William is from Sussex, UK.

He has a passion for literature and enjoys reading all sorts of books. His hobbies are numerous and consist of medieval/viking reenactment, writing, karate and of course reading.

The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles #1( by Bernard Cornwell - Book Review 20, Jul

The Winter King is a realistic portrayal of the Arthurian tales that is executed in a perfect manner, being both brilliant and immersive. One of my favourite books of all time!

"The bards sing of love, they celebrate slaughter, they extol kings and flatter queens, but were I a poet I would write in praise of friendship."

If you love stories consisting of memorable characters you love and despise, fantastic storytelling, stunning action sequences and moral lessons, then you will adore this historical retelling of the chronicles of Arthur.

The Winter King is the first book in The Warlord Chronicles that is a unique take on the story of Arthur set during the dark ages. I have always loved tales of this variety, with Arthur and the round table, and this is no exception. It is the best book I have read that incorporates this as the main concept, because of a fantastic balance of character development, plot and action.

"Fate is inexorable."

Cornwell chooses certain aspects from the tales and adapts them to create a plot that cannot be predetermined by the reader, so the story is told is a new, unique, immersive journey. He produces this book in a masterful style overflowing with intriguing plots and fantastic characters.

The sole point of view is Derfel, who was born a Saxon, but raised a Briton in the Kingdom of Dumnonia. He features as the main character and recounts the past in the style of an omniscient narrator, as he records his experience both prior to Arthur and with Arthur. He is a man who values loyalty and kindness, and proves it many times. It is hard not to fall in love with him as the story progress and you discover his faults and virtues, and how he treats all around him.

“How much of our earth has been wet by blood because of jealousy! And at the end of life, what does it all matter? We grow old and the young look at us and can never see that once we made a kingdom ring for love.” 

The prose of Bernard Cornwell is superb and flows brilliantly, with a perfect amount of description and action. It is fluid and smooth, making it an easy job to consume quickly as the plot constantly develops in a manner that disallowed any boredom.

The setting is in the south-west of Britain in the Kingdom of Dumnonia during the Dark Ages. It is a gritty place presented realistically and vividly, with a mixture of strongholds both large and small, along with outlying villages that are poorly prepared for imminent attacks.

The Winter King is a definite five star review in my opinion due to it being written in one of my favourite writing styles I have encountered, and the incorporation of some subjects I am most interested in.


Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman - Book Review 17, Jul

Norse Mythology was a wonderfully written retelling of the Norse tales that reminded why I love the Viking stories of old.

"Seldom do those who are silent make mistakes."

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman was the retelling of a number of Viking tales, ranging from the most well known, to some more minor stories. From the beginning of time, to the prophecy that will be Ragnarok, the ending of the world. 

It was a highly enjoyable read that reacquainted me with some stories that had faded in my memory. There were many tales of humour, such as Thor dressing up as a woman to be a bride, and also those of despair.

The prose was wonderful, as is expected from such a brilliant author as Neil Gaiman. It is just smooth, intelligent and effective, with a balanced amount of description and action. One of my favourite authors to read for their writing style.

"Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people dream great, wise, beautiful dreams and pass those dreams on as poetry to the world, to be sung and retold as long as the sun rises and sets, as long as the moon will wax and wane? Have you ever wondered why some people make beautiful songs and poems and tales, and some of us do not?"

The stories this book consists of revolves around three main gods. Odin, Thor, and Loki. While most of the other gods and creatures of Norse Mythology are still present, the main focus of each story is these characters, so their personalities are firmly established. Odin the wise, calculating and brutal at times. Thor the strong, greatest warrior of the gods and main defender of Asgard. Not always the most intelligent. And then Loki the trickster, cleverest of the gods and the cause of their most severe problems.

"The first thing I think is, it is Loki's fault. It saves a lot of time."

The tales within this novel travel and involve each of the nine realms at some point, with a telling or their origins and some of their most famous and dramatic moments. It focuses mainly on Asgard and Midgard as the former is the home of many gods, and Midgard is Earth, where we live!

Every aspect of this book was well executed, with intriguing tales, great prose and developed characters. The only fault I could identify is that there was not a definitive unique adaptation of the Norse tales, rather a similar retelling of previously known stories.

For me this book was a four star read that anyone who enjoys the prose of Gaiman will enjoy. It is not a large novel, so can be scythed through rather quickly, but lovers of mythology will still find much enjoyment within the satisfyingly developed stories that are involved.

4/5 stars

One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1) by Mark Lawrence - Book Review 14, Jul

One Word Kill is an immersive, unique and fun journey is a constant series of emotions.

"It's always a shock, when you've been hit by a calamity, to see the world go about its business with perfect indifference."

One Word Kill is the first book in the Impossible Times series by Mark Lawrence. It has many similar aspects to Stranger Things, as it is set in the 1980s, and the central characters are teenagers who love D&D.

What a brilliant read!

The prose was incredibly fluid and smooth, just as it was with every other book by Mark Lawrence I have read. The journey from page to page was easy, and time did not come into account as I read from one chapter to the next. It created the perfect tone, with humour embedded perfectly throughout, without distracting from the serious scenes created. 

The plot was fantastic and a lot happened considering the small page-count of this book. Each event that took place was clever and developed the plot to another level, and led on to another chapter of unexpected scenes. During this, there was a significant amount of character development that was brilliantly portrayed through decisions in pivotal moments, and their actions rather than thoughts.

"Simon looked at the world differently. He was the sort to notice the number plate of a car hurtling toward him. The rest of us would be busy getting out the way."

It is partly because of this that the characters were my favourite aspect of the novel. The dialogue and interactions expanded them further, and the D&D sessions were just wonderful. Immersive, hilarious and interesting. Each person was established with their own set of realistic characteristics that were consistent and succeeded in either making me love them, or hate them.

"If you've no intention of obeying, then why not agree?" 

One Word Kill was an absolute five-star read, no question about it. There was constant enjoyment oozing from every page. I was invested in the lives of these characters and found myself thinking about them during my daily activities. I felt fear, excitement, satisfaction and sorrow, it truly was a flurry of emotions. I look forward to reading Limited Wish, and then Dispel Illusion that comes out later this year.