Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Poetic and poignant

Today, I finished the latest book on my shelf: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. And maybe you haven’t heard of it, but I needed to write something about it. Anything. Because hell does this book deserve it.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

Ari and Dante are a pair of teenage boys, living in El Paso. They are opposing forces. Ari loses himself to thoughts of his imprisoned brother, while Dante loses himself to poetry. Ari isn’t the best at communicating, while Dante is skilled with words. Ari is filled with insecurity where Dante is filled with self-confidence. But during the summer that they meet, their lives are intertwined on a journey of growth and friendship. A journey of discovering the truths of the world.

And doesn’t that sound like the most terrifying journey of all to a teenager?

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More Than This – The essence of adolescence

After finishing A Song of Ice and Fire, this was a step in a very different direction – with a totally different audience, style of story, and narrative voice. But I rarely have room for anything but praise when it comes to Patrick Ness, and this book was no exception. (Seriously, look him up. Even if not for the books, he is a refreshingly welcome voice on Twitter).

More Than This is about a boy called Seth who, in the first few pages, drowns. He dies. Then he wakes up. Where is he? What does this mean? Why has he woken up? Why has he woken up here?  Questions upon questions, and Seth is alone to discover if there is perhaps more to this life than he ever believed.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

Well here’s where I say that Patrick Ness has done it again: an original, arresting, heartbreaking, uplifting tale, that will stay with me for a long time.

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A Song of Ice and Fire – Colossal, complex, consuming

So it seems I have finally closed the book on George R.R. Martin’s wondrous world of Westeros (and Essos as well, but that didn’t fit with the alliteration). What a journey it’s been these last 18 months, travelling the length and breadth of the Seven Kingdoms, and more, with the likes of Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, and Jon Snow. All over now.

I’ve hit that lull that happens when a series is over, and I’ve been reading it so long that it feels almost wrong to have another book in my hands. (Of course, as you would expect, all of my highest recommendations come with this series … but you’d have to be a pretty dedicated reader/fantasy fan/TV show fan to make the commitment I think; they’re not necessarily an easy read, and there’s a lot to keep track of). But I just wanted to share something of my thoughts, while finishing them feels like such a milestone.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

These books are so intense and rich it’s staggering. George R.R. Martin thrusts his reader right into the middle of his world unapologetically, and they’re instantly immersed. One of the things that I find so amazing is the depth of the world itself. It is colossal. From the Wall to King’s Landing to Dorne, and across the Narrow Sea to Qarth and Meereen and Braavos … it’s all so vast and yet so detailed. Martin’s creative abilities are unbelievable. And that’s without even mentioning his characters, who are some of the most real characters, I think it’s safe to say, I have ever come across. And the thing that makes them so, is the ambiguity within them. Let me explain.

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Dissension: The Work-in-Progress Act of Penance – The Patreon campaign

The eagle eyed among you may have recognised the style of the title from a post I wrote a few months ago, and that would be because I’m talking about the same books. (If you didn’t recognise it and are feeling left out, or you need to jog your memory, my previous post is here for you to peruse at your pleasure). And if you’re too lazy to do that – which would be a crying shame because that’s a good post, if I do say so myself – then you can have a little catch up…

**SPOILER FREE POST**

Attrition: The First Act of Penance is the first novel in a trilogy of fantasy fiction penned by the talented S.G. Night, and self-published by him at the age of 18. It’s a fantastic book and comes with all my highest recommendations of course. There’s a synopsis and more of a review in that post I mentioned earlier if you think it sounds like your cup of tea.

Well, now S.G. Night finds himself writing his Second Act of Penance, a student and self-published author, as yet unrepresented by a commercial publishing house … however, that could well be set to change, should the winds blow in his favour. Anyway, this now brings me to the point of my writing this post (finally, right?) which is this: Night has set up a Patreon campaign for Dissension: The Second Act of Penance.

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Attrition: The First Act of Penance – The new fantasy superpower

There’s a new player in fantasy fiction, and it’s going straight into the big leagues.

Of course, that’s my personal opinion, but as a lover of fantasy I can highly recommend S.G. Night’s Attrition as a shining example of fantasy at its best. I’ll give you a basic run-down, shall I?

The story takes place in the world of Io, which has been suffering under the oppression of the Demonic Dominion for over a century. The demons exiled the elves, all but enslaved the humans, and almost completely wiped out the Majiski battle-mages…almost. Racath Thanjel is one of those Majiski, now living in the shadows as an assassin, and fighting against the demons, but the assassins’ leader seems to be keeping more secrets than the demons themselves. Racath is plunged into the fight and forced to choose his destiny. Can he become the saviour Io needs, or are the demons to great a force to overcome?

**SPOILER FREE POST**

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A Song of Ice and Fire – Lady Stoneheart

First things first: definitely DO NOT read this post if you have not read both parts of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, because this includes major spoilers. And I would advise not reading this if you’ve ONLY watched the TV show of Game of Thrones – this one’s for book readers only unless you want spoilers – but you need to have seen the TV show to the end, or at least know what happens in the season 5 finale. You have been warned.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

Well now that’s out of the way, the epilogue of A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold has caused much intrigue. I actually thought it was interesting that there WAS an epilogue in this book, as the first two volumes didn’t have one. And things picked up again when we met what appeared to be Lady Catelyn Stark reincarnated. She was described as being damaged (for want of a better word) by water from the river, and the wounds she had inflicted on her own face were present, as well as a large gash from where her throat had been slit.

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The Inheritance Cycle – Top 3 most memorable moments

Now, when I say “Eragon” most people probably think of the not-so-brilliant film of 2006, but there’s much more to Eragon than that. Eragon is the first of four books in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (followed by Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance), a series that I would highly recommend. The Inheritance Cycle was responsible for igniting my love of fantasy: dragons, magic, elves, dwarves, languages, and beautifully written … what’s not to love?

Not only were these books an absolute joy to read, they were so immersive and magical that I became really emotionally invested in the story and the characters. If you have read them, perhaps you can relate to these ‘most memorable moments’ from the Cycle. If you haven’t read them, I suggest that you do (granted they look a little intimidating in size, but they are well worth it!) and then maybe come back and read the memorable moments after.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

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