She by H. Rider Haggard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have been a fan of H. Rider Haggard’s work for quite a number of years though my reading of his works have been limited. For a time, I absolutely loved his King Solomon’s Mines and the sequel Allan Quartermain. When I discovered that the books were available in audiobook from from librivox.org, I had to download the other ones and read through them.
This book, She, has been on my list for quite sometime knowing that it has influenced many other writers like C.S. Lewis’ Queen Jadis and “She who must be obeyed” has been a line used in a few movies.
I found this book to be a rip-roar adventure just like H. Rider Haggard’s other works but found the story weaker than his other works. Ayesha was characterized very well and I thought the character was very fascinating. The problem I had the most was the ending. Though I won’t go into detail, it felt like the writer had accidentally designed a too powerful character and had to use a dues ex machina to solve the story beat.
This book is fascinating to read in the collection of imperial Victorian literature of the time and though our modern perceptions have changed and can consider this book racist, I found that H. Rider Haggard had kept it to a minimum focusing more on a story in Africa than anything else. If you can look past these, I think you will find a very interesting story.
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The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I first stumbled on to this title while perusing the Librivox archive and the title caught my eye. I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into, and it turned out to be one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read.
I’m not sure if the writer intended for all the hi-jinks and it could simply be the way modern, twenty-first-century eyes look at the novel. Walpole wrote the book in the 1700s, and the melodrama could have been the standard of the time. I found the way that everything seemed to tie into each other and invariably hit a snag gave meaning to the phrase plot twist.
Only later did I find out when I did a bit of research that the book is considered the grandfather of Victorian Gothic romance and I can see why. Almost every trope and stereotype is featured.
Once you get past the old English, the book became quite enjoyable, and it held my attention through to the end.
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The Thing From the Lake by Eleanor Marie Ingram
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I first picked up this title, I did it only because the title sounded interesting and unusual for books from the 1920s. I have a personal like for the older literature as it gives you an interesting look into our past.
The Thing From the Lake was a book that caught me off guard. I found the story to be very intriguing once you have gotten to the 20s style of flowery words and digressions in thought that would typically be cut out of books today.
I found that this book read to me like one of the first types of supernatural/science fiction type stories where what you would expect doesn’t turn out the way you thought. I was completely caught off by the (good) ending.
The book has some things that could be considered issues nowadays. As it was written in the 1920s, the opinion and way women are portrayed my strike a wrong chord with the modern reader. Though Ms. Ingram does well of giving her female leads personality, they do conform more of the cute, need-to-be-rescued type damsels though they do have action of their own and aren’t “sexy lamps” that could be easily replaced.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to rereading it one day.
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The Staff (Belaria Series #1)
Science fiction and fantasy. They are the books that I like the most so when A.J. Chaudhury’s Belaria Series
came up for review, I was optimistic in trying it. To say the least, I was not disappointed. The first book of the series deals with the main character Charlz as he gets caught up in a conspiracy around the Staff of Belaria. I’m not going to go in to detail, but it is an exciting story filled with twists and turns like you would not believe.
What stands out the best to me is how Mister Chadhury created a fantasy world the feels familiar, yet exotic thanks to the influence of his own country of India. The Staff is a great story to curl up by the fire with and read and an author to continue to pay attention to.
Sra’Kalor (Ashwood Falls #1)
I am not a big supernatural fantasy fan, but I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised in what I found in those pages. A good friend of mine asked me to read her book and it turned out to be a great suggestion! Jessica Werner’s Sra’Kralor, the first book in the Ashwood Falls series is a very interesting take on the supernatural creatures living in our world theme. It follows the story of Alana who has a mysterious ability that her family cannot deal with and when she turns eighteen, she is placed on a bus and sent to the nearby city of Ashwood Falls. If she thought her life could not get stranger, she would be in for a big surprise.
Jessica Werner has a very short way of saying things, but packs a lot of meaning in each word she chooses. Though English is not her first language, you can tell that Jessica is doing her best to capture her world in a foreign language. At times you can tell, but not enough to take away from the story. It is an adventure that any supernatural romance reader would love to add to their read lists and one you should not miss out on.
For those who have read the first release, I highly suggest giving the book a second try as it has become a great piece of writing!