Lady of the Lake by Andrzek Sapkowski

Title: The Lady of the Lake
Author: Andrzek Sapkowski
Series: The Witcher #6
Publication: 16th March 2017 by Orion Publishing Group
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis (Netgalley)

After walking through a portal in the Tower of the Swallow, thus narrowly escaping death, the Witcher girl, Ciri, finds herself in a completely different world… a world of the Elves. She is trapped with no way out. Time does not seem to exist and there are no obvious borders or portals to cross back into her home world.

But this is Ciri, the child of prophecy, and she will not be defeated. She knows she must escape to finally rejoin the Witcher, Geralt, and his companions – and also to try to conquer her worst nightmare. Leo Bonhart, the man who chased, wounded and tortured Ciri, is still on her trail. And the world is still at war.

Daz’s Thoughts

The finale to the epic fantasy series, The Witcher. The story takes place straight after the events of the Tower of the Swallows and sees the entire Witcher universe committing itself to a great war. Geralt is engulfed in his depression of losing Ciri and Yennefer and throws himself into helping anybody else who is in desperate need of ‘killing monsters’. Meanwhile, Ciri is battling against those who are trying to force her destiny upon her.

The story is a fitting end to the entire series. Although it starts off at a bemusing pace (time travel and alternate universes) all of these begin to knit themselves together and forms the blanket of a world that is closing in on Tolkien. There are still elements of the politics behind war and you begin to learn about the true horrors that befall countries during these times.

I must say that there are parts that I could’ve done without, for example I didn’t need the part about the rapey old man in the woods. However, I am still very happy with this story being the ending to a great story and it ends in a way that should close storylines behind itself.

Daz’s Rating

5-stars

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Top Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlists.

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. This week’s topic is “Top Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist.”

This was a team effort this week! We would like….

Intricate magical systems that makes sense – Think: Trudi Canavan.

Strong, but realistic, female characters. – Think: Tris in The Witcher Series or Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings series.

Less love triangles with predictable endings – Think: Less like Mortal Instruments or Twilight.

Books with multiple points of view – Think: Falling Kingdom’s series by Morgan Rhodes or You’re the One that I Want by Giovanna Fletcher.

Legitimately threatening villains. Ones that will actually do stuff rather than explain and do things slowly. Think: The Falconer in Lies of Loche Lamora by Scott Lynch.

Better second books. They usually end up slipping as they are building up to the final book. Think: Less like The Painted Man by Peter V Brett more like Michael J Sullivan.

More Pat Rothfusslike, now please.

What’s on your reading wish list?

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. This week’s topic is  “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book.”

Daz and Emily’s Choices

Too Much World Building – I don’t like it when there is pages and pages minute and insignificant details. It makes reading a chore. Think: J.R.R. Tolkein, Joseph Conrad and George. R. R. Martin.

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Pointless Love Stories/Triangles – A pointless love story just ruins everything that’s happened in the book. That’s great that you’re pining over the hot, attractive guy but can we get back to your assassinating the people who destroyed your village and brutally murdered your family? Thanks. Think: When We CollidedHunger Games.

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Too Many Main Characters or Flicking POV and Not Stating Who’s POV It Is  Whoa there Nelly, we’re well and truly lost. There’s only so much my brain can hold without having a map in front of me. Think: Game of Thrones,

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Fan Pleasers By pleasing your fans you are destroying your book and making it completely unoriginal and frankly a disappointment. Cassandra Clare. Need I say more?

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Ending Rushers – people who spend so much time building up a story and then finish it in one chapter. Think: Clariel by Garth Nix.

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What turns you off a book?

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. This week’s topic is  “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book.”

Emily’s Choices

Female Assassins – Think Celaena in Throne of Glass or Ismae in Grave Mercy. The next one I am dying to read is Red Sister which is about girls raised to be assassins.

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Snarky characters – got to love a bit of sass and snark. Think Baz from Carry On, Tyrion from Game of Thrones or even Libby from Holding up the Universe (I wasn’t a huge fan of the plot but I sure did love her!)

Carry OnImage result for game of thrones bookHolding Up the Universe

Multiple view points – gahhh, I just love it when a book is from different character’s points of view. Sure it can get confusing with masses like GoT but if it’s done right it is incredible. Think Lies of Loche Lamora, Falling Kingdoms or, my most recent find, You’re the One that I Want. If you throw in a bit of flicking in time you have me trembling at my knees.

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Daz’s choices

More than one main character – I love it when you follow the stories of two people and then they slowly merge into one through hatred (eg. Clariel by Garth Nix) or through cooperation (eg. Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski).

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Magic I like there being a hint of magic. Not too much, just a hint. Like in the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix or The Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch.

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What will make you instantly read a book?

Any recommendations based on our insta-reads?

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

35fed-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. It’s a great way to learn more about the bloggers you follow and to find lots of new books. This week’s topic is “Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016”

Emily’s New Authors

Neil Gaiman – I know, I know. About time, right? I read Stardust and I plan on reading American Gods next year. His writing style is definitely unique. I love the cleverness of his book, the humour twisted in with the seriousness, and the flow of his writing.

Jennifer Niven – I read All the Bright Places and I’m part way through Holding Up the Universe. I can’t say I’ve been overly impressed with either of these books.

John Kelly – This children’s author and illustrator came into our school to read us some of his books. I really enjoyed them, and his assembly was brilliant. My review of his books here.

Tsugumi Oba – I’ve started making my way through Death Note at the beginning of the year. I put it down but am fully intending to pick them back up again. I love that the series has finished, so I know that the end is in near sight (unlike Black Butler, which I love but 20 odd books is waaaay too expensive for me!)

Marie Ruthoski – Oh my gosh. If you like fantasy and you haven’t read or heard of The Winner’s Trilogy, them where have you been? I started these because people were going on about how good they are, and they weren’t wrong. Definitely pick them up. (Review of Book 1: Winner’s Curse)

Veronica Roth – I put off reading Divergent for ages because of the hype. I finally picked it up this year and was pleasantly pleased.

Robin LeFevers – I read Grave Mercy at the very beginning of the year. A convent of female assassins who are taught thousands of ways to kills people, using weapons, poisons and their “womanly charms”. This has now reminded me to order the second book.

Daz’s  New Authors

A.J. Smith – I read the Black Guard series earlier this year and really got into it. Full of a mixture of medieval and fantasy as well as shocking twists in the story!

Thomas Harris- Emily and I really got into watching the Hannibal tv series and from this I developed an interest in reading the Hannibal book series. Definitely worth a go!

Alex’s New Authors

John Gwynne – David Eddings by way of George R R Martin, Gwynne writes with a blend of what seem to be fantasy tropes, but twists them on their heads with almost callous brutality. You find yourself not wanting to get attached to characters for fear of their lives, but you just can’t help it. Book One (Malice) took a bit of work to get through, but Book Three (Ruin) was utterly incredible. Some twists come out of nowhere, some you may be able to guess, but the series should still hold some surprises.

Tom Holland – Tom Holland is a historian of phenomenal renown. If you are browsing a bookshop’s history section and you don’t see his name then you may as well stop. It’s also worth noting he does historical book review for the Times, so you had better believe his own stuff is up to standard. He writes with insight and engagement, bringing characters long dead back to life so vividly that he blurs he line between historian and necromancer. He writes with a consideration of as much evidence as he can provide in a work of popular fiction, and isn’t afraid to tackle controversial subjects (like the origins of Islam) while remaining objective. Highly recommended for history buffs.

 

Berlin

It’s been almost a year since my trip to Berlin and I have finally gotten around to writing about it.

We booked to go just before Christmas so we could see all the Christmas markets. What we didn’t take into consideration was that we would inevitably fall ill as soon as the children stepped out of the classroom. Never NEVER NEVER fly with a cold or sinus infection, it was one of the most uncomfortable journeys I have ever had and it put me in a miserable mood for the whole trip – part of the reason it’s taken me so long to write this. Now I have had time to get over how awful I felt, I can reflect on the wonderful things we did and saw in the city.


Berlin Zoo

This was my favourite day in Berlin and one of the biggest and best zoos I have been to (and I’ve been to a lot of zoos). The zoo is huge and we spend the most part of the day there. It was the first zoo I had been to that had polar bears! I loved the seals as they were putting on a show for us. The highlight for me was definitely the penguins as I was able to stroke them! This was probably a bit naughty of us but other people were too…


Museum Island

Five museums each packed with artifacts from all over the world. Our personal favourite was the room full of penis’ and pottery covered in phallic objects. Our particular highlight was the statue of a man carrying a massive penis. The Romans really were very randy. Of course there was the impressive bust of Nefertiti and the Mammoth remains too.


Brandenburg Gate

This iconic gate was one of our first ports of calls. It’s on the edge of a huge park (Tiergaten) which was beautiful to walk through.There’s also a Starbucks right next to it – super for those of us who can’t speak any other language and just want a cuppa before they begin to cry with exhaustion.

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Christmas Markets

People had said to go to Germany for the Christmas markets. However, once you’re there you realise that they are no different to the once that come to England. They did AMAZING bratwursts – they were basically all we ate in Berlin. We went to some markets outside of the Charlottenburg Palace, which was beautifully lit up at night, but you can find the markets all over the city.


Memorials

The city is full of reminders of it’s past with the hauntingly still Holocaust Memorial and remains of the Berlin Wall. sadly, not everyone was so respectful and thought it would be hilarious to climb all over the holocaust memorial and jump from the different parts.

Holocaust Memorial


Have you been to Berlin before?

 What was your highlight?

Top Ten Books I Would Like To Be Made Into A Movie.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. It’s a great way to learn more about the bloggers you follow and to find lots of new books. This week’s topic is “Movie Freebie”. I have chosen “Top Ten Books I Would Like To Be Made Into A Movie.”

Sabriel by Garth Nix.

Lies of Loche Lamora by Scott Lynch

Blood of the Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derick Landy

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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The Black Guard by A.J.Smith

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

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Top Ten Villains

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. It’s a great way to learn more about the bloggers you follow and to find lots of new books. This week’s topic is “Top Ten Villains”

Emily, Daz and Alex’s Choices:

  1. Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K.Rowling.
  2. Iago from Othello by William Shakespear.
  3. Miss Trunchbull from Matilda by Roald Dahl.
  4. Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  5. White Witch from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis
  6. Kerrigor from Sabriel by Garth Nix
  7. Rience from The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski

Who are your top villains?

 

Top Ten Books I’d Buy Right Now.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. It’s a great way to learn more about the bloggers you follow and to find lots of new books. This week’s topic is “Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card.”

Emily’s Choices

  • The new Harry Potter hardback collection with the pretty stars under the covers.
  • Hollow World by Michael J Sullivan
  • All of the Penguin Classics hardback booksDaz’s Choices
  • The Witcher Graphic Novels
  • All of the Sword Art Online books
  • The hardback versions of Terry Pratchet’s Discworld. We already have Hogfather.

Alex’s Choices

  • The Marvel Annihilation Conquest Omnibus
  • All of the Fables comics
  • Hardback collection of Game of Thrones
  • King Lear –  Oxford Classics Edition.

What would you buy?

Disney’s Aladdin The Musical – Prince Edward Theatre

Disney’s Aladdin

Aladdin is the brand new musical in the West End that takes you on a magical carpet ride to a whole old world of Panto Land.

The story is the classical one that we all know and love, Aladdin is a poor boy who falls in love with Princess Jasmine and with the help of an all powerful (with limitations) genie, overcomes the wicked vizier to save the day and get the girl.

I love the Disney film Aladdin, it is probably one of my favourites, with catchy songs and humorous parts. The musical is in many ways very similar, including the snappy classics of Friend Like Me, Prince Ali and A Whole New World.  As well as many songs from the film, there are also new songs added in too, which are also upbeat. Unfortunately, the transitions between the songs were not always smooth, with them pausing at the the end as if to tell the audience when to applaud and in some instances, at the end of Friend Like Me, break character.

I heard from people before I saw the show that the Genie is one of the best characters, with Trevor Dion Nicholas coming over from the Broadway cast to play the Genie. In many ways I agree, he had an amazing voice and stage presence and was highly entertaining. The character did many references to other Disney films, singing snippets of songs from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Mulan, in addition to doing topical jokes including Donald Trump and ain’t no body got time for that. However, the Genie was also one of the main reasons it felt like a Panto, with him breaking the fourth wall and speaking to the the audience at various points. As Daz pointed out, this also occurs in the film, however it also meant that at the end of one of the songs he was milking the applause which led to Aladdin also acknowledging the audience and breaking the fourth wall too. This may be an element that other people like, and it does make it very child friendly, but it is not a style I personally like, especially not in musicals. The vizar, Jafar, and his sidekick, Iago, also made it feel like a panto with “evil laughs coming on”, the hiss as they came on the stage,  explicitly telling the audience their evil plan and begin used at the front of the stage as they did the set changes behind the backdrop. Once again, I am sure this is mainly used to make the musical more child friendly, however I personally disliked it and found that it meant it didn’t flow as well and was rather clunky.

A few of the settings were spectacular, especially the cave scene (to the left) in which everything on the stage was magnificent and had a purpose. Additionally, the carpet ride was amazing and was visually spectacular. 

I also loved the costumes, with bright colours and intricate detail that you could see from the seats at the back of the auditorium. They must have taken hours to design and create! I would want to be in the musical just to try on the ensemble’s costumes. There were numerous costume changes, especially during the Prince Ali number, with each costume more elaborate than the next.

In conclusion, Aladdin is a bright and high beat musical, with spectacular costumes and scenery but be prepared for it to be very panto-esk.

All photos taken from http://www.aladdinthemusical.co.uk/