What We Do in the Shadows
Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) - three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life's obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection-modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
The Lord of the Rings
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind themIn ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King's epic work of fantasy -- what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus -- has spanned a quarter of a century.Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is King's most visionary feat of storytelling, a magical mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.Book IIn The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.This new edition of The Gunslinger has been revised and expanded throughout by King, with new story material, in addition to a new introduction and foreword.
The Dragon Reborn
The Dragon Reborn—the leader long prophesied who will save the world, but in the saving destroy it; the savior who will run mad and kill all those dearest to him—is on the run from his destiny.Able to touch the One Power, but unable to control it, and with no one to teach him how—for no man has done it in three thousand years—Rand al'Thor knows only that he must face the Dark One. But how?Winter has stopped the war—almost—yet men are dying, calling out for the Dragon. But where is he?Perrin Aybara is in pursuit with Moiraine Sedai, her Warder Lan, and Loial the Ogier. Bedeviled by dreams, Perrin is grappling with another deadly problem—how is he to escape the loss of his own humanity?Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve are approaching Tar Valon, where Mat will be healed—if he lives until they arrive. But who will tell the Amyrlin their news—that the Black Ajah, long thought only a hideous rumor, is all too real? They cannot know that in Tar Valon far worse awaits...Ahead, for all of them, in the Heart of the Stone, lies the next great test of the Dragon reborn....
The Eye of the World
The first series that showed it was possible to do an uninspired rewrite of Tolkien and make a mint was Shannara. After that the doors were flung wide, and the next to profit off the scheme was was Robert Jordan. Of course, I'm not suggesting it's bad to take inspiration from older authors--all authors do this, as Virgil did from Homer, and Milton from Virgil, and Byron from Milton. Tolkien himself drew on the Norse Eddas, Welsh myths, English fairy tales, and Blake's myth-making.But when a skilled author takes inspiration, they expand and change what came before, combining many influences to produce their own unique voice and vision. Jordan didn't have the knowledge of language, history, or culture to truly copy Tolkien's style, nor was he able to add a unique spin.The Eye of The World is a more accessible version of Tolkien, but Tolkien is already a simplified version of the Norse Sagas, meaning that Jordan felt a need to dumb-down the accessible, which doesn't leave his book with much personality.Jordan also takes influence from the Sword & Sorcery tradition, particularly R.E. Howard (Jordan even wrote and published some of his own Conan stories). However, unlike other authors of rollicking adventure Fantasy, like Leiber or Charles Saunders, Jordan kept Tolkien's plodding length. It is difficult to comprehend how an author could take such a simple, familiar story and stretch it out over so many pages.The hero is an orphan who looks different, he gets his father's magic sword, he goes on a quest with an old, wily mentor, gets attacked by evil (dark-skinned) mongoloids from the mysterious East, meets the princess by accident, becomes embroiled in an ancient prophecy, discovers a magic 'force' which controls fate (and the plot), &c., &c. Stop me if you've heard this one before. Like a lot of modern fantasy, the plot and characters are nothing new. If you've seen Star Wars, then you know it by heart. Every fantasy fan has read this same story again and again from countless authors--some, apparently on purpose. Of course, when this old story is told well, with slick pacing and vivid characters, we can forgive the cliches, or even enjoy them freshly, recognizing their universal appeal. But when an author is simply trotting out an old, tired story and doing nothing to make it shine anew, then the only appeal it can lay claim to is bland nostalgia.There's no reason for this sort of repetition: a new book should be more than just fanfic of an older, financially successful book. There are countless different influences out there, long before Tolkien or Howard ever touched pen to paper (many of which can be found in the link at the end of this review), so it's disappointing to see authors continually rehashing the same tedious cliches completely unchanged half a century later.Jordan's long-winded style can't even boast the wealth of meticulous details with which Tolkien filled his pages (often to the detriment of his story). It's clear that Jordan's trying to build a one of those massively detailed worlds so prevalent in pop fantasy, but it's not an interesting, original world--it's just another generic, pseudo-Medieval Europe without any of the genuinely interesting bits that made that time period unique. It's just modern characters with modern psychology swinging around magic swords in a Disneyland version of history.It might not be so bad if the lengthy asides were actually interesting, in and of themselves. If each little piece was amusing in its own right, we might forgive. If they gave us some odd bit of defamiliarization that caused us to look at our own, modern world in a new way, that would be something. Instead, we get dry, lengthy explanations of extraneous facts that we had no reason to be curious about in the first place.Some readers have pointed out that these facts show up in later books of the series, which is probably true, but then, what are they doing in this book? If Mary doesn't appear until book three, it is not useful or interesting to stop in the middle of book one and tell us she has blonde hair. Facts should not be evenly distributed throughout a series, they should be placed in close proximity to scenes that relate to them. That way they make sense to the reader and we have a reason to care about them. That's the difference between foreshadowing and a word search puzzle.If an author has to stop the story every few paragraphs to explain what's going on, then his writing is simply not working. The world should be revealed to us through characters, through their interactions, through small details of verisimilitude that are lovely or interesting on their own, and through scenes designed specifically to illustrate a point without losing focus and falling into lengthy digressions.But Jordan's characters are dull and shallow, his dialogue bland, and his plot (though it possesses many parts) lacks twists or turns. We are given an unending parade of new characters and lengthy asides, which masterfully suck all the drive, purpose, and life from an otherwise simplistic story. At half this length, the book would have been merely another two-star fantasy rehash. At a third the length, it might have started to show some pep--but Jordan had to stretch out his all-to-familiar story to doorstop proportions.In Tolkien, the first hundred pages takes place in quaint Hobbiton. This prelude prepares us for the rest of the book, allowing us to understand the strange world and characters and setting a mood. When the action takes us away, we find we have formed a certain attachment to the bucolic charm of Hobbiton (sickly-sweet as it may be). Finally, when we do depart, the world we meet is much grander in comparison. In Eye of the World, you spend the first hundred and fifty pages in a drab farming community, so that when the characters finally leave, it will seem like something is happening. This is only an illusion.Some of Jordan's fans have pointed to the 'Wheel of Time' aspect as his unique contribution to the genre--mixing Eastern philosophy and the idea of eternal recurrence in with his mock-feudal world, but it's the same thing that E.R. Eddison was doing in the 1920s, and which Michael Moorcock has been exploring and expanding on since the sixties. As such, I don't see it as some new twist that Jordan has added to fantasy, but as another bland rehash of an interesting idea some other author had decades before.Also, like most fantasy authors, Jordan seems to have a problem writing female characters. They are either whiny and snotty, or emasculating ice queens. They all speak in the exact same voice--and the joke in the writing community is that anyone who has met his wife know exactly where every one of his female characters comes from. I couldn't count on both hands the fantasy authors who seem to think 'strong woman' means 'insufferable, unapologetic shrew'. Then again, it isn't as if his male characters aren't any more interesting or fleshed-out, even if they do get a more flattering depiction.I've also been led to understand that later on in the series, we get a magical band of lipstick lesbians who 'go straight' when they grow up (and meet 'real men', like our heroes), plus a bunch of sex-fetish weirdness about punishment by naked public spanking. But I suppose that if Jordan resembles other genre writers in terms of plot, length, setting, and character, he might as well go all the way and throw in some of his own unprocessed sexual hangups.And as the series goes on, the many problems with pacing, plotting, and unfocused asides only grow worse. If Jordan can't keep everything straight in his opening book, how will he possibly deal when the story starts branching out (as stories inevitably do)? It is hardly surprising that such a tenuous grasp will inevitably slip away--as it has for so many other authors in pop fantasy, from Martin to Goodkind, who start off intending to write a trilogy and end up with ten books, each of which takes five years to write, and none of which even manage to finish the plot started in book I.So, take the plot of Star Wars, add the long-windedness of Tolkien, the piecemeal structure of Howard, the cosmology of Moorcock, add in a pinch of awkward sexual hangups, and you have yet another crap pop fantasy, ready to sell a million copies to folks who want nothing more than to read the same story over and over as written by a succession of chubby, bearded, awkward dudes. I'm sure a violent, breast-baring miniseries is already in preproduction.UPDATE: one might point to the endless repetition in modern literature as a sure sign that there is no God, no grand plan, and no purpose to the universe. A benevolent power would surely spare us the pain of such unending mediocrity.However, if there were some deity, and he had a sense of humor, then he would allow the uncreative authors to publish, to gain fame, win awards, and rake in the cash, until their series piled self-indulgently to the length of a minor encyclopedia. Then our clownish deity would let the author announce that he is finally approaching The End (for real this time!), only to perish on the cusp. Since this is precisely what happened to Jordan, I will have to keep an eye out for other signs of this humorous demiurge, possibly in the form of leper-curing banana peels and hagiographic fright wigs.My Fantasy Book Suggestions
The Shadow Rising
The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken?In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn.In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn.....
Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what - and who - it finds there...This is the author's preferred text, never before published in the UK, and is about 12,000 words longer than the previous UK edition.
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall—named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining...
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Conan Doyle
We owe The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) to Arthur Conan Doyle's good friend Fletcher "Bobbles" Robinson, who took him to visit some scary English moors and prehistoric ruins, and told him marvelous local legends about escaped prisoners and a 17th-century aristocrat who fell afoul of the family dog. Doyle transmogrified the legend: generations ago, a hound of hell tore out the throat of devilish Hugo Baskerville on the moonlit moor. Poor, accursed Baskerville Hall now has another mysterious death: that of Sir Charles Baskerville. Could the culprit somehow be mixed up with secretive servant Barrymore, history-obsessed Dr. Frankland, butterfly-chasing Stapleton, or Selden, the Notting Hill murderer at large? Someone's been signaling with candles from the mansion's windows. Nor can supernatural forces be ruled out. Can Dr. Watson--left alone by Sherlock Holmes to sleuth in fear for much of the novel--save the next Baskerville, Sir Henry, from the hound's fangs? Many Holmes fans prefer Doyle's complete short stories, but their clockwork logic doesn't match the author's boast about this novel: it's "a real Creeper!" What distinguishes this particular Hound is its fulfillment of Doyle's great debt to Edgar Allan Poe--it's full of ancient woe, low moans, a Grimpen Mire that sucks ponies to Dostoyevskian deaths, and locals digging up Neolithic skulls without next-of-kins' consent. "The longer one stays here the more does the spirit of the moor sink into one's soul," Watson realizes. "Rank reeds and lush, slimy water-plants sent an odour of decay ... while a false step plunged us more than once thigh-deep into the dark, quivering mire, which shook for yards in soft undulations around our feet ... it was as if some malignant hand was tugging us down into those obscene depths." Read on--but, reader, watch your step! --Tim Appelo
The Princess Bride
What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be...well...a lot less than the man of her dreams?As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad's recitation, and only the "good parts" reached his ears.Now Goldman does Dad one better. He's reconstructed the "Good Parts Version" to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.In short, it's about everything.
HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARDLost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get interesting.Magic - it can get a guy killed.
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn't always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.
A number-one New York Times bestseller when it was originally published, THE SILMARILLION is the core of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing, a work whose origins stretch back to a time long before THE HOBBIT.Tolkien considered THE SILMARILLION his most important work, and, though it was published last and posthumously, this great collection of tales and legends clearly sets the stage for all his other writing. The story of the creation of the world and of the the First Age, this is the ancient drama to which the characters in THE LORD OF THE RINGS look back and in whose events some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part. The three Silmarils were jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves. Within them was imprisoned the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor before the Trees themselves were destroyed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Thereafter, the unsullied Light of Valinor lived on only in the Silmarils, but they were seized by Morgoth and set in his crown, which was guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth. THE SILMARILLION is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his kindred against the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy.This second edition features a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien describing his intentions for the book, which serves as a brilliant exposition of his conception of the earlier Ages of Middle-earth.
The Dark Tower
The seventh and final installment of Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga is perhaps the most anticipated book in the author's long career. King began this epic tale about the last gunslinger in the world more than 20 years ago; now he draws its suspenseful story to a close, snapping together the last pieces of his action puzzle and drawing Roland Deschain ever closer to his ultimate goal.Alternate cover edition for ISBN-10: 1416524525; ISBN-13: 9781416524526
you know what was the best part of these books? and i say books as in plural because there were so fucking many of them i can't sit still long enough to check them all off. and i DID read every single one. what else was there to do in middle school?anyway, the best part of these books was brian's description of food. it was magnificent. it didn't just make you hungry, it made you crave weird ass things that nobody would ever dream about eating in middle school. nutted cheeses and flan bread and berry cakes and what-not; almost makes you want to be a sword weilding ferret yourself.which was good because by the tenth book you started to realize there was a trend to the plotlines. something bad happens, small furry animals go on a quest. they fight a lot of little battles until one major battle which the good guys almost lose until, when all hope is lost, a giant contingent of allies created on the preceding journey show up to conquer evil: together.still, i always finished satisfied. and a little hungry.
The Name of the Wind
Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin
Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.A GAME OF THRONESLong ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.source: georgerrmartin.com
He is DRUSS the Legend. His skill in battle has earned him a fearsome reputation throughout the world and the stories of his life are told everywhere. But the grizzled veteran has spurned a life of fame and fortune and has retreated to the solitude of his mountain lair to await his old enemy, Death.Meanwhile, barbarian hordes of the Nadir are on the march, conquering all before them. All that stands before them and victory is the legendary six-walled fortress of the Drenai empire, Dros Delnoch. If the fortress falls, so do the Drenai. Druss reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement. But can even Druss live up to his own legends?Held by many to be Gemmell's most iconic work, the book is considered a classic in the heroic fantasy genre.
A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.Here is the second volume in George R.R. Martin magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R.R. Martin stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.
A Storm of Swords
George R.R. Martin
An alternate cover for this isbn can be found here.Here is the third volume in George R.R. Martin's magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. Together, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords...