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The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence – review

The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence – reviewThe Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence
Series: The Red Queen's War #3
Also in this series: Prince of Fools
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Length: 18 hrs and 58 mins
Genres: Fantasy
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Evelynne's rating: four-stars

The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence is the third and final book in his Red Queen’s War trilogy.  It continues the story of Jalan Kendeth as he continues to follow the path upon which fate has set him.

The Red Queen’s War trilogy is set in the same world as, and dovetails with, Lawrence’s earlier Broken Empire trilogy.  In some ways that is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing because the world in which the trilogies are set is awesome.  It’s set in our world in the future, millennia after a nuclear war (the Day of A Thousand Suns) decimated the world and let magic in for the survivors.  Some remnants of our world survive, but the current inhabitants have no cultural knowledge or background of them.  So plastic shop dummies (I knew those things could survive nuclear attacks) confuse the heck out of them!  This leads to one of the funniest moments in Wheel of Osheim involving an “iron pineapple.”  You’ll just have to read it to find out what I’m talking about.

It is a blessing because the protagonists of both series, Jorg and Jalan, are on separate quests to discover more about the Builders (aka us) and to prevent the destruction of the world.  The knowledge they obtain on their separate journeys adds up to more than the sum of its parts and creates an ever more vivid picture of the Builders and the Day of A Thousand Suns.  I suspect I’ll have to reread Broken Empire with the new knowledge I have from Red Queen’s War.

It is also a joy to have cameos from characters from Broken Empire.  Particularly this final instalment adds so much more to their stories.

On the negative side, it is made clear that Wheel of Osheim takes place just prior to Emperor of Thorns – Jalan meets Jorg on his way to the Congression which takes place in Emperor.  Knowing how Emperor ends is a clear indication of how Wheel doesn’t wrap up.  This robs Wheel somewhat of its narrative tension as it’s pretty clear what action Jalan chooses in the end, despite the dramatic chapter break.

I will say thought, it’s not necessary to read Broken Empire to enjoy Red Queen’s War.  Indeed, Red Queen’s War is more young adult than Broken Empire which is definitely much, much darker in tone.  That is something to bear in mind if you are thinking of checking out Jorg’s story.

So onto Wheel of Osheim.

What I liked

The world.  As I mentioned above, I adore the world Lawrence has created.  I was completely fascinated by the truth behind the Wheel.  The concept that it can make whatever your imagination creates a reality and the trick of Snorri’s stories worked very very well.

The narration.  Tim Gerard Reynolds did the honours for Wheel of Time.  Jalan as a character can be rather snarky and at times indignant and this came across beautifully in the narration.  Many times I smiled or even laughed at Reynolds’ interpretation of Jalan’s indignation.  Very well done. 

What I didn’t like

The pacing.  At times I felt it was a little slow.  

I really enjoyed Wheel of Osheim and gave it four stars out of five.

four-stars

Reading roundup – June 18th 2016

Good morning and welcome to another reading roundup.  It’s been  fairly quiet week on the reading front.  I’ve been working to finish Mark Lawrence’s The Wheel of Osheim which I finally did.  Expect a full review next week.  I have also started the audiobook of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae.  I picked up the sequel, Gemina, at BEA and want to refresh my memory.  In terms of audiobooks, Illuminae is superb. It is a full, multi-cast performance and is definitely worth listening to.  I have Gemina in hard copy ARC form, but I will certainly be picking up the audiobook if it’s anything like the first in the series.

On non book related news, Apple announced its big updates to iOS and OS X (renamed MacOS.)  There are a couple of updates in particular about which I’m really excited.  First is the integration with VoIP apps (such as Skype) so that they can be handled like normal iPhone calls.  My parents live in Scotland and aren’t very comfortable yet with the internet, so I use Skype to landline to call them most of the time.  Skype has a nice monthly rate for unlimited calls to UK landlines.  It will be so nice to have that integrated and not to have to think about how I call them.

Secondly, Siri is coming to the Mac!  Finally.  I’m not sure yet how I’ll work her into my daily workflow, but I’ll have fun trying.

Commentary and speculation for Game of Thrones below the cut:

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Reading roundup – June 11th 2016

Good morning and first in non reading related news, this week LEGO Dimensions released the trailer for their 2016/2017 expansion packs.  it’s worth checking out that trailer if only to watch MI’s Ethan Hunt rappel down a rope simply to scratch Scooby Doo’s belly or to see Wyldstyle run over Lord Voldemort on a motorcycle.  For those of you unfamiliar with LEGO Dimensions, it’s a toys-to-life video game.  I wrote a whole blog post on it.  The joy of this game is that you can mix and match your fandoms – so, for example, I took great pleasure in having Doctor Who drive the Batmobile through the streets of Minas Tirith.  Now, given that you have to fork out hard cash for new characters in this game, it can be very expensive.  Many of the new packs announced in the trailer are completely uninteresting to me.  A few more (A-Team, Mission Impossible, E.T.) were yeah I’d play this if you gave it to me for free and only two are ones that had me reaching for my wallet.  One of these is the Harry Potter team pack containing Harry and Lord Voldemort.  I have it on good authority – Pottermore – that Harry can expecto a really adorable LEGO Patronus.  As well as the minifigs of Harry and Lord Voldemort, you get the bricks to build a mini Hogwarts Express and the Weasleys’ Ford Anglia. You also gain access to the Harry Potter Adventure World with new puzzles to solve.  I look forward to having Doctor Who check out Hogwarts and Harry explore Middle Earth.  I believe Harry is released to the public on September 27th.

The second pack I will definitely purchase is the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  I understand this is a story pack which will come with a Newt Scamander minifig, a vehicle and bricks to customise the LEGO Dimensions gateway as well as six new levels of story gameplay and a Fantastic Beasts Adventure World.  I know little more about it than this, but already I’m champing at the bit.  

Game of Thrones this week was a solid, episode if a lot of setup for the chaos to come in the final three episodes of this season.  I especially enjoyed the quiet moments with Ian McShane’s character’s community.

Onto more book-related updates.  This week I did something I don’t very often do.  I marathoned a book series.  I finished the remaining two books in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King.  I will write a full blog post on the series, so I won’t say too much here.  I did very much enjoy them though, especially the wonderful characters and their relationships.

Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia has been hanging around on my currently reading/TBR list for a while now.  This is perhaps not surprising in that it’s being released in serial format with one episode being released each week.  There are currently 10 of 11 episodes available. I’ve subscribed to it in audiobook format so each Thursday a new episode hits my Audible download queue.  It’s being narrated by Juliet Stevenson who is doing an awesome job. While I liked the first episode it took me another two or three to really get into the story of the Trenchards the Bellasis and their myriad connections.  It is very soapy, but enjoyable soap nonetheless.  I have currently listened to five out of the 10 available episodes.  If you enjoyed Downton Abbey, you will likely enjoy Belgravia.  Fellowes has released an app for this where you can download the episodes (they’re also available in Audible as mentioned and other eBook retailers) and it also includes additional background information such as a map of Belgravia and a family tree which is updated as the story progresses.  The only annoying thing for me is because I’m picking up the episodes on Audible, the app doesn’t update for me.  I checked the website and the information given was pretty much too bad, so sad if you want the bonus features but didn’t purchase through the app.  Pity.

The Wheel of Osheim, the final book in Mark Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War is the other book I’m reading this week.  I’m enjoying it, but the problem is I’m listening to it in audiobook as I fall asleep in bed at night and I keep missing chunks!  Should be good, though.

That’s all for this week.  Catch you soon!

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