Taliesin – Book Review

Title: Taliesin

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

Genre: Historical fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Taliesin, the first book in prolific author Stephen Lawhead’s  Pendragon Cycle begins years before the more familiar time of Arthur. It also manages to combine two of my favourite things: Greek style mythology and Celtic mythology. How, you wonder? That you’ll have to find out for yourself but, odd as it sounds, Lawhead manages to sew these two story lines together with flawless, and sometimes biblical style, prose.

I chose this booking knowing that I had enjoyed some of Lawhead’s later work, the Raven Chronicles, which retell the legend of Robin Hood so I approached Taliesin with high expectations. They were fulfilled.

Some of you may remember that the last book I reviewed, The Pagan Lord, claimed to contain the best battle scenes however I have to say that Lawhead’s battles were much better – the detail sharp, the execution precise and, overall, the battle scenes draw the reader in to an extent that I rarely experience.

The plot follows two characters – the Atlantean woman Charis, and the Welsh foundling boy, Taliesin – from childhood to adulthood. Through these characters one gets a sense of the events in motion which ultimately lead to the need for Arthur as High King of Britain. The story, although beautifully told, with strong, intriguing characters and a great depth of worldbuilding, is almost entirely exposition. There is no mention of Arthur at all and even Merlin is a childish footnote at the end. Although entertaining, this book is perhaps not entirely necessary in the series but it does serve to set Lawhead’s saga apart from other re-tellings of this well known legend.

Definitely worth the read. I particularly enjoyed the well researched glimpse of Atlantis.

Book Challenge Update – July

belle

Can you believe we are already more than half way through the year??

I hadn’t realised it’s already been two months since my last update! Oops! In the past few weeks, I have sort of lost pace in my reading. However, as I’m only aiming for 26 books this year, I have faith that I’m still pretty much on track.

  • The Raven Boys | Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Queen’s Choice | Cayla Kluver
  • The Captive Prince | C. S. Pacat
  • The Many Coloured Land | Christopher Koch
  • The Architect’s Apprentice | Elif Shafak
  • Sasha | Joel Shepherd
  • The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue | Maggie Stiefvater
  • All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill
  • Me Before You | Jojo Moyes
  • The Secret History | Donna Tartt
  • The Stone Diaries | Caroline Shields
  • Ukraine Diaries | Andry Kurkov
  • My Brilliant Friend | Elena Ferrante

Currently reading: The Raven King | Maggie Stiefvater

How are your reading goals going? Did you enjoy the last book you read?

Row80 Update

  • Practice Duolingo everyday – excepting Tuesday, yes
  • Listen to music/watch a show in one of my target languages twice a week
  • Write 500 words every week day (2500 a week) – Nope. I wrote maybe a 100th of that, I think…
  • Read a book a fortnight – I finished My Brilliant Friend and even wrote a review of it:)
  • Keep on top of my CELTA coursework – so far, so good:)
  • Visit three new blogs a week – I’m sorry, guys, this hasn’t happened yet. I’m open to recommendations.
  • Post a #bookstagram post on instagram at least once a week – done
  • Publish one non-blog-hop post a week – see book review link above. Woo!😀

So although there’s still some red, especially on the larger goals, I’m starting to find my stride.

Are you hitting your ROW80 stride?

My Brilliant Friend – Book Review

Title: My Brilliant Friend

Author: Elena Ferrante (trans. by Ann Goldstein)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 4/5

“Children don’t know the meaning of yesterday, of the day before yesterday, or even of tomorrow, everything is this, now…”

This book was lent to me on whim by a friend. She pressed it into my hands and insisted I read it. It sat by my desk for over a week before I finally got round to reading it. My Brilliant Friend tells the story of  a poor neighbourhood in Naples after the second world war. It focuses, in particular, on Elena Greco, the narrator, and her friend, Lila. Autobiographical in style, the first installment follows their lives from childhood to adolescence.

I loved the style of the writing though, as with anything read in translation, I do wonder how much of the lyricism of the text is actually conveyed. (I may have to learn Italian so I can read the original). Over the course of the book, Elena reveals how she learnt to write so well, in a way explaining the beauty of the narration. At the heart of the story is Elena’s struggle to separate her own identity from that of her friend Lila, whose dominating personality shapes so many of Elena’s early experiences.

Ferrante ran a risk creating a trilogy in a biographical style – it could easily have had no plot, meandering aimlessly through the years. Instead, the characters truly grow over the course of the novel, and it ends with just enough unanswered questions to make you seek out the second installment.

 

A Slow Start

So week 1 of ROW80 Round 3, has gone quite slowly but I had the opportunity to go home and visit my family and friends for the first time in months and I 100% will always put that ahead of writing. I may or may not one day be a successful author but I’d rather be unsuccessful and still have my family and friends than wildly successful and alone. Besides, I have time to catch up.:)

  • Practice Duolingo everyday
  • Listen to music/watch a show in one of my target languages twice a week
  • Write 500 words every week day (2500 a week)
  • Read a book a fortnight
  • Keep on top of my CELTA coursework
  • Visit three new blogs a week
  • Post a #bookstagram post on instagram at least once a week
  • Publish one non-blog-hop post a week

6 Steps To Copyedit Your Novel

A brilliant post from a writer who really knows her stuff.

Francina Simone

Copyediting is all about grammar, syntax, and semantics. When talking about editing, this is the biggest taboo. Authors believe it’s like, drinking unicorn blood. You. Just. Don’t. Do. It. (Unless you’re the snake nosed devil himself—Voldemort). The main arguments are: You don’t know when to cut something that needs cutting. You’ll hang onto sentences you like even though they kill the pace/mood/etc. You’ll miss a ton of stuff because you know what you meant to write.

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A Little Late to the Party

Round 3 of ROW80, the writing challenge that knows you have a life, started yesterday. I’m one day late but I hope the ROW80 gods will understand. After months of working six days a week I finally secured myself a two day weekend and went to see my family and proceeded to forget entirely about ROW80. Oops. But I’m here now.

I really enjoy participating in ROW80 and this will be my fourth time. However, I feel like I’m still searching for my stride. Last round, I managed to hit almost all of my goals also some were undeniably more successful than others. I’ve found that saying, ‘yes, I’ll work on piece A or piece B’ don’t necessarily work for me so this round, I’m modifying my goals a little with that in mind.

Key:

Complete

Done for this week

Half done/progress made

Not completed

Goals:

  • Practice Duolingo everyday
  • Listen to music/watch a show in one of my target languages twice a week
  • Write 500 words every week day (2500 a week)
  • Read a book a fortnight
  • Keep on top of my CELTA coursework
  • Visit three new blogs a week
  • Post a #bookstagram post on instagram at least once a week
  • Publish one non-blog-hop post a week