The World According To Fred is my blog, although no, my name is not Fred - but don't worry, that's a common misconception... My posts are a compilation of all the things that pass through my mind - a running commentary of my view of the world. Please feel free to comment and please say if there are any subjects you would like Fred to take a view on - I really do want to know!!!! In the meanwhile enjoy:
The World According To Fred

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Dragons and Magick and Scares - Oh My! The Power of What's Written

It is a rare occasion when I can find a book worth reviewing. This may sound strange, especially considering the fact that my job as a bookseller at Waterstones unavoidably entails me writing reviews, both in store and online; and for those who know me, you know it’s a rare occasion when someone can get me to shut up about books. However, it is seldom that I find a book so engrossing, so incredible that I find it necessary to write a proper review (i.e. here, on my blog), in order to share it with as many people as possible; yet, such was the case with Ben Galley’s The Written.

I first came across these books (indeed, The Written is only the first of the Emaneska series) when Ben Galley came into my Waterstones for a signing event – a self-published author with an apparent passion for the fantastical. Admittedly, he’s a relatively unknown writer (though not to our store – one of my colleagues used to talk of him and recommend his books on such a regular basis, Ben Galley’s name is as well known as the Queen of England) but that has never stopped him or his books from brimming with talent. Plus, he brought badges, and that just seals the deal on him being a great guy.

The book really is beautifully done. It took me a little while to get into it (though really I’m like this with all books, especially with a new writer), but despite this and the chunkiness, I sped through it. It had that pull of a book that meant I just couldn’t put it down, a pull that I haven’t felt for a long time. My love for Harry Potter isn’t exactly a hidden thing, but when it comes to fantasy books, I’m really picky – they have to be different, have to bring
a new twist to an area of literature that has been done a million times for every age – and a lot of the time, it’s the same story over and over again. But that’s not at all the case. I guess what really drew me in was that it was so fresh, so unlike anything I had ever read before. What I loved about the novel was the great wealth of history and background that exists behind the main plot line – Galley has created an entire world, not just one story, in a way that is distinctly reminiscent of Rowling and Tolkien. It’s not dumped on you at once either – admittedly at some points this can feel like you’re missing out on something you need to know, but it’s all revealed in due time, when it won’t detract from the main events or become too confusing.

Writing a review is always difficult, especially if you’re trying to avoid spoilers. One thing I will say, however, is nothing is as it seems - oh, and you don’t want to realise this in a public area. Should you feel that some revelation is coming, I suggest you remove yourself to a private, preferably sound proof area, or else risk finding yourself slamming fists upon the table and repeatedly yelling “NO!” inviting many shocked stares from those sitting silently around you. Still, such is the nature of my relationship with good books…

And they really are incredible. I think it stands testament to them that, having finished The Written, I moved straight onto the sequel, Pale Kings 
and this is considering that Dan Brown’s new book, Inferno, has just come out. Honestly, I didn’t even break a sweat in entirely ignoring the hardback, so engrossing is the tale that Galley has woven. Most of the time I will continue with a series from a sense of duty to finish it but I will readily put it on hold, in the event of a new book that I am desperate to read. Here, however, not only did I not want to leave, but I literally couldn’t, as if the magic that permeates the lives of the characters had reached out of the pages and bound me to them. That and the fact that I love showing off gorgeous books, and these cover designs are simply brilliant. I know, I know - you can’t judge a book by its cover, but if every cover were to reflect the story inside – well, actually, I think these illustrations do it justice.

Galley’s finale to the trilogy comes in two parts Dead Stars: Part One and Part Two at the end of the month. Whilst part of me is disappointed with myself for having waited so long to delve into the world of Emaneska, a very large part of me is grateful – at least this way I won’t have to wait too long for its conclusion!  Equally exciting is Galley’s project to turn The Written into a graphic novel; admittedly, it’s not normally my cup of tea, but I know this will just have to be an exception to my rule. For now however, I must return to Pale Kings – and send you all to find these books immediately!

 Check out Ben Galley’s website here:

And order your copy of The Written from Waterstones (of course) today!

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