Book Review: Emperor of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence (2013).

Mark Lawrence has given us an amazing final novel to the Broken Empire series. It has been an incredible journey with Honerous Jorg Ancrath brimming with outrageous adventures which never turn out how you first expect, no matter how good the reader is at predicting plots!

In this novel we follow Jorg and his company to Vyenne, accompanied by the Guilden Guard who protect the royalty of the Hundred. Jorg’s intention is to be voted as Emperor, and has been throughout the series, but in this novel the opportunity finally becomes available. With his entourage of a variety of nobility, including his wife and newly born son, he marches right up to the gates and take what he believes is his. But all along Jorg has an anterior motive. One that will ensure human kinds existence and not eventually burned by the Builders suns.

In his own unique way, Jorg Ancrath has wormed his way into readers hearts, even though he performed some incredibly hideous acts. The feelings he finds for his son and the eventual loyalty he finds for those he chooses to see as family all give Jorg Ancrath enough heart and soul to become somewhat of a hero. Which brings us to the end of the series which in our eyes he remains a hero as the author intends and not wasted and drawn out in further novels. A brief spark, but one that produced such light it has scorched readers so they will never forget the fire that was Jorg Ancrath. Nor the fires alight in many of the other characters, too many to name here but most notably Kathrine, Makin, Father Gomst of course!

I have immensely enjoyed the Broken Empire series and I have to admit I am saddened to say goodbye. There have been some unforgettable characters and amazing plots, twists and turns. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the game of thrones genre and to anyone who enjoy blood and gore laced with humour and unique personality. I give Emperor of Thorns 10/10 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Book Review: King of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence (2012). 

The second novel of the Broken Empire Series has been an amazing journey with Honerous Jorg Ancrath, as he grows older still through to manhood. Mark Lawrence has written an amazing story that constantly surprises the reader giving an epitome of emotional reactions. I found myself laughing hysterically at many comical scenes, stunned and Jorg’s nerve and courage, shocked by his decisions and plans and amazed at the whole book in general. Jorg Ancrath sure has one harrowing tale to tell.

The novel itself flashes back to 4 years earlier and then back again just as it did with the previous novel, but this time instead of filling in the gaps of Jorg’s childhood, it fills in the gaps from the first book during his teenage years. Much of which has been kept hidden, from himself included. Locked away in a small box he keeps hidden at his hip. In this way he is able to keep his plans hidden from the dream sorcerers.  

With strange powers at play behind the scenes which Jorg finds himself slowly unraveling, we learn from Katherine’s Journal about other evils which the “hidden hands” playing the game of thrones has done. She tells of how she herself an those surrounding her have been used as pawns in this invisible game, and she begins to learn how to achieve a sort of dream sorcery herself. 

My favourite parts of the book have to be the battle and fight scenes. Mark Lawrence has done a superb job with describing the fights and war and gore of it all. Jorg can almost be compared to a cat in that he seems to survive the most unbelievable circumstances and come out on top. There really is a magic in the words! 

Overall I have most definitely enjoyed reading King of Thorns and following Jorg Ancrath. I would recommend this novel to young adults and up and I recommend it as a must read for anyone who enjoyed the Game of Thrones series. However I believe Mark Lawrence has taken it even further and is in a league of his own. I give this book a rating of 9.5/10 stars. 


Book Review: Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence (2011).

Prince of Thorns has been an amazing whirlwind adventure, games of chance, and total madness! It’s been a thrilling opening novel to a series that is set to bring further mayhem and destruction to an already war ridden land where 100 kings and their bloodlines fought to become emperor. Jorge, honourable Prince of Ancrath, is set to be the first man to succeed.

This thrilling tale follows Jorge through his adventures from his torturous youth, to the present mayhem of teenage hood. As an adult King Jorge is set to become formidable. With his band of “brothers” Jorge sets off after the death of his mother and brother, at the ripe old age of 9, causing havoc amongst the lands with his main target the murderer lord Renar his overall game end. However, Jorge doesn’t accomplish his tasks single handed, there are many memorable characters, such as Sir Makin, and some of whom are felled along the way such as the Nuban.

Jorge manages the impossible along his journey, defeating his foes in ways that are surprising and unique, and I found myself glued to each page. There is a surprising likeness to Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, with the obvious “game of thrones” being played as an underlying storyline to the main plot. But no matter the similarities, Prince of Thorns remains unique in plot and framework, and the story itself feels much more “raw”, for lack of a better term!

Overall I have to admit to loving this novel and first of The Broken Empire series. I would recommend this novel to adults who enjoy the secrecy, plotting and battle that royal families play to remain or gain the throne. I have given this book a rating of 9/10 stars and I can’t wait to read the following title.


Book Review: Aaru, by David Meredith (2017).

Aaru Cover

What comes after Death? It is the age-old question that has never been answered as no one has ever returned from death to tell the tale. Is there something more? Or is death the end? The novel Aaru, by David Meredith, is a book that looks at what could happen if we had the technology to be able to upload our conscience selves into a database so that in death one could live on in this virtual world. But not only are they able to continue to exist, they can also communicate with the world they have left behind. Loved ones still living their everyday lives can speak with those they have lost to death using the equipment Elysian Industries provides, in the program Aaru, while those uploaded into this virtual world live out their lives in their own ways. The concept is great, right? But if it really works, is it safe? Aaru looks at what can happen when it all goes wrong.

The novel begins with a young girl sapped of life by a terminal illness that had all but taken her precious and brief, 16-year-old life. Her sister Koren, devastated by the form her sister is reduced to, spends the final week of Rose’s life at her bedside. A new doctor visits during this time and places a strange piece of equipment on her head. And then Rose is gone. There is a funeral and a burial.

Naturally Koren, 13 years old rebels during the grieving process at the loss of her sister, and for months tries to learn to deal with life without her. At what seems to be her lowest point, she is delivered the opportunity to have her sister back alive and in her life once more. But what begins as a grand new technological advancement soon goes dreadfully wrong in ways that no one could have foreseen. Koren begins life as celebrity, the face of Aaru, the place where there is life beyond death. At 13 and a half years old she is dressed up and coached to perform in front of crowds and camera’s all in the name of promoting Aaru, which also brings in more money than her and her parents could have possibly dreamed. But no one thought about the fanatical fan response Koren would receive, least of all did they think a stalker could be a problem.

The storyline of Aaru is great. I have enjoyed the general story plotline, and I think it has its own uniqueness that sets it apart from other life after death stories. This is most likely due to the stalker plot interwoven into the story of a girl trying to deal with the physical death of her sister. I do feel however that the writing is not of the standard of the author’s last novel Reflections of Queen Snow White. It seems rushed somehow. Although admittedly the characters themselves are well thought out portrayed in a way that really appeals to the readers imagination, projecting vivid images of the scenes in the minds eye.

Overall, I enjoyed the book Aaru, by David Meredith. I would recommend it to young adults up, and give it a rating of 7/10 stars.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling (2007).

Harry Potter’s has been one of great adventure, bravery, and daring, and it is with more than a little sadness that I review the final novel in this great series authored by J. K. Rowling. We meet Harry for the final time in the confines of Privet Drive in the company of a very stressed aunt and uncle whom have been his parental guardians for the last 17 years. It is the last time which Harry is ever required to say goodbye, and it ends up being one of the strangest partings he has ever endured with the Dursley’s. His cousin Dudley is even aware that there is great danger and with great difficulty thanked Harry for saving his life the previous year, and even showing something similar to concern for Harry’s well being.

It isn’t long after this departure that things become dark and dangerous very quickly, and along with Ron and Hermoine, Harry begins the dangerous endeavour of destroying Horcrux’s. The last mission that Dumbledore had left Harry before he died. We watch as these amazing characters find the strength to go on fighting, while they know their friends and family are possibly being tortured or killed. Even though Ron leaves, for just a short period of time, it gives readers an insight into just how close and strong their friendship is, and because of this they find things more difficult without the third party to the trio. Readers are engrossed especially during this time as we watch Ron admit his feelings towards Hermoine, and Harry explain that his relationship with her has always ever been plutonic and nothing more. We also watch as Ron and Hermoine finally get their act together and kiss!

For the longest time readers believe Severus Snape is evil, and has been working against Harry Potter the entire time. But it is in this novel that Snape’s true nature is exposed, and we learn that he is not the malignant character we had always believed. In fact he turns out to be one of the bravest most intelligent characters. Obviously he has done his fair share of evil and is not in any way innocent by a long shot. But it is nice to know in the end that he wasn’t as bad as we thought he was, and makes the epilogue a total tear jerker! (Yes I was teary in Harry Potter!)

Dumbledore also makes a final appearance towards the end of the novel. Although Harry’s loyalty has been tested and his knowledge of the great wizard tainted with things he had no knowledge of, Harry still manages to find love and respect for the man who had always been so important in his life.

One of my favourite parts of the book would have to be the way Kreacher evolves into something close to a loveable creature. Once he is gifted with something making peace with Harry without being freed with clothes, he begins to help him becoming a formidable ally. My favourite scene (which yes brought a tear to my eye although I have read this book a number of times!), is when Kreacher leads the rest of Hogwarts house elves into war on the second advance against Voldemort during the battle at the school. In my minds eye I can picture all of these elves brandishing kitchen tools and attacking any ankle of Voldemorts army visible! Then with the attack of the other magical creatures, it really can be quite breath taking and joyful. J. K. Rowling really out does herself with the final battle scenes. It is fuelled with raw emotion and imagination from the reader and its not a wonder so many have fallen in love with this series.

I can not praise this book or series enough and it is something that sticks with you for a life time. I have to admit I feel privileged to have read the first novel in school as a kid and have been able to follow his life ever since. It has been an amazing journey and one that I can do over and over again without ever being bored. I recommend this book to anyone with even a sliver of imagination and give it the obvious rating of 10/10 stars.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling (2005).

The 11 year old Harry from the first novel of this series seems far removed from the one found within the pages of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Now at age 16, Harry is almost a fully grown wizard, who has endured more than any child, wizard or not, should have to, and still manages to function properly! In this book, readers watch as the previous events from past novels come together and knit perfectly to reveal more of the story behind Lord Voldemort, and give us insight into what Harry needs to do to rid the world of Voldemort’s evil presence once and for all. Fortunately Harry isn’t alone in his mission, his friend Ron and Hermione right by his side, fighting right along with him.

Albus Dumbledore appears much more frequently in this book compared to other tittles in this series. Now that Harry has almost come of age, its seems he is now preparing him for the inevitable battle with the evil. He starts by giving Harry knowledge of the Dark Lord’s youth and past endeavours. Then, with Harry’s help, (and a little from professor Slughorn), is able to demystify the secret to Voldemort’s ability to have almost become immortal. Dumbledore also makes sure that Harry understands fully regarding the prophecy and how he Harry, has the ability and the power inside himself to defeat Voldemort. By explaining how the prophecy is only as real as the ones who believe them, and therefore it is Voldemort himself who had caused the prophecy to come true, Harry sees him in a whole different perspective. Armed with the knowledge of the past and present, Harry in a much better position to destroy Voldemort in the future. 

Meanwhile other storylines unfold! Although the main story bases itself a round Lord Voldemort, there are still other strands of the story that follow Harry and his friends giving the book a lighter side as well. Now that the trio are much older, it isn’t a surprise that they have matured enough to find interest in the opposite sex! Ron ends up kissing Lavender Brown during the heat of the moment after an unexpected win in Quidditch. Harry is just as surprised as Ron by the match, however poor Hermoine finds it all very distressing, since she herself has developed her own special feelings for Ron. After all she had considered as king him as her guest to slug horn’s Christmas party. Thankfully Harry is there to console her. Even though he has also discovered he has developed certain feelings for an already taken Ginny Weasley.

Regardless of this, the sadness is hard not to embrace as it is well known that it is not just the famed Aragog of Hagrid’s who dies amongst these pages. Albus Dumbledore also shows us a much more real side of himself as he takes time to give Harry his lessons. I believe the saddest and most difficult part to digest is when Harry and Dumbledore retrieve the Horcrux at the bottom of a stone basin. Its here that we see the mighty Dumbledore that we are all so used to, being zapped of strength and poisoned by the very potion he continues to drink. Readers watch as he becomes as weak as a kitten before being murdered by the one man Dumbledore believed to have been remorseful and therefore reformed into a better person, Severus Snape. Faux’s lament and the sentiments of the magical creatures who dwell in and around the grounds of Hogwarts, such as the Fire arrows sent by the centaurs, was most definitely a tear jerker.

But even though all seems lost now without Dumbledore, There is still much hope in Harry Potter himself. After all, it was something Dumbledore made a point of ensuring Harry understood completely. Overall, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince another great classic created by the amazing talents of J. K. Rowling. The story is captivating to a vast variety of age groups, as even the most jaded reader can find interest in the Harry Potter story. I recommend this novel to anyone with anything that resembles a spark of imagination and therefore completely deserves a 10/10 star rating.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling (2003).

Harry Potter, who once thought he was an ordinary muggle, is again stepping forth into danger and deception in the fifth novel of the series – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort’s return in the last novel created a rift between wizarding kind, resulting in two obvious groups. Those who believe Harry’s story, and therefore support Dumbledore, and those that believe the Dark Lord has not returned in any way shape or form and therefore support Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry of magic. This all causes a great deal of fuss, and gives Voldemort the perfect opportunity to reek havoc and put his evil plans into action. At least that’s what Harry, Ron and Hermoine assume at first.

In this book Harry really matures and shows the kind of man he wants to be, choosing his own path and not necessarily the same path his father led, which he first thought was a perfect role model. Readers watch harry go from something of a frustrated brat in the way he behaves at the beginning of the book, to a slightly more mature and humble boy towards the end. But in saying that, Harry endures things that no child should suffer and it is this which gives the reader a reason to remain sympathetic. Harry’s connection to the Dark Lord is making him vulnerable and therefore dangerous to everyone else. So much so that Dumbledore believes it best to distance himself from Harry and dissuade members of the Order from giving him all of the knowledge of what has or will happen in accordance to their plans. Unfortunately this doesn’t work as he had hoped. Instead this lack of communication is the reason why Harry decides to act rashly and events, in turn, cause the untimely murder of his beloved godfather Sirius Black.

Ron and Hermione also experience an assortment of changes, each growing into young adults and allowing the reader glimpses of the people they will grow into. Ron finds much more confidence in himself. This is especially noticeable when Ron, along with the rest of the Griffindor Quidditch team win their first game. Hermoine begins to realise that not all rules are good, showing a more rebellious side to help fight on the side of good. She also shows her own sorts of courage when she plays devils advocate when Harry tries to rush to Sirius’ aid before trying to contact him in some way. As even Dumbledore himself has said before, it takes more for someone to stand up to ones friends than to ones enemies.
One of my most favourite detestable villain in all of the Harry Potter series is Professor Delores Umbridge. I find she depicts the perfect picture of a nasty evil person abusing her position of power. She is my favourite love to hate character. The scenes where she makes Harry write “I must not tell lies” in his own blood, causing bloody wounds to appear and the heal slowly on the back of his hand. The act is so evil it makes one’s blood boil. Thankfully Hermoine, is able to think quickly enough and manages to escape what could have been a nasty scenario that eventuates in Umbridge enduring her just deserves.
The inclusion of Neville and Luna in the final rescue mission really gives the feeling of love and loyalty amongst the characters, as well as showing readers that events that will follow really will need the work of all of them not just our favourite trio, but everyone. All of them fighting for what is right, for the greater good, showing loyalty to family friends and especially Dumbledore. Neville really shows a different side of himself during their adventure inside the ministry of magic. Still as clumsy as ever, Neville shows courage and bravery in the face of danger. He fought, (may be not real well but still!), against witches and wizards much more powerful, and although injured himself never stopped trying.
Its not until the end that we really find out what has happened to Albus Dumbledore and why he has been acting the way he has. He also explains to Harry the whole story behind his scar, and why the prophecy Voldemort had sought (not a weapon) had been connected. None of which is by any means good news. Harry realises that Dumbledore honestly wanted to protect him out of love, and it is the same love that made him blind and therefore underestimated him and his friends. 
One of the sadder though more intriguing moments of this book would have to be where Harry sees a past memory of Snape being tormented by his father, during an Occlemency lesson in which Professor Snape places memories he doesn’t want him to see in a pensive . All in the name of so called fun, because Sirius had said he was bored. I feel its this scene that gives Snape more heart to his character, showing readers a more vulnerable side to the sinister being he has become as an adult. It even makes Harry wonder if he really wants to be “just like his father”, like everyone’s always told him. Perhaps it also made him wonder that if it wasn’t for the cruel treatment caused by James Potter in their youth, then maybe Severus Snape wouldn’t have turned out to be the horrible individual he is now. 
Overall, without a doubt, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling is an unquestionable classic that has entertained and amazed billions of readers just like its predecessors. Watching Harry and his friends grow-up and endure numerous dangerous and extremely traumatic trials has been a complete pleasure. I recommend this book to anyone of any age. I feel given the chance everyone could enjoy this series. To Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix I give 10/10 stars.