Short essay – Nathaniel Hawthorne & Edgar Allan Poe

I decided to publish my short essays on the readings from the Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World course syllabus. The course started on the 1st of June and finished on the 14th of August. The essays were supposed to be around 270-320 words a piece. Today, I publish the essay that I wrote after reading Hawthorne‘s The Birthmark, Rappaccini’s Daughter, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, and The Artist of the Beautiful and Poe‘s The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Oval Portrait, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Bells, The Raven, and Annabel Lee. * These are my views and interpretations only index2 In my mind, the assigned readings from Hawthorne and Poe all revolved around a few central themes. The biggest of those was Death. Death features very prominently in all of the stories; many of them actually ending in death (The Birthmark, The Fall of the House of Usher, Annabel Lee, etc.) or featuring a murder (Rappaccini’s Daughter, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, etc.) It isn’t very surprising per se: death is a constant. Death is the end of the line for everyone. It’s the one thing everyone has in common: we all die eventually. Continue reading

Review: Elves series by James Barclay










The Elves series by James Barclay is comprised of the following three books:

  • Once Walked With Gods
  • Rise of the TaiGethen
  • Beyond the Mists of Katura

These books are prequels to The Chronicles of The Raven and the Legends of The Raven series that I’ve come to know and love. I didn’t know what expect from the Elves series, mainly because the Elven nation and their beliefs only came into play around Barclay’s Elfsorrow, but I surely wasn’t expecting this. Continue reading

Review: Ravensoul by James Barclay


Ravensoul is the last novel of The Legends of The Raven series by James Barclay. And it’s the most grandiose novel of them all, in a way, because The Raven are back. Even though they were pretty much killed off (except two) in Demonstorm. Barclay killed his and my darlings, but brought them back to life….so to speak.


The souls of the dead are inhabiting recent corpses all over Balaia and Calaius. And the recently deceased cannot find eternal rest. Because the Garonin, the ancient and monstrous enemy of the Elves, have reached the dimension of the dead. And through that dimension, they’ve found purchase on Balaia, Calaius and the dragon dimension. Denser, High Mage of Xetesk, and The Unknown Warrior now called by his real name Sol, find themselves in the middle of it all. Because The Raven – long or newly deceased – are back and claiming Sol is the one to rescue the humans, dragons and Elves by finding them a new home. The only problem is, he will have to die first. And Denser isn’t having any of that. Continue reading

Review: Demonstorm by James Barclay


Demonstorm is the third book of The Legend of The Raven series by James Barclay. It was supposed to be the last book in the series – how couldn’t it be with that ending? – but Barclay decided to add the fourth and last book Ravensoul. A good but surprising call. Anyway, here’s my review.


Demons are ruling Balaia. Mankind has been enslaved – except for the Wesmen and the Elves. And that is because they have something that the former rulers of Balaia never had. What neither man nor mage ever had. Faith. Though their souls can’t be taken from them with a demon’s touch, they can still be killed. And it’s not just Balaia that’s under threat. The demons have found their way into the dimension of the dragons as well. And the realm of the dead is next. The Raven have been going their separate ways for five years, some living on Herendereth, others on Calaius. They no longer care for Balaia, since its inhabitants were so quick to forget all that The Raven has done for them. But there is one call they cannot ignore. One call they must heed. The dead are being threatened. And Ilkar is amongst them. Continue reading

Review: Shadowheart by James Barclay


This review is about the second book of the Legends of The Raven series by James Barclay: Shadowheart. It was actually the middle book of the series, before Barclay decided to add one last novel about the adventures of The Raven, Ravensoul, to the series. I’m glad he did, because Ravensoul is a thing of beauty, especially after the events that occurred in Demonstorm, the third book in the series. But right now, I’ll be talking about Shadowheart. Continue reading

Review: Elfsorrow by James Barclay


Elfsorrow, the very first novel in the Legends of The Raven series by James Barclay which continues where The Chronicles of The Raven ended. Arguably, this is my favourite novel of all of The Raven series and the most touching and horrifying for me personally. In the review below, I’ll tell you why.


The Raven have been struggling after the death of Lyanna, the Nightchild and keeper of the One Magic. Balaia is on the brink of war as Xetesk and Dordover are both intent on each other’s destruction. The Raven decide to set sail for Calaius, the Elven continent, to find Ilkar the mages he needs to rebuild Julatsa. But a platoon of Xetesk has arrived there before them and has desecrated the most important temple of the Elven faith; the temple of Yniss, the creator of the Elves. They have destroyed the harmony of the rainforest and the Elven race and the Sorrow is killing thousands of Elves. The Raven, alongside the most powerful native Elven warriors must get back what the men from Xetesk stole before the Sorrow wipes out all Elves. Including Raven mage Ilkar. Continue reading

Review: Nightchild by James Barclay

Nightchild is the third and last novel in the Chronicles of The Raven by James Barclay and takes place about three years after the events of Noonshade.


The Raven have amiably spilt, each going their separate ways. The Unknown Warrior is working in his inn The Rookery, living a quiet life with his wife Diera and son Jonas. Ilkar is desperately trying to rebuild the College of Julatsa. Erienne is with her and Denser’s daughter Lyanna at Dordover, while Denser is at Xetesk. Hirad is together with the stranded Kaan dragons, waiting for news on how to get them back home. And Thraun has settled in Thornewood, choosing his wolf form over his human one. When Erienne and Lyanna disappear, The Raven reforms to find and protect them; joined later by general Darrick. But as the days pass, it becomes clear that other forces – Xetesk, Dordover and the Black Wings –  are also looking for them. Because Lyanna is a child of the One. The One magic that once was, before splitting in four different colleges. And not everyone want The One to return. Continue reading

Review: Noonshade by James Barclay

Noonshade, book two in the Chronicles of the Raven series by James Barclay. It takes place only seconds after the first book ended.


After just saving the hides of everyone in Balaia, The Raven find themselves in even more danger. Their casting of Dawnthief has created a dimensional rip in the sky, through which dragons can come to set fire to everything. The Raven, the Xeteskian High Mage Styliann and the entire Brood Kaan now have to find a way to close the rip, before the other Broods decide Balaia is a great place for their fire practice. Continue reading

Review: Dawnthief by James Barclay

James Barclay was the first author to introduce me to modern language (you know, the f*word) in a Fantasy novel. The rawness of his world and the ‘barbaric’ ways of some of his characters have endeared him and his writing to me. The fact that he once responded to an e-mail I’d written him, made him my favorite author to date. (Well, shared second place with David Gemmell) Here’s my review of Dawnthief, book one in the Chronicles of the Raven series. Continue reading