films become very, very different.

 

See also:

Divergent Trilogy: Book 1

The Hunger Games Trilogy: Book 1

Divergent Trilogy: Book 1 – Divergent by Veronica Roth (Book Review)

The Divergent Trilogy is a dystopian young adult fantasy series set in an alternate reality where the USA is split into different factions, with each faction having unique mannerisms, rules and dress codes. On turning 16, main character Tris must join her classmates in taking the Aptitude Test, which determines their future, by placing them definitively in one of the five separate factions: Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless or Amity. Once decided during the Choosing Ceremony, each pupil then leaves to join their chosen faction and train to complete the initiation process. Failure is not an option worth contemplating.

….possible spoiler warning…

Continue reading “Divergent Trilogy: Book 1 – Divergent by Veronica Roth (Book Review)”

The Race Through Space: Event Horizon – Book 2 by David Hawk (Book Review)

This second instalment in the Race Through Space, Event Horizon series continues the story of Neil Webb and Marie Arroway from where its predecessor Event Horizon book 1 left off.

 

If you haven’t already, you can check out my review of Event Horizon book 1 here, or begin with the review of books 1-3 of the original The Race Through Space Trilogy via this link.

 

…warning: series spoilers ahead…

Continue reading “The Race Through Space: Event Horizon – Book 2 by David Hawk (Book Review)”

Supernatural: Carved In Flesh by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

Carved In Flesh is the twelfth book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is written by Tim Waggoner. It takes place during season seven between episodes 12 (Time After Time) and 13 (The Slice Girls).

 

…spoiler warning for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: Carved In Flesh by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)”