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The Bookish Owl – Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Time to shoot some aliens, with Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett.

This is the first book in the Johnny Maxwell trilogy.

It might not have aged as well as Pratchett’s other books, but the overall message about how we’re numb to the horrors of war fits as well today as it must have done in the 90s. In the book it’s the Gulf War they’re referring to, but it might as well have been any of the wars over the last thirty years.

But despite the timeless morale, I think kids today would have a really hard time relating to this book, considering they have never known a time where space invader games were ‘cutting edge’…


Only You Can Save Mankind
by Terry Pratchett

It’s just a game . . . isn’t it?

The alien spaceship is in his sights. His finger is on the Fire button. Johnny Maxwell is about to set the new high score on the computer game Only You Can Save Mankind.

Suddenly, a message appears:
We wish to talk. We surrender.

But the aliens aren’t supposed to surrender—they’re supposed to die!


Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

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The Bookish Owl – The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

It’s time for The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.

This is a collection of fairy tales set in the Grishaverse and they are all wonderfully dark. We’re talking far more Grimm than Disney here… and then a tad darker than that.

The book itself is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out. It’s a beautiful hardcover book and each page inside is illustrated. At first I thought that every page in a specific story had the same illustration, but if you pay attention, you can see that it changes subtly for every page and the changes actually provides ominous hints to what’s to come later in the story. It’s genius.

As I said, the stories are set in the Grishaverse (which consists of books like the Shadow and Bone trilogy and King of Scars), but they can easily be read without having read any of the other books. I would recommend The Language of Thorns to anyone who enjoys dark fairy tales!


The Language of Thorns
by Leigh Bardugo

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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The Bookish Owl – Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider

Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

Here be dragons! Just in case the ‘dragon’ in Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider didn’t clue you in…

The Stolen Throne is the prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, the first game in one of my all-time favorite video game franchises. And it follows Prince Maric, the father of my all-time favorite character Alistair, during his rebellion against the Orlesian usurper of the Fereldan throne. You also get to see a lot of Loghain, Jackass Supreme in Origins, but very nearly likable in this book.

Though still a jackass.

While The Stolen Throne is a good and well-written book, I think I had expected a bit more from something written by David Gaider, who was the lead writer for Dragon Age: Origins. The thing about the Dragon Age games is that they have characters you can’t help falling in love with, but the characters in this book didn’t make much of an impact on me. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them well enough and I enjoyed the book… but it just didn’t have that special something I get from the games.


If you’re a fan of the Dragon Age games as well, check out my rambling post on my favorite DA companions! Or wait around for my future Bookish Owl post on Hard in Hightown by Varric Tethras…


Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
by David Gaider

After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant.

His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne. 


Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

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The Bookish Owl – Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Lights! Camera! Action! It’s Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett.

This has always been my least favorite Discworld book, but I did like it a little better upon rereading it. I do, however, think it could have been vastly improved by more scenes with the wizards. Especially since this is the book that introduces Archchancellor Ridcully, my favorite wizard and nightmare boss. But then again, there’s only so many times the poor Bursar can be nearly shot by his new boss before he loses it, and he did deserve to keep his sanity, at least until the end of the book…

But the mental image of most of Unseen University’s faculty clinging to to Windle Poon’s racing wheelchair while screaming their heads off was amazing, and I could have used more of that. Compared to that, Victor just wasn’t that interesting a main character.


Moving Pictures
by Terry Pratchett

‘Holy wood is a different sort of place. People act differently here. Everywhere else the most important things are gods or money or cattle. Here, the most important thing is to be important.’

People might say that reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess weight. Sadly alchemists never really held with such a quaint notion. They think that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: the invention of motion pictures, the greatest making of illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It’s either that or they’re about to unlock the dark terrible secret of the Holy Wood hills – by mistake…


Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

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The Bookish Owl – The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

This time it’s The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty.

First off, I want to say that this book has great characters, amazing worldbuilding and the plot is also just fine.

Which is why I have absolutely no idea why it took me 300 pages to get into it. It just didn’t do it for me for a long time, but as soon as I hit that 300 page mark it suddenly became insanely exciting and before I knew it, I had devoured the rest of the book and ordered the sequel.

‘The City of Brass’ is filled with djinn, ifrits and other creatures from Arabic folklore, and all the political drama you could wish for. None of the subplots were resolved in this book, so I have great hopes that the next book in the trilogy sheds some light on a few of the mysteries. And of course there was also a total cliffhanger at the end, so I really have no choice but to read on, do I?


The City of Brass
by S. A. Chakraborty

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for… 


City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty