Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Book Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle - C.S Lewis | Lara Pass

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle
- C.S Lewis
Published by -  Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. 1953
 ***** - 5 Stars
This book... oh my goodness me. I have read a lot of book series in my time and have always found myself disappointed with how it ends. There just always seems to be something missing. Something not right. Something unsatisfactory or unfulfilling about the last book in a series. This book however... is something else entirely.
As you can probably imagine, with my past experience with book series, I was really apprehensive about this book. I was so worried it just wouldn't work but it seems my worries were for nothing.

Clive Staples Lewis - Author
Never in my life have I read a book series and been totally happy with the ending. I've always found it too hard to accept that that is how it was going to end so I would just read the series again and again because I refused to accept that that's how a story that I had invested so much time in, was going to end. However, The Last Battle from The Chronicles of Narnia series lived up to all my expectations and in my eyes, it couldn't have been a better ending.
Of course, I found it sad - just like I do with many book series but I was so delighted with how it ended that I didn't feel I needed to go back and read the whole series again to make up for a shoddy ending. There was nothing over the top about it. Lewis wasn't trying too hard to make it a good ending, he just wrote how he thought it should end and I admire him tremendously for that. It ends the way it should have done. It all made perfect sense and it was beautifully done.
It made me cry (as only a good book can) and I applaud Lewis for just finishing the story off in a perfect way.
I really didn't want the series to end as Narnia is a land I should very much like to live in constantly. The beauty and timelessness of this series will never again be repeated but I am glad in a way. It is what makes this such a special book series. Its what makes a good writer.
I'm thrilled I own these books and I will treasure them forever. So now, I will leave you with the last sentence from this book and say thank you for reading.
'All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which ever chapter is better than the one before.'

Book Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis | Lara Pass

The Chronicles Of Narnia:
The Silver Chair - C.S Lewis
Published by - Harper Collins Publishers Ltd 1953
 ***- 3 Stars
Everyone that knows me knows that I am a HUGE fan of the Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S Lewis. However, this is probably my least favourite of the Chronicles. Although a reasonably good story in itself, when it comes to the whole series, I did not think this story delivered as well as the 5 novels preceding it.
This is something I really hate writing because I adore this book series and the whole story collectively but I do have to say; I feel it let the series down a little.
As I said, the story in itself is a good one. Well written, lots of action and adventure in it and lots of the wonderful world of Narnia. However, in relation to the story so far and the book that follows, I don't really think this one fits. It is a beautifully written book - as are all the others - but this story, I (personally) don't feel coincides with the others and I don't feel this is a relevant story to tell in relation to the story of Narnia.
I do however, understand that Lewis had to bring this new character into the story somehow as he is extremely relevant to the last book.  In some ways though, I wish he had just kept Prince Caspian around a little longer as he is a character I rather adore and feel should have stayed in the series longer than he did.
Clive Staples Lewis - Author
I have to say that I love how in every single book in this series, the story has a moral and is extremely heartfelt whilst also being action packed, exciting and magical. It is a great way for kids to learn what is right and wrong and (ideally) what they should and shouldn't do in regards to growing up and becoming more mature. The way Lewis does this means that you are learning all these valuable life lessons without even realising it. Its a subconscious thing and I think its very cleverly done.
I'm sorry C.S. Lewis for not loving this book as much as the others but I am completely head over heals in love with this books series. Its magical, wonderful, heart-breaking, funny and so many other things all at once and that is why it is still a firm favourite among children and adults alike, even after all this time!

Book Review: Changeling - Delia Sherman | Lara Pass

Changeling - Delia Sherman
Published by - Viking:
A Division of Penguin Young Readers Group
**** - 4 Stars
This is a book that happened to catch my eye when I was in a charity shop a few months ago. Its an extremely beautiful book and I bought it on a whim. Just one of those, 'in the heat of the moment' decisions.
However, when I finally got around to reading it, I was glad that it did catch my eye that day. Not only is this an extremely beautiful book, but it's an extremely beautiful story. This is a story of self-discovery, independence and belief. I think it is really fitting for kids as it sends out all the right messages and is a rather empowering book.
After reading this, I felt like I could do anything. Battle a dragon maybe?...
I also love how Sherman creates a world within 'our world'. The 'New York Between' was a very interesting concept and a lovely idea that there is a world that coincides with our own. That its a place we as humans can only get to in our dream.
Delia Sherman - Author
Nothing has been overdone in this book. There is no aspect I can think of that Sherman has gone too far with. There is just the right about of action and adventure and also cunningness and bravery and the way Sherman writes, makes you feel like you are truly part of that world.
There are actually few children's stories that I actually, genuinely enjoy, but this month I seem to have fallen lucky in terms of children's books because they are all absolutely enchanting.
I can't wait to buy the second instalment of this series (luckily a short series - phew...)   and find out the rest of the story. This book will truly capture every child's imagination and I can't really fault it apart from on one thing. Originality. That is the only thing that lets this story down and is why I gave it 4/5 stars. The writing is brilliant, the story is brilliant; the only problem I have is that its a bit too much like so many other children's books I have read. Drawing inspirations from the Grimm brothers' stories, while a good idea, just reminded me of how little there is to inspire us to create a completely new world of our own invention which is what needs to be done with a children's story. They need to be transported somewhere completely new and different and unique and I feel that Changeling didn't quite deliver.
However, a beautiful book and an even more beautiful story and I'm glad to have read it.

Book Review: Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie | Lara Pass

Peter Pan -J.M. Barrie
Published by -
Oxford University Press
***** - 5 Stars
Hi everyone! I'm back again. I wanted to get all the books I have read this month reviewed on my blog before I did my April Wrap Up video on YouTube. One of the first books I read this month was Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Now, everyone has heard of this story and maybe seen one of the many film adaptations but its surprising how many people have never read the book. Of course, most people now associate Peter Pan with the Disney's 1953 film adaptation, which - while a good film - does not tell the whole story and capture the 'magic' of the story I suppose you could say. (I do feel that the best film adaptation of Peter Pan is the 2003 film adaptation starring Jeremy Sumpter and Jason Isaacs.)

Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan
- 2003 Film Adaptation of
Peter Pan
Anyways, onto the book review... I have had this book for quite some time and have never read it even though Peter Pan is probably my favourite children's story. I didn't really get into reading books just for the fun of it until I turned 13 and got a copy of Twilight (shocking I know) - and, being a young teenager, I just kind of got obsessed with that kind of thing. It seems that most teenage girls have an obsession from the ages of about 13-15 years old. (but you know... it's all part of being a 'teenager'). However, since that phase of my life is now over, I was going through all my old books that I've never read and I found my copy of Peter Pan. Of course, then I got really excited and couldn't wait to read it but I was also kind of nervous about reading it. The 2003 film adaptation is so good, I didn't know whether the original story was going to be. (this is why you should ALWAYS read the book before you watch the film)
However, I was not disappointed AT ALL. It was different, but - of course - it was better. There is very few books that I read and then want to read all over again as soon as I've finished it. Especially children's books. However, reading this made me realise what a classic it is and I felt really stupid for never having read it before now.
Barrie's writing throughout the book is faultless. Is perfect and magical and one of those stories that you can just picture yourself reading to your kids when they're all tucked up in bed. It is a perfect 'bedtime story' and I love it to pieces. It's only now that I really understand why this book is regarded as a 'classic'. It truly is a beautiful, wonderful, magical story and I know I'll keep the book forever because its just... There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe how brilliant this book is.
Peter Pan is - as shall forever remain - my favourite kids story and I will cherish it forever.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Book Review: The Blood of Flowers - Anita Ammirezvani | Lara Pass

The Blood of Flowers - Anita Ammirezvani
Published By - Headline Review
***** - 5 Stars!
This book is unlike anything I have ever read before. It is completely enchanting. Ammirezvani obviously went above and beyond to provide a book that speaks volumes, transports you to another place and that keeps you hooked right until the very end.
I've never read a book like it and I doubt I ever will again. Ammirezvani took no short cuts to make sure she delivered the best of the best with this book and I am delighted to have read it. Half way through this book I felt a sudden urge to go out, buy wool and a loom, and start making a carpet!
With her meticulous attention to detail, Ammirezvani has made this a book we should all have a copy of and I know I will one day be purchasing my own!
Anita Ammirezvani - Author
I sincerely hope that Ammirezvani is
proud of her work because she should be! It takes someone with an immense amount of talent to produce work that is so brilliant. However, I do have to acknowledge that it isn't without it's flaws. I won't be talking about those flaws in this review though.  This is probably the first review I have done where I have not talked about the flaws in the text. Not because I am trying to be nice, or I don't think they're important; but because I don't feel as if they are worth mentioning in work as brilliant as this. I am sure there are hundreds of other reviews that tell you about the flaws and errors of judgement Ammirezvani made with this book and so I don't feel I need to mention them now.
However, as a person that reads and reviews books, I cannot say that I can't find fault in this book. There will always be faults. No-one's writing - no matter how good - is flawless and everyone has their own opinion about what aspects of a book are 'wrong'.
But for now, focusing on the positives, I can say that I absolutely loved this book and loved the fact that I could read this and review it for everyone. I would highly recommend this book (to adults) and say that if you like historical fiction, it is hard to believe you would not love this book!