Tag Archives: Fantasy

Dark Fantasy At It’s Finest

I don’t claim to be psychic, but you are currently sat at home, twiddling your thumbs and with nothing much going on in your life. To me these seem like the only plausible conditions for someone to be reading my blog post. You are clueless as to what to do, all your short-term goals have thus far been accomplished and, by that, I mean you’re fully up-to-date with; Suits, Arrow, Orange Is The New Black and whatever else people are watching these days. Either that or you’re patiently waiting for the new Sherlock season to come on TV (I won’t even mention Winds of Winter).

In any case, I might just have the answer to all of your first world problems.

What I have in mind is a story like none other, a story of; love, friendship, honour, betrayal, war, politics, deception, determination, violence, intimacy and any other vague words you can think of, literally. And no, before you say it, I’m not talking about Zoey 101, as great a show as that is. What I am talking about however is, Berserk. A 37-volume ongoing manga series written by Kentaro Miura.

Set in the ‘medieval times’ we are originally introduced to the story’s main protagonist, Guts, a mysterious, muscular fellow dressed all in black, possessing a sacrificial brand on his neck and wielding a sword far larger than any sword has the right to be.

And these were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girl!

The World in which Guts inhabits is filled with demonic beings known as apostles, who were once regular humans that were gifted supernatural powers at the price of sacrificing the ones they loved to the formidable and potent ‘God hand.’ The God Hand being 5 supreme, untouchable beings with powers that have still not been fully revealed to us. 

A truly blasphemous series, but epic nonetheless.

Without giving too much away, Guts seemingly sees it as his mission to dispose of these apostles for reasons unknown to us at the start of the story. Along the way we learn many things through the experiences of the various characters; we see how childhood events can plant deep roots within a person’s sub-conscience,  the importance of companionship, the burdens of protecting the ones we love, the unbreakable power of the human spirit and most importantly, the true price of attaining ones goals.

Many pages are dedicated to beautiful sketches of scenery with many deep quotes flying about here and there. To give an example, below is a quote from one of the main characters, Griffith:

“While many can pursue their dreams in solitude, other dreams are like great storms blowing hundreds, even thousands of dreams apart in their wake. Dreams breathe life into men and can cage them in suffering. Men live and die by their dreams. But long after they have been abandoned they still smoulder deep in men’s hearts. Some see nothing more than life and death. They are dead, for they have no dreams.”

Deep. So if you’re looking for something to read this summer, look no further than Berserk. The main problem, and it is quite a big one, is that the series is on-going. This may not seem like such a big issue but as the time between each chapter can vary considerably, it may take a long time to reach the end of this epic masterpiece.

Back to the positives, besides all the points I have already mentioned, you will also get to see some truly uncensored and gory action scenes, weird eggs with deformed human faces (Beherit!!) and also many, many explicit 18+ scenes, including the very first scene from what I remember (but it’s all about the story really!).

Thanks for reading and let me know if you’ve read the series, of any other recommendations you may have OR let me know what you think of the possibility of the existence of extra-terrestrial life, because that’s always an interesting topic.

Chow.

Added notes from my editor,  the ever-efficient,  sentenced-correcting, spell-checking Seemeen:

tbh I don’t see why the possibility of extra terrestrial life is so hard for people to believe, it’s a possibility init

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2014 – A Year in Books

2014 is almost coming to a close, and I think I can speak for roughly.. 80% of you when I say:
When did it even start????

This time last year I made a pledge! And that pledge, between me and my 12 goodreads friends, stated that I shall read a whopping 20 books this year! Originally I’d aimed for 30 but just to ‘play it safe’ and to make sure I definitely hit the mark… I stuck with easy figure of 20.

Yeah….. I didn’t make it.

I did, however, get 70% of the way there with a GRAND total of 14! Now even though this isn’t the highest of numbers, (seriously, off the top of my head I can think of like…… 7 higher numbers!!!!) it’s still high enough for me to do a……

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAR – the two sugars fairly strong dot WordPress dot com edition !!!

The name might need a little tweak but let’s just roll with it…

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I shall sit here and await the payment from Converse for this free advertising....

So Behold!

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAAR – The Two Sugars Edition 

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Coming in at last pla-
No, at number 5, coming in at number 5 we have ‘The Alchemist’. Having already written a review of the book, a post or 3 ago, I don’t feel the need to add a whooole lot more except that I really enjoyed it. The Alchemist wasn’t a hard read in the slightest and thinking back at it, what stands out to me most was the beauty in the language. Especially the personification of the various components of nature, adding an enticing touch to a fairly simple story. But at the end of the day what I have taken from the book and carried with me ever since is simply… Maktub.

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Apparently it goes by the name ‘Midnight Riots’ in the US but either way I had never heard of this book, or series of books, until it was gifted to me by a friend, and I am sooooo glad I read it! An ‘urban fantasy’ set in London follows the life of Constable Peter Grant as he goes about his mundane day to day business until suddenly coming into contact with the last wizard in England. #Casual.

If you’re in the market for a humorous fantasy book which also happens to throw shed-loads of London-based trivia your way, I know JUST the thing. This. Enjoy.

3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Only Robert Galbraith could do this. Write a story with; no wizards, no witches, no noseless villains and no Alan Rickmans, yet still be magical! Although I found that it started off fairly slowly, once I got into the thick of it, it was a real page turner. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good 60-70 pages only to look up and realise that it’s 3am and Oh crap I’m meant to be revising what is my life! But that’s what a great storyteller can do aye! They make you deprioritise your whole life with hopefully no lasting ramifications (fingers crossed!)

In case you don’t know, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime novel centering around private detective Cormoran Strike and his, simply perfect, assistant Robin (who incidentally I fell slightly in love with) as they try and solve the case of a deceased model who seemingly flung herself from her Mayfair balcony.

I only bought this book because of a 3-for-2 sale and boy am I glad that I did. In fact I liked it so much that I picked up it’s sequel ‘The Silkworm’ just yesterday. So what are you waiting for???

2. 1984 by George Orwell
It had to take something special to beat The Cuckoo’s Calling and 1984 is just that. I’d heard of this one long before reading it, but I never thought it would interest me in the slightest… It always seemed so grey… So dull…. How wrong I was.

Written in 1948, this novel is George Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future. A country, or even world, put under the watchful eye, and ruled by Big Brother. Luckily for all of us though, due to a large decline in average views, Big Brother recently got bumped to Channel 5, where it still silently clings on for dear life. Phew!

But seriously there was so much more from the George Orwell novel that I wasn’t expecting in the least! I don’t want to spoil any of it so I’ll tread on eggshells.. But I never expected such a gripping relationship nor did I expect to feel empathy towards the fictitious situation and it’s, majorly proletarian, inhabitants. But most of all I never expected the ending. Wow. I shall leave it there before I utter any more words that may end up in the post requiring a ‘Spoiler Alert’ tag.
Big Brother is watching.

That only leaves room for one more book! What will it be! Find out.. on the next expiso-
Or I could just tell you now. Technically my number 1 slot won’t go to a single book, but rather a trilogy of books I read right at the start of the year so, since I warned you, don’t sue me.

I’m (surprisingly, actually quite) proud to announce, the number 1 book(s) that I’ve read in 2014 is/are!!!!…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide The Galaxy (books 1-3) by Douglas Adams

Where to even begin with this one… Quite simply these books are the most random, most bizarre, and the funniest (actually ‘LoL’ worthy at parts) set of books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. There is a fine line between insansity and genius as they say (confession: I don’t actually know who says this or, in fact, if it is even said) but I think Douglas Adams must have had a bit of both.

We start our journey with Earthling Arthur Dent, as he tries to stop the demolishing of his house, by the council, for the building of a by-pass. Pretty intense stuff. When put into perspective, however, by his strange companion, Ford Prefect, it isn’t all that dramatic after all. The Earth itself, our beloved planet, our home, is literally minutes away from being blown to smithereens to build, yes, a bypass.

I can’t do the story any justice whatsoever so I won’t even try but I think it’s simply a must read for everyone, including you!! I mean, who doesn’t want to read about The Vogons, who rank #3 in a list of the Universe’s worst ever poets. Why on Earth (bad choice of words) would you not want to meet Marvin, the borderline suicide Robot, try a Pan Galactic Gargle blaster orrrrr find out ‘The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything’ ????

If you learn anything in 2014, let it be this:
Don’t panic. Read the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Oh and also RIP Douglas Adams.

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So there you have it, my Year in books… If you liked or, probably more likely, disliked anything I said… Or if you’ve read any of these books yourself then let me know what you thought of them too in the comments below (you don’t have to be a blogger to comment) Orrrrr you can give your own top 5 books of the year. Whatever floats your wee little boats. Whatever you do just comment it can get lonely out here you know!!! *exhaled deeply*

Either way: follow, comment and shaaare away

Have a Happy New Year! and thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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