Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire book series written by author George R.R. Martin. This first book was nominated for multiple awards and the series has since gone on to inspire many adaptations the most famous being the beloved HBO television series.

Winter is Coming and the Kings hand Jon Arryn is dead, his Majesty Robert Baratheon is travelling to Winterfell to speak with his childhood best friend and Lord of the North Eddard Stark to ask if he would wed his Daughter Sansa to his Son Joffrey and at the same time become the new hand of the King.

Jon Arryn’s death is under speculation after his ex wife Lysa sends a raven to her sister Catelyn Stark with a theory that he was poisoned by the Queen Cersei Lannister this eventually turns out to be true after Eddard finds proof that the Queen has been having sexual relations with her brother the king slayer Sir Jaime Lannister a revelation which would soon trigger major events in the book and even more tragic deaths.

Jaime Lannister is named the king slayer after he murdered the previous king Aerys Targaryen aka the mad king.

Meanwhile outside of the walls of Pentos, the true heir to the iron throne Vicerys Targaryen is preparing to set up his sister Daenaerys with Khal Drogo of the Doth Rhaki in exchange that the Doth Rhaki army will help him take back the Iron Throne from Robert Baratheon when they storm Kings Landing.

During the wedding ceremony the Daenerys is gifted a set of authentic Dragon Eggs a tribute to her blood as a Targaryen who would tame and ride dragons thousands of years prior.

All of the characters are really interesting and have a great hook to keep you wanting to read more, the Stark family is particularly important in this novel as it is their characters that are used as chess pieces to set up the future events of the series, the young and elegant Sansa has her naivety used against her in the Game of Thrones, she is used as a piece for her father to follow eventually leading to one of the biggest twists in the series and a character death that goes to show that no one is truly safe in Georges universe.

Arya Stark is easily my favourite character in the book she is a 9 year old girl who wants to wield a sword but due to gender standards this is very much frowned upon until her father has a change of heart and pays for her to have “dancing” lessons with a master swordsman Syreo Forel, in later events in the book she ends up on her own after she escaped the guards in King Landing and now with just her sword needle in hand she needs to try and make her way to the knights watch to warn her bastard brother Jon Snow that her father has been taken prisoner.

Jon Snow is a great hero character and due to him being a bastard is unable to take the throne and gets a lot of flack from other characters in the book, he is a very talented sword fighter who is sent to the Knights Watch as it is the only place he will be accepted, the Knights Watch guards the wall that separates the Northern Kingdoms of Winterfell from the highly dangerous Wildlands. Being sent to the Watch is considered a punishment for criminals and outcasts so is nothing to be proud of, vows must be sworn of celibacy and to never leave the wall unless on official business, abandoning your brothers of the Knights Watch is punishable by death.

The only other character I feel had a really great hook in this was Daenerys Targaryen the daughter of the deceased mad king and another chess piece in the Game of Thrones this time set by her evil and manipulative brother Vicerys. Her story is particularly sad because she is only 12 when the book starts and is put through some pretty horrific moments including sexual assault and penetration, emotional abuse and having to follow Doth Rhaki traditions including eating the raw and still beating heart of a horse.

Her character becomes a lot stronger in the second half of the book and her gifted Dragon Eggs do eventually have a greater purpose in the series in an incredible sequence which ends this first part in the Song of Ice and Fire.

Other characters given a prominent role in this book are Eddard Stark, Catelyn Stark, Brandon Stark, Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister.

Brandon Stark a young and adventurous young man who loves to climb is eventually thrown from a tower after discovering Sir Jaime Lannister having sex with his sister the Queen Cersei Lannister, Brandon is left crippled and his dreams of becoming a knight are destroyed, after his fall he forgets who threw him from that tower and after waking from his coma tries to continue his life in the best way that he can.

Sansa is the most boring character in the book she is a very beautiful but naïve young girl who has dreams of becoming the Queen of the seven Kingdoms to her future husband Joffrey Baratheon, she is easily led and like a piece of clay is moulded by standards and behaviours she has had drilled into her by her scepters. The Queen uses this against Sansa to try and bring her over to the Lannister’s side to help bring more power to the king and their holding of the Iron Throne, apart from this nothing about her character particularly drew me in like the others but if the series continues in a similar manner to the show her character will grow to be a massive player in the game of thrones and an inspirational one too!

Eddard could probably be considered the main character he becomes the hand of the king and eventually discovers some very dark incest ridden secrets of the Lannister twins the Queen Cercei Lannister and her disgraced King Slaying brother Sir Jaime Lannister. It becomes clear that Lysa’s letter may have some truth to it and also there is a distinct possibility that his Son Brandon shared a similar fate.

Catelyn is great in this, she takes hostage the Imp Tyrion Lannister after it is revealed that his own dagger was used in an assassination attempt against the crippled Brandon Stark, it is of course later proven that Tyrion was innocent but who set him up is a mystery I am sure we will discover more of in future entries.

Finally Tyrion Lannister the shameful Imp of Casterly Rock and brother to both Cercei and Jaime plays an important role in this story. In the book he is described as having a head larger than is body with one eye of black and another of green an odd look they chose not to use in the show. In the book he is definitely one of the only decent Lannisters but is far from from a hero, he is a cunning and extremely clever person who can almost talk his way out of anything. After winning a trial in combat he is released from Catelyn Starks hold and makes his way back to his father Tywin Lannister with the help of his new sword wielding companion Bronn, he helps Tyrion get back to his father and even finds him a woman to love named Shae, both Bronn and Tyrion fight in the war between the Lannister’s and the Starks showing that even with his smaller stature Tyrion is far from cowardly.

It is really very clever how George manages to bring these characters together in such an expansive and lore ridden world without making it overly complicated. Since the series goes down the path of following multiple characters giving each their own segments makes a lot of sense and it allows readers to get a feel for Westeros without overwhelming them with too much coverage in this first part.

This first book is obviously very Stark heavy and only really gives us a perspective from the “Hero” characters, while I would have liked to have seen some chapters from Cersei’s point of view I feel that maybe it would have made her character motivations too obvious from the get go not to mention completely ruining the shock of a unforeseen character death, I hope that future entries in the series give us some more characters to follow but for now a higher focus on one house worked for the best. I have always considered Jon a Stark so in my eyes he counts too leaving only Tyrion of House Lannister and Daenerys of House Targaryen as the other houses we follow.

Tyrion’s story is fairly simple but Daenerys is a massively important player in the Game of Thrones and her segments are truly captivating, we see tremendous character growth with her becoming a leader throughout the book and slowly becoming more ruthless as she lets her inner Dragon grow, I really enjoyed her parts as it was a massive difference to the more controlled segments of the Lannister’s plots and Starks downfall. Daenerys was a shy and innocent young girl thrown into the deep end to become a Khaleesi or wife of the Khal a powerful figure who will birth the next leader of Khal Drogo’s army, she is truly destroyed inside and out by her twisted brother who only has selfish goals but overall by the end of the book the only person left standing in the fire is Daenerys and I cant wait to see her grow even more in the next part.

George took an approach too put more focus on his characters and world building than having deep descriptions of the lands, a lot of it is left to readers imagination and I think this was a wise choice considering how complex this story truly is, it doesn’t have a starting or end point and it doesn’t necessarily have an obvious path to follow, we don’t know what the outcome will be of this book or the next and as I have already stated anyone can die.

So many major important characters are introduced in this book to help tell the story of a Song of Ice and Fire but also to help direct the characters to set up future events. It is difficult to know who to trust at this point especially if you haven’t seen the show. A lot of players in the Game of Thrones are sly and will tend to give false persona’s in order to manipulate other players to make bad decisions and almost all of them have both good qualities and a dark streak, trust no one and be prepared to have someone you were rooting for die or maybe show intentions you may not have initially expected.

As someone who love the HBO series and has watched it numerous times from start to end I was a little disappointed to discover that the first season was a copy and paste of this first book so I already knew what was going to happen, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment at all but I hope that while reading the next books in the series I notice some major differences other than character ages and Tyrion’s eye colour.

A Game of Thrones has got to be the greatest first entry in a fantasy series of all time I was hooked from just a few pages, I feel what George achieved with his writing is phenomenal and without his hand to write it, this massive of a book project would have been almost impossible, you don’t need to have seen the show or read many of the chapters to feel a connection and full understanding of these characters and the world of Westeros.

Game of Thrones is what can only be considered a must read for any fan of the fantasy genre it is graphic, sexual and at times disturbing but even without those adult themes this is seriously one of the greatest books I have ever read, my copy was almost 800 pages long and it only took me a week since I was reading more than 100 pages a day, something that is very rare for me personally but honestly I was addicted to a story I know all too well at this point but a timeless tale that I cannot wait to continue with A Clash of Kings

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Book Review: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Salem’s Lot is the 2nd novel by horror author Stephen King, it was released in 1975 as a successor to his first story Carrie which released the year prior. Salem’s Lot is often considered one of Kings best works, it sold very well and proved that King was a horror legend in the making and had the talent to be more than a one hit wonder.

Before we continue, this review is a part of our Stephen King Deep Dive series, I will be comparing the novel to the adaptations we have already discussed so there will be spoilers!.

A writer Ben Mears is returning to his home town of Jerusalem’s Lot to base his next story on a house of horrors from his childhood. When he was a child Ben was dared to break into the Marsten house where he soon saw the hanging body of Hubie Marsten. The image of the swaying corpse stuck with Ben his entire life and ever since the Marsten House had stayed abandoned and casting an eerie presence over the town.

The Marsten house has recently been purchased and converted into an antique store ran by Richard Straker, his business partner Kurt Barlow is never seen which leaves Ben feeling uneasy and we soon learn this is for good reasons.

While Mr Mears is definitely a more focused on character I wouldn’t necessarily call him the main character because in reality the entire town is put to paper giving almost every resident there own story and importance.

King is able to write in a way to give the town an established presence which can resonate with readers so that we have a full understanding of its layout, character relationships and the feeling that everyone knows each others business, it had a small town feel something that helped me feel connected to the book after once living in a small town myself.

So with all of the writing to ease us into Salem’s Lot it takes a long time for the vampires to actually come into the book, I’m talking more than 100 pages which is unfortunate because the novel is a bit of a slow burner, the first half of the book does take a little bit of patience but its definitely worth it for all of the horror we get in the second half.

I don’t think the legacy of Salem’s Lot has really done it many favors, when the book first came out no one knew it was vampires which helped with the patience of the Kurt Barlow’s reveal and also made certain scenes more creepy such as the disappearance of Ralphie Glick but because the book is so famous now we already know its vampires so we don’t have much of the initial mystery element to draw us in.

The book is really creepy and King has a natural talent of writing eerie and disturbing scenes which are genuinely scary, for me nothing is more upsetting than horror that involves children and this is no exception, there is a few scenes in this book that really freaked me out and both were to do with the children, the first was the initial vampire reveal with Danny Glick’s eyes open in the coffin and the window visiting scenes come to mind when discussing some of the scarier moments in the story.

Here is one of my favourite lines from the book which really shows how King can make his story telling scary without the use of visuals.

And in the awful heavy silence of the house, as he sat impotently on his
bed with his face in his hands, he heard the high, sweet, evil laugh of a child
-and then the sucking sounds.

There is a romance in the book between Susan Nolan and Ben Mears I never really got into this part of the story but by the end you do feel a little sorry for Ben after his reaction to her becoming a vampire.

Mark Petrie is easily the best character in this book, he is so cool in this and I feel like neither adaptation really did his character much justice, in the book he has nerves of steel and is from the beginning a bit of bad ass. This Mike takes down a massive school bully and is able to sleep straight after seeing his dead friend outside of his window, he is a natural escape artist and expert on all things monsters making him a perfect candidate for a vampire hunter.

One thing he does in the book I thought was really clever was tightening his muscles when being tied up by Richard Straker, he does this so that when his muscles relax it is easier for him to slip his binds.

Another really interesting character was definitely Father Callahan the local priest with a drinking problem who in this book becomes some what of leader to the vampire hunts nearing the conclusion, making an ultimate sacrifice to save Mark Petrie, Callahan is forced to drink the blood of Kurt Barlow but is not turned into a vampire, this gives Callahan ties to Satan preventing him from re-entering his church and heading down a dark path, he gets on a bus and flees Salem’s Lot a sad ending for such a prominent figure but he will return in a future entry of the Stephen King Mulitverse.

So there are some moments in the book that may upset some readers this includes child abuse, sexual assault, sexual themes and the deaths of children. I don’t want to go into any detail with these but these are really bad and are highly detailed so they could very easily cause some discomfort for some readers so please keep that in mind if you want to read this.

The most accurate adaptation is the 2004 mini series which not only made characters much more similar to how they were originally written but also took a lot of scenes directly from the original story, certain parts were definitely changed for example Father Callahan does not fight Ben Mears in the book and does not murder Matt Burke.

Unlike the 1979 version the 2004 adaptation includes some of the side characters stories, it has a big focus on Ben Mears past with the Marsten house and even Kurt Barlow is more closely mirrored in the 2004 version as in the book he does not have the blue skin and does talk, he is manipulative and charming convincing his victims to allow him to bite them and to become his followers.

The original mini series is really good and to be honest I actually prefer it to the remake but you cannot deny that for accuracy the 2004 version does take much more inspiration from Kings writing.

In our next deep dive we will be taking a look at Kings third novel The Shining so look forward to that!.

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Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien was first released in 1937 and was the first story in the Middle Earth series and acts as a prequel to the Lord of the Rings, it tells the story of Bilbo Baggins a hobbit who enjoys the simple things in life, sitting by the fire, reading books and smoking his pipe, one day Bilbo is visited by Gandalf the Wizard and a band of Dwarves who wants his help to steal a vast treasure from the Dragon Smaug who lives inside of the Lonely Mountain.

I think this book does a fantastic job at displaying character growth and change, this is especially prevalent with Bilbo Baggins who begins his journey as a hermit and a recluse, hiding away in his Hobbit hole and living a boring life ending the story as a Hero, someone who has experienced the outside world and now understands a greater value of themselves while still enjoying the simpler things in life.

The Dwarves minus the leader Thorin Oakenshield are mostly forgettable and struggled to maintain my interest, Thorin definitely has the most character development due to his tough nature and general grumpiness towards Mr Baggins, he is also a Dwarven King who is desperately trying to reclaim the Dwarven home in the Lonely Mountain.

Gandalf plays a small role in this story as a means to bring our band of heroes together, he comes and goes as goes offering small bits of advice to Thorin and company but overall does not stick around and takes a step back in comparison to his role in the later Lord of the Rings story. I think Gandalf’s absence here is actually to the books benefit for a few reasons, first of all he is far too powerful and while the orcs and goblins are a threat in this they would be no match for the more powerfully superior Gandalf the Grey.

The other reason is because his absence gives Bilbo more of a chance to become a hero by using his wits and quick thinking to solve problems in ways that are unique to his character. Gandalf is not only a very powerful magic caster but is also incredibly wise and intelligent so would already know the best ways to defeat enemies. Bilbo uses his quick thinking to trick the creature Gollum during his game of riddles not only saving his life but allowing him to keep the magic ring he found.

The main purpose of this story was too expand into the Lord of the Rings so Bilbo discovering the ruling ring is the most important and prevalent part of the book, here the ring does turn the wearer invisible but Middle Earth was still not fully imagined so Mount Doom, Sauron and the Nazgul were still very much absent at this point.

For as short as this book is coming in at only 304 pages Tolkien’s writing style allows for some decent world building without taking away from the main story, the descriptions are subtle but do the job in allowing readers to fully imagine how Tolkein had drafted the different areas such as Rivendell and the Mountain to be.

Some major differences worth noting between this book and the three motion picture adaptations are as follows

During the scene with the trolls in the movie Bilbo keeps them talking about how to cook the Dwarves before the sun turns them to stone but in the book it is actually Gandalf who tricks them by throwing his voice to sound like one of the other trolls.

In the book Bilbo gets his Elven blade sting from the Trolls cave where as in the movie it is first discovered by Gandalf.

Saruman and Galandriel are not mentioned in the book but do make appearances in the motion pictures.

Radagast the Brown is one of my favourite characters in the book but his role is vastly increased during the movies,

In the movies we get to see fan favourite character Legolas make a return, he is not mentioned in the book

Finally Azog the white Orc leader is not in the book but is part of Middle Earth lore being killed years before Bilbo’s Journey.

Other major differences are in connection with character deaths that I do not want to spoil here.

I have read the Hobbit three times and it I cannot wait to read it again, it is one of my favourite stories and holds a very important place in literary history, if your not a fan of reading I recommend listening to the story read by Andy Serkis (Voice and character actor for Gollum) he does a fantastic job and even commits to his iconic Gollum Voice!

This is one adventure you surely do not want to miss out on

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Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is one of the most well known stories and novels of all time, it was written by author Mary Shelley and released in 1818. This horror story has since gone on to inspire countless adaptations and references/homages in pop culture.

In the book Victor Frankenstein is found freezing to death in the Artic Circle by Captain Robert Walton, the story is told through letters Walton sends to his sister explaining to her the bizarre story Frankenstein told him of how he wound up in the Artic Circle in the first place.

Walton and his crew had previously spotted a Giant Man on a snow sled, Frankenstein is also pursuing this being but in the hopes of putting a stop to his destruction and tells his story of madness, obsession and chaos as a warning to Walton to not let his obsessions take over his conscience.

Now we all know the story of Frankenstein but the book did have some differences to the 1931 movie that I am most familiar with.

There is a lot more back story to Victors obsessions, his mother died due to a Scarlet Fever she caught from his adopted sister Elizabeth who would later become his wife. After his mothers death Victor becomes obsessed with the idea of reanimating corpses and creating life, reading books and studying everything he can find in his university library.

I feel a connection to the death of his mother was the trigger point for him to make his monster, my theory is that he originally wanted to bring his mother back but when too much time had passed he became adamant to prove to himself that his studies would pay off and he could create man.

Life and Death are two massive themes in the book, you cannot have one without the other and this tragic story is a testament to that when the Monster kills his one true love Elizabeth and last living Female companion, his mothers death inspired him to bring life to a monster that only gave Death in return, it is a vicious cycle and one that Victor lives to regret.

Speaking of the Monster in the book Victor was terrified of it the moment it woke up and runs away, the Monster runs away too, later killing Victors brother another example of how our actions have consequences.

The Monster is described as followed

https://www.monstrous.com/monster/frankenstein-monster/frankenstein-description/

8-foot-tall (2.4 m), hideously ugly creation, with translucent yellowish skin pulled so taut over the body that it “barely disguised the workings of the vessels and muscles underneath”; watery, glowing eyes, flowing black hair, black lips, and prominent white teeth.

The description may not seem all too unexpected but we should pay attention to the Yellow Skin, I find this interesting because in most media the monster is depicted as Green, it makes me question why this is since it clearly was not the intentions of writer Mary Shelley.

The Monster can actually speak in the original story and very well, during his monologue we learn that he spent months watching a family in the woods, from watching them he taught himself skills such as speech, poetry and reading. The Monster does eventually introduce himself to the family but it doesn’t go well and results in them leaving the home and this deeply pains the Monster eventually causing him to seek revenge on his creator but also realising that he may also be the only person who can help him.

This is all spoken to us through the monologue of the Monster to Victor Frankenstein, the Creature explains how he tried to rescue a child who was drowning only to be shot at by the boys father. Moments like this cause the creature to hate humanity, he eventually finds Victor and asks him to create him a Female Monster who can love him.

Its hard to not sympathise with the Monster because he never asked to be created, he was born through a man obsessive behaviours and cruelly made to live in a hideous body that humans fear, the Monster tried to be like man but mankind would never accept him because he is different and now all he wants is another creature like him so that he doesn’t feel so isolated, alone and misunderstood.

Victor does begin to create this Monster before backing out and destroying it after he realises how dangerous having two of them could be. This triggers the Monster to kill the whole of Victors Family including his Wife Elizabeth and his best friend Henry, Victors father also dies but from what I understood this was due to poor health and not a murder.

During the story’s climax the monster does eventually kill Victor on Walton’s boat and in a moment of sadness realises that killing his creator did not bring him satisfaction, he was still depressed and miserable so vows to take his own life as he sails into the ocean on an ice raft closing this sad and traumatic tale of Life and Death.

Frankenstein is one of the darkest and saddest stories I have ever read, it packs so many different themes and emotions into its text that you really feel sorry for both Frankenstein and the Monster although I think to be fair the Monster definitely deserves just a little more sympathy.

This truly is a tragic story with a good morale that just because we can do something it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should do it.

Every traumatic event in this story was triggered by the creation of the Monster, it was Victor Frankenstein’s greatest achievement but also his greatest mistake and one that would not only cost him his own life but the lives of his loved ones and eventually the Monster itself. The Suicide really was the final tragedy because with the Monster dying its existence would only become a folktale with Victor and his Monster soon being forgotten to time.

I think that just about covers it, Frankenstein is a great book and one that I highly recommend picking up and reading not only to truly appreciate the true horror of this story but its over 200 year legacy in literature as a whole.

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Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

A little bit late so I apologise but it is finally time to discuss the end of the Carrie Saga with the novel which started it all, the book was released in 1974 and was the first published story by Horror writer Stephen King, it sold tremendously well after the first movie adaptation in 1976 and is known to be one of the most banned books in schools due to its violence, underage sex and the use of fowl language and drug use. I will also point out here the use of racism which would be frowned upon today I wont say what the racism was but its context was used to describe how fat someone’s lip was after being punched so you can figure that one out for yourselves!. Times were different when the book was written so while it its still isn’t right we wont be criticising King or the publishers over it.

We are comparing this to the adaptations I have reviewed so there will be heavy spoilers !

Carrie White is a very unfortunate person, she is overweight, covered in spots and is bullied relentlessly by the other girls in her school, in a very famous scene she has her first period (very late) and freaks out while naked in the girls locker room, Chris Hargensen the schools Queen Bee gets all of the other girls to join her in mocking Carrie “Plug it up” they all shout as they begin to pelt the poor child with female sanitary products laughing and cruelly mocking her before they are stopped by the Gym Teacher Miss Desjardin.

This bullying is an everyday occurrence for Carrie and she never gets a break after school she has to face her over religious mother Margaret White who forces her to pray and abuses her power by locking Carrie in a cupboard when she thinks she has sinned, the period is one of these moments as her mother believes that she has turned away from God and committed sexual acts, tasting the forbidden fruit similar to the story of Adam and Eve.

The relentless bullying and abuse causes Carrie to become emotionally distraught eventually leading her to discover a Telekinetic ability she has had passed down from her father, her mother knew about her powers from birth and resents Carrie as she believes she is a curse from God after she committed adultery by having sex before marriage.

Margaret Whites character is given some backstory in the book being outcast by her family due to her intense religious views, she is also described as much older in the book and as we have discussed previously is killed by Carrie stopping her heart. The way this particular murder is written is actually quite creepy with Carrie whispering that she will send her to the darkness to be judged by whatever God she finds there.

Carries powers are explored in more detail in the book including a scene where as a little girl she causes giant rocks to fall from the sky destroying her family home, this was shown in the 2002 TV movie as well which I will give that adaptation some credit for even though I really didn’t enjoy it.

Speaking of characters I wasn’t huge on Sue Snell in the book, there isn’t many differences between her role in the films and the book but in the novel she is definitely a little bit more self-centered and while she is the only girl to feel bad about how she treated Carrie there is definitely a vibe that she only sent Tommy to take Carrie to prom to ease her guilt more than to make Carrie feel less like an outcast.

The prom massacre in this is actually quite quick and a little disappointing considering that she kills almost everyone by electrocution and finishing off the remaining few by setting the building on fire.

Chris Hargensen and Billy’s death is much more satisfying in this similar to the 2013 film the car is lifted from the ground and flung into a building (the road house hotel) and blown to smithereens, both characters in the book are pure evil Billy is a real bastard who beats Chris and even tries to rape her at one point, Chris is known to be quite the psychopathic bully and not only to Carrie, it is mentioned in the book that she once hid a fire cracker in another students show blowing off two of her toes and she only got out of any legal trouble thanks to her fathers position as a very well respected lawyer.

Chris and Billy actually fill two buckets with blood in the book and one is meant for Tommy Ross who neither have any problems with so they only really did this for no reason at all just going to further show how neither of them care for anyone and are just very sickening individuals.

The books ending sees Sue Snell finding Carrie White dying and she holds Carrie in her arms as she takes her final breath, I really liked that the book continued after this to show how the events affected the town having a lot of the store owners taking out insurance claims to give up their shops and the local bar becoming quiet as the town folks are all shaken up after the events of the massacre.

The book also uses a lot of character interviews through police investigations which was a nice touch and it also has chapters from the perspective of other characters such as Sue and Chris.

I really enjoyed this book and struggled to put it down, it is a very easy read due to Kings writing style and how he doesn’t focus on many unnecessary elements, he is telling the story of the events of Prom Night and does an excellent job of documenting this while keeping readers engaged and wanting more.

I have come to the conclusion that the closest adaptation is the 2002 TV movie, it has the most parts from the book but doesn’t offer too much more compared to the 2013 film and we all know which of those I would recommend.

The original 1976 film is still the best way to watch Carrie which is odd because compared to all three movies and the musical it is actually the least accurate with its story telling, my recommendation would definitely be to read the book as it is very good and then watch the 1976 version as that holds up very well on its own and is genuinely an excellent Horror Movie.

I am very eager for some more Stephen King so the next book I will be reviewing is his second novel Salem’s Lot so please look forward to that.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling

The Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in the Harry Potter franchise, it was written by J.K Rowling and released in the summer of 2003. This will have spoilers so if you don’t want to see those you may want to skip this

In the book Harry is facing the ministry of magic in a wizarding court after he casts magic outside of school to save his cousin Dudley from the dementors kiss.

Before the hearing Harry is collected by a group of wizards and witches known as the Order of the Phoenix who take him to number 12 Grimmauld Place the childhood home of his god father Sirius Black. The Order of Phoenix is a secret organisation created by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore with the goal to fight against Lord Voldemort and his Army. The order has gained many members over the years but some of the most recognisable names are Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Abefore Dumbledore, Mad Eye Moody, Lily and James Potter, Arthur and Molly Weasly and Nymphadora Tonks.

After the trial a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher called Delores Umbridge was hired at Hogwarts, as a member of the Ministry of Magic she believes herself to be of a much higher hierarchy and while she puts on a sweet natured appearance she is actually one of the most sadistic and evil characters in the franchise.

Of course Harry does eventually manage to get his name cleared when evidence that he was defending Dudley is brought to light but its quite clever how this trial plays into the beliefs and emotions of other characters. Some students start to believe that Harry may have killed Cedric Diggory during the Tri Wizard Cup and due to strange dreams he is having which all end up becoming true even Headmaster Albus Dumbledore keeps his distance for the majority of the school year even though it was for good reasons explained much later into the novel.

Delores takes a particular dislike to Harry Potter during detentions she make him write lines that would then cut into his arms and wrists leaving him bleeding and in pain, she even goes as far as to attempt the cruciatis curse but is quickly stopped. For those who don’t know the cruciatis curse is one of the most dangerous illegal spells due to its intense pain and eventually turning its receivers to insanity, the most famous case was how it was used to torture and destroy the minds of Alice and Frank Longbottom.

Another character worth mentioning here is Grawp the half brother of Hagrid, Grawp is a full blooded giant but is still considered short in stature for the species, in the book he lives in the forbidden forest and is being taken care of by Hagrid, Grawp has some serious communication difficulties and struggles with understanding his own strength and peoples personal boundaries.

Of course the book also very sadly gives us the murder of Sirius Black who was killed by Bellatrix la strange in the department of mysteries. This death always hits me quite hard since Sirius Black is easily one of my favourite characters in the franchise.

Some of the differences to the movie worth highlighting are that once again in the movies I think the fact that in the book both Ron and Hermione become prefects is worth mentioning, of course Sytherin gets Prefect Draco as well giving the bully even more power than hes ever deserved.

In the film Neville steals one of Dobby the House Elf’s biggest moments that being the discovery of the Room or Requirement where Harry eventually teaches students how to produce protronuses and other difficult spells as he build Dumbledores Army.

A change that really caught me of guard was that in the book Cho Chang is not the person who told Umbridge about Dumbledores army and infact it was actually another Ravenclaw student called Marietta Edgecombe.

Another detail left from the movie was the reveal that Umbridge sent the dementors after Harry Potter as the Ministry didn’t want the return of Voldemort to become public knowledge, just going to show how evil she really is and how messed up the Ministry can be as well.

Overall I did enjoy this book but so far it has been my least favourite and it just never grabbed my attention like previous titles in the series. Coming back to Harry Potter from the last book this was disappointing in the sense that it just kinda drags in places and is a little hard to follow, it just seems like so much is going on and its hard keep track at times. It does have some great action sequences and one of my favourite villains being Umbridge, also the scenes that show Snape’s past with Lily Potter are very well written and show the potions master in a much more sympathetic light. I also think its important that James Potter was shown to be a bully to Snape as it does really explain his hatred towards Harry since his birth practically brought on James death along with Lily leaving Snape heartbroken.

I would argue that this is a really good book but I just much preferred the Goblet of Fire and just hope that the 6th book in series manages to become a new favourite of mine.

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Book Reviews: The Devils Whispers by Lucas Hault

I was very kindly sent this book by the publisher TCK Publishing.

Here is a link to their website and a link to purchase the book on Amazon

A famous Lawyer Gerard Woodward is requested to visit Lord Mathers to discuss his final affairs as he lays upon his deathbed.

This professional visit quickly becomes a nightmare when Gerard notices odd behaviours around the castle, he is locked in his room every night and is forbidden to explore without supervision.

After climbing across the castle walls from his window Gerard finds access into the castle and soon realises that he has been trapped amongst some of the most despicable and evil creatures he has ever come across.

These creatures are called Xana and originated from Asturian Mythology and often disguise themselves as a woman to lure in lonely young men.

This book is very heavily inspired by Dracula and has a lot of similarities it begins in a castle with the protagonist, a professional man trying to sort out legal affairs and in both books this protagonist soon realises the sinister activities that are at play.

In Dracula the vampire cannot stand garlic and in this book the Xana cannot stand onions, both stories also use diary entries to tell the story from the perspective of various people.

In light of the author this diary style is a lot harder to write than you would expect, it takes a lot more planning than a standard book due to the fact of having to focus on various writers you need to change styles in order to fit said person and their perspective of events. Also making sure that everything that is written makes sense while always ensuring that you can consistently switch narratives without getting mixed up or lost in your own explanations and story telling.

Lucas Hault actually writes these diary entries really well, it was actually quite nice to read another book in this style as I think a lot of authors are intimidated by it, personally I haven’t read a book like this since Dracula so I appreciated to go back to this style and to see it written so well.

The book has not had the best reviews, I did a bit of research and found that a lot of people were complaining that it was so similar to Dracula and while I do agree that it definitely needs to be looked at for a re-write in this aspect, I also think a lot people are not giving credit where it is due.

The book comes across like a fan re-write of the Bram Stoker classic but it is creative in a lot of areas, first of all the choice to use a folklore creature is a very unique idea and not what I expected, also when the story gets interesting it does get you hooked. The problem I have is that the beginning and ending of the book completely held my attention but the middle segment really seemed to drag and quickly became uninteresting, I found myself enjoying Gerard’s character and even though I enjoyed the writing when other character were telling their diary pages I just wanted to go back to Gerard’s again and see what he was doing.

So this leaves me at a bit of an awkward moment because I cant really say that I fully enjoyed this book, I read it twice just to make sure and my opinion still stands that Lucas Hault is a good writer, his writing style is fine he is a new author and will get a lot better over time. This book could have been something really unique if it had a little bit more originality the Xana being the creature is great but it definitely feels like Lucas Hault read Dracula and then decided to have a crack at it himself, he had a somewhat original story but its structure is too close to a much more better written and historically beloved book which The Devils Whisper does not in anyway come close to even competing with.

I will end this with a message to the Author, Lucas you have talent and clearly you are creative but if possible I recommend a re-write of this so that it can have a much clearer identity and wont be compared to what its inspired by. If you decide to write another horror I would recommend trying to do something different than is expected, try and write something which does compare to other stories and one day you very well could find yourself a very successful author.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, it was released in 2000 and is the first larger book in the series with a page count of 636.

The book follows Harry Potter in his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this year Harry’s names is slipped into the Goblet of Fire which forces him to compete in the Triwizard tournament, a deadly competition with students competing from various magical schools.

Every year the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is replaced, in the Goblet of Fire it is Alastor Moody who is nicknamed Mad Eye Moody. Mad Eye Moody a rather scary looking fellow and a famous Auror has a threatening and serious demeanor about him, by the end of the story you realise that he has a connection with another character from the book and is maybe more menacing than he already seems.

Madma Maxine a temporary love interest for Hagrid is worth mentioning as well as the meddling Reeta Skeeta a writer for the Daily prophet.

There are three tasks to the Tri Wizard tournament and these were best parts of the book for me as they really helped to add more intense moments and changes in the environment from the usual Hogwarts castle. My favourite task was the second task where the Champions had dive into Hogwarts Lake and rescue the person they cared about the most, for Harry it was Ron however Hermione was to be rescued by Durmstrang student Viktor Krum.

The book differs an awful from the film and a lot of changes in the movie completely mess with the lore of the Harry Potter universe, an example of this is the choice that while Beauxbatons school takes in the majority of European Withches and Wizards, in the film it is female only making no sense what so ever. Dumbledores reaction to Harrys name being entered into the Goblet of Fire is completely different in the book as he comes across as more calm and doesn’t get as angry as he does in the film, the final task is a lot more interesting in the book as the film took out many of the creatures, riddles and traps due to time constraints. The film cut out Dobby the house elf and a house elf called Winky who played major roles in the book. Hermione’s sub plot fighting for house elf rights was also cut from the film.

The final major change I feel I should mention is that the Dance lesson in the film was not in the book at all and was a new addition.

What a fantastic read this one was this is easily my favourite Potter book yet but I do wish they adapted it better to film, this is where the series starts to get really serious and is the first book to not end on a happy note, it leaves the reader nervous about whats to come and unsure of if they should be worried or not and I love it because of this, If I had any complaint Ron Weasley is fairly unlikable in this book due to his fallout with Harry, I can understand why hes upset but it comes as childish and slightly annoying.

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Book Review: A Better Life by Isobel Scharen

A huge thankyou to the Publishing Push for sending me a review copy of this book.

I love being sent stories that I wouldn’t often pick up because it gives me an opportunity to explore new genres. A Better Life is a story that focuses on a young Singapore woman named Ada who not long after getting married is thrown into a world of struggles, chaos and heartbreaks.

I believe that a book that makes you feel for the characters and can bring emotion to the reader is one of the most difficult things an author can write, its easier in film because you are able to see exactly what the director wants to portray but when it comes to writing its not easy to make someone feel emotional just by reading. I commend Isobel Scharen for being able to write such a powerful story that is guaranteed to make you feel something, for me it was sadness for Ada and her struggles and the things she had to sacrifice in order to keep herself and her family safe.

I really cannot fault this book at all, I was hooked from the beginning, I will admit that I enjoyed the story more at around the half way point because that’s when things started to get really serious and we begin to see how badly the war affects the main characters and the lengths they have to go to just so that they see them selves survive the horrors of the war and how it changes their lives.

I felt that the romance was very well done in this story, often books come across as a little cliche and cheesy but this feels like a real relationship, the dialogue between characters in the book is also very realistic, this helps the reader to build connections with the characters which again will help the reader to feel emotions in the text.

I have to recommend this book because it really is one of the best I have read in a long time, I often go for more lighthearted and well known stories but now and again it is nice to read something different, I didn’t give away too many details in this review as I would like to encourage people to go and read it, below is a link to the UK amazon shop where you can pick up a copy.

Thanks again to the Publishing Push for sending me a copy of this book

I hope you enjoyed this review of A Better Life by Isobel Scharen

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Book Review: The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches is a children’s novel written by British Author Roald Dahl, it begins in Norway after a young boys parents have died and he has been left under the care of his grandmother, his grandmother tells him all about the dangers of witches and how to spot them amongst humans. In this book witches are child killers that use magic to murder children in very discreet and clever methods such as turning them to stone or trapping their soul in a painting.

Later on in the book the boy and his grandmother end up holidaying in the same hotel that the witches of England are holding their annual meeting where he overhears a plot to turn all of the children in England into mice.

Will the boy and his grandmother be able to stop the witches and save the children of England?

You will have to read the book to find out 😉

What an excellent read this was although I must point out that it is rather dark and has themes of death, murder and coping with the inevitable, there is also a lot of tobacco use and alcohol in the book, without spoiling the ending it was happy but did have a darker tone to it than most children’s novels.

The characters in the book are all very simple but at the same time wonderfully imaginative thanks to the mind of Roald Dahl, the witches were in my opinion the best part of the book both equally funny and scary enough to not quite give you nightmares but send a chill down your spine, the grandmother was another favourite character of mine as I enjoyed her sense of humour and odd view of the world.

I would recommend this even if you have seen the 1990 film adaptation because while there are similarities the book differs in many ways that you could class them as two different versions of the story especially considering the light hearted ending of the movie compared to the original story.

As an adult I cant say that I enjoyed this as much as I did when I was younger but I would still recommend this to any young persons wanting an excellent book to read.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Witches by Roald Dahl

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