Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 25 July, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Pretty sure I mentioned this last time but I seem to be on a roll with these mini-reviews this year πŸ˜› Lots of books I read recently that didn’t warrant a post of their own; included in this batch of mini-reviews are some classics and one DNF *le sigh*

The Major Works
By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet, critic, and radical thinker, exerted an enormous influence over contemporaries as varied as Wordsworth, Southey and Lamb. He was also a dedicated reformer, and set out to use his reputation as a public speaker and literary philosopher to change the course of English thought.

This collection represents the best of Coleridge’s poetry from every period of his life, particularly his prolific early years, which produced The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel, and Kubla Khan. The central section of the book is devoted to his most significant critical work, Biographia Literaria, and reproduces it in full. It provides a vital background for both the poetry section which precedes it and for the shorter prose works which follow. There is also a generous sample of his letters, notebooks, and marginalia, some recently discovered, which show a different, more spontaneous side to his fascinating and complex personality.

I finally got around to reading some of Coleridge’s works when I picked up one of the mini Black Classics (review). I greatly enjoyed it and decided to pick up his collected works. While this is a good collection of his works and ideas, I was much more interested in his poetry and some of his lectures than his essays and his Biographia Literaria, which to be honest I decided not to read at this time.

Anyway, his poetry was interesting, a mix of long epics and shorter poems. His poems reminds me a bit of John Keats, which makes sense given that they were contemporaries, but they aren’t as flourishing or as ingrained in the nature thematics as Keats is. There’s also a more morose feeling to his poems; it’s hard to explain, maybe the book cover had something to contribute to this overall feeling, but there’s that. I wish the poetry was more complete in this collection but nonetheless it’s a solid selection and I enjoyed reading it.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Pluggage: Guest Post at Pages Unbound on The Kalevala

Posted 22 July, 2016 by Lianne in Writing / 1 Comment

(Err, couldn’t think of a creative title for this post :3)

No book review today but instead a bit of a book chat! Pages Unbound is currently hosting a Classic Lit event and today my guest post is live over here in which I talk about one of my favourite classic texts from the Scandinavian countries: The Kalevala (review). I first heard about this text after learning that J.R.R. Tolkien (see author tag) was greatly influenced by it in his creation of Middle Earth and the stories that he wrote. I finally got around to reading it in 2012 and suffice to say it became a favourite of mine, I try to plug it every chance I get πŸ˜‰ Anyway, you can check out all of the reasons why I love the text so much over there:

Of the Richness of the Kalevala (and why everyone should read it)

Be sure to pop in over there and check out the other posts for this July event contributed by other readers & bloggers on their favourite classics! πŸ™‚ Have you ever read The Kalevala? Plan on reading it in the near future? What’s your favourite Scandinavian epic or classic?

Review: Clariel

Posted 21 July, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Clariel (Abhorsen #4)
By: Garth Nix
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

And here we are, at the latest book set in the Old Kingdom. It wasn’t required for me to re-read the first Abhorsen trilogy first as this book is set long before the events of Sabriel (review) but I wanted to reacquaint myself wtih the world before plunging back into the world. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to mention before the cut that this book is set some 600 years before Sabriel’s birth but some elements will tie in to the preceding books. May contain some SPOILERS to both this book and the series to date!

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Review: Abhorsen

Posted 20 July, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Abhorsen (Abhorsen #3)
By: Garth Nix
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
My first review of the trilogy

The Ninth was strong and fought with might, But lone Orannis was put out of the light, Broken in two and buried under hill, Forever to lie there, wishing us ill. So says the song. But Orannis, the Destroyer, is no longer buried under hill. It has been freed from its subterranean prison and now seeks to escape the silver hemispheres, the final barrier to the unleashing of its terrible powers.

Only Lirael, newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, has any chance of stopping the Destroyer. She and her companions — Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget — have to take that chance. For the Destroyer is the enemy of all Life, and it must be stopped, though Lirael does not know how.

To make matters worse, Sam’s best friend, Nick, is helping the Destroyer, as are the necromancer Hedge and the Greater Dead Chlorr, and there has been no word from the Abhorsen Sabriel or King Touchstone.

Everything depends upon Lirael. A heavy, perhaps even impossible burden for a young woman who just days ago was merely a Second Assistant Librarian. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the rather mixed help of her companions, Lirael must search in both Life and Death for some means to defeat the Destroyer.

Before it is too late. . . .

And here we are at the last book I had to re-read from the original trilogy. So the last book, Lirael (review), was a lot slower than I remembered but it certainly expanded on the universe first introduced in Sabriel (review). But I remember a bit more from this book than the last one so revisiting it should be interesting πŸ™‚

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Review: Lirael

Posted 19 July, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Lirael (Abhorsen #2)
By: Garth Nix
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
My first review of the trilogy

Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.

So, fun fact about my experience reading Lirael and Abhorsen: much as I adored Sabriel (review), I didn’t get around to reading the other two installments to the first trilogy until much, much later (I can’t even remember how much later, to be honest). I guess like any instance where a sequel appears after a very enjoyable first novel, I was worried that Lirael wasn’t going to live up to Sabriel (spoilers: I loved it). Unfortunately I don’t remember much about what happened in this novel save for what happened to a favourite character and what the Disreputable Dog was like, lol, so I totally welcomed this re-read πŸ™‚

Contains SPOILERS if you haven’t read this book & series as I will be referring to some events!

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