Eragon coverEragon by Christopher Paolini

Rating: Avoid
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I know I’m going to ruffle a few feathers with this review. This book sold really well, and it certainly has its champions (though the movie tanked, so they obviously aren’t as dedicated as they could be).

Eragon wears its influences on its sleeve. And on its head and feet and hands and legs and anywhere else it could find to put them. This isn’t so much a story as a high school creative writing project by a fantasy-obsessed teen. Others have pointed out just how much Paolini has borrowed, so I won’t rabbit on too much. Let’s just say that this book is pure fantasy-novel comfort food: absolutely nothing new, no surprises and chock full of the cliches you’d expect in a book about a dragon. You’re also provided with more sub-Tolkien-style names than the average reader could probably stomach. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…

The Dodgeball Chronicles (Knights of the Lunch Table) by Frank Cammuso

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When I attended the Small Press Expo, an event for independent comics creators and small publishers, I was keeping my eyes open for engaging all-ages books. There are more graphic novels aimed at the younger set coming out, so it wasn’t hard to locate some good examples. But Frank Cammuso’s table was so nicely set up with eye-catching banners featuring his Knights of the Lunch Table series, this book was the first purchase I made that weekend.

I wasn’t disappointed. As you might guess from the title, there is an Arthurian strain to this title. You can’t miss it when you discover the protagonist’s name is Artie King, a new student a Camelot Middle School. And in case you weren’t sure, his science teacher Mr. Merlyn might help clue you in. These touches could be overpowering if handled badly, but in Cammuso’s hands, they serve as nice rewards for those familiar with the tales of the Round Table. Class bully Joe Roman and his gang, the Horde, are a nice touch here, as are friends with names such as Percy, Wayne and Gwen. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…

I’ve just added a new feature to the site: The Reading List. I’m growing this site to include more about books and reading. After all, Hex Libris is about a magical library, so I’m guessing my audience has at least some interest in books.

The Reading List will feature book reviews, and I’m opening the doors to my readership on this one. If you’d like to contribute a review, please feel free to send it along. Include your name, your review and whether you recommend the book or not (I’ll put that notation at the top of reviews… they don’t have to be positive reviews, since that would get boring). I’ll give you a byline and a link back to your own site if you so desire. Keep in mind that my audience is all-ages in your writing style and mention whether the book is appropriate for all ages or not. My first review is for a book that is definitely not for the younger set, despite some marketing missteps that have led some to believe it’s a kids book.

Stay tuned for more new features on Hex Libris.

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman

Rating: Recommended
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What happens when you get what you want, and you discover you still aren’t happy? Quentin is a brilliant and privileged kid preparing for the end of high school and the foregone conclusion of an Ivy League education. But he’s depressed and suffering from an unrequited love for his best friends girlfriend. One of his few pleasures is in a series of children’s books he knows he should have outgrown. The Fillory series of books feature a family of children who find their way into a magical land of talking animals and thinly disguised religious allegory (sound familiar)?

When Quentin is offered the chance to forego his standard education to go to a school for wizards, it’s a wish come true. Be careful what you wish for, as they say. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…

See that ShareThis icon at the bottom right of the comic? If (and only if) you enjoy what you see here, please click it and choose ways to share the site with your friends. You see, I don’t have a huge audience, and I’d love to have more people visiting. I’ve recently been on and experienced a huge upswing in visitors. Of course, I won’t keep all of them, but if just a few stick around every time the site is shared, then you’ve helped me grow my readership. If you do reddit, choose to put me in the “comics” category (in ShareThis, it’s the field automatically filled in with when you click reddit: being more specific with comics will help me get those who like webcomics).

Update: if Javascript is disabled on your browser, you won’t see the button. And if you don’t have it enabled, you’re missing other things on the Web, too. If you want to enable it, look at this.