When I see an interesting bookish tag I can’t resist, and this particular one – which I borrowed from fellow blogger Susy – had the additional attraction of featuring LOTR characters as inspiration for the tag’s questions. And as a big Tolkien admirer I certainly could not let this “challenge” go unanswered! 🙂
So here we go…
GANDALF – A BOOK THAT TAUGHT YOU SOMETHING
It taught me not to give up too easily on a series which looks interesting but does not grab my entire attention with the first book: sometimes it’s just a matter of “right book, wrong time”, and perseverance often pays off handsomely. I did not move forward immediately with this saga and my interest in it was only rekindled through the author’s sequel trilogy, which led me to retrace my steps and acknowledge that the Powder Mage series is indeed an amazing read.
FRODO – A BOOK THAT LEFT A MARK ON YOU
When I discovered Martin’s ASOIAF saga, in 2002, I had not been reading fantasy for a very, very long time: after reading and enjoying Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings I looked for similar stories and had the misfortune of settling on Terry Brook’s first Shannara book, which proved quite disappointing, to be diplomatic about it, so I decided to stay off the genre. That is, until I kept finding mentions of Martin’s series on the Usenet groups I frequented and decided to give it a spin: this story was so different, so deeply involving, that my faith in fantasy was completely restored.
LEGOLAS – A BOOK YOU FINISHED IN ONE SITTING
A story about nuns in space was intriguing enough, but once I started this very unusual novella where the “convent” is nothing less than a living ship – one of my favorite themes in SF – I could not put it down until I reached the end, knowing that I would have loved to read much more about these courageous nuns and their mission.
GIMLI – A BOOK THAT FEATURES AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP
The friendship portrayed in this novel from the Vorkosigan saga is more than unlikely: Miles Vorkosigan discovers that his father’s enemies have created a clone of him for some dastardly plot and that the clone – who ends up getting the name of Mark – hates him because the poor guy was subjected to painful modifications to turn him into the exact copy of Miles. And yet Miles being Miles – and the product of his mother Cordelia’s teachings – feels compelled to extend the hand of friendship to Mark and show him that there is a family ready to accept him. It’s a long, hard road, but a very emotionally satisfying one.
MERRY – A BOOK THAT PLEASANTLY SURPRISED YOU
Who would expect that the story of a siege would turn into an amusing, tongue-in-cheek chronicle told by a somewhat unreliable character who manages to fend off attack upon attack through sheer inventiveness? Well, that’s exactly the surprise that awaited me when I opened this… impulse choice that turned out to be a fantastic read.
PIPPIN – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH
Any book by John Scalzi is bound to contain a measure of his trademark humor, but this collection of short stories offers a distillation of his quirky way of making you laugh through the most unexpected narrative choices, like – for example – a mock interview with ex-planet Pluto, quite peeved at being demoted from planetary status.
BOROMIR – A BOOK/SERIES THAT YOU THINK ENDED TOO SOON
This series about the reluctant vampire Fortitude Scott and his sidekick, the kitsune Suzume Hollis, did not move beyond the fourth book for the “simple” reason that the author did not seem able to find a publisher interested in the books, even though there were a few more already planned. Which made me wonder if publishers looks at online reviews by readers before making such scatter-brained decisions… 😦
SAM – A BOOK WITH MEMORABLE SIDE CHARACTERS WHO STOLE THE SHOW
Where thief Kinch is the undisputed protagonist of this first foray into fantasy by horror author Christopher Buehlman, I found that his traveling companion Galva, a skilled warrior on a mission of rescue, was not given enough room to expand as she deserved, and I hope that this situation might change in the next book(s) because she’s too intriguing a character and should be explored in greater depth.
ARAGORN – A GOOD BOOK WITH A BAD/AVERAGE COVER
The cover for this breathless thriller does not give any indication about its story, and I’m painfully aware I might have missed it completely if not for the review of fellow blogger Mogsy who – as it often happens in our bookish community – pointed me toward a very engaging read, the first book in a quite promising series.
GOLLUM – A BOOK THAT HAD GREAT POTENTIAL BUT DISAPPOINTED YOU IN THE END
Having enjoyed my previous encounters with McCammon’s works – particularly with Swan Song – I had great hopes for this story of an alien invasion and of the humans’ struggles to survive and, if possible, fight back, but for a number of reasons the narrative and characterization felt flat and uninspiring, with some sadly cringe-worthy dialogues. A huge disappointment indeed…