Centaur Aisle: Apply this review to any Xanth novel

Centaur Aisle by Piers Anthony

Piers Anthony's Centaur Aisle is one of his many Xanth books — Xanth being the magical land these stories are set in, filled with dragons, ogres, and really bad puns. Often the puns provide clues to the riddles and plot twists and sometimes it takes a while until you have enough information to realise how certain puns will effect the story. Other times the puns form the basis of the flora and fauna of Xanth. For instance, a cocoa tree provides hot chocolate drinks.

I wonder how many potential readers will stop reading the review right here and decide they've learnt enough?  :)

You can apply this review to pretty much any of the Xanth novels, since they all follow very similar paths: take one teenage boy, give... Read More

Witch Week: Each character is a gem

Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

So says the note that Mr Crossley finds hidden between the exercise books in class 2Y. In any other world, this would be seen as a harmless joke, but at Larwood House for witch orphans, in a world run by Inquisitors and where witch-burnings still take place, such things are taken deadly seriously. Who is the witch? Chubby Nan Pilgrim, named after the most famous Arch-Witch? Sullen Charles Morgan, who holds a sympathetic view toward witches? Or weird Brian Wentworth, who behaviour gets stranger by the day?

Then the anonymous witch starts having some fun — a flock of exotic birds in music class, a removal of all the shoes in the school. The hunt is on among students and teachers to find the culprit, with the threat of the merciless Inquisitors visiting the school at the back of all their minds. But as the mystery deepens, several of the students seem to find that they themselves have magical powers,... Read More

The Scions of Shannara: Begins Brooks’ best Shannara series

The Scions of Shannara by Terry Brooks

"You Believe We Are the Ones for Whom the Trust was Intended..."

Whether you love or hate Terry Brooks's books, one thing is certain: that the four-part HERITAGE OF SHANNARA is the best of his fantasy series (though Running With the Demon is his best singular novel). Of course, when I say "best" I do not mean that it is profound, life-changing stuff. Like all of his work it contains long-winded sentences, awful dialogue, too much sentimentality, borrows heavily from Tolkien and tends to tell rather than show. But for all of that something keeps me coming back to the Four Lands, and The Scions of Shannara is the beginning of a tightly-structured, fast-paced adventure that will sustain the interest of anyone who's not too picky.

It has been o... Read More